#FindYourEscape: Your Lililzela national winners!

2016-10-17 07:37 - Ra-ees Moerat
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Cape Town - The 2016 National Lilizela Award winners were announced at the ‘Grammy’s SA's for the tourism sector’ in the Sandton Convention Centre in Johannesburg.

Newly appointed CEO of SA Tourism, Sisa Ntshona commended the contribution of the Lilizela Awards to the tourism sector of SA saying, “We are trying to show that it is possible to express entrepreneurial skills through the travel and tourism industry.”

“The Lilizela Awards highlights the success of these businesses and promotes inclusive growth by giving emerging businesses an opportunity to enter the larger tourism economy, without compromising the quality of the offering.”

Moreover, he also says that the tourism sector in SA is moving towards greening the tourism industry and he uses the partnership between Wesgro and the City of Cape Town as a prime example.

Annelize van der Merwe, Green Economy Investment and Finance Liason, Wesgro says, “Investment into the green economy is also seen as key to helping the country achieve its greenhouse gas emission reduction targets. The Western Cape specifically has adopted the "Green is Smart" roadmap with the aim of positioning the Western Cape as the green economic hub on the African continent,”

ALSO SEE: How SA is becoming a global leader in eco-tourism

Minister of Tourism, Derek Hannekom, who was also the keynote speaker at the award ceremony says, “The winners of the Lilizela Awards maintain the reputation of local destinations, as well as destination SA, as a whole”

“The awards results in increased business for these accommodation and hospitality service providers in the tourism sector, and every South African should experience tourism in their own country.”

Hanekom also announced the 2016 Minister’s Award. 

This prestigious award, which recognises tourism innovators and pioneers, went to renowned Mpumalanga artist, Esther Mahlangu. A previous Lilizela category winner in the Roots and Culture category, Mahlangu’s colourful Ndebele designs have been exhibited around the world and have graced global brands such as BMW, British Airways, Fiat and Belvedere luxury vodka, placing South African traditional art and design on the international map. 

The 80-year-old Mahlangu joined 53 other national winners of the Lilizela Tourism Awards, who travellers had voted the best of the best in categories ranging from service excellence and entrepreneurship to sustainable development.

“We salute Mam’ Esther who is truly a national treasure and an outstanding ambassador for South Africa’s rich cultural offerings,” said Hanekom. 

“The Lilizela Tourism Awards give us the opportunity to celebrate trailblazers such as Mam’ Esther, as well as service excellence in the South African tourism industry in general. Tonight is an opportunity to pause and thank these individuals and businesses for their contribution to putting South Africa firmly on the global stage by ensuring their product and service offerings are of the highest standard,” said Hanekom. 

“With 5.8 million people having come to South Africa between January and July this year, the number of tourists is on the rise. By being service–oriented, the businesses celebrated today help to ensure that this growth path continues, guaranteeing memorable experiences for all tourists,” he added. 

Here are your Lilizela national award winners and their designated categories

Members of the public were then invited to have their say on the Lilizela Tourism Awards website by voting. These votes together with those from various platforms such as TripAdvisor and TGCSA’s Tourism Analytics Programme, formed 80% of the score for each entry. A panel of high-level judges for each category, drawn from the industry and academia, contributed the remaining 20% of each establishment’s score.

From these calculations, 589 finalists were selected nationwide, and each province held its own awards ceremony in the run-up to the national finals. During these provincial award ceremonies, 262 provincial winners were celebrated. 

According to Oupa Mbokodo, Director at Grant Thornton, “The awards processes from all provinces appeared to be in compliance with the rules, and terms and conditions of the Lilizela Tourism Awards. No major issues were noted, therefore based upon the work performed and the results obtained, we can conclude that the 2016 Lilizela Awards judging process was fair and transparent.”

Awards are made in a number of categories including the Service Excellence Award (with sub-categories Accommodation, Visitor Experience, Tourist Guides and Tour Operators); Entrepreneurship (for emerging tourism businesses); Sustainability and Good Governance; and the prestigious Minister’s Award, awarded at the minister’s discretion. 

