June 28, 2017

#TravelTuesday with #Trafalgar quiz: Answer

Where in the world can Trafalgar take you? 

St. Andrews Links – 'the Home of Golf'

SCOTLAND! 

Stunning scenery, a vibrant rich history and the charm of the locals make Scotland a much sought-after destination.

This wee little country has a mystical appeal, so it’s no surprise that its national animal is a unicorn. And don’t forget that it’s home to old Nessie and her counterpart Morag.

From the beguiling capitals of Edinburgh and Glasgow, to the legends, lochs, castles and Highland living, beauty and intrigue can be found around every bend in the road.

Loch Etive, one of Scotland's many magical lochs
Those who believe there is life beyond planet Earth should head to the small Scots town of Bonnybridge, which has become a global UFO hotspot. While we cannot promise you a face-to-face encounter with little green men, Bonnybridge has more than 300 sightings of Unidentified Flying Objects reported every year.

While Loch Ness is Scotland’s most famous loch (thanks to its elusive resident Nessy, aka the Loch Ness Monster), it is not actually the deepest loch in Scotland. Visitors should make their way to Loch Morar, which is 328 metres deep and is ranked the 17th deepest lake in the world. However, legend also has it that Loch Morar is home to Morag, which after Nessie is the most written about of Scotland's legendary monsters. A word of caution though: she is known to be a bit feisty and apparently prefers visitors to stay on the shores rather than in the water.

The capital's greatest landmark Edinburgh Castle
For visitors who would rather shy away from the supernatural and strange, there is still plenty to marvel at. Scotland is home to the world’s tallest hedge! Located near Meikleour on the Perth-Blairgowrie road, the hedge reaches over 518 metres in length and is over 30 metres high. And it boasts one of Europe’s oldest trees, Fortingall Yew. Located in the churchyard of the village of Fortingall in Perthshire, experts estimate the tree is anything between 2 000 and 9 000 years old.

Sports enthusiasts also have a lot to look forward to. Golf has been played in Scotland since the 15th century and the country holds the honour as the birthplace of the putting sport, with St Andrews Links considered to be the “home of golf”.

Whisky, possibly Scotland's most famous export
However famed the gentleman’s game of golf may be, it is football that the country holds dear. Originally banned by King James I in 1424, the order was duly reversed and Scotland became home to one of the most heated rivalries in world football – the Old Firm derby between Rangers and Celtic.

Scotland’s rivalry with England is long-documented, from William Wallace’s famed fight for Scottish independence to the lesser known Bishop of St Andrew's banning of the meat pie in 1490 – for being “too English”. Nevertheless, Scotland remains part of the United Kingdom (for now).

The Scottish Highlands

Inspired to visit Scotland? Trafalgar Tours and Sure Travel can take you there with this tour.


June 26, 2017

Play the #TravelTuesday with #Trafalgar quiz

Win a R350 Sorbet voucher!

Simply guess…

Where in the WORLD Trafalgar Tours can take you:



* I am a country and my national animal is a unicorn
* In 1490, one of my bishops declared meat pies “too English” and their consumption was banned within my borders.
* My most famous golf course is known as “the Home of Golf”

Think you know where in the world this is?

To enter

1. Put your answer in the comment section of the competition post on Facebook.
2. Add the hashtags: #TravelTuesday #Trafalgar after your answer.
3. Share the competition post on your own Facebook page.

It’s really that easy! The winner will be announced on social media tomorrow.


Terms and conditions:
1. One winner will be selected at random from the correct entries.
2. The judge’s decision is final and no further correspondence will be entered into.
3. The winner will receive a R350 Sorbet voucher, courtesy of Trafalgar Tours.
4. The voucher will be posted to the winner by Trafalgar Tours.
5. Prizes not claimed after two weeks will be forfeited.
6. Competition is open to South African residents only.

June 22, 2017

British Airways lays on extra flights for South African summer season



British Airways has released its summer schedule, and it’s good news for South Africans: more flights.

The airline will again increase to its Heathrow-Cape Town service to double-daily over the busy Cape Town summer period. It will also reinstate three-weekly Boeing 777 flights to Gatwick, starting in November.

In addition, it will provide a number of extra flights to Heathrow to meet demand over the New Year and Easter peaks.

There’s also some good news for passengers flying out of Gauteng. From October 2017 BA will increase capacity to OR Tambo International when it begins operating a double-daily A380 service, making London/ Johannesburg the only route on the airline’s network with two daily A380s. It will revert to a daily A380 and daily Boeing 747 service in March 2017 after the summer peak.

Ask your nearest Sure Travel agent for BA flight details, or use the online flight search.

