By Daniel Juma – Rubondo Island Camp Manager
Rubondo Island is home to the iconic Rubondo Island Camp Made for those seeking the thrill of adventure in a truly wild area, all but untouched by man. The camp – the only lodgings on this verdant island – immerses you in this lush and unspoiled ecosystem.
It’s not only the untouched wild habitat and supreme activities that makes Rubondo special, the people who help make the camp feel like a home-away-from-home are some of the best and welcome you to Rubondo like family. In this blog post, we would love for you to get to know Daniel, Rubondo’s Manager, he really is an exceptional man!
Meet Daniel Juma
My secret to success is constancy of purpose. I do what I love and do it often, if I don’t like something, I change it. My life is very simple, I open my mind, arms and hearts to new things and people. In Asilia, we are united with one goal , “making sure our guests leave us with a happy heart.”This is always my driving force for trying to do my best. I started my journey as a Bodaboda (carrying people on a bicycle) to becoming a porter (climbing Mt Kilimanjaro with 25 kg luggage), then to a waiter, moving up to become an Assistant F&B Manager, then the F&B Manager and now I proudly can say that I am the Camp Manager for Rubondo Island Camp.
Many philosophers have made the statement that a man is the master of his own earthly destiny, because we have the power to influence our own subconscious mind. This is the power I’m using to climb the ladder of my career.
What Is The First Thing You Do When You Wake Up?
I wake up at 4.30am to practice transcendental meditation – this helps to clear my mind. I take 20-minute sessions a day and focuses on breathing and repeating a mantra in my head. Then I do some exercises, read a few Bible verses, and review my tasks for the day before making coffee. This ritual makes my days more manageable and effective.
How Do You Prepare For The Day?
At 6.00am, I am in the office, checking all departments and especially housekeeping, the restaurant and the main kitchen. I make sure that everyone has woken up and they are in good spirits. Then we do our wake up call for guests. We then start preparing for breakfast.
At 6.30am I reads newspapers, blogs and twitter for 15 minutes, this helps me to get the latest headlines and what exactly is going on around the world. This helps when we have guests that visit us from all everywhere! At 6.50am we have a small briefing with the head chef on the lunch and dinner menu for the day so he knows what to prepare.
What Does Your Usual Day On Rubondo Island Look Like?
On a daily basis, my responsibilities rotate from rooms, restaurant, main kitchen and back of the house inspections. Guest hosting and attending to their needs, planning guest activities, solving small conflicts, chairing morning briefings, responding to emails, checking upcoming bookings and following up on maintenance activities.
What Is Your Most Exciting Part Of Your Job?
The most exciting thing about being camp manager is meeting people from difference backgrounds, cultures, and beliefs and sharing ideas together. The defining moment in my life was when I hosted Bill Clinton in Ngorongoro Sopa and Saudi Arabian princess in Rubondo Island Camp.
Just trying to deal with the security logistics of Former America president – Bill Clinton was an art in itself, it was like an action movie! Hosting the Saudi Arabian Princess and joining them for luncheon and shared with them Asilia Africa’s values, it was the best moment of my life.
What Makes Rubondo Different To Other Safari Camps?
There is a big difference between the ecosystem of Rubondo National park and other national parks in Tanzania. In simple terms, Rubondo is paradise- it is characterized with good beaches, a forest with tall trees, thousands of birds, big animals like Elephants, Hippos, Giraffes, Crocodiles and even our famous Chimps!
We have many differences tribes with unique economic activities around Rubondo Island. As the Manager, Rubondo Island Camp is a unique place to work, the environment will force a manager to read more so that you can have a lot to share with guests during meals and sundowners!
What Do You Love About Your Guests?
The thing I enjoy the about our guests is when they are checking out – and not in the way you may think! Almost all of our guests shed tears at this time, they don’t want to leave and some insist on staying you find guests walking along the beach crying that they do not want to go!
Any Advice For People Wanting To Visit Rubondo Island?
Rubondo is paradise, and good place to visit toward the end of your safari so that you can just relax on the beach with a cold white wine during the day and doing some game walking, seeing small things that you could not see while on the vehicle, and also be a part of Chimp Habituation Process.
Rubondo is also a good place to start your safari – getting actualized with the Tanzania climate and at the same time enjoying the game drives, game walking, chimp’s habituation and bird watching. More importantly Rubondo is a good place for the bird lovers and anyone who loves to fish!
Come And Stay At Rubondo Island Camp
Eight waterfront cottages make up Rubondo Island Camp, all built by hand, using traditional skills and local materials. The cottages are shaded by lush indigenous forest and all have en-suite bathrooms with hot running water and flushing toilets. You’ll want for nothing!