Conference speakers

Since my recent return to South Africa after two years in the UK, I have observed a great need for motivation, for innovation and a need to pool our resources to make a better life for ourselves and our families… to find ways to overcome apparent obstacles which have presented us with enormous challenges. Yes, no question of it … the ‘recession’ has had an enormous impact not only on us here locally but in the EU as well, as you know. And we can continue to lick our wounds and shut ourselves away, feeling helpless in the ‘light of world-wide economic disaster’ OR we can positively and willingly do something about it … there is always a light at the end of the tunnel …

Take some risks … you might find you can fly!
I met up with a long-term friend/associate in the field of Teaching and Motivation recently and he reminded me of what we all have at our fingertips if only we will be willing to look, and find and plunge into head-long, taking some risks … without risk, there are many things we will simply never know we are capable of! In the words of Apollianaire Guillaume ‘“Come to the edge”, He said. They said, “We are afraid”. “Come to the edge”, He said. They came. He pushed them … and they flew’.

Neil le Roux, who is closely associated with SACEE (The South African Council For English Education), based in East London has long been a speaker I have the greatest admiration for. I think, mainly because of his strong belief that we all CAN … Neil doesn’t give up, even in dire moments in his own life … he has never given up and never believed that there isn’t another way. He has spoken at events I have organised for my corporate clients who have all left the conference room lighter, inspired and with many new ideas. Furthermore, Neil will travel throughout South Africa to give a talk at any event, whether it is a conference or seminar, a cocktail function or dinner. He is light and funny, he is charming and well-informed. He is witty and worldly and has great depths of wisdom.

Some Bio
Neil holds a Master’s Degree from the University of the Free State, and also holds post-graduate qualifications from the Damelin Management School and WITS Business School.

He has wide experience in the private sector, and has served as National Director for the American Field Services Student Exchange Programme in South Africa and was Group Human Resources Manager for Mega Plastics.

Neil has travelled widely throughout South Africa studying the Management Training and Development Techniques and Programmes of many of South Africa’s Blue Chip companies. He has also visited companies in Europe, the UK the USA and the Far East.

Trainer, workshop facilitator and speaker, Neil’s current workshops/talks include:

• The Managers’ Toolbox (Productive Management)
• Thinking Out of the Box
• Enhancing Employee Profitability
• Improving Product and Service Standards
• Attitudes and team-work in the work place
• Team Support
• Motivation
• Team Building
• Teaching effective and efficient creativity

Any profits Neil makes on his engagements goes to SACEE for further English education in South Africa. On any corporate or group bookings (minimum of 14 delegates), for every two confirmed attendees, you will get one participant free. (3 for the price of 2!).

Neil shared with me a line he borrowed from Peter Ellyard (Executive Director of Preferred Futures Australia) “If we do not learn to live in the future today, we are going to have to get used to living in the past tomorrow” …. Food for thought yeah?

Neil le Roux may be contacted by any of the following methods:
e-mail: sacee@telkomsa.net
Mob: +27 (0)834173985
Or via info@venuepages.co.za



When you think of the words ‘Team Building’, what comes up for you? “Oo, I need to be physically fit and strong, young and skinny or perhaps muscular and male … “. Fortunately this is not the case! Phew! That feels more comfortable!

To enquire about Team Building please click here and a consultant will contact you.

Team Building companies have designed their numerous activities taking every body type into account, every age and state of health and will never push you beyond your limits. That isn’t the point of Team Building. While it is meant to be a fun activity, the focus is largely on the Team Spirit, Team Bonding, getting to know one another’s strengths and weaknesses, learning to appreciate and respect one another for our pit-falls and our strengths. It is actually a very enlightening form of psychology if you think about it? Right? And the guys who run these events have studied and researched all this stuff and actually are the ‘fundi’s’ at knowing what event or activity will achieve the desired results…And it’s about what your company or department hopes to achieve from the effects and impact of the team building, emotionally, mentally and to see how resilient, how determined you are as a team, whether you do in fact work as ‘one’ and where there are those of us who prefer to work alone … or to be background support and not necessarily in the front … we are all diverse and unique and each one of us in the team will present in a totally unique way, all combining to build a team. All of this serves the team as a whole as each individual supports in his or her own unique manner to make the team work ‘wholly’. Isn’t this what all companies desire at the end of the day (to cash in on a worn-out cliché!) … I reckon … And quite besides what the company desires …. You as delegates want to have fun!

