December 14, 2012

Sure Travel’s memorable travel experiences of 2012

We have had an amazing year of travel here at Sure Travel Head Office – between us we have cruised the high seas, travelled through Eastern Europe, visited far-away remote islands and walked the streets of a deserted New York City after Hurricane Sandy. Here are just some of our most memorable travel experiences of 2012…


December 12, 2012

Christmas traditions from around the world


While here in South Africa, we generally associate Christmas with long summer days, lots of feasting on Christmas Day & presents under the tree, there are all sorts of weird and wonderful Christmas traditions from around the world.  Have a look at some of them… are there any you would like to incorporate in your annual Christmas tradition?

December 5, 2012

Holiday Gift Guide for Travellers

While the holiday and Christmas season is meant to be all fun and relaxation, the process of getting to the shops and buying gifts for the whole family can be anything but. So we’ve decided to give you some gift inspiration and have put together the “Sure Travel Holiday Gift Guide” - 10 of our favourite travel-friendly presents we would love to see under the tree this season…

December 4, 2012

Traveller Tales: A Touch of Berlin

“A city flourishing, destroyed, rebuilt, divided and reunited. Berlin is a city with many tales,” said our traveller abroad, Tarryn, after she visited Berlin for a few days in October while on the Berlin to Budapest Contiki tour.

November 30, 2012

Sure Travel Goes Mobile!


Sure Travel is proud to announce the launch of the free Sure Travel mobile app, available for iPhone and Android handsets. You can view our latest specials and packages, current travel news and find your nearest Sure Travel agency, by downloading the Sure Travel app from the app store on your smartphone. And best of all, it’s completely free!

November 28, 2012

Quick Thailand Travel Guide: Where to go

Thailand is a truly magical holiday destination. With its exotic culture, delicious Thai food, stunning scenery and fantastic shopping, Thailand remains one of the most popular and affordable overseas holiday destinations for South Africans. Whether you are jetting there this holiday season, or simply dreaming of visiting, this is a quick overview of what you can expect from Thailand’s most popular holiday spots.

November 23, 2012

Protea Hotels’s Fire & Ice legendary milkshakes



It’s not every day that you find something cool that lives up to its legendary reputation. But at Protea’s Fire & Ice! Hotels you will find that those hip reputations are well deserved. And their award-winning milkshakes… well, let’s just say that they sweeten a very cool deal even more!

November 22, 2012

Tales from a Traveller: Plitvice Lakes, Croatia


Continuing with our Croatia theme, our traveller abroad Mia was lucky enough to visit the breath-taking Plitvice Lakes National Park in Croatia… Her photos speak a million words about this gorgeous UNESCO World Heritage site. 

November 21, 2012

Sailing Croatia in Summer




While we are enjoying the beginning of summer in gorgeous South Africa, we can't help wishing that it would just go on forever. And one easy way to make summer last forever? When it starts getting chilly, head up north to enjoy Croatia in summer!

November 13, 2012

Travel Inspiration in Photos: Spain

With a range of diverse attractions, as different as they are intoxicating, Spain is a sparkling jewel that shines brighter and brighter each time you visit. From soaring mountains to wild cliff tops, turquoise ocean to bustling cities, mosaics and modern art to ancient ruins, spicy paella to sweet sangria, Spain is beckoning...

November 2, 2012

Take a holiday in Spain


Often "short holidays" form around a business or conference trip. There are maybe a few days either side, if one is lucky, to take in the highlights of a "conference" destination.
Well in this case, we had literally ½ a day either side, to take in the beautiful city of Barcelona. It was just not enough time to see the splendour of the entire city. Unlike most big cities, Barcelona has a wonderful clean, calm and beautiful atmosphere. There is literally so much to see, and just not enough time.

So what can one see in just a day in Barcelona? Pedro tells us what he managed to experience and see in such a short time...

October 31, 2012

Fun, Quirky, Interesting Travel Trivia.....

