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Liezl Clegg from Kilima Game Reserve and Spa gives some great insight into running a game reserve and spa.

Q. Please tell us about the history of Kilima Private Game Reserve and Spa. 

A. Section 15 of Farm Rubbervale, Gravelotte,  was bought in 2006 by Frans Schütte Sr and originally Kilima Game Lodge was built as a getaway destination for family and close friends. In 2017, a strategic decision was taken by Frans and Sareta to revamp and rebrand as Kilima Private Game Reserve and Spa. This transformation, together with the world-class hospitality services and consistent on-point marketing, enabled Kilima to reposition itself as the award-winning 5-star game reserve it is today.

Frans and Sareta Schütte

Q.Please tell us about the owners Frans and Sareta Schütte, and other properties owned by them.

 

A. Frans and Sareta Schütte’s passion for business is only surpassed by their love for their people. Their transcending family values are a fundamental cornerstone, not only for Kilima but for all the businesses in the Schütte Legacy: Integrity, Piety and Stewardship.

Their combined knowledge in different business sectors, such as hospitality, game breeding, agriculture, law, events, hunting, retail, fashion etc, has given them an inevitable edge when it comes to all sectors of strategic planning and execution. They are a power team, challenging and fortifying each other at every peak and valley. This flows directly through to the teams they employ to help manage the combined force of 29 businesses, 303 employees in total.

Some of these are family-managed companies, like Braemar Estate (Farmers and exporters of Macadamia Nuts and Braemar Nursery), managed by Rassie and Adele Luus (daughter). Cottondale Game Ranch is a brute force to be reckoned with, with Frans Jnr (son) at its steer. Cottondale is not only an influencer in the game breeding field, but has recently expanded into exporting wood and mixing high quality feeds and fodder, but also extensively invested in the Avo farming industry. Watch this space, GREAT things are yet to come for this young man.

Frans Schütte and Mathews Phosa Inc. have proved to be a heavyweight in the settlement of RAF Claims, fighting for those whose voices are drowning in injustice. It is here that Fran’s eldest daughter, Carissa is living out her passion and boldly stepping into her father’s footsteps.

Q. Please tell us about your chef and your plans for the restaurant.

A. We are very proud to introduce our two Springbok Chefs and Culinary Olympic Medallists, Executive Chef and Master Chef SA, season 2 guest judge, Chef Edward Clegg and charming Sous Chef Thabang Masango. Kilima’s restaurant, SEC XV opened their doors in March 2021, combining these two expert chefs’ skills, locally sourced produce and homegrown herbs and vegetables from our Farm to Fork Project.

Our plans for the near future is to rebuild the current restaurant structure to accommodate a more modern and sophisticated ambience, yet in harmony with indigenous nature and our colourful culinary influences.

The next step is to position SEC XV as a 5-star fine dining restaurant, worthy of food lovers worldwide. Internationally acclaimed ’Rockstar-chefs’, foodie-influencers, renowned vintners and selected media members will be invited to SEC XV’s official launch at the Kilima Journey Function which will be held in the twilight of 2021.

 

Kilima Private Game Reserve and Spa gate.

Q. You and Edward are married. Please tell us how you manage to run the lodge as a couple.

 A. Edward and I both have the same philosophy of work is work and home is home.  We are lucky that we are able to separate work from our private life.  We both share the same passion for the hospitality industry and respect each other’s positions.  Working together has made us understand each other and appreciate each other more than we have ever expected.  Having a great understanding of hospitality and each other’s strengths and weaknesses makes it easier to run a successful Lodge.

Ed and Liezl Clegg

Q. What was the original vision for Kilima Private Lodge, and how was this achieved?

As mentioned before, the original vision wasn’t only achieved but surpassed as we continuously set new goals and targets. Kilima’s dauntless expansion in terms of infrastructure is testimony to our slogan: Courage, above and beyond.

With each new challenge the tourism market revealed, Frans and Sareta sounded a resonant “Let’s do this!” and we dominated the collision head-on, at each stride.

Kukura Wellness Spa and SEC XV Restaurant is a bold addition to add value and offer an unforgettable experience at Kilima. We’re not going to spill all the beans yet, but Kilima Franschoek and other Kilima’s are fluffing their feathers and making an appearance in the near future…

 Q. What have you learned in hospitality, that you wish you knew five years ago?

We’ve learned that there is always room for improvement, always be an infinite student and when your work is your passion, you’ll be the host of indescribable joy!

We wish we’ve implemented Kukura Wellness Spa’s slogan “Reduce Toxic Footprint” throughout the entire lodge from the start, but we keep adapting and implementing sustainable practices as we evolve.

We realise that Covid-19 is just a dress rehearsal for the effects of global warming and near-future challenges and we need to drastically re-assess our market and operations.

Q. What is your approach to marketing?

Using multiple platforms to publish multi-media content, regularly. Creating high-quality marketing material and being consistent with our brand as Kilima Private Game Reserve and Spa but also as part of something bigger, the Schütte Legacy Group of Companies.

With Covid-19 and all the challenges it accompanies, we had to rethink our strategy and refocus on local rather than international clients. Hosting more events and shows to accommodate our local supporters is but one example.

Analysing our efforts and ROI on a monthly basis to assess what works and what doesn’t. And keeping our marketing fluid to adapt to the ever-changing tourism industry.

The restaurant