Edinburgh Top To-Do’s in 24 Hr

Voted the UK’s top city for tourists, Scotland’s cultured capital Edinburgh can keep visitors young and old entertained for weeks on end. From museums and galleries to fine whiskies, gothic architecture, remarkable history, welcoming hospitality and comforting pub-culture, the city has bucket loads to offer both locals and tourists alike.

If you’re just passing through Edinburgh for a day or two, staying close to the bustling Royal Mile (the stretch between historical landmarks Edinburgh Castle and Holyrood Palace) in the centre of the action means you’ll get to see and do more on your whirlwind visit.

Here are our top to-do’s in and around the Royal Mile for any short stint or longer stay in the magical city of Edinburgh…

Drink up interesting information and fine amber elixir at The Scotch Whisky Experience

A worthwhile experience for both whisky lovers and those who can’t stand the stuff, The Scotch Whisky Experience includes a viewing of the world’s largest Scottish whisky collection, a dram of locally produced single malt, a whisky barrel ride through the production process (accompanied by the resident ghost) and more. Come out the other side a true connoisseur…

Scotch Whisky Experience

Book your tour of The Scotch Whisky Experience today.

See the city below the city at Real King Mary’s Close

Discover Edinburgh’s deepest and literally darkest secret; a warren of buried streets frozen in time since the 17th Century. On a one hour audio-visual tour below the modern day city centre, learn the scandalous history of the most prominent residents and see for yourself how inhabitants lived, worked and fought off the plague – often in vein – before being forced above ground.

A fascinating look at the history of Edinburgh, the Real King Marys Close tour is the perfect any-weather option for holiday-markers.

To reserve your glimpse into Ediburgh’s furtive past, book your tour of the Real King Mary’s Close today!

Visit an authentic Scottish pub (or two…or ten…)

The Royal Mile is lined from top to tail with an extensive assortment of pubs – some modern and minimalist, but majority of which are authentically cosy and genuinely welcoming. Grab a table on the street outside to enjoy some people-watching if weather permits, or head inside for Scottish hospitality and comfort food to match. Think fish and chips (with mushy peas of course), steak and ale pie and signature Scottish haggis for the brave at heart.

Go for the good food and drinks that’ll  warm you from the inside out. Leave with new friends, warmed cheeks and a renewed energy to continue your exploration of the area.

There are literally dozens of great establishments to choose from, but some of the most revered pubs along the Royal Mile include Deacon Brodies Tavern, The Royal Mile, The World’s End and The Mitre.

Scottish pub

Indulge with dinner at The Witchery at the Castle

Pub food is a must in Scotland, but a fine dining experience as spectacular as The Witchery at the Castle simply cannot be ignored. Where incredible meals meet an enchantingly romantic atmosphere, at the gates to the castle is where you’ll find Edinburgh’s most famous and fawned over restaurant.

Declared by Andrew Lloyd Webber to be “the prettiest restaurant ever”, whether you’re seated in the lavish original Witchery or in the fairy-tale Secret Garden, find yourself seduced by the moody lighting, the tall candlesticks, the decadent décor, attentive and charming servers and of course the I’d-lick-my-plate-if-I-could quality food, each dish prepared with the most love and attention, seemingly just for you.

Reserve your table at The Witchery by the Castle in advance to avoid any disappointment.

Marvel at the High Street performers

Got some time to spare between activities? The Royal Mile is lined with talented street performers that will have you baffled at their tricks, thrilled by their bagpipes, laughing at their acts and wondering where the time went. Love an artist’s performance? Don’t forget to show your appreciation with a Euro or two!

Street performers

Take a selfie outside Edinburgh Castle

Perched at the top of the Royal Mile, Edinburgh Castle is an impressive sight to behold. If you’re short on time, a quick selfie outside the castle as proof of your walk up the hill is just as beautiful as any photo you’ll take inside its walls.

Edinburgh Castle

Shop local goods made with love

Don’t buy your loved ones magnets as mementos of your trip to Scotland. Instead visit the local shops to pick up authentic Scotch Whisky, Edinburgh gin, kilts, cashmere, tartan scarves, tweeds, buttery shortbread or a case of good old Irn-Bru (the iconic Scottish cooldrink).

A few establishments worth popping into include Ragamuffin, The Woollen Mill, Geoffrey Tailor Kilts, Marchbrae and Royal Mile Whiskies.

geoffery tailor kilts

Our friends at Virgin Atlantic have partnered with Flybe- Europe’s largest regional carrier- to connect passengers to more destinations across the United Kingdom and European continent.Book your flight to Edinburgh via London with Virgin Atlantic today!

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2017’s 10 Travel Trends

Travel Trends in 2017

If you’ve been trolling the inevitable barrage of ‘best of 2017’ round-ups which tend to flood our screens this time of year, here’s one that may pique your interest.

Cape Town-based travel marketing consultancy, Big Ambitions, has put together this rather interesting round-up of what happened in travel in 2017 and what they believe will continue to trend in the world of travel during 2018.

 

Personalisation

Blame Amazon if you must. Today’s travellers are no longer content with being just another face on a passport. The trend towards personalisation extends not only to what airlines, hotels and attractions can do to tailor what they offer their customers. It also means that travel companies need to personalise how they communicate with travellers. Today’s travellers want to receive information and deals that are built on their specific preferences to the device of their choice. Say goodbye to mass mailers, and hello to streaming city travel guides based on your interests via your mobile.

Traveller friction

Those of us who regularly brave the Monday-morning red-eye between Johannesburg and Cape Town will be well aware of the “wear and tear” that road warriors eventually feel. Turns out too much travel can hurt business and so the concept of traveller friction has emerged as something that companies need to reduce if they want to hang on to their staff.

Overtourism

If you’ve queued to climb up Kilimanjaro, or haven’t been able to see the ‘square’ in Venice’s St. Mark’s Square, you’ll know all about overtourism. Destinations like Venice, Dubrovnik and Machu Picchu are putting their foot down by trying to reduce the negative impact of mass tourism by limiting the number of tourists and instituting tourist taxes.

Digital nomads

Who says you need to buy a house and have 2.2 kids by 30? In 2017, we saw a massive rise in the number of young professionals who leveraged technology to work remotely and live a nomadic lifestyle. There are even companies that help them do this and spaces that focus on third-place working so that digital nomads can come together and foster social interactions with like-minded people who’re not necessarily work colleagues.

Travel bans

Just when you’d gotten used to the world being a global village, someone tries to build a wall to keep people out. Enter the travel ban controversy initiated by US president Donald Trump. Millions of dollars were lost when the Trump Presidency first introduced this controversial travel ban against citizens from certain countries and laptop equipment in carry-on luggage. Expect these kinds of initiatives to continue as the world grapples with terrorist threats.

Chatbots

Ask Siri where you should spend the December holidays or Mildred, Lufthansa’s friendly chatbot, for the best rates on your next flight. Chatbots and virtual assistants have become all the rage in business and leisure travel. Using Artificial Intelligence, these chatbots can track flights, help you pack and even book your next beach holiday. Airlines, hoteliers and travel agencies are all dabbling in combining chatbots with the expertise of their human consultants. You’ll likely see more chatbots make an appearance in travel during 2018.

When cash isn’t king anymore

The new norm sees travellers booking their Uber ride from an App, buying souvenirs with Zapper and settling their supper bills by Snapchat or card. People have a variety of options with which to pay these days, with alternative payment methods like mPesa, cryptocurrencies and tokenisation emerging within the travel space. Although in the case of Blockchain, it’s still early days, airlines for example are looking at distribution platforms that incorporate this technology.

Skip-gen travel

Multi-generational travel has been hot on our radar over the past few years. Now we have a new variant – skip-gen trips. Baby Boomer grandparents are taking their grandchildren on epic holidays, leaving the parents behind to celebrate big milestones like a special birthday or graduation. Boomers are being a new nomad generation, less likely to be tied to a budget or time constraints than other generations.

The rise of influencers

If you’re living vicariously through a famous Instagrammer, you’ll know the yearning you feel when you scroll through their images of tropical beaches and piña coladas. Enter the influencer – a blogger, Instagrammer, man or woman about town who knows their way around the world and loves to share it through social media. Influencer marketing has been fuelled by the tendency of consumers to rely on social media to inform their purchasing decisions and trust peer recommendations. You simply cannot put a price to the emotional connection influencers have with their audiences, and how this influences travel behaviour.

