Category Archives: South Africa

Johannesburg Explorer & Kruger Experience

Johannesburg Explorer & Kruger Experience  4 Star –
5 Nights / 6 Days

DAY 1 – Sunday  

On arrival at O.R. Tambo International Airport you will be transferred to your hotel.  Afternoon collection from your hotel for a scheduled afternoon Gold Reef City Tour.  This magical trip down memory lane will tell you all about how Johannesburg came into being, how gold was discovered on the reef and how the lives of men and women formed an integral part of a rich and fascinating heritage.  Return to the hotel in the early evening for overnight.

 DAY 2 – Monday (B)

This morning you will be collected for your scheduled morning Half Day Soweto Tour. Soweto is a cluster of townships located at the South Western flank of Johannesburg.  It is from here that most of the struggle was fought against the injustices of the apartheid  regime and is home to sites of historical importance. The tour ends with drop-off at your hotel in the early afternoon.

DAY 3 – Tuesday (D)

Morning departure from Johannesburg with your Travel guide.  Travel to the ‘Land of the Rising Sun’ – Mpumalanga.  Your 5 ½ hour journey takes you through incredible scenery – mountains, panoramic passes, valleys, rivers, waterfalls and forests characterise the landscape.  Arrive at your hotel in the late afternoon.  Check in to start your Kruger Experience immediately with an afternoon open vehicle game drive into the Kruger National Park.  All safaris in the Kruger National Park are operated in specially designed open safari vehicles and you  are accompanied by a qualified and experienced FGASA and SATOUR registered guide.

Kruger National Park consists of nearly 2 million hectares of unrivalled diversity of life forms fused with historical and archaeological sites – this is real Africa. The world-renowned Kruger National Park offers a wildlife  experience that ranks with the best in Africa. Established in 1898 to protect the wildlife of the South African Lowveld, the park is a world leader in advanced environmental management techniques and policies. Truly the flagship of the South African national parks, Kruger is home to an impressive number of species: 336 trees, 49 fish, 34 amphibians, 114 reptiles, 507 birds and 147 mammals.

After the sun has set on your first exhilarating day, return to the hotel for dinner and overnight.

 DAY 4 – Wednesday  (FIGD)

After breakfast, embark on a full day safari into the Kruger National Park.  The safari starts early in the morning and your guide will cover as much area as possible. Stops will be included at the various lookout points within the park and you will be given the opportunity to explore man’s interaction with the Lowveld environment over many centuries – from bushman rock paintings to majestic archaeological sites like Masorini and Thulamela. These treasures represent the cultures, persons and events that played a role in the history of the Kruger National Park and are conserved along with the park’s natural assets. A packed lunch will be enjoyed inside the park. Return to the hotel in the early evening in time for dinner at the hotel.

 DAY 5 – Thursday (B)

After an early breakfast, depart the Kruger National Park and travel back to Johannesburg via the ‘Panorama Route’. The Panorama Route is best known for its cultural heritage and its dramatic landscapes. It leads through the rugged mountain range of the northern Drakensberg in the Mpumalanga province of South Africa.

Travel through “Gods playground” to God’s Window overlooking the green Lowveld. Further north along  the route, stop along many well-positioned vantage points from where one has a view of the 33 km long Blyde River Canyon gorge, which starts at “Bourke’s Luck Potholes” and ends at the “Three Rondavels“.

The Potholes are very impressive rock formations that were shaped millions of years ago by erosion. The bizarre swirl holes developed when the once rapid river carried masses of sand and debris. Time and weather permitting, stop at various waterfalls along the way. The tour ends on arrival at your Johannesburg based hotel by 18h00.

DAY 6 – Friday (B)

After breakfast this morning check out and transfer to the airport for your onward flight.

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Wild Africa – From Kenya to Cape Town – 17 Nights / 18 Days


Day 1: Nairobi – Ark

On arrival at Jomo Kenyatta International Airport, clear Immigration /customs ,met by our representative person.  Proceed for Lunch at Aberdare Country Club. You will be requested to leave your main luggage in the Country club and carry a small overnight bag . Afternoon transfer in special club vehicle to the Ark Lodge, which is ideally located in the Aberdare National Park and overlooking a water-hole. You can watch a host of wild animals visiting the waterhole. This evening, enjoy a delicious dinner. Spend the night at the Lodge viewing various animals as they come to visit the waterhole and saltlicks. Dinner and overnight at the Ark Lodge.