June 21, 2017

#TravelTuesday with #Trafalgar quiz: Answer

Where in the world can Trafalgar Tours take you? 

                                                                                                                              Photo © Naruedom/Adobestock

Auckland! 

New Zealand’s capital city from 1842-1865, Auckland is not only a renowned tourist destination for many a traveller around the world, it is also known as one of the most affordable cities to live in globally. According to statistics, more people live in Auckland than in the whole of New Zealand’s South Island.

Auckland’s position on a peninsula between Waitemata and Manukau Harbour, means the city is home to some of the most famous water masses, unsurpassed landscapes and unique wildlife. Travellers are able to partake in some of the amazing exploration walks in the world, such as the 16-kilometre Coast-to-Coast walk from the Pacific Ocean to the Tasmanian sea.

Auckland's iconic skyline, featuring the Sky Tower                                                    Photo © David_Steele/AdobeStock

The largest Polynesian city in the world, Auckland is also known as “the city of sails”. It is said the destination has more boats per capita than anywhere else in the world, with one in three households owning a boat and sailing being a weekly – if not daily – ritual for most residents. It’s therefore probably no surprise that this is a prime destination for international boat tournaments. In 2014, the city served as the halfway point for the high profile Global Ocean Race.

The city is also built on one of the world’s youngest volcanic fields and Auckland is home to more than 50 volcanoes, which are said to have originated from a magma source located 100 kilometres below the city. While it may sound a bit daunting, it is not expected that the volcanoes will ever again become active. It does, however, make for some great exploration and popular locations, include the hiking spot Pigeon Mountain and Mount Rotskill, which have some very steep views from the summit.

Mount Eden, one of the 50 volcanoes that make Auckland's landscape so incredible        Photo © superjoseph/AdobeStock

Speaking of views, don’t miss Auckland’s Sky Tower, the tallest freestanding structure in the Southern Hemisphere and the 23rd tallest tower in the world. Standing at 328 metres tall on the corner of Victoria and Federal Streets, the tower offers crystal-clear views of the city for 80 kilometres in every direction. Book at table at one of the tower’s restaurants and enjoy a meal and perhaps some vino with some serious view.

Inspired to visit Auckland? Book your Trafalgar holiday today


June 20, 2017

‘No flight disruptions’ promises BA as union announces new strike action



BREAKING NEWS: The British Airways’ cabin crew strike that was called off at the 11th hour last week is back on, this time for 16 days (July 1 - 16).

British Airways, however, says the impending strike will not affect its operations, including all South African flights.

“All British Airways customers will be able to fly to their destinations, despite further proposed industrial action by Mixed Fleet Unite between Saturday 1 July and Sunday 16 July,” said local BA spokesperson Stephen Forbes.

He pointed out that Unite, the union that has called the strike, “represents one of our five cabin crew fleets”.

The strike, originally set for June 16 - 19, was called off when Unite re-entered talks with BA. But the mixed fleet cabin crew yesterday voted to reinstate industrial action after the airline refused to accept the union's final compromise.

Sure Travel CEO Vanya Lessing welcomed the news that BA flights are expected to operate without interruption during the strike. She advised Sure Travel clients booked on BA to contact their consultant should they have any concerns or queries.

“It is during turbulent times like these that travel agents truly prove their worth, as they have up-to-date information on the situation and the expertise to assist clients with alternative travel arrangements should this become necessary,” she said.

Play the #TravelTuesday with #Trafalgar quiz

Win a R350 Sorbet voucher!

Simply guess…

Where in the WORLD Trafalgar Tours can take you:

Photo © Naruedom/AdobeStock

* I am known as the largest Polynesian city in the world
* I am often referred to as “the city of sails”
* I am home to more than 50 volcanoes
* My landmark Sky Tower is the tallest freestanding structure in the Southern Hemisphere

Think you know where in the world this is?

To enter

1. Put your answer in the comment section of the competition post on Facebook.
2. Add the hashtags: #TravelTuesday #Trafalgar after your answer.
3. Share the competition post on your own Facebook page.

It’s really that easy! The winner will be announced on social media tomorrow.


Terms and conditions:
1. One winner will be selected at random from the correct entries.
2. The judge’s decision is final and no further correspondence will be entered into.
3. The winner will receive a R350 Sorbet voucher, courtesy of Trafalgar Tours.
4. The voucher will be posted to the winner by Trafalgar Tours.
5. Prizes not claimed after two weeks will be forfeited.
6. Competition is open to South African residents only.


On the road with Europcar – we have winners!

