Trip Advisor 2014 Winner Shangri-La


The Shangri-La team

“We’ve done it again!” exclaims General Managers Ken Strydom from Shangri-La Country Hotel in Modimolle.  The hotel has been awarded with yet another Trip Advisor Award of Excellence for 2014.

The award, being the 2nd for Shangri-La, honours hotels that have received a constant stream of positive scores with a rating of 4 out of 5 and higher.  “We’re thrilled,” says Managing Director Johan Jansen van Vuuren.  “When we received our first award in 2013, I was delighted.  Then it happened again!  To receive it is a true honour and a reflection of the hard work and effort we have put in to our guest satisfaction and customer service.  It’s remarkable and we are so grateful that our guests made this happen!”

According to the marketing team, the amount of guest reviews have increased tremendously during the past year.  The most popular platform for our group is Trip Advisor, and South of Africa takes pride in responding to each of our guests reviews as within 24 – 48 hours.  We value our guests feedback and use this as a tool to ensure that our customer service is of the highest standard.

Shangri-La to grow own vegetables

IMG-20140519-WA001Shangri-La Country Hotel outside Bela Bela and Modimolle will soon be growing their own vegetables, herbs and more!  The square foot vegetable garden has been prepared with love by Magogo (Mrs Anndeline Jansen van Vuuren) and her team of gardeners.

This fantastic initiative will not only benefit our guests by getting the freshest vegetables straight from our gardens, but also benefit the environment.  “The new vegetable garden forms part of our going green programme,” says General Manager Ken Strydom.  “We’re thrilled by this superb new addition to Shangri-La and we can’t wait to serve our guests with food grown in our own backyard!”

A beaming Mrs Jansen van Vuuren announced that she has been wanting to have this vegetable and herb garden at Shangri-La all along, and the time has come to do so.  Her green fingers have been one of the key reasons behind the success of Shangri-La’s fabulous gardens, and this new venture is clearly set for success.

Visit our social media pages regularly for updates on the progress of the new vegetable garden at Shangri-La.

Shangri-La celebrates its 24th birthday


Shangri-La guests can enjoy this spectacular offer this May when booking their stay at this beautiful country hotel outside Bela Bela.

On Mother’s Day Shangri-La Country Hotel near Bela Bela celebrated its 24th birthday!  The hotel opened its doors to the public on Mother’s Day 1990, and has gone through various transformations, face lifts and renovations throughout the years, to give you the welcoming haven it is today.

“We’re extremely chuffed,” says General Manager Ken Strydom, grinning from ear to ear.  “Shangri-La has been in the industry for quite some time, and despite reinventing ourselves, we still offer our guests the same quality experience as when we opened in the early nineties.  This has been our magical recipe that lets our guests return year after year.”

The celebrations went hand in hand with the annual Mother’s Day luncheon, which is not only popular amongst travellers, but also locals.  Says Strydom, “Our wine tasting evenings have proven to be a hit with local guests who yearn for a unique destination to enjoy exceptional cuisine.  Shangri-La has become this venue, and we look forward to hosting more events to cater for our local clientele and visitors from outside the Waterberg.”

One such event is the upcoming Beer Tasting dinner that will take place on 20 September 2014.  See the events page for more information.

April holiday deals with South of Africa

20140325-IMG_1710The month of April brings about the end of Summer, and South of Africa’s hotels, guest houses and self-catering accommodation offers you a variety of superb “April Holiday Deals” for your getaway.

Whether you choose the self-catering options or the luxurious 5-star Abalone House & Spa in Paternoster, the Reuben’s Restaurant and Spa offerings are noteworthy offers you cannot afford to miss.  Abalone House & Spa has a Deluxe Romance Combo Package which includes overnight accommodation, a 3 course dinner at Reuben’s, a 1 hour spa treatment at the Healing Earth Spa, breakfast and afternoon tea from only R1595 per person sharing per night for a midweek stay, and from R1950 per person sharing per night for a weekend stay.

