Getting to know our ‘behind the scenes’ Timbavati bush gals

In what used to be a male-dominated conservation industry, now sees a shift and transformation into a neutral space where both sexes have an equal part to play in what some would call a rugged and rough environment.

Our latest blog introduces you to some of our ‘behind the scenes’ bush gals who are the ‘man-power’ in keeping operations in check when managing a private nature reserve.

Krystle Woodward - Chief Operations Officer

Krystle Woodward

Krystle grew up in Bedfordview and went to Holy Rosary School, she then later obtained her IATA UFTA Travel and Tourism Diploma and has been in the industry ever since. She has had the privilege of working at two very special lodges in the Timbavati before being employed by the Timbavati Private Nature Reserve (TPNR). She is now the Chief Operations Officer of the TPNR and who handles all the Human Resource management, membership relations, lodge relations, compliance, and almost anything that gets thrown her way.  Every day for her is different and a new opportunity to grow in her position.

Krystle is a mother of two handsome young boys, who most certainly keep her fit and healthy. Her boys, just like her, are both mad about the bush and all living creatures'. “We feel so privileged to give them this lifestyle which they are growing up in. I most certainly realized their degree of city awareness when Carter recently, stopped at the bottom of an escalator in the mall and did not know what to do as he had never seen such a thing in his life… #Bushkids, you have to love them!” – Krystle, 2020.

Pamela Matarise- Financial Officer

Pamela Matarise

Pamela grew up in a small cozy iron & steel mining town called Redcliff in the mists of Zimbabwe where she completed her schooling years. Pamela is the firstborn child into a family of five and is happily married with three gorgeous kids of her own, two boys and a girl.

Pamela is currently working as the Financial Officer for the TPNR and is responsible for financial capturing, processing, preparation of files to ensure adherence to financial requirements of the private reserve. She is also currently studying towards a Financial Management Degree which she hopes to complete in 2021. Her hobbies include hiking, reading and swimming (especially on one of our extreme Lowveld heated days!)

Ané Coetzee - Financial Manager

Ané Coetzee

Ané grew up in the once small town of Witbank (eMalahleni), having her life start in the concrete jungle. She matriculated from Hoër Tegniese Skool Middelburg in 2012; the same year that she met her bush-crazy husband. Luckily, she managed to escape the big city life shortly after finishing school and moved to the Lowveld. During this time she studied BCompt Management Accounting through Unisa while completing her SAIPA articles at a small accounting firm. After she got married in 2014, she lived in the charming and misty Sabie area for a couple of years. Thereafter she obtained her BCompt degree in 2016, and further enrolled for a BA in Environmental Management which she aims to complete in 2021.

Ané became a true bush lover after working within the Sabi Sand Wildtuin, where she and her hubby with their two fur children settled into true bush life. Ané joined the Timbavati family in 2019 as the Financial Manager and her husband joined shortly after in 2020 as the Conservation Officer. They both enjoy hiking and spending time in nature, far from the hustle and bustle of the city.

Q: What is your current designation here at the Timbavati?

Krystle: Chief Operations Officer

Pam: Financial Officer

Ané: Financial Manager

Q: How long have you been with the Timbavati reserve management team?

Krystle: 3 years

Pam: 4.5 years

Ané: 1 year & 3 months

Q: How long have you been involved in the ‘bush’ environment?

Krystle: 12 years

Pam: 4.5 years

Ané: 4 years

Q: What do you love most about your job?

Krystle: The Timbavati has a special place in my heart, the landscape, the people and the animals are just extraordinary. To be able to play a role in the conservation of this magical place is absolute soul food for me. I work closely with the staff and honestly, they are my extended family, each one of them is dedicated and passionate about their roles, the big smiles that I am greeted within the morning make my day. Every day is different and to be a part of the growth of TPNR is rewarding and I am beyond proud to hold my title for such a remarkable reserve.

Pam: I’m a numbers person. I love that my job is not monotonous and it keeps you thinking all the time

Ané: I love the dynamic environment we work in, and the challenges that go with it

Q: Growing up, what did you want to become?

Krystle: Funny enough, I actually wanted to be a marine biologist. I guess in a sense I followed my passion in terms of working around animals.

Pam: A Pilot

Ané: A writer, teacher, editor, archaeologist, pilot, baker…and finally discovered my love for accounting in high school

Krystle Woodward - Chief Operation Officer
Pamela Matarise - Financial Officer

Q: What is your favorite thing about being in the bush?

Krystle: The beauty of my surroundings

Pam: The peace and quiet, the natural veld just gives you a sense of satisfaction that is hard to explain.

Ané: Hiking with my husband and learning from him. Spending time in nature does wonders for the mind and soul.

Q: What is the one thing you are most scared of in the bush?

Krystle: Spiders …. I am totally arachnophobic


Ané: I have an irrational fear of frogs!

Ané Coetzee - Financial Manager

Q: Do you have a celebrity idol or crush, if yes then who?

Krystle: I’m a big Tracey Chapman fan, she is my idol, to me, her music is raw and real, she came out on top after many struggles in her life.

Pam: Yes, Michelle Obama

Ané: Not really.

Q: What is your favourite savory food and why?

Krystle: Pasta ….. you know why!

Pam: Steak, I’m generally a meat lover

Ané: Basically anything with cheese in it – because cheese just makes everything better!

Q: What is your favourite savory food and why?

Krystle: Pasta ….. you know why!

Pam: Steak, I’m generally a meat lover

Ané: Basically anything with cheese in it – because cheese just makes everything better!

Q: What is your favourite sweet food & why?

Krystle: A good old Flakey is just the best!

Pam: Chocolate, good chocolate speaks to my soul

Ané: I don’t really have a sweet tooth, but I love cheesecake! Well, because cheese and it is not too sweet!

Q: Beach or Bush holidays?

Krystle: Beach, but only because I live in the bush

Pam: Beach

Ané: A bit of both – a place like Cape Vidal is heaven on earth, with bush and coastal forests on the one side, and the ocean on the other.


Q: If you were to be dropped off in the middle of the bush and told to survive for one week, which of the 3 items would you choose from the list provided?

Binoculars, toothbrush, Leatherman, a blanket, a small pot, deodorant, cosmopolitan magazine, matches, rice, 10L of water, 5 slabs of chocolate, a box of panado pills, pillow, a hairbrush.

Krystle: Leatherman, small pot, and 10L of water… I would totally sneak the toothbrush and chocolate in too!

Pam: 10L of Water, matches, and toothbrush.

Ané: Water, a Leatherman, and some matches.

Q: If there were four items that you could not live without, what would they be?

Krystle: A camera phone, music, my running shoes, and yummy food

Pam: Phone, water, food, and shelter.

Ané: Notebook, stationery, a watch, and my Bible

Q: List one word that best describes your personality?

Krystle: Nurturing

Pam: Kind-hearted

Ané: Tenacious