Reserva do Ibitipoca : Staff Profile

Located in Minas Gerais, Brazil
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Nadja Hofmann

I was born in Germany but have lived in the United States as well as the Netherlands for a few years. I came to Brazil as a volunteer and originally just wanted to stay for three months. I had graduated from university (majored in international law and psychology) and planned to visit India, Namibia and Mozambique after leaving Brazil. However, I fell in love with the wonderful team working at the lodge and the breathtaking nature surrounding it. So when I was offered a permanent position I simply could not decline. I guess the other countries can wait…

Reserva do Ibitipoca is My Lodge

The best time to visit my lodge is... February through May and September through November. These are our spring and fall seasons, when it is not as rainy as in the summer and not as cold is it gets in the winter.

My lodge’s best quality is... the staff, without a doubt! It’s the fact that everybody loves working here, because they treat it like home rather than their workplace and they are able to transfer this feeling to everyone visiting. But also, a visit isn’t complete without seeing the “prainha,” which is a white-sand beach high in the mountains where there are waterfalls, and the lodge has set up massage tables and lounge-chairs under palm trees. Arreião is another wonderful and secluded area that can be reached by a four- to five- hour horse ride or by 4x4 vehicles. It is home to a restored farmhouse, which is powered by solar energy, amazing views (make sure to catch the sunrise there), and another spa location.

A cool authentic souvenir is... a bottle of cachaça (a spirit made from sugarcane). It is made by the father of one of the founders of the lodge and some of the best you will find in Minas Gerais.

My lodge really focuses on the environment by... active replantation of native plant species and the reintroduction of locally extinct and internationally critically endangered animals, like the northern muriqui, or wooly spider monkey. In addition to this, all locations on the reserve are almost completely powered by solar energy. We focus on waste reduction, natural water cleaning systems, and work towards growing 100% of the food served in the hotel ourselves by employing techniques like agroforestry.

The lodge also works with the local community in many ways. They have officially transfered ownership of the whole lodge to the locals. Three of the most senior employees are so-called “sócios”: they function as team leaders in their respective fields of work and also share the biggest part of the earnings of the lodge. In addition to this, the reserve sponsors an after-school program called Casa Arte Vida in a nearby town, which, amongst other things, offers meals and dance and English lessons to the children and teenagers of the town, free of charge.

The most beautiful place at the lodge is... hard to pick! We own close to 5,000 hectares (more than 12,000 acres) of land, with many beautiful hidden spots, waterfalls, lakes, mountains, and caves. But one special factor is definitely the fact that we own several different casinhas, small houses on top of the mountains, hidden in the forest, settled in beautiful white-sand valleys, which allow guests a change of scenery for an extra special night.

If you’re up for an adventure/physical challenge... try rafting down our rivers during rainy season (December and January), mountain biking, or horseback riding.

To experience the lodge’s cultural side... just stay for a couple of days: we offer a special event during your stay, which means a dinner by candlelight at one of the many beautiful spots outside of the main house and entertainment from local artists.

Watch out for... the many kinds of interesting wildlife you will encounter on the tours through the reserve. Be sure to bring your camera when you come for a visit—we’ll take care of the rest!

The world should visit my lodge because... it is a truly unique place, combining excellent staff members who will make you feel right at home, with incredible nature and plenty of opportunities of exploring it. Reserva do Ibitipoca brilliantly brings together luxury travel with sustainable eco-tourism, and offers something new and exciting—even for those guests who return year after year.

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