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May 23, 2017

A shoe for every foot when you travel the Trafalgar way

                                                                                                       Photo ©  Joshua Resnick/AdobeStock
Wander the world, without a care in the world – a myriad of travel destinations brought to life in an authentic, fun and effortless way, from cooking a la mode Italiano with Chef Libero in Florence to steaks on an Aussie Barbie under the starry Outback sky.

Scratch under the surface of any destination with one of eight specially defined Trafalgar’s Travel Styles featured by Sure Travel. Which travel style are you?

1. At Leisure  

                                                                                                    Photo © Daxiao Productions/AdobeStock
Enjoy a leisurely encounter with a destination – later starts, longer stays and more “unguided” and less “pre-planned” time so that you can explore on you own terms.

2. Country Explorer

Get to know one country and all its people, stories and culture in-depth. Indulge in a smorgasbord of flavours, sights and sounds by seeing all the highlights of one destination.

3. Discoveries

                                                                                                                      Photo © AdobeStock
Experience a range of countries on one trip, crisscrossing destinations on an epic adventure that moves seamlessly from one highlight to another so that can enjoy the unique characteristics of multiple destinations.

4. Cruise, Rail and Combos

Over land, over water, by coach or by train… Explore the world on the move by the transport most suited to that destination. Imagine crossing Mexico’s Tarahumara over soaring bridges on the World’s Most Exciting Train Journey or island hopping through the exquisite Greek Islands.

5. Regional Explorer

                                                                                                  Photo © travelguru1492/AdobeStock
See two or more countries on one trip, a delicate balance between seeing as much as possible during one guided holiday, but at the same time enjoying the in-depth insight into each destination Trafalgar has carefully selected to showcase.

6. Family Experience

Spend quality time connecting and bonding with your family effortlessly and in safe surrounds, and share life-changing moments and first-hand encounters from which all generations will learn something.

7. Hidden Journeys

Gain a deeper understanding of and enjoy a more intimate encounter with a destination and its people. This is not about ticking a box. Rather, this is a rare opportunity to get under the skin of and experience what is extraordinary about a place.

8. Special Interest

This is all about your passion and interests – from World War battlefields to English country gardens. Enjoy an in-depth exploration of a destination revealing its depths according to your special interests.

Why the Trafalgar way?

Seventy years of refining how travellers love to travel has meant that when you travel the Trafalgar way you will enjoy a life-changing lifestyle experience, unrivalled value, local knowledge and a hassle-free holiday where all the details have been taken care of.

Trafalgar is proud to be the most globally awarded guided travel company, having collected 46 major travel awards over the last five years alone, as well as the Gold Trusted Merchant Award from independent reviews provider Feefo with a guest satisfaction ratio of over 95%.

Don’t believe us; believe Trafalgar’s guests who have consistently voted the guided holiday experts Simply the Best at what they do.

Go here with Sure

Trafalgar is the guided holiday expert. From the highlights of Britain and Ireland to VietnamNew ZealandIceland and everything in-between, Trafalgar will take you there in your own travel style. Book your Travel Style with Sure Travel today. Click here to view more packages, or call your nearest Sure Travel agency today. 

May 12, 2017

Eat your way through Israel: 5 mouthwatering hotspots that will have you coming back for seconds

Friends, family and a healthy feast. You'll find it all in Israel                                                                   Photo © Shutterstock

Israel is a food-lover’s paradise – relaxed, vibey restaurants serve up a sumptuous mix of Mediterranean, Middle Eastern and North African dishes that are as heavy on flavour as they are on healthy ingredients. The nation has the world’s highest concentration of vegans and plant-based restaurant menus. So go ahead, eat your way through Israel’s culinary cities (almost) guilt-free.


Head to Tel Aviv's Jaffa Market for a bounty of olives and other fresh foods                           Photo ©AdobeStock/Ned Soltz

Make sure to hit up the street eats in this fun, youthful coastal city – especially at night. To experience the best of Israel’s modern culture, fish dishes and grilled meats, head to Jaffa flea market after dark. A stone’s throw from Jaffa’s touristy Old City, the second-hand antiques market with craft stalls and outdoor restaurants has become a hub of Telavivian nightlife and a favourite among locals.


Veer a bit off the beaten track to find the vineyards at the foot of the Carmel Mountain                Photo ©AdobeStock/Noam
It’s home to Israel’s rich and famous, loved for its beaches, historic amphitheatre and impressive Roman aqueduct. Built up by Herod the Great more than 2 000 years ago and dedicated to Caesar Augustus, the area was governed by Pontius Pilate of Biblical fame. But for foodies, the region’s drawcard is hidden 15 minutes north: the vineyards nestled in the Carmel Mountain Range. The town of Zichron Ya’acov is home to some of Israel’s most famous grapes and offer wine tasting tours for thirsty travellers. Venturing off the beaten path has never been so rewarding.


