Sapphire Coast tourism businesses win big at the Durban Tourism Business Awards Ceremony

Sapphire Coast tourism businesses win big at the Durban Tourism Business Awards Ceremony
Sapphire Coast tourism businesses win big at the Durban Tourism Business Awards Ceremony

Tourism businesses on the stunning Sapphire Coast in KwaZulu-Natal took home 5 awards at the 3rd Durban Tourism Business Awards ceremony held at the Durban ICC on 13 June 2024. This is a testament to the diverse offerings found along this coastal stretch extending from Athlone Park in the North to Clansthal in the South.


“We’d like to extend our congratulations to all the winners and top performers from the Sapphire Coast in this year’s Durban Tourism Business Awards,” commented Romy Wenzel of Sapphire Coast Tourism. “This was an exceptional result for our hard-working tourism establishments who are ensuring visitors have the best experience in our beautiful part of the world.”


The Durban Tourism Business Awards were established in 2021 as a way to encourage excellence, innovation, and healthy competition within the local tourism sector. The awards, across several key categories, recognise businesses that have shown resilience and innovation, adapting to the dynamic conditions that influence the tourism industry.


Sapphire Coast’s Top Performers


Exceptional Achievement Award: Product Owner with Disability

WINNER: The Bali Grand Lodge and Spa


The Bali Grand Guest Lodge & Spa is a 23-bedroom lodge situated in Amanzimtoti, nestled on the banks of the warm Indian Ocean. Each room has an unparalleled 180-degree sea view and a private balcony, with the establishment’s warm hospitality making each guest feel a part of the family.


Garth Bogle, Owner of The Bali Grand Lodge and Spa commented: “I am completely overwhelmed and humbled to receive this award! It is an incredible honour to be recognised in this way, and I am so grateful to everyone who has supported me along the way.


“As a quadriplegic who broke his neck at the age of 29, I have faced unique challenges over the years, and this award is a testament to the fact that disability does not equal inability. I hope that my achievement can inspire others to pursue their passions, regardless of any obstacles they may face. I am so proud to be part of this community and to be able to contribute to it in meaningful ways. Thank you again to the organisers and judges for this incredible recognition.”


Exceptional Achievement Award: Rural Investment and Township Economy Development

WINNER: Coastal Beach Resort


Coastal Beach Resort is located on the serene shores of the scenic Umgababa Beach in Amanzimtoti, offering spacious, comfortable, self-catering accommodation alongside a pool and lapa area. This is the ideal venue for families wanting to escape the city and unwind on the coast. The catering kitchen in the newly constructed restaurant and bar area provides breakfast and dinner for guests, as well as hot snacks for sundowners at the end of the day.


Mondli Comfort Makhathini, Owner of Coastal Beach Resort, said: “The award opens more doors and opportunities for us since we are based in a rural area, promoting us within the tourism market and our community in Umgababa.  It has uplifted the spirit of our employees as their hard work has been recognised and acknowledged by our loyal guests.”


Crafters Awards

WINNER: Christine Andrews

Facebook: Christine Andrews – Artist


Mural artist, Christine Andrews, is based in Amanzimtoti but travels all over South Africa for her work which she has been doing for almost 20 years. Her ‘one-man show’ sees her transforming large spaces with just a paintbrush, with many bridges and public spaces transformed by her art. She has earned her living while raising three daughters by herself.


Commenting on the award, she said: “I am truly grateful to the Durban tourism for selecting me as the winner of this amazing award, it is a huge blessing! God has blessed me with this wonderful talent of painting. I work very hard but it is only by His grace that I am able and so He deserves the glory! I have met so many wonderful people along the way and am truly blessed and so grateful for the journey I am on. I love what I do and seeing the joy and inspiration it brings to others is my biggest reward. My encouragement to others is hard work does pay off, be faithful to use the abilities God has given you, whatever they may be.”


Visitor’s Experience

2nd Place: Aliwal Dive Centre


Aliwal Shoal in Umkomaas has been a PADI 5 Star Dive Centre for 20 years and is just a 45-minute drive from Durban. They offer shark cage diving, snorkelling, boat rides, reef and shark scuba diving at the world-famous Aliwal Shoal, as well as dive courses from Discover Scuba courses to Instructor Courses. Aliwal Shoal has private, en-suite rooms situated right above our dive centre with breathtaking sea views and sunrises.


“We have been trying for two years to get nominated and to have it finally become reality was amazing and such a privilege,” said Basie Ackermann, Director of Aliwal Dive Centre. “We were honoured to be first runner-up and we are definitely going to proceed with the amazing work that we do at Aliwal Dive Centre, keeping our clients happy and providing the professional service that we guarantee.”


Service Excellence Award: Hotel Category

3rd Place: Protea Hotel by Marriott Karridene Beach


The Protea Hotel by Marriott Karridene Beach is a modern and luxurious beachfront hotel, renowned for its excellent accommodation, wonderful food, friendly hospitality, and first-class service. Situated between the lagoon and Illovo Beach, the hotel boasts an award-winning caravan park, as well recreational activities that include mini-golf, squash courts, kiddies play-park, billiards, trampolines, table tennis, three swimming pools, a fitness centre, spa, and team-building areas. The Oakwood Restaurant, housed in a glass structure overlooking the Umzimbazi Lagoon and lush coastal vegetation, is the ideal place to relax and enjoy a meal. Protea Hotel by Marriott Karridene Beach has the latest in conferencing equipment and venues that can accommodate up to 200 delegates.


Bridgette Ngono, General Manager of The Protea Hotel by Marriott Karridene Beach commented: “We are extremely humbled to receive this award. This recognition means a lot to our staff, our partners, and owners who work tirelessly daily to ensure optimum service to our guests. It is truly a morale and confidence booster, particularly during these trying times in business, encouraging our teams to strive for excellence in providing the best guest service.  We appreciate Sapphire Coast Tourism for encouraging us to participate and also for the business support they are providing to us. Thanks to Durban Tourism for all you do for us.”


For more information about the Sapphire Coast and its diverse tourism offerings, visit or the Sapphire Coast Tourism Facebook page.