Every event organiser is keen to find a new conference destination. Delegates can easily become bored with the same old activities in the same locations, with the same décor and the same predictable activities thrown into the mix. Holding conferences in exotic locations has always been popular – but they can be costly – which is why, in part, Namibia is becoming so popular.
What to expect
As a conference hotspot that has popped up on the event planner’s radar, Namibia has so much to offer, beyond its shimmering and sprawling desert landscape. It’s a country with a rich history that encompasses the mysteries of the Skeleton Coast and the stories of charming, picturesque towns, and in more recent times is being touted as the ‘adventure capital of Africa’.
“Namibia as a conference destination may seem out of the ordinary, but it is the home of two luxurious venues: The Swakopmund Hotel & Entertainment Centre and The Windhoek Country Club Resort. The properties started seeing a growth in conferencing over the last couple of years, something that can be attributed to the fact that they provide destinations with few distractions. As a corporate you can bring a team here and create a jam-packed agenda while still ensuring that the team ‘sticks together’.
“Beyond this, the country has become a bit of an adventure spot and offers myriad activities from quad biking, sand boarding and camping in the desert, through to sea-based activities along the coast, golfing, safari’s and more. Also due to the resort nature of many of the properties you can literally work with the team at your hotel to build you a full team-building agenda without ever leaving the property,” says Janet Wilson-Moore, General Manager at The Swakopmund Hotel.
A great experience
Central to creating a great experience over and above a mediocre one are not just the service you provide but the facilities you have to support this. Conferences need conference rooms – that is a given – but according to Wilson-Moore, putting some pens, paper and a bottle of water on a desk does not create a memorable experience.
“Our focus is on helping people create their perfect event, whether that’s a conference, a dinner or even a wedding. We know that it’s paramount to not only provide state-of-the-art facilities, but to provide outstanding food and fun activities. Our teams are trained to help our guests design their ideal event and can offer advice and ideas to make your conference memorable. We often get asked what we are able to offer, but we prefer to ask – what would be the ultimate for you. And then work around that,” says Wilson-Moore.
Taking a closer look at the Legacy Hotels and Resorts properties in Namibia, The Swakopmund Hotel has quite a historic past: it was once a railway station building in the 19th century, giving it a rather unique look and feel all on its own. The hotel honours this heritage with nods to its legacy in some of its décor. It also has the reputation of being the longest running conference venue in Swakopmund, having been in business for 23 years.
The shipwreck-themed casino provides a variety of entertainment from slots, Blackjack, Poker to American Roulette, which can be incorporated into a themed event or conference. Of course, it’s not all business; there is a gym, pool, cinema, hairdresser and spa on the premises to provide much needed rest and relaxation.
For those preferring a more central location, the Windhoek Country Club Resort in the city, provides easy access to the airport and the city. Because it is so centrally located, it is a fitting location for conferences, meetings and events.
With leading edge conference facilities combined with personal service from the helpful staff, the conference planner has a lot to choose from. If it’s team-building you’re after, the conference specialists at the venue are on hand to arrange all kinds of fun and adventurous activities from quad biking to camel rides.
“We have a lot of international guests making use of our properties. We offer a different view of Africa, outside of the Hollywood version, which adds a completely different nuance to our packages. We also serve groups that want to travel through the country as part of their conference by providing accommodations at both. So at Swakopmund Hotel & Entertainment Centre we provide a more coastal itinerary, and at Windhoek a more desert orientated one – while giving our guests something to look forward to.
“Namibia is worth considering as a conference destination. It has a remarkably beautiful landscape and an incredibly peaceful atmosphere. It’s one of those places that has a rare beauty to it and I believe that’s what keeps people coming back,” says Wilson-Moore.