Please consider this new regulation well in advance, especially in regard to your children and moreover if you travel with a minor such as a niece , nephew or friend.
Effective 1 October 2014, South African Authorities require that all children, under the age of 18, traveling with adults to / from South Africa, be in possession of their original unabridged birth certificate. Children traveling with only one parent or other person or where one parent or both parents are deceased, must be in possession of an affidavit from the remaining parent/s or guardian, permitting the child to travel.
Please consider this new regulation well in advance, especially in regard to your children and moreover if you travel with a minor such as a niece , nephew or friend.
Fruit on display at the V&A Hotel in Cape Town.
On numerous occasions I have heard the delight in the tone of many foreign tourists’ voices, making their way from the hotel to their tour vehicle, describing their breakfasts in South Africa with great satisfaction and pleasure.
South African farmers often find themselves receiving bad press but they can truly stand proud when tourists find the fruit available for breakfast pleasantly presented, clean, sweet and fresh to eat.
Most tourists find it hard to believe South Africa produces quality fruit and often find the parity of their respective fruits they eat at home, neither comparable to South African home grown fruit nor compared to the selection found in their respective countries. Recent clients of Indian origin based in the USA reminded me and inspired me to write this blog as they expressed their pleasure of enjoying the fruit on offer at the Victoria & Alfred Hotel in Cape Town.
The South African fruit sector is one of the leading suppliers to the fruit markets of the world and this reputation is well deserved. Fruit South Africa; is an organisation charged with promoting and developing South African fruit on the international fruit scene. One of its many tasks has been to establish a fully South African ethical and audit process which is in line with international standards, is aligned to South African law, is internationally recognised and has the benefit of promoting ONE standard and ONE audit. This replaces the numerous standards and audits with which producers had to comply in the past.
Fruit South Africa represents the Citrus Growers Association of Southern Africa, the
Fresh Produce Exporters Forum which represents the fruit exporters of South Africa,
Hortgro which represents the deciduous fruit industry in SA, the SA Table Grape Industry and the Subtropical Fruit Growers which covers the likes of Avocado Pears, Litchies, Mangoes and Macadamia nuts and more.
Whether you are eating breakfast or buying fresh fruit to snack on whilst travelling, you can be rest assured of great quality and a healthy holiday.
Before commiting to a tour package to South Africa, make sure the offering suits you and the needs and interests of your tour group..
South Africa is a new and very diverse country to visit for most nationalities. There are many tour packages on offer to tourists from around the world and from personal experience, they mostly follow similar routes and patterns. Of course, if it’s the first time you visit South Africa you will probably follow a highlights package on offer, as you would if travelling for the first time through Europe or visiting a city such as London.
However, before you make your mind up for South Africa travel, do your homework carefully. Ask yourself questions such as what time of the year am I travelling in, it may well be summer back home but is the opposite in the Southern Hemisphere so although it is still nice to travel in South African winter season, the colourful pictures of sunshine and swimming in the sea or a pool on the brochure could be misconstrued also for the fact South Africa has all geographical conditions changing from Province to Province at the same time of the year. So a package which works well in good weather is often discounted and sold during winter but you simply won’t achieve the same satisfaction. However you can come to South Africa in winter and visit a region which although cooler than summer, still has good outdoor weather for activities.
I always revert back to the fact that South Africa is a far bigger country than most people anticipate and packing too much into an itinerary can involve time consuming travel either by air or road. So ask yourself, do I want to see and do as much as possible in a 7 to 14 to 21 day period virtually packing your bag and moving on to a new hotel and destination every 2nd day and at the end feel like you have to go home for a holiday or do you select fewer places to visit and increase the days in each to maximise your time to explore and relax involving minimal bag packing and less travel time in a air-plane or coach.
Whichever travel pace or style you may choose, make sure each place you visit has a meaning and an interest or appeal to you. There is nothing worse than signing up for a tour and excursions which don’t appeal to you.
