Top 10 Packing Hacks for Couples ( who can’t pack light).

So it’s time to embark on a getaway for two, so take advantage of the gift of sharing and pack light. Once you travel with kids, packing light is not really an option and when solo, there’s no one to help you to carry all your bags. Here are a few packing tips to make your load lighter as a pair…

1.Share a pulley bag.

Unless you’re heading on a whirlwind backpacking trip or a trekking mission to multiple mountainous regions like the Machu Picchu in Peru, you don’t really need to carry your life on your back. Most travellers will find themselves checking into a hotel with a porter as opposed to a hut in the middle of nowhere (although that is always an epic idea), so a suitcase with wheels is the most travel-friendly. Your partner may find every excuse as to why all their clothes and big shoes can’t fit into half a suitcase with your clothing, but you can make it work. Wheels mean ease while in transit, and free hands for one of you to buy hot coffee, snacks and have passports ready on hand at the airport and hotel.

tropical holiday

Warm tropical holidays mean light packing.

2. Travel to a warm destination.

The elimination of winter and a cold terrain will literally cut your load in half. No bulky woolies, jackets, boots or scarves; only light clothing with the ability to fit into tiny spaces. Island holidays (Mauritius, Thailand, Zanzibar, Bali) require nothing more than a swimsuit, sunblock, hat, kimono, sarong towel, slip slips, sunglasses, one or two dresses, pair of shorts, t-shirts, light pants and top for evenings and a rain mac for possible tropical downpour. Ladies, now is your chance to take a make-up break too; humidity, sunblock and seawater are not good company for your foundation and mascara. Plus fresh air and some vitamin D will do wonders for your skin.

 

3. Welcome Hand Roll Vacuum Bags into your life.

With a surefire inability to pack lightly, these hand roll vacuum bags can help you to pack clothing for a three week Europe trip. Because a vacuum cleaner is optional and air can be compressed by rolling the bags, you’ll be impressed with this new travel hack. Autumn in Europe means light clothing for Italy and warm clothing for Austria and Switzerland which meant tons of luggage. However, you can save tons of space with these bags and ensure that you no longer have to sit on your suitcase to close it.

4. Take Microfibre pocket towels.

Most hotels and guesthouses will offer up gigantic ultra plush towels for guests, but if you’re heading to a backpackers, camping stay, or cabin somewhere near the coast or mountains, invest in a microfibre pocket towel Cape Union Mart’s Sea to Summit ones are great as these are extremely thirsty for their size, dry quickly and fold up into a tiny bag.

5. Borrow or buy a Down jacket for Cold Destinations.

The best item of clothing you can own is black down jacket which is made to keep out the icy cold in winter or snowy conditions and rolls up into a tiny bag the size of two fists. Every other winter jacket usually takes up a quarter of your suitcase and doesn’t even keep you nearly as warm. A roll up down jacket is the ultimate space saver when it’s tricky to pack light.

6. Take one unisex backpack.

This means you can each take turns to carry the backpack as a carry-on or while out on day trips.  If you travel often you may always need to take a heavy tech bag for camera gear, tripod and GoPro etc so one backpack for spare clothing or snacks is perfect between the two of you.

backpack

Explore with a unisex backpack.

7. Minimize your electronics.

Working in travel means that this is a tricky one; you may both be inclined to each take your laptops, phones and all charging equipment. If possible and especially if you’re are going on a strictly holiday adventure; leave one or both laptops at home and use your phones to connect to WiFi for emergencies. Take one charger plug with dual ports so you can both charge your devices using only one outlet. One camera is usually enough between two given that one of you may want to shoot stills and the other may want to listen to the tour guide or record a video.

electronics

Minimize your electronics for a trip.

8. Share a toiletry bag.

Depending on where you’re going, you really don’t need two toiletry bags and tons of products. Decant your big-product items into 100ml travel-friendly containers to bring your overall luggage weight down and share as many products as possible ( e.g toothpaste and shower gel)

toiletry bag

Share a toiletry bag for travel.

9. Packing Cubes.

These little cubes which you can zip-up will definitely come in handy if you’re sharing a bag. They can easily separate underwear, ironed folded clothing you want to keep neat and make finding your items way easier than rummaging through everything first.

10. Try take only Carry-on Luggage.

If you’re not keen on the idea of sharing one large bag to check-in then opt for two light rolling carry on bags. This means never having to wait in long queues to check your luggage in or wait for them to appear on the conveyor belt post-flight.