Receive a complimentary Easter basket filled with Easter chocolates and hot cross buns on arrival this April when you stay at our self-catering accommodation in lovely Paternoster.  Pay only R3850.00 per night at either of the Seaside Cottages. Pay only R2600.00 per night at either of the Oppidraai units. Pay only R950.00 per night at the cosy Kliphuisie.

Hunt for treasure at Shangri-La Country Hotel in Modimolle.  The package includes 2 Nights’ comfortable accommodation in standard rooms and rondavels, breakfast on both mornings, themed dinner for 2 for one evening, home-made Easter eggs and Hot cross buns in room on arrival and a Sunday morning easter egg hunt (valid for guests staying Friday & Saturday nights only).  Pay only R805 per person sharing per day.

Holiday makers that stay at Birdsong Cottages this Easter period receive a complimentary Easter basket.  Rates are from R935 per night to R2310 per night.

Stay at the colourful Modimolle Funky Stay on Easter weekend and receive breakfast for two and a complimentary Easter Turndown. Pay only R850 per person sharing per night.  Valid 18 – 21 April 2014.

At the Elephant Springs Hotel in Bela Bela, you receive a Braai lunch when you book a Friday or Saturday night, inclusive of breakfast, at only R700 per person sharing. Extend your stay with an additional night at only R495 per person sharing inclusive of breakfast.  Valid weekends during April 2014.

The Braai lunch is also available at the Cabanas on weekends this April for only R165 per person.

For more information on our packages for April, or to book, call us on 087 820 5999 or e-mail South of Africa at  Alternatively, visit our Specials page here.

Photo sessions at SOA’s portfolio

Abalone House's new deck leading from Reuben's RestaurantThe past two weeks South of Africa’s guests might have seen scurrying in certain corners of our properties, and the odd flash of a camera light.  As recently reported on Facebook, we’ve been extremely busy with a photo session at each of our seventeen establishments, taking photographs of a variety of new, changed and upgraded rooms, venues and surroundings.

According to owner Johan Jansen van Vuuren, “we’ve listened to our guests’ comments and feedback.  The purpose of the shoot is to not only showcase our hotels and self-catering cottages, but also give the viewer the impression of what a getaway, conference and even wedding could be like here.”

Photographer Gareth Williams is behind the lens, and his fresh approach to South of Africa’s “Smörgåsbord” makes for an inviting image that draws the viewer in.  Williams first worked on South of Africa’s property Bid Huisie in Prince Albert, and ventured to Paternoster this past March to continue the photography of Abalone House & Spa, Oppidraai, Kliphuisie and the Seaside Cottages.  More photography followed at the Limpopo portfolio.

The new photographs will be published here on South of Africa’s official website, as well as on Facebook.  The first images of Abalone House’s new deck has already been published to rave reviews.

For more information about Gareth Williams Photography, visit

Bela Bela & Modimolle road access restored after severe floods

nylstroom2Our hearts go out to all of our tourism friends who have suffered because of the tragic floods in the Bela Bela and Modimolle area.  South of Africa, who also has 4 establishments in the immediate area including the Shangri-La Country Hotel and Elephant Springs Hotel, wishes to express its condolences to all affected by this tragedy and extends a helping hand to those in need.

Like many tourist destinations in both Bela Bela and Modimolle, we were inundated with phone calls of concern by distressed holiday makers and friends.  Thanks to the fantastic work of all concerned, access to Bela Bela was restored quickly.  With the upcoming long weekend, our hotels wish to invite visitors who were planning on travelling to the beautiful Waterberg, to still come and experience this well known Bushveld town.  Access to our hotels have not been affected and travellers can book with confidence that their long weekend holiday will be a memorable time.

Contact our Central Reservations office on 087 820 5999 or e-mail, or book online at

Shangri-La’s Wine Tasting Dinners helps worthy cause

Sonstraal School representatives and children with Shangri-La Management

Shangri-La handing over a microwave to Mrs Hantie van Eeden and teacher Marie Mare from Sonstraal School

The award winning Shangri-La Country Hotel just outside Modimolle holds their monthly wine tasting dinners on the first Saturday of each month.  Already established as a culinary destination of choice in 2013, for both local and national visitors, Shangri-La’s first wine pairing dinner of the year was held on the 1st of March 2014.  Mr Chris De Klerk from Cape Wine Legends presented the acclaimed winery Zonnebloem.

