Elephant Springs Apartments renovation underway

One of Bela Bela’s favourite self-catering destinations have closed its doors in early May for a complete renovation project that is set to be completed late June 2022.

The look of brand new self-catering apartments have recently been teased in glimpses behind the scenes. Highlights will include new closed off patios with built-in braais for the ground floor units, private numbered braais for the balcony units next to the pool, new bedroom layouts, upgraded en suite bathroom for the main bedroom, as well as a new look second bathroom that now boasts a large walk in shower.

The look of the property will also completely change with a brand new coat of paint and a different colour scheme. According to Director Stef Venter, the look will match Bela Bela being a holiday destination, and visitors will rejoice in the new atmosphere this new look will create.

To further assist future guests, the self-catering side have been split from the hotel side, and will henceforth be available to book online as separate entities. The split has already occurred on the official website www.elephantsprings.co.za, which offers visitors the choice between hotel and apartments. Be the first to stay in the new look apartments and book in advance today by clicking on this link.

New Spa now open at Elephant Springs

Elephant Springs is proud to present its newest attraction – the Zoella Spa.  With two treatment rooms, each suitable to offer services to couples, this exciting offering will elevate your experience at our Bela Bela-based establishment.  This new offering will be available early April 2022. Please be on the lookout for our announcement coming soon.

While advance reservations are essential, same day bookings are also possible – subject to availability.  Bookings and queries are exclusively managed by the team of Zoella Spa and Elephant Springs does not accept reservations or attend to queries on their behalf.  For more information, call / WhatsApp 078 828 6841 or e-mail bookings@zoellaspa.co.za for assistance.

New guest house “Grafiti” now open in Bela Bela

South of Africa has expanded its portfolio in the Waterberg. The newest addition, falling in the 4-5 star market, is a modern guesthouse called Grafiti – located in Bela Bela.  Phase 1’s selection of 7 rooms opened in time for the Easter weekend. The property offers a Bed & Breakfast experience with a difference

Grafiti’s highlights are:

  • Air-conditioned bedrooms with en suite bathroom
  • Complimentary Wi-Fi and Smart TVs with Netflix
  • Groundfloor and balcony first floor rooms available
  • Sparkling Pool
  • Breakfast Room
  • Conference venue for 50 delegates
  • Modern and eclectic decor

Bookings are now open – call the SOA Central Reservations office on 014 004 0131 or e-mail book@grafiti.co.za. Rooms are limited! 

Click HERE to book online or view the website here.

Valentines Dinners with SOA (extended)

As a result of popular demand, we’re continuing our Valentines Day celebrations until 27 February 2022 at Elephant Springs in Bela Bela, and Shangri-La outside Modimolle. Join us for dinner and take advantage of our Special Offers! Bookings are now open.

Shangri-La Country Hotel & Spa, Modimolle

View the menu here. Call 014 718 1600 to book.

Elephant Springs Hotel, Bela Bela

View the menu here. Bookings 014 736 2101.

Black Friday Deals

South of Africa is back with unbeatable value in 2021’s BLACK FRIDAY & CYBER MONDAY DEALS.  Get 30% off select roomtypes when you book between 26 – 29 November 2021 for stays between 2 January 2022 – 28 February 2022. 

Visit the links to book at Elephant Springs Hotel & Apartments or Shangri-La Country Hotel & Spa on Friday 26 November 2021. Enter the promocode BLACKFRIDAY in the provided space at the top of the booking facility and enjoy great value for money with these discounted offers.

Terms & Conditions

The BLACK FRIDAY & CYBER MONDAY DEALS are subject to these T&Cs:

  • The discount is valid for select roomtypes only at Elephant Springs and Shangri-La;
  • The offer is available from 26 November 2021 – 29 November 2021;
  • The offer will automatically activate at midnight (00:00h) on 26 November 2021 and will not be available before this date. It will expire at 23:59h on 29 November 2021;
  • The offer applies to new reservations made on the booking platform;
  • The offer is applicable to stays between 2 January 2022 – 28 February 2022;
  • Excludes all meals;
  • No upfront payment is required; full payment is due 3 days prior to arrival;
  • Free cancellation until 72 hours prior to arrival;
  • Subject to availability.

This offer is not available for telephone or e-mail reservations and applies to online bookings only on the official websites of the SOA properties.

Christmas Lunch at Shangri-La

The beautiful country hotel and spa in Modimolle, Shangri-La, will be hosting its annual Christmas Luncheon this year on 25 December 2021. A mouth watering buffet will be available for guests on the day to savour in the new Moroccan Room which opened its doors recently. Bookings are now open to enjoy a day in the country side with friends and loved ones.

Space is limited, so book today! Call 014 718 1600. Strict Covid protocols will apply.

Download the menu here.

Focus on Rakoma Travel

South of Africa is proud to associate with the frontrunners in the industry.  Rakoma Travel, a well-known local agency that provides a range of leisure and business services, is one such tourism entity that has been part of the SOA success story.  While the world is presently facing a horrendous pandemic that negatively impacted the tourism industry this past year in South Africa, SOA and Rakoma Travel have been taking it upon themselves to ensure the prosperity of this industry in a new and thoughtful way.  Combining forces and offering clients a credible solution to travel, SOA sat down with Rakoma Travel to talk the future of tourism and profile this insightful business who is part of the new tourism movement.

Q: Rakoma Travel has been on the forefront for many years when it comes to business and leisure travel. The past year however travel has suffered tremendously as a result of the pandemic, and very recently another setback in terms of lockdown regulations affected Gauteng travellers. How is the uncertainties from a guests’ perspective handled when it comes to travel?

A: Although it’s definitely been an uncertain time for the travel industry, it has allowed us to gather all our resources , partnerships with suppliers such as South of Africa, to name a few, to ensure that we put our customer needs and concerns first like never before. During this time clients needed reassurance that their money is safe as many clients has lost a lot due to companies closing down; so through our consistent client relations, updates on changes in restrictions, and what is required, our clients has shown to have a lot more peace of mind when enquiring and also when booking.

Q: South of Africa has implemented a wide range of policies to ensure that guests can visit our two Limpopo destination hotels with the knowledge that government guidelines are adhered to. Social distancing has affected many aspects of social gatherings, and while buffets and close seating has been modified to keep guests safe, what else does Rakoma Travel see as important factors that will put potential travellers at ease.

A: We think adhering to government rules and regulations is but just the beginning. Clients has adapted to the new normal of social distancing, wearing masks, etc. The real challenge is getting clients to trust that they will not book today and when they are supposed to check in that the establishment will be no more. As previously mentioned, the real focus should be restoring the faith of our clients when it comes to booking any travel.

Q: While many businesses have closed its doors, others have taken great initiative to survive the initial lockdown period when trade was not permitted. South of Africa introduced upfront payment prior to arrival to limit contact, removed physical room directories and replaced these with a digital version accessible via a QR code, and also offered free cancellation for main stream online reservations up to three days prior to arrival.  What is Rakoma Travel doing to rise above the restrictions that some businesses have seen as limitations instead of opportunities?

A: Rakoma Travel has always had a high volume with traditional booking so our clients have always loved coming into our stores and having a chat with our friendly consultants , so in order to ensure that we retain those clients we have introduced virtual consulting to eliminate contact but also to still ensure that our clients’ needs are attended to.

We have also picked up that many clients were left to fend for themselves when airlines were no longer operating and hotels closed down, they were sitting with tickets/bookings due for travel with no avenues for assistance. We have made “after service” a big priority even to those clients who has not booked with us as it is easier for us to get information on cancellations, changes etc. We at Rakoma Travel believe a client should never feel alone when trouble arises with any travel plans. Travel should bring joy not anxiety.

Q: Group conferencing is currently the most vulnerable in terms of lockdown regulations. The recent level 4 restrictions banned all gatherings, and with the current level 3 rules, there is a limit of 50 pax indoors.  Is this perceived as problematic and how does Rakoma Travel treat queries for larger groups? Is it safe to say that venues that have more than one conference room are better destinations in the current climate as they can handle more smaller groups and is there a new trend in modern conferencing as a result of this?

A: Indeed group conferencing has been affected due to the limitations , however Rakoma travel services Corporate and government and what we have seen is that many of these companies and departments tend to work from home on these levels, so when conferencing is arranged the limit is adhered to, however the rest of the officials or staff will tune in via Teams and although this does not make up for the money lost to the venue, there are other systems that is needed that one would not normally need when everyone is present which we would say evens out the cost factor, but ensures that the rules and regulations are adhered to and everyone is safe. We give clients the option of adding additional sound and audio equipment so that they understand the amount of people who are physically allowed might be limited but they do have alternative options.

We guess smaller conferencing rooms or venues are proving to be the best option at this present moment and virtual conferencing is seeming to be the way many businesses are ensuring that everyone who is needed is present.

Q: Any last thoughts?

A: Through our continuous weekly supplier training, discussions with suppliers and monthly business meetings, we are ensuring that we stay on top of what clients’ needs are as it changes daily due to the pandemic. This ensures that our clients are able to trust that we always have their best interests at heart especially during these difficult times.

We thank you for taking the time to share your views on the local tourism climate and look forward to a great success story.

It’s time to get excited with SOA!

There won’t be a price increase on accommodation until the end of September at our two hotels!!!

Making you smile is our priority, and that’s why South of Africa’s Waterberg hotels are offering you the chance to enjoy our low season rates all the way through till the end of September 2021.  That’s right, we have extended our lowest rates until Spring arrives. 

Now’s the time to take advantage of this unbeatable offer at Elephant Springs in Bela Bela and Shangri-La outside Modimolle.  Call 014 004 0131.

Shangri-La celebrates 30+ years on Mother’s Day

Shangri-La will be celebrating its third decade in the hotel industry on Mother’s Day 2021 with a special Sunday Luncheon on 9 May 2021.

Book to join our birthday celebrations on this momentous occasion. See the menu here.

Adults: R220 per person
Pensioners: R115 per person
Children u/12: R85 per person

For bookings call 014 718 1600.
Strict COVID-19 protocols will be adhered to.

Book your Christmas Lunch with us

The festive season’s most anticipated event is around the corner and South of Africa is proud to be hosting a special Christmas Luncheon at Abalone House & Spa in Paternoster, Shangri-La Country Hotel & Spa in Modimolle, and Elephant Springs Hotel in Bela Bela. Bookings for these three hotels’ event is now open.

This year we will be offering a plated serving only to ensure that the well-being of you and your loved ones is taken care of. At Shangri-La, families can benefit from a mini-feast celebration where a special table-only buffet will be served for the main course. Large families are therefore invited to book in groups to benefit from this unique table-only buffet setup that will be exclusive to the guests of their table.

Don’t delay – book today!

Abalone House & Spa, Paternoster

View the menu here. UPDATE – FULLY BOOKED

Shangri-La Country Hotel & Spa, Modimolle

View the menu here. Bookings 014 718 1600.

Elephant Springs Hotel, Bela Bela

View the menu here. Bookings 014 736 2101.

South of Africa now open for leisure travel from all provinces

We’re excited to announce that the South of Africa portfolio is now open for leisure travel from guests who reside in all of South Africa’s provinces, as per the prescribed Level 2 laws.

Hotels that provide breakfast will no longer be serving buffet style meals, and all breakfast servings will be plated. Select activities may not be available during the level 2 phase of the lockdown and guests are asked to be patient and understanding at this time.

The necessary cleaning as recommended by WHO has been implemented and all rooms will be sanitised prior to guests’ arrival. Guests are requested to wear masks at all times when in public areas.

Bookings are now open at fantastic reopening deals! Visit www.soa.travel now. The South of Africa Head Office is open for bookings Monday to Friday during the hours 9am – 11am.

We look forward to welcoming our guests back to our hotels and cottages.

Phased reopening for Business Travel in Level 3 Lockdown

South of Africa is excited to announce that the 3-star Elephant Springs Hotel in Bela Bela, and the 3-star Bid Huisie cottage in Prince Albert, will be reopening for business travel and essential workers on Monday 8 June 2020 as per Government regulations for travel in Level 3 of the national lockdown.

Bid Huisie, a single self-catering unit in a tranquil area of Prince Albert, is ideal for business travellers and essential workers who require privacy and isolation while sleeping out for work. Manager Elma Whiley confirmed that while Bid Huisie has always had the highest level of cleanliness, additional measures to ensure guests’ safety has been implemented and the unit will be properly santized before and after guests’ arrival and departure. Guests will also have the option to arrive and check in without any human interaction with special instructions and remote assistance.

At Elephant Springs in Bela Bela, only the Pool Facing Hotel Rooms will be opened for business and essential workers. These rooms all have a private entrance from the hotel’s courtyard, and this will be utilized for guests who are checking in to avoid unnecessary interaction with other guests in the hallways. Guests will be directed to their rooms with minimum interaction of our employees, who will be dressed with protective gear to stop the spread of infection.

Guests staying at Elephant Springs have the option of booking on a “room only” or “bed and breakfast” basis. Guests who opt for breakfast will be served a plated breakfast which will be available at the hotel’s courtyard patio. Social distancing has been introduced and tables will be properly spaced as per regulations and WHO guidelines. Other public areas, such as the restaurant and bar, will remain closed during Level 3 to limit interaction with guests. No other meals will be available from the restaurant.

Check in times will be from 2pm to 8pm. No late check ins will be accommodated and guests are requested to honour the allotted times introduced.

Travellers who wish to book will have the option of booking directly online at www.soa.travel. Guests for Elephant Springs can also book direct by calling 082 383 7585 during office hours or e-mailing biz@soa.travel.

As part of accepting guests, an official letter confirming that guests are travelling for work is required prior to check in alongside a copy of identification. Guests will not be permitted entry without these official documents. Guests are also required to provide their own sanitizer and must wear face masks at all times when in public areas. These will not be available to guests from the hotel although all guests will be sanitized on arrival.

South of Africa looks forward to welcoming business travellers and essential workers. More information regarding other hotels reopening will be made available in the coming weeks.

Press release on SA lockdown

Dear fellow South Africans and international visitors.

We at South of Africa acknowledge that as a result of the nationwide lockdown commencing this Thursday at midnight, all reservations during this period can not be honoured while our hotels remain closed. Your wellbeing is important to us and we will gladly welcome you back at a later date. We will be contacting our guests via e-mail in the coming days, offer guests the option to move their bookings to a different date or receive a credit note to use before 28 February 2021 should a new date not be known.

Our offices and hotels will be closed officially from Friday and we will have limited hours Monday – Saturday from 8am to 10am to respond to your e-mails. Guests who have booked for the next 7 days will be contacted first. Because of the high volumes of reservations that need to be reached, please e-mail us with your booking details should you not receive a response from us before your original check in date by e-mailing mybooking@soa.travel.

We wish everybody’s safety during this time and will be monitoring the situation closely. It is our aim to reopen on 20 April 2020. Guests are welcome in the meantime to make new bookings for a later date with no deposit required and free cancellation until 2pm the day prior to arrival. T&Cs apply.

We look forward to a renewed and healthy South Africa and to welcome you back with open arms to our collection in the near future.
Stef Venter, Managing Director

2019 – A Year In Review

As we enter a new decade, South of Africa fondly looks back at its achievements of the past year. We compiled a list of our top 10 moments from 2019.

10) West Coast Photo Session

Following the opening of the new Spa in 2018 at Abalone House, a new photo session was arranged for early 2019 to not only capture the new look of the Africology Spa, but also the new changes at Abalone House and the Abalone Pool Villas. Photographer Peter Atterbury, long time collaborator of South of Africa, was behind the lens yet again to capture the essence of these 5-star properties in Paternoster.

9) Lovebird opens at Birdsong Cottages

2019 year kicked off with the opening of Lovebird, a stone chapel turned to thatch-covered stone cottage at Birdsong. The romantic 1 bedroom unit offers a private bathroom, open plan living and dining area, kitchenette, deck and sparkling splash pool overlooking the valley below.  The unit has been met with rave reviews by guests and has become one of Birdsong’s most sought after units.

8) New SOA Booking Platform

In July 2019 a new central booking platform was introduced to guests that offers a global view of the entire South of Africa collection’s availability. This new booking platform allows potential guests to choose which hotel they would prefer to book at by comparing pricing and availability. 

7) New-look Conference Rooms at Elephant Springs

Elephant Springs’s 3-star conference venues are extremely popular with delegates and 2019 saw the completion of all three its venue’s renovations. The Kambaku, Shawu and Mafunayne rooms were all upgraded during the course of the year and boasts a new look. These venues have been met with praise from conference goers and it resulted in the facilities receiving their first ever Lilizela Tourism Awards nomination in 2019!!

