Top Nelson Mandela Bay attractions scoop provincial tourism awards

A humpback whale breaches in Algoa Bay as gannets dive in. Whales and seabirds are prevalent when the sardine run is on
A humpback whale breaches in Algoa Bay as gannets dive in. Whales and seabirds are prevalent when the sardine run is on
Image: Lloyd Edwards / Raggy Charters

Nelson Mandela Bay’s top tourism attractions won yet again at the Eastern Cape leg of the Lilizela Tourism Awards in Mthatha in September.

The awards were held at Dan’s Country Lodge on September 19, with nine Bay businesses named as overall winners in their respective categories.

The national leg of the awards will take place in Pretoria on November 9.

Thunzi Bush Lodge won the four-star self-catering shared holiday for the fourth time.

Owner Trenwyth Pledger, who runs the lodge with her husband Mark, said it was a great win for them.

The Lilizela Tourism Awards are designed to recognise the best in the South African tourism industry, with the aim of driving the industry to higher levels of product and service excellence.

“It’s a fantastic award and it’s mainly due to my staff because they’re doing a great job in making sure that guests are looked after and the property and estate is run swiftly.

“With everything being on social media and the internet, it does stand out when an establishment has won such an award and to know that it is legitimate and a good place to go to,” Pledger said.

A shocked Josephine Byram, who runs and manages Admiralty Beach House with her husband Alan, said she was chuffed that her business had won the provincial four-star guesthouse award.

Byram, who was informed about the award by The Herald, said she was very happy to learn about the news.

“We are quite surprised and delighted because it’s a very competitive market. You have to be on top, pay a lot of attention to detail, pay a lot of attention to service and hospitality, and your staff has to be trained and you have to keep up with the units, keep up with the trends, trends in decor, trends in food and trends in anything.

“It’s not an easy business,” Byram said.

David Bolton, manager of the Forest Hall bed-and-breakfast in Walmer, said he was honoured that the family business had won the four-star bed-and-breakfast award.

“We work hard, we pride ourselves in what we do and we have an awesome staff that works extremely hard,” he said.

Bolton, who won the national category in 2018, said he hoped they would take it again in 2019.

Lisa Lucas from the Algoa Guest House in Summerstrand won the three-star category for bed-and-breakfast.

Lucas said it was “fabulous” to win.

“I don’t know how we got there,” she said.

Raggy Charters won for best Marine Adventure and operations manager Jake Keeton said he could not be happier.

“We rely heavily on TripAdvisor because it doesn’t matter what we say, it’s all up to the people who visit and enjoy our experiences.

“We have a really small team and if you look at the massive teams we compete against, you’ll understand how much this means to us,” Keeton said.

Economic development, tourism and agriculture executive director Anele Qaba congratulated the winners.

“As a city we would also like to encourage more of the city’s products to take part in the Lilizela programme so that we can get more products to boast about and utilise the additional exposure generated through the awards to attract more visitors to the city.”

The Eastern Cape Parks and Tourism Agency (ECPTA) said the awards played a critical role in advancing the tourism promotion mandate and growing the visitor economy to the province and country at large.

Other winners from the city include Hacklewood Hill Country House, Road Lodge, Town Lodge and City Lodge.

The awards aim to recognise the best in the South African tourism industry


  • This article is in partnership with Nelson Mandela Bay Tourism. For more information, visit