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Mice Asia Net : January 2009
africa wild A south africa With just one per cent global market share of Mice business, south Africa is surging forward to capture a larger slice of the pie. And, with its unique offerings, it might well do so. lready the South African incentive market attracts around 40,000 travellers per annum with a total spend of R300 million (USD$28 million). The quality, diversity and uniqueness of its products complemented by a favourable exchange rate for foreigners gives South Africa a unique and “unusual” value proposition that is irresistible when it comes to creating incentives that inspire. With so much to choose from, we thought we’d highlight a few regions and options to consider. Kruger National Park The largest game reserve in South Africa, the 100-year old Kruger National Park is larger than Israel. This almost two million hectares of land stretching for 352 kilometres along the Mozambique border, is home to one of Africa’s best wildlife experiences. The park and surrounding private game reserves offer a wide variety of safari and game lodge accommodation and meeting facility options to suit any budget. Activities and attractions include gameviewing, elephant back safaris, hot air ballooning, the Endangered Species Centre, the Cheetah Breeding Project, various cultural villages, horseback riding, spa treatments and golf. There are daily flights from Johannesburg (approximately 1.5 hours), Durban and Cape Town to the new Kruger/Mpumalanga International Airport (KMIA) which is only 30 minutes by car from the park. One of the private game reserves bordering the park is the Sir Richard Branson-owned Ulusaba, winner of the ‘Virtuoso Best of the Best Awards 2008: Most Socially Responsible’ for its dedication to making a difference through innovative local programs that allow guests the opportunity to contribute to the local community. The property’s secure and remote location lends itself perfectly to high- profile gatherings or team-building exercises for up to 30 delegates theatre-style in each of the two lodges. Another property in the area, the Singita Sabi Sands, was recently voted the world’s top hotel for 2008 in an online poll by Travel + Leisure magazine. Malaria medication is recommended for all visitors to this region. Madikwe Game Reserve Situated against the Botswana border, just three hours’ drive from both Johannesburg and Pretoria, is another prime safari destination. Madikwe is a Big 5 game reserve covering 75,000 hectares and is malaria free. A joint venture between the State, the private sector and local communities, the success of this approach has made Madikwe the role model for similar ventures. With more than 20 luxury lodges within 44 miceAsia.net Story by Tanya de GrooT the area, finding suitable lodgings for small groups is not a problem. On the far northern border of South Africa lies a beautiful area known as the Great Marico and it is in this spectacular setting, that Tau Game Lodge is situated offering Big 5 game and bird-watching safaris. Australian owned the lodge overlooks a vast natural waterhole, which attracts a variety of game. Situated an easy four hours’ driving distance from Johannesburg or 50 minutes by air, Tau “The Place of the Lion” can host and accommodate up to 60 people in its conference facility. Marine viewing South Africa is not only one of the few places in the world to see the Big 5 (elephant, lion, rhino, leopard, buffalo) it also offers the Marine Big 5 (whale, shark, dolphin, marlin and tuna). Each year southern right whales migrate into coastal waters to calve and nurture their young – especially around Hermanus and Walker Bay. Between June and November – from the West Coast of the Cape to the East Coast – South Africa offers some of the best land- and boat-based marine viewing in the world. Grootbos Private Nature Reserve overlooking Walker Bay offers a five-star MICE experience for groups of up to 60 delegates. The 1700-hectare reserve recently won the prestigious Heart of Africa Award at the Amarula Best Retreat in Africa Awards 2008. The award honours the leading lodge in Africa that demonstrates it is benefiting local people through its tourism activities. Another award-winner is South Africa Airways which was named Africa’s Leading Airline at the 2008 World Travel Awards. The airline offers the fastest, most convenient way of getting to Africa, and flies to 39 cities in 29 countries. South African Tourism’s annual Meetings Africa exhibition for the meetings, incentives, conferences and exhibitions market will take place in Johannesburg from February 25 to 27 and will again showcase the best the country has to offer the MICE buyer. Visit www.southafrica.net/meetingsafrica/ for further details. Useful websites: www.krugerpark.co.za www.sa-venues.com www.tourismnorthwest.co.za www.sanparks.org/parks/kruger www.suninternational.com www.singita.com www.ulusaba.com www.grootbos.com www.flysaa.com