The Internet of Things

If you can imagine that by next year, the number of IoT connected devices will surpass mobile devices, you’ll understand the far-reaching impact this trend will have on travel. We are already seeing travel providers embark on the IoT road. From Virgin Hotels which offers guests an App that allows them to interface with their room’s TV, to Disney World’s “Magic Band” initiative that simplifies everything from guest transport to dining reservations. Next stop, a single biometrics scan that acts as a Travel ID – goodbye airport queues!

And that’s not all. If you’re interested in seeing what’s trending in 2017 and a snapshot of things to come, you can download the full trends report here.

A Snapshot of Travel in 2017 and Beyond

*Photo Credit:

Tailify via Instagram

to.czyzewski via Instagram

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Tips for Flying with Children

father-and-child=at-airport

Family trips across South African borders may be every parent’s dream, but the stress of flying with children can put some people off the idea of it all. Not to worry though! Here at Travelstart, we love the thought of enriching your children’s young minds and exposing them to cultures abroad. This is why we’ve composed a list of everything you may need to get ready for that long flight ahead – hassle-free!

What kind of research should you do?

What’s the ticket pricing for a child? Does the airline offer child services i.e. nanny service? Does your choice of accommodation cater for children, can you bring a stroller along etc.? Does your child need travel documents, in accordance with ACSA and TSA regulations, etc.?

Tip: one can never do enough research to ensure your perfect vacation, be sure to set plenty of time aside for this – especially the administrative bits of flying with children.

 

How should I prepare my children for the flight?

Speak to your child and prepare them for the flight. Get them excited about the prospect of flying and explain to them that they will be sharing the cabin with other passengers. Speak about behaviour and that while flying it is a good idea to use their ‘inside voice’ and to try to be considerate of other passengers. If this is your child’s first flight, also explain what it means when the safety belt sign is on – more so that no potty breaks can be taken during take-off and landing! Also, consider packing in a ‘gift’ for other passengers seated near you in case of loud crying or a tantrum –sweets or chocolates can sometimes go a long way.

Tip: If possible, try to limit your child’s liquid intake about 2-4 hours before your flight to avoid needing the loo during check-in, boarding and take-off!

 

Which travel documents are needed?

Make sure all your children’s travel documents (ID, birth certificate, passport, visas) are in place, save it to your smartphone or to your cloud (Google Drive/Dropbox/iCloud) – make copies of it and keep them handy. In some cases when travelling without your spouse, you might need an affidavit from him/her, giving you permission to travel with your child. See below for a full breakdown of travel documents when flying with children.

Tip: Make sure to plan this part of your travel process at least 3 months in advance!

 

What kind of clothing should I pack for the flight?

Pack enough spare clothing in your carry-on luggage for those unexpected accidents. Also, go with layers instead of bulky items to warm up or cool down. There’s no need to strap your child into an oversized fur coat as he or she will most probably find it uncomfortable to travel like this. Also, don’t underestimate the fact that it can be quite a few degrees cooler in an airplane than what it was when you left your house, so a light but warm jacket and a spare pair of socks are always a good plan!

Tip: Keep a few large Ziploc bags for soiled or wet clothes.

 

How do I work around flight times?

Book online. Check in online. Arrive on time (check how many hours ahead of time you can check in) but don’t arrive overly early either. This way your child won’t get too distracted, over stimulated, or even bored at the airport, waiting to board the plane. Schedule flight times to coincide with child’s nap or bed time to allow for a smooth journey, if possible.

Tip: Travelling with a toddler? Schedule feeding times to coincide with take-off and landing as drinking/chewing can reduce the impact of blocked ears.

 

Which snacks should I pack in for my children?

Pack healthy snacks and try to avoid sugar. Sometimes, the intervals between designated meal times on an airplane can seem like forever to a young and anxious traveller. You wouldn’t want a sugar-induced child running up and down the aisle. Chewy snacks are a good idea to help alleviate the discomfort in their inner ears due to cabin pressure changes. Avoid snacks that could melt or produce a sticky mess. No mess, less stress! Good snacks to pack in are dried fruit, crackers, juice boxes and pretzels.

Tip: For peace of mind, also make sure to pack in wet wipes and extra serviettes to clean up accidental spills or just to clean sticky fingers.    

 

How do I entertain my children on a long flight?

  1. Gifts

A neat little trick to entertain and reward your children for good behaviour is to wrap up small gifts for them. Have a few ready for your child to open up during those long flights. Little gifts can include anything from a wrapped snack to a very small gift. The actual gift is less important than the excitement of what good behaviour can bring.

Tip: Keep an empty plastic bag nearby for all of the discarded wrapping paper as you don’t want your seat and the aisles to be full of it!

 

  1. Games and Apps

Children these days have the luxury of spending hours on their tablets or smartphones. They can entertain themselves with games or educational apps which makes the flight time seemingly quicker for the little ones. For a peaceful flight while flying with children, double check that you’ve packed in your earphones as other passengers will probably not want to listen to whichever game your child is playing.

Make sure though that you switch the device off 30 minutes or so before your little one’s designated bed time. This way, the child can ease into sleep and their young brains will have time to unwind from a particularly busy game or movie.

Tip: Ensure devices are fully charged and invest in a portable charging device, such as a power bank.

 

  1. Toys and Activity Books

For much younger children, bringing along their favourite toy might be a good idea as many children find comfort in their own things and it would benefit the whole journey. If it’s a very bulky toy though then consider how practical it would be for you to carry it along from one end of the airport to the next. Choose things that can easily fit into your handbag or baby bag. Make sure to have options at hand.

Tip: Activity books, puzzles, Lego, board games and pens and colour pencils can provide hours of entertainment too.

 

Can I fly with my child’s medication?

Always have any of your child’s necessary medication on hand. Over-the-counter medication as well as prescription drugs (with proof of prescription) can be taken on a flight. For South Africa, passengers are allowed to carry one months’ supply of their own or their children’s medication with them, but this amount will vary from destination to destination, so please make sure to check ahead of time.

Flights can experience turbulence, and even without that it can still be tricky at times to give a baby or child his/her medication. A good idea for all children under the age of 10 years old is to forget the medicine spoons at home and use a medication syringe instead to avoid mess. Keep some allergy medication at hand too. It’s recommended to keep your child’s medication in your carry-on baggage in case of emergency usage.

Tip: Mark your children’s medicine clearly and store it in sealable bags.

Flying with Children:  fees, screening requirements and documents

Do children pay less on flights?

Infants vs Children

Infants fly for free and are eligible to a bassinet if the parent/guardian arranges it ahead of time with the airline with which they are flying.

  • An infant is classified as a baby between the ages of 7 days and 2 years old.
  • If travelling with a child, the parent or guardian is allowed to bring along a collapsible stroller on most airlines, free of charge.
  • The infant must fly on the lap of his/her parent or designated guardian.
  • Please note that only one infant can travel with an adult. If there are two infants, two adults will need to be present, and so forth.

 

Children from the age of 2 to 18 years old have to pay full price for a flight ticket. There are some cases in which children aged between 2 and 12 years old get a discounted fee, but this is not standard practice across all airlines.

  • If your child turns 2 years old while away between the dates of their flight to a destination and the return flight, a separate flight ticket will have to be bought for the return trip.
  • All children older than 2 years old are required to have their own seat and pay the full price (with most airlines) as an adult seat.
  • Children from the age of 2 years old have the same baggage allowances as adults.

Domestic requirements for travelling with children in South Africa:

Most airlines require an unabridged birth certificate for domestic travel, though some are more lenient and just require a form of identification of the minor. It is a good idea to call the airline ahead of time and enquire about this information.

International requirements for flying with children from/to South Africa:

All minors (all those younger than 18 years old) will need an unabridged birth certificate to travel out of the country.

What is an unabridged birth certificate?

Unabridged birth certificates are issued to all babies born after March 2013 and has since become standard practice, and is free of charge. It has the details of BOTH parents. Children who were born before this date will need their parents to apply for an unabridged birth certificate at their nearest Home Affairs office in South Africa before any international travel. To do this, they will need:

  • The ID documents of both parents (original certificates – your driving licence will not suffice)
  • The ID number of the child
  • Original birth certificate
  • R75 to complete the application

This process may take up to 8 weeks from start to completion, so parents should take this into consideration when planning a trip abroad.

 

What are the TSA regulations at the airport?

Airports Company South Africa (ACSA) abides by international Transport Security Administration (TSA) regulations and guidelines.