Ark Lodge is in the heart of the Aberdare  National Park. Its unique tree lodge with a veranda that overlooks a floodlit waterhole.

Day 2: Ark – Sweetwaters

Breakfast at the lodge. Morning transfer to Aberdare country club with drive  to Sweetwaters Game Sanctuary via the Equator crossing . Sweetwaters Tented Camp is a sheltered oasis, clustered around a waterhole and set in the pristine calm of its own private reserve, one of only four private game reserves in Kenya.

Lunch at the camp. Afternoon game drives – cum – visit to the rescued chimpanzees’- and black rhino’s sanctuaries. The beautiful Sweetwaters Tented Camp lies in the heart of this privately owned 24000 acre ranch with magnificent views across the wildlife- studded plains to the snowcapped peaks of Mount Kenya. A visit to Sweetwaters Sanctuary would not be complete without a visit to see Morani, the tame black/blind rhinoceros on the property. There is also a 200-acre chimpanzee sanctuary.

Dinner and overnight at the  Serena Sweetwaters Tented Camp

Day 3: Sweetwaters – Lake Nakuru National Park


Depart after breakfast, drive via Thomson Falls to Lake Nakuru National Park arriving in time for lunch at your Lodge. Relax briefly before departing for an afternoon game drive.

Lake Nakuru’s claim to fame is anchored on its flamingos and the over 400 species of birds found here. The lake itself is a soda lake on the floor of the rift valley.

The sight of millions of flamingos is quite spectacular. From a distance, the lake appears ringed in pink. The lake has also earned a reputation as an important haven for endangered species, particularly the Rothschild Giraffe, the Black Rhino and white Rhino. Lions, Waterbuck, Buffalo and Baboons are all resident here.

Dinner and overnight at Lake Nakuru Lodge or similar.


Day 4:  Lake Nakuru National Park – Mara Game Reserve


Breakfast at the lodge, then drive out of the Great Rift Valley to arrive in Masai Mara in time for lunch. The Mara offers wildlife in variety and abundance that it is difficult to believe; over 450 species of animals have been recorded here. You will easily see Lions, Rhinos, Hippos, Crocodiles, Giraffe, Wildebeests, Zebras, Buffalo, Warthogs, Hyenas, and Jackals, Buffalo, and a variety of antelopes. It is in the Mara that the most spectacular event of natural wonder takes place. This is the annual migration of millions of wildebeest and zebra from the Serengeti (Tanzania) in search for water and pasture. Behind their heels are predators of the savanna – Lion, Cheetah, Jackals, Hyena and Vultures. Depart for an afternoon game drive until dusk.

Dinner and overnight at the Mara Sopa Lodge.

Day 5: Explore Mara Game Reserve


You spend a day in the Masai Mara on early morning and afternoon game drives. The trees in the distance might turn out to be a family of Giraffes. Those clumps of bushes might turn out to be a pride of Lions, and the rock that moves a Rhino lumbering out of your way. With diligence and some luck, you may encounter a family of Cheetahs, or a herd of Elephants crossing infront of you. Large animals are not the only entertainment – a family of warthogs may amuse you, running as fast as their little legs will carry them, until they forget why they are rushing and stop to re-group.

All meals and overnight at the Mara Sopa Lodge.

Day 6: Mara Game Reserve – Nairobi

After breakfast at the lodge, morning drive to Nairobi.  Check-in at the hotel.  Afternoon tour of Nairobi city (Nairobi’s ancient landmark building –parliament building /Kenyatta International conference Center  / Look  out  point where a spectacular city view of Nairobi /giraffe center. Carnivore Dinner. Overnight at Intercontinental Hotel.

Day 7: Nairobi – Johannesburg – Sun City


Breakfast at the hotel. Transfer to the airport for your outbound flight.

Upon arrival into Johannesburg, you will be met by our representative and transferred to Sun City.

Known as Africa’s Kingdom of Pleasure, in the hills of the Pilansberg lies Sun City.  This resort offers everything from superb accommodation in four very different hotels as well as sizzling entertainment, casinos, extensive sporting facilities including the world famous Gary Player and Lost City Golf courses. Leisure facilities include a Water World offering a full range of water sports and the Valley of Waves, Africa’s only sub tropical water adventure park, boasting an 8.5 million-litre wave pool with 2-metre waves (The Valley of the waves closes each winter for maintenance- please check with us for the exact dates) For the eco minded the Gardens at Sun City have been declared National Botanical gardens and the adjacent Pilansberg National Park, South Africa’s third largest game reserve, boast the sought after ‘big five’ in a malaria free region.

