Experience the Northern Cape, South Africa

The Northern Cape is beaming with pride after three of our exceptional tourism offerings were deservedly crowned national winners in their categories at the 2019 Lilizela Tourism Awards.

Naba Lodge and River Place Manor Guest House in Upington, and the Workshop ko Kasi in Kuruman, beat out stiff competition from around the country to bag four awards between them at these prestigious awards for South Africa’s tourism and travel industry. In addition, Touch Let’s Go in Kimberley received a special commendation. 

The Northern Cape excelled in the guest house category in particular, with Naba Lodge and River Place claiming two out of the four winners’ spots according to star grading, for best two-star and best five-star guest house in the country, respectively.

Naba Lodge’s conference facility also bagged the award for best three-star events venue in South Africa.

The Workshop ko Kasi continued its winning streak by scooping the award for the best culture and lifestyle experience in the country. Touch Let’s Go was also recognised during the ceremony for being one of South Africa’s most promising emerging tour operators – another firm vote of confidence in our province’s up-and-coming tourism entrepreneurs.

The Lilizelas, which honour and celebrate service excellence in South Africa’s tourism industry every year, were held at Time Square in Pretoria on 9 November 2019. The awards, now in their seventh year, are an initiative of the national Department of Tourism and are spearheaded by South African Tourism.

They are widely regarded as the Oscars of South Africa’s travel and tourism sector, with a panel of independent adjudicators, as well as members of the public, assessing establishments and individuals across the country and rewarding those that go the extra mile to put the country on the global tourism map.

Here is a closer look at this year’s Lilizela-winning jewels in the Northern Cape’s tourism crown:

Naba Lodge, Upington

Naba Lodge Award
Naba Lodge's two awards were accepted on the owners' behalf by the Northern Cape's acting head of department for tourism, Jean Wilson. She is flanked by Deputy Tourism Minister Fish Mahlalela and Tourism Minister Mmamoloko Kubayi-Ngubane. (Image: South African Tourism)

Naba Lodge won a remarkable two Lilizela Tourism Awards this year – for its guest house (in the two-star sub-category) and conferencing facilities (in the three-star sub-category). 

Described as an “oasis in the Kalahari” with serene country ambience, Naba offers great value-for-money accommodation as well as outstanding function venues for meetings, year-end functions and weddings.

Ilzé Basson-Eva, who is a partner in the business with her mother, Elbie Basson, shared her excitement at Naba’s double win: “We are overwhelmed about winning the awards. This achievement brings us hope that we’ll attract more clients to our establishment and grow the business, in order to counter the hard economic times we are faced with.”

Naba Copy Cropped
Naba Lodge in Upington is named after the rare truffle that is said to only be found in the Kalahari Desert. (Image: Naba Lodge)

River Place Manor Guest House, Upington

River Place Manor Guest House Lilizelas 2019 Cropped
Piet and Ronel Lange deliver such outstanding service that River Place Manor has been named the best five-star guesthouse in the country. They're pictured with Deputy Tourism Minister Fish Mahlalela and Tourism Minister Mmamoloko Kubayi-Ngubane. (Image: South African Tourism)

River Place Manor, situated on the edge of the Orange River in the Green Kalahari region, also did exceptionally well by winning the Lilizela award for best guest house in the five-star sub-category.

This tranquil establishment offers guests uninterrupted views of the river, as well as of the lush garden with its abundant birdlife, from the comfort and privacy of their rooms. Expect spectacular sunrises and sunsets, as well as star-dappled African night skies, occasionally punctuated by the call of the fish eagle.

“This has been a great awards ceremony,” said Pieties Lange, the establishment’s owner. “We are very proud to have won. We are sitting on the mighty Orange River and on a site that we wish to share with the rest of South Africa; we cannot hide away.”

River Place Manor 2
Who wouldn't want to spend a few days basking blissfully in five-star luxury at River Place Manor on the banks of the Orange River? (Image: River Place Manor)

Workshop ko Kasi, Kuruman

Workshop Ko Kasi
Mpho Cornelius is beside herself with joy at her Kuruman establishment taking home the laurels for best cultural and lifestyle venue in the country – and justly so! (Image: Workshop ko Kasi)

The Workshop ko Kasi , which offers authentic African hospitality and experiences in Mothibistad in Kuruman, won the award for best culture and lifestyle establishment. 

This trendy township business also offers a workspace, a township café, a laundromat and an African eco-spa, plus cultural tours and pop-up events. With buildings and decor made out of natural and recycled materials – from wooden pallets to tyres and rocks – the Workshop ko Kasi is undoubtedly a versatile creative hub.

Said founder and director Mpho Cornelius: “Taking into consideration how unique and authentic our business is, it gives us great pleasure to be winning the visitor experience in culture and lifestyle category because it reinforces that times are, indeed, changing and there is now much room in society for innovative and sustainable tourism businesses.

 “We are all about the people and place, which translates into cultural experiences and creative environments. This award is more fuel in our quest to develop our communities through tourism and art,” she said.

Workshop Ko Kasi 2
With its distinctive, authentic kasi flavour mixed with an edgy contemporary feel, the Workshop ko Kasi is a must-visit stop on your Northern Cape trip. (Image: Workshop ko Kasi)

Touch Let’s Go, Kimberley

Touch Lets Go Big Hole
One of Touch Let's Go's tour groups having a big blast at the Big Hole in Kimberley. (Image: Touch Let's Go)

Touch Let’s Go from Kimberley was given special recognition at the Lilizelas for being one of the country’s most exciting emerging tour operators during the awards ceremony. 

It offers tours of heritage sites, national parks, game reserves and other attractions, and prides itself on its outstanding client service.

“The prospects look good for our small tour operator business,” said Comet Motimela of Touch Let’s Go. “The recognition we received gives us the strength to up our game and compete with the best in the tourism industry. We appreciate the honour and this will give us the courage to achieve more in the future.”

The Northern Cape Tourism Authority congratulates all our outstanding national and provincial Lilizela Tourism Awards winners and finalists – you are doing our province proud as tourism ambassadors; keep up the incredible work!