The weird and wonderful year-end event

2013-11-17 10:00

As the year draws to a close, South Africans will cast off their corporate shackles in weird and wonderful ways.

Across the country, unorthodox corporate shindig options include gourmet braais, mobile home soirées, township gumboot jaunts, cocktail parties as fish glide by, elephant rides or an appearance by foul-mouthed cross-dressing diva Mary Scary.

Mary Scary, resident performer at Beef Cakes on the pink strip in Green Point, Cape Town, describes herself as a “Drag Rock Superstar” and promises a steamy show laced with unscripted jokes.

Her alter ego, Rhys Woods, says they have “loads” of year-end shows booked, including one for events company World Sport, orchestrators of VIP hospitality at the annual Durban July and J&B Met horse races.

Scary’s rates depend on clients’ budgets.

The Two Oceans Aquarium at the V&A Waterfront in Cape Town is available to rent for fish-themed bashes with up to 500 guests.

Prices are between R290 and R360 a head.

Functions coordinator Laurette van Rensburg says the parties do not disturb the sea creatures.

“We have a decibel reader and keep noise below a certain point. Also, the tanks are made of very thick glass. We don’t allow flashing lights and smoke machines.”

At the city’s Grand Daddy Hotel, office workers can shrug off their suits and shoes in authentic Airstream trailers parked on the hotel’s roof, which overlooks the city’s bustling Long Street.

The polished aluminium trailers were imported from the US and were hoisted on to the hotel roof.

For R18?000, companies get exclusive use of the hotel’s rooftop bar, which can serve up to 80 guests, use of the vintage trailers, complete with tiny bathrooms (with themes ranging from The Ballad of John & Yoko to Afro-Funk), and breakfast the next morning.

Also in Cape Town, experience fine braaiing on a suspended pool deck at the African Pride Crystal Towers Hotel & Spa, for between 30 and 100 people at R245 a head.

In Johannesburg, year-end corporate revellers can get their kicks doing an “Amazing Race” township challenge in Soweto at R900 a head.

Says Ken Creighton, director of events company soweto.co.za: “Teams basically follow clues around Soweto.

For example, they’ll swing by the Kliptown Youth Project for some gumboot dancing. We tailor the packages. Some companies want casual shebeen-type experiences; others want something more serious and formal.”

For those inclined to take it easy, the company offers a coach-tour option with stops scheduled at a shebeen, Sakhumzi Restaurant and a rooftop sundowner bar.

“We pick people up at their offices in coaches and do a township tour with a stop at a shebeen.

Then there is a three-course buffet at Sakhumzi Restaurant opposite Mandela’s house, followed by sundowners on the roof of The Rock with views of Soweto,” says Creighton.

Their tours can take up to 150 people, with prices of up to R530 a head.

Other office escapees may prefer to visit the Elephant Sanctuary at Hartbeespoort Dam, which offers an “elephant interaction experience” (walking trunk-in-hand with the animals) at R425 a head.

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