Lying on South Africa’s south-eastern coast, the Eastern Cape is a region of great natural beauty – particularly the rugged cliffs, rough seas and dense green bush of the stretch known as the Wild Coast.
A spectacular coastline, lapped by the temperate Indian Ocean and with long stretches of unspoilt sandy beaches, rocky coves, secluded lagoons and towering cliffs, is the province’s main tourist attraction.
- Find out more: The Eastern Cape province
SELECTED CONFERENCE & EXPO VENUES
Bushman Sands Hotel & Game Reserve, Alicedale
The Bushman Sands Hotel and Game Reserve is located in the town of Alicedale in the Bushmans River Canyon. Its facilities include a Gary Player-designed golf course, big game viewing, and a spa and wellness centre.
Conferences for between 12 and 90 delegates can be arranged. There is one large meeting room, a breakaway room, and a boardroom. All venues are air-conditioned and standard equipment is supplied. Additional equipment can be arranged too.
Bushman Sands also caters for team building events, with activities including theme dinners, bush braais, African theatre, treasure hunts, and adventure activities.
There is ample accommodation, with the options including junior suites, luxury, and standard rooms.
For relaxation, boat cruises are popular on the 200-hectare New years Dam in the Bushman Sands Reserve. It’s a fantastic way to take in some big game viewing as the animals come down to the water’s edge to quench their thirst.
Cape St Francis Resort
The Cape St. Francis Resort, situated 100 kilometres from Port Elizabeth, lies along three kilometers of beautiful beaches. It offers self-catering, as well as bed and breakfast accommodation, and its conference capabilities include being able to host up to 130 delegates.
Various configurations for conferences are available, including U-shape, classroom, and theatre. There are also breakaway rooms.
Equipment includes TV and video facilities, overhead projectors, flipcharts, a public address system, air-conditioning, secretarial services, fax, telephone, Internet, copying facilities, as well as additional audio-visual equipment that can be supplied on request.
Catering is available and menus can be especially tailored to take into account the special dietary needs of people.
For those delegates in need of some activity to unwind, the Cape St. Francis Resort offers tennis, volleyball, swimming, a games room, surfing, hiking, fishing, and golf.
Fancourt Hotel & Country Club Estate
The exclusive Fancourt Hotel and Country Club Estate, near George, hosted the Presidents Cup golf competition between the US and the Rest of the World in 2003. Ernie Els owns property at the estate. However, Fancourt is about far more than a wonderful golf course alone.
Fancourt has impressive conference facilities, able to host up to 250 people, and offering state-of-the-art equipment, including video conferencing.
Besides the Conference Hall there are three boardrooms, three breakaway rooms, as well as Glentana, one hour’s drive away; a “hidden” timber bungalow, it is perfect for very private conferences.
At all venues the food is excellent, the setting is stunning and an experienced staff and is on hand to help with planning.
Feather Market Conference Centre
Located in the friendly city of Port Elizabeth, the stylish Feather Market Conference Centre lies within 10 kilometres of all major hotels, the airport, train and bus stations.
It is a large venue and the main Auditorium can seat 1 187 people! There are six venues as well as breakaway rooms. Equipment is provided and the premises enjoy a full liquor licence.
Catering is also available, and there are facilities for disabled delegates. In addition, photocopying, secretarial and fax facilities are available, and there is access to car hire facilities.
Kariega Game Reserve, Kenton-on-Sea
The Kariega Game Reserve offers luxurious accommodation in a number of venues: the River Lodge, Ukhozi Lodge, Kariega Lodge, and The Homestead.
It is located 14 kilometres from Kenton-on-Sea and 145 kilometres from Port Elizabeth, in the upper Kariega River Valley.
The game reserve covers 5 000 hectares, with 25 species of game including rhino, giraffe, zebra, wildebeest, gemsbok, and waterbuck. There are 270 species of birds.
The conference facilities include state-of-the-art air-conditioned two conference rooms able to host from 18 to 80 people. There are two breakaway rooms, a courtesy office, and telephone, fax, and photocopying facilities.
For relaxation, swimming, hiking, bird watching, game drives, river cruises, canoeing, mountain biking, and fishing are available. Golf, tennis, squash, and bowls can be arranged at nearby venues.
La Cigale Exclusive Country Estate
Located only 10 minutes outside of Port Elizabeth, La Cigale offers stylish accommodation in self-catering luxury Cape Dutch style cottages that feature double bedrooms, full bathrooms (bath and shower), fully-equipped kitchens, lounge with two sleeper couches and satellite television, and private patios with personal braai and entertainment areas, as well as tea and coffee making amenities, built-in safe, secure parking, and remote control access to the estate.