6) Abalone House goes “Smart”

In October the 5-star Abalone House in Paternoster announced the introduction of Netflix and Showmax in all hotel of its hotel rooms. Following the success of this at the sister property Abalone Pool Villas, the 5-star boutique hotel offers the complimentary digital streaming services to all guests who now stay here.

5) Birdsong’s Sunbird unit gets kitchen / living area facelift

Hot on the heels of the Lovebird unit’s opening, the Sunbird thatched rondavel at Birdsong Cottages in Modimolle had its living area and kitchen completely renovated with a brand new look. Sporting the same style as introduced at Lovebird, the dark grey and black-themed kitchen became a hit with guests in 2019. Further upgrades to the cottages at Birdsong is planned for 2020.

4) Shangri-La introduces Executive Family Rooms

In 2019 the renovations at Shangri-La continued with the upgrading of the hotel’s rooms. During the process, a new room type established itself as a necessity for guests who travel together as families of 4 pax. The new offering, titled Executive Family Rooms, consists of two interleading bedrooms, each with their own private bathroom, and a shared private patio or balcony. Shangri-La opened three of Executive Family Rooms through the course of 2019 with the potential of adding more in the future.

3) Elephant Springs Hotel renovations continue

2018 saw major renovations at Elephant Springs with the total revamp of the hotel main building, restaurant and bar, as well as select hotel rooms. 2019 saw the continuation of the hotel’s bedrooms, with an impressive 50 rooms completed by the end of the year. The remaining 4 Family Hotel Rooms will be upgraded early in 2020 with additional entrances and an extra bathroom, which will give these rooms the dual option of being sold as a unit or as two separate rooms. A new deck was also introduced at the Hotel with a slat roof, similar to the new slat roof added to the bar’s street side deck. The Apartments at the property are also scheduled for upgrade during 2020 following the completion of the hotel rooms.

2) TripAdvisor Awards

Two of South of Africa’s hotels, namely the 5-star Abalone House & Spa and the 4-star Shangri-La Country Hotel & Spa, became recipients of the 2019 TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellence, making it Abalone House’s 8th consecutive win since receiving its first award in 2012, and giving Shangri-La it’s fifth award, having received this honour for 4 years in a row from 2012 – 2016. 

1) South of Africa wins big at Lilizela Tourism Awards

2019 saw South of Africa take home two provincial Lilizela Tourism Awards. Compared to 2018’s 4 nominations, this year saw the group lead with a massive 7 nominations – one for each of its Tourism Graded properties – including first time nods to Bid Huisie in Prince Albert, Funky Stay in Modimolle and Elephant Springs in Bela Bela. The Abalone Pool Villas won at provincial level for a second year in a row, and Modimolle Funky Stay Backpackers raked in its first provincial win.

Black Friday & Cyber Monday Sale 2019

South of Africa is proud to announce its BLACK FRIDAY promotion that will be available on Booking.Com and its official portals, starting on Friday 29 November 2019 and end Cyber Monday 2 December 2019.

Only select room types will be made available for this offer and certain travel dates are excluded. Bookings made directly on the official Booking Portals for SOA’s properties will require a PromoCode. For more information, please refer to the fine print at the end.

Paternoster, Western Cape
• 40% off the Superior Seaview Suite
• “Bed & Breakfast” option only
• Applies to travel dates 3 – 31 January 2020.

Paternoster, Western Cape
• 40% off the Pool Villa #1 & the Pool Villa #2
• “Bed & Breakfast” option only
• Applies to travel dates 3 – 31 January 2020.

Prince Albert, Western Cape
• 40% off unit
• Applies to travel dates 1 – 12 December 2019 and 3 – 31 January 2020.

Modimolle, Limpopo
• 40% off Standard Family Rooms, Executive Hotel Rooms, Executive Rondavels & Executive Family Rooms
• “Bed & Breakfast” option only
• Applies to travel dates 1 – 12 December 2019.

Bela Bela, Limpopo
• 40% off Pool Facing Hotel Rooms (“Room Only” option only – excludes breakfast)
• Applies to travel dates 1 – 12 December 2019 and 3 – 31 January 2020.

Bela Bela, Limpopo
• 40% off Groundfloor units with Direct Pool Access
• Applies to travel dates 1 – 12 December 2019 and 3 – 31 January 2020.

Modimolle, Limpopo
• 40% off all units
• Applies to travel dates 1 – 12 December 2019 and 3 – 31 January 2020.

Modimolle, Limpopo
• 40% off all roomtypes
• Applies to travel dates 1 – 12 December 2019 and 3 – 31 January 2020.

• These offers will only available on the platform Booking.Com and the SOA official booking button pages from Friday 29 November 2019 until Monday 2 December 2019. The same offers on the SOA official portals will require a promocode. Properties that offer the promotion in both December and January will require the specific month’s title as the promocode to activate the offer, i.e. JANUARY or DECEMBER. Properties that only have the offer in one specific month has the promocode BLACKFRIDAY.
• Some Room / Unit names may differ slightly on Booking.Com. Only Rooms / Units that are part of the promotion will display the discounted offer.
• South of Africa cannot except any requests to hold accommodation based on these rates.
• The offers apply to new reservations made through Booking.Com and direct only, and excludes modifications.
• A 50% deposit will be required within 24 hours to secure your booking while the balance is payable on arrival for all properties except Bid Huisie, which requires a 100% prepayment up front.
• Bookings that have not been paid for will be cancelled.
• South of Africa reserves the right to withdraw and modify promotions at their discretion.
• The 40% discount applies to rates advertised at the time of the promotion only and is applicable to select room types and for certain travel dates only.
• Not all properties offer the same travel period.
• Select promotions are inclusive of breakfast, while others are Room Only.
• Booking.Com will send you a confirmation e-mail with details of your reservation, which will be followed by a letter with more information about the property from South of Africa.
• No communication will be entered into if a reservation has been cancelled / was unsuccessful or the window period of the offer has passed.

• Some Room / Unit names may differ slightly on Booking.Com. Only Rooms / Units that are part of the promotion will display the discounted offer.
• South of Africa cannot except any requests to hold accommodation based on these rates.
• The offers apply to new reservations made through Booking.Com and direct only, and excludes modifications.
• A 50% deposit will be required within 24 hours to secure your booking while the balance is payable on arrival for all properties except Bid Huisie, which requires a 100% prepayment up front.
• Bookings that have not been paid for will be cancelled.
• South of Africa reserves the right to withdraw and modify promotions at their discretion.
• The 40% discount applies to rates advertised at the time of the promotion only and is applicable to select room types and for certain travel dates only.
• Not all properties offer the same travel period.
• Select promotions are inclusive of breakfast, while others are Room Only.
• Booking.Com will send you a confirmation e-mail with details of your reservation, which will be followed by a letter with more information about the property from South of Africa.
• No communication will be entered into if a reservation has been cancelled / was unsuccessful or the window period of the offer has passed.

Shangri-La adds new Executive Family Room Type

As part of the exciting upgrade at Shangri-La, which includes the renovations of its hotel rooms, a brand new room category has been added to the 4-star country hotel’s offering.

The old “Room 19” at Shangri-La is now an Executive Family Room

The new Executive Family Room, which falls in the property’s “Executive” category, offers 2 bedrooms that sleeps 4 guests. Shangri-La has become more and more popular with families of four, and the need to to introduce a 4-sleeper option without having to book separate bedrooms was identified.

Earlier this year Shangri-La opened the first of its Executive Family Rooms, consisting of two interleading bedrooms both sleeping two guests, and each room with its own private bathroom. The spacious rooms also offers a private balcony.

Late September saw the second Executive Family Room open its doors. The two gorgeous rooms saw a complete renovation of the old layout, adding new entrances and extending the bathroom and the floor layout. Like its sibling, the new Executive Family Room has a private patio that overlooks the adjacent fenced game camp.

“What makes these bedrooms unique,” says Managing Director Stef Venter, “is the fact that we can now accommodate families with two children, where we in the past offered a Family Room with space for just one child. The rooms’ private outdoor spaces are just another feature that makes this room type even more special.” The rooms can also be separated and utilized as individual bedrooms when Shangri-La hosts large conferences and weddings, adding a greater capacity to go with the hotel’s large venues. A third Executive Family Room is planned to be added in the coming months.

The new Executive Family Rooms are now available to book on our website www.soa.travel or www.shangrila.co.za.

South of Africa wins big at Provincial Lilizela Tourism Awards

The past week saw South of Africa’s collection being honoured in the provincial Lilizela Tourism Awards ceremonies of the Western Cape and Limpopo. In 2018 the group had a total of 4 nominations at provincial level, with 2 properties, namely Birdsong Cottages and the Abalone Pool Villas, winning their respective provincial categories. 

Team Shangri-La with the MEC of Tourism Limpopo

Receiving the award for Funky Stay at the Limpopo Lilizela Tourism Awards.

This year South of Africa had a massive 7 nominations, with Abalone Pool Villas winning for a second year in a row, and Modimolle Funky Stay Backpackers raking in its first win.

Shangri-La’s Conference Centre as well as Elephant Springs’ Conference Centre both received their first ever nomination at provincial level.

Here are the winners and nominees for 2019’s Provincial Awards.

• Abalone Pool Villas – WINNER 5-star Bed & Breakfast
• Bid Huisie – FINALIST 3-star Self-catering Exclusive
• Birdsong Cottages – FINALIST 3-star Self-catering Exclusive
• Elephant Springs Conference Centre – FINALIST 3-star Conference Centre
• Shangri-La Country Hotel – FINALIST 4-star Hotel
• Modimolle Funky Stay Backpackers – WINNER 4-star Backpackers / Hostel
• Shangri-La Conference Center – FINALIST MESE Category

Two South of Africa hotels win TripAdvisor Awards

In what has become a global platform for guests to review their hotel and restaurant experiences, TripAdvisor has been awarding establishments worldwide based on guest feedback for over a decade. South of Africa is proud to announce that two of their hotels, namely the 5-star Abalone House & Spa and the 4-star Shangri-La Country Hotel & Spa, are recipients of the 2019 TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellence.

This makes Abalone House’s 8th consecutive win since receiving its first award in 2012, and also makes it Shangri-La’s fifth award, having received this honour for 4 years in a row from 2012 – 2016. 

The interiors of the main building at Shangri-La

“It is a welcome return for Shangri-La,” says Managing Director Stef Venter, “considering the tremendous changes we have brought about at the hotel these past two years.” Shangri-La’s hotel rooms are currently being renovated following the completion of its main building and bar earlier this year. “It shows that our guests appreciate what we’ve done to enhance their experience; and it has taken Shangri-La to a new level of decadence.”

The iconic façade of Abalone House & Spa

Team Abalone House is just as thrilled with its award, and General Manager Dirk Jansen said that “despite our remote location on the West Coast, guests still take the 90 minute journey from Cape Town for a getaway of luxury and spoils. We love taking care of our guests and every review we receive on TripAdvisor is both heart-warming and inspiring to the entire team here in Paternoster.”

South of Africa launches new booking platform for its collection

A screen shot of the new booking platform for the South of Africa collection

Since moving to renowned booking engine SiteMinder, South of Africa’s portfolio has been offering a world class service to its guests.  In July 2019 a new central booking platform was introduced to guests that offers a global view of the entire collection’s availability, and potential guests can choose which hotel it would prefer to book at by comparing pricing and availability. 

The grouping of South of Africa’s properties is the next step in offering guests a more comprehensive booking experience and not only offers a cross sell opportunity with its sibling hotels, but also a more convenient way in which guests can choose their destination of choice. Visit the new booking platform by clicking on this link: https://app.thebookingbutton.com/property_groups/SouthOfAfrica

Get 30% off when you book this July for the festive season

Save when you book and pay for your festive getaway during the month of July. Start planning your December / January holidays now to save 30% off our advertised rates.

Book your stay at one of our hotels, cottages or villas on our official website with the promo code SAVE30 to qualify for your discounted rates. All that is required is a 50% deposit to secure your reservation.

Choose the property of your liking and click on the BOOK NOW button. Don’t forget to enter our promo code SAVE30 to qualify for the discount.

For direct links on each property, click below:

Farewell Johan

Johan Jansen van VuurenIt is with great sadness that we announce the passing of South of Africa’s founder, Mr Johan Jansen van Vuuren, who passed away on 28 March at the age of 58.

Leaving behind a legacy and a rich history with South of Africa, his extraordinary passion for tourism and his love of people will be fondly remembered by those who have known him both professionally and personally.

Mr Jansen van Vuuren retired in 2016, leaving South of Africa in the hands of the strong team he had nurtured for many years – led by his esteemed life partner Mr Stef Venter.

He spent his last years living out his dreams, still actively involved in the wildlife trade and working with his beloved mother, Mrs Anndeline Jansen van Vuuren, taking care of the gardens at Shangri-La and continuing this at his home at Birdsong in Modimolle.

His infectious appetite for life along with his revered high standards and distinguished grace will be sorely missed and kept alive in the spirit of his memory.

Memorial services will be held at Shangri-La for Mr Jansen van Vuuren on 6 April at 11am and at Abalone House in Paternoster on 12 April at 11am.  All are welcome to attend.

Rest in peace

2018 – a year in review

South of Africa is proudly looking back at 2018 with a special video that showcases all the changes at its collection of properties.  From the creation of the new Spa at Abalone House, to the total revamp of the main building of Elephant Springs, South of Africa fondly remembers the effort its entire team put in to help create better experiences for our guests.

Elephant Springs in Bela Bela is rebranding

The 3-star Elephant Springs Hotel in Bela Bela is rebranding. The property begun its renovations early 2018, with the first wave of new Twin Hotel Rooms opening in time for Valetines Day this year. This was followed by additional Twin Hotel rooms changing throughout the year and very recently the complete revamp of its restaurant and bar.

Following from this, the property is also updating its logo, with a partial change to its name. The Cabanas have been rebranded as Apartments, which is also in line with the 2019 scheduled upgrade of these self-catering units. The new look of the hotel includes not only incredible new artwork displayed on the walls, but structural changes which includes a brand new hotel entrance from the parking lot, a new look restaurant and a revamped bar with private lounge area.

Says Director Stef Venter, “the changes are part of the exciting plans that we have for Elephant Springs, re-establishing it is Bela Bela’s most sought after holiday destination.” The property’s close proximity to well known Forever Resort Warmbaths, alongside shopping malls and restaurants, makes Elephant Springs the easy choice for guests who wish to explore Bela Bela. Says Venter, “with the rebranding and renovations we aim to reintroduce not only the town and its offering, but also South of Africa’s new look which has already been implemented at our Western Cape hotels, and the nearby 4-star Shangri-La Country Hotel & Spa.”

The hotel’s first floor hotel rooms are scheduled to be completed early 2019 followed by the ground floor rooms and Apartments during the course of the year.

Shangri-La opens new venue “Glas Huis”

Shangri-La Country Hotel & Spa in Modimolle is proud to present it’s brand new venue, the aptly named “Glas Huis” (translated from Afrikaans meaning Glass House).  The stunning new venue, boasting glass walls on all sides, is the latest addition to the 4-star country hotel’s ever growing venues.

The “Glas Huis”, which officially opens its doors on Monday 8 October 2018, will cater for private functions, small conferences and wedding receptions.  This intimate space, which can accommodate 40 guests during a standing cocktail event, offers 360 degree views of the surrounding gardens, with a duck pond on the one side, while the attached outdoor boma provides a welcome outside space for guests to socialize around the flames of the fire pit.

Located adjacent to the Madala & Magogo venue, and a short walk from the on site chapel, the “Glas Huis” will also be perfect for pre-wedding cocktails where guests can gather and enjoy the rustic and eclectic decor that makes up this space. An indoor jet master fireplace will also help keep the venue warm during the winter months.

For more info and bookings, call 014 718 1600 or e-mail events@shangrila.co.za.

South of Africa lends a hand on Madiba Day

The annual Madiba Day has presented itself with yet another opportunity for South of Africa to give back to the community, and for 2018 South of Africa is taking another leap to honour and assist those who make a difference in the future of South Africa.

A mere 20km outside of Bela Bela lies Bambelela, a world-famous Wildlife Care and Rehabilitation Facility. The name Bambelela means “to hold on” in Zulu, and South of Africa is reaching out to its workers this year to give back to the people that selflessly give their time to conserve the wildlife which is a precious part of South Africa’s rich culture.

Led by Khatija Mahomed, a group of South of Africa employees took it upon themselves to plough back into the Bambelela community today with alien and invasive plant removal, clearing up their alternative feeding spot and assisting with a selection of labour-intensive duties – all in the name of giving back. The team will offer some relief to the resident personnel of Bambelela with tasty snacks and beverages as a way of thanks for all the anonymous work they do behind the scenes for the wildlife of our beautiful country.

