10 Inspiring Life Lessons from GWF CEO, Kate Groch

We introduced you to the inspiring work of the Good Work Foundation,  a registered NGO that has been working with grassroots education in Africa since 2003, together with the Londolozi Private Game Reserve in South Africa, in our blog, The Art of Giving. And Giving Well.

In celebration of Women’s Month in South Africa this August, we bring you 10 life lessons from a woman who inspires us constantly, GWF CEO, Kate Groch, in a letter addressed to the youth of today.

Dear Youth,

When asked to write a letter to you my first thoughts were:

WOW you are living in the most interesting time. It is a time of huge change, creativity, connectedness but also uncertainty. So what can I possible say to you? I definitely did not live in times that changed as fast as they do now. We don’t know how the future will unfold so how do you make sure you are ready for the challenge?

So I won’t tell you what to do, you need to decide that for yourself. I decided to share some things I have learnt. You can put your life experiences and context to these lessons but I know they are as relevant today as they were the day I learnt them.

1. Always ask questions. It will be how you change things. Never be afraid to challenge the status quo, it is your right and responsibility to do so. Find out what is going on. And don’t stand by if you discover things that are unfair or unjust.

2. You will succeed if you love what you do. Take time to understand who you are. Know yourself and do what you love. Decide how you want to make your mark in the world. No one has left a lasting and positive mark on the world doing something they did not love.

3. Everything is possible. Don’t be afraid of a challenge. My favourite book, The Alchemist, by Paulo Coelho sums it up perfectly: If your path is true, the universe will conspire to assist you. Find your Dream, your Path, your Passion and you can make it happen.

4. Remember it is always wonderful to come home. Travel lots and adventure often but remember where you come from. Be grateful for the lessons you have lived so far. And honour your family, culture and lessons learned.

5. I am sure that hard work does not kill you. Good things require hard work. And sometimes it is just too important not to! Never be afraid of hard work. It will be noticed and it will be recognised. Your future is yours to create – no one will hand it to you.

6. You have to take opportunities that come past and you must never be afraid to take a risk. Some choices are scary and you will make mistakes. Don’t let opportunities pass you by. And don’t be afraid. Decide what you need to do and commit to it. Be Courageous always.

7. Riches are definitely not always measured in dollars. It is tempting to define your wealth by money in the bank. While that is nice to have know that your wealth is in your family and in your friends who support you. Wealth is the experiences you have and in the service you give to others.

8. Always keep learning. The world is changing so quickly. Don’t let yourself be left behind. Learn new things and challenge yourself to keep studying. Learn to code, learn to cook… learn, learn, learn.

9. You have much to give to the rest of the world. Don’t be afraid to share it. Maya Angelou said: “If your learn, teach, if you get, then give!” Share what you know and what you have.

10. It is meant to be fun – enjoy what you do, laugh with your family and friends and do not take yourself seriously.

I believe that the young people of today will make amazing things happen. Good luck as you travel your journey. I look forward to seeing all you achieve!

And I will leave you with one of my favourite quotes by Neil Gaiman:

“Now go, and make interesting mistakes, make amazing mistakes, make glorious and fantastic mistakes. Break rules. Leave the world more interesting for you being here.”


Great Things Are Done When Men & Mountains (& Deserts) Meet

Relais Rides For Rhinos – Mission Accomplished

Congrats to the rugged riders of this year’s Challenge4ACause expedition through the Damaraland Desert of Namibia.

We had no doubt that our own Relais & Châteaux Africa representatives would finish, but for them to still be smiling at the finish line… how inspiring you truly are! Congratulations to Shan Varty and Anthea Boehmke (Londolozi), Paul Harris and Nicola Harris (Ellerman House), Julia Geffers (Relais & Châteaux Paris), and Hidehiro Kubo (Relais & Châteaux Japan).

What this accomplishment shows is the ability of individuals to come together to affect change, to do good, and to inspire others. From this challenge, funds raised will go toward several community and conservation projects in Africa, including those supported by our own Relais & Châteaux Africa properties.

Read Rhino Africa’s blog about the event with many more great photos.

