Durban -

A “dynamic duo” who are an example of the benefits that can be derived when an SMME “dreams big” have picked up a prestigious tourism award.

Babo and Sizani Hadebe, the owners of the Olwandle Guesthouse in Durban North and the Olwandle Suite Hotel, across the road from the International Convention Centre, who already have a string of awards to their credit, have now won an honour awarded by the MEC for Economic Development and Tourism and Environmental Affairs, Mike Mabuyakhulu.

The MEC’s award is part of the national South African Tourism’s Lilizela Service Excellence Awards and was presented to Babo Hadebe at the KZN finals in Ballito on Friday night.

“From a staff complement of only two when they first opened their doors for business 14 years ago to the collective 28 jobs they have since created, the dynamic duo are an example of the benefits that can be derived when an SMME (small medium and micro enterprise) dreams big,” guests at the glittering event were told.

After successfully running their first guesthouse in Durban North for eight years, they then opened their suite hotel in the Durban city centre.

uShaka Marine World won two honours at the provincial awards: the Visitor Experience Award for Culture and Lifestyle and the Visitor Experience Award for Marine Adventure.

Other Visitor Experience Awards in the Action and Adventure category were: Amamboma Travel and Tours (Roots and Culture), The Midlands Meander (Scenic Beauty) and Amakhosi Safari Lodge (Wildlife Encounters).

The award for the four-star bed and breakfast went to the St Lucia Wetlands Guest House, while the five-star honour went to the Sanchia Luxury Guesthouse.

The three-star hotel winner was the Umthunzi Boutique Hotel, while the four-star hotel was the Ghost Mountain Inn.

The five-star hotel winner was the Fairmont Zimbali Resort, with the neighbouring Fairmont Zimbali Lodge taking the title of the winner of the five-star lodge category.

The Universal Accessibility Award went to the Garden Court Ulundi and the Emerging Tourism Enterprise of the Year Award went to Discover Durban Tours and Transfers.

The honours in the tourist guides award went to Robert Craig Caskie (culture category) and Tom Ntombela (nature category).

The winners now proceed to the national finals.