Flying with liquids:

You can fly with amounts of baby formula, breastmilk and juice in your hand luggage. But be prepared to have this screened separately from the rest of your belongings. You may also pack it in your checked luggage.

You do not need to be flying with a baby to carry breastmilk in your baggage. An example of this may be if you are delivering breastmilk from one part of the country to another, for a friend or relative. However, if the quantity is more than 100ml, you will need to inform the officer. Prepare to have the container opened for testing.

 

Screening of children before boarding flights:

Screening applies to all passengers, but specially adapted regulations are put in place for children under the age of 12 years old. Over the age of 13 years old, standard screening regulations apply.

  • Strollers, booster seats, etc, will be screened by X-Ray. If these objects are too large to be screened this way then they will be hand-inspected by officers.
  • Children under 12 years old can leave their shoes, jackets and headgear on during screening.
  • Infant will be screened on the arm of their parent or guardian.
  • Toddlers will be screened by themselves, assisted by a parent or guardian at all times.

Children with disabilities

It is best to call the airport between 48 and 72 hours in advance to advise the screening officers that a child with disabilities will be travelling. This will hasten the screening process and allow for a smoother procedure. Children will not be removed from their mobile device to go through metal detectors.

Travel documents needed for travelling with children

(information provided by the Department of Home Affairs, South Africa):

With both biological parents:

  • Valid passports of both parents and child
  • Unabridged Birth Certificate (UBC)

With legal guardians:

  • Valid passports of both guardians and child
  • Unabridged Birth Certificate (UBC)
  • Guardianship Order

With a single parent:

  • Valid passport of travelling parent and child
  • Unabridged Birth Certificate (UBC)
  • Plus, one of the following:
    • Parental Consent Affidavit (PCA) not older than 6 months
    • Proof that in an event that a parent or parents are incapacitated or deceased and no legal guardian has been appointed as yet.

With a single parent, divorced:

  • Valid passport of travelling parent and child
  • Unabridged Birth Certificate (UBC)
  • Court order granting FULL parental responsibilities and rights to the travelling parent.

With a single parent, widowed:

  • Valid passport of travelling parent and child
  • Unabridged Birth Certificate (UBC)
  • Death certificate of the deceased parent

Child travelling with a non-parent (older sibling, aunt, grandparent, etc.):

  • Valid passport of child
  • Unabridged Birth Certificate (UBC)
  • Plus, one of the following:
    • Parental Consent Affidavit (PCA) not older than 6 months
    • Letter of Special Circumstances issued by Director-General of Home Affairs in the event that a parent or parents are incapacitated or deceased and no legal guardian has been appointed as yet.

flying-with-kids

 

If you’re looking for flight cabin crew that go the extra mile in making sure kids enjoy their flights, have a look at our list of child-friendly airlines!

The post Tips for Flying with Children appeared first on Travelstart Blog.

5 Snowy Mountains Activities: There’s More to It than You Think

Many travellers flock to Australia’s beaches and coastal cities, but there’s a more adventurous and unforgettable place to visit: New South Wales’ Snowy Mountains. This rugged mountain range lures travellers in with its pristine waterways, enthralling outdoor experiences and gourmet food and wine offerings.

The fresh mountain air flows from wide-open horse riding paddocks to downhill mountain biking trails. There’s also a variety of accommodation in the Snowy Mountains to suit all travellers, from opulent spa resorts and self-contained houses to immersive farm stays and budget-friendly hotels and motels.

1. Horse Riding Among the Mountains

Snowy Mountains horse riding
Credit: Destination NSW

Live out “The Man from Snowy River” poem with a horse riding journey in the Snowy Mountains. Cochran Horse Treks offers multi-day rides and over 160 years of horse trekking history, while Reynella Rides transports you deep into Mount Kosciuszko National Park. For a luxurious experience, stay in the brick cottages at Snowy Wilderness, a brumby sanctuary that lets you run with wild horses and explore the area’s natural landscapes on horseback or in a four-wheel drive.

Are you visiting with family? Organise a private horse riding tour with Yarramba Horse Riding, which focuses on tailored rides for different skill levels. You can learn the nuances of skilful horse riding at Mountain Ash Trails, which specialises in highly effective riding clinics. Sit back and watch the experts show you how it’s done during the Boggy Creek Show, a two-hour spectacular of horsemanship, Aussie comedy and storytelling.

2. Hiking, Heritage & Culture

Snowy Mountains Hiking
Credit: Destination NSW

The mild summer temperatures in the Snowy Mountains are perfect for hiking and exploring the region’s rich Aboriginal and natural heritage and culture. Those looking for a challenge can take on the 2,228-metre-high Mount Kosciuszko, which boasts a scenic 13-kilometre circuit walking trail from Thredbo to its towering peak. Alternatively, learn about the traditional beliefs, hunting practices and bush tucker of the native Wiradjuri people on the Wiradjuri Aboriginal Cultural Tour.

Located along the Yarrangobilly River, the Yarrangobilly Caves showcase 440-million-year-old limestone formations discovered in 1834 by European settlers. Take a dip in the 20-metre-long natural thermal pool to soothe weary legs. You’ll feel dwarfed by the enormous sugar pine trees, the tallest of their kind in the world, along the Sugarpine Walk in Batlow. Afterwards, admire the cascading Tuross Falls in Wadbilliga National Park.

3. Scenic Fishing & Kayaking

Snowy Mountains Kayaking
Credit: Destination NSW

Surrounded by forested mountains, the crystalline lakes and waterways in the Snowy Mountains reveal a limitless playground for kayaking and fishing. Recreational anglers cast lines out from the shoreline and off leisure vessels hoping to reel in trout, Murray cod and golden perch. Are you new to the area? Join an experienced local guide on a fishing tour with Steve Williamson’s Trout Fishing Adventures in Jindabyne or Snowy Monaro Fly Fishing in Cooma.

Try your hand at the art of fly fishing with Fly Fishing Tumut, which offers lessons in casting and hooking those elusive trout. You’re guaranteed to catch a rainbow trout at the family-friendly Eucumbene Trout Farm, or you can learn the basics of trout fishing at Lure Casting School in Lake Crackenback Resort. Experienced anglers can venture off on their own to fish Lake Eucumbene, Khancoban Pondage and Thredbo River.

4. Adrenalin-Pumping Mountain Biking

Snowy Mountains Biking
Credit: Destination NSW

The Snowy Mountains delivers heart-racing thrills with its downhill mountain biking trails, particularly the Thredbo Downhill Bike Run. Catch the Kosciuszko Express Chairlift to the start of the run and admire the uninterrupted mountain vistas, before careening down the legendary trail past wall rides, rock drops, jumps and off-camber roots.

Looking for something more easy-going? Take on the 19-kilometre-long Thredbo Valley Track, which runs from Thredbo to Lake Crackenback Resort along the Thredbo River. Expect suspension bridges, open grassland and verdant eucalypt forests, along with smooth descents and scenic rest stops. You’ll also find immersive trails throughout the national parks and state forests around Tumut and Bombala, such as the 20-kilometre-return Cascade Hut Trail, which has snow gum forests and a lookout over the Murray River. For peaceful high-country trails, cycle the paths from Khancoban to Kiandra through Kosciuszko National Park.

5. Food & Wine Indulgence

Snowy Mountains Food & Wine
Credit: Destination NSW

Treat your stomach and taste buds to exceptional food and wine experiences in the Snowy Mountains, from ciders, schnapps, gin and beer to cheese and jams. Wine enthusiasts will appreciate the award-winning wineries, especially Courabyra Wines, which serves cool-climate wines, such as pinot noir, chardonnay, sauvignon blanc and pinot gris. Soak up the waterfront alfresco setting at Tumbarumba Wines, which serves Italian-inspired lunches and wine and cheese pairings.

Combine semi-dry sweet and fruity wines with craft beers at Snowy Vineyard and Microbrewery, which lets you brew your own boutique beer. Purchase free-range eggs, homemade jams and seasonal fruits at Mouats Farm or hand pick blueberries at the family-owned Jolly Berries between December and March. Located on the Alpine Way, the Wild Brumby Distillery & Cafe is perfect for tasting gourmet schnapps and gin in a rustic setting.

 

The post 5 Snowy Mountains Activities: There’s More to It than You Think appeared first on HotelsCombined Blog.

