Johan de Villiers
Johan is a lover of people, places, and experiences which is why Silvan Safari is the ideal venue for him to bring his passion for all three together. He spent the past 15 years mastering his sea legs on cruise ships around the world but, in all honesty, he thinks nothing beats the majesty of the bush. Johan is thrilled to join us as our Lodge Manager and have a hand in helping others craft and create everlasting memories at Silvan. You'll find him enjoying good food and chatting with guests around the campfire, a glass of wine in hand.
Accolade is Kruger born-and-raised and comes from a small village just outside of Sabi Sand. Safari has always been a part of her life with both her parents having worked at lodges in the area for over 20 years. A flair for knowledge saw Accolade pursuing a BA in Communications and Media. After she graduated, Accolade interned with SANParks for a year and worked in the marketing department at The Good Work Foundation, one of Silvan's partners. Accolade is a testament to how the power of pure will can see you overcoming hardship to emerge victorious. Her passion for people has seen her find a true calling as the Silvan Safari team's General Assistant.
Murray calls the bush home because of its tranquillity and unexpected nature. One of his favourite parts of being a ranger is never knowing when he'll turn the corner on a dirt road and come across something truly breathtaking. Murray's favourite animal to see is the leopard which he loves for its beauty, stealth, and elusive nature - making every sighting really special. He once came across a herd of elephants while driving through Sabi Sand and a young brave male decided to charge the vehicle. The little guy misjudged the size of his opponent and all that could be seen of him from Murray's vantage point were the tips of his ears! Needless to say, the elephant quickly scuttled back to his mom and hid behind her legs.
Sipps, as he's known around camp, has grown up in game reserves his whole life and feels an intrinsic connection to the African bush and its wildlife. As one of Silvan's most experienced guides, his head is full of fascinating tidbits and thoughts about the wild - all of which he is always eager to share. Sipps loves sharing his knowledge about nature, people, and Africa, so much so that in his spare time he is heavily involved in conservation missions and programs which educate children and communities about the importance of protecting our wildlife and wildlands. Sipps wants to use his position as a guide to spread the essence of nature and is thrilled that Silvan's vision, direction, and dynamism will allow him to do just that. He can't wait to maximise his guests' experience and connect their soul with the energy of nature as Sipps firmly believes a person in the bush is not only alive, they are awakened.
King's entire family is in the safari game, from his parents to his brothers - one of which, Diff, also works at Silvan! It's really no surprise that he ended up in the wild, too. King loves every part about his job, from the early morning game drives and sunset strolls through Sabi Sand to the thrilling animal encounters he has experienced from his tracking seat at the front of Silvan's safari vehicles. These include having his shoes sniffed by a lion and having a passing elephant touch him with his trunk.
If you spot a tall, young man with an eagle eye like no other around camp, it's likely Knowledge Chovede. Born in Dixie, a small town near Nelspruit, Knowledge studied at Moholoholo Wildlife Rehabilitation Centre, cut his teeth in various parts of Kruger, and we're thrilled to have him now join the Silvan family. He'll be the chap on the front end of your safari vehicle making sure you go home with plenty of wildlife encounters to speak of.
One of the great characters of Silvan, his booming laugh and infectious smile will have everyone in stitchers. James comes from a family whose roots are embedded in the Sabi Sand region with various members of his family having worked or currently working in the industry. He has a passion for animals and an ability to find the hidden tales of the bush like no other. Having worked as a tracker for over 10 years, his experience is paramount and an asset to the safari experience.
Phindile's eye for detail and extensive wine knowledge make her the perfect match for Silvan Safari. Her wine arm is always heavy - literally, and she's been known for pouring a vintage 2010 three litre bottle of Nederberg Cabernet Sauvignon into expectant glasses around the dinner table. Phindile is also a dab hand at cocktails - definitely ask her to make you her signature pina colada!
Sylvester's love of the hospitality industry was inspired by his mixology skills and having his enticing cocktails loved by friends and guests alike. His personal favourites include a Margarita, Negroni, Tequila Sunrise, and Cosmopolitan - all go perfectly well with a Silvan sunset! Be sure to ask Sylvester about some of his most exciting sightings while he's behind the bar - rumour has it he once saw two lions take on a male buffalo (and it didn't end so well for one of the lions).
The gym bunny at Silvan has to be Xolisa whose time spent sculpting his physique has made him quite the looker around camp. Fondly known as 'X', Xolisa was born in the coastal port city of Port Elizabeth and he has been in the safari industry for over a decade. His favourite pastimes include spending time with family, watching movies, and making new friends, but, above all, he's thrilled to be spending time in the bush again and joins the Silvan team as a Butler.
Group Executive Chef
Lori-Ann is the mastermind behind Silvan's Food Experience, creating a gastronomic extravaganza which awakens the palate and tickles the taste buds. Lori attributes her culinary flair to her mom and grandmother who were both fabulous cooks. Coming from a large family, the dining room table was one of the only places where everyone came together and this is what food does for Lori: it brings people together again and again. Some of her favourite pastimes include stargazing, toasting marshmallows, listening to hyena cackling at night and drinking Silvan Brew around the fire pit. When not wowing guests with her phenomenal menu, Lori enjoys spotting giraffe and honey badger on safari.
