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Chobe Holdings stands as a paragon of excellence, celebrating 50 years of distinguished service in the dynamic landscape of hospitality. Among its illustrious branches, the Chobe Game Lodge shines as a beacon, propelled into a future shaped by Johan Bruwer’s unwavering commitment to community welfare, environmental stewardship, and the advancement of social change.
With a managerial career spanning over two decades, Bruwer reflected on his journey, stating, “I have devoted 25 years to Desert and Delta and nearly 20 to Chobe Game Lodge.” His career in Chobe Game Lodge began in 2004 when his expertise in hospitality prompted his recruitment by Jonathan Gibson to spearhead the lodge’s evolution into a new chapter.
A pivotal transformation unfolded as the lodge transitioned from initially hosting 8 expatriates to a lean team of 2, mirroring a deliberate shift toward localized employment practices. Integral to this restructuring was the increased inclusion of female employees.
Bruwer proudly proclaimed that female staff now comprised a substantial 60-70% of the lodge’s workforce, spanning roles from guides to house workers. His conviction in women as vital economic contributors fueled the paradigm shift, notably visible in the integration of more women into historically male-dominated guide positions.
“I am immensely proud of our all-female guide teams established between 2013 and 2014,” Bruwer affirmed. He emphasised their superior communication skills and finesse in handling equipment, a testament to their capabilities. Collaborative campaigns with Botswana Television (BTV) furthered their mission, resulting in a surge of applications from aspiring female guides.
However, the lodge’s impact transcended gender inclusivity, extending to pioneering eco-friendly practices. Noteworthy initiatives included the integration of Electric Vehicles (EVs), with specific sectors boasting entire fleets of EVs. Their efforts culminated in receiving a prestigious 3-star green rating from the Botswana Tourism Organization in 2012, significantly reducing fuel consumption to a mere 200 liters per month. This also transcended to the use of solar and electric powered boats.
In parallel, Chobe Game Lodge embarked on a journey to elevate culinary expertise, investing in staff education. Employees were sent to the esteemed Limpopo culinary school to acquire international-standard culinary skills. Moreover, a culinary school within Maun was established, bridging the gap and nurturing local talent.
In conclusion, Bruwer’s reflections underscored Chobe Game Lodge’s identity as more than a tourism entity. It emerged as a catalyst for holistic progress, championing social causes, environmental sustainability, and community upliftment. Their journey exemplified a commitment to growth that resonated far beyond the confines of traditional business success.