Overnight: The Palace – Standard Luxury Room

Day 8: Sun City – Johannesburg

This morning you will depart early at 0800 from Sun City to Johannesburg, via a

Private Half Day Tour:

Begin with the Apartheid Museum opened in 2001 and is acknowledged as the pre-eminent museum in the world dealing with 20th Century South Africa, at the heart of which is the apartheid story.

For anyone wanting to understand and experience what apartheid South Africa was really like, a visit to the Apartheid Museum is fundamental. The museum is a beacon of hope showing the world how South Africa is coming to terms with its oppressive past and working towards a future that all South Africans can call their own.

In the afternoon, a wonderful opportunity to descend into a vast gold mine at Gold Reef City, named after the richness upon which the city of Johannesburg was built. Watch a gold pour, see the miners carry out their traditional tribal and gum boot dancing, learn a bit of their specially devised mine language – still used today to cover the many and diverse tribes who worked here. Stroll through the theme park reflecting the life of the mining town at the turn of the last century. There is plenty to do for young and old but remember to wear comfortable walking shoes. Your evening is spent at leisure.

Overnight:– Davinci Hotel & Suites – Standard Room

Day 9:  Johannesburg – Livingstone

This morning at 0800 you will be transferred to OR Tambo Airport for your flight to Victoria Falls, Livingstone, Zambia. Upon arrival in Livingstone, you will be met by a representative, who will transfer you to your hotel. This afternoon you will enjoy a sunset cruise (included in the cost, but no meals)

Overnight: Royal Livingstone Hotel – Standard Room

Day 10 : Livingstone


You will be collected from the hotel and taken on a guided tour of the famous Victoria Falls – a World Heritage Site. Thereafter you are free to explore further on your own, there are many other options available – book and pay for these locally. Adrenaline junkies can enjoy exhilarating Victoria Falls Adventure Activities including bungy jumping, kayaking, white water rafting, abseiling, river boarding, jet boating and helicopter flips.. For the less adventurous are also catered for with tours and safaris and activities such as game drives, river cruises,Elephant safaris, fishing safaris and cultural tours.
Overnight: Royal Livingstone Hotel – Standard Room

Day  11: Livingstone – Johannesburg – Port Elizabeth

This morning you will have your transfer to Livingstone Airport for your flight to Johannesburg (flight not included). There is a departure tax payable at Livingstone Airport US$25 (currently) per person (payable in cash)

Upon arrival in Johannesburg, you will be met by our representative and escorted to your onwards flight to Port Elizabeth (flight not included). Upon arrival in Port Elizabeth, you will be met by our representative and transfered to the hotel in Port Elizabeth  for the evening

Overnight: Radisson Blu PLZ – Standard Room(B)

Day 12: Garden Route – Port Elizabeth – Knysna


Today you will begin your Private Garden Route Experience. Depart Port Elizabeth for Plettenberg Bay, travelling via the coastline to the Tsitsikamma National Park. Tsitsikamma originates from the Khoi-Khoi language used by the local Inqwa Tribe that lived in the area some 1700 years ago meaning “a place of many/sparkling/abundant water”. In the afternoon travel to Knysna / Sedgefield for your overnight stay (No Entrance Fees Included, for clients own account)

Overnight: Lake Pleasant Living – 1 Bedroom Suite (B)

Day 13 : Garden Route – Knysna – Oudtshoorn


After breakfast, you will have the morning at leisure to explore the vibrant coastal town of Knysna, before continuing on to Oudtshoorn where your first stop will be at an Ostrich Farm, where you can enjoy an informative tour, where you will learn about the eggs, incubators and chicks (in season) and feed the ostriches by hand. Also enjoy the spectacular Cango Caves. Dinner and overnight in Oudtshoorn.

Overnight: Rosenhof Country House  – Standard Room (B)

Day 14: Garden Route – Cape Town


After an EARLY breakfast, depart at 0800 towards Cape Town, via Hermanus to Whale watch from the Look out Point or Hermanus Whale Watching. Meet at our booking office, ‘the Whale Shack’, 30 minutes  prior to departure. Once all seated we depart from the Hermanus harbour to visit the whales and other marine creatures along the way. A qualified whale specialist guide is on board to relate interesting facts and answer any questions en route.

