About Tsogo Sun Heritage

Over the last five decades, Tsogo Sun has played an important role in shaping the landscape of hotels, gaming and entertainment in South Africa and further afield. Tsogo Sun now proudly brings you: Tsogo Sun Heritage (heritage.tsogosun.com), which takes the form of a virtual online library and houses copies of the group’s documents, press clippings, supplements, photographs, videos, annual reports and publications spanning its fifty-year history and reflecting the milestones of a company that has grown and developed into a major presence in hospitality and tourism in South Africa.

Contribute to Tsogo Sun Heritage

Do you have valuable, historical Tsogo Sun memorabilia that you would like to contribute to the online virtual library? The group is continually collecting and assembling material and content on the site, and you are invited to contribute relevant items to the collection.

To submit items digitally, e-mail us on: tsogo.heritage@tsogosun.com

To submit original items, send or deliver them to:
Maureen Hartley at Tsogo Sun Head Office: Palazzo Towers East, Montecasino Boulevard, Fourways, 2055

Tsogo Sun: Five Decades of History

Tsogo Sun, Africa’s premier hospitality, gaming and entertainment group, is a company of unparalleled variety, footprint and scale. The group is listed on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange and proudly encompasses a portfolio of 14 casinos and entertainment destinations, strategically located across 6 provinces in South Africa, as well as over 90 hotels in South Africa, Africa, the Seychelles and the Middle East. This includes elegant, individually branded luxury hotels, full service and select service hotels, and properties catering to budget conscious travellers.

With a vision to provide excellence in hospitality, leisure, gaming and entertainment, the group’s portfolio includes a variety of theatres and cinemas, over 300 restaurants and bars; and more than 250 conference and banqueting facilities, including the renowned Sandton Convention Centre.

Tsogo Sun embodies the meaning of the originating Setswana term ‘Tsogo’ which translated represents the ‘new dawn’ and symbolises the daily rising of the sun. Tsogo Sun’s passage through time, which started in 1969, has mirrored this symbolism, as the group has grown and flourished over nearly five decades.
It has been a momentous journey... and here are some of the milestones that have shaped the story of Tsogo Sun through the years:
In 1969, the South African Breweries Limited and hotel magnate, Sol Kerzner, partnered to create Southern Sun Hotels – the largest hotel group in the southern hemisphere at the time. Southern Sun commenced operations with six hotels that included the iconic Beverly Hills hotel in uMhlanga Rocks, Durban. The group was subsequently involved in the development of many of the most prestigious hotels of the era, including the Elangeni, Cape Sun, Sandton Sun, Beacon Island and Sun City.
In 1983 the group was split, with the casino operations packaged into what became Sun International and the hotels remaining in Southern Sun - the company that has now become the Tsogo Sun we know today.
By 1985, Southern Sun had expanded to 27 hotels. It then acquired the Holiday Inn South Africa hotel group, thereby establishing a countrywide distribution of 50 hotels, in both the upmarket and mid-market segments.

With the advent of economy travel in the mid to late eighties, the group converted several Southern Sun hotels to selected services hotels, at the same time converting some to operate under the various InterContinental Hotel Group of brands. This saw Tsogo Sun become one of the largest franchisees of Holiday Inn, Crowne Plaza, Holiday Inn Garden Court and Express by Holiday Inn brands.
In 1991 Southern Sun delisted from the JSE to become a wholly owned subsidiary of the South African Breweries. In the same year, Southern Sun entered into a joint venture with Accor SA, the French hotel group, to develop the Formula 1 and Formula Inn range of hotels in South Africa and the first of 23 opened the next year.

