May 30, 2017

No Mountain Too High: The Monde Sitole story

                Man on a mountaineering mission: Monde Sitole                                                         Photo © Alan van Gysen

Monde Sitole is only 27, yet the adventurer and youth leader from Khayelitsha, Cape Town, has already climbed Mount Elbrus in Russia, Denali in Alaska and Kilimanjaro in Kenya. It’s part of his mission to conquer the seven summits, the highest peaks on each of the seven continents. Mount Everest is of course among these peaks and he plans to make it his most extreme and riskiest feat by summiting without bottled oxygen.

In between training for this risky adventure at the end of 2017, the adventurer is preparing to take a group of young girls from township areas up Kilimanjaro in July. 

(You can help him by donating today – scroll down for details).

Table Mountain training                                                                                               Photo © Alan van Gysen
The purpose of the Kilimanjaro mission is two-fold: to take the group on a life-changing expedition and to raise funds to create a girl-to-girl mentorship programme. This is a new initiative by his Monde Sitole Foundation, which aims to promote a culture of achievement, efficacy and excellence in South African schools.

Sitole managed to find a gap in his schedule to chat to Sure Travel Journey about his life of travel-for-purpose: read the full interview in the Winter 2017 edition. Collect a complimentary copy of the glossy magazine from your nearest Sure Travel agent today, or click for a free digital edtition (interview on page 58).


Monde Sitole is short R30 000 to take the group of girls on a life-changing climb up Kilimanjaro in July. You can help by donating today. Fundraising is via accredited fundraiser, Rotary Club of Pinelands. Any amount, big or small, is welcome!

BANK                   Nedbank Pinelands
CODE                  104709
NAME                  Pinelands Rotary Project Account
ACC No.              1047030357
REF                     Monde Climb

Monde Sitole in Switzerland with South African explorer, Mike Horn
For more information or corporate sponsorship queries, visit or email

May 29, 2017


BREAKING NEWS: The United States is considering a global electronic device ban, which would see all laptops and tablets banned from every flight into and out of the country as part of a ramped up effort against terrorist threats.

This is according to US Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly, who on Sunday evening told Fox News that the proposed move was in response to intelligence reports that indicate “a real sophisticated threat”.

"That's the thing that they are obsessed with, the terrorists, the idea of knocking down an airplane in flight, particularly if it's a US carrier, particularly if it's full of US people,” he said.

Kelly said no decision had been taken on when such a ban would be implemented.

In March the US banned electronic devices on incoming flights from 10 airports in the Middle East, United Arab Emirates and Turkey.

Kelly told Fox News that, in addition to a possible electronic device ban on all flights, the US would ramp up security measures on the ground and passengers could expect even more stringent security checks at US airports.

Unsure of what you're allowed to take on your flight? Ask your Sure Travel consultant for expert advice. Or click here to find a travel consultant near you. 

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.