Jacques Smit – Marketing Director
As this year draws to an end, I reflect back on many experiences during 2018 at Sabi Sabi.
Despite the challenges of the water crisis in Cape Town and a change in leadership in our country – elements which we could not control – we forged ahead and it was business as usual.
We are excited to welcome 2019 in – a special year ahead as we celebrate our 40th anniversary, but first we want to celebrate what makes Sabi Sabi unique.
Since its inception in 1979, Hilton and Jacqui Loon had the vision of creating Sabi Sabi as a “home in the bush“. Not only luxury accommodation and fine food, but as a home for our staff so that our people…your hosts…would be the heart and soul of our operation.
Now almost 40 years later, we can safely say that this remains one of our most committed and unique characteristics. Yes, we do view amazing wildlife because of four decades of conservation, habitat management, guiding ethics and etiquette. Yes, we do boast an award-winning wine list as a result of our decision to support the boutique smaller family-owned wineries – a direction we are also adapting for craft beers, gins and other locally produced products. Yes, we do offer some of the most amazing dining available and continuously remain within trends by sharing kitchens and Chefs from Europe and UK.
Our lodges are now ranked with the best in the world, while we always remain committed to sustainable tourism proudly partnering with National Geographic Unique Lodges of the World.
But all these accolades would not be attainable without the people who call Sabi Sabi home…our staff.
This is our home and all 236 of us share the responsibility of not only looking after the well-being of our animal inhabitants, but also our visitors from all over the world, creating an environment where people are welcomed as guests but leave as part of our extended family.
We strive to bring all elements of our philosophy to life. Consequently, our interpretation of the importance of all living things allow guests to leave with an understanding of how important conservation and sustainability is for the future of our environment as a heritage for our children.
Every year we close one of our lodges and invite our staff to enjoy a day with us as guests. Management become the chefs, waiters, grillers and scullery staff – a day where we say a huge thank you to the very people who make Sabi Sabi so unique. This year was no different, and a great day was enjoyed by all; even the rangers who were washing dishes from 09h00 – 17h00… a day where I personally feel very proud to be part of this family and amazing brand. We get to spend time with each other, thank those who make the difference, but also hear the appreciation our staff have for the work environment we have created over the years.
Sadly, the following day we learnt of the passing of one of the very people who helped create this culture. From Sabi Sabi’s inception in the late 1970’s, Sharon Joss was a pillar in the success of this company, a mentor to many who became mentors to others. Sharon had endless passion and enthusiasm for the bush and what Sabi Sabi stands for. Our condolences to the Joss family, to Jacqui and Hilton and to the entire Sabi Sabi family.
We say a sad goodbye to an incredible lady but celebrate the life she lived…
It will be a tribute to Sharon that all the people who have called Sabi Sabi their home are mindful of protecting this precious piece of the planet we have been entrusted with, by preserving the memories, conserving today, ensuring a future….
To Sharon… and to all the people who are part of the Sabi Sabi family… and to you who make it all possible… our past, present and future guests!