Madiba Day, in honour of the late president Nelson Mandela, celebrates the great leader’s life and his mission to improve the lives of others. South Africans across the globe joins in the celebrations of his dream annually on 18 July and gives back to those in need. According to Mahomed “it is very important to us to look to communities who are in dire need of assistance. Bambelela depends on donations to take care of one of the country’s most important assets, and South of Africa identified with their need for help. It is our pleasure to help these workers in something that is overlooked yet the future of South Africa heavily relies on tourism. The individuals who have taken it upon themselves to give their lives for this important cause are who we are here for and it’s our wish to show them that we associate with their dreams and wishes and that whatever we can do to improve their lives, we will do it.”

Vote for us in the Lilizela Tourism Awards

The Lilizela Tourism Awards is synonymous with Shangri-La and Abalone House, both having been nominated in a select categories throughout the years, with Shangri-La winning awards in both 2015 and 2016.

For the 2018 awards, all of South of Africa’s hotels and cottages have been entered into a variety of categories, and past guests are invited to vote before 18 June 2018 when voting closes.

Shangri-La Country Hotel & Spa Nominations

  • Service Excellence – Accommodation 4-Star  (Vote here)
  • Visitor Experience – Scenic Beauty  (Vote here)
  • Visitor Experience – Wildlife Encounters  (Vote here)
  • Visitor Experience – Lap of Luxury  (Vote here)
  • Conference Centre (Vote here)

Abalone House & Spa Nominations

  • Service Excellence – Accommodation 5-Star  (Vote here)
  • Visitor Experience – Beach Experience  (Vote here)
  • Visitor Experience – Lap of Luxury  (Vote here)

Abalone Pool Villas Nominations

  • Service Excellence – Accommodation 5-Star  (Vote here)
  • Visitor Experience – Beach Experience  (Vote here)
  • Visitor Experience – Lap of Luxury  (Vote here)

Bid Huisie Nomination

  • Service Excellence – Accommodation 3-Star  (Vote here)

Elephant Springs Nominations

  • Service Excellence – Accommodation Hotel 3-Star  (Vote here)
  • Service Excellence – Accommodation Cabanas 3-Star  (Vote here)
  • Conference Centre (Vote here)

Birdsong Cottages Nominations

  • Service Excellence – Accommodation 3-Star  (Vote here)
  • Visitor Experience – Wildlife Encounters  (Vote here)
  • Visitor Experience – Scenic Beauty (Vote here)

Modimolle Funky Stay Backpackers Nominations

  • Service Excellence – Accommodation 4-Star  (Vote here)
  • Visitor Experience – Scenic Beauty (Vote here)

Happy Mother’s Day

We celebrate Mother’s Day today by honouring our mothers! We asked all of our hotels to send in photos of their moms and the overwhelming response of sweet messages that came with it will surely make your day. Here are only a handful of the precious ladies we call our Mothers. We wish you all a very happy Mother’s Day.

“Happy Mother’s day Mummy. I cannot thank you enough for everything.”

“Mumsie, my beste maatjie, ek luv ma 4ever xx”

“Mme Motswadi wa ka ke lebogela lerato le o mphang lona,o be le letsatsi la monate la bomme”

“Gelukkige moeders dag vir die beste ma ooit”

“Thank you for standing by me through thick and thin, for not giving up on me when I didn’t win, for your patience when I kept pushing you away, for caring when I said I didn’t need you anyway, I am grateful knowing I can count on your strength, ask for your support, and know you’ll go to any length when I lose my way. You help me get back on track when in pain, your comfort soothes and brings me back. Thank you…. Love your daughter”

“My Liefste Moeder, dankie dat Ma altyd daar is vir my en my bystaan met alles en my help groei dag vir dag.”

“Thank you for the unconditional love mom,happy mothers day”

South of Africa celebrates SOA Day with exciting news

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE, BELA BELA, 20 APRIL 2018.  The popular hotel chain South of Africa that boasts hotels, cottages and villas in some of South Africa’s most popular yet unexploited destinations, celebrates their second annual SOA Day with exciting news.  SOA (an abbreviation of South of Africa) is celebrated on 20 April, the birthday of the group’s founder, Mr Johan Jansen van Vuuren, who’s retirement in 2015 meant an injection of new blood into the group. Under leadership of Mr Stef Venter, the group, which consists of 3 properties in the Western Cape and 5 in the Limpopo Province, announced today that their entire portfolio is now officially graded by the Tourism Grading of South Africa.  The TGCSA, which has already awarded three of its establishments with 4 and 5 star gradings, welcomed not just another 5 of its properties as graded, but also their 2 popular conference centres located at the 4-star Shangri-La Country Hotel & Spa in Modimolle, and the now 3-star Elephant Springs Hotel in Bela Bela.

“This is a great day for us,” says Venter, who explains the real meaning of their SOA Day.  “Our industry looks after the comfort and enjoyment of the public, and our entire team strives to offer an unforgettable experience to our guests.  With everything that our founder did for the group, we thought outside of the box to honour Mr Jansen van Vuuren’s legacy.  SOA Day focusses inwards at the driving force of the group – the staff.  We have created a ritual of tying ribbons onto our fellow employees’ wrists, symbolizing the helping hand your fellow colleague can lend you.  As a company, we also identify individuals that we know require assistance in their private lives;  these people still show up to work with a smile and go the extra mile despite their own problems.  It is then our pleasure to lend that helping hand and give back to these members of our own family who also inspire us.”

According to Venter it is also fitting to announce the new star grading of each property on this day to show their guests the group’s commitment to further enhance the experiences promised.  With major renovations underway at both Shangri-La and Elephant Springs in the Waterberg, which includes a complete overhaul of the properties’ rooms, as well as additional upgrades to existing facilities, South of Africa is making great strides in keeping their promise.  “We have already opened 9 of our new hotel rooms to rave reviews,” says projects manager Mr Johan Esterhuizen of the Elephant Springs Hotel in Bela Bela.  The nearby Shangri-La Country Hotel & Spa has similarly opened 8 new rooms that follows through with the golden thread introduced at the 5-star Abalone House & Spa, and most recently continued at the 5-star Abalone Pool Villas, both in Paternoster.  Esterhuizen has played in major role in the new look of these properties.  The Karoo-based Bid Huisie, a cosy 3-star cottage in Prince Albert, was also upgraded in 2016 and have since been a popular destination for travellers on route to and from Cape Town.

There are still plans to continue with these projects beyond 2018, with many exciting ideas planned to further deliver on their promise, says Venter.  The 4-star Funky Stay Backpackers in Modimolle has slowly evolved into a unique destination for travellers who travel on the R101 between Polokwane and Pretoria, and with the potential to further add to this already beloved budget-friendly stay over, South of Africa’s future is bright.

For more information on the portfolio of properties, visit www.southofafrica.com or call Central Reservations on 014 004 0131.

South of Africa launches new Soweto TV campaign

A scene from the intro of the promotion airing on Soweto TV

A scene from the intro of the promotion airing on Soweto TV during October & November 2017

South of Africa and renowned local broadcaster, Soweto TV, has once again partnered on an exciting campaign for viewers of this reputable channel.

Airing since early October, viewers would have noticed the brand new promo giving viewers the opportunity to save a massive 20% on bookings made directly on the South of Africa website by using a unique promocode. Space is limited and is subject to availability. Accommodation applies only to Elephant Springs Hotel & Cabanas in Bela Bela and the 4 star Shangri-La Country Hotel & Spa in Modimolle.

The convenient location of both properties, as well as its close proximity to Soweto, makes them the obvious destination of choice for travellers that wish to explore the nearby Waterberg, a mere 1.5 hour’s drive from Gauteng.

Says Egmond du Plessis, Marketing Manager for the group, “It is a huge honour for us to be associated with a powerhouse such as Soweto TV who reaches our target market through appealing visual media. We are excited to reach a wider audience as a result of our relationship with Soweto TV and look forward to a bright future and prominent presence on this unique local television station.”

Viewers are advised to tune in to Soweto TV during these times to catch the advert on air for more information and the unique promocode.

Flighting schedule until 30 November 2017 (Mon – Sun):
* Twice between 8am and 9am
* Twice between 1pm and 5pm
* Twice between 7pm and 9pm

About Soweto TV: (Source – Wikipedia)
Soweto TV is a South African community television channel broadcasting in the biggest township in South Africa, Soweto. The channel is free-to-air in Gauteng Province and it also broadcast to South African subscribers on the DStv pay TV service on channel 251. The channel studios are situated on one of the most popular streets in Soweto, Vilakazi Street; well known for being the only street in the world to have the historical residences of two Nobel Prize winners, namely Nelson Mandela and Archbishop Desmond Tutu. Soweto TV programming is mostly Sowetan content as per ICASA’s regulations of over 60% local content.


  • The discount applies to all roomtypes at Shangri-La and Elephant Springs.
  • This discount of 20% is only valid for bookings made through the official websites www.southofafrica.co.za, www.shangrila.co.za and www.elephantsprings.co.za.
  • The discount does not apply to existing bookings, new telephone or e-mail bookings or bookings through other portals such as booking.com, Expedia etc.
  • Stay dates applicable are from 1 October 2017 – 31 December 2017.
  • Minimum stays may apply.
  • Booking period and promocode ends on 15 December 2017. Bookings made after this period will not receive the discount.
  • Rates are subject to change and the discount only applies to the advertised rates on the official booking engine via the links listed above.
  • The discount is only applied when the promocode as advertised in the advert is entered.
  • The discount does not apply to other promotions advertised and cannot be used in conjunction with this.
  • The discount and promocode will not work during the BLACK FRIDAY sale on 24 November 2017 and CYBER MONDAY sale on 27 November 2017. The code will be deactivated during this period and will resume its status as active following the last sale.

Year End Function options for everyone


It’s time to toast to 2017


South of Africa offers a variety of venues for your Year End Function. Whether you’re looking for a budget friendly self-catered boma with views of the bushveld or a 5 star exclusive deck with superb seaviews – we have the venue for you.  Contact your favourite property today and book your Year End Function.  Overnight packages are also available!  Call now on 087 820 5999 or yearendfunctions@southofafrica.com.

Our Western Cape venues

Reuben’s Restaurant at the 5-star Abalone House, Paternoster
The private patio of the Abalone Pool Villas, Paternoster

Our Limpopo Province venues

The Shebeen at The Kraal , Shangri-La Country Hotel & Spa, Modimolle
Chimes Square, Shangri-La Country Hotel & Spa, Modimolle
The boma, Modimolle Funky Stay Backpackers, Modimolle
The upstairs dining room, Modimolle Funky Stay Backpackers, Modimolle
The Restaurant, Elephant Springs Hotel & Cabanas, Bela Bela
Streetside Deck & Bar, Elephant Springs Hotel & Cabanas, Bela Bela
The Edwin Cameron Boma, Birdsong Cottages, Modimolle
The Koi Pond Venue, Birdsong Cottages, Modimolle

Shangri-La’s chapel showcased in Lekkeslaap.Co.Za blog

South Africa’s favourite local online booking platform, Lekkeslaap.Co.Za, published a blog on their website of their 15 favourite chapels in South Africa that looks like they’re straight from a fairy tale.  South of Africa’s Shangri-La Country Hotel count among the 15 nationwide chapels who has been bestowed with this honour.

View the article here and read more about Shangri-La’s wedding facilities by clicking here for Shangri-La Country Hotel & Spa.

Blog credit: Lekkeslaap.Co.Za, Adriëtte le Roux

Madiba Day 2017

South of Africa’s annual Madiba Day celebrations took place at the Dira-O-Direlwe Drop In Centre.  Staff members from our Limpopo based hotels joined in the project to prepare a meal for the disadvantaged children of the community.  Over 150 children of all ages attended this project, which was the brainchild of South of Africa’s Managing Director, Mr Stef Venter, and the Human Resources Manager, Ms Khatija Mahomed.

The Modimolle Correctional Services also joined in the project, assisting South of Africa with the feeding of the children.  According to Ms Mahomed, it was “a great honour to give food to these children who all come from struggling homes who often cannot provide food to them.  Knowing that we could at least help them go to bed tonight without being hungry is humbling.”   As a thank you, the children performed numerous songs and danced about with joy whilst they were cheered by the employees of South of Africa and the Modimolle Correctional Services.

Photo credit: Ra’eesah Hoosen

About Madiba Day:

Madiba Day (also known as Mandela Day)  is a global call to action that celebrates the idea that each individual has the power to transform the world, the ability to make an impact.  Mandela Day is not meant as a public holiday, but as a day to honour the legacy of Nelson Mandela, South Africa’s former President, and his values, through volunteering and community service.  (Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mandela_Day)

Abraham Kriel Kinderhuis Kunstefees, Shangri-La

The Abraham Kriel Kinderhuis will be hosting their annual “Kunstefees” at Shangri-La Country Hotel & Spa from 2 to 4 June 2017.

Join the Food & Wine pairing dinner on Friday night with the singing chef Kevin Leo (cost R250pp) or visit on Saturday for entertainment by SA’s top artists starting at 10:30, with the last performance at 18:30. Singers include Gerrie Pretorius, Monique Steyn, Matthys Roets as well as a show by actress Liz Meiring.  Entrance for the day is R100 per person.

Kiddies entertainment is also provided by Sonja Heroldt and Elizabeth Fourie at R70 per child on the Saturday.

On Sunday, visitors are invited to join the Church Service at Shangri-La with the singers. Entrance is free.

Call 0147181600 for the Wine Pairing Dinner bookings or for enquiries call Cecile on 076 118 2111.

We celebrate our first “South of Africa Day”

20 April 2017 marks the celebration of the first “South of Africa Day”.  Brought about to strengthen the bonds of camaraderie and enhance the morale of the South of Africa employees, “South of Africa Day” landed the 20 April slot with a very good reason: it is the birthday of owner Johan Jansen van Vuuren.  Says Managing Director, Stef Venter, “The vision and mission of South of Africa clearly states that it is our goal to improve the way of life of the employees, who are also our extended family.  This special occasion is a very clear reminder of that statement where we undertook to look after our valued staff and lend a helping hand where needed.”

To commemorate this day, all employees will be seen wearing a grey ribbon tied to their left wrists.  To add to the excitement and spirit building, no staff member may tie his own ribbon as it is the duty of their fellow team mates to “lend the helping hand” in tying this ribbon for them.  The proverbial act of tying the knot with its bow will, according to HR Manager Khatija Mahomed, secure a stronger bond in a fun manner and boost mutual support for one another.  She adds “it’s difficult to try and tie a bow on your own wrist, but through asking for help it is a sign of trust and respect – very similar to our guests who visit us and ask for assistance in creating memorable experiences.”

Apart from the grey ribbons worn (grey being the corporate colour of South of Africa), this day will also mark South of Africa lending a special hand to someone within the group who desperately requires it.  Johannah Nthudisane, 47, is a housekeeper at the 4-star Shangri-La Country Hotel & Spa in Modimolle who had been diagnosed with breast cancer in 2014 on the right side. She was sadly rediagnosed with cancer on the left side after undergoing a biopsy in March 2017.  Having full empathy for this tragic time in her life, South of Africa will be treating her and her family on this special day to an all-expenses paid outing of fun and frivolity before starting with chemo on 24 April.  MD Stef Venter says “South of Africa knows full well the strain that this places on her and her family, and we wanted to spoil her with a day on the town where she didn’t have to worry about anything except creating memories with her loved ones.”  Nthudisane will be medically boarded for a year once she commences with chemo.

Venter adds that “the true meaning behind South of Africa Day is a simple task that we should all carry act out every day – being kind to our fellow man and living in harmony in the same spirit set out by Madiba for our rainbow nation.”

SOA’s Long Weekend Sale NOW ON

You only have two weeks to take advantage of our early bird long weekend sale.  There are three exciting long weekends just around the corner, including Easter!!  You’ve earned a break and we know it.  Don’t delay and decide at the last minute to look for availability when everything is fully booked.  Rather book South of Africa’s fantastic EARLY BIRD promotion now which runs for the next two weeks only.  And yes, we’ve allowed for the inclusion of pay day too!  * wink wink *

Pick up the phone or book the below long weekends online before 5pm on the 3rd March 2017 to pay unbeatable prices that won’t be repeated again. Ts&Cs apply.

17 – 21 March 2017
14 – 17 April 2017
27 April – 1 May 2017

Read our newsletter online here to view the offers.