We asked our Facebook community to share their best travel experience with their dad to stand the chance of winning a chauffeur-driven trip and 1 x set of double rugby test match tickets in our 'On the Road with Europcar this Father's Day' promotion.

Congratulations to Lerato Mathebula, Brandon Booysen and Elize Schoeman Ferreira, who were selected as the top three entrants. They each win a chauffeur-driven trip and 1 x set of double tickets to watch SA vs France at Emirates Airline Stadium on Saturday 24 June 2017, courtesy of Europcar.

Here are their best travel experiences with their dads: 

"I remember when my father took us on a road trip to Kruger National Park, on our way there – and in the middle of nowhere – we ran out of petrol and had to drive on reserve petrol at 20km/h until we reached a petrol station. It was scary but he managed to tell us tales about how they grew up and how life was simple for them compared to ours. We even forgot about our crisis until we reached the petrol station. Best experience ever that I had with my father."– Lerato Mathebula 

Lerato Mathebula and her dad, running on fumes and good stories

"The best memories I have with my pops are travelling by train and bus all over to watch cricket, soccer and rugby matches back in the day. I enjoyed that more than when we got a car. The excitement of travelling with public transport just made it extra special somehow. I would love to share a memory with my pops again; we never get to do things like this anymore." – Brandon Booysen 

"Mine would be the our yearly trip from Barberton to Cape Town to visit our family. My dad had a VW combi and we were four kids, so my Dad would make us 'beds' on the floor and on the seats, then we would each get a chance to sit in front with him and 'navigate' the road for him, and change the tapes in the radio. I think it was more to keep him awake, because I could talk non-stop! We stopped along the road at those cement tables and chairs to have meatballs, boiled eggs and that condensed milk coffee! Today I can drive that road with closed eyes. And guess what? God blessed me with a son just as talkative as I was!" – Elize Schoeman Ferreira




Competition Terms and Conditions
The promoters of this promotion are Europcar, a division of Imperial Group Limited, a company duly incorporated in accordance with the laws of the Republic of South Africa under registration number: 1983/009088/06 and with its registered address at 16 Ernest Oppenheimer Avenue, Bruma, 2026 and Sure Travel, a company incorporated in the Republic of South Africa and having its registered address Sure Travel Head Office, Heerengracht Street, Cape Town (“the Promoters”).

1. Employees or agencies of the Promoters, affiliated companies or family members, or anyone else connected with the Prize Draw may not enter the Prize Draw.
2. Entrants into the Prize Draw shall be deemed to have accepted these Terms and Conditions.
3. To enter the Prize Draw, comment on the competition post on the Sure Travel Facebook page, your favourite travel experiences with your dad.
4. The closing date for entries into the Prize Draw is 12h00pm on Sunday 18 June 2017. Entries received outside this time period will not be considered.
5. Three winners will be chosen from a random draw of entries received in accordance with these Terms and Conditions.
6. Each winner will receive 1 x set of double tickets to watch SA vs France at Emirates Airline Stadium on Saturday 24 June 2017, and round-trip door-to-door transfers within a radius of 50 kilometres of the Emirates Stadium.
7. The promoters accept no responsibility for any costs associated with the prize and not specifically included in the prize.
8. By submitting your entry, you agree to receive Facebook communication from the Promoters and the winner will be contacted via Facebook.
9. If the winner does not respond to the promoters by 23 June 2017, then the winner's prize will be forfeited. If a winner rejects their prize or the entry is invalid or in breach of these Terms and Conditions, the winner's prize will be forfeited and the promoters shall be entitled to select another winner.
10. The prize is non-exchangeable, non-transferable, and is not redeemable for cash or other prizes.
11. The Promoters retain the right to substitute the prize with another prize of similar value in the event the original prize offered is not available.
12. The winner may be required to take part in promotional activity related to the Prize Draw and the winner shall participate in such activity on the Promoters reasonable request. The winner consents to the use by the Promoters, both before and after the closing date of the Prize Draw for an unlimited time, of the winner's name for publicity purposes, in any medium, on the internet, including any websites hosted by the Promoters and its related companies and in advertising, marketing or promotional material without additional compensation or prior notice and, in entering the Prize Draw, all entrants consent to the same.
13. The Promoters shall use and take care of any personal information you supply to it as described in its privacy policy, and in accordance with data protection legislation. By entering the Prize Draw, you agree to the collection, retention, usage and distribution of your personal information in order to process and contact you about your Prize Draw entry. You agree to furnish the Promoters with your contact telephone number and delivery address for the match tickets.
14. The Promoters accept no responsibility for any damage, loss, liabilities, injury or disappointment incurred or suffered by you as a result of entering the Prize Draw or accepting the prize.
15. The Promoters shall not be liable for any failure to comply with its obligations where the failure is caused by something outside its reasonable control.

