Conference and event organiser, Catherine Larkin, CEO of CVLC, shares three of her top picks for conferencing venues in the bush.
1. Whispering Pines Country Estate, Magaliesburg
It’s small, it’s stunning, it’s quiet – and it’s an easy drive from Johannesburg, says Larkin. “From the moment you drive into the estate, your experience starts. Tranquillity, serenity and natural beauty is what it is all about.” At the same time, she says, the team at the venue are extremely attentive to every need.
It is a perfect venue for anyone wanting to get out of the city. Set along a river with several walking trails it offers a unique opportunity for unplugged conferences. “I also love the accommodation facilities – they are natural and spacious. With only 13 suites, it is never crowded and is ideal for small, intimate functions.” The venue has two comfortable air-conditioned conference rooms that can easily accommodate up to 30 delegates.
2. Kloofzicht Lodge and Spa, Cradle of Humankind
“What a perfect setting for any conference or team-building activity outside the city,” says Larkin. “The reserve may be small, but you always get to see some of its wildlife en route to and from the lodge – whether it be kudu, impala, Blue wildebeest, eland, Red hartebeest, springbok, gemsbok, zebra as well as a fascinating array of birdlife, which is always a lovely experience for delegates.”
The conferencing team, she says, go out of their way to accommodate every request – even those last-minute ones clients are bound to have. “It also offers something different to the usual, with interesting add-on activities available and outside showers.” The lodge accommodates groups from two to 120 delegates within five main conference venues and three smaller meeting rooms. Spa conference packages are also available.
3. Mabula Lodge, Waterberg
This, says Larkin, is a solid, reliable venue that consistently delivers great experiences to conference goers. “The beauty of Mabula is that it is a fairly big conference venue, yet it offers an intimate bushveld experience. It is reasonably priced and offers great value in these cost-conscious times. I have found that the team here – at all levels – go out of their way to be friendly and helpful. While logistics can sometimes be a challenge, the team plan in detail to ensure everything goes smoothly.”
The different accommodation options allow delegates to choose what bushveld experience they would like. And their various function rooms are truly bushveld experiences, such as the boma, which offers a wonderfully African way to welcome delegates on the first night of a getaway. Mabula boasts three conference venues – the newly refurbished Marula venue that can seat up to 60 delegates, the Kingfisher Centre that can accommodate up to 160 delegates and the Baobab conference room that can seat up to 40 delegates.
Source: Liesl Venter. Image: Tripadvisor
Image: Whispering Pines Country Estate