During the 1990’s, the group moved into Africa, operating a magnificent resort in the Seychelles, aptly named Paradise Sun, and acquiring and building hotels in Lusaka, Maputo, Dar Es Salaam and Nairobi.
In 1995, Tsogo Sun Holdings was constituted as a bidding consortium between Southern Sun and numerous black empowerment partners forming Tsogo Sun Gaming. The consortium was successful in obtaining five casino licences when the South African government introduced the New National Gambling Act. The Group entered into an exclusive Agreement with InterContinental Hotels & Resorts to operate three luxury hotels in South Africa.
The group opened the Emnotweni Casino in Mbombela, Mpumalanga, which in 1997 was the first casino within the new regulated environment in post-Apartheid South Africa.

The following year, the group opened The Ridge Casino in Emalahleni in Mpumalanga.
Montecasino, the group’s flagship entertainment destination in Fourways, Gauteng opened in 2000. Hemingways Casino in East London, Eastern Cape opened in 2001 and the Suncoast Casino and Entertainment World in Durban, KwaZulu-Natal followed in 2002.

The Montecasino / Fourways license is one of the largest licenses in South Africa. The ambitious 1.4 billion Rand development was architecturally designed to replicate a Tuscan village and today boasts three hotels within the Montecasino precinct: the palatial Palazzo Montecasino, SunSquare Montecasino and Southern Sun Montecasino. It also houses the leading theatre in South Africa, the Teatro, numerous restaurants and bars as well as the beautiful Montecasino bird gardens.

As part of the Montecasino bid, the group also undertook to build the Sandton Convention Centre. This world class facility is one of the largest privately opened centres of its kind and hosts hundreds of international conferences and exhibitions annually, bringing visitors from all corners of the globe to Sandton.
Then, in 2001, inspired by the luxurious Key West home of famous author Ernest Hemingway, Hemingways Casino was opened, bringing live entertainment, casino gaming and big screen movies to the Eastern Cape. The Southern Sun Hemingways opened adjacent to the casino.
2002 saw Tsogo Sun invest R1.4 billion into Durban’s Golden Mile – the single largest investment by any private company – in the form of Suncoast Casino, Hotels & Entertainment. With its unique Miami South Beach Art Deco style architecture, Suncoast offers gaming and entertainment, a boardwalk and two hotels – Suncoast Towers and SunSquare Suncoast. It is one of South Africa's prime tourist destinations and attracts on average 750 000 visitors per month.

Also in 2002, the group undertook a landmark empowerment transaction restructuring the various ownership structures in the hotel and gaming businesses resulting in Tsogo Sun having 51% black ownership from various empowerment consortiums with the balance of the shares owned by SABMiller. Over the following years, one of these consortiums, Hosken Consolidated Investments – or HCI as it is known – representing the South African Clothing and Textile Workers’ Union, emerged as the largest and controlling shareholder of the group.
In 2005, the group took a decision to rebrand most of the hotels that were operated under a franchise agreement with the InterContinental Hotel Group to its own brands, incorporating Southern Sun Hotels, Garden Court, and StayEasy. Nevertheless, a close relationship with the InterContinental Hotel Group was maintained. A new brand, SunSquare, was added to the portfolio with the first hotel opening in Montecasino, Johannesburg.
Between 2009 and 2011, the group embarked on a process of consolidation of the gaming industry in Southern Africa. Firstly, this saw the acquisition of two casino properties owned by Century Casinos Inc. – Blackrock Casino in Newcastle, KwaZulu-Natal and The Caledon Casino, Hotel and Spa in the Western Cape. In 2009 Southern Sun celebrated its fortieth birthday which cemented its status within the hospitality industry.
Then in 2011, Tsogo Sun merged with Gold Reef Resorts Limited incorporating an additional seven casinos into the group’s portfolio – Gold Reef City Casino, Silverstar Casino, Golden Horse Casino, Garden Route Casino, Mykonos Casino, Goldfields Casino and an associate investment in Queens Casino.

The acquisition of Gold Reef Resorts was the largest transaction undertaken by Tsogo Sun to date and it has been instrumental in positioning the group as the leading gaming, hotels and entertainment group in the country.

In addition, the group acquired the interests of minority shareholders in its various casinos wherever possible, preferring to structure these operations as wholly owned entities, facilitating the release of value to these shareholders.
The group acquired Accor SA’s holding in Formula 1 hotels in 2012 and in the following year rebranded the hotels to SUN1.

