By Ayodele Omotoso
There are days and there are special days in one’s lifetime that are memorable. The events of those days or moments make it impossible for anyone to forget in a hurry, particularly my travelogue adventure to the Rainbow destination still lingers in my memory. It thus connects to my soul and brought curiosity to a desire to explore every bit of the trip.
I have always read some fascinating stories about South Africa. I know for real it is a destination for adventurous tourism depending on one’s touristic demand from the tour operator in the package. However, what remains tourism constant is that the Rainbow destination offers amazing collections from the offerings of a viable destination. It is one of their cookie jars and they cherish it just like we cherish oil well in Nigeria.
The adventure began on the night of 2nd May, 2018 at Murtala Airport with media team enlisted by the host, South African Tourism. In Nigeria we have Ikechi Uko of ATQ, Sam Adeleke of Afrotourism, Seyi Adeyemo of IWA, Tosin Ajibade also known as Olori ,Kola Oshalusi, with notable Tour Operators in the country.
Aboard I asked myself, Why is my country not having an outstanding Airways like South Africa Airways? A flurry of questions in my mind. Alas, I have to parry those unavoidable questions on my mind and resolve to connect with the taste of excellence aboard South African Airways, even its services are extremely wonderful.
Finally we touched down at the O.R Tambo International Airport in Jonesburg at about 4am local time. I became fascinated about the Airport. It is a destination point that connects the rest of the world. Not just its size but the functionality of the airport. This moment I began to flashback to spot the difference.
We then proceeded to the Business Lounge waiting patiently for the next flight to our adventure destination. But before we make way for the local flight, we were at the business lounge for hours but we did not feel it, this is because the tourism treatment was just too superb. At this venue, the South African Tourism began to display what they know how to do best ─ hospitality!
At about 10 am, we proceeded to the boarding gate, en route George Airport, located in George Western Cape, South Africa. It was formerly known as P.W. Botha Airport, named after the State President who lived in this part of the country.
This airport was originally built in 1977 as an exact replica of the Keetmanshoop Airport in Namibia, however since expansion and changes, it doesn’t look similar anymore. It has won awards for efficient operation two years running.
Here I officially met the tour operator assigned by the South African Tourism. The Makgale Tours personnel are extremely wonderful, full of efficiency, experts in tour operation in South Africa . An organization with the firm belief that gravitates toward excellence, Tour and Entertainment Operations for corporate companies,
individuals, families, couples and others to the best destinations across South Africa , Sub-Sahara
Africa to revitalize minds and experience different cultures, foods, countries
and people while on holiday.
Just on time with the tour details, from the George Airport we proceeded to Oubaai Hotel Golf & Spa which is located less than 10 minutes’ drive from George Airport in an area renowned for its pristine beaches, indigenous forests and nature reserves. The stunning natural landscape is matched by the exceptional levels of service in one of the most beautiful luxury hotels South Africa has to offer. The hotel occupies an ideal position between the Indian Ocean and the majestic Outeniqua Mountains in Herolds Bay, George, on the Garden Route. Whether you visit Oubaai Hotel Golf & Spa for business, a relaxing break or to play a world-class golf course in a setting of outstanding natural beauty, your stay at one of the best hotels in South Africa is sure to be unforgettable. Truly unforgettable for Ayo Travelogue!This is where I met my Ghanaian friends that also came from Ghana via South Africa Airways and we became one, courtesy South Africa Tourism!
Here the first duty is to refresh after we had checked in, and awaiting us was lunch. Food tourism varieties as long as you can stomach it. The next day was a tour to Knysna corridor for both adventure and sightseeing. Knysna is a town with about 51,078 inhabitants in Western Cape Province of South Africa and in part of the Garden Route. I was brought into the know of this by Dee Lemon, a South African Certified tourist guide. He said to me that George Rex creative founder of Knysna who played a key role in its development lived to April 3,1839. No doubt the town is known for adventures! At the Knysna Rib Adventures, safety is their priority but our main focus is fun ,fun fun…says the Management.
During the Speedboat cruise you have got to open your eyes to experience the full wonder of this beautiful unspoilt environment. Fun all the way, the tide too was friendly with us.
Still at Knysna we also visited the Elephant Park where I got to know how they preserve and respect animals. They turn this natural park to sightseeing thereby generating revenue for them. I saw Keisha and Thandi and then Sally who is the Big Mama of the Elephant Park and matriarch of the herd. She appeared to be gentle but stern and always very concerned for the welfare of other Elephants. Here I learnt the speed of the elephant is 40km/h compare with White Rhino 45km/h, and Leopard which is 70km/h. At the park they tutored us on how to behave whenever you are with the elephants. It was a great experience to learn about elephant biology and its behavior.
We later retired to Obaai Hotel Golf and Spa for a rewind adventure.
I can never forget the Bungy Jumping adventure of 216M. It was terrific and horrific. I did it, although was afraid at the point of jumping…I had to conquer my FEAR to explore this act. Amazing testimonies! CONGRATULATIONS to those who also conquered their FEARS by jumping just as I did.
I would not dare forget my aewome experience with the quad bike. It was indeed adventurous navigating around the Eco-friendly pathway.
It is evidently clear that South Africa has developed all her tourism potentials and all of them are working. The truth is they now have a President who is suave and urbane in character, full of tourism passion and ever ready to work for the development of tourism across the continent.
Next on our adventure list was a visit to Cape St Francis Resort. Here I saw the friendly faces of a different resort. It is a real beach holiday with everything you need at your fingertips. It is just amazing, everything at the St Francis is a blend of nature. The food was out of this world, including the spa. I was immersed after which my hard body was romantically spa. At night the sea would communicate the wonder of nature especially if your room or apartment is close to the sea.
