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.

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 socialmedia@southofafrica.com.

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.

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.