SOUTH AFRICA – My Unforgettable Experience

By Stella Maris Mutinda

I went to South Africa courtesy of South African Tourism and South African Airways. The aim of the trip was to give a general overview of what South Africa has to offer; not only hotels or properties but a real cultural experience. This was a reward for the best performing travel agents across Africa.

We had participants from Tanzania, Uganda, Zimbabwe, Zambia and Botswana.

For the entire period we stayed at the Sun and Hilton International group of hotels, which without doubt made our stay memorable.

We got to experience Taboo night club on our first night in South Africa. Unfortunately, coming from Nairobi which boasts a varied and vibrant nightlife, the night life left a lot to be desired.

We attended a workshop on B2B at Fox junction which helps to support authentic South African crafters (jewelry, garments, and bags). The workshop gave me insight into their culture and at the same time enabled me to appreciate African story telling. We were inspired by industry leaders and learnt about latest travel trends and innovations. It was the perfect opportunity for networking and meeting different exhibitors across Africa. Some of those I interacted with are; African Airways, Airlink, Mango Airlines, Hilton Worldwide, Marriott Int’, Boyang Gape, Peapods Transport, Syavaya tours,Tours2.0, Nelson Mandela bay, Pepper club hotel, Ubuhle be narha Pty ltd, Tsogo sun, Legend Tours and transfers, By Design Africa, Sheraton Pretoria Hotel

 

We also visited Soweto, a well-known township in Johannesburg in Gauteng. I vividly remember walking through Vilakazi Street, to Mandela’s house, No. 8115. The house has the history of Mandela’s journey in life, the struggles, the success and how he fought for human rights and mutual respect amongst South African people. It was his home before he was imprisoned. On his release he returned to it for a very brief period before moving to Houghton.

 

We also visited the Hector Peterson monument, which was built in remembrance of a 12-year-old who had been shot by South African police during the Soweto uprising. The monument has become iconic internationally in remembering the struggle of South African youth, in particular, against apartheid.

The Soweto facts got me by surprise and were an eye-opener from what many people perceive Soweto to be. People always ask if it is safe to visit; I never felt unsafe and I highly recommend a visit to Soweto.

 

The most unique experience was in Cape Town the visit to Table Mountain and scenic city tour on a side car. Of all the experiences it was my favorite. We were given leather jackets, helmet, glasses, gloves and bandanas to keep us warm and comfortable.

Sidecar has more comfort thus you can take as many photos as you care to. It was the perfect treat due to the tremendous views and it made an extremely memorable experience. I highly recommend.

 

The FNB Stadium, which hosted the opening and final matches of the 2010 FIFA World Cup was also on our to-do list. It has a seating capacity of over 94 700 people. It is located approximately 13 km from Johannesburg CBD.

 

Nelson Mandela Bay at Port Elizabeth in South Africa’s Eastern Cape Province is another South African wanderlust which has activities like route 67.

Route 67 consists of 67 Public Art Works symbolizing Nelson Mandela’s 67 years of work dedicated to the Freedom of South Africa and includes 67 steps leading up the second largest flag in Africa. The artworks on the route were designed by local artists from the Eastern Cape. The route is a proud celebration of the city’s heritage and history. This is a must see for the whole family to walk and to enjoy.

The rich cultural heritage guarantees history lovers a unique insight into the Bay. So much of the struggle for freedom in South Africa took place there and it left me in awe. Other activities include adventure and adrenalin i.e. double zip-line, motor racing, mountain biking, paintball, bungee ,4X4 trails, fishing, kitesurfing, canoeing, scuba diving, surfing, hiking, horse riding, snorkelling ,whale and dolphin watching. It is also the home of VW auto pavilion

 

The drive to Tsitsikamma National Park –situated along Garden route is an ideal getaway for nature lovers and was absolutely fantastic. We had adventure activities whereby I partook of a Canopy tour in the indigenous forest. This was like nothing I have experienced before and I will live to remember it.

There are 10 zip wires of different varieties; some of them are high, long, short, slow and fast to offer a real thrill. For adventure seekers this is an awesome experience. Bungee jumping at Bloukrans which is the highest bridge jump in the world at 216m above the ground is also available.

Other activities at the park include water tubing, mountain trail, Hike the Otter Trail etc.

All in all, this was a once in a lifetime experience for me and I would advise any and all to make that trip to South Africa.

 

Special Thanks to ATS Management more so CEO Rosemary Kaittany for giving me chance to attend the South African Mega FAM for 2018. It meant a lot for I learned quite much that will be helpful as I work toward accomplishing my tourism career.

To South African Tourism I can’t thank you enough for providing me with this wonderful & educative opportunity. We as Ats travel will do our best to keep business ties even stronger and fruitful.

Bontle Madiba, Zoe Molapisi and Phumzile Zondo, I was overwhelmed by your seamless support all through my stay in SA.

To our Corporates and Incentives groups Leader Rashid Kaittany, thank you for helping me with business plan and tips for the aim of flying our brand high.

Our Liaison officers Timothy Kitur and Raphael Kudundo through your good work, I obtained my visa duly and hassle free. I appreciate you.

To my department Reservation team many thanks for taking good care of the business and my clients while I was away. Keep up with team spirit. Bravo!!!

 

Other places visited.

 

Sun City – 5 star luxury resort and casino, situated in the North West Province of South Africa.

A must visit.

Time to visit

Spring (April/May) and autumn (Sept/Oct): days not too hot and nights not too cold

Winter: May to August

Summer months: October to March

Peak season: December/January/April.

 

Things to do

King’s Tower (70m) -The highest point in this resort. Gives you a 360 degree view all around the resort.

Wow! An absolute must see when you are at the palace.

Play golf –designed by Gary Player (world’s famous golfers)

Do Birdwatching

Maze of lost city-best for teambuilding, corporate functions & families. At the end of your walk, you enjoy an ice-cold craft beer or soft-drink at the Maze Bar.

Royal Baths at The Palace of the Sun City –only for adults and good to unwind

Pilanesberg National Park whereby one gets a chance to see and enjoy the ‘Big Five’ animals

(Experience hot-air balloon ride)

Royal wellness Salon and the Gary Player Health Spa. (Health and beauty with also equipped gym) indulge in some pampering me-time

Special occasion venue–wedding, party, honeymoon, family and children

Experience night life –live bands, night clubs, and watch sports on big screens, karaoke (to display your vocal talents), drinks and chats with friends

Casino – Blackjack, poker, Baccarat etc. Cash desk facilities, over forty popular table games. ATMs, Bureau de Change (accepts all major currencies) available.

NB: passport is required for any foreign exchange transactions.

Bar & restaurants for eat out -SoHo, Cascades, Cabanas, The Palace, Bocado,.all culinary arts are available from African to Indian

Meetings and conference halls to suit everyone –trainings, Exhibitions, Team building, seminars

Superbowl (6,000pax), Gazebo (60), Royal chamber (120), Sun Park (1,250), Journey meeting rooms (12-35pax)

Shopping –curio, book stores, candylicious, Havainas, pharmacy, golf course pro shop, beach shop, Lorezi (designer bags & accessories)

Meet legends at the Sun City Hall of Fame It’s basically to celebrate and learn of the legends who helped shape the South African story that will inspire you and dare you to dream.

Feed crocodiles at Kwena Gardens at Sun City