We hope these packing tips were helpful. Do you have any tips of your own? Please share them with us in the comment section below.

Book cheap flights to you dream destinations now and don’t forget to make use of our packing tips!

The post Top 10 Packing Hacks for Couples ( who can’t pack light). appeared first on Travelstart Blog.

Top Romantic Getaways for Adventurous Couples

If you are a couple that’s keen to take a breather, to get away from it all and romance each other while exploring the adventurous side of travel—rather than just lounging by the pool sipping cocktails; then this list of adventure activities is for you!

Seychelles

Being the tropical paradise that it is, only a five and half hour flight from Joburg, the Seychelles offers up water sports of every variety on a few of its islands. When planning your visit as a couple, try to split your time between the main island of Mahé and the car-free island of La Digue. Rent a SUP (stand-up paddle board) in Port Launay on Mahé and SUP in the bay amongst the yachts and kayakers. Rent a bike and make your way around La Digue and don’t leave without diving or snorkeling in the bluest, clearest water you’ll ever lay eyes on.

couples Seychelles

Wild Coast, South Africa

Local is always a good idea for couples and each time you visit another part of the country, you’re sure to be blown away by its diversity and beauty. The Drakensberg, Magaliesberg, West Coast and Kwa-Zulu Natal are all rich hubs for adventure activities but the Wild Coast remains a firm favourite of many South African couples.Take your loved one horse-riding on the beach in Chintsa, kayak on the Xhora River near to rural Bulungula and enjoy hikes and trails of various intensities near to Hole in the wall.

Bali, Indonesia

While Bali is popular amongst travellers wanting to shop, party and beach it up, for couples the best plan of action would be to get out of the gridlocked Kuta immediately! Rather head for the mountains of Batukaru, to the volcanoes and the lessor-known West and East Coast areas. Surfer couples can find delightful right-hand breaks in the small town of Medewi on the West Coast. The trail seekers and mountain jeep trackers can explore Batukaru and its surrounds. The best thing you can ever do as a couple in Bali is rent a Jeepney and explore the quieter areas far from the tourist hubs.

Okavango Delta and Linyanti, Botswana

When it comes to couple’s romantic bush getaways, wild escapes and glamping;it doesn’t really get any better than Botswana. Once you visit the delta and the Linyanti concession, you’ll be spoiled for life and will struggle to ever return to any other game reserves. Totally wild, pristine and with some of the world’s richest ecosystems existing here, you will lose yourself to the allure of this country which places ecotourism very highly on their list of priorities. Take a trip in a traditional mokoro ( canoe) through the swamps, embark on guided walks with a game ranger or sleep beneath the stairs on a raised platform at certain camps where you are barely separated from the wild.

Couples okavango delta

Mokoro ride through the Okavango Delta swamps.

Thailand

There’s a reason why Thailand is a top destination for South Africans; it’s affordable, the food is amazing and it offers up such varied landscapes, islands and cities to visit. For couples, snorkeling in Koh Nyanguan, quad biking over the hilly landscape on Koh Tao and kayaking through the Anthong National Park are a must!

Malaysia

This tropical destination is often overlooked and seen as the less exciting neighbour to Thailand when really it has even more to see and do with less damage done in certain regions due to mass tourism. If you haven’t got one already, get your diving certificate on Tioman Island in the South of Malaysia (there really isn’t a better place), kayak around the island while overnighting in different bays and go SUP-ing on the calmer side of the island in Juara or go surfing in February-monsoon season. Wildlife lovers shouldn’t miss out on flying to Sabah and Sarawak in Borneo to see the last remaining riverside, bits of rain forests or join a guided walk through the humid forest to try catch a glimpse of some endangered species.

Couples Tioman Island, Malaysia.

Snorkeling in the waters of Tioman Island, Malaysia.

Put on your walking shoes, grab your swimsuit and explore the less travelled areas as a couple.

Where would you like to go as a couple? Comment below we’d love to hear from you!

The post Top Romantic Getaways for Adventurous Couples appeared first on Travelstart Blog.

14 underrated places in South Africa to put on your bucket list

South Africa is a country with an incredible ability to capture the imaginations and hearts of visitors with a simple sunrise and glass of wine. It is a country of magic, marvels, and sometimes, mayhem. But ultimately, beautiful.

south africa

Whether it’s the spectacular scenery, electrifying cities, charming small towns, delicious food, glorious weather, or friendly people, even locals can’t help but be mesmerised by this unique country.

