Face to face with Jacques Oosthuizen

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Meet Jacques Oosthuizen, part of our Thornybush Collection management team and head ranger for the central section of Thornybush Private Nature Reserve. Jacques and his wife Emma are responsible for the smooth running of Monwana Lodge, where they reside with their young son.

Hospitality rules

With just four elegant suites in their care, the couple have mastered the art of creating a homely and personalised safari experience which is highly commended by guests. While the lodge offers ultimate privacy in each luxurious suite, the boma and gazebo decks are popular places for guests to hang out and chat to their hosts ad fellow safari guests about the day's events.

The early years

As a young South African, Jacques grew up enjoying the privilege of holidays in the Kruger National Park where he developed an appreciation of wild things very early on his life. Jacques took his intense love of the bush further by deciding to pursue a career as a game ranger.

He started his training as an intern of the Kruger National Park's student placement programme in 2005. Through this programme, young nature enthusiasts get to work and live in one of 15 nationwide national parks.

Jacques hit the jackpot by getting the southern Kruger detail and has been involved with nature conservation ever since. He achieved his game ranger qualification, as well as invaluable experience, while working in the southern reaches of the park and during a stint at the Hoedspruit Endangered Species Centre.

Honing his skills

Here Jacques learnt more about rehabilitating wild animals, working closely with a variety of species such as the African wild cat, ground hornbill, sable antelope, lion, cheetah, and rhino. Other aspects of his time at the Endangered Species Centre, included watching the vets at work on the wild animals when necessary, and participating in lectures about the animals, grasses and trees in the area.

Daily interaction with the many tourists who visit the centre, helped Jacques to hone his hospitality and people skills.

Life at Thornybush

Jacques joined Thornybush in 2012 and thrives on seeing the bush and wildlife through the eyes of our guests, especially first-time safari-goers. In turn, guests at Monwana Lodge benefit from anecdote about his long list of favourite animals which include the leopard, buffalo, pangolin and aardvark; as well as thrilling tales of life in the bush – such as the time he walked into a male lion in the lodge while on his way to get morning coffee.

If you're looking for a secluded, luxury safari getaway then Monwana Lodge, Jacques and Emma will make sure that your stay is one to remember.


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Thursday, 15 November 2018