The conference venue is fully air-conditioned and offers state-of-the-art audio-visual equipment, including big screen television and an equipped and fully-licensed cash bar. It is ideal for conferences, executive meetings, team building, product launches, workshops, corporate and private functions, and seminars.
La Cigale also offers wedding facilties, including a chapel set in an indigenous forest, which makes for a picturesque setting.
There are plenty of ways to relax: the estate features a beautiful swimming pool with an awesome panoramic view of the ocean, while nearby attractions include horse riding, golf, scenic walks and hiking trails, whale-watching cruises, the Bayworld Oceanarium, the Boardwalk Casino and Entertainment World, and a wide choice of nature reserves and adventure sports.
The Manderson Hotel and Conference Centre
Located in Stutterheim in the Eastern Cape, the Manderson Hotel and Conference Centre is a good choice for a “get-away” venue.
The outdoor life offerings includes opportunities for horse rides, forest walks, visits to the Cata Community Museum, fishing, boat cruises, mountain biking, golf, and bird watching among others activities.
There are three conference rooms, able to host up to medium sized groups.
Conferencing equipment provided, includes digital data projectors with surround sound; flipcharts and overhead projectors; telephones and wireless Internet connectivity; administrative support, such as e-mail and Internet, faxing, copying and secretarial services; and additional eletrical outlets.
Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University (NMMU) Conference Centre
If it’s location you’re interested in, the NMMU Conference Centre in Port Elizabeth is ideally situated near the beachfront, with the airport and all major hotels within easy reach.
The centre features three conference rooms, with the auditorium capable of hosting 120 delegates and the foyer able to accommodate exhibitions and cocktail parties for up to 250 people. The restaurant caters for 130 diners, and free parking is plentiful.
Besides the auditorium, two smaller venues are available for 40 and 12 delegates respectively. All venues come with a full range of standard equipment. Various seating configurations are available.
The venues are also wheelchair-friendly.
Besides the Conference Centre, the NMMU has more venues available on campus, capable of hosting large gatherings in excess of 700 people.
Port Hotel, St Francis Bay
The Port Hotel in St Francis Bay is 100 kilometres west of the Eastern Cape’s main city, Port Elizabeth. It borders the ocean, as suggested by the hotel’s name, and looks out onto a picturesque harbour.
Up to 100 delegates can be accommodated in three different configurations, namely U-shape, classroom, and theatre. Besides the usual offerings, which include the standard equipment needed for a conference, the Port Hotel also offers exciting and unusual adventure and team building programmes.
Accommodation features four different types of room, from standard to penthouse.
For relaxation and outdoor entertainment there are a huge number of options available. Among them are swimming, bird-watching, bowling, canoeing, cycling, fishing, golf, sailing, horse-riding, scuba-diving, tennis, water-skiiing, and much more.
Umtali Country Inn, Aliwal North
The Umtali Country Inn, situated on the route between Bloemfontein and East London, is a relaxing venue with its beautiful peaceful country surrounds.
It has 33 luxury rooms, all with en-suite bathrooms, underfloor heading, air-conditioning, tea- and coffee-making facilties, and satellite television.
The Umtali Country Inn is capable of hosting conferences ranging from five delegates to 150 delegates. The seating configurations include a boardroom, a large conference room, and a small conference room.
All venues are air-conditioned, have flexible lighting, fax and telephone points, overhead projectors, white boards, flipcharts, screens, television, video, and secretarial services.
For relaxation, away from conference work, there is a swimming pool, while nearby there are hiking trails, horse riding, cycling paths, and fishing.
Victoria & Alfred Guest House
Built circa 1890, the Victoria and Alfred Guest House and Conference Venue, a four-star venue, is just a five-minute drive from the nearest beaches. Shopping centres, sports grounds, the harbour and golf courses are all within 10 minutes’ drive.
It has 15 suites and three conference venues, able to host from five to 100 people. The Victoria and Alfred Room is able to accommodate 63 people in a double U-shape. It has a dedicated stage, audio equipment, an overhead projector, and is able to host multi-venue interactive video conferencing.
The suites include satellite television, ceiling fans (most with air-conditioning), en-suite bathrooms, and wireless Internet connections. A number of the upstairs suites have covered balconies and look out onto the swimming pool and the gardens.
The Victoria and Alfred Guest House and Conference Venue is also wheelchair-friendly.
Wavecrest is an excellent getaway location, on the Wild Coast, that can be reached by road, via Butterworth, where the newly tarred Centani road leads to the Wavecrest turnoff.
It boasts an intimate conference centre that seats 44 delegates. It is nicely located out of the way of the bustle of the public areas, and is well equipped to deal with audio visual displays.
Conferences, combined with various team building activities, such as rubber duck rides to sea, 4×4 trails, canoe safaris or survival courses, have become very popular at Wavecrest.
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