We, in our company have been very fortunate to have met and got to know the guys at Beach and Bush Adventures, based in KZN who have an enormous variety of activities, purpose designed for your desired outcome. I have noted some of the variations below that they will offer your team and will also suggest venues that are tried and tested and most suitable for these activities, while there are many others throughout the Province that will work just as well. And very important to know is that Sean and his team at Beach and Bush Adventures will take their team virtually anywhere nationally to facilitate your team building. They are not stuck with venues in KZN. Good guys to know!!

Beach and Bush’s ‘Minute 2 Winit’ – Cocktail Challenge team build for the rainy day and is a fantastic alternative to physical team building and a perfect ‘Ice-Breaker’ on the first night away from home.


Participants spend time in groups completing low-impact / mentally challenging tasks in a set time limit as per the popular television show. They then end off by creating unique cocktails which are graded and presented to the group.
The first stage consists of groups competing directly across a series of classic ?Minute 2 Winit! puzzles and tasks. Groups are then scored and access to a wide range of cocktail mixing ingredients, garnishes etc are dependent on the score attained.
Using limited resources, teams must then mix up a storm to create the ultimate cocktail.
Teams present their cocktails to the panel in front of the entire group and our experienced judges sample and rate the creations, often a hilarious undertaking!

All team members then have access to the bar to mix additional cocktails, a great party starter.
At the end each group must present their cocktails and explain them, they are judged and the cocktail champions are announced.


The Amazing Race Team Build : This …Is… Fun!!!

This option is customised according to the area in South Africa where it takes place. Beach and Bush have set up routes throughout South Africa, but are always willing to re-quote and re-plan according to your needs.
The tone of Beach and Bush’s Amazing Race team building activity is action packed, sophisticated, yet fun. Events are chosen based on your desired team building outcome. Challenges such as the ‘art challenge’ are geared to set a more upmarket tone, and events such as the ‘road block’ and ‘giant puzzles’ test your skills whilst keeping the event light-hearted and fun.
Brief overview: Teams meet at the start of the race. They are given instructions on the route and details of the challenges, which can be completed in any order. Teams begin the race, completing ALL the challenges as quickly as possible, acquiring clues after each challenge allowing them to proceed. The objective is simple…. complete all the challenges and be the first team home.
Amazing Race team building activity options include: Kayak Challenge / Croc Farm Challenge / Cocktail Mixing / Casino Challenge / Fishing Challenge / Giant Puzzles / Bungee Jumping / Sangoma Challenge / Art Challenge / Down-Down Challenge / Sushi Challenge / Treasure Hunt / Polaroid Camera Challenge / Road Block Challenge / Climbing Wall Challenge……….. and many more fantastic options.
Available In South Africa and across Africa on request.

What Is Included

• Professional facilitators at each station
• Pre-planning & set up
• Chosen activities
• All equipment and required items
• Access to all relevant properties used in the activities

Durbs By The Sea … The uShaka Challenge

The appeal of the uShaka Challenge Teambuild is that it’s low impact and the focus is on fun while, the challenges are specifically structured to encourage fundamental team building outcomes such as improved communication, cohesion and respect for roles and norms. Ushaka has become a successful team building venue enjoyed by all taking part in this challenge.
Activity Options: you can choose to either do a ‘dry’ or ‘wet’ uShaka Challenge Teambuild, and activity options include the following examples and much more.


• Bribe the Pirate: bribe the pirate on the ship with either coke or rum for the next clue.
• Too Cool for School: wax a surfboard on the beach.
• Polaroid Camera Aquarium: find a clue situated in the aquarium, take a Polaroid picture as proof of finding it to get the next clue.
• Help Bongani Lifesaving Challenge: using a rope and kayaks you’ll have to perform a rescue operation either in the surf or in the canals (physical).
• Wimpy Challenge: have to make something and eat it.