June 19, 2017

5 unlikely reasons to take a family holiday in Mauritius

Ami Kapilevich went on holiday to Victoria Beachcomber Resort & Spa in Mauritius with his wife and two sons. He returned with a few reasons why every family should consider a family holiday on the island.

(Spoiler alert: It has nothing to do with the beautiful beaches)

Making memories for life in Mauritius: Michelle Kapilevich with sons Max (3) and Cameron (11) 

1. The build-up

“Dad, my fidget spinner broke!”

“Next month you won’t need a fidget spinner, you’ll be on a beach in Mauritius.”

“Mom, I lost the Playstation controller again!”

“A week from now it will be the furthest thing from your mind because you will be in the hotel pool.”

“My boss just dumped a whole bunch of work on me.”

“That’s okay, darling. By the time she gets through half of them you’ll be sipping a cocktail in the shade of a palm tree.”

Cocktails under palm trees on Victoria Resort's beaches – definitely worth counting down to
Your holiday in Mauritius starts long before you actually go there. We have a family tradition to remind one another a few times each week leading up to the holiday that there’s a good time in store. Family life can be tough, but the prospect of a luxurious holiday together is a great way to see the silver lining in life’s speed bumps and boosting morale. Milk it for all it’s worth!


2. Sense of adventure 

My wife and I both love to travel. In fact one of the reasons why I married her was because she passed the Travel Test, which involved being stuck in snowy Zurich with no money or warm clothes. But having children quickly deprives you of any ability (or desire, for that matter) to get lost in South America or backpack through Nepal. Don’t get me wrong; we still want to travel, but not too far. We want an adventure, but we also have a three-year-old. So while we were in Mauritius, we rented a car.

Maconde view point, one of Mauritius' many road-tripping gems.                  Photo © Olga Khoroshunova\AdobeStock
While it’s perfectly understandable to spend your entire stay in a resort, after a few days of minimal activity we decided to do a bit of exploration. This became one of the highlights of our holiday. We drove to Port Louis, where we did a bit of gift shopping at the Waterfront, and then made our way north to Grand Baie and the beautiful public beaches in the northeast. The kids were excited by the exotic architecture and new brands of chocolate bars. The energy in the car was fantastic.

“When was the last time something as simple as driving around was so entertaining?” I asked my wife. And for a brief moment sitting next to me was that young woman I fell in love with in Zurich.

3. Easy rhythms

Mealtimes are the heartbeat of a resort, and buffets symbolise the easy combination of routine and freedom that a holiday in Mauritius is all about. As the residents gather in the central restaurant three times a day, you soon fall into a daily rhythm.

As a young journalist I once spent three days at a silent Zen Buddhist retreat in the countryside, and the thing that struck me most was how strictly the daily routine was enforced. Mealtimes, chores, meditation – all happened like clockwork. When I mentioned this to the master of the retreat, he replied: “The strict routine frees your mind. You don’t have to worry about what happens when. This allows you to stop thinking.”

Relax and slip into the resort restaurant routine, Mauritian style
In this way, a buffet is quite Zen. You don’t need to worry about where or when you are going to eat, so you can just swan around like a serene monk, gravitating to the restaurant at regular intervals but not crippled by the weight of expectation and formality of an a la carte excursion.

A Beachcomber buffet is also perfect for kids.

Any parent will tell you that taking children to restaurants is more often a stressful rather than pleasant activity (we don’t go to Spur for the well-priced steaks). And whether you are an active person or prefer to spend your days on a recliner, one thing is for certain: after a day of running between the beach and the pool, your kids are going to be ravenous. So it’s a good thing that you can get an emergency plate of food in front of them even before your drinks arrive.

4. Like fish to water

Our first son, Cameron, was five years old when we brought him on holiday to Mauritius. He learned to swim on that holiday after we replaced his water wings with flippers. The transition was easy; he had always loved the water.

Unlike his brother.

Max was three years old when we took him and Cameron, now 11, to Mauritius, and we didn’t really know what to expect. Max was never particularly fond of swimming. He’d wade in his plastic playpool at home and cling to your neck if you were swimming, but he would never put his head under water to the point where even washing his hair in the bath was a challenge.

Young Max grows his fish tail in Victoria's expansive swimming pool
By the end of our holiday Max was leaping off my shoulders into the deep end of Victoria’s large pool without any water wings on!