After that stop at the Winelands if time permits. Hamilton Russell Vineyards – the most southerly wine estate in Africa and the closest to the sea – is located in the cool, maritime Walker Bay district, in the Hemel-en-Aarde Valley, behind the old fishing village of Hermanus. The estate specializes in producing highly individual, terroir driven Pinot Noir and Chardonnay, which are widely regarded as the best in South Africa and among the best in the New World. The evening is spent at leisure to explore the Mother City – Cape town.

Overnight: Table Bay Hotel – Standard Luxury Room

Day 15: Full Day City Tour + Robben Island


This morning you will be collected at 0830 for your Private Full Day Tour. We start the excursion with an ascent up Table Mountain by cable car – weather permitting (the cost of the cable car ticket is NOT included). After this visit the City centre. See the Company Gardens the Castle of Good Hope and the Malay Quarter. And lastly call at the vibrant Victoria and Alfred Waterfront. Enjoy a quick lunch (Not included) Depart on the ferry from the V&A Waterfront for a guided tour of Robben Island and the prison where Nelson Mandela was incarcerated.

Castle of Good Hope

Robin Island Prison where Nelson Mandela was incarcerated

Note: Robben Island visit is included in the cost, but weather permitting and subject to availability. The evening is spent at leisure with a vehicle at your disposal to enjoy Capetown by Night.

Overnight:– Table Bay Hotel – Standard Luxury Room

Day 16: Full Day Cape Peninsula Tour

Cape of Good Hope

This morning you will be collected for your Full Day Private Tour. Travel along the Atlantic coastline via the scenic drives of Oudekraal to the fishing village of Hout Bay. Join a boat cruise to seal island. Crossing over the mountain at Constantia Nek, travel to the Cape of Good Hope Nature Reserve. Have the option of using the funicular to the main viewing site at Cape Point. We then leave the reserve and continue along the False Bay Coastline to lunch (cost not included) and then we visit the penguin colony at Boulders Beach.

Overnight: Table Bay Hotel – Standard Luxury Room

Day 17 : Full Day Private Tour

Kogelberg Biosphere Reserve

This morning you will be collected for your Full Day Private Tour. Visit the following sights:  Winelands in the morning, De Rust Estate – home of Paul Cluver Wines – is located in the cool-climate Elgin Valley and forms part of a world heritage site called The Kogelberg Biosphere. De Rust Estate is part of the world’s first wine and bio-diversity route which stretches around the Groenland Mountain; a mentor of the Thandi black economic empowerment wine-producing project and a provider of eco-tourism adventures. Kirstenbosch in the afternoon. Whether for a casual stroll, a more stenuous walk or a lazy picnic, the gardens are a must-see when visiting Cape Town. In the late afternoon, you will be transferred to Cape Town Airport for a flight to Johannesburg. Upon arrival in Johannesburg you will be met by our representative and escorted to the Complimentary Shuttle Bus for the Hotel.

Overnight: D’Oreale Grand – Standard Room

Day 18 : Johannesburg – Departure

This morning you will be transferred the Complimentary Shuttle Bus to Johannesburg Airport for your onwards flight home.

INCLUSIONS

Kenya portion:

*             1-night accommodation at Ark Lodge on F/B

*             1-night accommodation at Sweetwaters camp on F/B

*             1-night accommodation at Lake Nakuru Lodge on F/B

*             2-night accommodation at Mara Sopa Lodge on F/B

*             1-night accommodation at Intercontinental Hotel on B/B

*             Additional meals as specified in the itinerary

*             Transportation in an exclusive 4 x 4 vehicle in Kenya

*             Services of an experienced safari driver-guide

*             Complimentary mineral water only while on safari.

South Africa and Zambia (Victoria Falls) portion:

*             11-night accommodation with breakfast

*             Entrance fees to sights as per itinerary

*             Transport in a Luxury Vehicle with English Speaking Driver – Guide

EXCLUSIONS:

*             All Meals not specified as per above itinerary

*             All Drinks

*             Porterage at Airport and Hotels

*             Items of a personal nature (i.e. internet, curio, laundry, beverages, etc.) unless specifically quoted for above

*             Tips and gratuities

*             Excess baggage fees and airport departure taxes

*             Visa and passport fees

*             Anything not specifically quoted for in the “includes” above

*             Personal Accident Insurance (PAI)

*             Value Added Tax (VAT) 14%

*             Tourism Levy

*             Airport Surcharges

*             24 Hour Free Roadside Assistance

*             Companion Manual, including Area Maps

COST

TOUR: USD 4805 @ INR 47.00 (CURRENT EXCHANGE RATE)

with Private Guide = INR 225835 per person

AIR FARE: BUSINESS CLASS FOR SECTOR BOM/NAIROBI/JOHANNESBURG/NAIROBI/BOM in C CLASS

+ INTERNAL SECTOR (ECONOMY): Approximately INR 99000

VISA: ZAMBIA + SOUTH AFRICA = INR 4755

TOTAL COST: INR 329590*

Notes: Rates are strictly subject to availability of services at the time of booking.

