Mpumalanga – “the place where the sun rises” – is undoubtedly my favourite of the 9 provinces in South Africa. So I was over-joyed to have been able to arrange and participate in the educational tour for hosted buyers who were attending Meetings Africa 2015.
As most educational trips go, this was to be a whirl-wind affair. This trip lasted a whopping 3 days! But the point of any educational trip is to showcase as much as possible for the agents to see and experience so that they can market the product/ destination more effectively.
And this was exactly the brief that we received from the Mpumalanga Tourism & Parks Agency whom we collaborated with for this trip.
Our tour began in Johannesburg, with all the agents then departing to fly into Kruger Mpumalanga International Airport in Nelspruit. On arrival we were met by a driver and Guide who escorted us to an air-conditioned vehicle. We then proceeded to Hazyview. Our first stop was at Perry’s Bridge Hollow where we were taken on a quick site inspection of the property and its facilities before enjoying a relaxed lunch at Kuka Restaurant. We then continued to Elephant Whispers, a research and education centre that works to protect Elephants and educate the public on these gentle giants through interactive programs. Our group was treated to a very informative and interactive lesson on elephants, after which the agents were all treated to an elephant back ride.
The group was then transferred to Umbhaba Lodge where they spent the evening at leisure.
After breakfast the next day we were all transported to Hippo Hollow, where the group was taken on a scenic helicopter flight over the Blyde River Canyon and its surrounds. While the weather had started off very grey and dull, it cleared to ensure that our guests were treated to breath-taking views of the Panorama route.
After a quick refreshment break, all guests boarded the vehicles that would transport them to the private lodges in the Sabi Sands Game Reserve. Unfortunately due to availability the group had to be split between 2 lodges, that being Ulusaba Rock Lodge and SabiSabi Bush Lodge respectively.
Once at the lodges though, all guests were treated to the 5 star service that has come to be expected from these fantastic properties. The groups were also treated to site inspections of the properties and the different lodges within each private reserve. Game drives were very fruitful as all guests got to see the big five and more! And the food was divine…feeling hungry just thinking about it.
After a hearty breakfast the next day we were collected from our respective lodges and transferred back to the Kruger Mpumalanga International Airport for our flight back to Johannesburg. I bid farewell to the agents and they all continued to their respective onward flights.
A short but eventful educational and one filled with moments that will hopefully bring the agents (and their clients) back to our shores!
SW Africa Destination Management