                       
Just for FUN!
  • Las Vegas has the most hotel rooms in the world

 

October 29, 2012

5 Packing tips for your holiday

Is packing light a foreign concept to you? Or are you a super organised traveller who jets around the world with only carry-on luggage? Whichever type you are, here are 5 quick and easy packing tips to save space in that suitcase. Got any clever packing tips? Share them with us.

October 22, 2012

Follow the Sun – perfect beach getaways

There is just something about a typical beach or island that makes for a perfect holiday. Soft white sand, swaying palm trees and warm turquoise waters spell out luxury, relaxation and tranquillity in any language. A while ago, we featured some idyllic beach and island getaways (read that blog post here) only 4 hours flying time from Johannesburg. This time we headed a bit further away on the globe to find those perfect beach getaways…

October 12, 2012

Top 10 Baths with a View in South Africa

There is just something about a resort or hotel bathroom with a huge, comfortable bathtub and breathtaking view that spells out luxury. We went and found 10 luxury baths in South Africa, with views to die for, that we can just imagine ourselves blissfully soaking away the hours in…

October 9, 2012

Weekend Getaway: Montagu, a local gem

After one very hectic week, I decided I needed a break. I closed my eyes and my finger landed on Montagu on the map.  I had not been there in years so it sounded like an excellent idea. But where? I didn’t want to be surrounded by 100 people jumping into the hot pools… when I found this place, Montagu Guano Cave Resort.

October 2, 2012

Rest & Relaxation Weekend Getaway, Local Style


In search of that desperately needed R&R break from the hectic, stressful, fast paced lifestyles we lead, without having the time and budget for an international trip? Then why not take a local trip? Somewhere far enough away to feel like a holiday, but not too far to drive, reasonable time and cost wise and somewhere to preferably get away from it all - completely off the GRID. No 3G, no cellphone reception, no electricity, but still comfortable.

September 28, 2012

Super pod of dolphins off the coast of South Africa

We just had to share this! Photographer Chase Jarvis and explorer Mike Horn encountered a rare "super-pod" of thousands of dolphins about an hour’s sail south of Cape Town in August 2012, took their cameras out and filmed it.

Dolphins are known to form temporary groups or "pods", typically consisting of 2-15 animals, while hunting or defending themselves and their pod. In areas of high food availability (and enough space), such "normal" pods can temporarily join together to form a so-called "super-pod", with a size exceeding 1,000 dolphins.

Have you ever seen so many beautiful creatures? Amazing!

September 20, 2012

How to make the perfect Italian Margherita pizza

What’s for dinner? How about a delicious classic Margherita pizza?After reading about Mia’s travels in Naples, the birthplace of Margherita pizza (Read the post here), we found the perfect Margherita pizza recipe to share with you.

September 17, 2012

Tales from a Traveller: Naples - The land of Margherita pizza

My first stop on a week long journey through the land of Fiat and fettuccine was Naples, a chaotic yet spectacular city which sprawls noisily around the Bay of Naples on the Mediterranean coast. Once dominating the Mezzogiorno (the land of the midday sun) as southern Italy is so fondly known, Naples’ history is of a dirty, port city with seedy undercurrents fuelled by high unemployment, poverty and crime. Despite this reputation, I found Naples to be a wonderful city - full of vibrant colour and life and absolutely delicious food.

August 31, 2012

Tales from a Traveller: Pompeii


A partially buried Roman town from AD79, hidden for nearly 1700 years under ash and pumice from a volcanic eruption – it’s no wonder that Pompeii is one of the most popular tourist attractions in Italy and a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

August 29, 2012

Clarification on UK transit visas for South Africans


In an effort to clarify the confusion surrounding the issue of transit visas for South African passport holders when transiting the UK, the UK Border Agency has issued a document to confirm exactly when you need a transit visa.

August 21, 2012

Travel Inspiration Photos: Summer in Italy

Imagine an idyllic summer in Italy. Think gelato, scenic country lanes, sparkling turquoise sea, bright coloured umbrellas, splashing in city fountains, tourists basking on warm stone steps and scented lemon groves...

