The Thebe Tourism Group is one of South Africa’s oldest black-empowered companies that has successfully invested in some of the most incredible tourism destinations, businesses and products in South Africa. These include the Cape Point Concession, the Mandela Presidential Centre, the Kruger Shalati, the Kruger Station Precinct, and the Club Travel and Soul Traveller Tours. Sitting at the helm of this trailblazing company is 49-year-old Jerry Mabena, the chief executive.
“The call to foster tangible transformational growth in the tourism sector is what inspired me to take on this role,” says Mabena. “The industry is one of the biggest contributors to our economy and it is possible for us to double it in terms of employment and size. It is also possible to do so in a way that empowers previously disadvantaged groups that include women and young South Africans. They are all the hardest hit when it comes to unemployment.”
With Mabena at the helm, Thebe Tourism Group is changing the landscape by focusing on investments in rural and township economies. The company likes to invest in iconic and unusual spaces that are found nowhere else in the world, positioning its portfolio as bucket-list destinations for tourists from around the world.
“This is why I love my job,” says Mabena. “Our latest investment is the Kruger Shalati’s Train on a Bridge, a unique luxury accommodation experience set to open in the Kruger National Park in December. It is a new tourism and hospitality product that will see luxury accommodation housed inside a refurbished and reimagined train.”
The development will include 24 rooms with 48 beds stationed on the Selati Bridge that spans the Sabie River from bank to bank. The rooms overlook the river and include dining and lounge areas plus a pool overlooking the river. It sounds extraordinary and is yet another notch in this dynamic trailblazer’s belt.