During this monthly food and wine event, a bottle of the represented estate wine is auctioned off for charity, affording Shangri-La yet another opportunity to support the local community.  Sonstraal School is the latest recipient of Shangri-La’s passionate investment in those in need.  The school will now be able to conduct more effective culinary practical cooking classes for its students.

Mr Ken Strydom, General Manager of Shangri-La, said that he was thrilled by the opportunity that the hotel had to help those in need.  “Because this event has recently become a much talked-about dining experience in the local community, we decided that through involving the community in a way that not only enhances their awareness of the needs of local projects, but also allows them to assist, would certainly make the wine tasting dinners a worthy event to support.

Shangri-La’s Heritage Restaurant recently became affiliated with Chaîne des Rôtisseurs and also boasts an award winning Diners Club wine list.  The hotel is also proud to be the recipient of a Trip Advisor Traveler’s Choice Award for 2014 in the category Bargain Hotels.

Shangri-La joins fine dining giant Chaîne des Rôtisseurs

cdrThe Chaîne des Rôtisseurs is an international gastronomic society devoted to promoting fine dining and preserving the camaraderie and pleasures of the table with a strong commitment to the power of taste. Shangri-La Country Hotel, located between Bela Bela and Modimolle in the Limpopo Province, has recently joined this pristine membership boasting a typical bushveld menu with Gueridon service available on its new sundeck leading off the promenade.

Chef Nicolas Makwesa heads the team of talented Chefs constantly looking for creative and interesting cuisine from the local produce. Barry’s Bar has a wide variety of international cocktails to choose from including the signature “Nutcracker”.

Guests to Shangri-La can enjoy a pre-dinner canapé , afro-sushi or bushveld fondue whilst the sun sets. The Heritage Restaurant would then be your next destination for an exquisite fine dining evening of delight.

According to General Manager, Mr Ken Strydom, this is an exciting time for the Heritage Restaurant and Shangri-La Country Hotel, as there has been a huge demand for fine dining in the area.  “We look forward to offering both locals and visitors to our beautiful restaurant a dining experience they will never forget,” says Strydom.

Come and experience our true country hospitality and fine dining at the place of eternal youth.

Shangri-La wins Trip Advisor Travelers’ Choice Award

sltripadvisorIt is easy to see why visitors to this earthly paradise choose Shangri-La as one of the top 25 hotels in South Africa.  Renowned for offering visitors a view of past guests’ experiences, Trip Advisor announced its “Travelers’ Choice Awards” for 2014 this past week.  Shangri-La, who received their first “Award Of Excellence” from Trip Advisor in May 2013, is proud to be recognized in as the country’s top 25 bargain destinations in this year’s Travelers’ Choice selection.

Guests wanting to escape the madness of modern life knows why Shangri-La’s name (described in British author James Hilton’s 1933 novel Lost Horizon) is so fitting. Lush tropical gardens, a trickling waterfall and leafy stone pathways blend with luxurious pampering in 49 en-suite rooms to offer a delightful sense of tranquillity.  In the open veld bordering this tranquil country hideaway hotel, wild monkeys and baboons play in the trees, while laid-back resident ducks and tame cats amble around.

For couples, friends, families and small groups that enjoy peaceful natural surroundings, finding your own piece of paradise at Shangri-La is just an hour’s drive from Gauteng!


To celebrate the fantastic Trip Advisor Award, Shangri-La is offering a “Love & Romance Package” in time for Valentines Day!

Spend two nights during the weekends of January, February and March at the only hotspot recommended by Cupid and receive breakfast on both mornings as well as your choice of one dinner for 2 people on either the Friday or Saturday evening.  Guest are treated to a bottle of sparkling wine and a small gift for your loved one on arrival.

Pay only R2640 for 2 people for a 2 night stay.  Offer valid 20th Jan 2014 – 31st March 2014. Excludes public holidays and long weekends.

