Willem du Toit
With more than 20 years of hands-on experience in the hospitality industry and with a deep love and respect for the African bush, Willem leads our team at Rhino Lodge with great expertise and passion. He has managed Rhino Lodge since 2019 and is devoted to skills transfer, so the team can reach their full potential of thriving in the industry. Willem started his career in the hospitality industry in 1999 as a river guide. Since then he specialized in catering and has trained local chefs in Sierra Leone, volunteered on an expedition ship and headed up kitchens in South Africa. In 2012 he transitioned into the safari industry, managing lodges in the Sabi Sands Private Game Reserve and in remote Odzala National Park. He moved back to South Africa for a while and focussed on kitchen design and equipment consulting, before joining the Selous Safari Company. When off duty you will find Willem river kayaking or mountain biking. He also enjoys spending quality time with family and close friends.
Kalimani Thabit Masumba
Since 2018 Kalimani has been a valuable part of the Rhino Lodge family. His roots with the Selous Safari Company go back to 1996. Kalimani is our assistant manager and he ensures all guests are well taken care of as well as assisting with the lodge’s administration. He is an all-rounder, jumping in to assist as needed. It is this ‘can do’ attitude that has made him excel in the company for so many years and has seen him work in various positions from housekeeping back in 1997, to waiter and barman duties and moving into administration and finally becoming the assistant manager at Rhino Lodge. Kalimani was raised and went to school in Dar es Salaam. He is married with three children who he adores and when he is not working, he loves spending time with them back home. What Kalimani loves most about his role at Rhino Lodge is continuing to learn new things every day. He also enjoys the natural environment and the omnipresence of wild animals at the lodge, which is a completely different experience to the coasts where he grew up.
Jackson Johanes Makutian
Reservations & Administration
Jackson is the head of our reception department, undertaking administrative tasks and hosting of guests. He has been a part of the Rhino Lodge family for nine years. A local lad, born in 1987 and grew up in a neighbouring village inside the Ngorongoro Conservation Area, close to Rhino Lodge. As a young boy he helped look after cattle, goats and sheep. On finishing school, he joined the College of African Wildlife in Mweka to complete his Diploma in Wildlife Tourism and was employed at Rhino Lodge. Jackson thrives on learning new skills and enjoys being part of the lodge team. He always does his utmost to give our guests an exceptional hospitality experience. Jackson enjoys living in harmony with the wildlife who visit the lodge. The number of animals traversing the lodge always surprises our guests. His spare time is quality time with his wife and two children. Following in his family heritage, he has both cattle and goats at home that he enjoys tending to.
Rachel has been a part of the Selous Safari Company reservations team since 2016. When SSC added Rhino Lodge to its portfolio in 2019, she was promoted to reservations and administration. After completing school, Rachel joined Njueni Institute of Hotel and Tourism Management and received a certificate in Tourism and Travel Operation. She then furthered her studies with a BA Business Administration from St Augustine University. Thereafter she joined a travel company for three years before continuing her studies to complete a postgraduate Diploma in Transport and Tourism Management from the National Institute of Transport. Rachel gained first hand experience at an internationally renowned Dar es Salaam groundhandler and was later promoted to the position of Reservations Supervisor. Not only is she driven and super-passionate about her work, she also loves spending time with her daughter, helping with her studies. She enjoys a good comedy movie and is an avid football enthusiast. Rachel loves to support her local sports club, YANGA, as she cheers them on from the sidelines when they play football matches.
Mwalimu Hassan Ali
Mwalimu was raised in Kimbiji, a local village just South of Dar Es Salaam. After completing his secondary education in Kigamboni in 1991, he was employed as a casual laborer with Selous Safari Company to help build the company’s first lodge, Ras Kutani. Once the camp opened in 1992, Mwalimu transitioned to kitchen porter. Taking a keen interest and showing culinary flair, he was promoted to assistant cook. A career highlight for Mwalimu was, when he was appointed Assistant Head Chef after receiving culinary training from visiting chefs from the UK, America and Kenya. Thereafter he underwent further culinary training from a specialist British chef and also completed Service Excellence training. He went on to become a valued member of the Siwandu team, leading the kitchen team there in the capacity of Head Chef. In 2022 he was promoted to Head Chef at Rhino Lodge, located in the Ngorongoro Conservation Area. When he’s not dazzling guests with his delicious range of buffet meals, he travels back home to spend time with his two children, family and friends.
