Four Seasons Safari Lodge Serengeti
- Central Serengeti, Serengeti National Park, P.O. Box 14321, Arusha, Tanzania
Four Seasons Tenure
- Since 2018
- First Four Seasons Assignment: Current
- One & Only Resort Nyungwe House, Rwanda; CMH Adamants Lodge, Canada; Oliver's Camp, Tarangire National Park, Tanzania; Chada Camp, Katavi National Park, Tanzania; Abercrombie & Kent, Botswana; Tubu Tree Camp, Botswana; Barra Resorts, Mozambique.
- Alberta, Canada
- Diploma in Conservation, Stonebridge, UK
It might not be obvious at first why someone who grew up in Canada with a passion for playing basketball finally feels like he has arrived home in the role as General Manager at Four Seasons Safari Lodge Serengeti. Yet, for Justin Stevens, that is exactly the case. “As a child, I was a huge fan of ice hockey, but perhaps because of my height, it was basketball that I ended up playing more. Through sport, I became involved in setting up events. The excitement and the challenges of the logistics coupled with the people I was able to meet was so enticing to me and it was this energy that steered me to embark on a career in hospitality.”
Bartending in pubs and nightclubs in Canada is how it first began for Stevens, before he worked his way up to operations and promotions manager. Initially, this role was a perfect match for his thirst for social interaction and vibrant operations, up until the travel bug took hold. “I’ve always been curious to learn and to try new things and I think this is ultimately what first led to my desire to travel. So when I had the chance to take on the position of art auctioneer with an international cruise ship company, I couldn’t wait to start.”
After a year at sea, a defining moment in Stevens’ career was on the horizon; the arrival to Africa and a connection that would see him spend the best part of ten years exploring and working in arguably the world’s most captivating continent. “I am truly blessed to have worked in some incredible locations. From looking out through the treetops in Botswana to trekking with chimpanzees in Rwanda, there is no place that compares to Africa.”
First finding his feet in the safari world in Botswana, Stevens’ career led him on to roles in several different regions of Tanzania, Botswana and Rwanda. His ten-year stint was punctuated only by a 12-month spell back home in Canada in 2016. He returned his native home to run a heli ski resort, before realising the pull of Africa was too strong, and by July 2017, he had taken up the position of managing One & Only Resort Nyungwe House, Rwanda.
And now, in his role with Four Seasons, Stevens feels his journey is becoming more complete. “As a Canadian, Four Seasons is a brand well-known to me and I have always held the company in high regard, especially when it comes to its focus on people development - to me, helping others grow is one of the most inspirational things anyone can be part of. Being able to combine working for this brand with a spectacular property and setting in Serengeti is a dream come true.”
Perhaps not surprisingly, one pastime Stevens has also developed over the years is wildlife photography. “The challenge is in trying to capture a story with a single image. Luckily, in Africa, there is no shortage of creative inspiration!”