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Jazz fans from around the world appreciate the skill and vibrant talent of South African jazz musicians. It’s no surprise that the country hosts a number of internationally-recognised jazz concerts and festivals throughout the year. South African jazz is in a class of its own, made up of a series of uniquely diverse influences that give life to that distinctive African sound. The Sophiatown Bar Lounge is inspired by the multicultural Johannesburg suburb from which it takes its name. Historically, Sophiatown was a hive of creativity and political activism. In the first half of the 20th century, it produced some of South Africa’s most famous jazz musicians. Today, this Newtown jazz venue celebrates their legacy. The Sophiatown Bar Lounge is literally and figuratively at the heart of the South African jazz scene. As well as serving up large helpings of iconic jazz sounds, the venue also hosts well-known and emerging contemporary artists. Enjoy an evening of South African jazz – a truly unique experience.
An entertainment hub of note, celebrating Johannesburg’s mining heritage. Delegates can go down a gold mine, dine at any one of the many restaurants and/or enjoy a night of jazz at a stylish cocktail bar. The theme park is built around a 19th Century gold mine and has an abundance of exhilarating thrill rides including the Anaconda, Dream Boat, Golden Loop and Miner’s Revenge. Another highlight of this Jozi gem is its 96-seater 4D theatre, which has hydraulic seats that emit various scents to match whatever is playing on the screen. After an eventful day of an adrenaline rush, experiencing the best of the theme park’s rides, delegates will be pleased to know that the Southern Sun Gold Reef City hotel – a small, four-star, hotel – is close by, where they can spend the evening.
It is not only fun and enlightening, but healthy too. There are numerous walking tours on offer, including a fascinating Graffiti Tour, a Public Art Tour, Tour of Newtown and a Tour of Fordsburg, home to a large South African Indian community and the famous Oriental Plaza. Of course, a tour of Soweto is a definitely something to tick off on your delegates’ to-do lists. Westcliff and Parktown are also good options to consider walking about and immersing yourself in the areas and everything it has to off. Gauteng tour operators are on hand to ensure delegates get the most out of their walking tour experiences.
A multi-purpose venue in the north of Johannesburg, Montecasino is hub of entertainment. There are numerous restaurants, coffee shops and bars at Montecasino, as well as the beautifully kept Montecasino Bird Gardens. Whether delegates are in the mood for a dazzling night of theatre, trying their lucky hand at slot machines or having a relaxed evening enjoying fine cuisine at one of the many eateries in the casino’s food court, there’s definitely something for everyone. Beautifully decorated to resemble a Tuscan village, one can’t help but gaze in awe at the incredible architecture of Montecasino. This Fourways gem also boasts a bird garden where over 100 unique and exotic bird species are housed.
Not too far from both Johannesburg and Pretoria is the Lion Park in Lanseria, which is well-equipped to deal with large groups. Viewing these large predators at the Lion Park is a major highlight for any visitor to the region. This is a perfect way for delegates to get an up-close encounter with one of Africa’s fiercest cats. From guided three-hour game tours in semi-opened safari vehicles to viewing opportunities to see white lions, cheetahs and various African wildlife species, this park offers visitors a true outdoor experience. After an eventful day, settle down for a light lunch at the Wetlands Restaurant and Bar.
Visitors to Tshwane can enjoy a day trip to the old mining town of Cullinan (where the Cullinan Diamond was found in 1905). Take a tour of the old diamond mine, there are three to choose from – surface, motorised or underground. Shop at the various antique shops and have a fun group event at the quirky Jan Harmsgat se Agterplaas. If delegates were amazed by the Kimberley Big Hole, they haven’t seen anything yet – the Cullinan’s open-cast mine is three times bigger than Kimberley’s Big Hole. Other attractions to enjoy include the historical and cultural attractions displaying paintings by Sir Herbert Baker and World War II prisoners, and for history buffs, a visit to the Sammy Marks Museum and Cullinan Station is a must.
When visiting Tshwane, visit both the Voortrekker Monument and Freedom Park. The monolithic Voortrekker Monument sheds light on South Africa’s pioneer history, while Freedom Park is largely dedicated to the heroes of the struggle and also has a fantastic museum - //hypo - which tells the continent’s history from an African perspective. What delegates will notice upon arrival is the large grounds, which has been declared a National Nature Reserve, and the small game that can be seen wondering about the reserve. It’s recommended that delegates take a guided tour of Freedom Park to get an in-depth understanding of the park’s architecture, which is all based on spiritual, historical and ideological themes.
The Maboneng Precinct in downtown Johannesburg is a great place to explore urban culture. There are a number of restaurants, galleries and bars worth visiting – and on Sundays, there is the wonderful Market on Main food market. But it’s not just the market, there’s so much more that’s fuelling this inner-city creative hub – think incredible buildings, boasting old-fashioned yet imaginative architecture. These buildings comprise studios, boutique shops, art galleries and coffee shops. Main Street Life on Fox Street consists of a lifestyle development that has sweeping views of the city below. For delegates who are into contemporary design and history, the Museum of African Design, where the best of African art and design is showcased.