For reservations, call 087 820 5999 or e-mail


Apart from winning several Diners Club Winelist Awards, Shangri-La is famous for its unique take on South African cuisine.  Probably most notable for its much-talked about Butternut soup, which has been a family recipe first offered to guests when the hotel opened 23 years ago, this favourite amongst Shangri-La guests is included in the Valentines Dinner menu. Spoil your beloved with a romantic candle lit dinner at Shangri-La Country Hotel this Valentines Day, Friday 14 February 2014.  Pay only R195 per person for the delectable 5 course dinner menu, which features a selection of traditional South African dishes with a modern twist.  Reservations are essential.  Call 014 718 1600 to book your table.

Month of Love Packages

valentinesWe are proud to announce our superb Month of Love Packages for our Valentines- themed  celebrations this February.

Make your choice from our romantic secluded destination Shangri-La Country Hotel in Modimolle, the luxurious 5-star Abalone House & Spa in Paternoster, or the comfortable Elephant Springs Hotel in Bela Bela.  Each hotel offers its own unique pamper package valid for the month of February.

Visit our “Specials” page for more information on each individual package or call our Central Reservations office on 087 820 5999.

Our 13 highlights of 2013

Today there are only 13 days left before 2013 is over. We reminisce about the year gone by by sharing our 13 highlights of 2013.



We launched the brand new logo of South of Africa, alongside its new slogan, at this year’s Indaba in Durban, May 2013. What a proud moment.



In July 2013, our entire portfolio was treated to a brand new website, which offered the world our services through a beautiful and user-friendly platform. Book online, view our establishments and more at



Abalone House in Paternoster opened the doors to Reuben Riffel’s fourth restaurant in October. Critics have already raved about the fantastic menu and the taste of the West Coast.



Yet another new addition to Abalone House is the new Healing Earth Spa, which also opened in October. We converted the Pasella cottage into this unique offering that enhances the experience of our 5-star guest house.



The two Owls Cottages joined Birdsong’s collection of self-catering cottages in April, with private pool and fantastic location. These cosy cabins are perfect for 2, 4 or 6.



In May Shangri-La Country Hotel and Abalone House & Spa both received the Trip Advisor Certificate of Excellence. It was Abalone House’s second consecutive award and Shangri-La’s first.



In August the Edwin Cameron Boma was opened at Birdsong Cottages. The venue seats 30 people and is perfect for friends and family gatherings, and also as a breakaway venue for conferences.



Elephant Springs was honoured to be chosen as the venue for the annual Rotary Christmas Market in Bela Bela (currently underway). Support this worthy cause!



In December Abalone House’s new Reuben’s Restaurant was extended with a fantastic deck that also allows dining outside with a marvellous view of the Atlantic Ocean. Book your table now!



September saw the opening of the Labyrinth of Appreciation. Created as a living tribute in honour of Dr Bruce Copley at Shangri-La for his continuous generous support and life-changing contribution to South of Africa.



Shangri-La Country Hotel and Abalone House & Spa were awarded their third consecutive Diners Club 2013 Winelist Awards in July.



Shangri-La Country Hotel and Abalone House & Spa both appeared in television broadcasts in programmes such as Kollig, Bravo, Tuine & Tossels and much more. Be sure to catch us on these season re-runs.



South of Africa is proud of its training programme in association with Sondela, which begun in June this year. Intensive training in all areas is on going and will continue well into 2014. Just another example of investing in our staff’s future.

What a year! Thank you to all for their support this past year.

Rotary Christmas Market at Elephant Springs

rot01The annual Christmas Market of the local Rotary Warmbaths Club in Bela Bela opened its doors for the first time at Elephant Springs this holiday season.  The event took place from 13 – 23 December 2013.

This annual superb event brings together crafters and exhibitors from all around the country.  From home baked rusks to unique ornaments, the market has it all.

Thank you to everybody for supporting this worthy cause hosted by the local Rotarians.  Proceeds from the event will be used to support charity projects in the immediate surroundings of Bela Bela.

