If you’ve stayed at Monwana Lodge and enjoyed a refreshing G&T or pre-dinner cocktail, then you would have come across Valentine Zitha – Monwana Lodge’s barman, who and has been working at the lodge for nearly a decade.
Lodge life has always stood out for Valentine – both his parents worked on a game reserve close to Hoedspruit and Valentine spent his school holidays with them at the lodge.
After finishing school Valentine worked at a restaurant in town where he got the relevant training he needed to pursue a career within the hospitality industry.
Valentine, with his friendly attitude and sparkling personality, is well liked amongst staff and guests. He describes himself as a family man and hopes his children will grow up to share his passion for the bush.
On his days off Valentine likes to spend time with his family and when not with his wife and kids he enjoys reading and writing. He is also very fond of music which you would be able to tell upon arrival at Monwana, as Valentine plays the welcome drums.
When we asked him what he loved about his job is, his eyes lit up and he said: “I love working with guests and getting to know the different cultures from all over the world.”
One afternoon when all the guests were on safari, Valentine was in his room catching up on some reading when he heard a loud noise outside. Curious to what was making such a racket, Valentine opened his bedroom door and saw an Impala rushing by, closely followed a pack of wild dogs, which had somehow got into camp and had decided that impala was on the menu that day.
Wild dogs are endangered animals and are a rare sighting on game drives, let alone right in camp! This encounter has led Valentine to consider the wild dog his favorite wild animal.
Valentine is humble and down to earth, respecting every living organism on earth, which makes him an absolute asset to Monwana Lodge and Thornybush.