Text and photographs: Ranger Pieter van Wyk
MalaMala Game Reserve presents the discerning traveller with an option of three very different yet equally special camps; MalaMala Camp, Sable Camp and Rattray’s Camp. The latter is the smallest and offers unrivalled exclusivity and intimacy. Its heartbeat is a small, professional and dedicated team who collectively pump warmth and friendliness into everything that they do. One of the first team members you’ll meet is Zanele Goodness Masangu.
Goodness is the camp’s receptionist and arguably the most familiar with the rhythm of Rattray’s. However, referring to her as just a receptionist would be like describing Rodger Federer as simply a tennis player, for they are both much more than that. “Behind every good camp manager stands, if they’re lucky, Zanele Goodness Masangu”; said every manager and relief manager who have been at the helm since she arrived.
Goodness and her five siblings were raised by their mother in a very small and sparsely populated town called Badplaas roughly 200km from MalaMala. After completing high school, Goodness joined the Forever Resorts hotel chain as a student and was rotated through all the departments in order to better understand each one. The General Manager recognised that she did particularly well in the finance department and consequently appointed her as a Cash-up Official. After a year of hard work and good results, Goodness was promoted to an Assistant Food and Beverage Manager. She left the Forever Resorts with a Diploma in Tourism Management and a solid foundation upon which a career in the hospitality industry could be built.
“After my time at Forever Resorts, l decided to look for greener pastures and that’s when MalaMala appeared on my radar. In 2009 I was hired and it felt like my calling was being answered. I have worked here for nine years and have learnt more about nature, different cultures and the hospitality industry than I could possibly have imagined. Funnily, I always thought animals were dangerous to human beings and I never actually realised it was the other way around! I’ve also learnt how much we have in common with the creatures who we share this earth with. I love the guests who visit Rattray’s, I love working for this company, I love living in one of the most beautiful places on earth and I love living amongst the amazing animals who also call this place home.”