GPS Tours is a great place to start your planning for a South African holiday. GPS Tours enjoys success with travel groups and individuals by seeking out exactly what the group dynamics are and what the travellers’ interests are. GPS will study the South African calendar of events and compare the dates you wish to travel, for example you certainly don’t want to be planning a Cape Point tour on the day of the Cape Argus Cycle tour as this will severely disrupt your day out. GPS Tours is able to supply credible advice and firsthand knowledge of South Africa which will be extremely beneficial in your decision making and success of your African experience.
Contact the Owner and author now via the contact page on this website and begin a friendly rapport whilst building a travel worthy South African itinerary.
The Magical Table Mountain
Micro climates are experienced on all sides of the Cape Peninsula, from Cape Town to Cape Point, making the over used cliche of “Four seasons in one day”, seem more like a true statement.
In Camps Bay the South Easter wind can sand blast people off the beach and a 5 min drive around the corner to Sea Point you would be hard pressed to believe there was any wind at all.
You can drive past the University of Cape Town situated on the back slopes of Table Mountain in Rondebosch and on approaching the next suburb of Newlands where Kirstenbosch National Botanical gardens are located you sometimes need to apply your windscreen wipers, drive into the heart of Newlands and apply the faster speed to the windscreen wipers and as you exit the suburb and enter the neighbouring suburb of Bishopscourt you can switch off the windscreen wipers and be asking yourself where did that rain materialise from?
I recall phoning a friend to confirm a game of golf, his retort was if I was mad as it was raining hard in Hout Bay and he was surprised when I said it was fantastic sunshine on the City side.
My point being is, if these climatic conditions change so quickly on the ground then what can one experience 1067metres (3500ft) above sea level whilst walking or hiking on Table Mountain?
Table Mountain recently received the accolade of being included as one of the new 7 Wonders of Nature in the world. It’s majestic, spell-bounding appeal and being located in the heart of the City makes for extremely easy access and offers some fantastic hiking and climbing. The perils I would like to express, start with the complacency people tend to have thinking Table Mountain is void of any dangers as it’s in the City. Countless times I can personally recall people looking more prepared for the trip up the mountain in the Cable Car than hiking a mountain, dressed as though they plan to go to the beach afterwards only to find out their intentions were to hike up the mountain!
This is where it all starts to unravel badly, before the amateur hiker has even started out. People with the best intentions often are so ill-prepared not taking Table Mountain as seriously as a mountain hike in a wilderness area. I have personally seen people starting out in T-shirt, shorts, running shoes or less and a 250ml bottle of water. This I’m afraid is a disaster waiting to happen. The arrogance and looks of disgust I get from both tourist and local’s, when I say to them their water will be finished before they reach the start of the trail astounds me.
There are fatalities every year on Table Mountain and many rescues to boot. To highlight two of the main causes of rescue are a lack of water and changes in conditions. Platteklip Gorge is one of the commonly used trails up the mountain however with its East facing angle receiving full morning son in summer months where temperatures can reach over 30deg C and with the heat reflecting off the bare rock, temperatures can soar up to 10 degrees higher whilst in the gorge. With insufficient water being carried and few mountain streams running in the summer this can result in de-hydration and unnecessary critical situations so if you intend using the mountain take a minimum of 2litres of water per person and a good hat and plenty sunscreen. Talking to an experienced veteran of the mountain, Brian Georgeson, a man who regularly leads Hiking publication journalists and personally helps to up-date Mike Lundy’s popular guide to mountain trails in The Cape says,” its annoying to see people not taking necessary precautions, the amount of times I have had to give parched hikers extra water, not only for themselves but they never think of their beloved dogs either”.
