Eteya winners in strange places
Eteya winners are an enterprising bunch - they seek out unusual and rewarding experiences for the visitor. They offer opportunities to socialise with the locals, travel the back roads and see culture and heritage less exposed.
For example, the winner of the 2006 Eteya award, Mambedi Country Lodge and Conference Centre, supervised by owner Calvin Maphophe, takes the traveller into the heart of Limpopo, a province steeped in legend. This is the land of ancient archeaological sites, indigenous forests and misty mountains, lakes inhabited by spirits, and the home of the Rain Queen.
The first ever Emerging Tourism Entrepreneur of the Year was Bernard Morobe, who operates Mankwe Heritage Tours and Safaris. Morobe offers a tour of the Pilanesberg National Park near Sun City which combines the Big 5 with a heritage tour, introducing visitors to the history and culture of the Tswana people.
Accommodation establishments with local flavour feature strongly among previous winners of Eteya awards. Vevisa Lodge, for example, also located in Limpopo where the Venda people are prominent, incorporates a typical Venda village and fruit and vegetable market. On the menu of Venda-inspired dishes are the locally-found Mopani worms - down some and you'll walk away with a ‘Brave Mouth Certificate.'
For the first time a special award was introduced in 2008, for the finalist who displayed extraordinary passion for the South African tourism industry. Meshack Nkadimang of the Hotel Kgalagadi in the Northern Cape village of Bathlaros was named the winner of the South African Tourism Ambassador award.
More recently, in the 2012 Emerging Tourism Entrepreneur of the Year Award, Vivien Boboyi from the Eastern Cape was one of the finalists. She hails from Queenstown and is mad about farming. She is dedicated to 'agritourism' and opened the Maidenhead Country Lodge in 2009 - a property that offers a combinaton of farming and tourism activities. Maidenhead is very popular with corporate clients and offers something a little off the beaten track for adventurous travellers.