Say Hello Dolly at Simbambili

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Dolly Machavi has been an integral part of the team at Simbambili for over 17 years. She is one of our accomplished chefs with a passion for her job that is proven by the excellent dishes that she helps to create for our guests.

Starting Out


Dolly was born in the village of Seville, close to Simbambili, and spent her formative years in this rural setting. A strong aversion for city living, a love for the great outdoors and flair for cooking drove her in the direction of Thornybush Collection's Simbambili Game Lodge when it came time to look for employment.

Dolly started her career with us just as all great chefs should - in the scullery. It is a testament to her talents that she progressed quickly through the ranks of in-house training to join the chefs at their station after just 3 years.

Through the years her skills have been honed by the numerous additional cookery classes offered as part of Simbambili's ongoing staff training initiatives. Baking is her favourite kitchen task and she thrives on the positive comments she receives from guests about her delicious cakes and pastries.


Family Life

Her passion for cooking extends far beyond office hours and she spends most of her free time trying out new recipes for friends and family to enjoy too. Her next greatest love is her spiritual life, an aspect which she shares with her husband, Lazarus.

Lazarus is a game ranger at Simbambili and a part-time pastor. He runs the church services at Simbambili on religious holidays – catering to staff and guests alike.

Her sons, Decide and Michael are 23 and 13 years old respectively. Decide is employed as a boilermaker and Michael is currently a Grade 9 learner.


Memorable Moments

While assisting with preparations for one of our riverbed bush dinners, Dolly developed a strong sense of being watched. Upon turning around, her heart almost stopped at the sight of 2 lionesses approaching in the distance.

Without delay, Dolly alerted her manager about these uninvited guests. Everyone present was quickly ushered to safety and watched as the curious creatures approached. Thankfully, they were unimpressed by our chefs' efforts and left with little more than a cursory glance in the direction of the food stations. There's no accounting for some tastes…

Dolly does not hold the lionesses' bad manners against their species, but says she prefers elephants who are a lot more visible when they arrive for a sneak preview of dinner.


Join us at Simbambili

Dolly loves the relaxed family vibe at Simbambili and has never worked anywhere else. She is a peacemaker with a wonderful positive attitude that spreads to the other staff members.

Join Dolly and the team for dinner at Simbambili when you book a South African Safari at Thornybush Collection.

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Sunday, 23 September 2018