Top mega-event centres in SA’s big cities

Emperors Palace Conference Centre

Hosting a supersize event can be stressful enough without having to find a suitable venue. Liesl Venter lists some of the top venues for 500 delegates or more in Johannesburg, Cape Town and Durban.


Expo Centre Johannesburg

With capacity to accommodate up to 20 000 people in its multi-purpose arena, this is by far the country’s largest purpose-built exhibition, convention and events venue.

Situated in Nasrec, Johannesburg, it is home to the annual Rand Show as well as several other world-class trade shows, conferences and events, including the Joburg Motor Show and Electra Mining. With multipurpose exhibition halls providing over 50 000 square metres of under-roof space, 100 000 square metres of outdoor exhibition space, conference rooms encompassing 4 000 square metres and more than 15 000 parking bays, this venue has become a well-known landmark.


Emperors Palace

Emperors Palace Conference Centre is ideally located only a stone’s throw from OR Tambo International Airport. Offering top-notch cuisine and service, this venue can easily handle any size of conference – big or small. Depending on the seating style the venue can handle anything between 100 and 3 000 delegates across three facilities – the South Wing, North Wing and Centre Court.


The Sandton Convention Centre

With 22 000 square metres of flexible event space this centre in the heart of Sandton, South Africa’s business district, is one of the premier venues in the country.

Contemporary décor welcomes one to the convention centre that is spread over four main levels. Various venues can be configured in multiple ways and there is ample secure parking. The venue offering ranges from small and intimate rooms for only ten people to rooms that can cater for 4 500 and 5 000 guests at a time.


The Birchwood Hotel

At the Birchwood Hotel and OR Tambo Conference Centre the motto of ‘relax, do business’ is strictly adhered to. With a competent team on hand the venue is a popular choice for large-scale events. More than 60 venues can be utilised individually across the 52-hectare property in Boksburg in Ekurhuleni. The venue can easily cater for 2 000 delegates in cinema or banquet style.


Constitution Hill

Nowhere is the story of South Africa’s history more poignantly displayed and told than at this venue. Both indoor and outdoor venues are available, taking one into the heart of the country’s past and its long walk to freedom. Constitutional Square, an outdoor piazza in front of the Constitutional Court, can host 1 200 delegates standing or 1 000 cinema style as can the Parade Ground. Several smaller venues are available such as the old prison and its atrium.


The Gold Reef City Casino and Conference Centre

Conferencing takes on a new meaning at this popular theme park that has the capacity to handle up to 1 100 delegates. Under management of Tsogo Sun, the centre offers a variety of set-up options to suit various meeting, conferencing and event needs. It is also a well-known venue for teambuilding.


<crosshead> Cape Town


The Cape Town International Convention Centre (CTICC)

Home to one of the biggest mining conferences and exhibitions in Southern Africa, the Investing in Africa Mining Indaba, the CTICC has a current capacity to host more than 7 000 delegates. With construction of a new wing currently under way, the expansion of the CTICC is an important economic tool in growing the Western Cape GDP. This multipurpose venue offers world-class facilities and standards under one roof and is situated in the Cape’s Foreshore.


The Grand West Casino and Conference Centre

With the ability to accommodate lavish functions, banquets, exhibitions and conferences there is a wide variety on offer to delegates at Grand West. Its 22 350 square metre multi-purpose grand arena can easily handle 5 000 people sitting or 7 000 standing while a 4 200 square metre facility called Hanover Street can accommodate 500 people, making it ideal as an end-of-year event space.


Century City Conference Centre

One of the newest conferencing venues in Cape Town, this venue is strategically located along the N1 just a few minutes from the CBD. Home to over 500 companies as well as a myriad of retail stores, Century City is the ideal location for an upmarket, urban venue such as this. From corporate conferences and product launches to international expos and exclusive cocktail parties, the centre offers a chic and modern environment. Up to 1 900 guests can be comfortably accommodated across 20 different venues.


The Castle of Good Hope

Cape Town’s most prominent beacon continues to enthrall as a conference and event venue. With a capacity to host more than 1 000 delegates, this venue offers history and grandeur all in one. With marquee tents being given the go-ahead, the front courtyard can now be transformed to withstand the Cape’s infamous winds.




The Durban International Convention Centre

South Africa’s first ever convention centre opened by South African icon, Nelson Mandela in 1997, continues to offer world-class facilities. The multi-award winning facility is considered to be amongst the best in the world. The Durban ICC offers 33 000 square metres of flexible exhibition and meeting space and has the capacity to handle up to 9 000 delegates.


Olive Convention Centre

Situated in the heart of Durban this venue is only a half-hour drive from King Shaka International Airport. Practical, user friendly and technologically advanced meeting facility with a range of seating options are available along with a host of breakaway rooms. The centre is versatile and flexible and can accommodate more than 1 000 delegates.


The Playhouse Company

Once Durban’s most luxurious cinema, this venue offers state-of-the-art facilities in a theatrical environment. Anything from 500 to 1 224 delegates can be accommodated in the various theatres, making it ideal for large-scale conferences and events. The Playhouse Opera theatre, with its ornate Elizabethan décor and atmospheric ‘starry sky’, is one of South Africa’s most famous performance venues.


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