A Mini Guide To The Seychelles For South Africans

The Seychelles is truly one of the world’s most coveted island destinations and rightfully so. With some of the top beaches scattered across the main islands of Mahe, Praslin and La Digue, families and couples alike find the underwater world, natural beauty and adventure potential of these islands irresistible. However with our South African currency, the Seychelles can be a very expensive place to visit. Luckily there are a few ways to experience the Seychelles while keeping your costs lower and still getting to savour the very heart of these islands.

Cost-saving Tips for South Africans:

1. Choose Self-catering over Hotels

You can find decent guesthouses and self-catering spots not too far from the beach (and sometimes with housekeeping service) between R800-R1000 per night, whereas hotels will set you back over R3000 per night and that is often excluding food. Even if you’re honeymooning and want a bit of luxury, a lovely villa or guesthouse will allow you to stay longer instead of forking out your life’s savings for a few nights. Some guesthouses do provide at least one meal which means you only have to find food for the other two meals of the day.

Find amazing flights to the Seychelles here.

2. Eat local or Get cooking

When our South African friends who frequently visit the Seychelles warned us to take lots of snacks and breakfast foods on our trip, we wondered how serious they were. But they were right, eating at hotel restaurants will ensure that you blow your entire budget. In hotel restaurants, a single burger will set you back R350, a coke R90 and beer usually around R100 each. And that’s not to mention wines and any alcohol prices which will blow your mind. So your best bet is to visit the local markets or cook your own food. On the Beau Vallon side of Mahe, there are occasional evening markets during the week where you can buy popular local dishes like chicken/viennas cooked over the grill with rice or seafood with rice. Even during the day, fishermen sell the freshest catch and vendors sell an assortment of fruit.

Take advantage of these and stock up to do your own fish braai. Victoria Market on Mahe is a great place to source local fruits, vegetables, fresh fish and spices to create your own quick dishes. Some of the little stores close to Victoria Market are popular amongst the locals for purchasing alcohol, snacks and other necessities so go where the locals go to find cheaper prices. The most exciting find for any South Africa on Mahe is the Spar on Eden island where you can find a wide assortments of brands from South Africa at reasonable prices. Find everything you need to be able to prepare your own breakfasts and lunches and save dinners for dining out.

3. Use public transport

Aside from its true turquoise ocean, La Digue is my favourite island due to its car- free status, aside from ox-wagons you can hop on and golf carts owned by resorts, you will only find bicycles to get around. Most places you stay at will offer bike rental or know where to find it.

Instead of using cabs on the bigger islands of Mahe or Praslin, opt for the bus which will you cost you between R5-R10 for a full day fare ( depending on whether they have aircon or not) and run all day. Enquire about the island’s bus schedule at your place of accommodation.

When hopping between the three islands, ferries are generally cheaper than flying and range between R700 and R900 for one-way tickets between the mainland of Mahe and Praslin and La Digue. It’s always best to book a return ticket as this is cheaper and try to avoid multiple trips. Instead stay on each island for a night or two to get a full experience of each one while keeping transport costs down. If you’re traveling as a family or in a big group, splitting the cost of car rental ( which can start at around R700 per day) will be the most cost-effective.

4. Pick your season

The low season of the Seychelles actually coincides with our summer holidays. December to March is where you’ll find temperatures of around 24 degrees Celsius and up with occasional rain. If you’re ok with some rain and mild temperatures and way lower prices then try and book between these times especially from January. During South Africa’s winter months of May to August is when the Seychelles is at its peak, these are popular months but crazy expensive with every hotel, guesthouse and service provider upping their prices. Of course it always helps to book your flights well advance to get the best-priced airfare.

What to do in the Seychelles:

1. Cycle around La Digue


Having lived on and visited many islands across the globe, I can truly say that La Digue is one of the most spectacular. I’m almost sure you will not find azure waters this blue anywhere else in the world. Renting a bike is one of the best and only ways to get around the island and allows you to really get a sense of your bearings, slow down, feel the sun on your face and the breeze ( hopefully) in your hair and to stop at the little beach or local restaurant of your choice.

2. Snorkel, swim or dive on each island

Every island offers some swimming-friendly beaches for families and little hubs for snorkeling. Enquire with your guesthouse or tour operators as to where the best places are to go for each. Rent snorkel, goggles and fins and go out to explore the underwater world. If you have a diving certificate, do some research as to the best and eco-friendly dive operators to choose.

3. Go Kayaking or SUPPing in Port Launay

Right beside the fabulous Constance Hotel in Port Launay, rent a kayak or a stand-up paddle board in the coolness of the morning or late afternoon and paddle around the bay dotted with yachts, boats and bordered by two green mountainous outcrops.

4. Island views at Mission Lodge, Mahe


Atop Mahe’s highest mountain of Sans Souci within the Morne Seychellois National Park lies the the Mission Lodge. The only remaining structure from Venn’s Town ( largely used for vanilla and cocoa cultivation), the lodge was originally used as a school by the Church Missionary society, in from 1876 to accommodate children of liberated slaves. Walk past the remains of the stony lodge, along a path over giant, exposed roots beneath giant trees until you get to a covered wooden pagoda and one of the best views over the island. Lush green hills rise up all around between low valleys before meeting the tropical-hued ocean. Definitely not one to miss.

5. Visit the Best Beaches


Anse Lazio on Praslin ( Voted one of the best beaches in the world) and Anse Source d’Argent on La Digue are the true wonders on each of these islands. Coming from Cape Town, I’ve been spoilt with beautiful beaches. But the powder soft sand, and turquoise waved beach of Anse Lazio on Praslin was a welcome surprise to my eyes. There’s parking beneath the trees right there and you can only find shade if you sit right against the trees.

Anse Source d’Argent is unlike any place I’ve ever visited. Tiny enclaves of sand are tucked between giant boulders which all appeared to be photoshopped perfectly against snorkel-worthy water. Laze in a hammock, relax in the shade of the trees and find your way between beaches and boulders in this dot of paradise.

The post A Mini Guide To The Seychelles For South Africans appeared first on Travelstart Blog.

Where are the Best Beaches In Zanzibar?

Zanzibar holds a mysterious charm which can be felt throughout the archipelago. If you’ve been dreaming of sipping cocktails on white sand beaches with swaying palm trees, you should be booking your ticket right now. The best beaches can be found across the island’s coastline. Take a look at our list of the best beaches in Zanzibar to unwind at or for exhilarating watersports.

Nungwi Beach

nungwi beach zanzibar

Located on the north coast, Nungwi Beach is hailed as one of the best Zanzibar beaches. Nungwi Beach possesses the mesmerising turquoise waters and white sand you’d expect to find on Zanzibar’s coast. Along with the locals’ boats floating on the open sea, Nungwi Beach provides the most beautiful backdrop for your vacation selfies. Make your way to the quieter side of the beach, where there are less crowds. It is ideal for travellers seeking peace and solitude surrounded by the island’s stunning beauty. Take in the best views while relaxing in a hammock and simply enjoy the present moment of tropical bliss.

Getting to Nungwi Beach

From Stone Town (Zanzibar’s main city) the drive via surface roads could take approximately 1.5 hours.

Transport options:

  • Car Rental: Estimated Price R681
  • Hotel Transport via a 4WD or private car: Estimated Price R680 – R820 each way
  • A taxi from Stone Town ferry terminal: Estimated Price R136 – R410

 Kendwa Beach

kendwa beach

Azure water best describes what is to be expected at Kendwa Beach. It is about 3 km away from Nungwi, you could even walk along the beach from Nungwi to Kendwa during low tide. The full moon party is celebrated at Kendwa Beach, a joyous event celebrated with the locals and as African beats soar through the air, you are guaranteed a dancing extravaganza! It is one of the best beaches in Zanzibar for swimming and catching awe-inspiring sunsets.

Getting to Kendwa Beach

There is public transport available from Stone Town.

  • Take the dalla dalla (minibus) number 116 at the dalla dalla station in Darajani. Be sure to ask the conductor to stop at the Kendwa Rocks junction. Kendwa village and beach is a 15-minute walk from the junction.
  • The taxi fare from Stone Town to Kendwa could cost you R615 and up.

Kiwengwa Beach

kiwenga beach

Kiwengwa Beach is dubbed the “Little Italy” of Zanzibar, owing to its long beachfront being occupied by Italian-run resort hotels. Peace is guaranteed to be felt here. This east coast beach is heavily influenced by the low tide, which makes it ideal for vacationers to wade in the shallow, crystal-clear waters and enjoy a refreshingly cold tropical drink.

Getting to Kiwengwa Beach

Kiwengwa is a located 46 km from Stone Town.

