I went along to Copthorne Tara in Kensington, a nice spacious hotel, conveniently located and tucked away from traffic noise. It once belonged to Aer Lingus hence the Irish theme throughout the hotel.
Our training and dinner was in the Shannon suite a huge conference facility
It is always interesting to increase my knowledge of South Africa. It is a popular destination with couples and honeymooners but is increasingly appealing to the family and adventure market too
It was lovely to meet up with so many of my friends within the industry while enjoying nice South African wine and nibbles
This promotion was organised by Destination Representation and Adam Weatherby from South Africa tourism in the UK. They tried a new format of presenting between courses and I thought this worked really well, much less tiring and chaotic for the exhibitors and it gave us a chance to absorb the information while enjoying a lovely South African meal
Adam briefly introduced each speaker who then had a 10 minute slot to showcase. Most of them had a short video or PowerPoint so this gave us a real feel of the beauty, diversity and vastness of South Africa
The first speaker was from South African Airways voted by Skytrax as being the best airline to Africa for the past nine years. SAA have phased out 747 in favour of Airbus 340 and 330. With a 2-4-2 configuration this better for privacy especially for couples. SAA has state of the art touch screen featuring 45 films, menus and feedback surveys. SAA is part of Star Alliance with smooth connections with BMI at Heathrow Terminal 1 and of course their main hub in Johannesburg With a vast network to the whole of Southern Africa
South Africa has 19 national parks including Kruger the original Big Five experience established in 1926. Kruger borders Mozambique and Zimbabwe and stretches 350 kms. Kruger also has some amazing bird life with over 500 species
Most first time visitors to South Africa visit Cape Town and Western Cape. It is convenient to get there with plenty of direct flights. Cape Town itself has the magnicemt Table Mountain, an official finalist for the 7 natural wonders of the world. Their ate 17 blue flag beaches. Other popular attractions are the famous V&A waterfront, Robben Island where Nelson Mandela was incarcerated and Kirstenbosch Gardens. Further afield are vineyards, whale watching and the Garden Route
Southern Sun hotels have a portfolio of over 90 hotels to suit all tastes and budgets ranging from 2 to 5 star all over South Africa. Broadly, Garden Court is the 3 star brand, Southern Sun 4 star and Intercontinental 5 star. There are also many other individual hotels under their portfolio
Sheena at Mantis spoke about Shamwari the Malaria free safari park in Eastern Cape and usually the final stop on a Garden route itinerary. Shamwari has a range of accommodations and includes 6 hours of daily game drives in small vehicles. Sanbona the other safari park under the Mantis umbrella is for those who have limited time in Sourh Africa but still want the safari experience. It is only 3 hours from Cape Town and is the only natural habitat for White Lions. Sanbona is also a beautiful area for stargazing
Rovos rail is one of World’s classic rail journeys. Established in 1989 as a family venture. They have carefully restored old rolling stock to their former glory with polished wood and maximum comfort in mind for the long and scenic journeys from Pretoria to Cape Town weekly and Pretoria to Durban. These take 48 hours and Durban to Vic Falls another classic journey takes 5 nights. There are also occasional services all the way from cape town to Dar es Salam a wonderful journey which takes 2 weeks sampling the best of South and East Africa
Gauteng includes the largest city of Johannesburg. Long regarded as being just a necessary stopover to get out of as quickly as possible. This perception is changing with modern shopping malls, gardens, interesting museums including the apartheid museum and nearly 600 restaurants. Jo’Burg also has amazing sunsets
Last but not least, Storm introduced Kwazu Natal which offers beaches, Zulu culture, wildlife, scenery, adventure and shopping. There are so many reasons to visit Kwazu Natal which includes the city of Durban, 10 blue flag beaches, 2 world heritage sites, Drakensburg mountains, the worlds 2nd highest waterfall and the battlefields of the Boer wars.
The evening ended with delicious Amarula cheesecake and coffee and prizes. One very lucky Travel Counsellor won a trip to South Africa
If you would like more information or wish to book your holiday to South Africa please contact me on 0845 0587458 or email email@example.com