Sandton is where Johannesburg's money goes, a beautiful suburb of manicured lawns behind high, white walls and in front of gleaming housing. Technically part of Johannesburg, this suburb is South Africa's and Africa's most important financial and business center, with and increasingly the country's largest corporations – as well as the nation's stock exchange – moving here. Sandton event venues include some of the best hotels in South Africa. There are also huge shopping centers, such as the Nelson Mandela Square and Sandton City, which contains 1.4 million square feet of things to buy. Often, Sandton is referred to as Africa's richest destination by square mile.
OR Tambo International Airport, just outside of Johannesburg, is approximately 20 miles southeast of Sandton. Flights there come from all over the world, including from Atlanta, New York and Washington, DC-Dulles.
Chief among convention venues, Sandton Convention Center has 220,000 square feet of function space on four levels, catering to up to 10,000 persons and including The Pavilion, was can host up to 4,500 on its own.
Hotel venues in Sandton include the 334-room Sandton Sun, which adjoins the Sandton Convention Center and has 15 of its own function rooms, the largest able to host up to 1,200 persons; its sibling, the 231-room InterContinental Johannesburg Sandton Towers, which has one small meeting room and also is linked directly with the convention center; the new, 261-room Radisson Blu Gautrain, which has six meeting rooms, the largest spanning 2,400 square feet; the more up-market, 302-room room Radisson Blue Sandton Johannesburg, which has eight meeting rooms; and the 194-suite Michelangelo Towers, which has a meeting room and several meeting suites, the largest, the Cupola, covering 6,000 square feet.
Unique places to cover in Sandton and the adjacent countryside include the historic Liliesleaf Farm, in the adjacent suburb of Rivonia, where a raid by South African police in 1963 led to the arrest of Nelson Mandela; the farm today is a cultural and historic center that has a lawn for events and a 80-seat auditorium. Other choices include some fantastic choices in the Magaliesberg Mountains a few miles to the northwest of Sandton, including the Maropeng Visitor Center in the Cradle of Humankind World Heritage Site. This has a sod-covered “tumulus” main building containing a conference center for 500 persons and a wealth of information about human's earliest roots, and two hot-air balloon excursions to see this and the dramatic South African countryside – and perhaps some animals – with either AirVentures or Bill Harrop's Balloon Tours. Lastly, the equally genteel Bryanston Country Club has an 18-hole golf course, squash and tennis courts, a pool, a walking trail and eight different rooms and areas for functions.
Wonderful restaurants enjoyed by the Sandton elite and able to host groups include Browns of Rivonia, which has private rooms for up to 200 persons and a wine cellar for 50; Mediterranean-cuisine Beach Blanket Bohemia, in the Sunninghill Village Center; up-market Signature, which has 185 seats and also is in a shopping mall, Morningside; Le Petit Sel, overseen by Burundian star-chef Coco Reinarhz and featuring an African fusion menu, and Pigalle Sandton in the aforementioned Michelangelo Towers hotel.