No beating about the bush – why conferencing in the wild works

As companies look to entice delegates to attend their conferences, there are few ways that are as appealing as a break in the South African bush. The diversity of parks and facilities is a major drawcard to any PCO, and Mbali Mngomezulu, senior manager: marketing at South African National Parks (SANParks) says in the 2016/2017 financial year there was a noticeable increase in conference-related bookings. With venues across the country, there is no shortage of options.

Where are the venues?

SANParks has numerous conference venues across the country, with varying capacities. These include Augrabies National Park, multiple venues within the Kruger National Park, Karoo National Park, five venues in the Golden Gate National Park, and small venues in Table Mountain National Park and on the Garden Route. There are a multitude of private game lodge that also offer smaller conference venues.

Why choose bush over city for a conference?

“Getting away from city centres and distractions is a big reason people choose bush conferences,” says Mngomezulu. Bush conference venues offer a variety of breakaways, excursions and experiences for delegates that are hard to beat at city venues. Industry has also noted that many bush venues offer the quiet, private, and quality service that is sought after by high-profile guests. Accessibility to bush conference venues has also become easier, as many are close to airports or have the facilities to accommodate charters or private aircraft. The sheer size of game reserves and lodges means that there is ample space for leisurely networking, or for delegates to find a quiet, relaxing spot. The smaller bush venues are ideal for accommodating team-building activities such as game viewing and drives. Being outdoors promotes a sense of wellbeing among delegates, and a number of unique catering options such as boma braais and picnics under the star-filled skies are available at bush venues.

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