Rest in peace Madiba

0mandelaIt is with a great sadness in our hearts that we say goodbye to Tata Madiba, Mr Nelson Mandela.  Regarded as the father of our nation, and held in high esteem by all at South of Africa, our entire family is mourning the loss of this great leader.

As a symbol of our respect, all flags are flying half-mast.  Old President Mandela played a major role in the development of our country, and he will be sadly missed by all.  Elephant Springs Hotel recently received a visit from Mr Mandla Mandela, grandson of the beloved icon.

Rest in peace Nelson Mandela.  With love, from all at South of Africa.

Introducing Facebook videos

South of Africa’s social media platform on Facebook and Twitter have recently been treated to the publication of various video snippets from our properties.  If a picture speaks a thousand words, then a video would be a million.

Our followers on Twitter and likes on Facebook have been spoiled with videos of the fantastic wildlife at Birdsong Cottages, the jolly staff at Shangri-La (who is giving their own renditions of “We wish you a Merry Xmas”) and the resident birdlife at the Cabanas of Elephant Springs.

We have several more videos on the way.  Go and like our pages today and share these short clips with your friends and family.  We also invite all our guests to submit their video clips taken at our portfolio to

The incident with the pond at Shangri-La

Kgosi Dintlhoane during the course of Dr Bruce Copley at Shangri-La

Kgosi Dintlhoane during the course of Dr Bruce Copley at Shangri-La

Following Dr Bruce Copley’s recent AAHA course at Shangri-La this past spring, we received a heart-warming letter from one of the delegates, Mr Kgosi Dintlhoane. Take a moment to read of his experience with our pond.

The Pond, by Kgosi Dintlhoane
The message was very simple really, “Take note of me!” the pond whispered, but I was rushing to see the Zen garden you see, maybe this made the pond feel small that I passed without saying hi, without looking at it for a second. Rushing to see the Zen garden I could have noticed the chapel on the left and probably the bell too but did I not see the beautiful bird on the tree branch eagerly waiting to sing to me and I did not see green grass on the right waiting for me to rest on it a bit.

My mind focussed only on seeing the Zen garden and ignored the little pond that needed a second of my time. Is this not how we hurt those close to us focussing on our little work, worshipping only what would bring us more money whilst a child wants to play with us, whilst a friend needs a few minutes of our time, are we not always rushing to our Zen gardens.

Maybe the universe did hear the little pond’s cry and sent representatives to sort me out. Is this not how life unfolds sometime? Being stopped by some disease so that you could get the love of a child or wife or husband who waited desperately for you to come back from the Zen garden so that they could spend some quality time with you. Well as fate would have it, I was the first to go outside to check the attitude of the morning and found her to be in a pretty dark mood. I ignored her too and tried to find my way to the parking lot, walking with cheekiness really, thinking myself mightier than the dark morning and all its surroundings and thinking only of myself. Is this not how we normally are?

Well as fate would have it, the doors of the reception area were closed and I did not bother to go and test if they were locked or not because I always have a plan you see. I always ignore plans of others. As always I followed my plan to the letter and found myself walking all over the dark morning and thinking very little of her and very BIG of myself. Is this not how we normally are?

I found myself walking straight into this little pond as if with my eyes closed and headed straight for the water inside the pond with my feet facing up and my back resting on the surface of the pond. I could almost hear the pond finally say “Hi Mister!” Is this not how life unfold sometimes, finding ourselves at the very place we either avoided or paid little attention to?

I was furious of course, for my trouser and tekkies were all wet and my ankle was bruised and my ego was shattered. I wondered how could such a little pond manage to embarrass me like this. As you have been following this story you can realise I still did not get the lesson that life is not only about me and that there are others and other things that desperately needs your attention. Sometimes the universe will decide to help and strike that balance – the balance we all desperately need.

I went back to my room, very angry at what has just transpired. I changed clothes without thinking and left the wet trouser and tekkies on the bathroom floor and headed straight for the parking lot, minding the dark morning this time, paying needed attention to the surroundings. I tested the reception door which I deduced has never been locked but I missed this you see because I always have a plan better than anybody else’s.

