As part of Meetings Africa 2017 hosted media programme, South African Tourism hosted twelve International journalists from leading media platforms reporting MICE across the world.

International journalists selected for the media tour were Emma Channon, CAT Publications,United Kingdom, Marina Warter, MICE Media, France, Daiana Moura, Eventofacil, Brazil, Hope Obeten, Calabar Blog Media, Nigeria, Gina Rong, Digital BEA, Singapore, Vincent Richeux, Punto MICE, Spain, Omololu Olumuyiwa, Travelscope Magazine, Nigeria, Rosencler Silva, MICE Business, Brazil, Sergio Baritussio, Eventos Latinoamericanos, Uruguay, Ulrich Thunig, Trade Fairs International, Germany, Pau Morata, Spain, Oka Masao, Japan.

Meetings Africa is Africa’s premier business tourism event attended by African, international and local meeting and event planners, Association buyers who organise regional and international conventions, local corporate executives who book business travel or meeting venues, travel agencies specialising in incentive, business and conference travel, in-house events co-ordinators, incentive houses, conference organisers, sales and promotion agencies and marketing companies.

The 2017 edition of Meetings Africa was held at the Sandton Convention Centre, Johannesburg, South Africa from the 28th of February to the 1st March with the theme – Sustainability.

The media tour extensive and fun-filled itinerary included tours of some of South Africa’s top tourist destinations as well as showcased the best of South Africa’s hospitality, culture, people, infrastructure and innovation.

Over a whirlwind of eight days, the tour was hosted by the lovely duo of Funeka Krai and Thambo Mpotu of South African Tourism.

Below are few highlights from the Trip;

Day One: Welcome to South Africa

Hope Obeten, CEO, Calabar Blog with Omololu John, Publisher, Travelscope Magazine from Nigeria arriving O.R Tambo International Airport, Johannesburg en-route Cape Town, South Africa
Lunch in Cape Town hosted by Century City Hotel with South African Tourism officials, Funeka Krai and Thabo Mpotu alongside other international MICE journalist arriving from Brazil and France
Cape sidecar adventure – Taking a city orientation
After a long tiring day from 6 hours flight from Nigeria to Jo’Burg, another 1:30 minutes flight into Cape Town, Finally checked-in to TAJ Cape Town – Taj Cape Town is a luxurious 5-star hotel located in the centre of Cape Town. I enjoyed the wake up call every morning and breakfast in bed. Oh yes! the music in the bathroom was amazing!
Facility Inspection at The Silo Hotel – A new luxury hotel opened on March 1st, located above the V&A Waterfront in Cape Town. The Silo Hotel has 28 rooms, including a spectacular one bed room penthouse. Each room has been individually designed and decorated by the stylish wand of Liz Biden.
Dinner hosted and organised by Cape Town Convention Bureau

Day Two: Media Tour to CTICC and The Spier Wine Farm

Facility inspection at Cape Town Convention Centre, CTICC, the first convention Centre in Africa. There are lot of similarities between CTICC and CICC, Nigeria from the venue names to sizes and capacity. CTICC hosts over 500 events yearly making over 220 million rand profit after tax yearly, contributing about 3.8 billion rand to the GDP. If fully completed and put to use, CICC, Nigeria can earn its fair market share in the Meetings Industry in Africa with Calabar as a preferred business tourism Destination in the West Africa sub region
Wine Tasting at The Spier wine farm in Stellenbosch, One of South Africa’s oldest modern wine producers
Outdoor lunch under the beautiful sunny sky sponsored by spire Wine Estate – Annemarie Ferns CEO: Stellenbosch 360
Pre-dinner boat cruise at the V&A Waterfront in Cape Town. It was a fulfilled cruise as we sang the Nigerian song “Pop Champagne” inspired by Funeka Krai

