On Site: Arriving in South Africa

When I came to Indaba last year, South Africa was gearing up for the World Cup, and getting ready to have the world’s eyes on its major cities for the better part of a month.

It’s safe to say that South Africa came out of the World Cup looking just fine, but now the vuvuzelas have quieted and only time will tell where the country will go from here. The infrastructure enhancements are still there, the new hotels are still standing, and significant improvements to airlift have been put in place recently—chief among them, South African Airways’ new direct nonstop flights from Johannesburg to New York, without a stop in Dakar, Senegal. 

Speaking of SAA, my flight from New York to Joburg (and from there to Durban) was much the same this year as last year’s (comfy flat beds; very nice food and wine—try the cheese pancakes!) with the major difference being a quick visit to the domestic business class lounge in Johannesburg’s O.R. Tambo International Airport. It’s quiet and calming, and even has a smoking lounge. Important: Tell your clients transferring from a business class flight to Joburg that they can use an arrival lounge in the international terminal, but unless they have a business class ticket for their domestic transfer, they cannot use the domestic lounge. 

Once in Durban, I transferred to the Southern Sun Elengeni Hotel, where I could see how the construction projects I saw underway last year ended up. The first picture below is from last year, and the second is from today. The pit to the left (with a crane nearby) is now a skating rink, and there are several other structures that I don't remember from last year. (The view from the hotel, of course, remains as lovely as ever.)

The trade show starts tomorrow, so I’ll let you know what’s new and what’s happening throughout South Africa. From what I’ve seen so far, things look very nice indeed.