  • Hotel transport: Estimated price is R546 for a half day excursion.
  • Car Hire
  • Public Transport: Take the number 17 dalla dalla. The taxi fare ranges from R614 and up.

Matemwe Beach

matemwe beach

Matemwe is frequented by vibrant fishing communities and has some of the best conditions for relaxation. This unspoiled Zanzibar beach offers buttermilk sand to caress the soles of your feet. Matemwe Beach is not the best for swimming but this means that there are fewer crowds which is great if you’re hoping for privacy.

Getting to Matemwe Beach

The distance from Stone Town to Matemwe is approximately 50 km.

  • Public Transport: Take the number 118 dalla dalla which runs from Creek Road in Stone Town. The taxi fare ranges from R613 and up.

Jambiani Beach

jambiani beach

Jambiani Beach is the ideal location to get acquainted with the locals. It is quite a lively beach with exquisite turquoise waters and white sand. The tide goes out quite far at Jambiani Beach. You can find a range of small restaurants here. There are snorkelling spots nearby. Consider hiring a bicycle and venture down the coast.

Getting to Jambiani Beach

Jambiani Beach is approximately 56 km from Stone Town.

  • Public Transport: Take the dalla dalla number 309 from Stone Town.
  • Many hotels in Jambiani provide transport to and from Stone Town.

Paje Beach

paje beach zanzibar

Paje Beach is one of the best Zanzibar beaches for thrilling adventures, including sailing and kite-surfing. Many of these thrilling activities take place during December and February, and then again from May to October. It is located in the south-east of Zanzibar’s coast. Paje Beach welcomes kite-surfers and those seeking to relax under the sun simultaneously.

Getting to Paje Beach

The drive from the airport is approximately 1-hour long. You can take a dalla dalla from Stone Town to Paje.

  • Taxi fare ranges from R600 and up.

Bwejju

bwejjuu beach

Located on the southeast corner of Zanzibar, Bwejju has an isolated beach, allowing for the best conditions for a relaxing retreat. Take in the incredible scenes of the local fishermen returning from sail with their catch of the day in their wooden dhow boats. Bwejju is elated with local kids playing soccer and women collecting seaweed. The water is great for swimming and when the tide is low you can do a reef safari: walking to the reef without getting wet. This quiet and extremely long stretch of beach is where you can also indulge in some snorkelling.

Getting to Bwejju

Bwejju beach is located 53 km from Stone Town.

  • You can take a taxi or dalla dalla to Bwejju.
  • The taxi fare can range from R620 and up.

Kizimkazi Beach

kizimkazi beach zanzibar

The best of Zanzibar’s beaches can be found on the south coast. Kizimkazi beach is where you’re guaranteed to see beautiful bottlenose dolphins in the ocean. Head to Kizimkazi if you wish to snorkel, dive or swim with the amazing creatures and other marine species in Zanzibar.

Getting to Kizimkazi

Kizimkazi is located 60 km from Stone Town.

  • You can travel to Kizimkazi Beach with a taxi or dalla dalla number 326.
  • Taxi fare ranges from R620 and up.

Image Credit

@aoicoffee via Instagram

@lottabv via Instagram

@codeja via Instagram

copadelavida via Instagram

@cleomtl via Instagram

@irregularirishman via Instagram

@bellevue.zanzibar via Instagram

@mylifeinzanziba via Instagram

@traveltale86 via Instagram

 

 

 

The post Where are the Best Beaches In Zanzibar? appeared first on Travelstart Blog.

O on Kloof, A City Sanctuary you don’t want to miss

Travelstart had the pleasure of visiting O on Kloof boutique hotel and Spa. It can only be described as a beautiful oasis on the boarder of the city bowl. This city sanctuary  makes for the perfect escape from the daily bustle of the city.

The O on Kloof Experience

Our arrival was met with a much needed glass of champagne which quickly set the tone to what would be an afternoon of complete decadence and spoils.

Well versed in English, Afrikaans, Portuguese, Polish and Russian, this boutique hotel is quite literally your home away from home catering for both locals and tourists.

To experience the full silver service of O on Kloof, staying in the hotel would be your best bet and an absolute treat, but if a couple hours is all you have to spare you’d be doing yourself a disservice if O on Kloof wasn’t your first choice.

Book yourself and a plus 1 into the O Spa and let the weight of your worries dissolve into thin air as relish in a one of their personalized spa treatments. Whether you select a relaxing massage, a nail treatment or one of their nourishing facials you are sure to appreciate your experience.

Arrive a couple hours early with your cossie in toe and see where the mood takes you. You might like to enjoy a bit of much needed downtime in the library while consumed by a book and every now and then getting a welcomed glimpse of Lions Head peeking through the sun roof.

 

Or better yet unwind as you float around the heated indoor pool. For those a little more energetic, you may wish to utilize their range of fitness equipment in the fitness centre that adjoins the pool area.

It wouldn’t be a complete O on Kloof experience without enjoying a light meal before or after your treatment. Serving only the freshest locally sourced produce, the elegant contemporary setting with a view of the Atlantic seaboard which will leave you speechless is an absolute must on your list of things to do this summer. Remember, you’ll have to book in advance because we all know the best hot spots fill up quickly over the festive season.

This beautiful boutique hotel provided a subtle combination of allowing you to feel taken care of, while still providing you with all the privacy that you would want. A balance seldom found. (Insert picture)

Our short stay at O on Kloof gave us just a mere taste of the royal treatment one can expect from arrival right up to our departure. As you step out of this sanctuary you’ll be pleasantly jolted back to reality when you realise that you are still in the centre of Cape Town in close proximity to where all the magic happens.

To book accommodation at one of Cape Town’s most beautiful sanctuaries in the middle of the city, contact Travelstart today!

The post O on Kloof, A City Sanctuary you don’t want to miss appeared first on Travelstart Blog.

The Amazing Beaches of Mauritius

Mauritius Beach Hero

Just talking about Mauritius will more than likely bring images of golden beaches to your mind. Mauritius beaches make up one of the major highlights of a holiday in this exotic island nation. The country boasts a coastline that stretches for approximately 330 kilometres! If you just came to discover Mauritius beaches, you might run out of time before you’d have to head back home!

You can relax with this guide to some of the most popular, as well as some of the largely undiscovered beaches of Mauritius. Most of the island is surrounded by coral reefs. This has lead to the formation of several large lagoons, which provide calm water conditions. Some beaches of Mauritius island are ideal for thrilling activities, such as snorkelling, boat tours, wind surfing and kite surfing. One tip to take note of is that these stretches of shoreline are at their busiest on the weekend. Make sure then to plan your visits during the week. Now, get ready to explore these amazing Mauritius beaches!

North

Northern Mauritius has the greatest concentration and variety of beaches.

Grand Baie

Grand Baie Original

This is one of the most popular beaches in the country. Best known for its lively atmosphere, Grand Baie is often crowded with boats for swimming. It’s popular for water sport enthusiasts.

The top activities to enjoy at Grand Baie include sky diving, shopping and accessing the smaller beaches and coves nearby. You can also go on wonderful excursions to the northern islands from this Mauritius beach.

All the things you can get up to at Grand Baie will definitely leave you with an appetite. Several bars, clubs and international restaurants are nearby. These include Zorbas, which offers a Greek influenced menu. There are the Crole meals at Jardin D’Ziles, as well as the Mediterranean offerings of Sauterelle.

As to how you can get to Grand Baie, take the M2 from Seewoosagur Ramgoolam International Airport. The road terminates at Grand Baie. It’s a straightforward drive or taxi ride. Numerous buses travel along this route as well.

Trou Aux Biches

Trou Aux Biches Original 1

This charming beach, shaded by casuarina trees, is ideal for families. This is due to shallow and calm waters, thanks to a reef that’s close to the shore.

From Trou Aux Biches, you can enjoy access to some of Mauritius island’s diving spots. These include the sunken wrecks at Water Lily, and the fish-filled Aquarium. Deep sea fishing trips are available at the Blue Water Diving Centre.

As for where you can eat, there are several stalls around the parking lots. Many small restaurants and a supermarket are situated along the coastal road as well. A popular establishment is L’Assiette du Nord, with its seafood fare. Alternatively, relax with the casual ambience of L’ananas, or enjoy a cocktail at the cosy Café International “The Flame Grill Café”.

You can reach Trou Aux Biches off the M2, on your way to Grand Baie. Several parking spots are available beside the beach.

Mont Choisy

Mont Choisy Original 2

This 3-kilometre stretch of coastline is beautifully framed by casuarina trees.

