The African continent’s most welcoming, innovative and creative Airbnb Hosts were recognised at the Airbnb Host Spotlight event, which took place on the eve of the Airbnb Africa Travel Summit in Johannesburg at the end of October.
Hosts and their listings were honoured at the first annual Host Spotlight for Africa, an event that seeks to celebrate the diversity of Hosts in Africa and recognise exceptional Hosts for the hospitality they offer guests, as well as their contribution to growing tourism in the communities in which they host.
Velma Corcoran, Regional Lead Middle East Africa at Airbnb, said: “The passion and enthusiasm of these Hosts is inspiring and reflects just how many amazing stays there are across Africa. Local Hosts play a crucial role in supporting our mission of growing a more inclusive tourism economy on the continent and to disperse the benefits of tourism.”
Winners were awarded in a number of categories, including Rural Stay, which recognises a Host who showcases the best of Africa’s rural areas and countryside. This honour went to Martinette whose Karoo Farmstay in Laingsburg in the Western Cape offers silence, solitude and breathtaking views in a newly renovated cottage with a pool.
Staying in the Western Cape in South Africa, the award for the New Host – a Host who started hosting on the platform in 2023 and has gone above and beyond to ensure guests have a fantastic stay – went to Lindi Green whose Faraway Cottage in Noordhoek boasts a farmyard petting zoo!
Just a stone’s throw from Noordhoek in the Imizamo Yethu township, Mhinti was recognised as the Academy Host – a Host who has graduated from the Airbnb Entrepreneurship Academy – who has demonstrated a deep commitment to spreading the benefits of tourism within their community. She does this through her Township & African Food Experiences Tour that invites guests to interact with locals, introduces them to local art and crafts, and delicious local food, and her E-Bike Tour to Chapman’s Peak.
In the Sustainable Host category, Jane from Timau in Kenya was recognised for taking the time to create an environmentally-friendly listing that also seeks to educate guests about the importance of minimising our footprint on the planet.
Nana from Accra in Ghana was recognised as the Host whose home offered iconic architecture and interiors. Nana’s home is one of the few well-maintained homes of the mid-century modern period in Accra. Guests of the Superhost of 8 years have described Nana’s home as “a small oasis in the heart of Accra.”
The most Unique Stay was given to Lahcen in Tamri, Morocco, whose amazingly distinctive home is charming in its simplicity. Staying in the North African country, the coveted Host of the Year went to Mohammed who offers guests the best hospitality in a traditional Moroccan family house.
Last but not least, Tania in Mauritius was recognised as the best Private Room host for her “airy, stylish, seaside love nest” where the spacious, colourful and comfortable look of the room is complemented by the lush tropical surroundings.
The Winning Hosts were selected based on Airbnb data, guest ratings and reviews, as well as input from a panel of judges including Loma Vosloo-Van Zyl, Cape Town Host Club Leader; Jue Murugu, Host Advisory Board Member from Kenya; and Velma Corcoran, Regional Lead Middle East Africa at Airbnb.
Hosting is about sharing a space but it’s also about showcasing an area and by doing so encouraging economic activity that benefits the local community.
Hosting on Airbnb is also proving to be an economic lifeline for many people across the continent. For example, a recent survey of South African Hosts found that hosting helps them to afford the rising cost of living, and over a third say the additional income helps them make ends meet. The typical South African Host earns just over R32,500 – equivalent to approximately one month’s additional pay for the average income earner – by renting their space on Airbnb, which is helping many people with the climbing everyday living costs.