Take a five-minute holiday to South Africa

16 April 2015

An action-packed, five-minute holiday to South Africa from your bar stool in London or Manchester – that’s what’s on offer this month in the United Kingdom.

South African Tourism is using Oculus Rift technology and targeting bars in the two cities, where consumers can put on a virtual reality headset and experience South African in high definition and binaural sound, creating an immersive experience.

Through 360-degree head tracking, Oculus Rift allows viewers to explore the virtual world just as they would in real life.

The five-minute holiday takes the viewer to Table Mountain, where they experience what it’s like to abseil down a sheer cliff, with full-circle views of the sea behind and the city in the distance. Other adventurous scenes include kite-surfing, paragliding and feeding elephants, before relaxing in a bar in Johannesburg’s Neighbourgoods Market.

All scenes were filmed on location, where the Oculus Rift technology was adapted accordingly. A shark cage-diving scene in Cape Town required the footage to be shot underwater, using a specially made 3D-printed underwater camera rig.

The first bar takeover will take place on Friday, 24 April at Corbet Place, Brick Lane, London. The next venue is NoHo, in Manchester’s Northern Quarter, on Thursday 30 April. Other dates will be announced on South African Tourism’s Twitter and Facebook accounts.

Oculus is technology company that, it says, “is revolutionising the way people experience video games”. The Rift uses custom tracking technology allowing users to wear goggles and headphones and look around the virtual world just they would in real life. Every subtle movement of your head is tracked in real time, creating a natural and intuitive experience, Oculus says.

Selected bars hosting the virtual reality pods are encouraged to add to the experience with DJs, South African street food and wine-tasting sessions from the Cape Wine Academy. Visuals of South African landscapes and wildlife are also projected throughout the event space.

Juan Herrada, South African Tourism’s UK manager of marketing and communications, said: “We want to surprise the UK travelling public and Oculus Rift is the ideal partner for us to reach a young, tech-savvy market. This is the first time Oculus Rift and binaural sound have been combined to create a unique, immersive holiday experience for the UK public.”

Brand Warrior promotional staff are also on hand at the takeovers to answer questions and encourage consumers to enter a competition to win a pair of flights to South Africa. South African Tourism is working with agencies UM London, Visualise, Somethin Else and Tribe on the campaign.

SAinfo reporter