Senior Chef de Partie
Taryne brings her own fresh take on Silvan's Food Experience thanks to her love of playing with flavours, ingredients, and molecular gastronomy. She's also a huge fan of baking cakes and is a perfect match for our Head Chef, Odette, as they both share a love of curing and smoking food. Taryne is one of the many Silvan family members who has run into our resident leopard around camp - but this particular time Tiyani had her cub in tow. Taryne's favourite moment in the bush so far saw her setting up a bush dinner with rhinos quietly grazing nearby.
Known as KG around camp, Khomotso is famous for more than just his cooking. His famous wiggle has led to KG being the favourite welcoming member among guests, so be prepared to be greeted with a song and dance! KG's favourite animal in Kruger is the furtive wild dog and his biggest dream in life is to make his mamma proud.
Health and Skincare Professional
Thembeka's history is as colourful and varied as her sparkling personality, with her story starting in a small village called Elandskop in KwaZulu-Natal where she was raised by her mother and grandparents. After school, Thembeka studied Electrical Engineering before discovering her passion for Somatology, It's no small surprise that Thembeka has ended up at Silvan Safari, as her 7-year career has always seen her work in game reserves. And just what about Silvan piqued Thembeka's interest, you ask? "Silvan stole my heart with its unique safari experience", she said.
Taking care of guests comes as naturally to Carol as looking after her own daughter does. Carol is also the guardian of her sister's three children and loves the constant laughter and cheerful chaos which roams about her house as a veritable mom-of-four. Hailing from Hazyview, the gateway town to Kruger and all its riches, safari has always been a way of life for Carol and she is thrilled to call Silvan and Sabi Sand her second home.
Constance, known affectionately as Connie, took her name to heart and has been a constant presence on the luxury safari hospitality scene for over two decades! She spent a whopping 19 years learning all she could at some of the top lodges in the region before finally joining us at Silvan. Connie has two sons and a daughter who, incidentally, is also part of the Silvan family making our Housekeeping division a true family affair.
One of the youngest members of our Housekeeping team is Tiyani who finished high school at the end of 2015. Although she doesn't have any experience and Silvan Safari is her first job, Tiyani grew up in the surrounding area and we couldn't be more thrilled to have her form part of our growing family. Fun fact: Tiyani shares her name with Silvan's resident leopard.
At Silvan Safari it's truly a family affair and nowhere is that more evident than with Happiness. Spreading cheer wherever she goes, Happiness joins her mom, Connie, as part of our Housekeeping team. This mom-of-two first began working in the safari industry in 2012 and has since perfected the art of sprinkling laughter around Silvan's suites.
Bringing stories of animal sightings and lodge happenings with her wherever she goes, Excitement first began her career studying hospitality through The Good Work Foundation in 2015, an initiative very close to Silvan's heart. After that, she spent three months in training at a renowned lodge in Kruger and her arrival at Silvan marks her first time in the Housekeeping division. Back at home, Excitement has a little girl who shares her mom's enthusiasm for life.
This is Amilia's first time in the bush and she couldn't be more excited. Coming all the way from East London and, more recently, Cape Town (where she worked at the top boutique hotel in the city, MannaBay), Amilia joins our team as Silvan's staff cook. One of her favourite pastimes includes chasing baboons away from food in the staff village while her favourite animal to see is the elephant.
The most stylish man around camp award has to go to Elly who is known to wear a snazzy, full-length white suit from time to time. He loves keeping busy especially when it involves playing soccer and dancing to music. His favourite animals to spot in Sabi Sand are buffaloes - especially the old dagger boys.
Beinah is a livewire if there ever was one and at just 20 years old, she is Silvan's youngest family member and joins Lori and Odette in the kitchen. She likes to spend her time playing sport and enjoying the outdoors with her family - which include her adorable twin boys. Since joining the Silvan family she has decided that her favourite animal is the elephant.
Innocent's love of landscaping saw him caringly restore the fever trees at Silvan and rehabilitate other flora surrounding camp after its construction. His green thumb has gotten him into a few sticky situations, having twice run into Silvan's resident leopard, Tiyani, as she roamed the lodge's grounds. Innocent may look like the serious type, but the only thing he's serious about is his garden and his strong skillsets now see him join Silvan as part of our maintenance team. More recently, Innocent added another job title to his resume: 'Dad'.
Miklaas is as industrious as they come, a superb quality for anyone on our Maintenance team. Born and raised in Lilydale just outside of Sabi Sand, Miklaas has called himself a plumber, entrepreneur, engineer, and handyman to name a few. And after all that excitement? Miklaas is simply enjoying the stillness of the bush and the birds which wake him up every morning.
Lemogang has spent the past ten years working in different game reserves across South Africa and has special knowledge of Kruger, having been based here since 2012. His love of landscaping and finding solutions to problems are drawn from his inquisitive mind and admiration for the bush. A dab hand at tracking, Lemogang is able to identify all the animals who wander through camp from the tracks they leave behind in the earth.