• Lazy River Catch Up Race: find a clue in the river running through the park.
• Snorkel Lagoon Treasure Hunt: find a clue hidden in the lagoon.
• Chicken Run Plunge: go down a 90 degree slide holding an egg without breaking it.
• Kayak Race: racing around buoys on the surf (physical).
The uShaka Challenge Teambuild is a flexible team building event that can be structured to be run either as a race (as in the Amazing Race) or as a more static concept like Fear Factor. With a large group, it is usually recommended that a combination of the 2 be applied. Ie: Each group is given a number of tasks to complete, some of these are time based, whereas with others the goal is simply to finish.


Ponder on this … every single organ in our bodies beats to its own rhythm …synchronising and working in harmony with every other organ. A normal body works in an organised manner, each cell and each organ supporting all the others … Rhythm is in everything that lives … (That wipes out some people’s belief that they have no sense of rhythm! You can’t get off that lightly!)
Drum Africa is a fresh look at interactive drumming sessions, uniquely designed as a teambuild for corporate groups. Let the rhythm of the African Beat surge through your body as you drum away your stress and build your team. No previous musical experience is needed and if you can clap your hands to a beat, you can play a drum and carry a rhythm.
Drum Africa is brought to you by Beach and Bush Adventures, one of South Africa’s top corporate teambuilding and event organising operators.


Beach and Bush’s Drum Africa is an interactive team build designed for groups of 10 – 200 people. It is mobile and can be done anywhere as long as there is sufficient space and seating. Drum Africa is also a great add on to any of the other Beach and Bush teambuilds.

Each drumming session takes around 1 hour but can be customized to fit in with your schedule, the sessions are broken up into 4 parts and as the drummers skills progress, so does the difficulty. Each person is equipped with either a djemba drum, shaker or rhythm sticks. At the direction of our facilitators we start with a simple beat and before you know it you’re making MUSIC!!!
Interactive drumming is a great way to build your team, within minutes we’ll have the group interacting in a unique way, every individual will have there own part to play in ensuring that the show goes on. Participants are quick to learn that individual efforts count for very little and team work is essential. Drum Africa is specifically designed as a teambuilding event and professional facilitators are always on hand to ensure that the session is a success.

Recommended Venues

• The Boathouse – North Coast
• Pumula Beach Hotel – South Coast
• Tala Private Game Reserve – Inland between Hillcrest and PMB
• Mondazur Resort Estate Hotel – Southbroom South Coast
• Palm Dune Beach Lodge – North Coast
• Bonamanzi Game Park
• Fordoun Hotel, Spa and Restaurant – Midlands
• Woodridge Country Estate Hotel and Spa – Midlands
• Granny Mouse, Country House – Midlands
• Drakensberg Sun Lifestyle Resort – Central Berg
• Champagne Sports Resort – Central Berg
• Quantani Resort – Free State
• Alpine Heath Resort – Northern Berg
Article written by Rosalie Howard: The Venue Pages



Stand a chance to win a sumptuous dinner for two at the lovely African Pride Crystal Towers Hotel and Spa, home to the second largest Conference Venue in Cape Town

We are running a competition for a sumptuous dinner for two at the lovely Towers Restaurant at African Pride Crystal Towers Hotel and Spa to the value of R500.00. All you need to do is answer the question below for your entry to be thrown into the hat for the lucky draw on the 7 September 2012. Good Luck!!

How far is African Pride Crystal Towers from the airport?

Your answers should be left in the comments section of this post below. A winner will be drawn on 7 September 2012 and announced via the blog.

Cape Town as you undoubtedly know is brim full of hotels and conference centres, however, many of these are smaller to medium-sized intimate venues which most certainly have their important place for conferences, accommodation and leisure. It is such a pleasure to put forward the African Pride Crystal Towers Hotel and Spa for the larger local events however and the International events which visit this fair city every year.

Centrally located in the heart of the Century City urban hub, African Pride Crystal Towers Hotel & Spa is set beside a palm-lined canal, and boasts views that stretch out towards the majesty of Table Mountain. A mere 15 minutes from the airport, City Centre, V&A Waterfront and the start of the luscious Cape Winelands.