Like to halvah something sweet? Take your pick in Nazareth                                              Photo ©Szymanskim/AdobeStock

Once a small town made famous as the childhood home of Jesus, Nazareth is a modern culinary hub for Arab cuisine and up-and-coming chefs. You won’t want to miss Hama’ayan Square, dotted with notable restaurants such as Sudfeh, Mejana and Tishreen. Be sure to try the halvah, tahini and baba ganoush!


Breaking bread in Galilee                                                                                                                   Photo © Goats in the Wild
A Holy Land hotspot, Galilee holds significant religious clout among Christian pilgrims – it’s the region where Jesus is reported to have walked on water and delivered his well-known Sermon on the Mount. When it comes to local food, Galilee’s olives, cheeses and wines will have you walking on air. At few places is that more apparent than locally-owned Goats in the Wind near Moshav Yodfat, an organic goat cheese farm and restaurant that’s run by eco-tourist volunteers from around the world. You’ll dine picnic-style and cross-legged on Turkish rugs and cushions, surrounded by a green canopy of carob trees.


Hummus, Israel's unofficial national dip                                                                     Photo ©AdobeStock/Annapustynnikova

If you didn’t get a chance to sample the infamous hummus of Tel Aviv (or just can’t get enough), drop by the original Pinati restaurant in Jerusalem on the corner of King George and HaHistadrut streets. Dubbed “the most authentic of Israeli foodie experiences”, this flagship eatery has additional locations scattered throughout the capital. Pinati will give you a true taste of Israel – and it’s often standing room only. On any given day, you’ll find it jam-packed with locals from all walks of life, seduced by its signature chickpea dipping spread.

Go here with Sure: Sure Travel’s trusted partner Inspirations Travels and Tours can help you experience the best of the Holy Land with their Bibleland Tour , Essence of Israel Tour or Highlights of Israel Tour. Let them show you the sites, so you can focus on what’s next up on the culinary itinerary.

May 10, 2017

Disney reveals plans for world's biggest Star Wars-themed hotel

All bets are that hotel guests will have an immersive Star Wars experience

Jedi fans, hold onto your lightsabers: by 2019 there will be a gigantic Star Wars hotel that will most likely resemble the Millennium Falcon spaceship.

The hotel is part of the new 14-acre Star Wars Land theme park Disney has planned for Disney World Orlando. Disney is tightlipped on the details, but the social media rumour mill claims a two-day stay will include an immersive and interactive Star Wars story experience that includes guests being assigned secret missions.

The hotel itself will have a giant pool area and water park, while rooms will have a view of the galaxy. You’re looking at between R12 000 and R13 500 per person for a two-night stay, including admission to the park and all meals. As Yoda might say; not cheap a stay in the galaxy will be.

Care about your travel footprint? These are the most environmentally sustainable countries to visit in 2017

Iceland's pristine natural attractions make it a top eco-destination                             Photo: Getty Images/StockPhoto

With some estimates putting the number of people who will travel the globe this year at 1.2 billion and the United Nations designating 2017 the International Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development, there’s never been a better time to choose your destination wisely.

Supporting developing countries with your tourism dollar may help these destinations grow environmentally sustainable initiatives. But if you’d like to only visit destinations that already excel in environmental sustainability, the World Economic Forum’s 2017 Travel & Tourism Competitiveness Report can help.

The report looked at which countries were doing a superb job at promoting environmental sustainability and developed a list based on nine indicators. The report also highlights the direct and positive link between the pristine condition of a country’s natural resources and its tourism revenue. In other words, these countries know that keeping their natural attractions pure and clean isn’t just good for the environment; it’s good for tourism income too.

Unsurprisingly, wealthy European countries dominated the top 15 list, with Iceland, Switzerland and Austria right up there.

Here’s the full list, compiled by Travel and Leisure.

May 7, 2017

Where in the world am i?

                                                                                                                       Photo © Shutterstock/GTS Productions           

I straddle the Mississippi River.  I’m called the “birthplace of jazz”.  A world famous jazz artist nicknamed Satchmo called me home.

Where in the world....?


Many cultures have melded over generations to create the “most unique city” in the United States, and it’s partly thanks to Napoléon Bonaparte.

The city started out as La Nouvelle-Orléans, founded in 1718 as a colonial outpost by the French Mississippi Company. It was named after the Duke of Orléans, who was posted to the New World as Regent of the Kingdom of France on the order of his uncle, King Louis XV.

   Spicy homemade Cajun Jambalaya, a New Orleans speciality                                 Photo ©Brent Hofacker /AdobeStock               

For the next 85 years French settlers continued to arrive and turned the city into a Francophile stronghold. It’s ironic, then, that it was the French conqueror Napoléon who finally broke his countrymen’s grip when he sold the entire state of Louisiana to the United States in the Louisiana Purchase of 1803. The sale opened New Orleans’ doors to a flood of new immigrants: Anglo-Americans, French Creoles, Haitians, Cubans, Africans (many of them freed slaves) and, later, Germans and Irish.