And with Cape Town under strain from water restrictions, perhaps there is no better time to venture off the beaten track and spend some time exploring the rest of the country.

shark cage diving

We have put together this list of underrated cities to remind you why South Africa is one of the best places in the world and hopefully inspire you to finally embark on that cross-country adventure!

camp south africa

Drakensberg and Mpumalanga

Go for: amazing landscapes and soul-stirring treks through nature

blyde river canyon

Shrouded in mystique and natural beauty, the Drakensberg is one of the most gorgeous landscapes in South Africa. Its legendary hiking trails curve around dramatic rocky gorges, through whispering grasslands, and into heavenly river valleys, creating a paradise for nature lovers.

Some of the most popular sites include: Royal Natal National Park, Cathedral Peak, and Champagne Castle.

drakensberg mountains

Further north lies Mpumalanga, an area of South Africa that is famous for its unreal natural landscapes and glorious waterfalls.

Gaze out onto the Blyde River Canyon, the third largest canyon in the world, from God’s Window, or go waterfall hunting and discover gushing wonders such as Horseshoe Falls, Lone Creek Falls, Berlin Falls, and Mac-Mac Falls, a 65-metre Natural Monument.

Need more inspiration? Explore this list of great things to do in Mpumalanga.

mpumalanga

Johannesburg

Go for: nightlife, art and design, and vibrant culture

joburg

Follow the bright lights along the N1 and you will find yourself in Joburg, the wild child of South Africa.

Known as an economic powerhouse and somewhat rebellious amongst South Africans, Joburg is slowly shedding its wayward reputation and asserting itself as the ‘Cultural Capital of South Africa‘.

maboneng joburg

Trendy neighbourhoods and creative hubs such as the Maboneng Precinct are at the epicentre of this cultural renaissance.

Outdoor markets, rooftop gardens, coffee shops, trendy cocktail bars, fashion boutiques, and live music venues pulse with cosmopolitan energy and urban sophistication that is hard to resist and impossible to forget.

music joburg

Unmissable experiences in Joburg include: First Thursdays, the Arts Alive Festival, street art walking tours, and cycling tours through the buzzing streets of Soweto.

11 Cool & Cultural Things To Do In Jozi For Free & Under R200

Find cheap flights to Johannesburg

joburg markets

Kruger National Park

Go for: safari experiences

kruger national park

The Kruger National Park is famous for a reason. Intimate encounters with iconic animals and landscapes will show you the raw, untamed spirit of Africa.

kruger national park lions

Spend the nights in a luxurious bungalow or beside a crackling campfire while nature rumbles and purrs around you. Awake to a champagne breakfast overlooking the African bush as an elephant ambles by and giraffes peer curiously over treetops. A self-drive or guided safari will then take you deep into one of the largest game reserves in Africa and give you a chance to spot majestic creatures such as lions, leopards, rhinos, buffalos, and wild cats.

kruger park

A trip through the Kruger National Park is the definitive safari experience and one you will be talking about for years to come.

Your ultimate guide to accommodation in Kruger

kruger park elephants

Port Elizabeth

Go for: interesting attractions and friendly locals

port elizabeth

Port Elizabeth is basically Cape Town without all the tourists.

  • It has its own penguin colony. St Croix Island is home to the largest breeding colony of African penguins in the world.
  • It has vibey cocktail bars. Parliament Street hums with live music and vibrant energy when the sun goes down.
  • It has white sandy beaches and excellent surfing. And the water is warm so you won’t need an 8 mm wetsuit.
  • It even has its own coastal nature reserve, Cape Recife Nature Reserve.

cape recife nature reserve

Other great attractions and experiences include: PE Opera House, the last Victorian opera house in the Southern Hemisphere; the Volkswagen AutoPavilion; the Old Railway Museum; the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan Museum; Haunted Historical Walks; brewery tours; and Addo Elephant Park.