ETEYA National

- Besty Travel from Limpopo

Universal Mobility

Accommodation Mobility

- Soli Deo Glori from the Western Cape

Experience General

Epic Enabled & Epic Guest House from the Western Cape

Experience Mobility

- Flamingo Tours & Disabled Ventures from the Western Cape

Visitors Experience

Roots and Culture

- Lebo's Soweto from Gauteng 

Action and Adventure

- Bloukrans Bungy - Face Adrenalin from the Eastern Cape

Scenic Beauty

Cape Point, Table Mountain National Park from the Western Cape

Wildlife Encounters

- Inyati Game Lodge from Mpumalanga

Culture and Lifestyle

- Magic Moments in Oudtshoorn from the Western Cape

Lap of Luxury

- The Twelve Apostles Hotel and Spa from the Western Cape

Beach Experience

-  Chokka Trail from the Eastern Cape

Marine Adventures

- Raggy Charters from Eastern Cape

Tourist Guides National


- James Fernie from the Western Cape


- Sidney Fhumulani Mikosi from Mpumalanga

Tour Operator

- Springbok Atlas Tours & Safaris from the Western Cape

National Accommodation


- Taj Cape Town from the Western Cape (5 star)

- Thaba Eco Hotel from Gauteng (4 star)

- Garden Court Blackrock from KwaZulu Natal (3 star)

- Town Lodge Port Elizabeth from the Eastern Cape (2 star)

- Road Lodge Potchefstroom from North West (1 star)

Self-catering Exclusive

- 171 Marula Drive - Zimbali Coastal Resort & Estate from KwaZulu Natal (5 star)

- Zebula Golf Estate & Spa from Limpopo (4 star)

- Beverley Country Cottages from KwaZulu Natal (3 star)


- Tintswalo Atlantic Lodge from the Western cape (5 star)

- Three Trees at Spioenkop from KwaZulu Natal (4 star)

- iNsingizi Lodge from KwaZulu Natal (3 star)

A photo posted by Locust (@wearelocust) on


- Saltycrax Backpackers from the Western Cape (5star)

- Curiocity Backpackers from Gauteng (4 star)

- Tube 'n Axe Backpackers Lodge from the Eastern Cape (3 star)

- Amapondo Backpackers from Eastern Cape (2 star)

Meetings, Exhibitions and Special Events

The Forum / The Campus from Gauteng (5 star)

- NH The Lord Charles Hotel from the Western Cape (4 star)

- Ingwenyama Conference & Sports Resort from Mpumalanga (3 star)

Bed & Breakfast

- Lemon Tree Lane Bed and Breakfast from the Eastern Cape (5 star)

- Brown's Manor from the Northern Cape (4 star)

Visit Vakasha Guest Lodge 1 from Mpumalanga (3 star)

Guest House

- Loerie's Call Guest House from Mpumalanga (5 star)

- The THREE from Western Cape (4 star)

- Flamingo's Nest Guest House and Conference Centre from Gauteng (3 star)

A photo posted by Mimi (@mamakhanyi122) on

Country House

Falcons View Manor from the Western Cape (5 star)

De Doornkraal Historic Country House from the Western Cape (4 star)

- Mashutti Country Lodge from Limpopo (3 star)

A photo posted by sarah&gower (@sarahandgower) on

Caravan and Camping

- ATKV Buffelspoort Holiday Resort Caravan & Camping from the North West (4 star)

- Plettenberg A Forever Resort from the Western Cape (3 star)

Game Lodge

- Jock Safari Lodge from Mpumalanga (5 star)

- Leopard Mountain from KwaZulu-Natal (4 star)

- Umlani Bushcamp from Limpopo (3 star)

The 2016 Lilizela Tourism Awards, an initiative of the National Department of Tourism and spearheaded by South African Tourism. The awards were established in 2013 to recognise and reward exemplary service among businesses in the local tourism sector, ranging from accommodation establishments and tour operators to scenic attractions and cultural heritage sites.

In 2016, the awards attracted a record number of 1122 entries, up 18% from last year’s total. Tourism businesses across the nine provinces were encouraged to enter, with a great call that they be graded with the Tourism Grading Council of South Africa, a unit of South African Tourism. 

Entry to the Lilizela Tourism Awards is free and tourism businesses of all sizes are encouraged to enter in a bid to help develop, grow and transform the industry. For more information, visit www.lilizela.co.za. Entries for the 2017 Lilizela Awards open on 1 December 2016.

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