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Magic Maker Debbie Lawe – being the perfect Host

Meet Debbie Lawe one of our wonderful Morukuru Magic Makers and Host at Morukuru De Hoop. Being a host means you always have to be in a good mood and be the friendly, professional face of Morukuru - how do you keep in good spirits?  Seeing my guests happy and enjoying their holiday makes me happy; they are making memories that will hopefully last a lifetime. I’m also fortunate to live in such beautiful surroundings; it’s amazing what a walk on the beach can do when you need to clear your head. Morukuru is famous for service excellence - how do you anticipate guests needs?  Luckily, we have a Wishlist that is sent out to all our guests. This gives us a good indication of guests’ likes or dislikes.  Generally, our guests are in holiday mode when they arrive so as long as they have a drink in one hand and a fantastic meal on the table the beautiful surroundings do the rest. A great host pays attention to the little things - you almost need a sixth sense - is this something you were born with?  I wouldn’t say I was born with a sixth sense, but you learn very quickly to pay attention to the fine details, it will make your job easier at the end of the day. It’s the small things the guests remember long after they have left. In your opinion, what are the top three skills required to be an excellent host?   You need to be organised, able to think on your feet and a good problem solver.  If something is going to go wrong, it will happen at the most inconvenient moment, and you don’t want your guests to know that there was even a problem, to begin with.  Plus working with a supportive team also goes a long way in helping a lodge to run smoothly. Guests anticipate a “wow” experience – what are the must-do activities when staying in De Hoop Nature Reserve.   I think it depends on where your interests lie.  The kids love sandboarding and the marine walk.  I’ve had guests that have been on Big Five game drives in Madikwe and then come to stay with us in De Hoop and had a fantastic time on the Nature Drive and learned so much about the environment and animals here. There are also some great cycle and hiking routes you can take in the reserve if you want alone time. Sometimes things don’t go well - how do you handle these situations and stay motivated?      I feel honesty is the best policy.  If it’s something that could affect a guest’s stay, then rather be open about it. Then you can manage people’s expectations better. I’ve found people to be a lot more understanding when they are on holiday. What is your spirit animal? That’s a difficult one, I’m not really drawn to any animal, but my favourite is the spotted hyena. They are very under-estimated and are so much more than just a scavenger. They have incredible stamina and are highly successful hunters. Plus the females rule the roost! You have worked both at Morukuru Madikwe and now in De Hoop – tell us about what makes each one so special and do you have a favourite? Bush or Sea?  I grew up in Durban so the ocean will always have a special place in my heart. But I do love the bush.  I like seeing how it changes throughout the year and the possibility of what you could see on a game drive. Plus, there is nothing better than falling asleep to the sounds of hyena calling or lion’s roaring. You are part of a great team at Morukuru - who is your mentor, and what new skills are you hoping to develop this year?  I would say my fellow host Kayleigh is my mentor. Morukuru Beach Lodge operates very differently to our sister lodge in Madikwe, and she has taught me a lot in my short time here.
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