24 hrs in Dbn with the BMW 740i and Beverly Hills Hotel

You may be aware that I do some social media work for the Gauteng Tourism Authority (GTA), including writing blog posts for them here and managing their Twitter account from time to time – @visitgauteng. It’s fun when I do get to do these things- being a voice for a “product” I’m quite passionate about is great.

This past weekend, the Indaba at the ICC in Durban took place. It’s the biggest trade show in Africa, bringing together thousands of international travel buyers and key local tourism players. I flew down on Saturday morning to cover the event for GTA, spent the day at the Indaba and then stayed at the Beverly Hills before flying back to Jozi on Sunday afternoon, in time for Bieber! All in all a hectic but fabulous weekend.

BMW kindly gave me a 740i on loan for the weekend. If you thought the 320i I drove a while back was great, you should see this. Apart from being devastatingly sexy, it has so many cool features. It’s virtually impossible to have an accident in this car.

– The navigation screen tells you how many lanes there are on the highway, indicates which lane you’re in, and points an arrow to the lane you need to be on.
– There’s a sensor warning you when your following distance behind the car in front of you is too short.
– There is a hologram on the windscreen in front of the driver, indicating your speed as well as the speed limit in the zone you are in

And other cool features include:
– A dvd system for the 2 backseat passengers
– A button on the boot which closes the boot and locks the car when pressed
– A triptronic gearbox
– And probably a million other tech car gadgets I don’t even know about

Can you see the hologram? Cool, right?

Onto the Indaba- it was brilliant. Everyone who is anyone in tourism was there- including Seychelles/ Mauritius tourism and a host of other African countries. Gauteng Tourism had the coolest stand, and I learnt so much I didn’t know about our country. SA Tourism also invited 15 international travel bloggers to experience different sides of SA. The response was phenomenal, they reached an audience of 55 million people! I got to meet some of them as well, and it was really inspiring to hear how they turned their blogs into a fulltime career. I went to the opening ceremony, where Malaika performed- all the ministers were there, and I got to go right to the front and take pics- pretty cool.

This was just SOME of the paparazzi close to the stage

As part of the opening ceremony, some National Geographic videos were aired, showing Australian and Brazilian tourists visiting the country. I was struck at the things they said, so many of which I take for granted. Our weather, the affordable cost of living, the shopping, food, outdoor activities. We really are lucky to live in a country with so much to offer. The only thing dampening things is the crime, but I guess being cautious is now a way of life for so many of us.

I was reminded why I am always thrilled to be home after every overseas holiday I go on. Our way of life and freedom is envied by others, who have to use public transport, commute for hours to get to work and freeze their a$$es off. Also, abroad, things like theatre and dining out is reserved for only the very rich, while here these things are far more affordable. All in all, SA is evolving, growing and is still only at the brink of its potential.

I was quite exhausted at the end of that day (I had woken up at 04:50am that morning to make my flight), so when we arrived at our hotel, the Beverly Hills, I just wanted to order room service and crash. I’ve never stayed at the Beverly Hills before, but have always wanted to. The rooms are pretty stock standard Tsogo Sun rooms- nothing out of this world, but the lobby area is quite opulent and the key drawcard is the beach- right on its doorstep. I did appreciate the fact that there was an extensive dvd menu in the room, with all the dvds available for hire at no charge.

Rishav woke up early and captured this sunrise, what a stunner!

This was the view from our room- at the top right of the pic you can see the walkway from the hotel straight onto the beach

Thanks for a fabulous 24 hours, Durban!

Till the next time…

xx H