PICTURESQUE: The Blyde River Canyon is one of the biggest tourist attractions in Mpumalanga

New major tourism projects set to transform South African tourism has been revealed during the World Travel Market (WTM) In London this week.
 
During an intimate breakfast today, attended by global tourism leaders including UNWTO SG: Dr Rifai, Princess Dana of Jordan, and other widely accredited leaders, Thebe Tourism Group CEO Jerry Mabena announced key tourism projects being undertaken by the company in South Africa – unique projects set in iconic locations which visitors to the country can look forward to.
 
Thebe Tourism Group is making huge strides for the South African international and domestic tourism sectors, through sustainable tourism and innovative development. The projects Mabena introduced, which will form part of TTG’s expanding portfolio includes:
 
The Mandela Presidential Centre (Johannesburg)

The Mandela Presidential Boutique Hotel is housed in a former residence of South Africa’s first black president, and global icon, Nelson Mandela.
 
This nine-bedroomed upmarket property will provide a holistically five-star experience, with conferencing facilities and a fine dining restaurant, that will be a retreat haven for high-end business travellers, the diplomatic corps and leisure travellers from around the world.
 
The development showcases the economic potential and sustainability of refurbishing the Nelson Mandela property in Johannesburg.
 
The Nelson Mandela Foundation is a key stakeholder in this development as the property owners and the hotel will provide an experience inspired by Madiba’s life and times while he resided and worked at the property.
 
This project is expected to be ready for business in 2019.
 
The Kruger Shalati Development (Skukuza, Kruger National Park)

This new development aims to redefine travel and hospitality, offering a “truly unique and extravagant experience”. Located in the heart of the Kruger National Park where the railway line ends at Skukuza, the Kruger Shalati luxury accommodation will be housed in a restored train – the first mode of transport for guests in the park.
 
The train will be permanently located on top of the iconic Selati bridge, giving visitors unparalleled views of the park and the Sabie River, and will provide guests with an old-world rail travel experience. There will be a lounge carriage and deck with the most sought-after vantage point over the river for added luxury.
 
The name Shalati has its origins in the history of chief warrior Shalati, and as such, the development will pay homage to its African history, both in design and ethos. The surrounding community will have equity in the project, and locals will be empowered through world-class training, to help deliver a unique and luxurious African travel experience.
 
The Blyde Community Project

Mpumalanga’s Panorama Route is set to see new iconic tourism opportunities in the region of the Blyde River Canyon Nature Reserve through the newly signed MOU between Thebe Tourism Group and the Land Claimant Communities of The Blyde River Canyon Nature Reserve.
 
The idea is to keep visitors in the area for longer by providing two crucial missing aspects: exciting and iconic attractions that everyone wants to experience, and accommodation for groups close to activities on offer.
 
The hope is to build a sky-walk at God’s Window, a cable car at the Three Rondavels, to upgrade and manage the facilities at Bourke’s luck Potholes, and build a hotel to service the area.