The coolest things to do in Port Elizabeth

Find cheap flights to Port Elizabeth

port elizabeth beach

Garden Route

Go for: adventure activities

river rafting garden route

The Garden Route is a dreamscape for adventure seekers. You will be able to find just about every kind of adventure activity along this stretch of South Africa, and the landscapes are pretty damn fantastic too!

garden route

  • Go shark cage diving in Mossel Bay and come face to face with Jaws.
  • Bungee jump off the Bloukrans Bridge.
  • Spend the afternoon stand up paddle boarding on the lagoon in Sedgefield, and spend the nights getting to know locals and travellers at one of the party hostels.
  • Explore the Tsitsikamma Forest on a Segway or soar through the trees on a zip line.
  • Kayak beside dolphins and go paragliding in Plettenberg Bay.

Whatever your adventure, you are sure to find it along the Garden Route!

segway garden route

For the truly adventurous, take a detour inland and go crocodile cage diving in Oudtshoorn!

Find your unique adventure on the Garden Route

bungee jump garden route

Wild Coast

Go for: laidback coastal towns and idyllic landscapes

wild coast south africa

On the other hand, if you are after peace and tranquillity, the Wild Coast is a stretch of coastline that is famed for its uncrowded towns and easygoing atmosphere.

Spend lazy days exploring the Bohemian streets of Coffee Bay, admire dramatic waterfalls that plunge off the edge of Africa straight into the ocean, or search for secret beaches hidden along peaceful hiking trails.

magwa falls

Notable beaches include: Pebble Beach and Third Beach in Port St. Johns, Cintsa Beach in Chintsa, and Mdumbi Beach in Coffee Bay (voted the best beach in Southern Africa).

wild coast beaches

Robertson

Go for: tasty brews and delicious food

robertson wine

Nestling between fruit vineyards and dairy farms is the unassuming town of Robertson, a place where good food and good wine are a way of life. It is a place where indulgence is celebrated and encouraged.

food robertson

Learn to blend wine at Excelsior Wine Estate and create your own bottle. Spend warm afternoons pairing wine with chocolate and cheese at well-known wineries such as Springfield Estate, Van Loveren Family Cellar, and the Rooiberg Wine Cellars. Or head to the Graham Beck Robertson Estate for divine bubbles.

robertson wine valley

Visit Owl’s Rest Olive and Lavender Farm for some delightful lavender products and try a range of tantalising olive products at Marbrin Olive Farm.

Robertson is also home to a fantastic selection of award-winning restaurants and popular lifestyle festivals such as Wacky Wine Festival, Hands-on-Harvest Festival, and the Slow Food & Wine Festival.

If wine isn’t your thing, a 20-minute drive will get you to McGregor where you can visit a grappa distillery.

wacky wine weekend

Jeffreys Bay or Elands Bay

Go for: surfing

These two humble seaside towns are famed for their gnarly surfing

jeffreys bay surf

Elands Bay (on the West Coast) attracts surfers throughout the year because of its consistent waves, while Jeffreys Bay (or JBay) is one of the five most famous surfing destinations thanks to its perfect waves.

Popular surf spots in Jeffreys Bay include: Boneyards, Tubes, Points, Albatross, Kitchen Windows, and Supertubes, the former site of the Billabong Pro.

jeffreys bay

Knysna

Go for: holiday atmosphere, family getaways, and oysters

knysna

When it comes to family vacations, romantic trips for two, and relaxing holidays, Knysna never fails to delight. It is a favourite amongst out of towners and South Africans alike thanks to its sunny holiday atmosphere, comfortable accommodation, and superb restaurants.

knysna oysters

Stay in a houseboat on the lagoon, shuck on oysters at the Knysna Oyster Festival (a favourite on the South Africa events calendar), or relax with family and friends around a good old South African braai.

knysna loerie

Knysna is your invitation to unwind and enjoy the good life.

Find out how to spend 48 hours in Knysna.

knysna south africa

Cederberg

Go for: camping, hiking, and rock art

cederberg hiking

The Cederberg Wilderness is legendary amongst nature lovers. Its spectacular rock formations, ancient rock art, serene silence, and the wide-open skies create a sublime backdrop for hiking holidays and camping under the stars.

Pitch a tent with friends and spend days enjoying the peaceful tranquillity of nature and the nights sitting around a crackling campfire with nothing but glittering stars and the moon between you and the heavens.

cederberg camping

Durban

Go for: dreamy beaches, fantastic weather, and spicy food

durban surf

Home to the Golden Mile – a stretch of beautiful coastline that is the pride and joy of KZN – and the birthplace of the bunny chow, Durban is a place where the food is spicy and the sun is always shining.

