Meet our Lodge Anchor Courtne Myburgh
The passionate Courtne takes us through her career journey at Arathusa
My name is Courtne, and I am the Lodge Anchor at Arathusa. I ensure that all departments run smoothly and that the kitchen is in top form, making changes to the menu with Chef Iven according to trends and seasonal changes.
I started out in the hospitality industry at the age of 15 where I worked at our local restaurant in the small town that I grew up in. I was always unsure as to what I wanted to do career wise because I am passionate about the culinary arts, but also enjoy socialising with people. This is how I came upon Hospitality Management, where I got the best of both worlds.
When I started out at Arathusa, I was a student working off my final year’s practical component. I fell in love with this place and the ‘work’, and when I graduated I was hired full time as the guest relations liaison. At a later stage I became the kitchen manager too – exactly what I had always dreamed of. I love working hand in hand with the kitchen team, while crafting our guest experiences.
I am passionate about being creative and have been called ‘artsy’. I always find different ways of expressing my creativity – through painting or cake baking (great fun!), and I have now found a new approach to my art through photography. I always keep my camera near in case a photo opportunity arises (like an antelope around the lodge, or an interesting bird that I spot, or even the occasional leopard and wild dogs!) There is ALWAYS something to fill my view finder.
The thing I love most about Arathusa is the uniqueness of the lodge. We strive to provide a comfortable and welcoming feel for our guests to ensure that they feel right at home. I’ve worked in the city for most of my life, and it just felt like a repetitive cycle over and over again. Out here each day is different, and I get to meet amazing people. I have realised my purpose in creating lifelong memories for them.
My favourite memory at Arathusa is of a morning when I was working in my office. I was on the phone with a supplier when – all of a sudden – I saw something in the corner of my eye. I didn’t register what it was (I initially assumed it was a dog – soon remembering that we do not have dogs out here!), and jumped up when it dawned on me that a hyena was sniffing around the office! When I chased it out I noticed that it was a 3-legged hyena. We decided to name it Tripod, and it has since made Arathusa its home. We even have him assist our guests when loading their luggage in the vehicles – he stands guard😉
It’s not easy to choose one specific guest experience that stands out for me as I try to make every single stay special in some way. But one memory I will never forget is of a family that had come to stay. I got to keep the kids entertained by giving them little activities to do, showing them some of the animals around the lodge, and also sneaking in loads of little snacks and treats throughout their stay. At the end when it was time for them to leave, mom started crying. This made me cry, and the boys were so embarrassed by us being a bit of an emotional wreck right here in reception! I felt like part of the family.
Many of our guests celebrate special occasions while at Arathusa, and I get such a thrill by going above and beyond to find out exactly what they love. This helps me to design a unique surprise – like cupcakes in a favourite colour and flavour, or custom made cocktails built specifically around their favourite tastes. Every occasion is a new opportunity to flex my ‘artsy’ muscles. It really makes all the difference, and the reward is always in the reaction.
This is really not work, and I am so grateful to be living my passion every single day!