Who would choose a profession that is known for its long hours, weekends away from family and comes with its own stresses?
It takes someone with total dedication, to work in an industry that requires living far from family and working long hours. Hospitality Manager, Peter Bale, or PB as he is affectionately known, certainly has that dedication. In Peter’s words “working in this industry is hard but passion outweighs all the cons. Being passionate is being fully alive. It’s about experiencing emotions, feelings and enthusiasm in doing something that you love…so it does not feel like work anymore!”
Peter’s passion for the hospitality and safari industry was ignited at a very young age at Mashatu Game Reserve, of all places. Peter’s father was employed as a groundsman and as a child, Peter spent most of his holidays at Mashatu. PB remembers those days fondly. Some of the staff that looked out for him as a child still work at Mashatu today. These early days spent at the lodge influenced Peter’s career choice, as did his desire to please people and make them feel comfortable. Peter thrives on dealing with people of different cultures and the different expectations that come with that.
After completing his schooling, studying and working in the hospitality industry in Gaborone, Peter decided to follow his dream of working in the safari industry and moved to Duba Plains in the Okavango Delta in 2008. In 2012 he left to spend a year in the United States of America on a cultural exchange program working at Disneyland.
On his return to Botswana, it was time for him to return to his childhood land. In December 2013 he started as the Assistant Camp Manager at Mashatu Lodge. A few months later he was given the opportunity to be the Camp General Manager. Peter believes that “working in the hospitality industry is not a job, it’s a lifestyle” and it’s these qualities that led him to finally being offered his current position of Hospitality Manager of all the camps at Mashatu Game Reserve. His journey from a young boy playing in the staff village has come full circle, a testament to Peter’s motto in life, “The sky is the limit”.
Image & text by Janet Kleyn