Mil­ner­ton guest­house comes out tops

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - NEWS - REBECCA JACK­MAN

EMMAH Makatu, owner of Zwinoni Lodge in Mil­ner­ton Ridge, has be­come the new face of the Tsogo Sun Book a Guest­house pro­gramme, beat­ing out the com­pe­ti­tion to see her es­tab­lish­ment named Guest­house of the Year for 2013.

And Makatu sees the hon­our as a ma­jor boost, say­ing the ex­po­sure will give her a com­pet­i­tive ad­van­tage, and al­low her to take her busi­ness to the next level.

Lo­cated be­side the Ri­etvlei Na­ture Re­serve, Zwinoni ( the Venda word for “birds”) is a favourite for bird-watch­ers and guests seek­ing beauty, lux­ury and tran­quil­lity.

Makatu built Zwinoni Lodge on a 1 200m prop­erty, with the idea of com­bin­ing her liv­ing ar­range­ments with her busi­ness.

She says she’s al­ways had a pas­sion for en­ter­tain­ing, and has many friends coun­try­wide who visit her con­stantly.

“When they (leave) they would tell me about the good ser­vice, and even if they stayed in a ho­tel they’d come to my place for African cook­ing.”

Open­ing a guest­house seemed a nat­u­ral pro­gres­sion from be­ing a great host.

Makatu says Zwinoni guests sleep very well thanks to the tran­quil­lity of the lo­ca­tion, the sounds of around 180 dif­fer­ent species of birds and, of course, the com­fort­able beds.

They also en­joy her homecooked African cui­sine which you don’t get at big ho­tels, she says.

She prides her­self on of­fer­ing a per­son­alised ser­vice with­out be­ing in­tru­sive, be­cause her guests are “not just a num­ber”.

Makatu is part of a spe­cial Tsogo Sun pro­gramme called Book a Guest­house, which aims to help boost stan­dards, train­ing, ap­pear­ance and qual­ity in the in­dus­try.

She says the pro­gramme has ben­e­fited her enor­mously, with the award just the cherry on top.

The only pro­gramme of its kind in South Africa, 92 per­cent of its mem­bers are black South African women.

And through it, Tsogo Sun has con­trib­uted di­rectly to the cre­ation of 258 jobs, and in­di­rectly to the cre­ation of more than 2 000.

Zwinoni has 10 en-suite bed­rooms – equipped with satel­lite TV, a mini-bar, and tea- and cof­fee- mak­ing fa­cil­i­ties – which over­look the beau­ti­ful gar­dens. There is also a con­fer­ence room for about 25 peo­ple.

Makatu is im­pressed by Tsogo Sun’s of­fer­ing to en­trepreneurs, which she says in­cludes “ex­cel­lent train­ing, an­nual con­fer­ences, in­ter­ac­tion with other fe­male en­trepreneurs, and di­rec­tors of Tsogo Sun, in­ter­net ser­vices and more”.

MA­JOR BOOST: Zwinoni Lodge has beaten the com­pe­ti­tion.

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