Our Family: Leah Brousse
Unlike other girls who were fascinated by princesses and dollhouses, Leah Brousse grew up with posters of cheetahs covering her walls. She felt there was something magical about them and has loved them as long as she can remember. Leah, who was born in France and moved to Germany when she was six, thought she would pursue psychology or law as an adult, but after volunteering with cheetahs in South Africa during a gap year, the course of her life changed forever.
She fell in love with the beauty and freedom of living in nature and working with cheetahs, and when she met her now husband and Habitas Safari Manager Christo Viljoen, she decided to stay.
Now, as the general manager of Habitas Namibia, Leah is happy to be living in the country with the largest population of wild cheetahs, amongst the nature she’s always felt drawn to.
“If I could go back and tell 6-year old me this is the way we are living now, she would be pretty excited.”
Follow Leah's journey here, as we open Habitas Namibia.
How did your personal journey lead you from conservation work to hospitality?
I don’t think I ever saw myself as working in hospitality, even though I always had an eye for detail and loved organizing. But life tends to have a way of steering us into the right direction so when one of my General Managers left the company I was working for at the time I kind of found myself in this new position that had been thrown at me. At first I wasn’t sure about it but when I realized how amazing it is, how you can create these amazing experiences, I fell in love with it.
What did you learn from working in such close contact with animals like cheetahs?
Patience! Working with wild animals I have learned to be patient, wildlife doesn’t listen to you or do things the way you want, nature has its own way and rhythm and we can’t control that. You have to adjust.
I absolutely fell in love with the concept when I was first contacted by Habitas. I think humans need to reconnect to each other and we need to give back. This is what Habitas stands for. Now, in Namibia, we are connecting this principal with raw nature and wildlife which is just adding to the magic. I don't think there is a better place to reconnect with ourselves than in nature.
What is your current state of mind?
Grateful and excited
What are you most looking forward to about the opening of Habitas Namibia?
Our Habitas Namibia Family. Whilst recruitment is challenging it is also absolutely amazing to connect with people and find the once you want to add to your family. I can’t wait to have everybody on board and start this journey together.
What inspires you every morning?
That I can make a change in someone’s life and inspire people
Where is one place you've never been to that you'd like to visit?
This is difficult, there are so many beautiful places in the world. I would have said Mexico but Habitas invited me to visit our amazing home in Tulum 3 months ago. Today I would say Italy, it must be absolutely beautiful and I can’t wait to eat Italian food all day.
What is your life's motto?
I am going to make everything around me beautiful and that will be my life.
How do you relax and recharge when you're away from work?
I love to do yoga and meditate to recharge and realign. I also love to go for a walk in nature with my dogs and get my mind off things.
What do you hope guests come away with after staying at Habitas Namibia?
Being inspired and a true appreciation for nature and wildlife.