Prevue May/June 2016 - (Page 68)

South Africa From wildlife safaris to urban wonders, South Africa is designed to impress [ON LOCATION] SUSAN R. POLLACK T wice during our group's final dinner at the luxe Bush Lodge in South Africa's renowned Sabi Sabi Game Reserve, guests jumped up from their tables and rushed to the rail of the outdoor viewing deck. As a guard shined a spotlight, we peered through the darkness to catch a glimpse of a leopard on the prowl by the waterhole some 110 feet away. It was a bonus nightcap to two exhilarating days of safari game-viewing in the private reserve that borders South Africa's vast, world-famous Kruger National Park. And, it was an exciting prelude to Meetings Africa 2016 trade show that drew thousands to the Sandton Convention Centre in Johannesburg this past February. Cruising through the bush at dawn and dusk in open 4x4 vehicles, we'd checked off the Big 5 safari stars-Cape buffalo, rhinos, lions, leopards and elephants-before breakfast on the second day. Beyond that, our Sabi Sabi game rangers and sharpeyed native Shangaan trackers maneuvered us close to herds of antelope and wildebeest, loping giraffes, zebras and baboons, hungry hyenas and a languorous cheetah. The animals showed up as if on cue-Hollywood couldn't have scripted it better. Our group, mostly meeting planners, looked forward to daily "sundowners" on the savannah-i.e., cocktails in the bush at sunset, a delightfully civilized tradition. The sounds of assorted birdlife punctuated the sultry landscape. 62 | Sharing such high-adrenaline, natural-world adventure is a guaranteed ice-breaker, sparking almost-instant friendship. Our group bonded quickly, laughing nervously at check-in when told that guests should always summon a ranger to escort us to and from dinner and mustn't venture out alone on the property after dark. It helped to know that the rangers carried rifles and wore cartridge belts bulging with bullets. LUXURY DIGS IN THE BUSH With 52 freshly-renovated private suites and space for over 100 guests, Sabi Sabi Game Reserve offers four separate 5-star lodges, making it attractive for meeting and incentive groups of various sizes. It boasts first-class service and amenities, including airconditioned suites with beds draped in mosquito netting, stylish furnishings and glass showers, inside and out, overlooking the bush. Pools, spas and afternoon high tea enhance the ambiance, along with group buffet dinners in the boma, or outdoor compound, under the stars; dishes starring crocodile, eland, venison and other local delicacies share space with more traditional gourmet fare. Less than an hour's flight from Johannesburg, Sabi Sabi is just one among dozens of lodges in the South African bush accustomed to hosting groups. But while exotic game safaris rank high on many bucket lists, South Africa brings even more

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Prevue May/June 2016

Planner’s Pick: Milwaukee
Fresh Meets: Marriott’s Big Plans for 2016
Bureau Buzz: Quebec City Business Destination
Good Business: Carbon Conscience
Sea Shores: New Luxury Cruise Options Debut
The New VIP
On Location: Miami Beach Visionary Summit
On Location: South Africa
On Location: Branson
On Location: Alberta
On Location: Atlantis Paradise Island
Checkout: Hilton West Palm Beach

Prevue May/June 2016