Photo Credit: Courtesy of Curiocity
Meet Bheki Dube: The Man Behind The South African Hotel Brand Curiocity
Born, bred, and buttered in Johannesburg, South Africa– Bheki Dube grew up around some of the city’s most intellectual, artistic, and creative minds. Being around such profound people really shaped his love not only for South Africa but for the continent as a whole.
At the age of 16, he started a walking tour company called Main Street Walks.
“The concept was to really expose people to the city of Johannesburg,” Bheki told Travel Noire. “At that time Johannesburg wasn’t a very favorable place to visit and I was interested in really sharing the fascinating history and stories that make this city what it is.”
He found that people not only wanted to visit, he realized they also wanted to stay longer and really immerse themselves in the community as well. He decided to merge his walking tours with an accommodation to bring his two loves together.
This was the start of Curiocity as we know.
“I opened the first property in 2013, at the age of 21 in Johannesburg. After opening that first site, I realized this was an untapped industry that was also very white-dominated. I wanted to come in and create something that was design lead and experience focused, which is the core of the Black youth of South Africa. That’s how Curiocity has grown to what it is now.”
To date, there are 3 Curiocity hotel and hostel properties spanning across Johannesburg, Cape Town, and Durban.
What makes this brand unique is that its main purpose is to share each city and neighborhood’s story. It’s not just a place to come and lay your head. There are tailor-made activities and experiences hosted in-house as well as hospitality pioneered by the Black youth. This brings an authentic perspective, something not found in most hotels around the country.
Each hotel and hostel’s decor is inspired by the culture of each individual city, from artwork to the furnishings found in each room and common areas.
The properties have remained opened during COVID-19 as a way to service essential workers and those that may have been stuck in South Africa. They have also begun to re-welcome travelers again.
“We’ve been very innovative on how to generate income during this time while protecting those staying with us as well as our staff,” Bheki said. “We also launched virtual experiences as a way to continue to serve our purpose of storytelling and highlighting the communities we are located in.”