Our top 10 highlights of 2016

byebye 20162016 has been a magnificent year for South of Africa. We’ve taken stock of the past 365 days (sorry, 366 days!) and here are our top 10 highlights from 2016:

1. Rebranding Funky Stay

Our little hotel just 4kms outside of Modimolle was rebranded in May of this year. After extensive market research, Funky Stay’s title received a small addition – the word “Backpackers”. The purpose of the name change went hand in hand with its intended target market shift focus. Says Marketing Manager, Egmond du Plessis, of the change, “We found that most of our guests only wanted a place to stay for the night. Funky Stay became a base from where guests could explore the nearby surroundings. In the end, it came down to us no longer offering meals on site, but instead offer self-catering facilities to guests who wished to make use of our kitchenette and dining room. This had a snowball effect and guests now book the entire property for their private parties, events and year end functions.”

2. Cooling off at Birdsong

Late October saw the news that Birdsong Cottages’ Flycatcher Villa and Sunbird Rondavel would both be receiving their own swimming facilities. The Flycatcher Villa was treated to a quaint splash pool located at the front of the unit beneath the trees. The pool was opened in early December. The Sunbird Rondavel guests were treated to a private heated Jacuzzi, which is located just outside the unit in a secluded corner. The Jacuzzi was opened to guests of Sunbird in late November. These two features now means that four of our seven cottages boast private swimming facilities (the Owls Cottage A & B have a shared / private pool). We hope to add more such wonderful features in the near future to the remaining cottages at Birdsong.

3. Top Billing showcases Abalone House

Abalone House & Spa was featured on Top Billing just before Christmas, showcasing the stunning Healing Earth Spa and Reuben’s Restaurant. The world-renowned chef Reuben Riffel was also on site to help spoil local celebrity iFani and his lovely girlfriend. This was the third time that Abalone House & Spa had been featured on Top Billing, with the previous two times being 2012 and 2014. There is another exciting televised feature coming soon of Abalone House & Spa on SABC. Watch this space for news on the next broadcast.

4. Soweto TV partners with SOA

South of Africa and Soweto TV have partnered to bring viewers of this great channel on DSTV a great experience. Starting in December this year, Shangri-La became the first property to be featured on the channel, with a dedicated advert showcasing the property and its festive special. 2017 is set to be a great year as more features have been scheduled. Stay tuned for more information coming in the new year.

5. Lilizela Tourism Awards

In what has become a norm, Shangri-La Country Hotel & Spa received its second consecutive Provincial Award from South Africa’s Lilizela Tourism Awards in September 2016. The hotel was nominated in two categories, winning the award for Best Guest Experience, Lap of Luxury. This was a great year for Shangri-La, who also received its umpteenth Trip Advisor Award of Excellence, alongside its sibling Abalone House & Spa, whom was also nominated for a Lilizela Tourism Award.

6. Upgrades at Elephant Springs

Following on from 2015’s first phase of upgrades at Elephant Springs, the self-catering Cabanas and hotel has been treated to new beds, linen and other softs, while the ground floor units of the Cabanas now also boast brand new corner unit seating areas. These new additions not only makes for a more convenient stay, but also a more memorable time for our guests. There are more upgrading planned for 2017 and we are very excited at the prospect of these new changes.

7. Bid Huisie pool revamp

The sparkling splash pool of the Bid Huisie cottage in Prince Albert was also treated to a mini revamp in June of this year. The pool has been a major drawing card over the past few years and is the perfect way to combat the Karoo heat when staying in the cosy 2 bedroom cottage.

8. The Kraal Shebeen at Shangri-La

Shangri-La has seen many changes to its grounds during the past few years, with new gardens being added, extended and recreated. The Kraal, one of Shangri-La’s first venues for functions and events, was renovated during the last half of 2016 and opened its doors in time for the festive season. Now named The Kraal Shebeen, the venue has been transformed into the typical African Shebeen and offers a unique African menu, proper Shebeen bar menu and Sunday lunches. The Kraal also has a lovely entrance which showcases the history of Shangri-La on large canvas prints dating back all the way to 1989. Book this venue today. Call Shangri-La on 014 718 1600.

9. New wheels for the Sales Team

South of Africa’s Sales Team were spoilt rotten in October when two new branded sales cars were unveiled at the SOA Year End Function held at Birdsong. These new vehicles are the perfect branding opportunity when driven on sales calls or collecting guests. Be on the look out for these golden VW’s!

10. Mobi-sites

Online marketing is vital in today’s digital climate, and SOA enjoys interacting with all its guests on a variety of platforms, including Facebook and Twitter. This year however saw SOA heading further into the digital territory by launching their mobile-enhanced websites. Each South of Africa hotel and self-catering property received a major makeover to its website, and launched alongside this was a mobile-friendly version of the website. Says Managing Director, Stef Venter, “It is very clear that our guests are moving with the times, and it is thus vital for us to do the same. Having these mobile versions of our websites means that guests don’t have to waste time resizing, zooming in and clicking through countless links to do something as simple as making a reservation. We’ve made it easy for guests on-the-go to read up about our properties, see photos of our facilities and make a reservation directly on their cellphones.” With trends proving that more online users are going mobile, this has proven to be a great success for South of Africa as well. New features that has just been introduced in its pilot stage at one of our hotels, is for guests to review us on their cellphones by simply scanning the QR code displayed at reception. This means that guests, who provide us with real time feedback, can also expect to have queries and complaints be attended to faster than with the standard written comment cards currently in use.

Apart from these ten highlights, South of Africa closed the doors of the Oppidraai A & B cottages in July 2016.  These popular Paternoster Cottages were sold and SOA published a heart-warming farewell to these cottages in June.  South of Africa also said farewell to two of its staff members that sadly passed away during the last year.  Methodius from Abalone House in Paternoster passed away suddenly in November, while Nompumelelo, a student who started her career at Elephant Springs, suddenly passed away three months after her employment.  South of Africa mourns these employees, and also honours the family members of its employees who have been lost during 2016.

Thank you to all our guests who travelled the road with us this past year.  Here’s to a fantastic 2017.

What’s new this Christmas at South of Africa?

You will be pleasantly surprised at all the wonderful changes at South of Africa’s hotels and cottages this festive season. If you needed a reason to slam the door behind you and head on out to enjoy your summer vacation, our exciting changes make for the perfect excuse …. not to mention our superb last minute rates!

Guests who are venturing to the Waterberg’s newest hotspot, Birdsong Cottages, will be surprised to find out that the Flycatcher Villa and the Sunbird Rondavel now each boast a fabulous new add on!  The 6-sleeper Flycacther Villa has a private sparkling pool and new deck furniture, while next door’s Sunbird Rondavel has its own private heated Jacuzzi.  These new additions are the perfect bonus for your summer holiday.  Book online today, but hurry, space is limited.

The 4-star Shangri-La Country Hotel & Spa just outside Modimolle has hung up their Christmas decorations and has put up its tree – literally. Of course, it is made up of fairly lights, but its magical nonetheless. Remember to book the delicious Christmas Day lunch at Shangri-La (details here) and while you’re there take a look at our brand new venue: the renovated Kraal; now boasting shebeen-style Sunday Lunches! Call 014 718 1600 now to book!

Visitors to the Elephant Springs Cabanas in Bela Bela will be delighted by the ground floor units’ brand new corner units! Come see these new corner units yourself this holiday and book online here!

Travel writer Roxanne Reid has recently published two blogs that feature Abalone House as well as its Reuben’s Restaurant. The fantastic photographs showcases the 5-star Paternoster boutique hotel, its superb restaurant, as well as imagery of the West Coast village. Read them here and here.

Shangri-La wins at provincial 2016 Lilizela Tourism Awards

IMG_6052Hot on the heels of the announcement of the 2016 Provincial  Lilizela Tourism Awards comes the news of Shangri-La’s big win.  

Alongside its fellow nominated sibiling (the 5-star Abalone House & Spa received one nomination in the category Visitor Experience, Lap of Luxury) the 4-star Shangri-La Country Hotel & Spa received two nominations, one for Visitor Experience, Lap of Luxury, and the other for Service Excellence – Accommodations, 4 Star Hotel, winning in the category Visitor Experience, Lap of Luxury.  This makes it the second consecutive year that Shangri-La has received a provincial award from the Lilizela Tourism Awards.

According to the press release a total of 1 122 South African products and services put their names in the hat to be selected as finalists for the various provincial awards which will take place in September, during Tourism Month.  Some 589 have made the cut (amongst which are Abalone House & Spa in Paternoster and Shangri-La Country Hotel & Spa in Modimolle) and will now vie for the title of being the best in their respective provinces with the hope of ultimately competing at the national ceremony taking place on 16th of October at the Sandton Convention Centre in Johannesburg where the country’s best of the best will be announced and honoured.

The Lilizela Tourism Awards are designed to recognise only the best in the South African tourism industry with the aim to drive the industry to levels of product and service excellence.

The provincial awards for the Western Cape will take place at the end of September while the Limpopo ceremony was held on the 20th of September 2016.

For more information on the Lilizela Tourism Awards visit www.lilizela.co.za.

SOA’s Spring Sundays in September

Spring SundaysSouth of Africa presents another enticing promotion just in time for Spring 2016!  Guests who book select roomtypes at any of South of Africa’s hotels and cottages for stay-over on any Sunday during September, will pay unprecedented rates that will not be repeated.

Here’s how it works:
• If you are planning to stay at any one of our properties on a Sunday night in September, then this offer is for you.
• Every Thursday before that weekend’s Sunday, a special rate will be made available online for that upcoming Sunday (for example, on Thursday 1 September, the special rate for Sunday 4 September will be made public).
• This reveal will only occur on the official Facebook pages of the South of Africa properties, as well as appear in the Facebook feeds on their official websites.
• Guests can then proceed in booking the upcoming Sunday night’s accommodation at a ridiculously low price.
• BONUS DISCOUNT:  Members who have signed up for South of Africa’s rewards programme (click here to sign up now!) will be eligible for an additional 20% discount on the already discounted prices for that specific Sunday night’s stay when they use their promocode on the official SOA booking portals!!!  Note that any new members who sign up on the Thursday, Friday or Saturday prior to the upcoming Sunday will only be granted membership status the following Monday (this also includes signing up on the Sunday itself).  However once signed up, your membership status will allow you to book the next Sunday’s special rate with your 20% discount added.  Sign up now!
• The valid dates of the Spring Sundays promotion are:  Sunday 4 September 2016 (announced Thursday 1st), Sunday 11 September 2016 (announced Thursday 8th), Sunday 18 September 2016 (announced Thursday 15th) and Sunday 25 September 2016 (announced Thursday 22nd).

Small print:

  • The Spring Sunday promotion is only valid for online reservations.
  • Call in / e-mail requests will not be honoured and guests will be referred to the online booking platform.
  • The Sunday night rates are only applicable to that specific Sunday that is announced the Thursday prior.
  • The rates may differ every Sunday.
  • The offer is subject to availability and applies to select roomtypes only.
  • Rooms may not be held in advance so as to offer fair availability for all potential guests.
  • No refunds.

Participating properties:
• Abalone House, Paternoster
• Shangri-La Country Hotel, Modimolle
• Birdsong Cottages, Modimolle
• Funky Stay Backpackers, Modimolle
• Elephant Springs Hotel, Bela Bela
• Elephant Springs Cabanas, Bela Bela
• Bid Huisie, Prince Albert
• Kliphuisie, Paternoster
• Seaside Cottages, Paternoster

SiteMinder publishes SOA case study

gI_60142_SM%20logo%20-%20squareGlobal giant SiteMinder, the leading cloud platform for hotels, published a unique case study on South of Africa on their website.  SiteMinder’s unique and award-winning service, which enables online distribution of inventory, has more than 20,000 hotel customers and 400 of the industry’s top connectivity providers as their partners with presence in more than 160 countries on six continents.

The case study shows how important it is in today’s tourism climate to partner with the right service provider which ensures that travellers reap the benefits of up to date availability, convenient online booking and the latest rates.  Read the full article here.

The countdown to Spring has begun…

Spring is but a month away and as winter comes to a close, South of Africa is preparing for a magnificent season of rebirth and rejuvenation. From the blooming of the West Coast flowers to the perfect venues for celebrating a fantastic work year, South of Africa has everything you need and more!

Explore our selection of Spring Specials in our Specials section and call 087 820 5999 for reservations or e-mail bookings@southofafrica.com.

SOA’s Christmas In July Sale

soa website icon newsChristmas came early this year with South of Africa’s first-of-a-kind Christmas In July Sale!!!  On Monday 25 July 2016 guests were given the chance to book select room types on each establishment’s official Booking Button page at never-to-be-repeated prices for stays between 1 and 31 August 2016.  The Christmas In July Sale lasted for 1 hour only and took place between 10am and 11am CAT.

Access to the sale was via the official Booking Button page of each hotel’s website and visitors were required to enter the promocode XMAS in the Promotional Code block at the top right hand corner of the page to qualify for the special advertised rates on select room types.

According to SOA’s Marketing Manager, Egmond du Plessis, the sale was preceded with heavy online marketing which had an overwhelmingly positive response from past guests and fans of their social media pages.  Keeping the sale limited to online reservations was according to Du Plessis not just a strategic move, but also for customers’ convenience.  “Booking online has become the norm,” says Du Plessis, “and our guests know what they want.  Since or connection to SiteMinder’s Booking Button, guests can now also take advantage of special rates through our promocode system and they can conveniently book on their cellphones, desktops and other mobile devices anywhere they have an internet connection.”  Further feedback states that the sale was received very well and some rooms were sold out in minutes.  “Will we offer another online sale like this?  We just might!” says Du Plessis, smiling.

Mandela Day 2016 celebrations

IMG_5067South of Africa celebrated Mandela Day on 18 July 2016 by giving their support to two worthy causes.  A local community outreach in Bela Bela (at the Bela Bela Sanfa Stadium in Mandela Village) was supported by South of Africa’s employees as they set up a soup station for the elderly and local visitors.  The outreach also promoted a healthy lifestyle for the community as well as light athletics for the elderly and differently abled.   Thabo Mothokwa from Bela Bela Game Changers thanked South of Africa for the generosity, support and helping hand in making their Mandela Day initiative happen, with the hope for continued support in future projects as they continue to give back to the community.

Employees from SOA’s Limpopo hotels also journeyed to Mookgopong’s Naboom Home For The Aged.  The team helped with the lunch time preparations and served both the elderly and the employees of the home with hearty food!  SOA Managing Director, Stef Venter, attended the event with the support of staff from Shangri-La, Elephant Springs, Funky Stay and Birdsong.  The team was also joined by Mr Venter’s mother, Magda, who helped with the charity work.

South of Africa boasted branded Mandela Day t-shirts which were clearly visible at both events.  Pictures were posted on the official Facebook pages of the proceedings.  According to HR Manager Khatija Mahomed, who organized the events, she said that she is extremely proud to be part of the SOA Family. “We went out there and did something great for people that are less fortunate than us and we did it with a smile, not just for 67 minutes but for the whole day!”   She also quoted Nelson Mandela’s famous quote “After climbing a great hill, one only finds that there are many more hills to climb,” saying that our job doesn’t end here and that it is important to take care of our community every day of the year.

Year End Functions 2016

South of Africa has announced a series of Year End Function packages at six of its properties, ranging from the luxurious 5-star Abalone House in Paternoster to the self-catering bush venue Birdsong Cottages outside Modimolle.

The Year End Function packages range from a venue-only option to an all inclusive 24-hour affair.  Simply click on the below icons to download the package information of your choice.  Additional information is also available on Shangri-La’s website and Abalone House’s website.

Elephant Springs Abalone House Shangri-La
Birdsong Cottages Seaside Cottages Funky Stay


Important notice to holiday makers

giving idAn important announcement in the Tourism Industry has once again brought to light a very important aspect of travelling South of Africa feels is important for all guests and holiday makers to its properties to know.

As of 26 May 2014, the Immigration Act 13 of 2002 (the “Act”) has been amended.  Section 40(1) of the Act, read together with Regulation 36, states that all hotels and motels must keep a register containing details of all persons who are provided with lodging or sleeping accommodation.

All guests are required to provide positive ID when checking into any accommodation establishment and that a copy of the ID document needs to be taken by the hotel for purposes of this legislation. Despite the push-back from the public, according to Section 40(1), both parties (establishment and guest) can now be penalised for non-compliance.

South of Africa abides by this legislation and thanks all its guests for their cooperation.  The requirement for positive ID is already imposed by airlines, car rental companies, booking agents, ticketing agents etc.


The Register must, in respect of a lodger, contain:
1. his or her full names and surname;
2. a copy of his or her identification document or passport;
3. his or her residence status in the Republic; and
4. his or her normal residential address;
5. his or her signature.

Under the Act each lodger must sign the register and furnish the prescribed particulars regarding himself or herself.

Penalties for non-compliance, both for the guest and the hotel / motel, include:
1. Guilty of an offence / crime;
2. Fine; and/or
3. Imprisonment for a period not exceeding 12 months.