August 17, 2012

Tales from a traveller: La Dolce Vita in Rome, Italy

Italy is one of these destinations that never fails to delight, inspire and entrance all who meet her, and all who dream about meeting her one day. Our traveller abroad, Mia, takes us along for the ride as she journeys through Italy, beginning in The Eternal City…

August 9, 2012

Celebrating Women’s Day


Today we celebrated National Women’s Day, a day to commemorate the 20,000 women who marched to the Union Buildings in Pretoria on the 9th August 1956. Protesting against proposed amendments to pass laws that would restrict their movement even further, these women became a symbol of the strength and courage of women everywhere.

August 7, 2012

Travel Tips for any Traveller


Not only did we learn so much about travel blogging at the Getaway Travel Blog Conference over the weekend (read our post on how to improve your travel blog here), but we also picked up some useful tips for travellers to make their travel experiences even more awesome. 

How to Improve your Travel Blog


Sure Travel had the pleasure of attending the second Getaway Travel Blog Conference this past Saturday, held in conjunction with Cape Town Tourism, at the Upper Eastside Hotel in Woodstock. And, wow, what a conference it was! Informative, fun, educational, helpful, entertaining and inspiring, the venue was crammed with creative, innovative people crazy about travel blogging.

August 3, 2012

SAA Changes to New Baggage Policy


From 5 September 2012, SAA will restrict the number of pieces of baggage a passenger may check in, rather than the total weight of the passenger's checked baggage. Each of these pieces will be subject to weight and size restrictions, depending on the route and class of travel.

July 30, 2012

Follow the Sun – Jet off to a perfect beach getaway



The beach is always a good idea. If you're wanting to jet off to a sunny beach paradise, here are some warm and sunny destinations, approximately 4 hours flying time from Johannesburg. Less time on the plane and more time to spend in the sun!

For travel packages and flights to these destinations, visit our website and find your nearest Sure Travel agent.

View the ultimate beach paradise getaways here – think the Cayman Islands, Croatia and Whitsunday Islands.




MAURITIUS
Only a 4 hour flight from Johannesburg, affordable and with no visa required for South African passport holders, it’s no surprise that Mauritius is such a popular beach getaway.

Known for:  Sandy white beaches, warm aquamarine sea and lagoons, luxury hotels and friendly locals.

Don’t miss: Port Louis’ colourful markets, a visit to a sugarcane factory, exploring on horseback and the lush forests of the Black River Gorges National Park.

Best time to go: July to September

Estimated flight time: 4 hours from Johannesburg

Where to stay? Read reviews of some Mauritius hotels here. 



A view of Le Morne mountain looking over Beachcomber's Paradis Hotel and Golf Club.
A view of the spa at Beachcomber's Dinarobin Hotel, Golf and Spa resort.
Beachcomber's Le Canonnier in Mauritius.
Beachcomber's Le Victoria resort on the north-west coast of Mauritius.

LAKE MALAWI - MUMBO ISLAND
Built on a pristine, remote tropical island, Mumbo Island Camp in Lake Malawi is paradise on earth – as it would have been a hundred years ago. With an exclusive limit of 14 guests, no electricity (blissful!), hot bucket showers, and basic yet comfortable tented structures, Mumbo Island has been built to leave only a very minimal impact on its surroundings.

Known for: Mumbo Island Camp is known for its pristine, untouched state and has never been populated by humans. Malawi is affectionately known as the “warm heart of Africa”, and its friendly, welcoming people live up to this reputation.

Don’t miss: Snooze in a hammock while listening to the African Fish-Eagles soaring overhead, snorkel and spot colourful cichlid fish in the crystal-clear, warm waters of the lake and swim and kayak to your heart’s content.