The Français flavour eventually fused with these other nationalities to form the unique lingo, culture and cuisine for which New Orleans is world famous today. Nevertheless, the city’s founding influence remains distinct and the French Quarter is one of its top tourist attractions.

Twilight in the iconic French Quarter                                                                 Photo © PaulDidsayabutra/AdobeStock           

A bigger attraction, though, is New Orleans’ special blend of music, which led to the birth of jazz. It’s also the birthplace of several jazz greats, most famously Louis Armstrong (nicknamed Satchmo or Pops). The city keeps true to its musical roots with incredible festivals like the annual Mardi Gras and the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival.

As New Orleanians at Mardi Gras say, “Laissez les bons temps rouler!” (“Let the good times roll!”).

Mardi Gras = party time                                                                                                                      Photo ©Shutterstock           

Go here with Sure:  British Airways now flies to New Orleans four times weekly via London, and New Orleans is a highlight of the 12-day USA Munch Tour with Contiki (31 July 2017 - 11 August 2017). Ask your Sure Travel consultant for details, call 0861 47 48 49 or click here for more.

April 24, 2017

6 jaw-dropping sights that will make Morocco top of your bucket list

A mass influx of those looking to “tune in and drop out” (including Jimi Hendrix and The Rolling Stones) put Morocco at the top of the bucket list of every self-respecting hippy in the ’60 and ‘70s. 

Today the North African country wedged between the Atlantic Ocean and Mediterranean Sea is still a magnet for bohemian backpackers, but the market’s opened up to attract chic tourists in search of the spice of exotic Arabica with a dash of familiar European flavour. 

You’ll find a dizzying amount of both here, from souks in medieval walled towns to world-class music festivals in the middle of the desert...

                                                       Djemaa el-Fna, Marrakech. © Christophe/AdobeStock
This bustling plaza in the heart of Morocco’s economic centre was the site of public executions around AD 1050, giving it the name Djemaa el-Fna, which means “assembly of the dead”. This is now ironic, because Djemaa el-Fna comes alive with a carnival of colour and performance each night, with acrobats, musical performers, snake charmers, comedy acts, henna tattoo artists and soothsayers on every corner. Unesco declared it a “Masterpiece of World Heritage” in 2001 for its role in bringing oral history to life, and the legacy lives on today as storytellers beguile visitors with urban legends and other tales.


Bab al-Mansour gate, Meknes. Photo © ITT
Meknes was the capital of Morocco until a few hundred years ago, which explains why this former imperial city is surrounded by 40 kilometres of defensive walls and a series of monumental gateways – the most impressive of which is Bab al-Mansour. This giant gate at the entrance to the old city is flanked by marble columns from the nearby Roman ruins of Volubilis and is decorated with the colourful, detailed mosaic tiles with which Meknes is adorned on practically every corner. Legend has it that the ruling sultan asked the Bab al-Mansour gate’s architect if he could have done a better job. The architect stupidly replied “yes”, and was promptly executed. Could he have done it better? Go there to decide for yourself.

Carpet souk in Fes el-Bali Walled Medina, Fez. Photo © I.Ivan

Welcome to the world’s oldest and most intact medieval city. With around 9 400 streets and alleyways, this is the largest car-free area on planet Earth. Souks, a leather tannery, cafés and restaurants crowd in on one another amid medieval Marinid architecture. Expect to be entranced by a timeless swirl of smells, colours and voices.

Taorirt Kasbah, Ouarzazate. Photo ©Kasto/AdobeStock
Ouarzazate is nicknamed “the door to the desert”. It is through this Sahara sand-strewn door that you will discover one of Morocco’s most spectacular historical legacies of wealth and power: the Taourirt Kasbah – a high-walled 19th century citadel with the Atlas Mountains as a backdrop. Morocco has several similar fortifications, but this one is truly impressive: it has almost 300 rooms and a maze of passageways, steps and doors to explore. You could easily get lost for hours if you don’t have an excellent guide.

Gnaoua musicians, Essaouira. © AdobeStock

Every May or June the enormous town square of Essaouira swells and sways to the beats of the Gnaoua World Music Festival. The event features incredible local musicians and also pulls top international reggae and jazz acts such as Salif Keita. Incredible artists. Epic setting. Need we say more?


Todra Gorge, Ouarzazate Province. Photo © ITT
Head northeast from the city of Ouarzazate, travel through a few Berber villages and you’ll come upon Todra Gorge, formed by a 300-metre-deep fault that splits towering walls of orange limestone rock into a steep ravine through which a river runs. At some points the gorge is only wide enough for hikers to walk single file, but if you don’t do the full trek, even seeing the gorge from afar is worth it. As Lonely Planet describes it: “The approach is thrilling, as though the doors of heaven were about to close before you. You need to see it yourself. 

GO HERE WITH SURE: Sure Travel’s trusted partner, Inspirations Travels and Tours, can take you into the heart of this exotic country with their Discover Morocco,  Highlights of Morocco and Mountain and Desert Experience tours. Make like Jagger and Jimi and tick Morocco off your bucket list this year.