Ever on the lookout for new opportunities in Africa, BON Hotels, after lengthy negotiations, has taken over Shishangeni Private Game Lodge. The lodge is situated on a 15 000 hectare private concession of the world-renowned Kruger National Park and will be rebranded Shishangeni by BON Hotels.
The move is a strategic one, says Guy Stehlik, CEO of BON Hotels. “This property has been in our sights for a while and adds tremendous value to our portfolio due to its unique location and diverse offering, and it speaks to a different market from that for which we are known.” The lodge, located in one of Africa’s largest game parks, has the deserved reputation for showcasing some of the finest game viewing on the continent and is the ultimate destination for both local and international visitors.
BON Hotels has appointed a new General Manager to oversee the lodge and to ensure that all the BON Blueprints are in place, with a particular focus on staff training and service levels. Efforts are underway to enhance relationships with tour operators that have been doing business with the lodge and to reach out to new operators. Because of its size and location, the lodge will be particularly attractive to STO groups and FIT business.
Shishangeni by BON Hotels is easily accessible by air or road and comprises three camps: Shishangeni Private Lodge, Camp Shonga and Camp Shawu, each adding a different experience that caters to a cross-section of markets. General Manager Chris Pollard adds, “Such is the diversity of the three camps that we are able to offer a three-, four- and five- star experience to our guests.” With a total of 63 units, the lodge can accommodate up to 106 guests at full occupancy. The camps, with an emphasis on nature, offer Big Five game viewing, superior service, excellent cuisine and accommodation to rival any in Southern Africa. Guests can enjoy early morning or late afternoon game drives in search of the ‘Big 5’ with an expert guide, a pampering at the spa, a splash in the pool, sundowners in the bush and endless photo opportunities.
Conference facilities include seating for a maximum of 44 delegates and boasts beautiful spaces for weddings or special occasions creating a truly African experience. Diners can enjoy traditional cuisine in the private dining room or around a roaring boma fire under the stars. Bush breaks can be arranged for coffee and tea or a sundowner, and the main area has a charming open lounge area, where guests can dine or sip on a cocktail on a spacious wooden deck as the game meanders past.
Stehlik says this property puts BON Hotels on a whole new level and gives the group an ‘in’ with worldwide tour operators and domestic wholesalers. “The property is well established, it has more rooms than a typical lodge catering to all markets, the calibre of the game is unsurpassed, and it is well known both locally and abroad, giving us a platform to market to international tour operators.”
This acquisition is the culmination of a longstanding relationship and following the signing of the deal additional plans are afoot for other hotels in South Africa and in Mauritius, which will further cement the group’s expansion plans.