Looking after Etosha National Park
The Etosha National Park has a tendency to deliver beyond the expectations of visitors. The vast salt pan is brilliant in sheer dimensions and as a visual backdrop to the endless procession of wildlife frequenting the park’s network of waterholes. There is no such thing as a guarantee in game viewing and yet Etosha never fails to impress both first timers and seasoned safari veterans. In reality we would be naïve to expect anything less from a habitat that has been conserved and enhanced for sustainable tourism for over 100 years.
It takes time to carefully develop the infrastructure of a great national park and a level of consistency in the quality and attitude of the individuals tasked with operations. The development of a safari lodge is no different and the Mushara Collection has grown steadily from the original lodge to the four distinct properties of today. The Pampe family have been custodians of this land since 1990 and the Pampe’s today (3rd generation) built the lodge with the strong belief that others would surely love the park as they did.
A ‘people first’ philosophy gives you more than you pay for: The Mushara Collection, part of a very exclusive club.
Ideally located on the doorstep of the national park, the family originally set out to deliver the standards of comfort and service that European visitors could not find inside the park itself.
A natural affinity with the local people meant that staff soon found themselves being encouraged to improve through a variety of training schemes.
Educating the community
Just as the family saw the need to improve their self-reliance on fresh fruit and vegetables, there was an awareness that the community in the area had to learn new skills to turn happy guests into repeat guests.
Location and reputation are the primary deciding factors in choosing which property to book and Mushara has an enviable setting on the eastern boundary of the great park. The latter is simply down to hard work, investment and pride. A number of the key front line staff at the Collection began in entry level positions and have thrived under Mushara’s ‘people first’ philosophy.
There are a number of staff approaching 15 years of service, so it isn’t surprising that guests frequently rate them the best in Namibia. This is real testimony to the supportive
and inspiring environment in which staff develop here.
‘In 1998 I left my home in Tsumeb to start work at Mushara Lodge in the laundry and soon became a waitress. I was later promoted to duty manager for several years before becoming front office manager. Mushara has offered me several training opportunities including a nationally recognised guiding course, a supervisors course and a service industry training course. I am so happy to be part of the Mushara Collection and I believe we add great value to the tourism industry in Namibia’ – Fransiska Hanes, staff member since 1998.
There are precious few opportunities in life to get more than you pay for, the Mushara Collection is part of a very exclusive club.