The numerous facilities and professionally trained staff are on hand to ensure a relaxing, fun-filled and productive stay, whether you’re travelling for business, leisure or a little of both and accommodation rooms are all designer decorated to a fine standard, leaving nothing out.

The innovative, modern design of the magnificent African Pride Crystal Towers Hotel & Spa, meets timeless sophistication and luxury. This hotel is proud of having the second-largest conference and convention centre in Cape Town, after the CTICC . The African Pride Crystal Towers Hotel and Convention Centre is one of the only superior-deluxe conference centres outside of the central business district of Cape Town AND is also home to South Africa’s only Conferencing Butlers, one of which is assigned to each boardroom and meeting room. Conference visitors most certainly get their money’s worth here!

Conference Venues

The African Pride Crystal Towers Hotel & Convention Centre boasts four large and technologically superior conference venues that can accommodate up to 450 delegates, plus eight elegant boardrooms.

Valet parking, abundant underground parking and an exclusive in-house transport company is available for individual or group transfers.

Life Day Spa


Your health is your wealth. Life Day Spa Cape Town considers itself part of the wellness revolution and they have created a unique place of relaxation that provides sanctuary from the stress of modern life.

Things To Do in the Neighbourhood

  • Canal Walk Shopping Centre 100m
  • Ratanga Junction Theme Park 100m and Ratanga Driving Range
  • Intaka Island Bird Sanctuary 1 km
  • Virgin Active Gym 100m
  • Milnerton Golf course 5km

Article by Rosalie Howard, Venue Pages



This is a topic worth discussing while many of us would rather put to bed the ongoing negative talk that is still prevalent, world-wide and while we should also get out of Ostrich mode and face the facts that are … is it all bad news? I don’t believe it is … we can see light at the end of the tunnel.

When it all began, ‘all of a sudden’ … and the nasty words ‘World Recession’ hit the front pages, I didn’t believe that it could affect me or mine or our productivity to a great extent as it has never happened in our industry before with any great impact … but one morning I woke up and faced the realisation that suddenly the bottom seemed to have dropped out of business in our particular industry … that being the Conference Industry as a PCO (Professional Conference Organiser).

First the negatives, to get them out of the way …

In 2008 we had the best year ever financially, with so much going on, resulting in having to employ additional staff to manage the daily volume of enquiries and bookings. It was fantastic and I am sure I speak for many small businesses, in all fields when I say this … To adopt half a line from the old Frank Sinatra song … “In 2008… it was a very good year” … It was.

I took a trip to the UK for my Christmas holidays because I could afford to and from the moment of my return in January 2009, it was evident that things were not quite right in the conference tourism industry.

In our marketing capacity, we were being told by all and sundry that there just wasn’t a budget any longer for advertising and in fact, many corporate companies, and government departments were already retrenching staff and managing their businesses with skeleton staff … Worse than this was the realisation on a daily basis that companies and even government departments had been told to cut back on their conference budgets to such a degree that it became extremely difficult to find suitable venues for our clients to match their budgets. Many companies and government departments opted for the use of their own facilities where this was possible and I am sure that I am accurate in suggesting that the 4 and 5 star hotels suffered most in this industry with the enormous drop-off in numbers and ‘bums in beds’ as a result. It was 3-star or nothing …

In many ways this recession was a hidden blessing … however before anyone gets angry with me for this suggestion, I say this purely because I have observed and have been involved in how many individuals and companies have found alternative resources… it’s amazing how much talent is available in all of us which we seldom considered or were aware of until we were forced into the situation of having to find other means of making ends meet … I have seen degreed women and men turning their hands to wood-work, a previous hobby, to building houses, something they had never even considered was a possibility, to waitering in the evenings for tips to make up the shortfall … I take my hat off to all those who have rigorously looked for and found other means the subsidise salaries in their professions to put bread on the table.

However, all this is stale news now … for it has been a topic elaborated on over and over again, added to, expounded on and regrettably over-dramatised by the sensation seekers amongst us, resulting in fear, more fear and to many a sense of hopelessness.

