Mbombela — LOCATED on a high point between Mbombela and White River, the eBundu Lodge is one the Lowveld's most notable tourist facilities, attracting guests from within South Africa and neighbouring Mozambique.
Growing in Carletonville in the West Rand, and equipped with a Master's Degree in Sports Management obtained at University of Johannesburg, it is inconceivable mother of three, Ntombizodwa Katlego Tshabalala (31), would be among the brains behind this thriving project.
She nonetheless has a postgraduate diploma in Business Management, with her highest qualification being a Master of Business Administration (MBA).
"I'm not from hospitality, I always say hospitality found me before I found it," she told CAJ News Africa in an interview.
Tshabalala co-owns the award-winning eBundu Lodge with her husband, Sibusiso Tshabalala.
The lodge is situated along the R40, some 30 minutes from the Kruger National Park.
It was established in 1988.
Parents to two boys and a girl, the Tshabalalas bought it from a son of the previous owners.
"The lodge was family-owned business. It has an interesting historic space and is now its black owned by youth," Zodwa said.
Majoring on accommodation, eBundu has over 100 rooms, namely single, double and family rooms that accommodate up to five people.
The facility also hosts conferences, weddings and baby showers.
A major highlight to date is the Sunrise Woman Awards, held last month in line with Women's Month.
EBundu has also emerged a key creator of employment and an advocate for women's empowerment in Mpumalanga Province.
The lodge employs 87 staff, including 80 permanent employees.
Women make up 60 percent of employees.
There are also three interns and another individual completing a course in hospitality.
Mrs Tshabalala's prowess has been recognised.
She won in the Service Excellence in Accommodation category at the provincial leg of the Lilizela Awards held two weeks ago.
The Lilizela Tourism Awards recognise and celebrate tourism businesses for excellence, contribution to South Africa's global competitiveness and growing tourism's contribution towards the economy and job creation.
According to a citation by judges, this is for "setting the benchmark in service excellence, contributing to the industry, investing in skills provision, leading by example and for ensuring that each guest is given a world class experience in Mpumalanga."