Fairies are small mystical creatures. Due to their magical abilities they are capable of tasks much greater than their size would have you believe. Anna Ndlovu is most certainly a fairy.
She is a tiny woman but she’s also one of the strongest I know. She can rustle up a Relais & Châteaux style seven-layered bed without breaking a sweat. Then while laden with a stack of sheets on her head, a bag of laundry on her back, buckets in both hands and a broom and duster, just to keep it interesting, she can meander along the camp paths with the brightest of smiles. She’s just one of a team of magical fairy godmothers that add the gold dust to your safari.
I was introduced to Anna when I arrived here in 2014 and did my housekeeping induction. From that day forward I had a whole new level of respect for these little hidden gems of Londolozi. All their work happens behind the scenes but it’s so crucial to making sure every single guest is cared for.
Anna’s favourite part of her job, which is window cleaning, astonished me about her. When asked why, she said that as guests walk into the Granite Camp rooms she cares for, they are met with an enormous window that looks out onto the wilderness. She said she wants them to believe that there isn’t actually a window there. She knows she has done her job if people have to walk forward to check if there’s anything separating them from the fresh bush air outside. “It’s the first thing they see and I want it to be perfect,” she added.
It’s this sort of love and attention to detail that makes these woman so special.
It seems the core work of these women is to make sure guests have to do as little as possible when it comes to thinking for themselves. As the game drives depart from camp in the afternoon, Anna and her colleagues descend on the rooms to do their first evening turndown. Curtains are drawn, mosquito nets untied and tidying done. Then when guests have returned from their safari and head to dinner, the fairies tiptoe back in and pop slippers next to the bed, carefully fold back the covers and pop a chocolate and note on the pillow. You could literally waltz in from dinner and climb into bed without lifting a finger, unless of course the chocolate cannot be resisted.
Anna says changing a king size, extra-length bed on your own can be quite a task but she’s developed some secret tricks during her time here. In fact, she says that she learns every day and loves taking her new skills home with her to share with her family. “One day when my English gets better I’m going to become a ranger,” she says laughing. “Although I’m small, this job has made me very strong!”
Anna is a mother of two and her little boy, Siphosethu lives with her here. Anna says she loves being a mother, which really shows in her work.
“I love taking care of people,” she says. “I love to make them feel special and at home here.”
As is so true of Nature, it’s all the little things working together that keeps the bush beautiful, healthy and functioning as a holistic system. Although they so often go unseen, it’s little bushveld fairies like Anna that keep every guest’s experience so magical.