One thing that my experience with both my sons has taught me is that if you put a child in water they will take to it naturally. One moment they’re dipping their toes in, the next they’re doing underwater summersaults. The transformation is remarkable. A week in Mauritius is worth a year of swimming lessons.

5. New friends

On our third day at Victoria we noticed that the same couple were sitting next to us at our spot near the shallow splash pool. They also had two boys and were South African. In the week that followed, we went from nodding acquaintances to extended chats. Towards the end of the holiday, our children were following the Malcolm and Tamlyn Jewell and their two children to the beach.

Poolside play: the great social leveller
It’s easy to make friends at a resort because even though it’s an elite experience, it’s also a great leveller while you’re there. Back home, I am a humble writer and Malcolm is a hugely successful actuary but in Mauritius we were both just two dads keeping an eye on the kids round the pool. Our friendship, such as it is, was started on the purest of reasons.

We look forward to keeping up with the Jewells.

Why choose Beachcomber?

We chose the four-star superior Victoria Beachcomber Resort & Spa because we have two children, one of whom is only three years old, and the resort is particularly child-friendly. It is also hugely popular among South Africans, so you are sure to spend time with like-minded, easy-going people and maybe even make some new friends along the way.

Another bonus is that Beachcomber offers you free access to any of its other resorts on the island, so if you feel like a change of scenery you can hop in a taxi, and your all-inclusive package is valid at Beachcomber's other four-star resorts on the island too.

On that note, the all-inclusive package is a lifesaver if you have ravenous kids en-tow. Without it, your budget is likely to be blown in the blink of a few poolside drinks.


Victoria Beachcomber Resort & Spa's location. No further words needed.

Go here with Sure

Visit Victoria Beachcomber Resort & Spa for R16,520 pps for a five-night package, or search for more Beachcomber packages here. You can also check with your nearest Sure Travel agency for special offers, and remember to ask about Beachcomber's Early Booking Bonus (valid on payments made in full 30 days in advance).

June 15, 2017

On the road with Europcar this Father's Day

Win a chauffeur-drive and a test match rugby ticket for you & your dad

Read Zola's story below, then scroll down for entry details. Good luck!

Caption: Zola and Mark, on the road again in their Big Green Truck                                    Photo © Pierce

My travel experiences with dad

“My dad always says that life is short and no one ever died wishing they’d spent more time in the office. He never regrets throwing up everything to hit the road with us to make the most of our childhood,” says Zola Sampson, 12, who along with the rest of his family (mom, Sam; dad; Mark; and older sister; Ruby), is in the third of a five year mission around Africa in their Big Green Truck, which runs entirely on waste vegetable oil and uses only renewable energy power onboard. 

It’s part of the family’s mission to raise awareness on sustainable solutions across the continent. So far they’ve visited 20 countries and have spent two years on the road on their Africa Clockwise mission.

“Sampson family rules say ‘surf first, school second’. I’ve surfed secret spots in Angola, Congo, Cameroon, Cote d’Ivoire, Liberia and Senegal but I’m still getting 85% for Maths,” laughs Zola.

It’s clearly been an epic mission so far, with plenty of stories like these to tell: “Our big green truck is called ‘Big Reg’ after my dad’s dad. He was a mechanic and whenever we break down dad always says 'Remember what Reg would say – panic slowly’. I reminded him of this when ‘Big Reg’ fell in a huge mud hole in Cote d’Ivoire and tipped over at a 45˚angle.


My dad ran around the truck going, ‘We’re never going to get out of this one’. It took 15 men four hours to dig us out.  You can watch the video here."

And you can follow more of the family’s incredible journey here 

WIN! 

Tell us about your best travel experience(s) with your dad and you could win a chauffeur-driven trip and 1 x set of double tickets to watch SA vs France at Emirates Airline Stadium on Saturday 24 June 2017, courtesy of Europcar.

TO ENTER:

1. Post “My travel experiences with my dad…” followed by your story in the comment section of the competition post on Facebook. Add a photo of you and your dad to the post for better impact (hint: it’ll improve your chances of winning!) 

2. Tag @SureTravel and @EuropcarSA in the post. 

3. Or Email your story and photograph to: social@suretravel.co.za

4. Do this before midnight on 18 June 2017.  

5. Three winners will be announced on Monday 19 June 2017.


Competition Terms and Conditions
The promoters of this promotion are Europcar, a division of Imperial Group Limited, a company duly incorporated in accordance with the laws of the Republic of South Africa under registration number: 1983/009088/06 and with its registered address at 16 Ernest Oppenheimer Avenue, Bruma, 2026 and Sure Travel, a company incorporated in the Republic of South Africa and having its registered address Sure Travel Head Office, Heerengracht Street, Cape Town (“the Promoters”).

