It took a bold, forward-thinking vision to set up the Curiocity network of design hotels, in locations outside of the typical tourist areas. It’s an investment in our favourite cities, where local businesses, designers and individuals collaborate to bring visitors an authentic, rich experience of urban life.

This week, we met up with Tshepo Mokone, Chief Experience Operator at Curiocity in the Maboneng district of Johannesburg and he told us a bit more about the company. 

“We started doing experiences in the city, walking tours and are really trying to change the perception one experience at a time. What we thought was, “How do you then host people longer in Johannesburg?” explainsTshepo.

As a result, the idea of opening up accommodation started and in 2013, it became a reality with the opening of Curiocity in Johannesburg. Today, they have expanded to have sites in both the Cradle of Humankind and Cape Town as well.

“What inspires me is waking up and meeting locals, international travellers, people from all walks of life and the cultural exchange that we have. And this space is a pivotal platform for that, because all travellers are from all over the world,” he says. 

This week, Tshepo took us on a tour of the neighbourhood. The tour takes in African art and crafts, a Traditional Healers Market, and around each corner lies another interesting landmark.

“The look and feel of the place, we wanted to keep it real, quick and rustic, but with a nice modern feel because it’s a very historical building. It used to be owned by Pacific Press which is a printing company that was doing a lot of stuff for the Black Sash movement.” says Tshepo.

“We’re told that a lot of influential politicians would hide out within the building itself so, to rewrite the history, we have called the bar area – The Hideout Bar,” says Tshepo. Curiocity’s accommodation ranges from typical dormitory sharing, all the way to luxury penthouses, ensuring that they are able to attract a diverse range of travellers.

In the past nine years, the original hotel and tour have grown into a country wide network of accommodation and adventure. This expansion needed a responsive banking system.

“We’ve partnered with Capitec as a bank because of the lower charges that they have, and they’ve also made our banking very easy. They’re very hands-on in helping us with our account,” explains Tshepo.

“What I really enjoy is the online system. It makes it very easy for us to run the business because you don’t actually have to go to the bank so we can track our accounts just by being online and for customers as well. Paying using the app has become very fruitful to see more people that bank with Capitec. They don’t have to actually carry their cards, but they can also just pay using their virtual card or their apps.”

One failsafe drawcard is the food cooked up by Chef Brave Saka, whose son Spook Lenzo of Spook Munchies involved his dad in the venture and now lends his own name to this buzzing local eatery.

“We wanted to create a certain diversity of bringing people from abroad and local people together on a long table and sharing that African experience, enjoying African food, sharing African stories through dining experience,” he explains.


Where in your city has your sense of curiosity led you? An authentically South African place, or an experience which you just have to share with friends or family? Let us know, and stand a chance of winning R1000 towards making that happen. Simply reply to the competition post on The Insider SA’s social media platforms using #CapitecLiveBetter.  Ts&Cs apply and can be found on The Insider SA website.



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