Gorgeous villas in spectacular destinations in southern Africa offering ultimate luxury and exclusivity – this is the business in which south African entrepreneur, Therese Botha, has made a name for herself with her company, Icon Villas.
Botha, who took a very different route by studying music at the University of Pretoria before starting Icon Villas, explains that while beginning her career in the travel and hospitality industry without a strong background in finance and commerce was a challenge, she has learnt “from the university of life”.
“we aim to create magical experiences for our clients,” Botha says, adding that she found her inspiration for Icon Villas through things that appealed to her. “Anything with aesthetic beauty, whether it’s a garden, piece of art, house interior, a music composition, or heart-warming poem or landscape.”
she says that making people happy was a big part of starting Icon Villas. “I love people and get a great kick from creating a deal to satisfy different role players – Icon Villas has enabled me to marry all these passions through one business opportunity.
“I am passionate about a lot of aesthetical and ethical things: tourism, our country, décor, beautiful villas, and satisfied clients.” This passion has propelled Icon Villas into the spot it occupies as a successful business it is today, with accolades such as becoming the first Villa Rental specialist in southern Africa to be endorsed by Condé Nast Traveller USA.
Botha attributes this success to a combination of factors, including destiny and determination. “Believing in my dream and capabilities; knowing what I can do well, and what I can’t do.”
with August being women’s Month, and with Botha herself being a woman who has achieved great success, this time of year to her means remembering and celebrating female icons from the past, such as poet Elisabeth Eybers and artist Irma stern; rejoicing with women who are successful in their fields, such as opera singer Pretty Yende; as well as celebrating ordinary women “who are juggling many balls, such as single mothers putting kids through school”. she herself juggled growing her business with raising five children.
The range of properties in the portfolio of Icon Villas is like a wish list for luxury travellers, from an immense three-bedroomed home in Clifton, Cape Town, with 180-degree views of local beaches, and a presidential villa in Mozambique, to a quaint cottage in Cape Town city centre overlooking signal Hill and lion’s Head, and a cosy two-bedroomed home in the Cape winelands. with a range of properties this diverse, there is plenty to appeal to whatever style of holiday you are after, whether you want to be in the centre of city life, living in the lap of luxury along the beachfront, or spending your days sampling delicious wines in Franschhoek.
when asked which one of the properties is her favourite, Botha says that she doesn’t have one, “Every property, like people, has its own story and own soul, and I love each one for its unique attributes.”
when it comes to the places she loves visiting, Botha enjoys cities where amazing art and culinary skill reigns supreme. Throw in warm ocean water and vibrant culture, and this travel and hospitality connoisseur is happy. “I am a girl from Africa with European ancestors, and despite having travelled to wonderful places in the world, my heart beats for Africa.”
Botha describes herself as being “constantly behind with admin”, as she prefers her days to be filled with beauty. “I am driven by different forms of beauty: textures, visual beauty, lovely and kind personalities, poems, exceptional music, vistas, combinations of beauty in tactile and tastes – I always favour that and drop the red tape.”
working with people who are looking for their ideal vacation is her favourite part of her job, as she loves making clients’ holiday wishes come true. “I love helping families and friends to write a piece of their life story by giving them the opportunity to reconnect with each other during their private stay, and to connect with locals by sharing their experiences.” of course, Botha also enjoys finding new villas and apartments in stunning locations to add to the Icon Villas’ portfolio.
on becoming a successful entrepreneur, Botha’s advice to others who wish to make their own entrepreneurial dreams come true is: “Your success is dependent on your determination, passion, opportunities, belief, and trust in yourself and your team.”
For more information on Icon Villas, www.iconvillas.travel. visit