Reasons to plan an event or incentive in Gauteng
1. The business capital of South Africa
Gauteng is home to South Africa’s administrative capital, Pretoria (Tshwane), where the seat of government is located – a city only second to Washington, DC in hosting the largest number of foreign embassies in the world.
The province’s capital, Johannesburg, once the world’s most important centre of gold production, is today the country’s financial capital. The majority of direct international flights to South Africa come through OR Tambo International Airport, the busiest airport in Africa and air transport hub of Southern Africa, contributing to Gauteng’s clout as the centre of trade in Southern Africa.
Despite being the smallest province, as the economic powerhouse of South Africa, Gauteng records the highest population density, highest per capita income, highest disposable income, highest contribution to turnover from businesses and employees, highest contribution to the national GDP (a third), and highest financial services, manufacturing and retail sector contributions to the total Gross Value Add distribution of South Africa.
With a population of more than 10-million in the greater urban region, Gauteng is also the country’s only mega-city region, where people continue to flock from all over South Africa, Africa and the world in pursuit of "gold", making for a dynamic, diverse and innovative corporate landscape.
2. Cradle of Humankind World Heritage Site
The Cradle of Humankind was proclaimed a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1999 because of the rich fossil finds in the area, which throw light on our early human ancestors, dating back more than 3.4-million years.
It includes the award-winning Maropeng Visitor Centre, which can be experienced through fossil and artefact exhibitions and an underground boat ride, as well as the Sterkfontein site, the world’s longest sustained palaeoanthropological excavation.
The 2008 discovery of a near complete skeleton of the new hominin species, Australopithecus sediba, caused a stir in international scientific circles. It is thought to possibly be that of the transitional species between Australopithecus africanus and either Homo habilis or Homo erectus, man's early ancestors.
Travellers and conference delegates are spoiled for choice with more than 440 diverse tourist attractions in the Cradle of Humankind.
3. Nelson Mandela and freedom struggle must-visits
Nowhere in South Africa will you find a destination so richly interwoven with freedom struggle history and heritage as in Gauteng, including many places, events and monuments linked to Nelson Mandela and other anti-apartheid heroes.
Delegates can take a tour of Constitution Hill or Liliesleaf Farm, where Nelson Mandela and other political heroes once held secret meetings; or they can walk through the outdoor halls of Freedom Park and visit the world-famous Apartheid Museum.
A day in Soweto, South Africa’s most famous township, should include visits to the world-class Hector Pieterson Museum and Memorial in Kliptown; the former home of Nelson Mandela in Vilakazi Street; and a township shebeen (tavern).
Nelson Mandela Square in Sandton, with its wide variety of restaurants, shops and a theatre, is home to a huge statue of the world icon, ideal for not-to-be-missed photo opportunities.
4. World-class business tourism establishments and infrastructure
Gauteng has a well-established, professional and innovative MICE (meetings, incentives, conventions and exhibitions) industry, with a wide range of accommodation and event venues, as well as support services from meeting planners, event organisers, IT facilitators, transport and decor services, motivational speakers and translators.
Conference venues are world-class and range from custom-built venues, including International Convention Centres, to facilities at accommodation establishments and educational institutions – catering from small to very large events, be they in major centres or in the bush.
It’s easy to get to and around Gauteng. About 70 international airlines fly to OR Tambo International Airport, where the high-speed Gautrain offers a fast transfer to major centres. Transport options include coaches, buses, car hire, hotel shuttles and taxis, with 24-hour door-to-door services available.
Due to Gauteng’s small size and extensive road network, it’s quick and easy to get to its many tourist attractions, making it ideal for leisure excursions and pre- and post-event tours.
Venues are equipped with state-of-the-art technology, sophisticated ICT services are offered, and the telecommunications network continues to see major upgrades, making it easy for delegates to stay connected.
5. Warm, welcoming people
The province is a real representative of South Africa's Rainbow Nation, and is also home to many established immigrant communities from Africa and around the world, who lend their unique flavour to the Gauteng melting pot.
Creativity is everywhere. Experience the passion and talent of the people of this province through the numerous art and craft establishments and innovative design, decor and architecture.
On the streets you can find markets, colourful urban graffiti and people spontaneously breaking into dance. A wide variety of international, local and fusion cuisines are available, as well as popular international and local fast-food outlets for delicious, budget meals. All dietary requirements are taken care of.
6. Do business differently in a unique, innovative environment
Draw on traditional principles of negotiation and ubuntu, which prioritise the well-being of the collective. Experience these principles in a country that has witnessed a truly dramatic turnaround from oppression to reconciliation and freedom. Underscore the wisdom gained by visits to the Hector Pieterson Museum, Apartheid Museum, Constitution Hill and Freedom Park.