* Rates are subject to increase due to unforeseen changes in fuel and any government imposed taxes. E. & O.E  4 Rates are subject to fluctuations in exchange rates. 4 All outdoor activities are weather permitting 4 Gold Reef City is closed on Mondays and Tuesdays  4 Kindly note that the Gary Player Golf Course is closed on Mondays and the Lost City Golf Course is closed on Tuesdays for routine maintenance. 4 Smoking is not allowed on the vehicles.  Comfort stops will be made en route. 4Credit card payments attract a 5% service fee.

Contact: T: +91(022) 22828208/ 22812593  M: 9833128208

Email : namastesouthafrica@gmail.com       Website: www.namastesouthafrica.com

Travel Agents can enquire with NAMASTE SOUTH AFRICA for unique AFRICAN programmes.

Interview with Medha Sampat, Country Head of South African Tourism

Medha Sampat has been the Country Head of South African Tourism in India for over a year. She shares with our readers why South Africa must be on your wishlist of must-visit destinations for sports holidays as well as for unique experiences.

How long have you been the Country Manager for South Africa Tourism and how has tourism to South Africa grown during your tenure?

In 2009, I was appointed as the Country Manager of South African Tourism for the India portfolio. India has always been an important market for South African Tourism. Initially we had aligned our promotional strategies to leverage events around fashion, food and wine to lure the Indian traveller. However, we soon identified Bollywood and sports as important drivers for tourism growth. With the support of the SAT team in India and South Africa, we defined our potential audience and reached out to them with targeted marketing tools in order to create awareness and excitement about the destination.

A smart combination of promotions, advertising and media-related activities, especially during the IPL tournament in South Africa, ensured that our audiences were sufficiently motivated, which further enhanced tourist arrivals to South Africa. With successful marketing and positioning strategies in India, we have seen a growth of 17.5%, with total tourist arrival of 61007 till December 2009. With the momentum now firmly in place, we are sure to carry through this growth curve till the end of the fiscal term.

What is the role of SA Tourism office and how do you go about creating awareness of South Africa amongst members of travel trade as well as potential travellers in general?

We at SA Tourism, play a pivotal role in opening new avenues to package South Africa in a unique format that can be used by tour operators to familiarize themselves on the destination. We have come a long way determining our priorities with regards to markets, based on size and growth potential. Our biggest strength when talking about South Africa to the Indian traveller is a thorough knowledge and understanding of their needs, requirements and travel patterns. We have been promoting our product by various activities with an aim to approach the right market and effectively convey the messages.

In India, leisure products travel through a complex network of intermediaries before reaching the end consumer. There are over 28000 tour operators and travel agencies distributed across India and they are an important group where awareness and education on the potential of the destination has to be impressed. Activities have to be conducted to reach out to the Indian travel-trade industry, provide impetus to existing operators and facilitate partnerships and synergies between Indian operators and their South African counterparts. Realizing this need, we set out to plan our activities for the year, and put in place goals to be achieved. Our calendar of events includes multi-city Roadshows, Incountry Famils, fam- trips, consumer promotions among many other exciting initiatives. Trade-based activities such as these help in expanding the operators’ base, increasing visibility and enhancing understanding of the destination.

What is the estimated growth you envisage out of India in 2010-11 as South Africa will be hosting two major sporting events later this year: the FIFA World Cup and the T20 Champions League?

South Africans’ passion for sport, its world class venues, top international events and well developed infrastructure combine to make the country a huge draw-card for sports fans. Sporting events like cricket and football help showcase our wonderful tourist attractions to billions of captive fans worldwide. They work to cement South Africa’s position as a premier sporting destination, apart from bringing in millions of dollars through the hospitality, travel and tourism sectors. Moreover, the indirect spin-offs from improved perceptions abroad could have an even greater, longer-lasting impact, not only on South Africa and its development but on the continent as a whole.