As the day unfolded I came back from my walk a new man, because as I was walking I thought a lot about the pond and realised that all the pond ever wanted was for me to notice it and perhaps comment on it.

I started having a clear visual of that little pond whilst so far away from it. I started seeing it in front of my eyes whilst walking, started to see the beauty of its water cohabitating with little leaves in harmony and how the rocks made a heart like circle as if to say to all to passers by “Hey look I too can love you.”

This pond must have suffered a lot, watching all of us walk in and out of Shangri-La without paying homage to it, without spending a second to look at it. The real miracle happened when I made peace with the lesson from the pond. When I finally came to my room from a refreshing walk, ready for the day and ready to tell the story (so that others may learn something from my lesson) I suddenly realised that my trouser which I had left on the floor is not there. I looked for it everywhere in my room, thinking I am losing my mind.

I walked to the reception area, furious. I had forgotten about the lesson from the pond and went back to my normal habits and enquired in a dark mood about my trousers to the receptionist. She was confused and yet humble and willing to help but I had my agenda you see, my mind was full of ‘somebody will pay for my ignorance, lack of attention but most of all for my arrogance’. To my surprise, the housekeepers took liberty to take my trousers to the laundry to be washed. Right there at the reception, after hearing this, God returned to my heart and suddenly my eyes were filled with tears of gratitude. Some angels do not have wings attached at their back, they walk among us every day of our lives – ready to take our trousers and wash them, never expecting even a thank you in return.

Naughty November Deals

The Elephant Springs Hotel in Bela Bela and Shangri-La Country Hotel outside Modimolle both offer Naughty November deals this month for spirited holiday makers!

Elephant Springs Hotel offers 2 specials to choose from – the Out & About package which includes access to the Forever Resorts Warmbaths, or the Stay In package which lets you choose how to spend your days in bustling Bela Bela.

Shangri-La Country Hotel offers a romantic experience for the happy couple which includes a tantalizing “Afro-Disiac” dinner.

For more information on the specials, visit the Specials page and call Central Reservations 087 820 5974 to book.

Shangri-La’s Heritage Restaurant participating in Restaurant Week 2013

sldin01Shangri-La Country Hotel’s Heritage Restaurant has joined the annual international event Restaurant Week South Africa.

Restaurant Week South Africa will be held nationwide for the first time, after it has been successfully organized in cities like New York, London and Shanghai. The official partners are American Express, SAfm, Peroni, Good Fellas, Master Menus and SO WIFI. The South African Chefs Association is the charity partner and part of the revenue will be donated to their World Chefs Tour Against Hunger fund.

Restaurant Week is a set 2-course lunch menu and / or 3-course dinner menu offered by partners who participate.  Restaurant Week takes place 24 October to 3 November 2013.  For further information, rates and menus, visit  You can also view the Heritage Restaurant’s page here.  Read the official press release here.

Shangri-La’s new “Labyrinth of Appreciation”

IMG-20130913-WA005Created as a living tribute to the generous support of Dr Bruce Copley for his on going life-changing contribution to all at Shangri-La Country Hotel since 1991, the Labyrinth of Appreciation was opened by owner Johan Jansen van Vuuren on 13 September 2013 in the presence of Dr Bruce Copley and delegates of his most recent Holistic course.

The Labyrinth symbolises Dr Copley’s work and how his neverending passion and love has affected the South of Africa community.

A Labyrinth is an ancient symbol that relates to wholeness.  It combines the imagery of the circles and the spiral into a meandering but purposeful path and represents a journey to one’s own centre and back again out into the world.  Labyrinths have long been used as meditation and prayer tools.

A leader in the industry, Caroline Adams, describes it as such:  “Your life is a sacred journey.  And it is about change, growth, discovery, movement, transformation; continuously expanding your vision of what is possible, stretching your soul, learning to see clearly and deeply, listening to your intuition, taking courageous challenges at every step along the way.  You are on the path… exactly where you are meant to be right now.  And from here, you can only go forward, shaping your life story into a magnificent tale of triumph, of healing, of courage, of beauty, of wisdom, of power, of dignity and of love.”

