share
by Henk Graaff | December 01, 2016
Most conference and incentive organizers are quite clued in to the destination, but we thought it would still be worthwhile to debunk some of these myths and lay out some of the many things that make this continent amazing.

1. From the Kruger National Park to Cape Town in an Hour

Distances can be quite deceiving in Africa -- an important detail for MICE organizers to keep in mind. Travelers can sometimes request amazing and intriguing itineraries that are simply not feasible. For example:

Day 1: A wildlife experience in the Kruger National Park
Day 2: A visit to Cape Town
Day 3: Dune-boarding in the Sossusvlei in Namibia.

As terrific as all these experiences are, the trip between the Kruger and Cape Town will take you at least 17 hours by car -- if you don't stop along the way. The trip to Namibia will take another 14 hours from Cape Town. Many don't realize just how far Africa's many attractions actually are from one another. As a result, they will request or suggest itineraries that are not practical due to the distances involved. Planners will want to ensure they accurately convey how much attendees can experience here in a day, or a week.

2. South Africa Is a Region…or Maybe a Continent?

The African geography can baffle international traveler, with many still thinking that that South Africa is a region -- like South America -- instead of a country.

Well, let us put the facts straight: Europeans don't speak European and Africans don't speak African. Africa is home to 54 different nations, more than 2,000 languages, and four of the world's 10 fastest-growing economies. South Africa is a country. In fact, it is one of the countries with the fastest-growing economies.

3. Travelers Can't Have an Authentic Experience on a MICE Trip

Many delegates seem to think it's nearly impossible to experience an authentic African experience on a group MICE trip. Nothing could be further from the truth. Delegates can participate in carefully selected community projects and make a long-lasting difference in someone's life. They can get their hands dirty and do something truly meaningful, such as building a house for a family. It doesn't get more authentic than this, does it?

Also, wildlife experiences can be truly unique on any MICE trip, and delegates can be actively involved in conservation and participate in tangible conservation projects.

They'll be able to get right in the midst of the action and assist wildlife vets with animal relocations and notching. But with that said, it doesn't mean…

4. The Only Activity in Africa Is a Safari

Africa's wildlife is without a doubt one of the main attractions, but the continent has so much more to offer still.

Meander along Cape Town's beautiful wine routes, or indulge in the rich flavors of the Bo-Kaap cuisine, where you can partake in the most exciting cooking workshops. Or, get your adrenaline flowing on a visit to Victoria Falls, the ultimate playground for adrenaline junkies. Jump head first on a bungee jump, or taunt the elements as you embark upon a whitewater rafting expedition or a helicopter flip over the Victoria Falls.

Getting up close to a lion feasting on its prey or watching wildebeest cross the Serengeti is absolutely extraordinary, but it doesn't have to be the only thing on your agenda.

5. Africa is Stunted in its Technology

When it comes to technology, Africa is definitely not lagging behind. Africans are known to have their phones glued to their ears at all times and are trendsetters when it comes to mobile technology. So, if your Millennial delegates feel the need to share every detail of their trip on social media, don't worry: Internet and Wi-Fi is readily available throughout southern Africa.

Cape Town especially is at the forefront when it comes to technological advancement in the meeting and incentive sphere. The city boasts quite a few world-class multipurpose venues, and is home to the country's first virtual reality community, the Cape Innovation and Technology Initiative (CiTi).

Henk Graaff is the managing director and owner of of Southern Africa Destination Management Company, SW Africa. A born and bred, sixth generation South African, I fell in love with Africa, as well as the travel industry, at a young age and have since enjoyed a wonderful career doing what I love, in the country I adore.