Durban moves to its very own rhythm and it is that which makes it such an appealing city.

durban curry

Spend the balmy days lazing on the beaches, searching for giant pineapples, getting to know the quirky locals, and trying trademark dishes such as Durban crab curry.

Popular beaches include: Umhlanga Rocks Beach, North Beach, Cape Vidal Beach, Umdloti Beach, Amanzimtoti, Ansteys Beach, Zimbali beach, and Willard Beach in Ballito.

durban beaches

Head further up the coast to St. Lucia and kayak with hippos or watch Leatherback and Loggerhead turtles lay eggs. For the scuba diving enthusiasts, Sodwana Bay, Aliwal Shoal, and Protea Banks offer some of the best scuba diving in South Africa.

Find cheap flights to Durban

diving sodwana

Hit the road

Better yet, hire a car or fill up your tank and embark on a road trip so you can experience it all at your own pace!

roadtrip south africa

Explore weird and wonderful small town dorps in the middle of nowhere and make friends with moonshine makers and cheese churners at the rustic padstals along the way. Watch the sun go down in the middle of the Karoo or wake up to the sound of mountain rivers and tree monkeys in the Overberg.

cederberg

Let South Africa unfold before you as you chase the horizon and watch the country change from emerald mountains to sea-sprayed coastline to glowing desert valleys.

durban travel

Some of the most iconic routes include: Route 62 through the Western Cape, the Waterberg Meander through Limpopo, the Panorama Route through Mpumalanga, the Midlands Meander through KwaZulu-Natal (also known as the arts and crafts route), and the Cape Whale Coast Route (a great choice if you want to escape the city but not venture out too far).

south africa travel

The great South African experience awaits, so step off the beaten path and explore more!

Know any great spots in South Africa that deserve some love and attention? Let us know in the comments!

adventure south africa

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Tips for getting the most out of travelling to Italy!

Thousands of people flock to Italy every Summer. While many visitors are intrigued by the beautiful landscapes and picturesque villages, we guarantee that most people go for the food. The world will forever be grateful to the Italians for inventing pizza, pasta, gelato, prosecco and limoncello. Expect an abundance of these foods when eating in Italy, but be careful with your selections. A few rules to follow when choosing a restaurant, bakery or café are:

Italian restaurant

Follow the locals

Italy is swarming with people. Sometimes you’ll have a hard time finding any locals when you’re cocooned between hundreds of other tourists on the streets of Venice but persevere. You will find unpretentious, honest and quaint little eateries that are buzzing with Italians and you’ll absolutely always find a great meal there. There’s a famous sandwich cafe in Florence called “All’antico Vinaio”. The locals queue down the street for what is considered and rated as The Best Street Food in Italy. Grab your sandwich and a bottle of wine (they even give you glasses) and enjoy your meal whilst sitting on the pavement outside, just as the locals do.

Florence eatery

Positano Amalfi Coast

Pizza in Italy

Stay away from the sights

The restaurants around the big tourist attractions are almost always overpriced, empty and disappointing. Sometimes you’ll need to walk three or four blocks away from a particular museum or monument to find an authentic dining experience in Italy. When in Amalfi, there are great bakeries and pizzerias hidden between on the walk between the famous beachfront and the bus station. That’s where you’ll find the best food, and views. Enjoy your meal at the bus stop instead of at an overpriced, unauthentic eatery.

Pizza in Positano

Eating in Italy

Go to the origin

The best pizza will be found in Naples, Cannelloni was invented by a chef in Sorrento and Bolognaise really does come from Bologna. The best Parma Ham and Parmesan Cheese can be sampled and purchased in Parma, and you’ll find great gelato, Spritz and coffee just about anywhere. Limoncello originates from Southern Italy and is made from the zest of “Sorrento lemons”. When walking the streets in beautiful Sorrento, you’ll find (and walk through) an abundance of lemon groves.

Spritz in Italy Sorrento

Spritz in Positano

Let them cook for you

Some intimate accommodation options like Airbnb hosts or owners of guesthouses might have a private dining option. If travelling to Italy, it would be worth spending just one night with another family and definitely ask them to cook for you. Don’t be shy, as most Italian mothers (especially) absolutely love cooking and will feel honored by your request. You can eat at dozens of restaurants, but there is something truly magical about having a home cooked meal in the food capital of the world. Don’t miss the opportunity.