1. Employees or agencies of the Promoters, affiliated companies or family members, or anyone else connected with the Prize Draw may not enter the Prize Draw.
2. Entrants into the Prize Draw shall be deemed to have accepted these Terms and Conditions.
3. To enter the Prize Draw, comment on the competition post on the Sure Travel Facebook page, your favourite travel experiences with your dad.
4. The closing date for entries into the Prize Draw is 12h00pm on Sunday 18 June 2017. Entries received outside this time period will not be considered.
5. Three winners will be chosen from a random draw of entries received in accordance with these Terms and Conditions.
6. Each winner will receive 1 x set of double tickets to watch SA vs France at Emirates Airline Stadium on Saturday 24 June 2017, and round-trip door-to-door transfers within a radius of 50 kilometres of the Emirates Stadium.
7. The promoters accept no responsibility for any costs associated with the prize and not specifically included in the prize.
8. By submitting your entry, you agree to receive Facebook communication from the Promoters and the winner will be contacted via Facebook.
9. If the winner does not respond to the promoters by 23 June 2017, then the winner's prize will be forfeited. If a winner rejects their prize or the entry is invalid or in breach of these Terms and Conditions, the winner's prize will be forfeited and the promoters shall be entitled to select another winner.
10. The prize is non-exchangeable, non-transferable, and is not redeemable for cash or other prizes.
11. The Promoters retain the right to substitute the prize with another prize of similar value in the event the original prize offered is not available.
12. The winner may be required to take part in promotional activity related to the Prize Draw and the winner shall participate in such activity on the Promoters reasonable request. The winner consents to the use by the Promoters, both before and after the closing date of the Prize Draw for an unlimited time, of the winner's name for publicity purposes, in any medium, on the internet, including any websites hosted by the Promoters and its related companies and in advertising, marketing or promotional material without additional compensation or prior notice and, in entering the Prize Draw, all entrants consent to the same.
13. The Promoters shall use and take care of any personal information you supply to it as described in its privacy policy, and in accordance with data protection legislation. By entering the Prize Draw, you agree to the collection, retention, usage and distribution of your personal information in order to process and contact you about your Prize Draw entry. You agree to furnish the Promoters with your contact telephone number and delivery address for the match tickets.
14. The Promoters accept no responsibility for any damage, loss, liabilities, injury or disappointment incurred or suffered by you as a result of entering the Prize Draw or accepting the prize.
15. The Promoters shall not be liable for any failure to comply with its obligations where the failure is caused by something outside its reasonable control.

Home Affairs shutdown confirmed for Monday June 19



BREAKING NEWS: The Department of Home Affairs has confirmed that its front office staff will down tools on 19 June. The Association of South African Travel Agents (ASATA) reports:


"The Department of Home Affairs has announced it was served with a notice to strike from its front office staff for Monday, June 19. The notice to strike follows a dispute over working hours and specifically over Saturday work.

The strike will affect applications for travel documents and is also expected to severely affect all the country’s ports of entry. Mkuseli Apleni said in a statement: “If this strike is to take place, it would interrupt mandatory services Home Affairs provides to citizens. We are deeply concerned by threats of a labour strike, ahead of one of our busiest periods in the year, that is, the school winter holidays. Ahead of the holidays, the number of client requests for travel documents shoots up as families prepare for the long break.”

The Department told ASATA it would release an update on whether the strike will go ahead before the end of the week."

June 14, 2017

#TravelTuesday with #Trafalgar quiz: answer!

Where in the world can Trafalgar Tours take you? 

                                                                                                                                Photo © Albertobrian/Adobe Stock

BELFAST! 

Birthplace of the infamous RMS Titanic, rainy Belfast is Northern Ireland’s capital and the second largest city on the island of Ireland. Saints and scholars have long loved this ancient land that draws its appeal from picturesque landscapes and the people who call it home.

Belfast is home to the World Travel Awards’ 2016 Leading Tourist Attraction in Europe, Titanic Belfast, housed in the Titanic Quarter – the site where the ill-fated RMS Titanic was built in 1912. The Titanic Quarter includes reclaimed land adjacent to Belfast Harbour, formerly known as Queen’s Island, and today is home to the Titanic Museum.

The city is also famous for its twin landmark shipbuilding gantry cranes, Samson and Goliath. Named after the biblical figures Samson and Goliath, the cranes dominate Belfast’s skyline and have come to symbolise Belfast in much the same way Table Mountain symbolises Cape Town. 
 Belfast's Samson and Goliath                                                                                    Photo © M-image/Adobe Stock
But Belfast is so much more than just shipbuilding country. With its hills, lakes and rivers offering breathtaking views, Belfast is a paradise for walkers, hikers and cycling enthusiasts, as well as those with an interest in watersports, golf, angling, sailing and surfing. For a more relaxed pace, ferries connect different areas, making the city easy to explore. 

