5 minutes with Reservations Manager April Knight

Tell us a little bit about yourself... I was born in Zimbabwe where I was lucky to have had an idyllic childhood. My dad was transferred to South Africa so our family moved here when I was a youngster.Gardening is my hobby and my solace and love spending time in my green space.I’m fortunate to have a great group of friends and nothing beats a good laugh and catch up. I am blessed with the people I have in my life especially my husband and grown-up son. How did you get into the travel and tourism business?  I started out by studying at the Rennies Travel Training Institute in Parktown, Johannesburg. I qualified as a travel agent and then carried on with my studies part-time obtaining my international IATA/UFTAA accreditation whilst working. What attracted you to tourism?  I always had a passion to travel and see new places. I decided that being a travel agent would help open those doors. I started out as a junior and worked myself up to a branch manager before owning my own travel agency and then I got involved in the luxury game lodge business when I was headhunted to run the reservations department for a private property which was embarking on a commercialisation project. And so,16 years later here I am… What is the favourite part of your job? Getting positive feedback from guests!  Nothing beats hearing that a trip has been memorable.The Reservations Office is an interface with the client and we work as a team so that guests can experience the magic of all of our properties. All our properties have a “wow” factor but the Reservations Team add a little extra something by getting guests excited for their stay before they arrive. Tell us about your team? I head up the Reservations Department and am supported by a committed team of three.  My colleagues and I work closely with each property to make sure that there is full communication.  Name someone who has mentored you during your career? I will never forget George Ngwenya. He was my MD at the time, and he had complete faith in me. I was made the youngest branch manager ever within the group and his quiet, diplomatic way of going about business has always stuck with me. He earned respect by his conduct not  because of his position and was always being open to discussion. He was an astute businessman and very much liked and respected in the industry. Tell us about the ongoing training and skills development you receive from Morukuru?Morukuru Family has ongoingHR, self-awareness and management training. As a business Morukuru invests in their people which allows for growth. Have you had an amusing question from a guest? Someone asked if they would get a refund if it rained! We work very hard at creating magical holidays but unfortunately we can’t control the weather! Which of the Morukuru Properties is your personal favourite and why? This is a difficult question as I am definitely more of a water person and love the sound of the ocean but I am loving spending time in the bush.  So, I would have to say our Morukuru Family properties in Madikwe. Your job can be pressurised at times...do you have any coping techniques? I work late into the night to keep up with the workload.  My poor husband is my sounding board when my day has been challenging. I’m trying to develop a better work/life balance with stronger boundaries. But this is very much work in progress. Maybe 2019 is the year I get this right! Travel and tourism are your passions. What have been some of you favourite destinations?Ireland, Namibia and most definitely our recent 4x4 safari to Botswana – what could be better than waking up to over 400 buffaloes surrounding your tent or having an elephant walk up to within 8m of where you are sitting! What are your top three priority destinations to get to? 4x4 safari trip to Zambia – I believe it is amazing! Italy and Gorilla trekking with my sister (have to win the Lottery first!)