Johannesburg hosted Africa’s biggest-ever conference, the World Summit on Sustainable Development, in 2002 – proof enough that the city has the capacity to hold almost any conference!
Johannesburg’s top four conference and expo venues, described below, are:
Sandton Convention Centre
The impressive Sandton Convention Centre is in the northern suburb of Sandton, close to many excellent hotels that include full business facilities. The centre was chosen as the venue for the World Summit on Sustainable Development in 2002.
The nearby Sandton City and Sandton Square shopping malls are considered the best in Africa, and include banks, travel agencies, shops and restaurants.
The suburb also hosts a range of interesting entertainment, has many great restaurants, and are the headquarters of many of the city’s top businesses.
Although in the middle of a busy business area, parking is not a problem at the Convention Centre – two sizeable parking arcades are home to 10 600 bays. Getting there is also easy – Sandton can be approached from a number of different directions on major arterial roads and the route to the suburb is well signposted.
The Convention Centre itself is used for conventions, exhibitions and special events and it caters for the disabled. The convention level accommodates 3 500 people and the seating configurations are flexible. For large conferences, concerts and sports or special events over 4 000 people can be accommodated in a multipurpose pavilion.
There are two exhibition areas of over 5 500 square metres each, together with 15 meeting rooms.
If you want to get away from the hurly-burly and meet in the country, Gallagher Estate in Midrand is the place. Midway between Johannesburg and Pretoria, it is perfectly situated to host conference delegates from both cities. It can be approached from a number of different routes and major highways and airports are easily accessed.
The estate itself is a wonderfully peaceful place, apart from the work required at a conference, of course! There are 19 multi-functional venues and secure parking for 5 000 vehicles, all overseen by strict security. A wide choice of hotels can be found nearby.
Gallagher Estate is capable of hosting up to 8 000 convention delegates. Among the major venues is the Estate Centre, home to the Auditorium and the Ballroom. The Auditoruim provides raked seating for up to 414 people, while the Auditorium can accommodate 500 people for a dinner-dance or 1 500 people for a seated convention.
There are five large exhibition halls for exhibitions, concerts and trade shows, as well as other smaller areas.
The Coca-Cola Dome
The Coca-Cola Dome at Northgate is an impressive structure and can be seen protruding over Johannesburg’s koppies way before you get near it.
It occupies some 30 000 square metres of space. The spacious main arena is ideal for exhibitions, concerts, large conferences and other special events. It accommodates up to 16 000 people.
A number of smaller areas can host smaller groups. In addition to the smaller rooms, there is also an open-air amphitheatre located alongside the main arena that can host 500 people.
It is easy to access The Coca-Cola Dome from a number of major roads. It is located about 35 minutes’ drive from the OR Tambo International Airport and 15 minutes from Lanseria Airport. There is an excellent choice of accommodation nearby, ranging from hotels to guesthouses and bed and breakfast establishments.
The main arena is large at 10 500 square metres, while the mezzanine level offers 2 500 square metres and accommodates up to 2 400 people. Parking for conferences is no problem with bays for over 9 000 vehicles.
The Dome is a popular venue, so be sure to book way in advance. In the past it has played host to stars and big shows including Diana Ross, Simply Red, Bryan Adams, Westlife, Savage Garden, Live, Lord of the Dance, UB 40 and David Copperfield.
The Expo Centre, Nasrec
Situated south-west of Johannesburg, near to the Gold Reef City Casino, Gold Reef City historical village, and Apartheid Museum, is the Expo Centre at Nasrec. The Expo Centre is easily accessed from all directions. There is ample parking available for up to 25 000 vehicles and security is provided.
The exhibition facilities are massive, offering 42 000 square metres of space. They are accessible from multiple entrances, and electricity and water is provided too. The Expo Centre is self-sufficient, with its own banking and postal facilities, telecommunication and cleaning services.
The facilities can be configured in different ways, meaning that conferences from 15 000 people to just 10 people can be hosted.
Among the venues is the Black Eagle, measuring 833 square metres and easily divided into three sections. It is within easy reach of restaurants and fast food outlets. The Bateleur is slightly larger and easily divides into two. It can seat 1 000 delegates cinema style.
The Main Arena can accommodate an impressive 20 000 people and it includes an excellent sound and lighting system. With so much space available, easily adjusted to suit any needs, the Expo Centre is able to host any conference comfortably.
The Expo Centre hosts a number of huge events annually, including the largest consumer exhibition in the southern hemisphere, the Rand Show. Other big shows include Africa Telecom, Auto Africa, Plastex and Electra Mining.
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