The Resort at Cape St Francis is a unique and exclusive paradise on the Southern Coast of South Africa which draws holiday makers from all over the world to enjoy the glorious beaches, excellent water-sport facilities, leisurely lifestyle and the magical beauty of the unspoilt surroundings. Cape St Francis with its historic lighthouse, built in 1878, is a tranquil eco-destination with mild temperatures and the longest sunshine hours on the coast. Cape St Francis Resort offers accommodation from luxury beach villas to upmarket beach cottages and affordable apartments.
The food tourism picnic with the team is unforgettable amidst other activities like beach walk, and spa. It was a fun adventure package by South Africa Tourism.
The next outline was Port Elizabeth Airport where we connected the next flight to Durban, the destination for the 2018 Africa’s Travel Indaba. At the Port Elizabeth, the check in was damn easy. I discovered here that everything was just working. Aboard sitting at the exit corner, this gave a good opportunity to see the tourism landscape of South Africa adorning beautiful vegetation, and the assemblage of hill formation. I met new friends from Zimbabwe. One of them enquired to know whether we have good adventurous spots in Nigeria as I could see they really wanted to visit Nigeria. She got curious after telling her I am from Nigeria. Indeed, we have good adventurous spots in Nigeria. And Animal Game Reserve park? Yes, yes, Intoned. We have got Yankari Game Reserve, Lekki Conservation Centre just to mention a few. Destination Marketing? Like Jimi Disu of Classic FM, it is a story for another day!
Finally, we arrived at Durban for the real action. Kudos to Makgale Tours for its efficiency during the tour to SA. One of its personnel is Linda who goes ahead to make proper arrangement for the group. At the King Shaka International Airport, We were greeted with Zulu music rendition. So entertaining. I cherish their cultural animal-skin costume. Their baritone voice was deep and magnetic. I could not help but dance to the rhythm.
After jollying over a welcome drink; and exchanging words with one another, we then moved to connect the tour bus to UShaka Marine World which is a 16-hectare 40-acre, a theme park which was opened on 30 April 2004 in Durban, KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa. It comprises 5 sections: UShaka Sea World, UShaka Wet ‘n Wild, UShaka Beach, UShaka Village Walk and, UShaka Kids World. It is located on the strip of land between the beachfront and the harbour. It was the first phase in the redevelopment of the Durban Point.
We were taken to Moyo Restaurant where I had a good meal. It is vital to say here that Moyo Restaurant at Ushaka in Durban exemplifies contemporary elite Africa and generates an exciting blend of design, food, and entertainment that seduces and thrills the senses. You will journey through the Southern Savannas, the East Coasts, the Northern deserts, and the Western jungles on a feast that will excite your taste buds, tantalized by the scent of coriander, rose petals, cumin, paprika and saffron spice. Divine a la carte menus and an extensive communal set menu that will transport you on an African cuisine adventure.
Next on the itinerary that evening of 7th May is a rush to the hotel with a quick preparation to attend Africa’s Travel Indaba BONDay event scheduled for that evening. We got to Southern Sun at about 6.45pm, rooms allotted to each guest. I hurriedly checked in at my room at the 6th floor where I had to preview some happening activities. This time, whilst in my room appreciating the beauty of Durban, I had fifteen minutes to tidy up, descend to the venue as instructed by Mohammed of South Africa Tourism led team in a group chat.
It was a cool evening in Durban. We got to the venue on time, completed the necessary registration and straight to the business. BONDay is designed to provide educational sessions for attendees to learn more about the new industry trends that will ultimately contribute to the growth of their businesses. Lovers of food and drinks had a wonderful peck in order of varieties.
This is where some of us got the trademark of the event.
The next day is full swing of Africa’s Travel Indaba. Many programs were outlined for the events. And every bit of it was colourful and educative. The speed Marketing sessions are part of many initiatives that will see travel and tourism exhibitors from across South Africa take centre stage to sell their products and services to buyers from across the world.
Exhibitors had five minutes to demonstrate to between 170 and 200 global buyers that, as entrepreneurs they understand how to operate, market and package their offerings in line with local and global trends.
After Africa’s Travel Indaba, we said goodbye to Durban, the largest city in the South African province of KwaZulu-Natal and the third most populous in South Africa after Johannesburg and Cape Town.
And back to JOZI OR JO’BOURG as it is fondly called.
Commonly known as Jo’burg or Jozi, this rapidly changing city is the vibrant heart of South Africa. Our exploration in Jozi was greatly cool. After the first taste at the South African Airways Business Lounge, it was another detour back to Jozi at O.R Tambo International Airport. The flight was smooth. This time, to African Pride hotel by Marriot where we also had a welcome wine taste. All was properly arranged and well-tailored for you to have a nostalgia.
Khomotso, the head of tour, whose name is pronounced almost like my surname Omotoso, announced in style that whilst sorting out your rooms, we would want you guys to have lunch at the finest dining of African Pride Hotel now.
Like a saying after a good lunch one can forgive anybody, even one’s own relations. The rest is for another time. Checking in at the 3rd floor of the hotel appealed to my soul. I got another pleasant surprise from Tania & Team. Real.Choco.
No doubt the trip to South Africa is rewarding and quite unforgettable in my tourism journey. I met wonderful people who I could not have met unless I come to Indaba. The event has enabled me to have business contacts aplenty and opened up my travelogue opportunities in South Africa.
From 2nd to 12th of May 2018, the trip to South Africa will forever remain an adventurous journey in totality.
I will like to use this platform to specially show gratitude to the entire South African Tourism team. Mr. Hloni Pitso, Regional Manager for West Africa, Muhammed fondly called MO, and Jennifar Awoh. We appreciate your tourism support to Travelogue Communications Ltd.