With Nelson Mandela's centenary birthday celebration this week, there has been a heightened interest from travellers to visit South Africa, reports Luxury Gold Vacations.
Guests can experience Mandela’s legacy with Luxury Gold’s 12-day luxury guided journey, Spectacular South Africa. They visit Cape Town’s UNESCO World Heritage Site of Robben Island, where he was imprisoned with many other notable anti-apartheid activists. An ex-political prisoner shares personal stories with guests who also have time to explore the island. They later meet Manfred Jacobs, a former warden at the Victor Verster prison where Mandela was also imprisoned and where he spent the last 14 months of his 27-year-long imprisonment.
The tour also visits the not-forprofit After School and Youth Skills Development Programmes that supports the Western Cape communities; Cape Peninsula and the Winelands; and Table Mountain where guests enjoy sundowner cocktails at the summit. Spectacular South Africa’s safari component is three days at Kruger National Park through Big Five territory, staying at Lion Sands Lodge on the banks fo the Sabie River, followed by a trip to Victoria Falls. Spectacular South Africa has departures for the rest of 2018 from August to December 2018. www.luxurygoldvacations.com
The annual Swiss Travel Pass SuperStar Program is back and will run from 2 July to 28 September 2018.
Adventure World Travel’s destination expert for Africa, Ryan Kendall, has recently returned from a reconnaissance in Africa and shares his top three insights:
1. Two weeks of driving through Namibia brought new highlights such as tracking black rhinos at the Desert Rhino Camp in Damaraland, star gazing over the Namib Desert, and climbing the ‘Big daddy’ sand dune in Sossusvlei. ‘Little Kualala is a luxurious desert retreat in the Kulala Wilderness Reserve and each of the 11 climate-controlled thatched kulalas there have a private plunge pool and a roof-top star bed’ Kendall tells of one of his camp stays in Namibia.
2. He also reports on a rebirth of Zimbabwe as a safari destination: ‘I noticed several new lodges and significant investment going into the tourism opportunities says Kendall about changes in the region. Ryan participated in a walking safari in Hawange National Park with Imvelo Safari Lodges. ‘Imvelo are leaders in eco-tourism and if you’re looking for a remote and exclusive destination, one that actually makes a difference to local communities and wildlife, Zimbabwe’s Bomani Tented Lodge is a great choice’ he says.
3. A third insight came from a visit to Cape Town where Kendall attended the ‘We Are Africa’ conference. ‘I was able to get a deep understanding of the diversity of product and stories coming out of Africa but also, that Cape Town is open for business. A tourist really won’t notice any changes due to the water crisis, the area and issue is being well managed so that there is no impact on a tourist’s experience.
One of the more unusual World War 1 commemorations takes place in Zambia in November. Jill Grant of A Walker’s World and Cycling Europe was at ZATEX, the Zambia Travel Expo, earlier in the year and the WWI commemoration was among the discussions there.
While visa complications for New Zealanders travelling to South Africa have come at an unfortunate time in terms of Trafalgar’s Africa portfolio launch, they should not deter agents from promoting and selling the destination, says the company’s CEO.
Africa’s 5% share of global travellers (62 million of the world’s 1.2 billion tourists) could be doubled in the next decade with the right collaboration, policies and investment. That’s according to South African Tourism CEO Sisa Ntshona who was promoting ‘Brand Africa’ at the Africa’s Travel Indaba recently in Durban.
‘Africa’s tourism sector grew 8% in 2017, 1% above the global average,’ says Ntshona. ‘The forecast is for continued growth – no other continent has as much potential to grow.’ The World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) reports tourism is already an economic force on the continent – contributing a total of 8.1% to the GDP and employing 6.5% of the workforce in 2017. ‘Tourism can take us from poverty to prosperity, specifically women and young people in rural areas,’ says Ntshona who highlighted the number of small, local operators exhibiting at Indaba. ‘Today’s travellers want authenticity, and Africa covers that.’
South Africa itself has an ambitious growth plan for the next five years – to increase its visitors by 40% to 10 million. ‘South Africa has something for everyone, every wallet and every generation,’ says Ntshona. ‘We are seen as a five-star destination but we’ve got three- and four-star. Kruger is as big as Israel and you can observe the same lion from a backpacking tent to six-star luxury.’ Ntshona is also encouraging visitors to combine South Africa with another African country. ‘We are shining the spotlight so that everyone gets to benefit. Instead of spending 10 days in South Africa, how about 20 days in the region?’
From the iconic to the unexpected, Trafalgar has opportunities for your clients to see Europe through Autumn, Winter and Spring. Trafalgar’s selection of itineraries through Europe encourage year round travel, outside the peak season, for your clients who are looking to avoid crowds and make the most of cost savings.
New for 2018 is the nine day Enchanting France itinerary. This Country Explorer itinerary is a journey through France from Paris to Burgundy, and Strasbourg to Dijon. Now priced from $2821 pp, this trip includes highlights of accommodation at an 18th century chateau, dining with a local family on their 17th century farm, and at least one surprise Hidden Treasure. Trafalgar’s 7.5% Early Payment Discount is valid until 23 August 2018. www.trafalgar.com/en-nz
World Journeys recommends trekking to see the endangered gorillas in Uganda’s Bwindi Impenetrable Forest – a UNESCO World Heritage Site and home to over half the world’s remaining mountain gorilla population. They can only survive in the wild meaning the only chance of seeing them is trekking into their native forests in Africa. World Journeys offers this opportunity on its Magic of the Mountain Gorillas itinerary. Travellers are able to stay at The Sanctuary Gorilla Forest Camp, which is visited by gorilla families and may mean long hours of trekking isn’t required. Visit worldjourneys.co.nz/ destinations/africa/uganda/
Back-Roads Touring has a Europe Sneak Peek campaign, where clients can save up to $1,042 per couple on some of its most popular tours for 2019 travel. The deal is on sale to 19 June 2018. The early bird special applies to selected departure dates from 10 of Back-Roads’ most popular tours including Italian Indulgence, Iberian Inspiration and Corners Of Cornwall.
