Onneetse Mazunga, known as “One” by most, grew up in Lobatse, Botswana. Initially her dream was to become a teacher or nurse, however after completing her schooling she battled to find space in college or university. That was when her boyfriend encouraged her to try the tourism industry and the outcome of a fantastic eight-year journey that has seen her rise through the ranks to become the Kwedi Concession Manager for Wilderness Safaris.
One completed her Certificate in Tourism at the Botswana Wildlife Training Institute. The six month course covers a number of topics in all tourism departments. She completed her internship at a local game lodge in 2002, which allowed her to gain experience both in the back and front of house departments and a subsequent permanent position as a receptionist.
During a leave rotation, One travelled to Mombo Camp to visit her then boyfriend, Alex Mazunga, who was working there as a guide. While he was with guests or on game drive One didn’t waste any time sitting around and found herself helping where she could, including in the kitchen and front of house. The managers noticed her potential instantly and offered her a job. She returned to her lodge to serve out her notice and then began working at Mombo in 2005 as a hostess. This entailed looking after the front of house and hosting guests.
In 2005, One married Alex and they had a child. On her return from maternity leave, she went for Localised Management Training which she passed and qualified within six months. This enabled her to broaden her knowledge base and during the next few years she worked in housekeeping, guest relations, front of house and as a relief administrator manager. She also convinced her husband to enrol in management training, which opened up a whole new world for them as a couple. Their skills and competence were realised quickly and they moved to Kings Pool Camp.
Having worked as Acting General Managers at Kings Pool Camp, the couple then took over the General Manager (GM) position at Little Vumbura for a short time where they concentrated on up-skilling the staff to higher standards, even focusing on English language skills. After a brief interlude at another safari company, they returned to Kings Pool as GMs for a further two years.
In 2013, One was offered a position at Vumbura as the Kwedi Concession Manager. This offer took her by surprise although the senior management in Maun believed she was the right person for the job. This brings us to her current position based at Vumbura Plains where she supports the GMs of three camps by ensuring standards are maintained across a broad spectrum and that Wilderness Safaris’ overall guest experience is adhered to.
One believes she is extremely lucky to be where she is, although we recognise that it is her hard work and dedication that has served her so well. She says, “I often look back and wonder how I did this. Everything happened so quickly. My intention is to show my colleagues that the Wilderness Way arises from caring for others, hard work, following company policies and enjoying your work environment. The company cares for its staff, its communities as well as the surrounding wildlife and I feel I can stand tall and talk with pride about Wilderness Safaris to the world.”