The Labyrinth at Shangri-La is open to all guests and is also a unique teambuilding alternative for conference delegates.  This beautiful space is also perfect for wedding photographs.

In the centre of the Labyrinth at Shangri-La is a beautiful saying favoured by Dr Copley, and Shangri-La is proud to add it at this special destination.  “Ordinary does not, and never will, change the world.”

Breast Cancer Awareness

Pink_Lunch_Invite_FinalMonda PR, Publicity and Events will paint the town pink for the tenth time in aid of Breast Cancer Awareness for Reach for Recovery.   The now famous ‘Pink Lunch’ will take place at the Bay Hotel in Cape Town.

Enjoy an event in “10 Shades of Pink” Gatsby Style in their Rotunda Venue where the beautiful and vivacious Miss Natalie Becker, will act as Master of Ceremonies.  During a 3 course lunch, guest will be entertained by top musicians and the day will be rounded off with a traditionally exciting auction by Ariella Kuper from Clear Asset.

South of Africa are thrilled to be part of this stunning initiative and have donated a 2 night stay for 2 at our luxurious Paternoster Seaside Cottages.   Be part of this special day and support this worthy cause by securing your reservation now!   Contact Nina on 072 822 5518 or email at

Shangri-La’s unique Drum

IMG_0706Being synonymous with Shangri-La, Dr Bruce Copley of AAHA Learning recently donated a unique drum to Shangri-La for use by staff and guests.  This very drum was used in the first South African corporate drumming session which Dr Copley and his associate, Phil Richardson, presented at Shangri-La in 1991.

Corporate drumming has evolved into a huge business in South Africa that has very commonly been incorporated into thousands of conferences, launches and indaba’s since the mid 90’s.  It has become world famous and interactive audience drumming performances takes place in New York, China and Australia to name a few, even stealing the show as the opening ceremony performance during the Beijing Olympic Games.

Dr Copley said that “It feels fitting that this drum should find a home in the place where it all started.”  Following the first corporate drumming session at Shangri-La in 1991,  the Drum Café was started under the leadership of Warren Lieberman; inspired by Dr Copley.  The Drum Café is now a world famous drumming franchise.

“I conservatively estimated that millions all over the world, including people like George Bush and Prince Charles, have had a drumming experience that is linked to that first corporate drumming presentation at Shangri-La,” says Dr Copley.  Which in turn makes the drum gifted to Shangri-La the one that started it all.  This sacred Venda Drum and its voice is the heartbeat of Africa that has come home to the “place of eternal youth”.

Dr Copley said that he is donating this drum to Shangri-La as a heartfelt token of his deep appreciation for the magical times and wonderful people who, for more than two decades, have blessed him and thousands of his delegates with unforgettable experiences.  This beautiful instrument’s inauguration took place on 13 September 2013 at Shangri-La during the opening of the Labyrinth in recognition of Dr Copley’s life and work.  Its voice will be a regular reminder of his love and gratitude.

Goodbye Madala James

Bela-Bela-20130709-00046It is with sadness that we say farewell to “Madala James” who has retired this past month.

James has been with Shangri-La Country Hotel outside Modimolle, Limpopo, since 1995. He played an extremely important role in maintaining our gardens alongside our beloved “Magog”, Mrs Anndeline Jansen van Vuuren.

James will be sorely missed by all at Shangri-La and we wish him the very best for his future.

Wedding Expo Exhibition

blogexpoSouth of Africa exhibited at the Wedding Expo held at The Dome, Northgate, Johannesburg, during 24 & 25 August 2013.  Our representatives introduced all of our magnificent wedding and honeymoon facilities in both the Limpopo Province and Western Cape.

South of Africa’s superb corner stand was busier than ever, boasting our new branding, logo and marketing material.  Thank you to all who visited our stand.