The other scenario which can play out and catch a hiker totally off guard even with being thoroughly prepared, is the change in the weather conditions. Cape Town has the cold Benguela current coming directly up from the cold Antarctic and southern Atlantic, together with soaring land and air temperatures in the summer can produce what is referred to as mini-coastal low pressures which on the clearest days can result in a thick blanketing fog which sprawls in and engulfs the mountain. Temperatures can suddenly drop and visibility decreases to virtually zero. So it’s essential to be prepared with warm clothing to counter wind and damp, emergency rations, a mobile phone and always inform somebody responsible on the ground of where you intend to hike and what time you are expected back. It’s important not to deviate off this course and it’s even more important to stay in one position if you are disorientated and have no clue in which direction to move in. If you take the necessary precautions the Mountain Club of South Africa under the auspices of the WSAR (Wilderness Search and Rescue) teams will be in a better position to help you.
Planning for a hike up Table Mountain is not only essential but will help you enjoy this natural wonder better and safely. There are good books and guides to be found in all book shops or even better for your first accent of the mountain, it is a good idea to join a professional guide to lead and educate you.
For further information you can make contact with the Mountain Club of SA Cape Town Section. www.mcsacapetown.co.za
Knysna Heads walk and have a picnic for lunch.
Eating whilst in South Africa, especially Cape Town and the Garden Route is great value for money especially in terms of quality and quantity and you don’t necessarily have to go to lavish restaurants and spend tremendous amounts of money to fill your stomach and feel content. In fact there are a couple of ways to get a decent meal especially for lunch without having to sit down in a restaurant at all.
Two great meals and favorite to many locals and found in many food selling shops in most areas in Cape Town and many other places around South Africa is either Calamari or rotisserie roasted chicken. Besides an abundance of fast food outlets such as McDonald's, KFC and South Africa’s own Steers and Nando’s, there are many easier ,cheaper and for that matter healthier and happier ways of picking up lunch or a snack on the run when traveling.
Rotisserie Chicken is a big seller. You can buy a whole chicken to share or get pieces to go as a portion from a reasonable R20.00 to around R55.00 for the whole bird. You will be able to find quality chicken in this fashion from places such as Pick ‘n Pay, Spar to Filling station services food outlets. It isn’t fried chicken and combined with an already made salad or a couple of fresh bread roll’s and you have a cheap healthy lunch and you won’t waste an hour sitting inside a restaurant either.
A firm favorite which is possibly a little unhealthier compared to rotisserie roast chicken is of course South Africa’s great Calamari or squid. Totally unexpected shops such as Pick n Pay which has the largest supermarket chain countrywide has decent fried Calamari in their deli section on sale to go. For as little as R15.00 you can fill up on Calamari with great ease. Cape Town and along the coastal regions have an abundance of Fish ‘n Chips shops. Sometimes there is nothing better to get a fillet of Hake, sit on a beach or a bench and eat while watching the ocean.
On one occasion on a tour, I had been driving and guiding a couple from Alberta, Canada. They had been constantly eating in restaurants since they had left home over a week prior and on arriving at lunch time in Knysna, a resort town on the Garden Route, I suggested visiting my favorite fish ‘n Chip outlet in the town, to pick up some calamari, fish and chips and go down to the famous Knysna Head’s, a picturesque headland location at the mouth of the lagoon entering the ocean to eat lunch. Whilst waiting for the food, they popped next door to the wine shop and believe me, the meal or picnic they had that day was probably the most memorable on their holiday.
South Africa offers fantastic corporate incentive touring options. The destination will certainly remain in the memories of those being rewarded for a life time.
Blending locations, hotels, adventure based team activities, meeting rooms, excursions and of course relaxation and fun, you will certainly not find a better place to bring your hard working employee achievers, valued customers or management team.
Added incentive to the corporate is your tour group can enjoy the trimmings of a top quality tour whilst bearing in mind the tough economical climate we live in, in relation to the desire of rewarding valued employee’s or clients or seeking out a new venue for a management meeting, the value which the host company can realise is; on the ground in South Africa, catering for all the needs of the group including Hotel, meals and activities, with a weak Rand:USD and other major currencies, cost will surprisingly confound expectations.
