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Meet the Team

Wolfgang Graser, Director

Wolfgang was born and raised in Austria and fell in love with South Africa in the early 1990s which he discovered over several trips through the country. He moved to Cape Town in 1994, right after the first free elections when Nelson Mandela became president. In 1995, he founded Good Hope Studies, an English language school, together with Alexander Kratochwil. They both ran the school until 2001 when they handed over the day-to-day business to a general manager. Wolfgang then focused on the marketing and strategic development of the company. In 2003, Wolfgang got married to Alice and they now have two children, Sebastian and Julia. Both Alexander and Wolfgang developed a passion for volunteering and decided to start offering volunteer opportunities to people from around the world in 2010, and so the foundation for Good Hope Volunteers was laid.    

Alexander Kratochwil, Director

Alexander is a co-founder of Good Hope Studies and Good Hope Volunteers. He is responsible for marketing and strategic planning. "I moved to South Africa in the mid-nineties from Europe and fell in love with this country and its people. Ever since, I have want to share this passion with young people from all over the world." Alexander grew up in Austria and trained as an engineer. A few years into the job, he realised that this wasn’t for him. After founding their language school in Cape Town, he and Wolfgang established Good Hope Volunteers. "It’s so rewarding seeing all these young and not-so-young people benefit from our programmes. I truly love it."   

Phillip McIntyre, General Manager

Phillip joined Good Hope Volunteers mid-2014. An unapologetically proud Capetonian and South African Tourism Professional, Phillip has worked in both the direct and allied tourism sectors since 1995. "After completing my undergraduate and postgraduate studies at the University of Cape Town, Good Hope Volunteers offered me the ideal opportunity to help foster development through education that I’d always been looking for." Phillip’s role at GHV is to provide commercial and strategic support to the Programme and Development Manager (Vanessa Randon) and, more specifically, to help in her tireless pursuit to grow the company’s products and its impact in the communities they serve. GHV’s growth is underpinned by Vanessa and Naomi's passion and drive, and with their unwavering emphasis on customer-focus and quality, it is no wonder they make GHV clients "lifelong partners in conservation and human upliftment."

Vanessa Randon, Volunteer Manager

As of March 2016, Vanessa joined as head of volunteering programs and development. Despite being born in landlocked Johannesburg, Vanessa studied an undergraduate degree in Marine Biology and a postgraduate degree in Physical Oceanography from the University of Cape Town. Vanessa then worked around the world for four years, travelling and teaching scuba diving.  Missing the African sunshine too much, she settled back in Cape Town where she heads up the Good Hope Volunteers team. Vanessa brings extensive knowledge of voluntourism and adventure travel. She has an enormous passion for the environment and conservation and hopes to launch a number of GHV-run projects that support these causes. When she is not in the office, she enjoys walking her dog Bubbles along Cape Town’s beautiful mountains and beaches.

Naomi Cresswell, Volunteer Coordinator Cape Town

Naomi is the Cape Town support co-ordinator for Good Hope Volunteers. She is responsible for ground support of Cape Town volunteers as well as of partnered projects. Naomi was born in Durban, grew up in Cape Town and is passionate about all the beauty South Africa has to offer. She recently graduated from the University of Cape Town with a Social Science Master’s degree in Environmental Science and is passionate about both conservation and humanitarian work in South Africa. She wishes to support these kinds of projects through volunteering projects whilst showing volunteers what South Africa can offer them. 

Nicky Matthews, Volunteer Coordinator Garden Route

Nicky has recently joined the Good Hope Volunteers team and heads up our programme in Plettenberg Bay. From this location, she supports the Monkey Sanctuary, Wild Cats, Protecting Children and the Garden Route Elephant Park projects. On your first day in the area, you will meet Nicky and be welcomed into our Good Hope Volunteer family. She will regularly come and visit you at your projects and, if you are lucky, treat you to her home-made peppermint tart at one of her famous braais. Nicky lives in Plett with her beautiful dog, Jagger, in a house overlooking the sunrises across the bay. She is the person to ask about hiking routes and activities in the area, and she treats all volunteers like family.

Shile Mabombo, Volunteer House Coordinator

Sihle Mabombo is a full-time student at the University of Cape Town who lives with the Good Hope Volunteers. She is studying Industrial Psychology and Gender Studies. As the Volunteer House Coordinator, she is there to help students and volunteers with any daily queries or concerns.  She enjoys meeting and socializing with the volunteers from all around the world. She also takes pleasure in teaching house residents about South African culture and learning about their cultures too.

Marius du Plooy, Activities Manager

Marius du Plooy, a seasoned South African traveler, has a clear love for people and places. After graduating in 2002, he launched his career as a freelance tour guide, working with many of the big tour companies in Cape Town. Sharing the diverse beauty of South Africa with guests is a passion of his. Marius is very adventurous and feeds off excitement and fun! He has a love for hiking, mountain climbing, water sports and more. His knowledge and experience also stretches to managing a backpacker youth hostel on the beautiful Garden Route of South Africa. With his all-round experience in the various aspects of travel, he understands traveling and travellers’ needs.

Rodney Peterson, Driver

Rodney is a hands-on person. He loves making and repairing things and has made items such as lampshades and biltong boxes. In his free time, he also enjoys mixing fragrances. – a hobby he is passionate about. Rodney started at Good Hope Studies in April 2015 as a driver. His duties include volunteer transfers from the airport to their accommodation. Rodney also does transfers for Cape Town volunteers to the social activities offered on the social programme. Rodney is the 24-hr emergency contact and will assist you after hours and on weekends.
With his extensive experience in the tourism industry, he has good knowledge of travel destinations around South Africa, Namibia, Botswana and the Victoria Falls in Zimbabwe. He loves meeting and getting to know people.