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16 May 2013

#MeetSouthAfrica bloggers' trip a huge social media success

The recent #MeetSouthAfrica bloggers’ tour generated a huge buzz on social media platforms, culminating in the INDABA Travel Bloggers’ Conference in Durban.

A Free State farm stall – blogger pit stop en route to Durban

The level of interaction with both locals and people around the world was phenomenal, with many of the bloggers’ followers expressing an interest in visiting South Africa or reminiscing about a past trip. – Keith Jenkins, @Velvetescape and iambassadors

Leading up to the very first Travel Bloggers' Conference at INDABA 2013, held on 10 May, a contingent of 15 international bloggers was invited to #MeetSouthAfrica by travelling to Durban on four exciting itineraries.

Among the participants were bloggers from the iambassadors network of leading travel bloggers from around the world, including Melvin Boecher (@traveldudes), Matthew Long (@LandLopers), Kate McCulley (@adventurouskate) and Keith Jenkins (@velvetescape).

The four itineraries covered Cape Town to Durban (via the Garden Route); Cape Town to Durban (via the West Coast); Johannesburg to Durban (via the Free State); and Johannesburg to Durban (via Limpopo and Mpumalanga). En route the bloggers uploaded hundreds of tweets, blogs, images and videos, capturing their personal experiences and the diversity of the South African landscape and its people.

Jenkins said of the experience, ‘The 15 international travel bloggers had the time of their lives in South Africa. The decision to create four separate itineraries covering all the nine provinces of South Africa worked out extremely well as it brought the country's amazing array of attractions and experiences to the fore.

'The bloggers shared their experiences via their social media channels with great vigour, using Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, YouTube and Vine. The #MeetSouthAfrica hashtag has so far clocked up close to 60-million "opportunities to see" on Twitter alone.'

Jenkins said he is sure the campaign will encourage many more travellers to visit the country.

‘The level of interaction with both locals and people around the world was phenomenal, with many of the bloggers' followers expressing an interest in visiting South Africa or reminiscing about a past trip. I'm convinced that interest in South Africa will continue to grow as the bloggers publish their blog posts in the coming months.’

The #MeetSouthAfrica bloggers' tour culminated in the very first INDABA Travel Bloggers' Conference, which took place in the Moses Mabhida Stadium in Durban. It  was live-streamed to viewers around the world via a Google Live Hangout.