Obey Mahlupeka, VIP concierge

A lot of the time when we travel, or we are on vacation, we seem to miss the small details – the welcoming smile, the hints, tips and genuine advice from someone who has lived at our preferred destination for most of their lives. Someone who would reveal to us all of the hidden places locals visit. Fortunately for you, when you come to visit us, you will meet Obey Mahlupeka, our VIP concierge. Obey is a long-time member of our team and also happens to be the person on our team with the biggest, most welcoming smile!

He welcomes you when you check-in, and will be the gentleman who arranges your 3rd party activities. Obey has a wealth of knowledge when it comes to the most popular activities at the Lodge, and the person you should see when considering visiting local watering holes and unique once-in-lifetime activities that will leave you changed.

Recently we had the opportunity to catch up with Obey, and this is what he had to say about life, happiness, and travel-related:

Tell us Obey, what do you do at Victoria Falls River Lodge and how long have you been doing it?

I work as a VIP concierge. Which means I am the guest relation officer who is there for customer retention and guest satisfaction. I am always on duty when visitors come and go, and it is highly unlikely that you would come for a visit without our meeting.

More so I put a hand in organising in-house activities and events which may have been presented on paper to take place at the Lodge such as in-house activities and special occasions, as well as, the children’s program.

I have been working at Victoria FallsRiver Lodge for the past four years now.

What inspired you to go into the travel and tourism industry?

I believe my love for adventure and nature placed me here. Besides that, my desire for showcasing what my beautiful country has and to offer to the world.  I believe tourism is a very flexible industry where you can learn about a lot of things, including the beauty of life, all of those reasons combined are why I considered tourism. 

What experiences do you have for working in your position?

I started working for the Hotel industry in 1997 at a lodge situated in the Eastern Highlands. In 2006 I moved to Mozambique where I worked for an island spa and five-star resort until 2013. After a lengthy stay in Mozambique, I journeyed back to my motherland Zimbabwe where I worked at yet another hotel. By November 2016, I had moved to Victoria Falls River Lodge where I am currently working with the same passion.

What do you like about working at Victoria Falls River Lodge?

I enjoy meeting different people every day, month, and year from different cultures. It certainly infuses a great deal of excitement in my work environment.

Every day I work at the Lodge I gain new experiences and a great understanding of the people around me, and how best to treat their needs which makes coming into work that much more exhilarating, because no two days are ever the same.

What are the values that drive you?

Self-respect, respect for others, and making sure our guests leave the establishment with a smile. I also value nature and wildlife itself. I am also someone who appreciates having a clear motive over what you are to achieve as a team, so you can say, I value that too.      

What are your top three favourite books?

I don’t have more than three books – The Holy Bible is at the centre of my heart. The others? Travel and Tourism Trends, and Wildlife Management.

What do you enjoy doing when you are not working?

I go fishing on the Zambezi River because it has brilliant sites for tiger fishing. I also enjoy taking a nature walk and spending time with my teammates.

What was a win that you had last week?

I would have to say the opening of the borders. After the Zimbabwean borders were closed due to Covid 19, we waited so long for them to open.

What did you want to grow up to be when you were younger?

I wanted to be a pilot.

What is something most people don’t know about you?

I don’t take things for granted when on duty even with all the experience that I have. I take myself as a person who has just started in this industry all the time. This attitude ensures that I do not overlook any of my duties.

Why, in your opinion, is The Victoria Falls a must-see?

Firstly, because it is one of the top five natural wonders of the world, secondly, how you see The Falls on television is very different as you see it in reality. The massive fall of water, the way the river Zambezi plummets over a cliff and into the metaphorical pot before flowing through a series of gorges are amazing. It truly is inexplicable you have to see it for yourself.

Who is someone you admire?

I will be very selfish if I point one person, Victoria Falls River Lodge management and staff, they are a 5-star team.

What are your tips to get the best safari experience?

Honestly, our guests need to book more than four nights, the first day you can spend part of it traveling, and you have the chance of doing either a river cruise or game drive on-site, then the following day the adventure starts. Remember, we have a spa, one you would not want to miss. We also have a lot of activities in Victoria Falls some take a full day, some half of your day, that part would depend on your tastes.

What clothing do you recommend guests to never go without?

I would recommend our guests bring with them their safari gear if they want to do a walking safari. Victoria Falls River Lodge is in a national park, so guests also have the option of going out on a game drive if they choose. In the summer season temperatures are above 30 degrees(celsius), so sunscreen will be great. I recommend very light dressing, a sun hat or cap, comfortable walking shoes and the camera is a must. Do not wary about the spray at the Falls that is part of the experience and the Lodge provides ponchos or Umbrellas if necessary. One the last thing, remember your sunglasses. 

Now that you have come to know what to expect, we can not wait for you to meet Obey in person, because if there is one thing we are sure of, it’s that you’ll come to enjoy his company as much as we do.