Popular attractions at Mont Choisy include aerobics, jogging and water-skiing. A football field is beside the beach. Join one of many games with locals or other visitors.

This Mauritius beach features the stall of Kiosque Maguique, where you can enjoy many tasty and satisfying treats. A drive or taxi ride along the B13 to the north, and then to the southwest, will take you to other eateries. These include Le Off, with its variety of cocktails. Enjoy a casual atmosphere at La Cigale Pizzeria. Alternatively, treat yourself to a cosy experience at L’Espadon.

You can get to Mont Choisy by bus from Port Louis, and from all the villages along the northwest coast.

Pereybere

Pereybere Original 1

This stunning beach in northern Mauritius is popular among tourists and locals. It’s because of the nearby lagoon’s great depth. This makes it one of the best spots for snorkelling.

Additionally, Pereybere is ideal for a dip in the ocean and swimming. If you can secure a spot, simply sit back and enjoy the fantastic view that this Mauritius beach offers.

There are plenty of fast food stalls along the beach. A few metres from the beach, there are restaurants serving Mauritian, Chinese and other international dishes. Top-rated eateries include Cote d’Azur, Wang Thai and Gourmet Grill Mauritius.

Pereybere is easy to reach with a drive from Grand Baie along the main coastal road.

La Cuvette

La Cuvette Original

This is one of the Mauritius beaches to go to if you’d rather skip the crowds. This small stretch of coast, lined by trees, is a great spot for swimming.

Another popular activity is the day and night excursions at a nearby diving school. You can go on a thrilling exploration of Mauritius’s colourful underwater scene. La Cuvette offers lovely sunsets. For a change of pace, head inland and try your luck at Grand Baie Casino.

Fancy a bite to eat? Beyond Grand Baie Casino are several eateries and entertainment venues. These include La Botteghita, Luigi’s Italian Pizzeria and OMG Nightclub.

La Cuvette is a few minutes’ drive to the north from Grand Baie.

 

Other beaches of the north include:

  • Anse La Raie
  • Point Aux Piment
  • Bain Boeuf
  • Caloydne
  • Point Aux Canonniers
  • Cap Malheureux
  • Grande Gaube
  • Poudre D’or

East

Some of the most popular collection of Mauritius beaches sit on the east coast.

Île aux Cerfs

Ile Aux Cerfs Original 1

This privately-owned island off the coast of Mauritius is named after the deer (cerfs) that once roamed the area. Thanks to its talcum white sands and translucent waters, it offers one of the island’s most appealing beaches. Île aux Cerfs is perfect for couples, families and golfers.

At this Mauritius beach, nearly every type of water sport you can think of is enjoyed. These include parasailing, boat rides, speed boat rides, and pirate boat rides for kids. Île aux Cerfs includes an adventure playground for children. The island is also a favourite lunch spot for cruises along the coast. Golf enthusiasts can test their skills at the Île aux Cerfs Golf Course. At low tide, you can head across to the small island of Ilot Mangenie.

A small number of eateries are available on Île aux Cerfs. These include the delicious seafood and grill at the sophisticated Sands Grill. If you’d rather have Indian cuisine, head to La Chaumière Masala.

As for how you can access Île aux Cerfs, a ferry service is available from the public beach at Trou d’eau Douce. This service runs every half hour, from 8 am to 5 pm.

Belle Mare Plage

Belle Mare Plage Original 2

A 10-km stretch of white sand coast is what you’ll get at Belle Mare Plage. It’s one of the most beautiful of the Mauritius beaches. From this beach, you can access the Pass, the most famous diving site in the east.

Windy conditions and strong currents make swimming at Belle Mare Plage unsuitable. On the other hand, the strong winds make this an ideal venue for windsurfing and sailing.

In the evenings, head over to the Laguna Bar, which includes a live jazz band. For a different experience, visit Barachois (it’s the island’s only floating bar and restaurant!). At La Maison d’Été, enjoy delicious desserts.

You can reach Belle Mare Plage by driving east along the B62. Taxis are available as well to get you to this Mauritius beach.

Blue Bay

Blue Bay Original

This protected marine park has the island’s best underwater scenery close to shore.

Popular water activities include windsurfing, kayaking, snorkelling and sailing. There are also tour operators offering diving and deep-sea fishing. Glass-bottom boat trips and snorkelling excursions leave from Blue Bay. Other activities include volleyball, tennis and table tennis.

A supermarket is situated nearby. For some classic dishes, visit the highly-rated Charka Steakhouse. Tasty wood-fired pizza is on the menu at Blue Bamboo. You can also enjoy typically Mauritian fare at Le Jardin de Beau Vallon.

From SSR airport, it takes approximately 10 minutes to drive to Blue Bay.

 

Other beaches of the east include:

  • Flacq
  • La Pointe d’Esny
  • Post Lafayette
  • Roche Noir

South

The Mauritius beaches of the south offer a different side to the coastal experience. Strong currents make swimming a dangerous activity and one you should avoid. Instead, this collection of beaches gives you the opportunity appreciate the breath-taking sights of the ocean and wind’s power.

Gris Gris

Gris Gris Original

This incredible stretch of coastline along the south coast is definitely not for swimming. Instead you’ll have the opportunity to witness spectacular hordes of waves crashing against giant rocks.

For the adventurous at heart, you could try exploring the caves situated closer to the coast. The beach is a good venue for a picnic. An observation deck is also available to treat you to more of the magnificent sights.

This beach on the Mauritius island is close to various eateries. Enjoy the cosy ambience offered at numerous establishments, including Le Gris Gris, Le Saint Aubin, The Green Palm and Le Bois Cheri.

Gris Gris is near the B9, which runs along the coast until it links to the A9. The A9 allows you to access Gris Gris from central Mauritius.

La Cambuse

La Cambuse Original 1

This is one of the largely undiscovered Mauritius beaches, especially for visitors. Situated close to Sir Seewoosagur Ramgoolam International Airport, there are several signs which warn against entering parts of the airport’s grounds. Most tourists have mistaken this as road signs restricting entry to the beach. While largely undiscovered by visitors, this is a public beach with fireplaces, benches and beach huts.

From La Cambuse, there is a beach hiking trail with breath-taking views leading to the west, where you can find more untouched beaches. Another hiking trail leads out to Le Bouchon public beach.

There are no eateries close to La Cambuse, but heading in the direction of the airport will lead you to several restaurants and bars. These include La Belle Creole and Sabores. There are additionally the establishments situated near the neighbouring beach of Blue Bay.

La Cambuse is a 10-minute drive to the southeast of SSR.

 

Other beaches of the south include:

  • Baie Du Cap
  • Le Bouchon
  • Riambel
  • Saint Felix
  • Souillac
  • Pomponette

West

The western part of the Mauritius island offers the best sunsets.

Flic en Flac

Flic en Flac Beach Original 1

This 8-kilometre long, wide beach features calm and shallow water. It’s one of the liveliest Mauritius beaches. The most attractive and private stretch is to the south at Wolmar. This is where you can enjoy views of Tamarin Mountain.

Thanks to the reef and calm waters, this is an ideal place to learn to dive. The popular dive site, Cathedral, features a multitude of different fish species. A 10-minute drive inland to the southeast is the Mauritius popular eco-park, Casela World of Adventures.

A variety of restaurants and a supermarket are along the coastal road. There’s the wine lounge at The Beach Shack. Enjoy tapas at Lakaz. More food outlets are available in Cascavelle Shopping Mall.

You can easily drive or take a taxi to reach Flic en Flac. The coastal road runs close to the shore here. Numerous petrol stations are along the route, and there is plenty of beachside parking during the week.

Tamarin

Tamarin Original 2

This Mauritius beach offers wonderful views inland of Tamarin Mountain. Tamarin beach was famous among surfers in the 1970s. Today, it’s the dolphins that draw tourists and locals. Despite this attraction, this stretch of coastline has a calm atmosphere.

Tamarin is still Mauritius’s only surf beach, especially between June and September. You could also rent paddle boards or enjoy a ride on a sea kart (a safer version of jet-skiing).

You can treat yourself to French-Mauritian lunches at Le Whatever. Sundowners are available at The Bay (a boutique hotel). Enjoy modern tapas at Moustache Bistro. At the club of Big Willy’s, relax in a beer garden, which includes live music and a large sports screen.

Reach Tamarin by driving inland from Flic en Flac and the south along the A3. Alternatively, it’s a straightforward taxi ride.

