I grew up on the family farm, De Oude Kraal Country Estate 40 km south of Bloemfontein.
My parents started the Guest House/ Restaurant on the farm in 1991, since I can remember our family has been in the tourism industry. I grew up learning from my mom in the kitchen and from my dad in front of house. I have always had the passion to also do something similar or to work in the hospitality industry in some form or way.
When I had to decide what I want to go and study, I refused to do a hospitality course, just to keep a backdoor open. I matriculated in 2004. For the December holiday of 2004 my sister and I went to work in a Hotel in England, to gain some extra experience and pocket money for university.
In 2005 I started my studies in B. Com Law at the University of the Free State. During 2008, while studying part time I started to do all De Oude Kraal’s Marketing work and liaison in Bloemfontein. I received my B.Comm Law degree in 2008.
In 2009 I started working permanently at De Oude Kraal for the family business, my mom and I started the Spa the same year, I was the Manager in charge of the operations in the Spa.
My my idea was to go and work in Cape Town, in the hospitality industry. I got a great work at a Relais & Chateau property of Liz McGrath, namely Cellars-Hohenort. I was an assistant manager at the Restaurant, The Greenhouse that was voted in the top 10 best restaurants in Eat Out Magazine that year. I worked there for a brief period, and realized I would love to finish my studies and resume with my LLB degree.
In 2010 I returned back to Bloemfontein to commence my studies in LLB, I started to do my Articleship during the same time to fasten the process. In 2011 I received my LLB degree and in 2012 I was admitted as an Attorney at the Free State High Court. I continued practising as an Attorney and at the same time started to get the De Oude Kraal Dorpshuis up and running. In December 2012 we had our first Guest House clients.
During March 2013 the Dorpshuis had the official opening and now we are mainly a Guest House.
So now I am a qualified attorney that has decided to follow one of my passions in life.
Marie - Louise Lombard