The contribution of sports tourism to the South African economy is estimated to be approximately ZAR 6 billion annually. The 2010 FIFA World Cup will result in anticipated injection of about ZAR 21.3 billion into the South African economy. We are confident of reaching our target arrivals of 65862 from India for 2010-11 and we hope that the mega sporting bonanza and the subsequent T20 Champions League alongwith similar such sporting events will encourage the Indian traveller to return time and again with family and friends to our beautiful Rainbow Nation.

How has Bollywood and sporting events helped enhance Brand South Africa amongst the Indian visitors?

Bollywood and sports, namely cricket and football have played a huge role in enhancing the visibility quotient that South Africa boasts of today in the Indian market. Sporting events like the inaugural ICC T20 World Cup in 2007, the IPL in 2009 and the ICC Champions Trophy 2009 have helped showcase the country’s scenic locales amidst the sporting action that gripped the world. Playing host to events of such great magnitude has also brought to light South Africa’s proficiency to host world class events.

Films, being such a mass culture in India help reach out to a wider audience and expand the target group – family, honeymoon and MICE segment. With Indian tourists being highly influenced by films and entertainment, South Africa has in its recent years attracted a lot of tourists with Bollywood movies. The country’s locales have benefited enormously from the use of its streets, landmarks and colorful locations.  In the recent past, we have seen some of the biggest Bollywood blockbusters set and shot extensively in South Africa. Clearly, Bollywood and sports have resulted in unprecedented coverage and awareness for brand South Africa.

What according to you is the minimum number of days one should spend to get a glimpse of South Africa, especially the first time traveller?

The average stay of an Indian tourist in South Africa is around 10 days, depending on the type of holiday experience that one is looking for, where one can choose amongst the major hot spots – Johannesburg, Durban, and Cape Town. Wildlife safaris can be experienced across South Africa which is an experience by itself and a huge drawcard for Indian travellers.

Which are the Big 5 attractions that should be included for a visit to South Africa?

South Africa is a mesmerizing country with endless enchanting views but the big five attractions that should be included on a South African sojourn, should be:

The charismatic Table Mountain which is what the Western Cape Province is renowned for. Any person, who lays eyes on it is sure to fall for its powerful spell.

Second would be the Garden Route – Three of South Africa’s top hikes take place here – the Otter Trail, the Tsitsikama and Dolphin trails. It is a paradise for eco-lovers, bird watchers and solitude seekers.

Of course, who can forget the famous Jackass Penguins at Boulders Beach on the Cape Peninsula, near Cape Town which is a real thrill.

The Cradle of Humankind in the Gauteng province comprising a strip of a dozen dolomitic limestone caves containing the fossilized remains of ancient forms of animals, plants and most importantly, hominids tell a story of their own.

The fifth big attraction is the Kruger National Park with its abundant wildlife – hearing the roar of a lion out in the wild is a truly exhilarating experience!

What are the initiatives  taken by SA Tourism to educate the travel trade on Brand South Africa?

We have organized several activities in the past to expand our trade network here in India. Trade events like roadshows, incountry famils, the internationally renowned annual trade convention, Indaba amongst others have helped build strategic partnerships with our Indian trade partners. We have also introduced the Food Map along with our Adventure and Luxury Style Guides that have been effective blueprints for travel trade to understand South Africa’s offerings and help Indian travellers navigate better during their stay in South Africa. Our new training programme, “Learn South Africa”, will be implemented in 12 cities across India that will help travel industry representatives get a better understanding of South Africa as a destination and all its tourist attractions. The programme aims to help travel trade promote, plan and organise quality holidays to suit client requirements. This is a first for any tourism board, and we are proud to be setting the benchmarks for the industry.

There are several myths and apprehensions about South Africa – distance, safety, South Africa offers only wildlife. How do you plan to address these issues?

South Africa is as safe as any other destination in the world, provided you take some normal precautions like you would anywhere else as a tourist. Simply stay alert and be aware of what is going on around you and you will most likely enjoy a perfectly safe holiday. As for the rest of the misconceptions, whilst there is a continuous process of education that we undertake with the trade, who can deny that seeing is believing!

What according to you are the must-visit experiences to be included for visitors to South Africa on:

Honeymoon – South Africa is a Honeymooners haven and it would be incomplete with out paying a tribute to Cape Town and Cape Peninsula well known for world-class shopping, nightlife and some exquisite food and wine. One can enjoy a romantic candle light dinner at Robben Island, Table Mountain or the V & A Waterfront, an exceptionally romantic outing that will ensure you have a wonderful time with your spouse. Another interesting place to discover is Hermanus, where couples can traverse the magnificent Walker Bay that provides nature lovers with an extraordinary opportunity to explore the wonders of the Cape’s beautiful flora and fascinating coastal and marine life.

