About 152 “agents” gathered at the SAB World of Beer for an ice-cold beer on Sunday, 19 March after exploring Johannesburg in an event that was a first for the city, the country and the continent.
Ingress is a game similar to a treasure hunt, but you use an app and your phone’s GPS to find points of interest and learn more about them.
“It is like Pokémon Go for adults,” explains Desmond Hopkins, Ingress point of contact for South Africa and an avid Ingress agent codenamed “xfactorSA”.
Each of Joburg’s missions was centred around an important landmark (“portal” in Ingress speak), which the Ingress app led agents to. Ingress agents then “interacted” with each landmark, for example, by answering questions about the landmark in order to complete a mission.
The Ingress agents met at Nelson Mandela Square in Sandton at 10am, where the first mission involved taking a picture with Madiba. The missions then took them to the Johannesburg Zoo, Constitution Hill, the Nelson Mandela Bridge, Vilakazi Street and many other places of interest, whereafter they met at the World of Beer to share their experiences. Each team had to complete a minimum of six missions for its members to receive a Mission Day badge.
Hopkins believes that Joburg was the perfect choice for the continent’s first Ingress Mission Day. “Joburg has so much to offer and the Mission Day made us appreciate all the little gems of the city; it's not just a high-rise city.”
“Coming all the way from Durban to walk 21 700 steps in Johannesburg, was absolutely worth it,” Agent MadMonkey said.
“I love learning about the history of Joburg. It’s crazy how I have lived here all my life but I don’t really know about my surroundings. My favourite mission was the Sunnyside Park Hotel. Mom, I think we should move there hey,” said Cameron Ross.
“As one of Joburg’s top tourist attractions, it was an honour for the SAB World of Beer to be part of Africa’s first Ingress Mission Day. Our city has so much to offer in terms of history, tourist attractions and places of interest, and we hope this was the first of many such events,” says World of Beer general manager Tony Rubin.