John Lekipa Dorop
Waiter & Receptionist
John is our welcoming waiter and front office manager at Rhino Lodge. His responsibilities include making sure our guests are well taken care of for food and drinks. When not busy serving guests he also assists with day to day administration. John was born in 1994 and grew up in Misigiyo village, a small village located inside the Ngorongoro Conservation Area not far from Rhino Lodge. After he finished school, he studied tourism and hotel management at the Victoria Institute of Tourism and Hotel Management. On certification he was employed by Papas and Bungalows Restaurant in Mwanza where he spent three years as Head Chef and Restaurant Supervisor. In 2017 he joined the Rhino Lodge team and loves the connection with the wildlife that roams the lodge. He says this also makes Rhino Lodge guests very happy to see the game passing through. He is married with two children. When he is not attending to the needs of our guests he enjoys helping his family with tasks and assists with herding cattle. He is a valuable part of our team at Rhino Lodge and our guests all love his big friendly smile.
Philipo Gabriel Edward
Philipo was born in 1989 in Oloirobi village in the Ngorongoro Conservation area and was raised in this special maasai community. His journey at Rhino Lodge started back in 2012 when he was employed for the first time. With a keen interest to further his studies he took one year sabbatical leave to study wildlife management and law enforcement at a local college. With his new degree he returned to Rhino Lodge in 2015 as part of the front of house service team and takes care of our guests, helping out in the dining room and kitchen, as well as the rest of the lodge where needed. What he loves most about Rhino Lodge is how the team treats guests. When it is cold, there will be a cosy fire burning inside in the dining room or outside on the restaurant deck. The team also lights the wood burning stoves in guests’ rooms to keep them warm when they return from dinner. Philipo enjoys the wildlife often roaming around the lodge. Guests will often see elephants, buffalo, zebra, bushbuck and waterbuck. If you are lucky you may even spot an elusive leopard passing through quickly. Philipo is married with a son and two daughters. He misses his family when he is at work, but his children are always excited when he returns home after being away. During his free time and holidays he tends to his cattle, goats, sheep and spends time with his family. He also meets up with friends to exchange ideas about life. Philipo enjoys working at Rhino Lodge because he feels the management team puts in effort to really help each member of the team to grow and improve. He also mentioned the lodge manager has helped many of the employees to learn how to speak and write English during their time at Rhino Lodge.
Sokione has been part of the Rhino Lodge family for four years. Working his way up at Rhino Lodge, Sokione was recently promoted to become a waiter. Before this he was a security officer at Rhino Lodge. What Sokione loves most about working at Rhino Lodge is working alongside his fellow team members and being part of this community. He is an appreciative and positive team player who takes great pride in his work. By working at Rhino Lodge he is able to support his family back home. When he is not working he loves being active and enjoys a good game of football.
Noondilal Kileto Rokoine
Assistant Security Officer (‘Askari’)
Kileto has been with Rhino Lodge since the very beginning. Back in 2006 when Rhino Lodge was still under construction, Kileto was a social worker on site. In 2007 when the lodge first opened its doors to guests, Kileto was appointed as part of the security team. His main role at Rhino is to take care and make sure of our guests’ safety. This role means he needs to keep his ears and eyes open on the ground, especially towards the surrounding natural forest area below the lodge, keeping a close eye on what wildlife may be roaming in the area at any given time and ensuring the wildlife keeps a safe distance. This is what makes Rhino Lodge so unique and special with it being unfenced all the wildlife roaming freely in the area. It brings him lots of joy when working here as every day is different, especially as to what game may appear and come strolling through our grounds. Kileto was born in 1974 in Ngoile Village in the Ngorongoro Conservation Area. Many moons ago, before working at Rhino Lodge, Kileto was a social worker at the Ngorongoro Pastoral Council in Ndutu and worked at the Serengeti National Park as a security officer.
Ndawai Salum Divai
Assistant Head of Maintenance
Ndawai Divai joined the maintenance team in 1992 at Ras Kutani, one of SSC’s original beach properties. When Ras Kutani was repurposed in 2020, Ndawai joined the Rhino Lodge team. With almost 28 years of experience at SSC, he is game for all the challenges that involve maintenance, but he says the most challenging part of his job is working with live electricity. Ndavai has four children, three boys and one girl and he enjoys spending time with them at his farm in Dar es Salaam.