A consequence of the landmark Gold Reef merger was the reverse listing of the group on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange (JSE). In order to reposition and promote the group, both internally and to external stakeholders, the Tsogo Sun group was rebranded in 2012, to bring the two casino businesses (Tsogo Sun Gaming and Gold Reef Resorts); and the hotel business (Southern Sun Hotels) under one common identity – forming Tsogo Sun – as it is known today.
2013 saw the group make significant investment into upgrading and refurbishing its properties. This included the refurbishment of Gold Reef City, one of South Africa’s top family attractions, reminiscent of an authentic turn-of-the-century mining town; and the redesign and relaunch of Silverstar, the West Rand’s number one entertainment destination, nestled in a picture perfect natural environment surrounded by the Magalies Mountains.

The group also successfully completed the expansion of Hemingways Casino. This was followed by the redevelopment of Emnotweni Casino.

Of further significance in 2013, was the group’s multi-million-rand investment in the refurbishment and consolidation of the Southern Sun Elangeni & Maharani. This hotel complex, with 734 rooms, is the largest of Tsogo Sun’s South African hotel operations and is an icon on the Durban beachfront.

Across South African borders, Tsogo Sun invested in Southern Sun Maputo and acquired a 75.5% interest in the Southern Sun Ikoyi hotel, in Lagos, Nigeria, which the group previously managed, representing a $70-million investment into this West African economy.
2014 saw a change of ownership for the group, as SABMiller who had been instrumental in Tsogo Sun’s success for over 45 years, disposed of its stake, being the last non-beverage operation that they owned. The SAB investment was placed in the local and international market, substantially increasing the liquidity and profile of the Tsogo Sun listing.

Southern Sun Abu Dhabi opened its doors to the world in 2014, with 353 bedrooms and suites, 6 food and beverage outlets including a bar, a Shisha terrace and an Arabic specialty restaurant.

2014 also saw Tsogo Sun take over the ownership and management of cinemas at some of the group’s entertainment destinations. These cinemas are branded Movies@ – something which fits in well with the group’s strategy to own the brands it operates.

2014 ended with the group commemorating where it all started. The Beverly Hills celebrated its 50th anniversary at a fitting function overlooking the Indian Ocean, attended by VIP guests including the group’s leaders over the last five decades, Sol Kerzner among them.
The group injected millions of rands into upgrading various hotels in its portfolio, including the Garden Court Marine Parade and Garden Court South Beach in Durban; as well as the iconic Sandton Sun, which now offers new standards of luxury and style, making it one of the preferred luxury hotels in the economic powerhouse of South Africa.

The Sabi River Sun in Mpumalanga and the Riverside Sun on the banks of the Vaal River, both of which date back decades in the group, underwent metamorphoses in 2015, with the group refurbishing them to ensure that they remain best in class in their segments.

Construction began on a new 500 room hotel complex in Cape Town, which is scheduled to open in the third quarter of 2017. This new hotel will offer two brand products in one complex: a 200 room latest design SunSquare and a 300-bedroom new generation StayEasy together with state-of-the-art conference facilities.
Tsogo Sun acquired Majormatic in March 2016, which holds the management agreements and leases for two Johannesburg hotels – Crowne Plaza Rosebank which has 318 rooms and Holiday Inn Sandton with 310 rooms, representing the reintroduction of the Holiday Inn and Crowne Plaza brands into the Tsogo Sun portfolio, after a ten-year absence.

The planning phase for the expansion of the Suncoast Casino and Entertainment World commenced and will set in motion a mammoth development project, which will further enhance this spectacular destination on the shores of the Indian Ocean.

As the group heads into the future, Tsogo Sun will continue to fashion the shape and direction of the gaming, hospitality and entertainment industry, responding to ever-evolving global demands but always remaining true to its origins - forging a distinct path into a bright future.