The Northern and Central Drakensberg area has some of the most beautiful scenery that can be imagined. The area falls into four valleys, beginning with the Champagne Valley in the Central Berg, through the Cathedral Peak and Didima Valley, then the Royal Natal National Park and Amphitheatre Valley, and finally the Middledale Pass Valley in the Northern Berg. Each of the four valleys has its own kind of beauty and character; all have magnificent mountain views.

Midway between Johannesburg and Durban on an idyllic piece of land, encircled by awe-inspiring mountains you will find Amphitheatre Backpackers. The lodge takes its name from “The Amphitheatre,” the most famous geographic feature of the Northern Drakensberg, South Africa. The Amphitheatre is widely regarded as one of the most impressive cliff faces on earth. The lodge looks directly onto its facade and on a clear day, after the rains, the Tugela Falls can be seen as it plunges 1km down the ancient rock face.

The Drakensberg is the premier hiking destination in South Africa and the Northern Drakensberg is regarded by many as the most dramatic section of all, with access to the highest country in the world, “Lesotho,” the biggest indigenous forest in the berg, the largest consolidation of rock art in the world and the 2nd highest waterfall on the planet. The Amphitheatre separates South Africa from Lesotho and it is here that the world famous Tugela Falls has its source, rising at Mont Aux Sources.

Conference fees

First delegate: R2500, with early bird discounted price R2200
Second delegate: R1900, with early bird special price R1700
Third delegate: R1500, with early bird special price R1300
Fourth delegate: R1000 with early bird special price R850

Aims of the conference

  • Showcase the Unrivalled Diversity and beauty of KZN
  • Have FUN!!
  • Network members with each other.
  • Form long lasting relationships, both professionally and socially.
  • Get maximum participation from all our members from all over South Africa.
  • Have informative and industry-related activites, topics and speakers.
  • Have open forum discussions about pertinent issues.
  • Experience KZN, its unrivalled diversity and encourage delegates to further their stay in the province by doing pre and post activities/tours

Getting to and from the conference
Either car pool with other delegates (fun) or self-drive to the conference. Combine the conference with a road trip and experience South Africa along the way. Try to fit in some pits stops along the way – Tracey an Michelle can suggest a few.

FREE return transport from Cape Town, Durban and Johannesburg

Baz Bus from Durban

  • Departs Durban on Tuesday, 6 September between 7:30am and 8:30am, and arrives at Amphitheatre at ±1:00pm
  • Departs Amphitheatre on Friday, 9 September between 1:15pm and 1:45pm, and arrives in Durban at ±5:30pm

Accommodation at the conference

  • Email Ilsa at Amphitheatre Backpackers to make an accommodation booking: ilsa@smokingdragon.co.za.
  • You will either be accommodated on-site or someplace close to the venue. There will be shuttles running between other accommodation establishments and the venue.
  • Prices start from R165 per person per night for a dorm bed.
  • Please state in your email what type of accommodation you want and if you are prepared to be in a shared room with one or two other people.

Conference activities
Here are just some of the activities that will happen on the registration day (6 September). We will add to this list in the weeks to come.

  • Emazizini village walk, sangoma, shebeen, kraal & rural home visit Round of golf – R140 p/p (Contact Patrick from Thekweni)
  • Self guided walk through the area
  • King swing, zip line and trapeze with All Out Adventures
  • Mountain biking

Conference speakers
Wilna Botha – Africa !Ignite
Africa!Ignite provides extensive enterprise-development support to hundreds of youths and adults, particularly women, across KwaZulu-Natal’s rural areas. Africa!Ignite has paid more than R16 million to rural entrepreneurs since 2008, and in the past two years paid R2 million to rural women crafters. Its leadership in rural developed can be attributed to its access to 120 development nodes across the province and the team’s extensive and decade-long experience working in rural areas. Read more…

Tracy Ruggier – It’s Not Made in China
For years, It’s Not Made in China have been concerned about the trend and influx of Chinese products pouring into the country, and has felt that the majority of consumers – and tourism businesses – need to be educated about shopping locally. It’s one thing for businesses to say that they only shop, but it’s also important that this ethos becomes part of a business’s identity. Tracey will speak about why and how this can make a difference.

Other special guests and speakers
These will be announced soon. The conference will be full of interesting and informative discussions and presentations. We are aiming to bring the best tourism and related industries orators, to share their motivation, insights and passion with you. Be prepared for some mind blowing informative stuff…

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