Embrace ancient and modern African wisdom by organising lekgotlas (village or community meetings), bosberaads (meeting in a remote place such as the bush, to break a deadlock) and indabas (a council or meeting to discuss an important matter).
Throw in unique team-building activities such as gumboot dancing, raft building, drumming workshops, volunteering, wine tasting and blending, chocolatiering, paintball, go-kart racing, sandboarding or free-boarding down Gauteng’s mine dumps, Harley Davidson rides, quad biking through Soweto, and many more adventures.
Reward brave team members with relaxing leisure activities such as a sunset cruise on the Vaal River, hot-air balloon rides over the mesmerising Magaliesberg, a night at a township shebeen (tavern) intoxicated by the latest African rhythms, or royal African spa treatments with indigenous goodie bags.
7. Work hard, play harder
Adventure – Gauteng has incomparable energy. Live your own action adventure. Abseil into caves, bungee jump, race cars, river raft, crocodile cage-dive, rock climb, skydive, fly, zipline, learn to scuba dive, sandboard, glide and hang-glide, quad bike, go ballooning, horse ride, cycle or hike.
Arts and Culture – Experience the Gauteng art beat through theatres, art strips and galleries, craft markets, and innovative design, decor and architecture. On the streets and pavements, find art and craft markets, colourful urban graffiti and people spontaneously breaking into dance. Find all South Africa’s cultures and people from around Africa and the world, with a wide variety of international, local and fusion cuisines to match.
Entertainment – Major events, concerts, festivals and exhibitions are held in Gauteng, while cinemas, comedy clubs, shopping malls, casinos, tours, bars and dance clubs abound to give you a great time. A sport-lover’s playground, sport can be enjoyed outdoors or at sport bars. Don’t miss getting into the rhythm of township music at shebeens (taverns) or jazz clubs; or sample the rock scene at live music venues.
8. Impressive event track record
Gauteng caters for events of all sizes and budgets. Mega-events are professionally hosted in international-standard convention centres, sport stadiums or academic venues, as are intimate strategic sessions in the country or at restaurant venues. Whatever your event needs, you will find the attention and customisation you require.
Click here to see Gauteng’s successfully hosted event track record.
9. Ideal incentives destination
Nature can be enjoyed while on a cruise on the Vaal River, fishing, hot-air ballooning, birding, having spa treatments, hiking or game viewing at Dinokeng, Gauteng’s Big Five game reserve. Don’t miss the Cradle of Humankind World Heritage Site, an awe-inspiring attraction in a beautiful natural setting with plenty to discover and do.
As much as all budgets are catered for, a wide choice of luxury, five-star accommodation is available in Gauteng, which has hosted many celebrities and where guests’ needs and desires are attended to by friendly staff. Exclusive services on offer include airport VIP services.
Gauteng is business and pleasure rolled into one, with a real and exciting African rhythm. Experience the vibrant nightlife, cultural villages, casinos, townships, exclusive golf courses, spectacular spas and shopping.
People in Gauteng enjoy their food and drink. Add to the mix award-winning restaurants; unique bars such as cigar bars, cheese bars and milkshake bars; high tea; whisky or wine events; culinary tours; dining in bank vaults or in the sky; beer tours; decorating cakes; and tea tastings.
Visitors get to experience a world-class African city lifestyle, where South Africa, Africa and the world’s cultures, art, food and music come together; where ancient history and heritage, and modern design and innovation live side by side, and where delegates are never far away from having a great time.
10. Responsible tourism and greening events
Known as one of the world’s largest man-made forests, Gauteng offers the responsible tourist a variety of green travel and tourism options.
More and more establishments are taking the initiative to promote responsible tourism with unique experiences that are carbon-friendly, while eco-certified hotels and organic restaurants and markets are making inroads into the green tourism industry.
Voluntourism is a group activity that is particularly responsible and enriching, and contributes to corporate social responsibility programmes. Volunteering ranges from teaching in rural areas, caring for orphans, building houses or growing school gardens to feed scholars, to taking part in conservation programmes.
The objective of green establishments is to lower water usage and waste, and grow and use organic and Fair Trade produce.
Authentic gifts for delegates can be sourced from a number of social upliftment programmes such as art and craft community projects, including beading, recycled items, embroidery, leather crafts, wire art, weaving, wooden carvings, African fashion and decor.
Responsible initiatives and accreditation include Fair Trade Tourism; SASSI (South African Sustainable Seafood Initiative, which advises on seafood at restaurants); and the Green Leaf Eco Standard. There is also a National Minimal Standards for Responsible Tourism.
Gauteng Tourism has released its own Green Guide to assist the industry to become greener.