A deep rumble reverberates through the early morning silence. The tiny dwarfed figure standing in the middle of these grey masses is in her element. One of the 3-ton pachyderms inspects her hand in search of a treat. Jabulani wants his ‘boskos’.

This is just an ordinary day in the ‘office’ for Relais & Châteaux Woman of The Year, Adine Roode. Not one to shy away from a bit of dust or dirt, she has her finger firmly on the pulse of everything related to Jabulani, the lodge, the elephants, and the first dedicated elephant orphanage in South Africa, HERD (Hoedspruit Elephant Rehabilitation and Development).

Growing up alongside a family whose conservation ethos, generosity and caring knows no bounds, Adine learned all she knows today from her mother, Lente Roode, who is the founder of HESC (Hoedspruit Endangered Species Center). Cutting her teeth in the field by bottle-feeding orphaned or injured elephants and rhinos, today she is the proud Owner and MD of Jabulani in South Africa’s Limpopo Province.

Adine Roode

On 18 November 2019 at the Relais & Châteaux annual congress held in London, Adine was awarded Woman of the Year through being one of the ‘women of heart and intellect, women of spirit and taste’ that the association honors with the esteemed trophy on an annual basis. This accolade is richly deserved by Adine for her years of dedication to saving vulnerable wildlife species, for her excellence and authenticity in the creation of her lodge in South Africa and for her resolute effort to empower, uplift and make the world a better
place through travel and hospitality.

Adine with the elephants

Sharing the stage with Relais & Châteaux International Director of Member Services, Julia Geffers, along with the Director of Africa Indian Ocean Delegation, Annie-Claude Bergonzoli, Adine had the following to say when asked by Julia how her passion for animals, and especially elephants started.

Adena with baby elephants

“The love of wildlife has been in my blood since I was a young girl. My happiest and earliest memories come from family holidays in the Kruger National Park and time spent at my father’s own reserve, the Kapama Private Game Reserve, where he put me to work in ways that inevitably fostered and deepened the bond I have with wild animals today. These early experiences molded me and showed me a world that I wanted to be part of for the rest of my life: the world of conservation.”