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Ghanaian And Nigerian Tour Operators Experience South Africa

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southafrica-cypressghanaSOUTH Africa Tourism (SAT) has sponsored a team of Ghanaian and Nigerian tour company executives to experience some of the interesting destinations in South Africa ahead of INDABA.

SAT is the the tourism development and marketing arm of the Republic of South Africa and organisers of the tourism trade show known as INDABA, which brings together thousands of exhibitors, buyers and media from Africa and the rest of the world every year.

Ahead of the 2016 edition of INDABA, a selected number of top managers of travel and tour companies as well as leaders of travel and tour associations from Ghana and Nigeria were sponsored to experience interesting destinations in Johannesburg and environs as well as Sun City before flying to Durban for the INDABA.

Among the team from Ghana were the President of the Tour Operators Union of Ghana (TOUGHA) Mrs. Nancy Quartey-Sam, radio presenter and the union’s Media Relations Officer Gilbert Abeiku Santana Aggrey and CEO of Kumasi based Dodi Travel and tours, Mr. Arhmed Naaman.

The team from Nigeria included the president of the National Association of Nigerian Travel Agencies (NANTA) Mr. Bernard Bankole, president of the Nigerian Association of Tour Operators (NATOP) Mr. Nkereuwem Onung, Chairman of the Board of Trustees of NANTA Mr Stephen Isokariari and the National Secretary NATOP Mrs. Ime Udo.

Also on the trip was a team of media personnel made up of reporters, bloggers and broadcasters from the two countries.

KLOOFZICHT LODGE & SPA

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A view of Kloofzicht Lodge & Spa from the balloon

The first place the team visited was the Kloofzicht Lodge & Spa. Nestled at the foothills of the Zwartkops Mountains in the Cradle of Humankind, the lodge is about forty minutes drive from Sandton. Kloofzicht Lodge, which comprises sixty suites, overlooks six exquisite fly fishing dams and the lower reaches of the Blaauwbank Spruit, which meanders through the Zwartkops gorge.

Five-star hospitality and service is the trademark of Kloofzicht Lodge & Spa and can be found from its conferencing and banqueting to wedding, leisure and spa facilities. The team had an amazing five-star spa treatment while spending two nights at the Kloofzicht Lodge & Spa.

CRADLE OF HUMANKIND

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Mohammed Tanko Kwajaffa (right) of SA Tourism takes a photo with two members of the team at the Cradle of Humankind

The team had the rare opportunity of visiting the museum and caves at the world renowned Cradle of Humankind. This is an area that has been declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. It is about 50 kilometres northwest of Johannesburg, South Africa in the Gauteng Province.

The Sterkfontein Caves contain the discovery of a 2.3-million-year-old fossil Australopithecus africanus (nicknamed “Mrs. Ples”), found in 1947 by Robert Broom and John T. Robinson. The find helped corroborate the 1924 discovery of the juvenile Australopithecus africanus skull, “Taung Child”, by Raymond Dart, at Taung in the North West Province of South Africa.

The height of the experience was when members of the team who made it to the caves moaned and groaned while ascending and descending several flights of man made steps or crawling through dwarfsized natural crevices at the depth of the caves. Other members took the easier option to wait for the rest at the cafeteria that serves visitors to the place. Nonetheless, all those who visited the site were happy to have seen the very old mountains and rocks as well as fossils that depict where life on earth actually begun.

LION PARK

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Jennifer Awoh of South Africa Tourism feeds a giraffe at the Lion Park

The team drove to the famous Lion Park for a close up view of lions and other animals that inhabit the two kilometer square wildlife conservation enclosure on the outskirts of Johannesburg in the Gauteng Province. The Lion Park is situated near Lanseria Airport and Fourways within distance of Johannesburg and Pretoria.

The park has a large variety of predators and large herbivores indigenous to Africa. The Lion Park is home to several lions including the rare white lions and other carnivores such as cheetahs, wild dogs and hyenas. It also has other animals such as meerkats, giraffes, zebras, and a wide variety of antelope which roam freely in the antelope area.

The antelope area, containing blesbok, gnu, impala, gemsbok, and zebra, is in a separate part away from the lions and other carnivores.

LESEDI CULTURAL VILLAGE

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Members of the Ghana and Nigerian team at Lesedi Cultural Village

The next place the team visited was the Lesedi Cultural Village. This is a tourist village which celebrates the cultural traditions of the most dominant ethnic groups of Southern Africa. The village was developed to depict and reproduce traditional dwellings of the Zulus, Sothos, Xhosas and Pedis and it offers demonstrations of cultural activities of these people and how they used to live and still live in the traditional settings.

The team learned how the Xhosas treat their women compared to how the others treat their own, it also learned about how the Basotho King Moshoeshoe hatched a plan to defeat the Zulu warrior King Shaka and how Shaka chose a different sword from what his father used because he saw his father as a coward.

The height of the visit to Lesedi was the dances of the various ethnic groups as demonstrated by a well-trained and groomed team of dancers. Our team and other teams from elsewhere were very well entertained by the performances they were treated to at the Lesedi Cultural Village. It was followed by dinner at the Village’s African restaurant.

HOT AIR BALLOON RIDE

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The team is up in the air in the hot air balloon

Very early on Thursday morning the team woke up and set off at 5:30am for a hot air balloon experience. It was blood-freezing cold, but the anticipation for the eminent experience was too good to prevent anyone from bracing the cold and having it. Not too far from the Kloofzicht Lodge, the team drove to the site where the balloons would take off. It was an amazing ride up in the skies over 1,000 feet above sea level and overlooking the Cradle of Humankind. The team was divided in two and each occupied one hot air balloon.

The sights from the sky included the lodge and a few other lodges in the neighbourhood, the lakes and streams by the lodges, the scarps and ranges across the cradle as well as a large game reserve with some of the big five gallivanting. It was an adrenaline pumping and yet fun and adventurous to go up in such and entrapment.

SUN CITY EXPERIENCE

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An elephant spotted in the Pilanesberg Game Reserve

The team made the almost 150km drive from the Kloofzicht Lodge to the world famous Sun City. Sun City is a luxury resort and casino created by hotel magnate Sol Kerzner as part of his Sun International Group. It is situated in the North West Province of South Africa. It is located between the Elands River and the Pilanesberg, about two hours’ drive from Johannesburg, near the city of Rustenburg. It borders the Pilanesberg Game Reserve.

On arrival and after lunch, the team went on a safari in the Pilanesberg Game Reserve. This is a reserve that has all the big five (African lion, African elephant, Cape buffalo, African leopard and White/Black rhinoceros).

Thankfully three out of these were sighted by the team besides other animals like wildebeest, waterbuck among others. After dinner at the four star Sun City Hotel and Casino and a night’s stay in five star Cascades Hotel, the team left Sun City to Durban for the INDABA.

AFRICA MEDIA DINNER

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Evelyn Mahlaba, Regional Director for Africa, South Africa Tourism

Evelyn Mahlaba, South Africa Tourism’s Regional Director for Africa, hosted a dinner to welcome all media personnel from across Africa to INDABA 2016. The dinner took place on the sixth level of the Moses Mabhida Stadium in Durban.

The African themed dinner was lively and an opportunity to get the media personnel who had arrived the cover INDABA a feel of what to expect in the host city. There was food, drinks and music to dance to on that cold night in Durban. Evelyn Mahlaba thanked the media for accepting to attend INDABA and said she hoped they will find the right things to talk about INDABA with their audiences back home.

By Francis Doku, courtesy South Africa Tourism

About: Kelly Faisal

I have been a serial experiential marketer for the past 6 years.

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