Meet Ian Beauchamp, CEO of MTH Lodge Holdings which leases Abelana Game Reserve from the Mashishimale community. Ian’s something of a legend in the Southern African tourism industry, having started his career in 1979 as a ranger at Sabi Sabi Private Game Reserve, later moving on to become Head Ranger at Mala Mala Game Reserve. When his time in the bush was done, Ian undertook several courses in business administration and marketing and rejoined Mala Mala as International Marketing Manager in 1985, travelling extensively promoting both Mala Mala and South Africa as a destination of choice, being promoted to Marketing Director shortly thereafter.
“This experience was invaluable,” says Ian. “It’s formed the foundation of a fabulous career and given me an amazing skill set that I am now able to bring to Abelana.”
After leaving Mala Mala, Ian joined the Southern Sun group as an International Marketing Manager with a focus on the golf market, eventually leaving in 1999 to take up a role running Motswari Private Game Reserve in the Timbavati. From Motswari he moved on to successfully relaunch Exeter Game Lodge and become CEO of the Inzalo Group, now better known as the Thornybush Collection. Passionate about pleasing people and nicknamed “Eagle Eyes” by his staff, Ian is now heading up the development of Abelana and the marketing of the property. It’s a project he is understandably excited about. “It’s a fantastic opportunity,” he says. “It’s not often you get to start something like this from ground zero and build it up, so it’s been amazing to be part of this journey and to introduce Abelana to a waiting world. I’m also privileged to be working alongside an amazing community in developing a sustainable and mutually beneficial relationship that will help to secure the future of the reserve and protect it for generations to come,” he adds.