Best time to go: Late April to November

Estimated flight time: 2 hours 30 minutes from Johannesburg to Blantyre, Malawi

Need to know: Check health requirements and vaccinations with your local travel health clinic. Malaria risk area. Visas are not required for South African passport holders.


Mumbo Island camp on Lake Malawi.
Swimming, kayaking and snorkeling are popular in the warm, clear waters of Lake Malawi.
Relaxing in a hammock is one tempting way to spend an afternoon at Mumbo Island.


ZANZIBAR
The island of Zanzibar, with its endless palm fringed beaches and azure waters, was the favourite haunt of the Sultans of Oman in the Middle Ages – and the island has retained that sense of exoticism and escapism to this day.

Known for: Spices especially the scent of cloves, traditional sailing dhows, magnificent carved wooden doors and Stone Town.

Don’t miss: The vibrant Darajani Market in Stone Town, a historical tour of the city, a cruise on a traditional dhow at sunset and a visit to the tropical rainforest, Jozani Forest, home to the Zanzibar Red Colobus monkey.

Best time to go: Late June to October

Estimated flight time: 3 hours 30 minutes from Johannesburg to Zanzibar

Need to know: Check health requirements and vaccinations with your local travel health clinic. Malaria risk area. Visas are not required for South African passport holders.



The bright colours and exoticism of Zanzibar can be seen in everything from the colour of the ocean
to the incredible whiteness of the sand.

MOZAMBIQUE– MEDJUMBE PRIVATE ISLAND
Set like a jewel within the glittering Quirimbas Archipelago off the coast of Mozambique, Medjumbe is a small private island only one km long and 500m wide. A perfect vista of white sand and translucent sea mesmerises all who visit.

Known for: The Quirimbas Archipelago is a chain of 32 islands that are famous for their rich corals and abundant marine life.

Don’t miss: Relax in the private plunge pools and laze the afternoons away in a gently swaying hammock at Medjumbe. Enjoy delicious, fresh seafood on the deck – the ultimate in barefoot luxury. If fishing is your thing, the Quirimbas Archipelago offers some of the most spectacular fishing in the world.

Best time to go: June to August

Estimated flight time: 1 hour from Johannesburg to Maputo

Need to know: Check health requirements and vaccinations with your local travel health clinic. Malaria risk area. Visas are not required for South African passport holders for tourism purposes for a stay of up to 30 days.

Medjumbe Private Island glitters like a jewel off the coast of Mozambique.



RÉUNION
Réunion, the French governed island in the Indian Ocean, is not nearly as well known or developed as its neighbour Mauritius, and therein lies its charm and attraction. The island is a tropical paradise of contrasts - shimmering white beaches, dense forests, soaring mountains and volcanoes, gentle waterfalls, lagoons and quaint villages.


Known for: Its active volcano and 3 lush amphitheatres or ‘Cirques’, which are formed from dormant volcanoes.

Don’t miss: If you are looking for a place to chill out on the beach, then you will find it on Réunion, but the island offers so much more than just that. It is an adventure and nature lovers’ paradise – View the “Piton de la Fournaise” considered one of the most active volcanoes on the planet. Visit the village of Cilaos, situated at an altitude of 1300m in one of the 3 calderas on the island (A caldera is a shallow valley formed by the collapse of the centre of a dormant volcano). Enjoy the view from the Cirque of Mafate and hike in the remote valley – there are an amazing variety of trails and the area enjoys UNESCO World Heritage status.

Best time to go: May to June, although the peak tourist season runs all the way from late June to September.

Estimated flight time: 4 hours from Johannesburg on Air Austral. Read about a
Air Austral flight here.

We recommend: A stay at the luxurious LUX* Ile de la Réunion. Set in gardens scattered with charming Creole villas, coconut palms and filao trees, this unique beach hotel has the most exclusive views of the shimmering, coral-sheltered lagoon at L'Hermitage.

Need to know: No visas needed for South African passport holders. 










