DURBAN - Mlungisi Nzuza and his wife Cynthia saw a gap in the hospitality sector in Zululand which led to them starting their own hotel business.
According to Nzuza, government officials would come to Nongoma but there would be no place for them to stay and they would then be forced to find accommodation elsewhere.This became the gap in the market that they would tap into.
Nzuza says that his wife is the person who motivated him to look for a location in which to construct 10 rondavels. This eventually became what is now known as Nongoma Lodge and Inn.
Under the brand of Nongoma Lodge and Inn are three hotels:
1. Nongoma Lodge: A BnB
2. Nongoma Inn: A mid-range hotel
3. Mbazwana Inn: A luxury hotel
After the success of Nongoma Lodge, the couple purchased a 17 bedroom hotel for R700 000 at an auction. The Nzuza's then approached Ithala Development Finance Corporation for a loan, which was approved.
Now the former dilapidated hotel has been turned into a luxurious 27-bedroom hotel for visitors and holidaymakers. The hotel, which is called Mbazwana Inn offers accommodation, conference facilities and a restaurant.
The prices to stay at any of the hotels range from about R570 to R900, depending on the number of people in the room and the package selected.
Those who visit these hotels in Nongoma can travel to the Hluhluwe Game Reserve to go on safari or visit the Nongoma Forest.
The couple currently employs 47 people from the local community; also arranging for formal hospitality training for their workers.
Mlungisi says that some of the challenges that he's faced, including having a hard time training staff because of certain cultural barriers and staff not knowing how to serve guests.
He also notes the challenge of getting professionals to come service their DStv or their aircons because of the distance of hotels from the cities.
The couple utilises Booking.com, Where To Stay, Tourism KZN, SA Tourism and Trivago to advertise their business.
This year Nzuza won the Tourism and Hospitality Business Achiever of the Year award at the Ithala Business Achiever Awards.
The Nzuza's have turned the gap in the Zululand hotel market into a successful hotel business.
- BUSINESS REPORT ONLINE