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.

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.