Extracts from the Immigration Act and Regulations:

Section 40
40. Keeping of registers of lodgers by certain persons
(1) The person in charge of any premises, whether furnished or unfurnished, where lodging or sleeping accommodation is provided for payment or reward shall, if those premises fall within a prescribed class, in the prescribed manner keep a register of all persons who are provided with lodging or sleeping accommodation thereon, and every such person shall sign the register and furnish therein the prescribed particulars regarding himself or herself.

Regulation 36
Keeping of registers of lodgers by certain persons
36. (1) The classes of premises contemplated in section 40(1) of the Act are-
(a) hotels and motels;
(b) boarding houses and lodges;
(c) guest houses; and
(d) apartment buildings.

Investing in the youth on Youth Day


Smiling faces from the little ones that visited Abalone House & Spa on Youth Day.

Families visiting Elephant Springs in Bela Bela and Shangri-La outside Modimolle during the Youth Day long weekend (16 June – 19 June 2016) are in for a nice surprise.  All children will receive a little gift from South of Africa!

The goal of celebrating this important public holiday, says Managing Director Stef Venter, is to give back to the youth.  Education is the most important gift a child can receive, and although many enjoy the holiday without putting much thought into the reason behind it, Venter says that this day was granted this special status by government for a reason.  “Forty years ago the youth fought for their right to be educated, and today many take this for granted, while others still struggle to get the proper education they deserve,” he says, referring to recent events in the news where universities and campuses underwent riots from protesting learners.

Venter also says that “the gift of crayons and colouring books to our guests’ children is a small token of our appreciation of the youth of today.  We’re investing in the little ones, from pre-schoolers to young primary school children for a reason as they will one day lead our beautiful country and also hopefully run and manage South of Africa of the future.”

The announcement came as a last minute surprise for guests who will be staying at the Elephant Springs Hotel & Cabanas in Bela Bela, as well as the Shangri-La Country Hotel & Spa outside Modimolle (which boasts a fantastic kiddies playroom).

The 5-star Abalone House & Spa in Paternoster will celebrated this special day by inviting local children to a morning of fun and games, giving back to the community that has stood by it since opening in 2010.  “Even though Abalone House only caters to guests with children ages 12 and up, the children of Paternoster are part of our daily lives,” says manager Leigh Longden as she refers to the recent birth of waitron Nicole Phillips’ little girl, an employee of Abalone House.

Youth Day on 16 June is a public holiday in South Africa and commemorates a protest which resulted in a wave of protests across the country known as the Soweto uprising of 1976. It came in response to multiple issues with the Bantu Education Act and the government edict in 1974 that Afrikaans be used as medium of instruction for certain subjects in black schools.

Trip Advisor awards for Abalone House and Shangri-La

ta promotion 2016The South of Africa properties Abalone House & Spa and Shangri-La Country Hotel & Spa were both awarded with the prestigious Trip Advisor Award of Excellence 2016.  “This is a fantastic achievement,” says Managing Director, Stef Venter.  “Guest feedback is of the utmost important to us, and we take note of all the feedback our past guests share on this review platform.  It not only helps us in focussing on areas that our guests feel are lacking, but also showcases areas which we are excelling at. Customer Service is one of our top priorities, and we value each guest’s review.”

This is the fifth consecutive Trip Advisor Award of Excellence for Abalone House in Paternoster, and the fourth consecutive award for Shangri-La in Modimolle.

To celebrate these prestigious awards, Shangri-La and Abalone House are offering their guests a “little something” to say thank you for reviewing them on Trip Advisor:  a 20% discount on all new bookings made for stays between 10 June and 31 July 2016 on their respective official booking sites.  All that guests have to do is visit the Booking Button portal (available by clicking on the BOOK NOW button on their pages) and enter the promo code TRIPADVISOR to qualify for the discount.  T’s & C’s apply.

For more guest reviews, simply follow the links on the hotels’ individual pages.

South of Africa visits Indaba 2016

siteminderThe international trade show Indaba, held annually in Durban, Kwazulu-Natal, once again took place during the Mother’s Day weekend this May.  South of Africa’s Marketing Manager, Egmond du Plessis, attended the Indaba 2016 on behalf of South of Africa.

“It is always a treat visiting the Indaba, and Indaba 2016 was no different.  Albeit a smaller show in comparison to the previous years, the show was nonetheless a very important platform for South African tourism,” says Du Plessis, who manages the online visibility and social media of South of Africa.

A special treat, according to Du Plessis, was meeting the many digital platforms, including booking engine Expedia, and online service provider SiteMinder, which has been SOA’s link to the “outside world” since September 2014.  The informal meeting with Lisa Horne from SiteMinder ended with social media posts from both parties (the picture is featured here).

Social media was also a huge player at Indaba 2016 with a special “big screen” displaying all the hashtag mentions of #INDABA2016 in the foyer.  The three Twitter accounts for South of Africa, Shangri-La and Abalone House all had a moment or two on the “big screen” when the tweets from these accounts showed up on the timeline.

Du Plessis says that the meetings at Indaba 2016 have resulted in great new opportunities which will be making its appearance on many different platforms in the upcoming months.  “Our aim at Indaba is to stay up to date with the latest trends, and meeting with the role players who are at the forefront of South African Tourism is vital and beneficial to our guests.”

Lilizela Tourism Awards 2016

lilizela-banner-300x250-2015South of Africa’s first 5-star and 4-star establishments, Abalone House & Spa in Paternoster, and Shangri-La Country Hotel & Spa in Modimolle, are entrants in the  Lilizela Tourism Awards 2016 in the categories Service Excellence and Visitor Experience (each with select sub-categories).

Guests are all invited to vote for these two hotels.  These awards honour and celebrate those who make a remarkable impact on tourism in South Africa.  If you enjoyed your experience and would like to see our hotels walk away with this prestigious award, please follow the links below to vote.

In 2015 Shangri-La won two provincial awards, for both Scenic Beauty and 4-star accommodation hotel.

Service Excellence, Accommodation

  • Vote for Abalone House & Spa here
  • Vote for Shangri-La Country Hotel & Spa here

Visitor Experience, Scenic Beauty

  • Vote for Abalone House & Spa here
  • Vote for Shangri-La Country Hotel & Spa here

Visitor Experience, Lap of Luxury

  • Vote for Abalone House & Spa here
  • Vote for Shangri-La Country Hotel & Spa here

Visitor Experience, Beach Experience

  • Vote for Abalone House & Spa here

Visitor Experience, Wildlife Encounters

  • Vote for Shangri-La Country Hotel & Spa here

South of Africa mobi-site launched

southofafricamobiKeeping up with the times is vital, especially when your guests are enjoying the benefits of the ever expanding online mobile choices on the market today.  Despite having designed an already user-friendly and eye catching website, South of Africa has just launched its fantastic mobile friendly website.  Linked to both the website addresses www.southofafrica.com and www.southofafrica.mobi, this new feature will be sure to enhance visitors’ experiences.

What makes this mobile website unique is the fact that it has been designed keeping “the thumb” in mind.  Many mobile websites that are appealing are not always user friendly and does not accommodate for the most important finger when browsing on your mobile phone.  Although still offering high quality imagery, the large buttons and clear text makes it a breeze to read and access the various sections of the new mobi-site.  There is no zooming required whatsoever when visiting the mobile friendly platform and guests can make bookings in just a few clicks directly on their cellphones.  Each property page also offers a link to its own individual website, where visitors can browse for even more information.  The individual websites will also be given an individual mobile-enhanced version by late 2016.

The concept of the mobile-friendly website was to keep the information precise and to the point, with only select photographs used that allow for fast loading of the various webpages.  Visitors are also not overwhelmed with information and can make informed decisions on which sections they would like to visit and actions they wish to take.  The home page lets visitors choose between online bookings, self-catering accommodation, hotels, specials and more!  The nifty new feature also detects what device you are on, and will redirect desktop visitors to the desktop website and mobile visitors to the mobile version of the website.  With time being extremely precious, visitors will be delighted that they’ll be able to find their way around the site in mere seconds without the hassle of wasting time to look for something.

For more information, visit the brand new mobi-site at www.southofafrica.mobi or call Central Reservations for bookings on 087 820 5999.

6 Top tips on how to save more this Easter

easterkidsThey always say “the early bird catches the worm” and it couldn’t be clearer when you book these fantastic offers from select South of Africa properties.  Here are some handy tips on how to have an even better Easter escape:

  • Most of our hotels & cottages are within a 2 hour drive from Cape Town / Johannesburg. With the fuel price going down, you’ll save even more!
  • Booking early means you’ll save more – see our early bird deals below.
  • Going direct will save you even more & there are no hidden costs.
  • Save on eating out by considering self-catering long stays.  Our cottages and cabanas have all the standard amenities to ensure an enjoyable self-catering getaway.
  • Package deals are convenient and you will save even more and end up with more money in your pocket for spending!
  • Make your booking online by visiting our booking platforms – here you can view our latest HOT DEALS and also see availability which means you can plan your getaway properly and save time by doing so!

Apart from our hotels and cottages’ superb locations, you will fall in love with our friendly staff who will ensure that your getaway is a memorable experience in our African spaces and secret place!  Don’t forget to share your holiday-snaps with us on Facebook!

Four SOA properties receive 2015 Booking.com Awards

We’re extremely proud of our 4 properties who received the prestigious Booking.com awards for great customer service.  Congratulations are in order for Abalone House & Spa, Paternoster Cottages, Bid Huisie and Modimolle Funky Stay!  Both Abalone House and Bid Huisie received these awards last year, which makes it their second consecutive win.
South of Africa wishes to thank all of its Booking.com guests for their support and we are honoured and delighted by these awards.

GetIt Joburg North reviews Shangri-La

The following article was published by GetIt Joburg North on 25 Janaury 2016.

Welcome to Shangri-La!

Feeling burnt out? Want to take a romantic holiday with that special man? Or maybe you just want some solid me-time. Well, welcome to the 4-star Shangri-La Country Hotel & Spa, a paradise escape nestled in the picturesque, bustling bushveld town of Modimolle.

It’ll take you less than two hours to get there, even if you’re as navigationally challenged as we are. But if, like us, you also have the time management skills of a broken clock, you’ll be glad to know that hotel staff will always make a plan for you. When we rang up to ask them to keep some dinner aside for us if possible, we were told the chef would be informed and would keep the kitchen open until we arrived. Talk about VIP treatment!

When we arrived, we were shown straight to the Heritage Restaurant. Now, we’re the sort of people who go to restaurants and change tables three times before wrestling with the dilemma of which chair ‘feels right’ … but we’d be happy to be seated anywhere in this lavish baroque-themed dining hall again. Enclosed in glass, scattered with hanging chandeliers and candelebras and decorated with antique furniture, a beautiful fireplace and dramatic oversized paintings and mirrors, the Heritage Restaurant is the perfect setting for a romantic dinner.

And don’t even get us started on the food! The lamb shank was cooked to perfection and we were stunned by the excellent service from the staff. Our waiter, Alfred, was warm, welcoming and attentive, even suggesting we order the baked cheescake for dessert (which is fabulous by the way – a must-try!). Seriously, we don’t really like cheesecake, but we loved this one!

Our room was simple but lovely, decorated with rose petals and swan-shaped towels and we can’t remember the last time we had a better night’s sleep. Between the cushy mattress and the black curtains we wouldn’t have opened our eyes ’til noon if it hadn’t been for the 07.30am wake-up call we’d requested from reception. Breakfast time!

Breakfast on the sun deck of the Bellows Restaurant was almost as impressive as the dinner the night before, but more laid-back with a buffet to choose from and staff close at hand to cook those eggs exactly how you like them. We didn’t see much of the hotel the night before as it was already dark when we arrived, but now, in the morning light, it was everything the brochure had promised …  a paradise escape isolated from the outside world and the madness of modern life with its lush tropical gardens, a trickling waterfall, leaf-shaded stone pathways and natural wildlife.

Then it was down to the pool to park off in the sun and wait for our food to digest. Honestly, we could easily hang around by the water all day, but there are a number of other facilities available at the hotel to keep you and the kids busy, if they’re tagging along too. Think volleyball, a 9-hole putt-putt mini golf course, tennis court, an outdoor chess set, children’s playroom, stargazing, an amphitheatre and more! Not to mention that the surrounding areas are packed with places to go on a little adventure, from 4×4 drives to clay shooting.

Go on, we know you can’t resist … enjoy your romantic getaway. We know we did!

Read the article on the GetIt Joburg North website blog here.

Enjoy movie night at Shangri-La this December

MOVIES03Shangri-La outside Modimolle will be entertaining young and old this December with their unique “Movie Night” offering, showing a selection of films during the holiday season.  Kicking off on Saturday 19 December 2015, the Indaba Conference Venue has been transformed into a relaxing cinema – complete with big screen and popcorn machine!

There also won’t be any uncomfortable chairs in the cinema as the entire carpeted room has been adorned with a selection of beanbags for the family to laze in as they enjoy 3 blockbusters every day.  The movie schedule starts with a kiddies film at 5pm, followed by a family-friendly movie at 7pm, and ending the night with a more adult-themed film starting at 9pm.

This great activity is free to all guests of Shangri-La, who will also enjoy free popcorn – popped fresh every day before the first show.  Guests will be informed in advance of the great line up scheduled for the holiday season, but fan favourites such as Frozen, Mama Mia and Mission Impossible Ghost Protocol will be shown during the holidays.

For bookings to stay at Shangri-La, call 014 718 1600 or call our central reservations on 087 820 5999.

Shangri-La featured on Ontbytsake

IMG_0788South Africa’s favourite morning programme, Ontbytsake, will be featuring an insert on Shangri-La Country Hotel & Spa on Saturday 28 November 2015.

The insert, which showcases the beautiful property and its facilities, also features an exclusive interview with Managing Director, Stef Venter.

The programme, which is broadcast on kykNET channel 144, will be shown and repeated on these dates:

Featured in Ontbytsake
* Saturday 28 Nov 2015, between 7:30 – 9:00
* Repeat on Sunday 29 Nov 2015, between  7:30 – 9:00

Featured in Sakefokus
* Tuesday 1 Dec 2015, between 12:00 – 13:00
* Thursday 3 Dec 2015, between 12:00 – 13:00


First Aid Training at Elephant Springs

First Aid TrainingThe team at Elephant Springs, as well as their colleagues at the South of Africa Head Office (which is located next door), joined in an intensive yet entertaining First Aid training session on Friday 20 November 2015.

According to HR Manager, Khatija Mahomed, the training was not only enlightening, but also gave all present even more respect for what doctors and nurses do to keep us alive and safe.  Mahomed said that it was very important to keep all our employees up to date when it comes to the health and safety of our guests, and First Aid training is the ideal tool to keep employees informed and able to assist in cases of need.

South of Africa celebrates 2015 Gatsby-style


Celebrating a record-breaking 2015, South of Africa’s senior management joined in the Year End Function celebrations at Shangri-La Country Hotel & Spa on 9 November 2015.

The event, which was an entire day affair, started off with a meaningful walk in silence at Shangri-La’s Labyrinth, whilst the music “Theme from Time” played in everybody’s ears (courtesy of a little MP3-player gifted to all attendees).  A light breakfast followed, with a game of Musical Chairs leaving the last 4 standing the captains of the day’s planned activities.

Volleyball, Putt Putt and Action Cricket was played thereafter, and all the teams enjoyed the activities tremendously.  Team Australia won the Volleyball, whilst Team Argentina won the Action Cricket.  Johan Esterhuizen from Team Argentina won the Putt Putt!  A delicious lunch of home made pizzas (fresh from Shangri-La’s very own Pizza Oven) was served and everybody had an afternoon of leisure and time to prepare for the evening’s main event: a Gatsby-themed Awards Ceremony and Dinner.

A00_5921Managing Director Stef Venter presented the awards hosted at the pool area, which included South of Africa’s employee of the year (Joseph Chiliza from Central Reservations), GM of the year (Ken Strydom from Elephant Springs) and Achiever of Excellence (Shangri-La Country Hotel & Spa).  Further awards were handed out for Years of Service, Best Social Media and Guest Relations presence, as well as property level recognition awards and the Rising Star Award (which was awarded to Thabo Mashao from Shangri-La).

Once the drum was sounded, dinner was announced, and the guests of honour were transported to a magical Gatsby-themed gala hall, with superb décor and beautiful displays of the 1920s.  The transformed Boardroom, prepared by our very own in house Projects Manager, Mr Johan Esterhuizen, was a breath-taking sight.  A delicious Dinner was served, followed by an entertaining Casino Night, where everyone had the opportunity to enjoy black jack, roulette and much more.