Pic credits:
Mauritius: Beachcomber 
http://www.beachcomber-hotels.com/
Malawi: 1,2,3, 4, 5

Zanzibar: 1,2,3,4
Mozambique: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5
Reunion: 1,2,3, 4

July 27, 2012

Countdown to the London Olympics Opening Ceremony


Ready, set, go… after 7 years in planning, the day the United Kingdom has been eagerly awaiting has finally arrived – the official start of the London Olympics 2012. Tonight the opening ceremony is set to kick off in an extravaganza of colour, light and pageantry. 

July 13, 2012

Tintswalo Atlantic: Where your dreams come true

















The invigorating, salty smell of the ocean hits you as soon as you step outside. With the sound of the waves breaking on the rocks literally a stone’s throw away from our feet, and endless views of sea, sky and mountain surrounding us, we felt as if we had stumbled upon paradise. 


Tucked away at the base of Chapman’s Peak just outside of Hout Bay, on a pebbled beach overhung with Milkwood trees and surrounded by the flora and fauna of the mountain, lies Tintswalo Atlantic.


The Tintswalo 5-star treatment starts from the very minute you arrive. Leaving your car in the secure parking area at the top of the cliff, you are transferred to a Tintswalo Atlantic vehicle and driven down the steep single track to the lodge. The friendly smiles of the staff as they gathered to welcome us speaks to the attentiveness and personal one-on-one attention you can expect.

The lodge has been built predominantly out of wood and glass to blend in with the spectacular natural surroundings. With a colour palette reflecting the changing moods of the ocean, tactile fabrics and touches of sparking silver, the décor is understated yet luxuriously elegant.





And the suites…they have to be seen to be believed! Each suite is named after and decorated in the style of various well-known islands. Each suite and spacious en-suite bathroom has its own unique view of the ocean and the Sentinel mountain across the bay. 

The most difficult part of your stay here will be choosing how to spend your time. With deep, comfy sofas in the cosy lounge and bar, a heated Jacuzzi pool on the deck and with suites that have baths almost suspended over the ocean, no one would blame you for never wanting to leave. But if you can tear yourself way from the comforts of the lodge, an array of outdoor delights await. Explore the hikes and trails of the Table Mountain National Park, take a boat trip to Seal Island, try your hand at sea kayaking or enjoy a photographic excursion. Whatever your interests are, the staff at Tintswalo Atlantic will tailor-make an activities itinerary just for you.

Cousine Island Suite

Robben Island Suite bathroom

Sicily Island Suite

Lamu Island Suite

Sainte Marie Island Suite

Antigua Island Suite

Ithaca Island Suite

Sainte Marie Island Suite bathroom

And we have left the best for last… the cuisine! For those with a passion for food, Tintswalo offers the ultimate dining experience. With the kitchen open to the dining room, guests can have a seat at the counter and view the cooking action while picking up some tips from the chef! The ingredients are locally sourced and the food is all freshly prepared on the premises. Their scrumptious breakfast is a perfect example of the passion and detail that goes into their food: Freshly squeezed juices and delicious cappuccinos to start, then home baked and roasted muesli with yoghurt, fruit salad and berry coulis, followed by platters of buttery croissants, muffins, melba toast, cheeses fig preserve, salmon, prosciutto and the most delicious chocolate croissants we had ever tasted! And it didn’t stop there – cooked breakfast delights of omelettes, poached eggs, scrambled eggs, mushrooms, salami and salmon awaited. After all that, we definitely needed a walk on the mountain to walk that all off!

The interactive kitchen and dining room





















After breakfast, it was time to bid farewell but first we had to throw a stone over our shoulders into the ocean and make a wish – a Tintswalo Atlantic tradition ever since the owners’ wishes for a lodge on the site came true. It wouldn’t be difficult to guess what we wished for either – a chance to stay in paradise forever isn’t too much to ask, is it?


If you want to see your perfect holiday dreams come true at Tintswalo Atlantic, contact your Sure Travel agent today. To find your nearest Sure Travel agent, visit our
website.