“Finally settled back after the ride. I’m thrilled to say Paul and I were the oldest to have ridden in the 10 years, to cross the finish line. Relais did themselves proud, with our Relais jerseys, Paul and Nicola Harris riding for Ellerman House, Hidehiro from Japan who was remarkable, and Anthea and I riding for Londolozi, who soon became known as Thelma and Louise. It was truly epic!” – Shan Varty

A Tale of Two Cities | Cape Town & Johannesburg

“You take delight not in a city’s seven or seventy wonders, but in the answer it gives to a question of yours.” ― Italo Calvino, Invisible Cities

There is something sublime about being anonymous in a foreign city, about being a stranger to the streets, smells and sounds at each turn. But I have also seen a look of something a little less like awe, and a little more like terror, in the eyes of out-of-towners. When they find themselves on an unfamiliar street corner as the sun begins to set, for instance, and as rain starts to fall and their maps make less and less sense. I have looked upon my own crumpled map and uncharged cellphone with a similar gaze.

Fear and uncertainty can do wonderful things to us, though. Perhaps it is even them to credit for the love-struck look of city-travellers dizzily gazing skyward at all the sights (when the light of day still shines over them and rain has yet to taunt). A little nervousness fizzles the mind and lets us see more, take in more and feel more. (A lot of it though… well, it should make for a good tale.)

“What strange phenomena we find in a great city, all we need do is stroll about with our eyes open.” ― Charles Baudelaire

For the health of the nervous among us, I’ve deleted the last line of this quote. And even though I know they might quickly peruse the internet’s all-knowing matrix for it, why not throw caution to the wind? Why not surrender to that feeling of uncertainty and surprise, that feeling that strikes like young love?

Cities like Cape Town and Johannesburg never lose the element of surprise. The seasons change their appearance and habits, with summer in Jozi boasting scenes of fierce lightning while down south in Cape Town the sun bakes the city into a sweet souffle; winter in Joburg is the sunniest time of the year while Cape Town awaits the soft touch of snow fall on its mountain peaks.

New generations add their own changes to the character of their cities. They alter the faces you meet, the fashion on the street, the tastes and trends in bar and restaurant. Even return travellers find themselves seeing it all as though for the first time.

The beauty of cities also lies in their inability to hide the truth. Stroll the alleyways and drive the highways of the Mother City and the City of Gold and you find not merely the finery, the dazzle and the cool, but also the commonplace, the gritty and not so pretty.

But as Nelson Algren wrote of Chicago…

“Once you’ve come to be part of this particular patch, you’ll never love another. Like loving a woman with a broken nose, you may well find lovelier lovelies. But never a lovely so real.”

It is in seeing the whole picture, that you fall in love with the real thing, that the tales of the cities and the cities themselves become part of you, part of your own tale.

“By its nature, the metropolis provides what otherwise could be given only by travelling; namely, the strange.” ― Jane Jacobs

And all you need do is step outside… of your comfort zone and your hotel, such as Johannesburg’s AtholPlace Hotel & Villa, and Cape Town’s Ellerman House and The Cellars-Hohenort. Here are a few of the sights that await.

You never know where you might come across art in the bustling metropolis of Johannesburg. Here we found some beautiful local art canvassed on a building across from Agog Rooftop Bar in Maboneng. #Johannesburg #LocalArt


Meet the friendly locals when exploring Maboneng and Newton in Johannesburg. Explore SA’s World of Beer or sip on locally brewed coffee while taking in the sights. This all while being shown around by a true local, who has grown up in these vibrant neighborhoods. #Johannesburg #Sightseeing #CityLife #JoburgCulture

The beautiful stained glass at Regina Mundi Church in Soweto. Just another good reason to visit Joburg and explore this diverse and cultural city. #Johannesburg #Soweto #Culture

Get to know Johannesburg. This bustling city is full of exciting activities and has a rich history. A guided city tour is a must when staying at AtholPlace. #AtholPlace #Johannesburg

Experience Museum Night in Cape Town, where you can explore museums in the city centre in a new light, after dark. Free admission.

“Climb the mountains and get their good tidings. Nature’s peace will flow into you as sunshine flows into trees. The winds will blow their own freshness into you, and the storms their energy, while cares will drop away from you like the leaves of Autumn.” – John Muir.

The views from Wally’s Cave on Lion’s Head are worth waking up early for – what a wonderful start to a day in Cape Town!

On our way back from an inspiring visit to Robben Island.
#humanrightsday #inspirational #robbenislandmuseum

Explore the gardens of #TheCellarsHohenort and discover the second oldest camphor trees in South Africa.