Operations Manager And Office Manager (Lilongwe Malawi)
Central African Wilderness Safaris is looking for a suitably qualified couple who between them can handle the dual roles of operations manager and specialist travel consultant/ office manager. Our requirements are very specific and we hope that the following description will give you the information you need to decide if this might be the job for you. Note that our first choice is always to find staff from within Malawi so this is going out both locally and internationally. Please read this carefully.
Who are we?
Central African Wilderness Safaris www. cawsmw. com was formed in 1987 and until last year was part of the well known Wilderness Safaris Group. In 2014, the owners, Chris and Pam Badger bought the Wilderness Safaris share in the business and are now sole owners. Since humble beginnings with one safari vehicle and 2 employees the company now operates 4 lodges with 130 beds, and has a fleet of mobile safari vehicles and a busy office in the capital Lilongwe. Growing the company, particularly in Malawi where the challenges presented by grinding poverty and a fast increasing population put huge pressure on protected areas has placed us at the very forefront of conservation in the country, striving to prove that well managed lodges and camps providing both employment, training, and being involved with any community and conservation schemes are the best means to conserve wild areas.
What does the Operations Manager do ?
At its simplest the operations manager is the link between the consultant who sells the trip and the lodges, drivers, guides etc who then make the trip happen. Working with a small team of drivers and guides the ops manager allocates the driver, sorts out the funds, checks up on all aspects of the itinerary and ensures that our high standards of customer service are maintained.
He /she is responsible for the vehicle fleet, hiring of the best staff, training where necessary and on taking decisions on issue such as vehicle purchase (when to hire, when to buy, when to subcontract etc) supply purchase, and stock control.
The operations manager is also in charge of setting and maintaining operational budgets and in improving and installing new systems where this is necessary. He/she is also in charge of purchasing of supplies for the lodges. The essential qualities needed are to have an orderly and discipline approach to getting the job done, a natural ability to motivate and get on with people, endless patience, ideally some basic technical know how on mechanical issues etc, reliability and most definitely a sense of humour and perspective.
The job would be based out of Lilongwe but with much travelling around the various camps and lodges.
What does the office manager/international consultant do ?
The main role will be as a travel consultant and this job would not be on offer to someone without a proven track record somewhere in this field and ideally within Africa. As well as booking our own properties we craft itineraries to a number of third party properties and trade partners. While to a certain degree the processes are electronic we are renowned in the marketplace for personal attention, and for putting real energy, thought, care and attention into our itineraries so we need someone who will read this statement and immediately nod their head in understanding!!! We also would not need to spell out the occasionally unforgiving nature of the business, and the need for very accurate and speedy answers
The successful applicant would also be required to run a small ( 3 to 4) team of consultants who already have quite specific roles within the company but would need monitoring, motivation and goals set by the applicant.
What is Malawi like ?
Apart from being our home it is a country with potential and challenges in equal measure-small, very beautiful and spectacularly diverse.
Often a concern for new arrivals-malaria is the major issue to be aware of-it is prevalent at Mvuu but is easily avoided by sensible precautions such as sleeping under a net, spraying, and is also easily diagnosed and treated here-we do get lots of practice!
So what’s the deal?
The successful couple if not from within Malawi would need to be given work permits and the company would apply for these. The process takes up to 4 months and while we have an almost 100% record in getting these the only honest description of this process is that it is unpredictable and we have had very occasional rejections from the Immigration Authorities. Candidates would need to have experience and qualifications not easily found locally for the application to be successful.
Where would we stay?
We would supply a modest but comfortable two bedroomed house in Lilongwe with lounge and a decent bathroom.
What would working hours and times be ?
Anyone familiar with our line of business will know that a day can be from 0500 am to midnight, could be a lot less but you would need to work whatever hours are necessary depending on level of business guest requirements. Generally it’s a 5 or 6 day week but we work according to demand.
US $2800 per month gross per person taxed at the prevailing rate of 30% for a nett per person amount of $1960. This would be paid in the local currency. Once a permit is approved you are allowed to remit 2/3 of this into a foreign bank account. House rental is also included and a vehicle.
Conclusion – Please read this section carefully!!
We know from experience that there are many great management couples out there with a love of the bush, a passion for their guests, a proven record of motivating and working well with a work force, an ability to be conscious of the bottom line etc. In searching for the ideal couple, please see how many of the following boxes you tick between you-some are specific to the one job, some to the other and some to both. Don’t panic if you do not tick all of them-this will not necessarily eliminate you from the process.
- Have you worked similar role before, most particularly looking after the needs to of high paying guests in the tourist business.
- Have you worked in a management role with people reporting to you ?
- Do you view this work as a career or a stepping stone to a career in the business ?
- Are you a conservationist. Do you share our vision ?
- What language(s) do you speak ?
- Are you naturally outgoing ? (You don’t need to be life and soul of the party but you shouldn’t be shy)
- Would you choose to spend your free time in the bush or in wild areas?
- Have you travelled outside of Africa ?
- Have you travelled inside of Africa ?
- Are you a trained field guide who loves guiding and learning ?
- Are you a trained and experienced travel consultant ?
- Are you practical ? Can you wire a plug ? Can you fix a spare wheel? Do you know anything about water pumps?
- Are you loyal, hard-working, organised and reliable ?
- Are you fun to be around? Is the glass half empty of half full?
- Are you in good shape?
- Are you calm under pressure ?
So whats’s the process now ?
If you are keen to hear more then you need to send full cvs and a covering letter, apply below.