Adventure – Adventure activities in the Drakensberg region are sure to leave you gasping which include hiking trails, horse trails and safaris, fly fishing, white water rafting and rock climbing to mention but a few. Furthermore the Hot air ballooning in Mpumalanga and Bungy Jumping off the Bloukrans Bridge is sure to suffice your appetite for adventure. And there’s many more unique activities on offer for the adventure-seeker – the shark-cage diving offering fascinating encounters with the Great White Shark; the zip-line and the canopy tour to name just a few.

Family break – A shopping spree at The Gateway Mall (Durban), situated in Umhlanga, is reputed to be the largest shopping centre in the Southern Hemisphere. It has a wide variety of shops, a supermarket, over 30 restaurants and some unusual entertainment facilities. Fourways Mall shopping centre in Johannesburg is famous for fashion and also offers a number of elite jewellers with a choice of selected diamond and gold jewellery. If your family enjoys music, a visit to South Africa’s renowned musical show, Umoja will enthrall and captivate your heartbeats. Of course, the call of the wildlife during a game drive safari in the Kruger National Park is enjoyed by the young and old alike, and makes for a perfect family outing.

Special interests such as wine and golf – Combine your love of safari and your passion for golf at the savannah courses. And a glass of wine to celebrate a golf game will unquestionably be soothing to your soul. For which the Cape Winelands are the most scenic in the world with Pinotage and Hanepoort being made from specially cultivated grapes. Sauvignon Blanc, Chenin Blanc (steen) and Chardonnay are the buzz at the moment in South Africa and there’s plenty of options to enjoy these gourmet luxuries.

What according to you are the top 3 favourite teams for the 2010 FIFA World Cup?

There is a spirit of FIFA that is unmatched anywhere in the world. While Brazil, Italy and France are the hot favourites, all eyes are on the home team, Bafana Bafana this FIFA season to keep the trophy back home. All the countries have come together to showcase their best teams on a common platform. As the vuvuzelas (see photo below) herald the kick-off, we invite the world to bring on the games!

Which are the major sporting events and Bollywood shoots lined up for the future after the FIFA World Cup?

On cricket action, the T20 Champions League is scheduled to take place in South Africa in September this year. Also, the Indian team will tour South Africa in October-November to add to the cricket buzz. As for other sporting events, there is plenty more that keeps happening such as the ATP South African Open which see participating from the top stars of Indian tennis. On Bollywood, it would be difficult to pin down which movies are being shot there during the course of the year. But there is plenty of star-candy at any time in South Africa!

Indians are becoming more discerning as travellers. Which are some of the luxury and exclusive tourism products that one can experience only in South Africa?

Deep in the rugged bushveld, in the heart of an ancient volcano, lies the world’s most unique resort, the internationally acclaimed Sun City. The resort has a unique heartbeat and an African rhythm of its own and is unlike any other resort destination in the world. This is pure fantasy where your every desire is met. Apart from this if one wants to submit his mind and body for a complete revitalization process, then luxury spas in South Africa are rejuvenating havens to unwind. Karkloof Spa in Masunduzi, Lapologa in Pretoria and Mangwanani Private African Day Spa in Gauteng are just a few of the luxury doorways to experience eternal bliss. Many of our game lodges in the heart of the Kruger National Park like the Singita Game Reserve, the Earth Lodge at Sabi Sabi offer luxury unlimited. And these, are but a few that I mention!

Kruger National Park has become synonymous with the legendary Game Drives. What is it that makes a Game Drive in Kruger National Park so special and unique?

In a Kruger National Park safari you will be in awe with the plenty of Big Five sightings. At Kruger, one can experience South Africa’s wilderness in a self-drive safari, or relax and take in the sights on a guided wildlife tour, explore the bush on foot, stay in an exquisite tented camp or spend the night at a luxury lodge. A safari in Kruger National Park not only provides guests with the opportunity to encounter the wild but also allows for cultural interaction. The professional guides help you to identify the animals that grope in the dark and ensure that you will not miss the best game sightings. South Africa’s safari game lodges offer an unbeatable combination of game drives, walks with skilled trackers, and exclusive accommodation in pristine natural surroundings.

Which is your preferred destination in South Africa and what are the emerging places to visit for the Indian traveller?

As a travel destination, South Africa is uniquely placed because it offers something for everyone.

