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.

July 11, 2012

Travel the World… without leaving your seat


Have you always wanted to see the Leaning Tower of Pisa? The tranquil waters of Halong Bay? The sunset from the top of a skyscraper in Manhattan? Look down onto the Grand Canyon? Short of hopping on a plane, we have found out how you can experience some of the world’s most amazing attractions RIGHT NOW!