Le Morne

Le Morne Original 1

This 4-km stretch of white sand includes the Le Morne Mountain as its backdrop. Le Morne is a hotspot for kite surfers. Not many locals visit this beach, making it a calm venue, even on weekends.

Popular activities at this Mauritius beach include swimming, flying a kite at ‘One Eye’ at Le Morne Point. Private horse rides along the beach are available. There is also a hiking trail up Le Morne Mountain.

There is only one restaurant on the beach, Emba Filao, which serves Mauritian staples and western favourites. In the nearby Le Morne Village, enjoy seafood dishes at Face à la mer.

Public buses stop at the entrance to Le Morne Peninsula. From there you can take a taxi ride south along the coast to reach Le Morne beach.

 

Other beaches of the west include:

  • Albion
  • La Preneuse
  • Point aux Sables
  • Tombeau Bay

 

Now you have an idea of what Mauritius beaches have to offer. Start packing your bags and book a flight with Travelstart! Do you have a favourite beach on the Mauritius island? Let us know in the comments below.

 

Photo credit:

Main image: joakimgravdal via instagram

Grand Baie: voyage_hedoniste via Instagram

Trou Aux Biches: chris_v998 via Instagram

Mont Choisy: jeansolpartre via Instagram

Pereybere: jessy.ole via Instragram

La Cuvette: serhat_tpl via Instagram

Île aux Cerfs: fannylaerdsen via Instagram

Belle Mare Plage: vingresor via Instagram

Blue Bay: lenk_ariel via Instagram

Gris Gris: davidwalzik via Instagram

La Cambuse: luvish_paupiah via Instagram

Flic en Flac: tatiadamante via Instagram

Tamarin: joe_pickering via Instagram

Le Morne: mich_bcn via Instagram

The post The Amazing Beaches of Mauritius appeared first on Travelstart Blog.

10 of the Best Burger & Beer Spots In Johannesburg

Have you ever wondered where you could get the best burgers and beers while roaming the streets of Johannesburg? Well, now you have a top 10-list at your disposal. Get ready for mouth-watering moments as you decide on which burger spot to visit first!

1. Voodoo Lily Café

craft beer

Situated in the suburb of Birdhaven, Voodoo Lily Café offers a low-carb dining experience. Try the bunless burger: it is a great choice for the weight watchers while still offering the mouth-watering flavours of an incredible burger. Voodoo Lily Café is a great place to check out if you’re banting. Indulge in the pure beef patty accompanied with toppings of your choice, including caramelised onions, rocket, roasted peppers and a range of cheeses. Wash it down with a Jack Black draught, to complete the Voodoo Lily Café experience.

“The Jack Black draught I paired the burger with more than matched my burger experience, topped off by the general vibe that is Voodoo Lily.” – @mylimeboots

Address: St Andrew St & Wrenrose Ave, Birdhaven, Johannesburg, 2196

Phone: 011 442 6965

2. Kitchener’s Bar

kitcheners bar

Johannesburg’s second oldest pub, Kitchener’s Bar continues to dominate in the Braamfontein scene. The old-fashioned theme allows one to travel back in time while still remaining relevant with the inner city Jozi vibe. Kitchener’s Bar is known for its epic burgers. The relaxed atmosphere during the day provides the perfect setting for devouring a juicy burger and thirst quenching beer. For a twist, try the addition of banana on your burger, known as the “Joburger”. Of course, what’s a good burger moment without a cold refreshing beer. The menu includes a range of amazing craft beers for you to explore.

“My rating of the Kitchener’s Bar Burgers and Beers experience – a great 8.5 out of 10. You don’t understand the effect the banana had on me.” – @mylimeboots

Address: 71 Juta St, Johannesburg, 2000

Phone: 011 403 0166

3. Society Eatery & Craft Bar

burgers fries and beer

Bask in the guaranteed good vibes at Society. It’s a space where you can enjoy great comfort food and good company with the sonic pleasures of spectacular music. Society has three burger options on their menu, namely the wagyu, rib-eye and veg burger. The ethos of Society is one which honours “realness, honesty and integrity – from the ingredients in our dishes to the craft beers we support, to the way we honour freedom, individual expression and, above all, fun.”

“…my favourite, the Wagyu burger. This is served with a fantastic garlic aioli and wins hands-down in the burger stakes as far as I’m concerned. It’s the very reason I go back to Society again and again.” – @jozifoodwhore

Address: 71 Troupant Ave, Fourways, Johannesburg, 2191

Phone: 011 788 7111

4. Jerry’s Burger Bar

jerrys burger

Jerry’s Burger Bar thrills their customers with excellent presentation and wholesome juicy burgers. They never fail to impress with their awesome menu. This burger joint is definitely one to check out. The popular Jerry’s burgers come with a side of fries or sweet potato fries. Your trip to Jerry’s would be incomplete without enjoying a cold beer. Pair your burger with a craft beer to slip into the blissful state of comfort food and good vibes with friends. Don’t forget the sriracha sauce!

Address: 5 Park Rd, Gardens, Cape Town, 8001

Phone: 021 422 4415

5. Cnr Café & Bistro

burger lettuce bun

Delight in the neighbourhood ambience at Cnr Café & Bistro. With scrumptious burgers to be devoured, including the Big Bad burger, you are in for a wonderful treat. For a cosy afternoon filled with good conversation and delectable burgers, head down to Parkhurst and enjoy a craft beer and Cnr Café & Bistro burger!

Address: Buckingham Ave & Rothesay Ave., Craighall Park, Randburg, 2196

Phone: 011 880 2244

6. Thunder Gun Steakhouse

burger

This saloon-styled restaurant provides the perfect setting for chowing on some delicious burgers. Thunder Gun Steakhouse refers to their burgers as “Guns”, and they are made with their secret recipe. The burgers come with a side of chips or baked potato. The burger menu is rather impressive and can be enjoyed with a cold draught. The craft beer range goes well with the epic burgers at Thunder Gun.

Address: 281 Beyers Naude Drive & Lewisham Rd, Blackheath, Randburg, 2195

Phone: 011 678 7224

7. Pitstop Diner

pitstop diner

Located on the way to Muldersdrift, Pitstop Diner has a unique dining experience with its “on the outskirts of town” feel. Pitstop Diner’s gigantic burgers are simply amazing and reasonably priced. The American themed diner has South African influences that will make you appreciate this entertaining place. The diner has the chalkboard menus, old-school motorbikes and tin plates to add to its American Diner styled ambience. Don’t forget to order a refreshingly cold beer to complete your amazing experience.

Address: 223 Beyers Naude Drive, Honeydew, Muldersdrift, Johannesburg, 2040

Phone: 082 953 7281

8. Stanley Beer Yard

beer burger

This beer central establishment offers something different with its out of the ordinary atmosphere. Stanley Beer Yard has an incredible range of amazing craft beers to accompany their grand burgers on the menu. Their oversized burgers with piccalilli, tomato and red onion comes served on wooden boards with scrumptious potato wedges. Stanley Beer Yard is the perfect hangout for a lazy Saturday afternoon under the soothing sun. Craft beer connoisseurs will feel at home at this amazing restaurant.

“A must-visit Jozi stop is Stanley Beer Yard. Perfectly positioned in the ultra cool 44 Stanley Precinct, you get to experience an amazing artisan side of Joburg all in one amazing space.” – @jozifoodwhore 

Address: 44 Stanley Ave, Braamfontein Werf, Johannesburg, 2092

Phone: 011 482 5791

9. Dukes Burgers

beer burger

If you find yourself in Greenside, visit Duke’s Burger for delicious gourmet burgers. The burgers are quite eye-catching as they are humongous in size. Duke’s Burgers was one of the first burger spots in Johannesburg.  The menu is quite impressive as it caters to all, from ostrich and lamb, and even featuring a Fidel Castro burger. Dukes has an impeccable range of local craft beer to pair with their masterpiece burgers.

Address: 14 Gleneagles Rd, Greenside, Johannesburg, 2034

Phone: 011 486 0824

10. Craft

beer burger tray

This Steampunk inspired restaurant located in Parkhurst delivers a unique take on burgers. From grilled cauliflower rosti burgers to pulled pork topped with mustard aioli and Emmental cheese, your palate is surely in for a treat. Craft’s authentic approach to food affords patrons a gastronomical journey filled with genuine love, and not forgetting the décor, which takes you back in time. Pair an ice-cold beer with your burger and experience the most beautiful flavours at Craft. You are sure to enjoy the hospitality at this exciting restaurant.