Dr Bruce Copley returning to Shangri-La

blogbruceDr Bruce Copley will be returning to Shangri-La for yet another extraordinary Holistic Learning Holiday from 10 – 13 September 2013. He has been presenting this programme aptly described as a “going away that feels like coming home” for the past 23 years at Shangri-la. According to Dr Copley, “our mission is to passionately encourage and assist people to take this road less travelled and to experience first that once on this path, there is no turning back.

This is a clarion call for anyone who is ready for a HIGHER EDUCATION and excited by the prospect of:
• Re-awakening their love and passion for learning, exploration and discovery
• Rejuvenating and re-energizing body, mind, heart and spirit
• Acquiring a smorgasbord of tools, techniques and methods to design and confidently present unforgettable holistic learning experiences and interventions
• Tapping into their dormant talents, skills and human potential
• Profoundly transforming the way they learn, live, love, play and work
• Expanding their understanding of holistic principles and practices and broadening their big picture perspectives and insights.

This extraordinary programme is specifically designed for all facilitators, trainers, teachers, lecturers, coaches, HR practitioners, managers, leaders, business consultants and sincere life seekers who are passionately searching for more engaging and effective ways of humanizing the workplace, creating and maintaining a balanced lifestyle, breathing life into inanimate information and taking quantum leaps in the mastery of self.

For further information, please contact Dr Bruce Copley on 083 459 9894 or

Investing in our elderly staff’s education

blogabetTraining is a very important factor of our staff’s welfare, and South of Africa takes bettering the skills of all staff extremely seriously. 

Shangri-La Country Hotel recently began their ABET training. According to General Manager, Ken Strydom, the Adult Basic Education & Training (ABET) has been met with huge enthusiasm by the elderly staff who they are teaching to write their names, which will be followed by their surnames.  “One must remember that what we take for granted can be a priviledge for people less fortunate,” say Strydom.  The training is also set to take place at South of Africa’s other properties.

Caring for our environment through training

blogwspSouth of Africa takes pride in developing skills and to deliver committed well trained employees to the public we serve. Under the guidance of Sondela Academy we have rolled out our Work Skills Plan which has been meet with great enthusiasm by our staff.

General Manager of Shangri-La, Ken Strydom, reported that “we are currently training our staff on Creative Problem Solving to find a solution to our difficulties and challenges in the work place. Our current case study is Waste Disposal Management which has been driven very hard by all concerned to leave a better greener more aesthetically appealing environment for our Children.” The progamme is proving beneficial not only to our staff, but also to our valuable guests and the environment.

Tuine & Tossels features Shangri-La’s gardens

Local television show Tuine & Tossels featured the lush gardens of Shangri-La Country Hotel outside Modimolle in their 26 June 2013 broadcast. Presenter David Viljoen interviewed our beloved Magogo, Mrs Anndeline Jansen van Vuuren, mother of owner Johan Jansen van Vuuren.

The feature focussed on the beautiful setting of Shangri-La, and Viljoen’s conversation with Magogo (our employees’ nickname for Mrs Jansen van Vuuren) made special mention of the breath-taking green gardens despite it being winter. The interview also focussed on Magogo’s love for gardening and her involvement in the layout and planning of the gardens.

A special insert on this KykNet channel’s programme featured “Christmas in July” at Shangri-La, and a one night stay for 4 guests was given away as a viewers’ prize.

Shangri-La wishes to thank KykNet, Tuine & Tossels and its affiliates. Image courtesy of KykNet.

Elephant Springs to host Rotary Christmas Market

The annual Rotary Warmbaths’ Christmas Market will be held at the Elephant Springs Hotel in Bela Bela this upcoming Festive Season, from 13 – 23 December 2013. Exhibitors from all over the country bring their hand made arts and crafts to the public in this unique fund raising event.

The market is open daily from 10am to 8pm and will be held in the Shawu & Kambaku conference rooms. Entrance is free. Tea and coffee and light meals will be served on the patio. We invite all holiday makers and visitors to Bela Bela to join us in this fantastic feel-good event of the Festive Season.

The Elephant Springs is proud to welcome the Rotarians and their exhibitors. For more information on the market, or interest in becoming an exhibitor, please contact