Back-Roads Touring country manager APAC Dennis Basham says now is the perfect time for travellers to book their UK or European holiday. ‘Catering to the mature traveller, Back-Roads recognises the demand for unforgettable experiences that take customers on an authentic, scenic route of discovery,’ he says. He adds that available experiences include lunch at Rick Stein’s signature restaurant The Seafood Restaurant, traditional Italian cooking lessons in a Tuscan villa, visiting the resting place of William Shakespeare or exploring the coastlines of Ireland. More info here backroadstouring.com
Rovos Rail fans will have to wait until 2020 for a berth on the new Trail of Two Oceans journey from Tanzania to Angola. When the July 2019 departure was launched in January this year, it sold out in three weeks. It now has a waiting list and the 2020 trip is filling up. ‘We are surprised at how quickly it has sold out,’ says Estee Badenhorst, marketing with Rovos Rail. ‘It’s been mainly repeat clients who have booked the journey,’ explains key account manager, Alicia Taljaard. ‘For ‘country tickers’, the train travels through four countries – Tanzania, Zambia, southern Democratic Republic of Congo and Angola.’ The once a year journey leaves Dar es Salaam on 19 July 2019 and, after a three-day turn around leaves Lobito for the return journey on 2 August (this leg is also booked out).
Taljaard says the changing scenery in Angola includes a vast watershed scattered with fisheries and where the railway line is built up on the water. ‘You then travel through green, lush jungle, baobab forests and dry arid dunes. In the Congo it’s remote. There’s jungle and copper mining but the thing I remember most is the warmth of the people.’ When the journey ends in Lobito, guests stay one night at the new Terminus Hotel. ‘We recommend guests then add a side trip to the capital Luanda, flying from nearby Catumbela,’ says Taljaard. In Luanda, points of interest include old forts and the trip incorporates a game drive and river cruise in nearby Kissama National Park.
– Trish Freeman
Think narrow streets, cobblestone laneways, churches packed with history, ancient buildings and towers and not to mention endless options for alfresco dining, all enclosed by well-preserved Renaissance walls, and you’ve got the historic city centre of Lucca, Tuscany. The charming destination is on show this week as part of an educational organised by The Italian State Tourist Board and Lucca Promos ahead of the Buy Tuscany exhibition this week.
Strict water saving measures, early winter rain and an above average rainfall predicted for the next three months has meant that Cape Town’s ‘Day Zero’ for water has been pushed back to 2019. ‘Cape Town is open for business,’ says Melyne Hovasapian, trade relations manager, Australia New Zealand for South African Tourism.
South African Airways have reduced regional flight schedules between Johannesburg and some African countries.
The changes reflect demand on affected routes as well as the airline’s desire to maximise efficiencies across its network and to return to profitability as soon as possible.
No intercontinental routes are impacted by the announcement with the changes taking effect from the end of September finalising in November 2017.
Back-Roads Touring has recently launched its most significant offering yet – 50 2018 itineraries, with new additions such as Madeira, Malta and a Battle of Britain itinerary.
For foodies, the Cornwall Food Tour promises a culinary adventure, including lunch at Rick Stein’s restaurant and a cooking demonstration at the renowned Fat Hen. Clients can unlock the secrets of Madeira as they sample wine and cruise the Funchal Bay in the Madeira Highlights Tour, or explore some of Italy’s historical islands by boat in the Sail the Bay of Naples tour. Other new tours include Iceland Highlights, Champagne and Great War Cruise, a Dubai stopover and more. Back-Roads Touring reports guests can save up to $720 per couple on all 2018 tours with its early bird special, available until 15 January 2018.
The Heart of Hollywood World Tour will premiere at The O2 Arena in London on 20 June this year for a four-week run.
The Heart of Hollywood World Tour is an exhibition, show and attraction that will visit 60 cities over the course of five years, allowing the world to engage with the Hollywood sign before returning it home to Los Angeles
There is still some space available on a safari this March which sees award-winning National Geographic photographer Robin Moore, on an exclusive six-night excursion to capture Kenya from behind the lens.
This Cultural Photographic Safari journeys from Girae Manor in Nairobi to Sasaab in Samburu, ending at Solio Lodge near Mount Kenya and the Aberdare Mountains.
Latitude Hotels Group is launching another property in Africa this September, Latitude 0.
The Kampala location is just one of many on the list for the group with further city hotels in the planning stages – Addis Ababa, Nairobi, Kigali, Dar Es Salaam, Maputo, and Harare.
Munich Airport showed substantial growth in 2017, with new traffic records in several categories.
The airport’s passenger traffic increased by 2.3 million to a new high of 44.6 million. This was a 5.5% gain over the 2016 figure.
The airport also saw a strong surge in take-offs and landings, with an increase of more than 10,000 to approximately 405,000 – a gain of 2.6%.