Hopelessness is not the way to go ….. for we have all been equipped with the wherewithal to manage, to cope and to surge forward in any circumstances … though it doesn’t feel that way at times, I know … we have to move on, move forward and I think, in my humble opinion, try as best we can to ‘live in the present’ …. Yeah, I hear you say, we have to plan for our futures … and I do whole heartedly agree with that however the future is not clear at all … we haven’t got there yet, so focussing all of our energy and attention on ‘tomorrow’ can be exhausting and we forget to consider where we are NOW, and appreciate the present for what it now presents us with. We could miss the boat, in saturating our minds with what comes next. While it is necessary to dream about tomorrow, for our dreams often do become our reality (so beware of what you dream – it could just come true!) … however, to return to a more serious note … I am sure you will agree that most of us have found that we are really extremely entrepreneurial, resilient and very talented individuals, with many other resources we have been able to tap on, sufficient to keep us fed and housed, while we have had to forget about many luxuries, about that trip abroad or even just down the coast for a weekend, or our weekly dinner at a fine restaurant … I often ponder on something I was once told, that we can’t take with us any of the stuff we accumulate in our lives … we go solo when we go … so yes, let’s enjoy what we can afford to have but let us wake up to the fact that we have become a species that focuses way too much time on ‘having’ and too little time on ‘being’ … Being is guaranteed, having is not.

And now for the good news …

The old cliché claims that ‘when the going gets tough … the tough get going’ …

World Cup 2010 contributed enormous growth and was a major boost for tourism in South Africa. Stats claim that there was a 15.1% growth in tourist arrivals to the country in 2010 who visited South Africa primarily for the World Cup.

The United Nations’ COP 17 Climate Change Conference also contributed much to the economy and also proved what we are capable of.

Tourism Minister Marthinus van Schalkwyk said at the annual congress of the S.A. Association of the Conference Industry last week that South Africa has secured more than 200 international conferences already for the forthcoming five years. He estimated that this will attract approximately 300,000 delegates to the country and an economic boost of more than R1.6 billion for the economy. That’s good news!
In 2011, South Africa received 392,000 business travellers, of which 140,000 were meetings incentive conference and events (MICE) delegates. Van Schalkwyk said his department had set a target of 15 million international arrivals by 2020.
This augurs well, wouldn’t you agree? …
What we in the South African Conference & Tourism industry must maintain is the exceptionally high standard of service and quality of venues we are renowned for world-wide … we cannot afford to drop the ball … it is natural to our citizens to offer top class hospitality and standards – it is part of who we are – and we have the wherewithal for international-standard training. Let us never become arrogant or de-motivated for the hospitality industry largely contributes to our economy. We have so much to offer …. We also have much to gain for the good of all. Let’s pull out all the stops and be better than our best … we can do it. We have proved this. World Cup Soccer was a fine example of this.

Article written by Rosalie Howard. The Venue Pages



Did you know that Hayward’s Grand Safari Events & Expeditions set a record a few years back for the biggest luxury safari expedition ever conducted – a 58-day cross Africa operation to mark the launch of BMW’s all new X5 vehicle.

This huge logistical exercise took place at three World Heritage Sites in South Africa (The Cradle of Humankind Johannesburg, the Cape West Coast National Park Langebaan, and the Kwa Zulu Isimangaliso / St Lucia biosphere) over a 4 week period.

It involved more than 8,500 km’s of travel, 300 tons of equipment in sixteen 8 ton trucks and an ultimate luxury safari tented camp that hosted more than 2000 guests (120 per night for 18 nights).

The 60 bedroomed tented safari camp complete with en-suite facilities per tent, was managed by a strong team of 60 crew, an outstanding chef team, the very best guides each region could offer and a full AV sound and lighting team.

Guests ratings averaged 9.6/10 across 22 points of Customer Satisfaction. Each evening was themed and entertainment was South
Africa’s very own opera stars performing Ama Opera… to incredible applause under an African night sky.

Why am I telling you this now? Well, simply put, that was a few years back – we are now in another league and our expertise and capability have grown in leaps and bounds producing safari camps that are truly exquisite.

Call us for a presentation and a re-look into what Hayward’s can do to spice up your big group safari event experiences. ANYWHERE IN SOUTHERN AFRICA