For all Management Team meetings, Company Incentive touring and University Programme Groups.
Begin your rapport with GPS TOURS today. Planning for South Africa is our passion.
Contact us now.
Dont be left second guessing your plans.
Incredible growth, the ease and independence offered doing direct travel reservations on-line has many advantages, the GPS Tours Review & Guideline service helps you avoid the invisible pit-falls or disadvantages possibly not highlighted or missed whilst by-passing the services of a Travel Agency, especially those which are unforeseen and only realised once your journey begins.
This service is not designed to facilitate reservations on your behalf as this would be defeating the purpose of why you choosing to do it yourself online. We supply an accurate account for everything you have chosen for your trip to South Africa before you pay good money and make the commitment to reservations.
Importantly, our basic service is also our foundation to all services, looking closely at the Logistics, including Routing and Timing of the travel schedule which you have created for yourself.
See the Itinerary Planning page on this website.
We can offer alternative recommendations, supplying you the web-link directly or simply, give you the thumbs up to all aspects of your own travel plan for South Africa.
Contact GPS Tours for an independent travel itinerary review and have peace of mind in your choices.
Very affordable consultancy, great value-add to your South African Experience. Contact GPS Tours and send your planning now.
With the South African mining industry, the main contributing source to the national GDP presently under severe pressure with labour disputes, resulting directly in a weakened Rand which since July has been in steady decline to the USD and all major currencies and listening to Chris Hart, a Leading South African Economist, this spiral is not going to stop soon.
What it does mean is the Hospitality industry, especially tourism, is booming. If Chris Hart is correct the currency could be heading towards the 2009 levels of over $10:1 which in traveler lingo means great value to be attained on the ground in South Africa especially for those coming from countries with strong currencies.
It’s an absolute paradox and leaves me dumbfounded that earlier this year Cape Town hosted the “Invest in Mining Conference” at the Cape Town International Convention Centre, which hosted 7000 delegates drawing favorable international response, injected healthy income into the city coffers and that of the local hospitality business and has lead on to solid investment to the benefit of the whole of the South African economy only to see the mining industry being brought to its knees and the tourism industry benefiting from people taking advantage, rightly so, to the currency position.
In 2011 South Africa received a record number 12 500 000 people to its shores. Given the world’s depressed economic situation coupled still with the desire to travel and the current currency position, South Africa will be looking to break further records. There is a drive toward responsible tourism in all sectors together with a country embracing Greener and Eco-friendly practices together with such diversity in one country to attract an array of different tourist interest’s, South Africa is poised to see a huge upturn in tourist traffic and the dividend to the traveler, exceptional value.
GPS Tours is here is guide you in SA.
Never for a moment think of this blog article as a problem endemic to South Africa. Our Fauna and Flora are endemic but what does grow is Credit card and bag theft syndicates, problems which exist worldwide. South Africa however remains porous to elements taking advantage of our under resourced security systems, criminals posing as tourists, undesired by any country, people perpetrating crime right beneath our noses with impunity.
As a tourist to South Africa, especially Cape Town you will be considered extremely unlucky to encounter any serious crime which hits world headlines. Well that is if you don’t “go seeking” problems, entering high risk areas which can be said for most cities and places around the world.
As a Tourist Guide to many tour groups of various nationalities who come and enjoy South Africa, I always reiterate the need to be aware at all times of your belongings, especially when using your credit card and where you leave your bag(s).
You can not presume everyone you hand your credit card too is going to rip you off. What you can do is firstly; inform your bank or credit card provider that you will be visiting South Africa. In any event from legitimate purchase problems to theft, the reporting process will be made easier. Keep your Credit Provider contact detail in a convenient place for you to access.
