Last week we sent eleven of our staff members on a once in a lifetime trip to Cape Town. The purpose of the trip was to congratulate these staff members on there achievements on the Lobster Ink programme that was started at Londolozi about two years ago. Lobster Ink is the hospitality education system that trains staff and management, in areas of Service, Bar, Wine, Spirits, Housekeeping, Guiding and International Standards.
Trisha Siegel began at Londolozi in September 2010 and since the moment she started as a camp manager at Londolozi her true passion of training and empowerment of the staff has shone through. She has run the Lobster Ink project from the beginning and it took off with the Londolozi staff from the start. On their way to Kruger Mpumalanga International Airport the staff stopped in at the Hazyview Digital Learning Centre and saw how the Lobster Ink project had expanded. This gave all the staff a sense of pride as they were waving the flag not only for Londolozi for also for the Learning centre.
There were a lot of firsts for the staff on their journey, the flight being one of them. Swimming in the sea being another! The staff members had two days to experience what it was like in the shoes of a guest and covered a lot of ground! Trish describes the experience below:
We stayed our first night in the MannaBay Guest House in Gardens. The warm welcome we received from the staff at MannaBay gave us an idea of how guests feel when they arrive in a place for the first time. We were greeted with smiles and hugs and a beautiful display of canapés and champagne. The guest house was beautiful.
We made our way through the streets of Cape Town with Duncan as our driver, showed us the sights. For sundowners we met the Lets Sell Lobster team who developed the service training program that we use at Londolozi. It was amazing to see the site and meet the team that we watch on our training videos everyday. With the most beautiful setting and wonderful food and service we relaxed and had lots of laughs with the team. We were also able to thank them for giving us the opportunity and the tools to learn five star service and hospitality techniques using their LobsterInk training program which largely contributed to the purpose of this trip.
After drinks and pizzas at the Round House we drove past the bustling beachfront bars of Camps Bay where we saw all of the beautiful and ‘trendy’ people of Cape Town sipping on exotic cocktails and we headed for the beach.
This was the first time most of our staff had ever seen the sea, much less walked into it so there was a lot of excitement amongst us. Tresta even decided to lay in the waves fully clothed! All of the guys grabbed plastic bottles to fill with sand and sea water because in the Shangaan culture if you drink the salt water from the sea it will cleanse you and get rid of all of the evil spirits in your body. It is also said to bring good luck!
On Wednesday morning we woke up bright an early for breakfast at 05:00 at MannaBay and departed for Waterford Wines in Stellenbosch shortly there after. We drove up the stunning entrance to Waterford through the clementine trees just before sunrise. There we were met by Kevin Arnold, the Waterford winemaker, who spent the day with us, telling us “the story outside of the bottle”
After Waterford we headed back to Cape Town to conquer Table Mountain! We took the revolving cable car up to the top of Table Mountain where we had the most amazing view of Cape Town. The guys were so excited to see Robben Island as well as the Green Point Stadium. We could point out Camps Bay where we went into the sea as well as the winelands where we were that moning. It was an beautiful sight and everyone took photos. Simon commented that it was the closest we will ever get to God.
In the middle of a busy day we popped into the Bean There coffee shop which is where all of our ground and whole coffee beans that we use at the lodge come from. It is also the sight where the LobsterInk training course is filmed. We watched the coffee beans going into the roaster and coming out fresh with that brown oily coat, ready to make some delicious espresso!
After that we headed to the Waterfront to check into out luxury apartments and have a quick tour of the Waterfront shops and restaurants. We saw many of the hotels where our guests stay before or after they visit Londolozi, such as the Cape Grace and The One and Only. We also got to visit the Basqule bar at the Cape Grace which has over 400 different types of single malt whiskey! Caven was thrilled he didn’t have to do their stock take!
For sundowners that evening we drove up Chapman’s Peak and arrived at the picturesque Tintswalo Atlantic Lodge with our former Londolozi Family members Alex and Craig Paterson. The lodge was beautiful and unique, hidden in the mountains right above the sea. The staff were warm and welcoming and treated us like family. Alex (the operations manager) gave us a tour of the lodge with it’s island themed rooms and we finished off with drinks and canapés on the deck watching the sun go down over the Atlantic Ocean. It was absolutely breathtaking and a wonderful way to spend our last Cape Town sunset with our friends.
We participated in a good luck tradition of throwing a stone over our right shoulder into the sea
For dinner we finished off at a grill house where we had our last meal in Cape Town. We reflected all of the amazing things we had seen and done in the past 48hours and thanked everyone for the hand they played in making this life changing trip a reality.
Written and Photographed by: Trisha Siegel