Address: 33 4th Ave & 13th Street, Parkhurst, Johannesburg, 2193

Phone: 011 788 7111

Image credit:

foodbasket_ug via Instagram

laslwanda via Instagram

alexhiavanwyk via Instagram

society_eatery via Instagram

jerrysburgerbar via Instagram

cnrcafecraighallpark via Instagram

1000_burgers via Instagram

christiaanneil via Instagram

quintusb via Instagram

dukes_burgers_greenside via Instagram

craftrestaurant via Instagram

 

 

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The Top 9 Most Incredible Star Wars Film Locations

Star Wars Featured Image

Get ready to discover the world behind Star Wars with these 9 incredible Star Wars film locations! Star Wars Episode VIII: The Last Jedi will make its way on circuit on the 15th of December, 2017, in South Africa. Two years have passed since Episode VII: The Force Awakens. Any fan of the franchise has already waited long enough for a continuation of the trilogy. With this next instalment, will we get the answers to our questions? Will we find out who Rey’s parents are? Who is Supreme Leader Snoke? Will Kylo Ren change sides? How did Maz Kanata get Luke Skywalker’s lightsaber? And what’s next for the former stormtrooper, Finn? The Last Jedi may answer some of our questions, while it may not answer others. We’ll most likely have more questions by the time the movie ends!

It’s only a few days until Star Wars Episode VIII: The Last Jedi opens in South Africa. Why not go behind the scenes and explore 9 incredible Star Wars film locations? With Travelstart, you can! Take a look at this selection of locations that provided the settings to create the world of Star Wars! Are you not a fan? After discovering these filming locations, you might want to catch up on all the Star Wars movies! Pick a destination and book your next flight!

Sidi Bouhlel, Tunisia – Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace

Sidi Bouhlel 9 Incredible Star Wars Film LocationsHere’s the first of the 9 incredible Star Wars film locations! This ravine near Tozeur provided The Phantom Menace’s wide-angle scenes for the pod race. Explore the area and recall the intense battle that left only one racer crossing the finish line! Imagine if Sidi Bouhlel hadn’t provided the scenes for The Phantom Menace. You wouldn’t remember the ravine at all! Why not book a cheap flight to Tunisia and discover this location for yourself.

For Tunisia, all you need is your South African passport (which must be valid for six months). You can visit the country for up to 90 days.

Villa del Balbianello, overlooking Lake Como, Italy – Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones

Villa del Balbianello 9 Incredible Star Wars Film Locations

This was the venue of Anakin Skywalker and Padmé Amidala’s secret wedding. CGI stood in place of the building’s exterior. This scene served to partly cement Anakin’s fall to the dark side. At the same time, it paved the way for his children, Luke and Leia, who would play a part in overthrowing the Empire. Enjoy more of Villa del Balbianello’s gorgeous scenery with cheap flights to Milan!

If you are visiting the film location in Italy, you will need a Schengen visa. For more information, contact the Italian Embassy in Pretoria (phone: + 27 12 423 000).

Mount Etna, Italy – Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith

Mount Etna 9 Incredible Star Wars Film Locations

Number 3 on our list of 9 incredible Star Wars film locations is by the far the most exotic! When Revenge of the Sith was being filmed, this volcano erupted. Lucasfilm sent camera crews to shoot various angles of the eruption. Later on, the crew added the footage to the background of the scenes on Mustafar. This was where Obi-Wan Kenobi and Darth Vader had their hair-raising lightsaber duel. Currently, there are still some small signs of activity around Mount Etna. With a flight to Catania, you can experience this amazing setting!

You will need a Schengen visa to enter Italy. See above for the relevant contact information.

Wadi Rum, Jordan – Rogue One: A Star Wars Story

Wadi Rum 9 Incredible Star Wars Film Locations

This incredible national park provided the perfect backdrop for the Jedha. The fictional desert moon served as a pilgrimage site for those that followed the Force. It was where Jyn Erso met Saw Gerrera. Shortly after that, the original Death Star destroyed Jedha. Take a flight to the city of Aqaba and enjoy a tour through this magnificent scene.

For the country of Jordan, you can get a visa free on arrival. If you’d like to save time when arriving, you can get this visa in advance. Contact the Embassy of Jordan in Pretoria for more information (phone: + 27 12 346 8615).

Hotel Sidi Driss, Matmata, Tunisia – Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope

Hotel Sidi Driss 9 Incredible Star Wars Film Locations

Number 5 on our list of 9 incredible Star Wars film locations is the one that started the franchise. Were you one of those that were first to watch it? You’ll definitely recognise this exotic hotel in the town of Matmata. It served as the home of Luke Skywalker on the planet of Tatooine. It was here where his story started. Soon after, Luke joined the war between the Rebel Alliance and the Empire. Book a flight to Tunisia for the opportunity to admire the Berber architecture of this hotel!

Do you need to know the requirements for entering Tunisia? Read the section on Episode 1: The Phantom Menace.

Hardangerjøkulen Glacier, Norway – Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back

Hardangerjøkulen Glacier 9 Incredible Star Wars Film Locations

Hardangerjøkulen Glacier is the sixth largest glacier in Norway. This incredible location provided the backdrop for the ice planet of Hoth. This was the home of the Rebel Alliance’s secret base. Plenty of the initial action of the movie took place with this backdrop. Remember the battle between the Rebels and the Empire’s AT-ATs? This scene was actually filmed using a miniature set! This was due to the area’s sub-zero temperatures, and the limits of film-making techniques at the time.

Travelling to Norway? You will need to get a Schengen visa. For more information, get in touch with the Norwegian Embassy in Pretoria (phone: + 27 012 364 3700).

Del Norte County, United States – Star Wars Episode VI: Return of the Jedi

Del Norte County 9 Incredible Star Wars Film Locations

This is the “Avenue of the Giants” in Humboldt Redwoods State Park, California. Along with the area around the town of Smith River, it provided the setting for the forest moon of Endor. Do you remember the creatures inhabiting the moon, the cute and furry Ewoks? These alien residents played a big role. They helped the Rebels storm the Empire’s station to take down the second Death Star’s shields. Book a flight to California and admire the picturesque setting this county provides.

For the United States, you should apply for a tourist visa. Contact the Embassy of the United States of America in Pretoria (phone: + 27 12 431 4000).

Eyjafjallajökull, Iceland – Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens

Eyjafjallajökull 9 Incredible Star Wars Film Locations

Put yourself in this vast area and you may think you’re in the middle of nowhere. That’s most likely what gave film makers the idea to use the Northeastern Region as Starkiller Base. Remember that intense aerial battle? What about that hair-raising lightsaber duel between Rey and Kylo Ren? Get ready to explore this incredible landscape with flights to Iceland!

You will need a Schengen visa to enter Iceland. For more information, contact the Royal Danish Embassy in Pretoria. This embassy also represents Iceland (phone: + 27 12 440 3201).

Dubrovnik, Croatia – Star Wars Episode VIII: The Last Jedi

Dubrovnik 9 Incredible Star Wars Film Locations

The coastal city of Dubrovnik serves yet again as a film location. This destination has already featured in the renowned television show, Game of Thrones. As well as the Bollywood movie, Fan. In 2018, the city will feature in the upcoming Robin Hood. In The Last Jedi, Dubrovnik will play the part of Canto Bight, a casino city on the desert planet of Cantonica. From photos of The Last Jedi, it shows that Finn will be spending some time in this fictional city. What will he get up to there? Enjoy cheap flights to Dubrovnik and explore the parts of the city that helped to create Canto Bight!

Are you visiting Croatia? Then apply for a Croatian visa. Get in touch with the Embassy of the Republic of Croatia in Pretoria for more information (phone: + 27 12 342 1206).

Now you have an idea where to head for your own adventure with these 9 incredible Star Wars film locations. So start packing your bags and book a flight with Travelstart!

*Photo credit:

Main image: Courtesy of Imgur

Sidi Bouhlel: filippoarosio via Instagram

Villa del Balbianello: trip.over.the.world via Instagram

Mount Etna: jimjamandtoast via Instagram

Wadi Rum: roundtheworldgirl via Instagram

Hotel Sidi Driss: world.traveler.photo via Instagram

Hardangerjøkulen Glacier: mistaajg via Instagram

Del Norte County: wanderingactor via Instagram

Eyjafjallajökull: traveler__story via Instagram

Dubrovnik: i.love.dubrovnik via Instagram

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