Belfast has an impressive history too: the city played a key role in the Industrial Revolution and was a global industrial centre until the latter half of the 20th century. It was a centre of the Irish linen, tobacco-processing, rope-making and shipbuilding industries.

 Northern Ireland's spectacular coastline                                                                     Photo © Stifos/AdobeStock
Since the early 2000s, the Belfast city council has developed several cultural quarters. The Cathedral Quarter takes its name from St Anne’s Cathedral (Church of Ireland), whereas the Gaeltacht Quarter around the Falls Road in west Belfast promotes the use of the Irish language. Then there’s The Queen’s Quarter in south Belfast, named after Queen’s University, and home to Botanic Gardens and the Ulster Museum. 

For some of the best bars and restaurants in the city, the Golden Mile, which describes the area between Belfast City Hall and Queen’s University, is the place to be. 

Inspired to visit Belfast? Book your Trafalgar holiday with Sure Travel today. 


June 13, 2017

5 ways to protect your travel rand from junk status

Despite South Africa’s recent junk status downgrading and going into technical recession earlier this month, the Rand is holding steady (well, at least steadier than it did after #NeneGate last year). But who knows what’s going to happen to our 'Randibas' over the next few months, so why not be proactive and protect your travel savings from currency fluctuations and cost increases?

Here are five easy ways to do it:

1. Booking and paying for your holiday in advance is a good idea if the rand is likely to weaken.
Now's the time when those rainy day savings will come in handy.

2. An even better bet is to book with companies like Trafalgar Tours, Insight Vacations, Uniworld Cruises, Busabout and Contiki, which lock in the rate of exchange with a Rand Price Guarantee when you pay a deposit. This ensures there are no nasty surprises if the rand decides to take a nosedive between the time you book and the time you pay in full.
Go to India with Contiki - your rand exchange will be guaranteed

3. These same five travel companies also offer a deposit protection. If you have to cancel your booking, you don’t lose your deposit.  Trafalgar Tours, Insight Vacations, Uniworld Cruises, Busabout and Contiki will all keep your deposit “on file” for up to five years, during which time you can use it as credit for a trip. The terms and conditions vary slightly between companies (for example, Contiki has the upper age limit of 35) but this is the gist of it. Ask your nearest Sure Travel consultant for details.
Dining al fresco with Uniworld River Cruises

4. Take advantage of bank accounts or cash passports that allow you to exchange your travel savings into the currency of the country to which you’ll be travelling. That way if the rand drops further, your hard-earned savings won’t be affected.

Avoid currency fluctuations by putting your forex on a travel card

5. All-inclusive packages, like those offered by Club Med and Beachcomber, are the way to go if you’re on a strict budget. Especially if you’re going for a resort holiday and you have money-milking kids en tow. Packages differ, but generally everything – from food to drinks – is usually included, so you don’t have to sweat every time you order another mojito by the pool.

Go all-inclusive at Beachomber's Canonnier Golf Resort & Spa

Bonus tip: Don't forget to check out destinations that are easy on the South African wallet. Your nearest Sure Travel agency can help you find more, or take a look at some of the great deals on our website.

Recession-proof travel: places to go where the rand’s not junk



It’s official: South Africa is in recession. But just because our rand is “junk” doesn’t mean your holiday has to be too. There are still quite a number of destinations that are gentle on the South African wallet. Here are four:

Turkey

Wind and wander through Istanbul’s Grand Bazaar, learning to haggle with vendors, then immerse yourself in the glittering mosaics of Sultan Ahmed “Blue” Mosque (pictured below) and Hagia Sophia, the church, then mosque, now historic site that took 10 000 workers seven years to build. It’s suitably impressive.

                                                                                                                                       Photo © AdobeStock
Turkey will wow all five senses, proving heavy on culinary and cultural experiences of the east and west, yet easy on the pocket. It’s around R3,6 for every Turkish Lira, but prices for meals or a draught of beer are similar to South Africa’s major cities. There are great shopping deals to be had on everything from leather (Turkey is famous for its leather products) to spices and, of course, sticky baklava and Turkish delight.