Day Three: Exploring ALEX township hosted by Gauteng Tourism

Gautrain ride to Sandton Station, Myself and Omololu of Travelscope Magazine
Check-in at Radisson Blue, Sandton, I didn’t get the chance to experience all of the features of this hotel because of the tight itinerary, Obviously the tallest building i have been in, with the reception at 17th floor and my room on 22nd floor. Rooms are spacious and well equipped, The hand dryer was very useful after my phone fell in the bathtub.
Tour to Alexander township or ‘Alex’ as it is locally known, ALEX is Joburg’s oldest and most densely populated neighbourhood and is located 5-kilometres east of central Sandton. Tour was made to Msomi gang headquarters, Juskei River, a river that was once a dumping site of the Spoilers gangs victim’s bodies, Nelson Mandelas Backroom, where he lived in 1941 when he first arrived in Johannesburg, Viewed Alexander’s 69 year old cinema with its original furnishing and state of the art control room, ended with a 3 course South African cuisine. #SouthAfricanTourism
Dinner at Neh! Alexandra, trendy and stylish restaurant, delicious local African food. The very young band members set fire to the roof and got everybody on the dance floor.

Day Four: Meetings Africa 2017: Exhibition and Media Day

At the Exhibition venue for Meetings Africa 2017 with Ben Asoro, ICCA Africa Chapter President and Director, Sales & Marketing, Calabar International Convention Centre, Nigeria and Esmaré Steinhöfel, ICCA Regional Director (Africa)
Exhibition floor during Minister’s walk-about
Media engagement with South African Tourism Minister, Derek Hanekom and CEO, South African Tourism, Sisa Ntshona. South Africa is set to attract five million additional domestic and international travellers in the next five year with the 5 in 5 strategy.
The South African Tourism Minister, Derek Hanekom flanked on the left by the Managing Editor, Travelscope Magazine, Omololu Olumuyiwa and CEO, Calabar Blog Media, Hope Obeten (right) shortly after the media chat.
Meetings Africa welcome party included singers draped in colourful African traditional garb, singing soothing African melodies; dancers, drummers entertaining visitors.

Day Five: Trip to Polokwane, Limpopo

Check-in at Fusion Boutique Hotel, Polokwane, South Africa – Fusion Boutique is the only 5-star hotel Polokwane. It was an outstanding hotel! Best I’ve stayed in my life. Decor; food; staff; Amazing!!!

Day Six: Facility Inspection and Adventure Tourism at Entabeni Safari Conservancy

Very similar to the Obudu Ranch Resort in Cross River, The Protea Ranch Resort in Polokwane is a big game reserve in green surroundings. Beautifully kept and very impression. The level of activity seems rather high – with mostly business visitors. EPL team, Manchester City stayed here during a pre-season tour to South Africa
A night at Entabeni Safari Conservancy, First time on a Safari, Amazing! Something i will never forget. It felt like living amongst the animals, it was both scary and fun as i looked out for snakes the whole night. The bedrooms all have an African ethnic theme and a number of stairs to climb with magnificent views for birds and games watching.

Day Seven: Safari, Helicopter and Experience of the 19th – Fulfilling my bucket list

On safari, you will never know who you are going to run into! On this day we were very lucky as we saw Lions, Rhinos, Elephants, Giraffes, Cheetahs, Hippos, Zebras and even a snake! All thanks to our young Ranger driver, Eugene, He made game viewing fun.
Transfer to Legend Golf Safari
At Legend Gold and Safari Resort, set to play Golf at Extreme 19th. The Extreme 19th is the highest (400 metres or 1,300 feet) and longest (361 metres or 395 yards) par three golf hole in the world, located at the Legend Golf & Safari Resort, South Africa. The hole was conceived by the property owners, Peet and Mart Cilliers, along with Graham Cooke of the UK, and David Riddle. The tee, located at the top of Hangklip Mountain, is accessed only via helicopter. Because of its height, a tee shot takes almost 20 seconds to land and if you can make it see port, you win a whooping $1million prize.
Playing golf at 1,300 feet on world’s toughest golf hole

Day Eight: Departure – Thank you South African Tourism

“The world is a book and those who do not travel read only one page.” ― St Augustine.

Hope Obeten writes from Calabar, Nigeria