There shouldn’t be pictures of food with translations on the menu. Nobody should be trying to usher you into a restaurant. Always ask to see a menu before choosing a restaurant and absolutely never enter a restaurant where someone is trying to call you in from the street.

Italian Food in Ischia Eating in Italy

Italian Menu

Don’t pass the salt

Don’t spice anything. Italian food is supposed to be very simplistic, honest and basic. Don’t get into a habit of spicing your meals with extra salt and condiments because you’ll miss the entire experience that way. In fact, the majority of restaurants in Italy don’t even have salt and pepper on the tables.

Gnocci in Sorrento Italy

Don’t be shy

Ask for recommendations when eating in Italy. Keep an eye on a restaurant you’re interested in and ask patrons who are leaving if they enjoyed their meal. You’ll be surprised at how many great-looking eateries you’ll walk away from this way. Your hotel, guesthouse or host will be able to suggest an array of their favourite eateries, so rather opt for solid referrals instead of searching the streets on your own.

Pasta in Positano Eating in Italy

Watch your wallet

It shouldn’t be expensive. When eating in Italy, remember that most of the food is very basic with very few ingredients. If you’re paying hundreds of rands for a Pomodoro (tomato) pasta, then you’re at the wrong place. Pay the prices that you imagine the locals do. You will pay a lot more for food on beaches as the waitrons really do struggle in the heat to get your meal to your sun loather, so keep that in mind. As a side note: You pay a hefty entrance fee at private beaches to use their facilities, so factor that in when working out your food budget! Most beaches in Positano are divided into private and public sections, and Arienzo is a firm favourite amongst locals, with fantastic food to match.

Italian Flag

Think fresh and local

Eat and shop at the markets. You’ll be doing a lot of walking in Italy, but you’ll also be eating an incredible amount of carbs. Grab pieces of fresh fruit from the local markets to help with both digestion and your budget. Italy is incredibly warm and humid in summer, but you’ll find an abundance of fresh fruit juices, fruit slushies and sliced fruit to snack on as you explore the towns. Ensure that you always have small change with you to grab bites along the way. If you have self catering accommodation then it’s definitely worth your while to find the seafood market in Venice.

Fruit market in Venice Italy

Don’t assume

The cafeterias at filling stations are phenomenal and with an extensive freshly made food offering. You might find one of your best meals here. The Italians love food and put a lot of love into everything that they create. What you’ll enjoy about the cafeterias is being able to sample a wide variety of classic Italian dishes on one plate. Prepare to be surprised at the most unassuming places when eating in Italy.

Penne Pasta eating in Italy

Try all the coffee, everywhere

Finding great coffee might be one of your biggest challenges in Italy, because absolutely everyone serves it and every Italian eatery claims to serve the best kind. Whichever kind of coffee you prefer, remember to try it unsweetened to fully experience the taste of their coffee beans. Italians love black espresso without sugar, always paired with a glass of water. Wherever you’re enjoying your coffee in Italy, it will always have the most beautiful view.

Coffee in Florence Italy

Go experience it for yourself, browse Cheap Flights to Italy right now!

We hope you enjoyed this beginner’s guide to eating in Italy. Let us know if you’ve been to Italy before and if you found any great restaurants. Comment below. We’d love to hear from you!

The post Tips for getting the most out of travelling to Italy! appeared first on Travelstart Blog.

Discover Epic West Coast Gems

On a scenic drive from Cape Town up to the West Coast, you’ll find some of the best views in the world. The West Coast displays glorious unspoiled natural treasures, humble fishing villages, beckoning beaches and captivating cultural experiences amongst other unique gems. A trip along the West Coast offers an authentic feel of the Cape. With so many gems to see and encounter, you are sure to have one of a one-of-a-kind experience venturing up the West Coast. The best part about these West Coast gems is the freedom to explore at your own pace!

Here are some West Coast gems to consider exploring while venturing along this beautiful coastline.

Paternoster

paternoster west coast travelstart

One of the oldest fishing villages on the West Coast in the Western Cape, Paternoster is an oil painting come to life. The laid-back town is a dream tourist destination which affords city dwellers the much-needed calm with its pristine beaches. This little town is dressed up with rustic white houses, and buttermilk beach sand with dense fynbos contrasting the minimalistic ambiance of the fishing village.  Embrace the local fisherman culture on the little village’s beach. In traditional colourful boats, fishermen beach and sell their catch of the day. Paternoster has amazing restaurants serving the best cuisine ranging from seafood to lamb shank. Tourists can enjoy activities such as kite surfing, snorkeling, cycling, kayaking, and hiking.