Always keep your credit card in your sights. Most vendors including restaurants should have mobile card machines to process your card in front of you. Do not hand your card to anybody whom must still go and fetch the machine or in a shop where the machine is under a counter side or in a back office. Follow your card and the person if this happens. This action will be acceptable to anyone with honest intentions.
The golden rules at ATM cash machines in South Africa, always use an ATM in well lit and populated areas such as a shopping mall opposed to an on street ATM. Be conscious of those in the immediate vicinity and weigh up if it’s safe, go with your gut feel. If ANYBODY approaches you and says one word to you while you are processing the transaction, hit cancel straight away and walk calmly away.
Suitcases, Camera cases and ladies, please, take care of your handbags or purses. Do not leave your handbag resting on the back of your chair in any restaurant. It’s recommended you take a smaller purse in the evenings, which can sit on your lap easily at a table. It is also better to have a bigger purse resting at your feet instead of over the back of a chair. If you leave the table ask someone to take possession of your bag or purse in your absence.
The Soccer World Cup was so successful but unfortunately it started a wave of international crime syndicates which have found good reason to stay on in South Africa with professional operating skills, preying on innocent tourists by devastating holidays in South Africa by stealing and fleeing into thin air only to make their victims gasp.
GPS Tours prioritises the welfare of visitors and their well being and promotes vigilance in combating any scourge. We are always here for you.
The South African Airways (SAA) is introducing a new check-in baggage policy, announced on Wednesday 1st August 2012.
For those of you who like to travel as they say “with everything including the kitchen sink” then take note of the new SAA baggage restrictions. The new baggage policy will come in from 5th September 2012. The present policy of total weight of a passengers checked luggage will change. The new checked baggage policy will continue to take into account the size and weight per item however will restrict the number of pieces of baggage a passenger may check in. This policy will also be influenced by the route and class of travel. Excess baggage, or where the baggage exceeds the weight or size allowance, would be charged at a flat rate per piece of luggage. This is a change from the current policy, where excess baggage is charged per kilogram. Individual pieces of luggage cannot exceed 32kg in most cases however check the table of restrictions on www.flysaa.com and check with your travel agent too as luggage requirements may change when flying with a SAA code-share partners.
Under the piece concept, excess baggage charges will apply for:
The excess baggage will be charged at a flat rate per rule broken, per piece. This means that if a piece of baggage is both overweight and oversize, two excess baggage charges will apply. Weight/size restrictions apply to all baggage pieces, including additional pieces over and above the baggage allowance.
Excess baggage rule – weight. An excess baggage charge will apply for each Economy Class bag weighing over 23 kg, but less than 32 kg. The one exception is for travel to/from South America, where an Economy Class passenger is permitted to take two pieces of baggage that each weighs no more than 32 kg.
SAA cannot check in any bag weighing more than 32 kg, for both Economy and Business Class passengers. This is due to baggage handling restrictions at airports. Any piece of baggage weighing more than 32 kg will either have to be repacked (in order to weigh 32 kg or less) or will have to be taken to the SAA Cargo counter and checked in as cargo. Cargo rates will apply.
Excess baggage rule – size. An excess baggage charge will apply for each piece of baggage that exceeds the maximum dimensions as stipulated in SAA’s baggage policy. The maximum dimensions are 80 cm x 60 cm x 18 cm = 158 cm (62 inches).
Excess baggage rule – number of pieces. An excess baggage charge will apply for each piece of baggage over and above a passenger’s baggage allowance. These additional pieces must still adhere to SAA’s weight and size restrictions. An additional excess baggage charge will apply for any additional piece of baggage that does not comply with these restrictions.
For detail on baggage allowances for each travel destination under the new piece concept and for up to date information concerning luggage please view the table of restrictions on www.flysaa.com or consult with your booking travel agent.
About GPS South Africa
Leading Travel and Holiday Consultants with years of experience in the South African Tourism Industry. Expert and practical advice, service excellence guaranteed, great value for money and unmatched professionalism at the highest level.