Depending on the type of holiday experience that one wants, one can go to the place of one’s choice in South Africa. If one wishes to experience a serene beach holiday, KwaZulu-Natal is the place to be, because of its favorable climate. Cape Town and Garden Route beckons the Indian traveller to get a glimpse of the scenic beauty. To experience wildlife and get lost in the ‘Land of Bushes’, one can visit the Limpopo Province or Mpumalanga and stay in one of the game reserves to experience the breathtaking safari. If night clubbing and culture is on one’s itinerary, then there is no better place than Johannesburg.

While Cape Town, Johannesburg and Durban are among the top favourites in the globetrotter’s wish-list, other places in the Northwest province and Eastern Cape are also being explored.

What is your opinion of Namaste South Africa (www.namastesouthafrica.com) – a dedicated online platform for the Indian traveller to South Africa?

It is an interesting website, packed with lots of information and exciting visuals.

Lastly, your message to readers:

For all those sports enthusiasts, who want to experience an unforgettable adventure in the wild and not lose an opportunity of a lifetime, get ready with your backpacks and head to South Africa – a country where “It’s Possible!”

5 Things to Say WOW about Natural South Africa

  • South Africa has one of the oldest meteor scars in the world. The  meteor plummeted to Earth nearly two billion years ago, predating the heady days of oxygen and multi-celled life. The Vredefort Dome was recently declared a World Heritage Site.
  • South Africa is the world’s leader in mining and minerals. It has nearly 90% of the platinum metals on Earth, 80% of the manganese, 73% of the chrome, 45% of the vanadium and 41% of the gold.
  • The world is divided into six floral kingdoms. One of these is located entirely within South Africa. The Cape Floral Kingdom has 9600 plant species, 70% of which are not found anywhere else in the world.
  • South Africa is home to the largest land mammal (Elephant),   smallest mammal (Least Dwarf Shrew), fastest mammal (Cheetah), largest bird (Ostrich) and the largest fish (Whale Shark).
  • The African Black-Footed Penguin, the largest colony of which is found on Dyer Island off the Western Cape, can swim up to 40 kilometres per hour which is faster than the Atlantic Bottlenose dolphin.

5 Things to Say WOW about Cultural South Africa

  • South Africa has the only street in the world to house two Nobel Peace Prize winners – Vilakazi Street in Soweto has houses owned by Nelson Mandela and Archbishop Desmond Tutu.
  • South Africa has the longest wine route in the world, the R62 wine route.
  • The Transfrontier Park set in South Africa, Mozambique and Zimbabwe is a world first. The 38600 square kilometre park will be   bigger than the Yellowstone National Park in the US, and bigger than Switzerland, Belgium or Taiwan.
  • South Africa has 11 official languages: Afrikaans, English, Ndebele, Pedi, Sotho, Swazi, Tsonga, Tswana, Venda, Xhosa and Zulu.
  • More than 50% of the Paragliding world records have been set in  South Africa.

5 Things to Say WOW about the Big Five

  • The roar of a male lion can be heard up to a distance of 8 kilometres.
  • Elephants drink about 190 litres of water a day. This is equal to the average daily consumption and usage of an Indian household.
  • Leopards have a special ability of being able to hang upside down from trees.
  • Rhinoceroses have roamed the Earth since the last 50 million years.  That is approximately 50 times older than man.
  • The African Buffalo is considered to be the most dangerous of the Big Five because it is so unpredictable. It gets nervous when not in a herd and attacks at the slightest provocation. And once injured or attacked it never forgives. Some buffaloes have been known to follow hunters who attacked them till the very end.

5 Things to Say WOW about the 2010 FIFA World Cup

  • The host team automatically qualifies for the FIFA World Cup and        does not have to participate in the qualifying rounds. However, this   year’s host – South Africa – is the first host team since 1934 to participate in the World Cup qualifiers.
  • Zakumi – a leopard with green hair – is the official mascot of the 2010    FIFA World Cup.  ZA is the internationally used abbreviation for    South Africa. And ‘kumi’ means ’10’ in different African languages.
  • The match ball for the 2010 World Cup has been named Jabulani which means ‘bringing joy to everyone’ in the Zulu language.
  • The number 11 plays a fascinating role in this World Cup. The World Cup ball is the 11th World Cup match ball manufactured by Adidas.  The ball features 11 colours. There are 11 official languages in South Africa. And the World Cup will start on the 11th day of June and end on the 11th day of July!
  • This is the first time in its history that the FIFA World Cup will be held on African soil.