Things to do:

Stone Fish Studio

This fantastic art studio and gallery is a great attraction to be captivated by Paternoster. It showcases fine art by amazingly talented artists in the Western Cape. Visitors may take part in fun workshops hosted by well-known artists.

Cape Columbine Lighthouse 

Phenomenal views of the fishing village can be gazed at from the Cape Columbine Lighthouse. Take in the sights of the out-of-this-world Britannia reef and the Atlantic Ocean.

Drikus Horse Trails

Partake in calming horse rides on Paternoster’s beaches. Daily horse rides on the pristine beaches can be enjoyed at your own pace.

Panty Bar – Paternoster Hotel

Renowned for its quirky Panty Bar, the Paternoster Hotel has an interesting history as it once served as a bank, church, school, library, and jail. Go visit the bar for the interesting garments hanging from the ceiling, and leave something behind – if you dare, ladies!

Accommodation:

Paternoster Hotel

Address: St. Augustine Road, Paternoster, 7381

The charming Paternoster Hotel is a great choice for accommodation while staying in this lovely fishing village. Paternoster Hotel’s relaxed and friendly atmosphere makes for a much-needed break from the city life. The hotel has 10 en-suite rooms as well as one self-catering house. Facilities include a braai/barbeque, indoor fireplace, Wi-Fi, a restaurant and parking on the premises.

Mosselbank B&B

Address: 1 Trappiesklip Street, Mosselbank, Paternoster, 7381

Mosselbank B&B is situated 100m from the pristine beach in Paternoster. Guests can expect stylish rooms which cater for the ultimate comfort and pleasure. Facilities include an indoor fireplace, DSTV and laundry amenities.

Paternoster Lodge

Address: 64 St. Augustine Road, Paternoster

You can find the stunning 4-star accommodation in the breathtaking fishing village of Paternoster. This fine establishment boasts 180-degree views of the Atlantic Ocean and buttermilk sands. Paternoster Lodge is great for conferences and wedding receptions. Facilities include an indoor fireplace, conference room, a restaurant, and pub.

Restaurants:

The Noisy Oyster

Address: 62 St. Augustine Road, Paternoster, 7381

Type of Cuisine: The Noisy Oyster serves modern South African cuisine, including delectable seafood, pizzas, and steak.

Operating Hours:

Monday – Tuesday: Closed

Wednesday – Saturday: 12 pm – 3 pm, 6 pm – 9 pm

Sunday: 12pm – 3pm

Voorstrandt Restaurant

Address: Paternoster, 7381

Type of Cuisine: The menu at Voorstrandt Restaurant boasts delicious fish dishes, including Malay seafood curry, seafood platters, fresh crayfish (during crayfish season). There are also great menu options for the meat lovers and vegetarians.

Operating Hours:

Monday – Thursday: 11 am – 8 pm

Friday – Saturday: 11 am – 8 pm

Sunday: 11 am – 8 pm

Darling

darling daisies travelstart

This beautiful small town on the West Coast is a 1-hour drive from Cape Town. The town of Darling is known for having the most captivating wildflowers, Tannie Evita Bezuidenhout (South African satirist Pieter-Dirk Uys), and the annual festival Rocking the Daisies. The town is abounding with activities that will leave you culturally enriched and fulfilled with the Wild Flower Region ambiance. This laid-back town instills a longing for the simple things in life!

Things to do:

Evita se Perron

This unique cabaret theatre was established by Evita Bezuidenhout aka Pieter Dirk Uys, renowned South African satirist. Evita se Perron is a space for visitors to grab some hearty food and to indulge in the phenomenal theatre that will cause you to equally laugh and cry.

Darling Museum

A trip to the Darling Museum will reveal all of the town’s gems. Bear witness to the Darling lifestyle and how the village has grown since 1853. The museum features Victorian and Edwardian interiors and a special section honouring the San and Khoi people of Southern Africa with traditional huts, hunting weapons and literature.

Groote Post Winery

Situated in a mesmerising valley, Groote Post Winery offers exquisite views! Enjoy a day of wine tasting. Dating as far back as 1706, Groote Post Winery is home to many National Monuments, including the Manor House and cellar.