An extensive gallery has been posted on Facebook which can be viewed here: https://www.facebook.com/shangrilacountryhotel/posts/947356092015104

Why Shangri-La supported the Beesloop

Mr Stef Venter and Mrs Toeks Erasmus at this year's Beesloop

Mr Stef Venter and Mrs Toeks Erasmus at this year’s Beesloop

The annual “Beesloop” (directly translated as “cow walk”) took place on Friday 30 October 2015 on the school grounds of the Hans Strijdom Hoërskool in Mookgophong.  The “Beesloop” Fair is a wonderful fundraising event for the local “Tehuis vir Bejaardes”.

The “Beesloop” event was a fun and humoristic highlight of the day.  A cow was let loose on the rugby field, which was marked in squares.  The squares were sold through tickets at the Hoërskool Hans Strijdom, Laerskool Eugéne Marais and Koedoeskop Laerskool.  The square the cow chose to “do his business on”, was the winning square and the ticket holder of that square received a whole cow!

Food stalls and arts and crafts stalls entertained visitors, followed by a parade from the local station to the school, complete with drum majorettes from the Warmbad Laerskool, horse riders dressed in Eastern costumes and colourful rafts.

Shangri-La Country Hotel & Spa was present on the day with a unique food stall. Visitors to the stand could also enter our competition to win a 2 night stay inclusive of breakfast at Shangri-La.

Mr Stef Venter, Managing Director, has a very special friendship with one of the organizers, Mrs Toeks Erasmus.  Mrs Erasmus was his high school tourism and cooking teacher, and in his final year, Mrs Erasmus took her students on a culinary trip, before ending their excursion at “one of the most beautiful properties” she knows – Shangri-La.  He fell in love with the hotel during their visit in 1996, thanks to Mrs Erasmus.  Years later, the pair bumped into one another by accident at Shangri-La, with Mrs Erasmus’ love for the country hotel still as strong as ever.

Through catching up, Mrs Erasmus’ passion for cooking was still evident, and although retired, she is still involved with cooking, and is raising funds for the upgrading of the local old age home’s kitchen.  “It was an easy decision to support the worthy cause that the Beesloop stands for,” sais Mr Venter, “and to bring the past and present together in such a special way is heartwarming.  I’m thrilled that Shangri-La is giving back to the community, and what a better way than to return the favour with somebody as special as my high school teacher that taught me so much about the tourism industry.”

Shangri-La: a wonderfully relaxed spot!

riverslWe always enjoy receiving feedback from our guests, but once so often something special comes along, and an inspired guest sends us a piece of their thoughts on paper.   Jon Quirk, recent guest at Shangri-La Country Hotel & Spa outside Bela Bela and Modimolle, sent us this lovely prose about his experience at our 4-star establishment.  Thank you for sending this in Jon!

Wonderfully relaxed spot, by Jon Quirk
Nirvana, heaven, zen- buddhist peace and tranquillity; the phrase Shangri-La conjures up all of that and more; yet can such a calm-zone exist in our troubled country of South Africa?

Yet little more than an hour and a half out of Jo’burg, almost as you get to the Waterberg and the bush therein and beyond, can be found the rustic haven of Shangri-La.

The heart and essence of the property is in the gardens, all meandering pathways and secluded havens of peace and charm. Take the time, go wandering and exploring; find your own little space of calm where you can properly chill out and lose those big-city neuroses.

Take a picnic, take a blanket, take a book, and find your spot to chill out with your loved one.

Rivulets and streams meander through, the two Labradors who live here will make space and allowances for you.

The inside is no less delightful and there are nooks, crannies, and interesting spaces to be explored. Just inside the deck, itself an excellent spot high up in the tree-line to quaff a glass of chilled white, is this little spot; the perfect chesterfield to lie out on and relax whilst reading the truly excellent new James Bond book Trigger Mortis (so good you won’t notice time slipping past until you get to page 294 and the end.)

Find it, and find it soon – oasis’ such as this don’t remain secret for long!

Fire prevention training at Elephant Springs

IMG_0412The employees of Elephant Springs and the South of Africa Head Office participated in an enlightening fire prevention training earlier this month.  Hosted by the local Fire Department, training was given to show the team how to deal with the outbreak of fires, which materials and equipment to use in the case of such events, and also which action to take.

According to HR manager Khatija Mahomed, the training was extremely important for all.  “This not only keeps the team’s knowledge on fire prevention fresh in their minds, but also shows them their important roles in this industry.  Their skills could potentially safe the lives of many guests and prevent serious damage to property.  We’re grateful to have been trained by the local professionals.”

Shangri-La wins 2 prestigious Lilizela Tourism Awards

Lilizela Tourism Awards Winner Shangri-La

The team of Shangri-La poses with their two Lilizela Tourism Awards

Shangri-La Country Hotel & Spa received two prestigious provincial Lilizela Tourism Awards on 24 September at the Tzaneen Country Lodge.  These Awards recognise and reward tourism players and businesses who work passionately and with pride to deliver a world class product and service and whose delivery grows South Africa’s global destination competitiveness.

It was Shangri-La’s first time entering the competition.  The Lilizela Tourism Awards give national recognition to establishments and raise their profile both here at home in South Africa and around the world, too. They provide great publicity and profiling on a number of platforms.

The two awards Shangri-La received on the provincial level, were for the departments Accommodation and Guest Experience, sub category Scenic Beauty.

The Lilizela Accommodation Awards are designed to encourage and motivate hotels to offer the best service, facilities and product that they can. The Accommodation Category give hotels an opportunity to celebrate excellence, creativity and innovation. Hotels have to be graded by the Tourism Grading Council of South Africa in order to be nominated.  Shangri-La walked away with this award for Best 4-star Country Hotel in Limpopo.

The Best Guest Experience, sub category Scenic Beauty, recognises and rewards businesses that enable visitors to experience South Africa’s scenic beauty in unique ways.  Shangri-La, who was also first time nominated in this category, was honoured with this exclusive award for Best Guest Experience (Scenic Beauty) in Limpopo.

National winners will be announced at a glittering and elegant event at the Sandton Convention Centre on 22 October 2015.  According to the Lilizela judges, it’s been an extensive judging process that confirmed the spirit of partnership that exists between the various provincial tourism authorities and the central, national destination marketing team. Both quality and quantity of entries received from across the country reminded us of the excellence in our tourism industry. Selecting provincial finalists was not an easy process due to the exceptionally impressive field of entries.

Congratulations Shangri-La with your impressive wins.  We’re holding thumbs for 22 October when the national winners are announced.

The Secret to Shangri-La

Discover the secret to Shangri-LaSouth Africa, Limpopo; If the rat-race is wearing you out and you need a break not too far away from the city, possibly with the kids in tow, then Shangri-La Country Hotel & Spa (a mere hour outside Johannesburg and 14km from Modimolle) has everything you need and much more.

Named for a fictional, mystical place described in James Hilton’s 1933 novel, Lost Horizon, Shangri-La is synonymous with this hidden paradise – permanently happy and isolated from the outside world. Shangri-La means “the place of eternal youth”, and once you’ve entered the magnificent and impressive archways of this jewel in the Waterberg, time stands still and you are assured of leaving refreshed and restored. This Limpopo-based secluded sub-tropical paradise in the heart of the Bushveld offers all the amenities and cheerful service you’d expect from a four-star property – without the hefty price tag.

The hotel, which celebrates its 25th anniversary this year, is the ideal destination for families, offering child-care facilities, family-friendly restaurants and numerous activities for both young and old.

If you need to unwind, book a treatment in the spa or relax on a lounger on the pool terrace. Located at Shangri-La’s iconic sparkling pool, the Spa forms part of the relaxation area. Offering two calm treatment rooms – one customized for couples – guests can expect a range of services from an enticing variety of massages and skin and body care treatments, in beautifully soothing surroundings which will ensure a deeply enjoyable experience.

The hotel provides a unique country setting for your destination wedding, with an appealing brick-face wedding chapel, a variety of romantic venues to host your ceremony, and a myriad of hidden garden nooks and Bushveld backdrops, including the impressive Jacaranda Lane, offering excellent opportunities for capturing your special day.

Shangri-La offers modern and well equipped conference facilities on site, boasting three charming venues – an ideal place to foster creative and productive events. The wide selection of facilities and break away venues make company team-building experiences a worthwhile investment.

Another unique aspect is the hotel’s fenced game breeding programme. Guests are spoilt with views of springbok, impala, nyala and rare breeds of antelope. A hike to the majestic 350-year-old wild fig tree, situated on the outskirts of this earthly paradise, makes for an exhilarating outing for the entire family.

Up for something energetic? Then grab a tennis racquet or head for the onsite volleyball court, take the kids for a game of putt-putt within the hotel grounds or go for an early-morning run along one of the trails. Other family-friendly activities include a snooker table (pool) and a giant outdoor chess set.

For the more adventurous, there’s game viewing, zip-lining, 4×4 trails, hot-air ballooning, horse-riding and abseiling in the area which enjoys a mild year-round climate. Nearby Modimolle has numerous historical places of interest and Bela Bela, just under 25km away, is renowned for its therapeutic hot springs, spa and endless fun in the Forever Resorts Warmbaths water park.

During the school holidays, Shangri-La is offering supervised children’s activities to entertain the young ones. Budding junior chefs can don their chef whites and join a Junior MasterChef Class to learn how to conjure up delicious dishes, guided by the in-house culinary team. For the adventurous, there’s action cricket, touch rugby and action soccer. Other fun activities include clay building, “eye-spy”, painting, marshmallow golf, musical chairs and much more. In summer there are swimming pool games which are ideal for keeping the youngsters busy in a safe monitored environment.

At night, kids join in the a la carte dining experience which includes a selection of themed dinners including Greek, Chinese, Italian and braai evenings. If you want some alone time, book a child-minder to look after the little ones while you indulge in a romantic candle-lit dinner and the children are treated to a kiddies’ movie night to watch the latest animated and family-friendly blockbusters, complete with popcorn, sodas or pure fruit juices for the health-conscious parent.  Child-minders can also be pre-arranged for day-time baby-sitting duties, or to watch over youngsters in their dedicated children’s room, which is equipped with toys, the latest X-box, beanbags, a flat-screen TV, loom-bands and colouring books.

Families are accommodated in one of four family units, which have adjoining rooms for children, king-sized beds for the adults, showers or baths. Two of the family rooms have prime positioning near the game camps so you can see the antelope, indigenous Boschveld chickens, monkeys and baboons from the wide colonial porch. Besides the wildlife, the hotel’s resident water-loving Labradors and coy cats provide endless amusement and occasional friendly companionship.

Another fantastic family activity or dreamy couples outing is the highly recommended star-gazing in the rustic amphitheater or cosy boma. Wait for the stars to come out and showcase the Southern Hemisphere’s striking Milky Way; from the Southern Cross to Orion, depending on the time of the year, guests young and old will be amazed. The setting of both venues is on the edge of Shangri-La’s main building and the only light is the low gloom of a sombre fire that crackles in the background, while the sounds of the vervet monkeys, meerkats and owls creates the mood of being in the heart of Africa.

With three concurrent TripAdvisor Awards of Excellence in 2013, 2014 and this year (for consistently high ratings from its travelers), as well as two 2015 provincial Lilizela Tourism Awards for Service Excellence (including Best Visitor Experience), the hotel has recently undergone extensive refurbishments to its main building, which include an nguni-inspired promenade, a sun deck, cellar, an additional 100-seater restaurant aptly named The Bellows, the Baroque-themed Heritage restaurant and the intimate Barry’s bar.

For cocktails and pre-dinner drinks, head for the cosy Barry’s Bar amid antique furniture and oil paintings, or the sociable wooden deck, which provides seating among the treetops. This is the ideal spot for socialising over cocktails, exploring their Diners Club award-winning wine list, or for after-dinner cognacs and nightcaps. The hotel also boasts a beautiful wine cellar.

Afternoon tea, champagne breakfasts and light meals are served on the patio, while the more intimate Heritage Restaurant offers lunches and sumptuous dinners for up to 40 guests. In the morning, the Bellows Restaurant – a spacious, sunny venue with a big roaring fireplace, serves hearty traditional South African and Continental breakfasts.

Unwind, relax and reconnect at Shangri-La – where you can well and truly push the snooze button on life and leave refreshed and rejuvenated.

The following Family Package, which includes kiddies programme activities, is available during the October and December school holidays:

Pay only R2290 per family per night inclusive of dinner and breakfast in a two bedroom Family Room, offering one main bedroom, sleeping two adults, and an inter-leading single bedroom for one child.  (School holidays: 2 – 12 October 2015 / 11 December 2015 – 11 January 2016)

For more information and to book, call Shangri-La direct on (27) (014) 718 1600; email bookings@shangrila.co.za or visit http://www.shangrila.co.za . Visit the Facebook page and Follow on Twitter

For press assistance contact Monique Roux of Manley Communications on 0861 MANLEY (626 539), email to monique@publicity.co.za  or visit the Press Room of Manley Communications at www.manleycommunications.co.za
To contact Ian and Lise Manley call 0861 MANLEY (626 539), send us an email, join us on Twitter, find us on Facebook, or visit the Press Room of Manley Communications at www.manley-communications.com.

Happy Heritage Day and National Braai Day

hhdFrom all of us at South of Africa, we wish all our guests, families and friends a happy Heritage Day and a tasty Braai Day!  A beautiful post on Facebook by our favourite chef, Reuben Riffel, sums up this celebration on 24 September 2015: “Today we get to reflect on and celebrate our unique South African heritage and take time out to enjoy great food and special times around the braai with family and friends. Hope your ‪#‎HeritageDay‬ is happy and blessed! ‪#‎BraaiDay.”

Elephant Springs & Shangri-La adverts on ANN7

advertyoutubeAfrica News Network7 (ANN7) is South Africa’s newest 24-hour news channel focusing on constructive, nation-building stories in the interests of building a culture of unity and pride in SA. The Elephant Springs Hotel & Cabanas in Bela Bela and Shangri-La Country Hotel & Spa has partnered with this leading news channel and began airing brand new adverts in selected time slots from the end of June.

According to the Elephant Springs Hotel General Manager, Mr Ken Strydom, it is an important platform to promote the conference facilities and the properties’ convenient location in and around Bela Bela.  “The 30 second advert will showcase our establishments to a wide variety of potential clients and guests, and the ANN7 news channel is the perfect match for us,” says Strydom.  The adverts were added to the South of Africa You Tube channel on the day after each advert’s first broadcast.  The Elephant Springs advert is scheduled to be shown every day on ANN7 on these dates: 24 – 27 June, 24 – 27 July and 24 – 26 August 2015.  The Shangri-La adverts are broadcast on: 20 – 23 August, 20 – 21 September and 20 – 23 October 2015.  Guests of the hotels can also tune in to ANN7 in their rooms whilst the news channel is also available on the television in the public areas.

ABOUT ANN7:  Headquartered at Midrand, Gauteng, ANN7 is set to become the most technologically advanced 24×7 news channel in South Africa. Its latest newsroom automation systems, cutting edge electronic news gathering technology and a network of sharp, young journalists and experienced editors gives a fresh perspective to the TV viewers of the country.  ANN7 gives ordinary South Africans access to both sides of stories of national importance.  Staffed by a team of over 76 journalists with experience in leading newsrooms like Al Jazeera, CNBC, SKY and ANN7 have dedicated teams for the different segments ranging from politics, to business, sports and entertainment news. For more information on ANN7, visit www.ann7.com.

South of Africa celebrates Mandela Day

image2 (11) IMG_5062This past Saturday, South of Africa celebrated the annual Mandela Day, on Saturday 17 July 2015.  Following on from the previous years’ event, South of Africa joined forces with local business to improve the facilities of Bosele Dawn Drop In Centre outside Bela Bela, by painting and renovating the facilities.

Says SOA Human Resources Manager, Ms Khatija Mahomed, “it was a thrill to be back at the Centre, and to lend a hand to improve this important facility in the local township.”  Apart from lending a helping hand, SOA also offered a hearty soup to the local community.

South of Africa also attended a second event on the day at a settlement outside Modimolle, where soup was offered to the needy and all who visited.  “We love giving back to the community,” says Mahomed, “and to celebrate this special day in honour of Nelson Mandela is a duty we feel strongly about.  We will continue to spread his message of good will.”

Win 1 of 2 weddings with Modi Mall & South of Africa

weddingselfie posterSouth of Africa is launching the competition of all competitions in association with Modi Mall and two of its wedding venues: Shangri-La and Birdsong Cottages.  Couples that are planning to tie the knot have the chance to win their wedding at either of the two hotels, simply by taking a selfie at either venue on selected dates, post it online, and follow the easy steps.  The two lucky couples that has the most likes on their photo, will win their wedding.

