Prevue asked Laura Saeger, Business Tourism Manager, South African Tourism, her thoughts on Culture Trends.
Q: How does the destination incorporate its culture into group events?
A: South Africa certainly offers a powerful combination of experiences: eco-tourism combined with traditional cultures, urban vibes mixed with unparalleled adventure. Here you can jump the world’s highest bungee by day and eat at a Michelin-star quality restaurant by night; study ancient San rock art; view elephants from a hot air balloon and enjoy “sundowners” by night; and eat “chisa nyama” under the stars in a township.
South Africa also offers a cultural immersion that is both fascinating and insightful. It can open one’s eyes to different ways of doing things or new insights into corporate structures, conflict resolution and leadership styles.
Q: What are some unique venues that celebrate creativity & innovation?
A: South Africa has a vibrant arts scene. The Maboneng Precinct, Johannesburg’s ground-breaking urban mixed-use community, began with Arts on Main—the cultural hub known for its mix of galleries, artist studios, creative venues, offices and retail spaces. Named for the Sotho word for “place of light,” this area is a cutting-edge city destination. Having hosted a number of successful and high profile events, Maboneng provides a range of alternative urban events spaces for a variety of styles and functions.
In Cape Town, The Old Biscuit Mill in Woodstock used to be–what else–a biscuit mill. Previously disused and in disarray it has been transformed into a home for market stalls, designer stores, dynamic office and workshop spaces and decadent cafes, and plays host to an amazing line-up of festivals, events and parties, as well as media launches.
A trip to the Mill will put you in contact with some of Cape Town’s most talented designers, artists, photographers and connoisseurs of fine taste and décor. On the weekends it’s jam packed as the city’s cultural cognoscenti wander through the stalls at The Neighbourgoods Market on Saturdays and the Vintage Fair on Sundays.
Q: What festivals/cultural events can planners incorporate into their programs?
- Cape Town International Jazz Festival
- The Grahamstown National Arts Festival
- Knysna Oyster Festival
- Hermanus Whale Festival
- Stellenbosch Wine Festival
Q: What are some restaurants/cuisine reflective of the destination’s culture?
A: The famous “rainbow” applies not only to the people of South Africa but to the food–one finds in South Africa an extraordinary range of cuisines. South African cuisine is strongly influenced by Dutch, German, English, French, Malaysian, Portuguese, Indonesian, Indian, Native African–and even Asian cuisines.
There are a number of restaurants serving traditional South Africa cuisine, such as the Moyo restaurants inspired by African art and design, music, cuisine and crafts. They have eight venues in Gauteng, Kwazulu-Natal, and the Western Cape. GOLD in Cape Town’s Green Point area serves Cape Malay and African cuisine while diners are captivated by drummers, singers and tall, graceful Mali Puppets dancing around the tables. Lekgotla in Johannesburg’s Mandela Square is a melting pot of cuisines from the four corners of Africa.
Modern South African cuisine combines traditional culinary heritage with the intriguing new flavors and influences of contemporary cooking. The freshest local ingredients are featured at gastronomic havens such as Planet Restaurant in the famed Mt. Nelson Hotel in Cape Town, Aubergine, Savoy Cabbage, Emily’s , and Jardine. The Cape Winelands offer stellar restaurants—Franschoek’s Le Quartier Francais, Stellenbosch’s Delaire Graff, Paarl’s Grand Roche Estate, Constantia’s La Columbe and Catharina’s to name just a few.