Here’s the best part: you can get a free visa in just five minutes online (literally, we’ve put it to the test!), and round-trip flights from Turkish Airlines go for as little as R6 000. Ask your Sure Travel agent for special offers from Turkey's national airline, or check out our flight search online. *

Vietnam

Many South Africans (and the rest of the world) have caught onto Southeast Asia’s value as a tourism hotspot – and why wouldn’t they? The region is blessed with more gorgeous beaches, historical sites and local hospitality than it knows what to do with. Be sure to check out the junk boats at Ha Long Bay, the bustling metropolises of Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City and the pagodas of Danang.

                                                                                                                      Photo © AdobeStock/Efired

While countries like Thailand and Indonesia have become tourist magnets, Vietnam is still largely unspoilt – and your rand goes quite a long way: just R1 will get you about 1 740 Vietnamese Dong. To put that into real terms; a cheap street meal will set you back about R22, while a half-litre draught costs about R11.

As a final bonus, South Africans can apply online for a visa approval letter and pick up the full visa on arrival in ‘Nam.

Romania

Check out Bucharest, “the Paris of the East”. It’s R3 to every Romanian New Leu – insanely reasonable when compared to the R14,50 it takes to buy a single Euro.

Junyad Castle, Romania                                                                             Photo © AdobeStock/Emperorcosar

Romania is an easily traversable destination by car or train: in just a few hours you can criss-cross the country from the River Danube to a pristinely-preserved hilltop citadel at Sighioara in Transylvania, hikes in the Carpathian Mountains, or a Black Sea resort and spa. And don't forget fairy tale castles, there are plenty of those…Ask your Sure Travel agent to recommend affordable packages for Romania.

Argentina

There aren’t many places on Earth where you can go from polar tundra and glacial lakes to volcanoes and tropics: say hello to Argentina!

                                                                                                                                           Photo © AdobeStock

Known for its cattle ranching, tango dancing, South America’s most famous ski resort and the largest waterfalls on the planet, Argentina is not the absolute cheapest destination (one rand will get you around 1.22 Argentine Pesos and the cost of living is similar if not a little higher than South Africa). But it does offer great value when compared with similar tourism offerings in Europe or North America. Just ask your Sure Travel agent.


* The British Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) has maintained a travel alert for Turkey, advising against all but essential travel to a few areas of Turkey. It does not include Istanbul and many other popular tourism destinations. Ask your Sure Travel consultant for details and updates. 




BA cabin crew strike called off



BREAKING NEWS: A four-day British Airways’ cabin crew strike that was likely to affect London/South Africa flights has been called off. 

Around 2 900 "mixed fleet" cabin crew who service key long-haul routes (including London-Cape Town) were set to down tools from 16 - 19 June.

Unions are now in talks with management and it's hoped further industrial action can be avoided. However, should an agreement not be reached a strike may be back on the cards at a later stage. 

Sure Travel CEO Vanya Lessing said passengers who had booked BA flights via a Sure Travel agency could get the latest updates direct from their travel consultant. 

This latest strike threat followed an almost weeklong strike by BA cabin crew in March, which disrupted services out of Heathrow. It also came at a time when British Airways is still recovering from a massive IT failure that grounded hundreds of flights late last month, affecting around 75 000 passengers worldwide.

“There have been several airline strikes in 2017 so far, as well as strikes by port staff that have affected cruise liner operations. This is in addition to other major disruptions to air traffic, such as BA's global IT failure and the indefinite suspension of all flights to and from Qatar by UAE and other airlines,” noted Lessing. “It is during turbulent times like these that travel agents truly prove their worth, as they have up-to-date information on the situation and the expertise to assist clients with alternative travel arrangements where necessary.”

Find your nearest Sure Travel agency here


#TravelTuesday with #Trafalgar quiz

Where in the world can Trafalgar Tours take you?


Photo © Albertobrian/AdobeStock


 Simply guess where in the world this is:

* On average, this city gets 157 days of rain a year – less than Scotland, but more than Dublin.
* It prides itself on hosting Europe's Leading Tourist Attraction for 2016.
* Two famous cranes called Samson and Goliath dominate the city’s skyline.

And you could WIN a R350 Sorbet voucher!

To enter

1. Put your answer in the comment section of the Facebook competition post. 

2. Put the hashtags: #TravelTuesday #Trafalgar after your answer.

3. Share the Facebook competition post on your own Facebook page.

Winner will be announced via social media tomorrow!

Terms and conditions:      
1.     One winner will be selected at random from the correct entries.
2.     The judge’s decision is final and no further correspondence will be entered into.
3.     Winner will receive a R350 Sorbet voucher, courtesy of Trafalgar Tours.
4.     The voucher will be posted to the winner by Trafalgar Tours.
5.     Prizes not claimed after two weeks will be forfeited.
6.     Competition is open to South African residents only.