It’s easy – take a “Selfie” with your bride or groom to be at Shangri-La Country Hotel & Spa, or the Birdsong Cottages, share it on Facebook and tag the venue along with Modi Mall, and have your friends and family like your picture. South of Africa is giving away TWO weddings – one at Shangri-La and one at Birdsong Cottages. The picture representing each venue that has the most likes, will win a wedding to the value of R20 000!!!!

• Visit Shangri-La with your bride / groom to be on 15 August and 19 September 2015 between 10am and 2pm OR;
• Visit Birdsong Cottages with your bride / groom to be on 22 August and 26 September 2015 between 10am and 2pm ;
• Meet with our representatives who will offer a selection of venues to take your “Selfie” at;
• Like Modi Mall and the venue of your choice on Facebook
• Post your picture on the venue’s timeline on Facebook
• Tag your fiancee in the image
• Tag Modi Mall by naming them in your post (Facebook tag “@modimall”)
• Use the hashtag #WeddingSelfieSOA in your post
• The venue will share your photograph to their timeline within 24 hours during weekdays, and all images posted over weekends will be shared on Monday
• When you see your picture on the timeline, ask your friends to like your photograph.
• The photograph on each venue’s timeline with the most likes at 12pm on 31 October 2015 will be chosen as the winner for that property.

Two prizes are up for grabs – 1 wedding at Shangri-La Country Hotel & Spa, and 1 wedding at Birdsong Cottages for 60 guests, including the bridal couple. Both venues are located on the outskirts of Modimolle.

Each prize includes the following:
• Complimentary chapel
• Complimentary reception venue
• Standard table setting with cutlery and crockery for 60 guests
• Honeymoon suite for the wedding couple on the night of their wedding

The following items are not included:
• Food and drinks
• Specialized cutlery / crockery / table settings
• Decor and entertainment
• Accommodation for guests
• Transport to and from the venue
• All other items and costs not mentioned as part of the prize are the responsibility of the winning couple.

• The winning couples may not transfer their prize to another party.
• Should the couple terminate their engagement, the prize offer will be cancelled and will not be offered to the second photo of that property with the most likes.
• Only photographs posted on the timeline of the participant’s chosen venue with the correct tagging of Modi Mall will be considered as an entry into the competition.
• Entrants’ name and surname will be shared with the image on the venue(s) timeline. If the fiancee is tagged in the image, his / her name will also be shared.
• Wedding must be held before 30 November 2016 and excludes peak season dates (1 December 2015 – 15 January 2016), special occasions (Valentines Day / Mother’s Day / Father’s Day / Woman’s Day) and Public Holidays or Long Weekends.
• The prize may not be exchanged for cash.
• The wedding date(s) are subject to availability.
• Food may not be outsourced for your wedding. Specialized menus are available to cater to your needs.
• Special overnight rates are available for guests that wish to stay on site or at South of Africa’s nearby hotels.
• The venue will allocate a certain amount of time for the wedding subject to the time of day the wedding is held.
• The winning couples are expected to meet with management of the venue to discuss the wedding plans.
• Upon the announcement of the winners on Monday 2 November, the winning couples have until 14 November to claim their prize. Positive indentification is required.
• The venue’s standard wedding contract covers all matters not mentioned on this website and the winning couple will be bound by these terms and conditions.
• Facebook and Twitter in no way endorses or are involved in this competition.
• South of Africa and Modi Mall will in no way be held liable for any damages that may arise from the sharing of the photograph and names as posted on the wall of the chosen venue. If entrants wish to cancel their entry into the competition, e-mail marketing@southofafrica.co.za with the request for the details and photograph to be removed.
• The judges’ decision is final and no correspondence will be entered into.

South of Africa launches great competition with Modi Mall

A5 Modimall CompetitionYou can win one of five great holidays at select South of Africa properties when you make any purchase at the Modi Mall in Modimolle, write your name and number on the back of the till slip, and deposit your slip in to the provided entry boxes located around the mall.

This great competition in association with Modi Mall, the Waterberg’s shopping destination of choice, is launched on 1 May 2015 and will run until 31 July  2015.  The fabulous prizes are for a 2 night stay at one of these five South of Africa’s properties:

  • Elephant Springs Cabanas in Bela Bela for 6 adults;
  • or  Birdsong Cottages outside Modimolle for 6 adults;
  • or  Shangri-La Country Hotel & Spa (4-star) outside Modimolle / Bela Bela for 2 adults;
  • or  Seaside Cottages in Paternoster for 4 adults;
  • or  Abalone House & Spa (5-star) in Paternoster for 2 adults

South of Africa is also set to open a satellite store in the mall during the course of the competition, where visitors to the store will also have the opportunity to receive discount vouchers and win more great prizes.  “We’re very excited to launch this wonderful competition with Modi Mall,” says director Stef Venter. “We’ve been part of the local community for 25 years and look forward to giving back to our local supporters by spoiling 5 lucky winners with our true South African hospitality they have come to know and love.”

South of Africa has four establishments within a 40km radius of the Modi Mall, including the 4-star Shangri-La Country Hotel & Spa, and the Modimolle Funky Stay which is located just 3km’s from the mall.

See you in store!  Watch our Facebook pages for regular updates and photographs.

Shangri-La celebrates its 25th birthday on Mother’s Day

The 4-star Shangri-La Country Hotel & Spa is celebrating its 25th birthday on Mother’s Day, 10 May 2015.  Since opening its doors on this annual celebration, Shangri-La has become the top destination in the Waterberg, offering a selection of facilities ranging from weddings, conferencing, spa treatments and much more.

Says Director Stef Venter, “Shangri-La’s focus for its 25th birthday is family, and because all of our achievements were possible because of our entire family of friends, employees and loved ones, we’re transforming Shangri-La in to a perfect for family getaway destination.”

Recent additions to Shangri-La that will be officially opened on Mother’s Day, is the brand new Putt Putt mini-golf course, an open air chess board, as well as the new outdoor venue “The Pavilion” that is ideal for outdoor weddings and functions.  Manager Pieter Erasmus says that he is delighted that Shangri-La is “expanding”, improving not only its offering, but also giving families that visit Shangri-La an experience that is catering to their needs.

Shangri-La’s birthday celebrations will kick off with Family Breakfast Picnic Baskets that guests can book in advance.  Baskets are for 2 adults and 2 children and cost R195.  Guests will also receive a complimentary round of putt putt with their picnic baskets.  This breakfast offering is served from 7am to 10am.

Canapes will be offered to guests who attend the opening of The Pavilion and its surrounding rose gardens, followed by the Mother’s Day 4-course buffet luncheon served from 12pm.  Bookings are essential.  To book, call 014 718 1600.

Shangri-La also offers an overnight weekend package at only R995 per adult sharing per night.  The package includes:
• 1 night’s shared accommodation inclusive of breakfast daily in our standard hotel rooms.
• Dinner for two.
• Neck, back and shoulder massager per person.
• Wine on arrival and a bouquet of flowers, with a special Mother’s Day gift.

The package is subject to availability and is valid for the entire month of May (1 – 31 May 2015).  Bookings are essential.

Groupon Winter Deals

Image1Following the success of the 2014 Winter Campaign, South of Africa has just launched brilliant deals with world renowned online platform Groupon.

The participating properties all offer a 2 night stay, valid from 1 May – 31 July 2015.  Guests can choose from a delightful bush escape at the Birdsong Cottages in the Waterberg or a 2 night stay at the colourful Modimolle Funky Stay.  The Standard Deluxe Rooms at Elephant Springs Hotel in Bela Bela rounds off the establishments taking part in the exclusive Groupon Winter Deals.

Purchase your coupons through Groupon here.  (Remember to enquire about availability before buying your vouchers.)

SOA at Funama Wedding Expo

Img_7636South of Africa attended the annual Funama Wedding Expo in Polokwane during the last weekend in March, showcasing our lovely Waterberg wedding venues.

Following the success of the 2014 event, South of Africa returned to this great platform and met with many potential clients and interested couples.  As a special add on, visitors to the stand were treated with a unique spa treatment provided by Essence of Youth, the on site Spa at Shangri-La.

For more information about the wedding facilities of the four Limpopo venues (Shangri-La, Elephant Springs, Birdsong Cottages and Funky Stay), click here.


New Putt Putt course at Shangri-La

Img_7309The 4-star Shangri-La Country Hotel & Spa on the outskirts of Bela Bela and Modimolle will soon be boasting its very own Putt Putt course.  This 9-hole mini golf course is a fantastic new addition that adds to the charm of Shangri-La becoming the Waterberg’s number one destination for family getaways.

The course is set amidst lush bushveld trees and bushes and guests can savour the true African surrounding while enjoying a round of mini golf.  The last hole is also the most difficult, with a unique challenge.  Players who manage to hit a hole in one on this last hole will also enjoy a complimentary gift once the course is operational.

The Putt Putt course is but one of the new developments at Shangri-La that aims at increasing the on site activities for families and couples that visit the country hotel.  Says Director Stef Venter, “we’ve recently introduced an outside garden chess board, a kids play room and regular fun events like the kiddies MasterChef classes so that our guests can have a wide variety of activities right on their doorstep.”

The Putt Putt course is expected to have its official opening in April 2015.  Watch this space for more information.


SOA at Exclusive Getaways Workshop

Img_0003[1]South of Africa is attending the Exclusive Getaways workshop in Cape Town today, 12 March 2015, and is represented by our professional consultants from AI Marketing, under the lead of Mrs Annette Ashley.

The workshop promises to be a fantastic networking opportunity for all present, and a great platform from whence to introduce the South of Africa portfolio, which includes 5 properties in the Western Cape.  South of Africa also attended this magnificent workshop in 2014 in association with AI Marketing.

Exclusive Getaways is one of South Africa’s leading safari experts and organisers. They specialise in tailor-made private four-and five-star wildlife safaris throughout South Africa and also book an exciting variety of other getaways in South Africa, ranging from beach holidays to forest and mountain retreats, golfing trips, luxury rail safaris, hot-air balloon adventures, city stays, and more.

Let’s take a “Selfie” promotion

selfielarge2Get a complimentary glass of house wine / local beer or soft drink / milk shake with the SELFIE promotion this Easter at our participating Restaurants.

Take a picture of yourself (and your partner!) with your dinner, tag the name of the hotel that you are at and upload it to Facebook or Twitter and show your waiter to receive the complimentary beverage.

 Terms & Conditions

  • Valid every Friday and Saturday night  until 30 April 2015 during dinner service (6pm – closing time)
  • To qualify for this offer, 1 item from our main course menu must be ordered per person.
  • The Selfie-promotion is applicable to 2 adults only.  Maximum of 2 children under the age of 16 will also receive a complimentary soft drink or milk shake when included in the picture.
  • If you are a group of friends, the picture must be shared by every person / couple in the group in order for each person, that ordered a main course from our menu, to receive the complimentary drink.
  • Only 1 drink per guest, irrelevant of the number of photos taken and shared online.
  • Our hotel name must be tagged correctly in order to qualify. For assistance, please ask your waiter.
  • Not applicable to conference groups, site inspection and educational groups.
  • May not be used in conjunction with stay-over packages that are inclusive of dinner.
  • Restaurants participating are Reuben’s at Abalone House in Paternoster, the Bellows and Heritage Restaurants at Shangri-La in Modimolle, and the in-house restaurant at Elephant Springs in Bela Bela.
  • Beverage choices are subject to availability.

 Facebook tags:

  • Reuben’s at Abalone House:  “abalonehouse”
  • Shangri-La Country Hotel & Spa:  “shangrilacountryhotel”
  • Elephant Springs Hotel & Cabanas:  “elephantsprings”
  • Birdsong Cottages:  “birdsongcottages”
  • Modimolle Funky Stay:  “modimollefunkystay”

 Twitter tags:

  • Reuben’s at Abalone House:  @abalonehouse
  • Shangri-La Country Hotel & Spa:  @stayatshangrila
  • All other hotels:  @southofafrica01

Spend Mother’s Day with South of Africa

Mothers-DayPlanning your special Mother’s Day getaway is a great excuse to book the fantastic overnight packages running for the entire month of May at Elephant Springs Hotel and Shangri-La Country Hotel & Spa in the Waterberg.

If you want to treat mom to a decadent outing, why not indulge in the mouth watering cuisine at Reuben’s at Abalone House in Paternoster on the West Coast (for bookings call 022 752 2044).  Or if you are based in the north of South Africa, the Shangri-La Country Hotel & Spa near Modimolle / Bela Bela (who also celebrates its 25th birthday on Mother’s Day!) will offer a buffet luncheon  at only R225.00 per adult, R175 for pensioners and R112.50 for children 4 – 12 (for bookings call 014 718 1600).

The overnight packages at Shangri-La and Elephant Springs are valid for the entirety of May.  Book these fantastic offers today:

May Mothers Month Package, Elephant Springs Hotel

Spend this May at the Elephant Springs Hotel and celebrate Mother’s Month with us.  Indulge with a delectable dinner for two, a surprise room drop as well as our scrumptious breakfast the next morning.

• 1 night’s shared accommodation inclusive of breakfast in our standard hotel rooms.
• Dinner for two.
• Surprise Mother’s Month room drop.

Pay only R750 per adult sharing per night.

Terms & Conditions:
Subject to availability. Valid 1 – 31 May 2015.

May Mothers Month Package, Shangri-La

Spend a night at Shangri-La during their 25th birthday celebrations this May.  Join the festivities as we honour all mothers during Mother’s Month and receive a flower bouquet, a special Mother’s Day gift as well as sparkling wine on arrival. Indulge with the tantalizing dinner for two, a neck, back and shoulder massage as well as breakfast the next morning.

• 1 night’s shared accommodation inclusive of breakfast daily in our standard hotel rooms.
• Dinner for two.
• Neck, back and shoulder massager per person.

Pay only R995 per adult sharing per night.

Terms & Conditions: 
Subject to availability. Valid 1 – 31 May 2015.

ADD ON:  Enjoy our buffet luncheon on Mother’s Day, Sunday 10 May 2015 at only R225.00 per adult, R175 for pensioners and R112.50 for children 4 – 12.  Bookings essential. Call 014 718 1600.

Great Easter Deals from South of Africa

holidayThe upcoming Easter Holidays are already on everybody’s lips!  Why not take advantage of South of Africa’s superb destinations with these fantastic Easter Specials, ranging from a 2 night stay at select Limpopo properties (including great Family Packages at the 4-star Shangri-La Country Hotel & Spa) to an unbeatable Bed & Breakfast offer from the 5-star Abalone House & Spa in Paternoster on the West Coast.

But hurry! Space is limited and rooms are selling fast.  Book online or call 087 820 5999.

Abalone House & Spa offer:

Get away these Easter Holidays and stay in the heart of the West Coast at Abalone House & Spa in Paternoster.  Book our Standard Superior or Luxury Superior bedrooms and indulge in the 5-star luxuries of the exquisite boutique hotel boasting a Reuben’s Restaurant and Healing Earth Spa on site.

Pay only R2390pn for our Standard Superior Rooms or R3190pn for our Luxury Superior Rooms.

Book online here or call 022 752 2044.

Valid 1 April 2015 – 3 May 2015.  Subject to availability.


Shangri-La Country Hotel & Spa offer:

Kids stay free when you bring the family to Shangri-La these Easter holidays to enjoy a fun-filled weekend getaway at the 4-star country hotel & spa.  Take advantage of the great range of activities available for the kids, including tennis courts, putt putt and volley ball courts, a kids play room with Xbox, toys and games, as well as the sparkling hotel pool with splash pool for the youngsters.

On Friday night enjoy the Table d’Hotel dinner, and on Saturday indulge in our wood oven baked pizzas and delectable pasta dishes.  Feast on our Full English breakfast each morning and get delicious hot cross buns in room on arrival.  On Easter Weekend kids enjoy our Easter Egg Hunt, while every other weekend kids enjoy our MasterChef Class where they create their own chocolates on the Saturday morning.


  • 2 night’s shared accommodation in Family Rooms
  • Breakfast daily
  • Dinner on Friday (Table d Hotel) and Saturday (Pizza & Pasta evening)
  • Hot cross buns on arrival in room
  • Sunday morning Easter Egg Hunt for kids during Easter Weekend / MasterChef Class for kids on every other weekend

Pay only R995 per adult sharing per night.


  • Subject to availability.
  • Valid all weekends in March / April 2015.
  • Kids stay free – maximum of 2 children under the age of 12.  Children 12 + pay R330 per child supplement per day.


Modimolle Funky Stay offer:

Get away from the hustle and bustle this upcoming Easter Weekend!  Stay at Modimolle Funky Stay and pay only R490.00 per room per night inclusive of breakfast.

Call to book 087 820 5971 or 087 820 5999 or book online here.

Valid for the weekend 3 – 6 April 2015.  Minimum 2 night stay applies.


Birdsong Cottages offer:

Stay at the Birdsong Cottages this Easter Weekend. Take the family to enjoy a weekend away in the heart of the bushveld.  Kids are treated to an Easter Egg Hunt when you book our fantastic offer.

  • Owls Cottage B: Only R650 per night
  • Franklin or Guineafowl: Only R700 per night per cottage
  • Owls Cottage A or Sunbird Cottage: Only R800 per night per cottage
  • Flycatcher Villa or Kingfisher Cottage:  Only R1100 per night per cottage

Minimum 2 night stay applies.  Valid 3 – 6 April 2015 only.  Book here or call 087 820 5999.

South of Africa at Meetings Africa

ma2015In recent years, the global meetings industry has begun to recognise Africa as a sought after destination. Meetings Africa showcases Africa’s diverse offering of services and products where African associations and African meetings industry professionals can partner to help transform our continent.

South of Africa is attending this unique event for its second consecutive year.  The show takes place from 23 – 25 February 2015, with the 23rd being BOND day, while the 24 and 25th are the actual show days.

Meet the team of South of Africa at their table on stand 193A (pictured above is, from left to right, Rose Pah, Wilma Britz and Dina van Wyk).  Alternatively, call our on site representative Wilma Britz to arrange an appointment on 076 795 2175.

Month of Love Newsletter out now!

slval2South of Africa’s Check out our Month of Love newsletter is out and on its way to your inbox now. The Valentines themed newsletter is filled with a selection of romantic stay over packages, intimate Valentines Day dinners, as well as news about our recent guest review awards and our Last Minute Offers ending this January.

If you haven’t received it and wish to join our mailing list, simply subscribe here.  You can view our newsletter online here as well.


Booking.Com Guest Review Awards

bookingcom awardIt is not only the entertainment industry that makes the news this awards season, but also the hospitality industry.  2015 kicked off with the Trip Advisor Travellers’ Choice Awards announcements, and now we are also thrilled to announce the recipients of the 2014 Booking.Com Guest Review Awards.  South of Africa is extremely proud of two of its properties that received awards from this fantastic online booking portal.

The delightful Bid Huisie cottage in Prince Albert has been raved about by many guests on the booking portal Booking.Com, and received its first Guest Review Award for consistent high scores by past guests.

South of Africa’s first 5-star boutique hotel, Abalone House & Spa in Paternoster, also received this great award for their past year’s guest reviews.  Says Leigh Longden, General Manager, “Every guest compliment that we receive on any online platform is just a reminder that we have to continue to surprise and delight our guests in such a way that they always wish to return for more.  Receiving this award, our first from Booking.Com, is an honour and we’re thankful to our guests for reviewing their experiences with us.”

Be sure to visit these hotels and South of Africa’s other properties this February!  Book online at www.southofafrica.com or call Central Reservations on 087 820 5999.



Shangri-La wins second Trip Advisor Traveller’s Choice Award

ta 2015The 4-star Shangri-La Country Hotel & Spa is extremely proud of its latest achievement:  receiving their second Trip Advisor Traveller’s Choice Award for South Africa’s top 25 bargain hotels.

Shangri-La has, in the past 3 years, already received two Certificate of Excellence Awards from Trip Advisor (for both 2013 and 2014 respectively) and received its first Traveller’s Choice Award in 2014 in the same category.  What makes the award even more prestigious is the position in which Shangri-La finds themselves this year.  Shangri-La jumped from their previous position of #25 to #17.

“This is magnificent,” says General Manager Ken Strydom.  “We’ve worked extremely hard this past year and we’re delighted that our guests’ reviews have resulted in us receiving this award.  We strive for memorable experiences, and when we read our guests’ feedback on Trip Advisor, it is heart warming to see and know that we have achieved it.”

Last Minute January Specials

If you decided to skip the Christmas rush and wait for a quieter time to get away, then our Last Minute January Specials are heaven sent!  South of Africa’s Limpopo portfolio has just announced its Last Minute Deals for January 2015.

Whether you prefer the great location of the Elephant Springs Hotel & Cabanas in Bela Bela, the bushveld surrounds of Birdsong Cottages, the colourful decor of Modimolle Funky Stay or the tropical gardens of Shangri-La Country Hotel & Spa, each establishment has something great to offer!  Visit the SPECIALS page for more information on these fabulous last minute offers, book online or call Central Reservations on 087 820 5999.


The Bela Bela 2015 Events Calendar

1183If you’d like to plan your vacation around sporting events, or if you are just an outdoor enthusiast, why not visit our EVENTS section where you can find a comprehensive list of outdoor activities taking place in the Bela Bela area during 2015.

Massive sporting events included in our Bela Bela 2015 Events Calendar is the 5150 Triathlon, the kykNET Buite Ekspo, the Bushveld Mile and many more!  So whether you enjoy swimming, hiking, or visiting festivals, we’ve got you covered this 2015.

Don’t forget to book your holiday accommodation at any of our nearby hotels.  Call 087 820 5999 for more information.


Kranskop Druiwefees

kranskop druiwefees

Enjoy the most delicious grapes at the Kranskop Druiwefees

The annual Kranskop Druiwefees festival will take place from 8 – 10 January 2015 just outside Modimolle in the Limpopo Province.  The event promises to draw even more visitors this year with a massive line up of well known performing artists, a great selection of stalls as well as the well known cycle challenge.

South of Africa’s Limpopo portfolio will be assisting this year’s Kranskop Druiwefees cycle challenge by offering a water stand at the Shangri-La gate, where cyclists can stop for water and energy drinks!

South of Africa also offers fantastic accommodation offers during the Druiwefees:  Shangri-La’s special for the event is R1200 per room per night for 2 adults sharing inclusive of breakfast, while Elephant Springs in Bela Bela offers comfortable Standard Hotel Rooms for only R355 per person sharing per night inclusive of breakfast.  Call our central reservations on 087 820 5999 to book.

Happy New Year!

South of Africa wishes one and all a prosperous 2015!  It was an absolute pleasure welcoming both new and returning guests during 2014.  This year promises to be a fantastic year and we look forward to spoiling you again, being at your service and helping you create memorable moments at our African spaces and secret places. Happy New Year!

South of Africa Festive Trading Hours

The festive season is upon us and to ensure all our guests and suppliers  that wish to reach the South of Africa head office and Central Reservations are in the know, we present our festive trading hours:

  • 24 December 2014 – Open 8am to 12pm
  • 25 December 2014 – Closed
  • 26 December 2014 – Closed
  • 31 December 2014 – Open 8am to 12pm
  • 1 January 2015 – Closed
  • 2 January 2015 – Closed

Guests are invited to also use our online facility to book and check availability and rates or alternatively to contact our hotels direct.

  • Elephant Springs Hotel & Cabanas – 014 736 2101
  • Shangri-La Country Hotel & Spa – 014 718 1600
  • Birdsong Cottages / Modimolle Funky Stay – 087 820 5970 / 1
  • Abalone House & Spa / Paternoster Cottages – 022 752 2044
  • Bid Huisie – 079 951 9496 (Check in & confirmed reservations only – for enquiries and availability, please call 087 820 5974)

The offices will officially open again on Monday 5 January 2015, however, assistance with reservations will be available throughout the period on 087 820 5974 or 087 820 5999 (option 1).

The SOA Road Trip: Shangri-La Part 2

The second part to the Shangri-La blog by Erik Brits features the delightful Zen Garden!

Shangri-La's Zen Garden at sunset

Shangri-La’s Zen Garden at sunset

THE BLOG – Part 2 (by Erik Brits)

I’m currently committing a horrific injustice. I’m sitting in a Zen garden, frantically sending emails and writing blogs. Someone should whack me on the head with a pot of green tea and confiscate my toys… but seeing as I’m all alone in this utterly tranquil spot, I guess I’ll write you guys a blog and worry about my soul later!

I’ve always thought of Zen gardens as a polarized affair – either in the city, filled with hipsters, or out in serenity, filled with spiritualists. On top of that, I would never have thought that it makes sense to build one in the bushveld, because the bushveld is already tranquil enough. Now that I’m sitting here, however, it all makes sense. The garden at Shangri-La Country Hotel is not an alien landscape of black and white pebbles, but instead a perfect amplification of the area’s natural ambiance. The succulents are awash with the buzz of insects, the shade under the trees makes  lovely respite from the baking sun on the rock patches, and the birdsong is slowly lulling me to sleep.

On the far side of the garden, a family of banded mongooses are chasing the vervet monkeys in circles as they battle for supremacy of their four square metres. Perhaps a reminder that life is bigger than you think, and that I should put the laptop away now. Seeing as the squirrel-sized guerrilla fighters are nigh-on impossible to capture on camera, you’ll have to settle for the sun setting in the garden, while I settle into a siesta.


The SOA Road Trip: Shangri-La Part 1

Another splendid blog by Erik Brits about his experience at South of Africa’s Limpopo portfolio as part of the SOA Road Trip.  The blog is written in two parts, with Part 1 below, and Part 2 published tomorrow.

Sunset at Shangri-La

Sunset at Shangri-La

THE BLOG – Part 1 (by Erik Brits):

There is a certain romanticization of the act of driving down a long dusty road to your ultimate destination, which should ideally erupt from the bare earth in front of you like a sneaky oasis. From my sceptical tone, you may have guessed that in my experience, this seldom happens, and upon a little reflection it seems obvious that places that are surrounded by bare earth and long dusty roads generally tend to be bare and dusty! Fortunately, every once in a  while you will find one of these sneaky oases jumping up out of the dust, and that’s precisely what happened to me when I arrived at the Shangri-La Country Hotel (at the end of, you guessed it, a long dusty road).

For those who prefer to shed their stresses in ways that are less likely to involve adrenaline and a bit of pain, Shangri-La is a rare treat. Nestled within a lush green forest on top of a majestic koppie in the middle of the bush veld, the ambiance is fantastic, and there are numerous spots to sit and gaze out over the world. These breath-taking views are at their best when enjoyed from the Zen garden, which blends the local rock structure and rugged vegetation into a magically peaceful place to sit and ponder.

Of course, I desecrated the Zen garden by connecting to the Wi-Fi and sending e-mails, but despite my best attempts at heresy I could not get much work done as I was soon wrapped up in watching a family of mongooses at war with the vervet monkeys, battling it out for the shadiest corner of the garden. I don’t know how long I sat and watched them for, but the next thing I knew, I was watching the world turn pink as the sun set, and one magnificent dinner later I was lying in my room wondering if I really had to go back to the city.

New Year’s Eve celebrations with South of Africa

avatarposterIf you’re looking for an event of note to join, why not book your tickets for the New Year’s Eve West Coast Braai at Abalone House & Spa in Paternoster or the Avatar / Toga Dress Up New Year’s Bash at Shangri-La Country Hotel & Spa in Modimolle.

Visit the events section for ticket prices and contact numbers.

South of Africa honours its employees

Achiever of Excellence Award

Johan and Anndeline Jansen van Vuuren received the Achiever of Excellence Award for 2014.

South of Africa recently held their Year End Function at a local resort in Bela Bela.  Heads of Departments, General Manager as well as Head Office employees were all invited to a fun-filled day of team building, followed by an afternoon of leisure, and ending with a prestigious awards ceremony and dinner.

General Managers of each establishment called forth their individual property’s Employee Of The Year.  This honour went to Lizzy Taolela from Elephant Springs Hotel & Cabanas, William Matlala from Shangri-La Country Hotel & Spa, Shylock Marakalala from Modimolle Funky Stay, Johanna Maluleke from Birdsong Cottages and Toni Markus from Abalone House & Spa.  Further awards, including the departmental awards for the best service in Housekeeping, Maintenance and Food & Beverage were also handed to the General Manager.

Amongst the awards handed out during the night, the stand out awards for the year 2014 were:  General Manager of the Year – Pieter Erasmus from Elephant Springs;  and Achiever of Excellence – Johan & Anndeline Jansen van Vuuren for their work at Shangri-La.

Managing Director, Mr Stef Venter, addressed the attendees with a heartfelt speech on the achievements of the group during 2014 and the bright future that awaits in 2015.

Congratulations to all for the fantastic achievements.  We’re looking forward to an incredible 2015.

Shangri-La receives 4-star grading

01 EntranceThe delightful country hotel and spa, Shangri-La, has received its 4-star grading from the Tourism Grading Council of South Africa.

“We’ve been working extremely hard,” says General Manager, Ken Strydom, “this past year.  We set out at the beginning of the year to achieve the 4-star status, and through the combined efforts of everybody involved in Shangri-La, we’ve achieved it.”  An elated owner, Mr Johan Jansen van Vuuren, smiled from ear to ear.  “When we purchased Shangri-La in 1990 and opened our doors, our aim has always been to provide an unforgettable experience.  Shangri-La has been graded as a 3-star property in the past, but when we began with the major renovations in 2010, it was a dream of ours to achieve this.  This past year, that dream became a reality.”

Van Vuuren, who, alongside his mother, Mrs Anndeline Jansen van Vuuren, are currently creating the most astounding new gardens at Shangri-La, says that despite the 4-star grading, customer service will remain of the highest standards that were set when the hotel opened 24 years ago.

The star grading will be celebrated in the new year, however guests visiting during the festive season, will be amazed at the new changes upon arrival.  Says Strydom, “We’re looking forward to welcoming the world to Shangri-La this holiday season to have an out of this world experience.”


Shangri-La and Chaîne Des Rôtisseurs

Shangri-La's Chain Des Rotisseurs Award

LEFT- Ken Strydom with Ulrich Kiefer. RIGHT – the certificate received by Ken Strydom.

Ken Strydom represented Shangri-La Country Hotel and Spa at the Leriba Hotel and Spa in Pretoria to receive the successful 2015 Chaîne Des Rôtisseurs membership submission.  Shangri-La was inducted into the Chaîne by the Bailliage de Pretoria.

With over 25,000 members, the Chaîne des Rôtisseurs is an International Association of Gastronomy now established in over 80 countries bringing together enthusiasts who share the same values of quality, fine dining, the encouragement of the culinary arts and the pleasures of the table. The distinctive character of our association is to bring together amateurs and professionals, from all over the world, whether they are hoteliers, restaurateurs, executive chefs or sommeliers, in the appreciation of fine cuisine.

Membership of the Chaîne des Rôtisseurs is by personal invitation. Belonging to a truly international community brings a wealth of opportunities for members to participate in exciting events worldwide.

These events, organized by national or local Bailliages, bring together people with a mutual interest in and passion for good food, conviviality and fellowship.

The benefits of an extensive international network and presence mean that members are welcome at any member establishment or dinner anywhere in the world. Chaîne membership is recognized internationaly and is transferable worldwide.

Shangri-La plants 50 indigenous trees

2014-09-25 15.59.27

Shangri-La Country Hotel & Spa outside Bela Bela and Modimolle recently took another step towards becoming an even “greener” hotel.  The initiative to plant 50 indigenous trees on site has been met favourably by both the community and environmentalists.

With Shangri-La’s superb tropical gardens receiving acclaim from guests and visitors alike, the hotel has been expanding its gardens to offer an even wider variety of greenery.  The new pond at the lower gardens and addition of a brand new outdoor wedding facility (think vintage ruin!) has brought much of the attention to the actual scope of the property.  The arrival of several antelope species has also received some of the spotlight.

Says Shangri-La’s mother, Mrs Anndeline Jansen van Vuuren, “It’s extremely important to plant these trees, not just for the value it brings to the environment, but also to the booming animal life.  We need to protect our planet and what a better way than to plant these 50 indigenous trees.”

The tree species include, amongst others, Celtis Africana (White Stinkwood), Ziziphus mucronata (Buffalo Thorn) and Schotia brachypetala (African Walnut).


Celebrate Women’s Month with South of Africa

woman-strongSouth of Africa is celebrating Women’s Month with an array of fantastic getaway offers that will make her feel extra special!  From the BFF-breakfast at Abalone House & Spa in Paternoster, to the pampering spoils of the new Spa at Shangri-La in Modimolle, we have it all this August.

South Africa annually sets aside this month to commemorate the aspirations and achievements of women.  The historical significance of 9 August, National Women’s Day, goes back to 1956 when 20 000 women marched to the Union Buildings in Pretoria to protest the extension of passes restricting freedom of movement during the apartheid government.  The women were led by the Federation of South African Women (Fedsaw) including four women: Lillian Ngoyi, Helen Joseph, Rahima Moosa and Sophia Williams De Bruyn.  We commemorate this historic event throughout August with our themed getaway packages.

Shangri-La will play host to a special Women’s Day event in October.  View our events calendar for more information on the prestigious occasion.