Darling Brewing Tap Room

Darling Brew Tasteroom & Brewery offers a day of incredible experiences! It is one beer tasting journey you simply cannot forget. Mouthwatering beers on tap await. Come thirsty!

Accommodation:

Daisy Darling B&B

Address: 9 Main Street, Darling, 7345

Located in the fun and quirky Swartland Village of Darling, this beautiful guest house has amazing accommodation for you to unwind at. The walls are dressed with local artist’s incredible work. Daisy Darling B&B is a definite must to check out while visiting the town of Darling. Facilities include a swimming pool, Wi-Fi an indoor fireplace and garage parking.

Burgherspost Wine Estate

Address: Mamreweg, Darling, 7345

Nestled in the Darling Wine Route, Burgherspost Wine Estate has enviable views at the foot of the Dassenberg Granite Hill. Immersed in nature, your taste buds are spoiled for choice at the private wine cellar located on the estate. Burgherspost Wine Estate even boasts a private game reserve.

The Granary Petite Hotel

Address: Mamreweg, Darling, 7345

Located in the mesmerising town of Darling, The Granary Petite Hotel is stunningly decorated with incredible comfort for your stay. It is located centrally to many attractions in the exciting town. You’ll be happy to know that the hotel is pet-friendly so you can bring along your furry friends while discovering the beautiful gems of Darling. Facilities include an airport shuttle, parking on premises, a restaurant, DSTV and a garden.

Restaurants:

Bistro Seven

Address: 7 Main Street, Darling, 7345

Type of Cuisine: The Bistro Seven includes delectable dishes such as chicken schnitzel, chicken and butternut curry, Malay beef curry, deep fried calamari, braised lamb shank and the scrumptious surf and turf (sirloin and calamari strips).

Operating Hours:

Monday: 11 am – 11:59 am

Tuesday: Closed

Wednesday – Saturday: 11 am – 11: 59 pm

Sunday: 12pm – 3pm

Groote Post Restaurant

Address: Darlings, Hill Street, Darling, 7345

Type of Cuisine: Groote Post Restaurant’s menu changes daily, you could expect dishes such as penne served with creamy basil pesto, slow roast pork belly, and lamb paprikash.

Operating Hours:

Monday – Friday: 8 am – 5 pm

Saturday – Sunday: 10 am – 4 pm

Evita se Perron

Address: 8 Arcadia Street, Darling, 7345

Type of Cuisine: Evita se Perron serves a locally themed menu with dishes such as bobotie, boerewors roll with tomato smoor, fried hake, chicken wraps, and burgers. Don’t forget to ask the waiter for the meal of the day!

Operating Hours:

Monday: 9 am – 1 pm

Tuesday – Sunday: 9 am – 4 pm

Jacobsbaai

jacobsbaai travelstart west coast

Originally founded on the farmland known as 109 Jacobsbaai, the small town offers the ideal getaway for serenity and a laidback vacation. This West Coast gem has 7 different bays with a thrilling wildlife such as steenbok, tortoise and various rare bird species. Jacobsbaai offers an amazing itinerary to consider such as mountain biking, fishing, bird watching, crayfish diving (you’ll need a permit), kayaking, whale watching and dolphin spotting.

Things to do:

Pixie and Fairy Village – Jacobsbaai Backpackers

Fairy and Pixie Village (inspired by books, pictures, and movies based on fairies and pixies) is a special place to encounter. This dream-like village rivals scenes from the renowned movie, Hook. Allow your imagination to run free as you embrace this one-of-a-kind village in Jacobsbaai.

Platklip

Platklip in Jacobsbaai is known for being a great fishing spot. For those that would like to try their hand at catching an incredible kabeljou, Platklip would be the ideal spot to venture to.

Tooth Rock

Located at the water’s edge, here you’ll find a crayfish paradise. Before venturing out for a lucky catch, you will need a permit to dive for crayfish. November to mid-April is the crayfish season.

ART Retreat B&B

If you’re hoping for some much-needed downtime while stimulating your creative side then the Art Retreat B&B is the ideal getaway. The B&B guests have access to art therapy and can set up art lessons and diving trips for its guests.

Accommodation:

Klokkiebosch Guesthouse

Address: 14 Korhaan Avenue, Jacobsbaai, 7395

Located on the shores of Smalbaai, Klokkiebosch Guesthouse has the mesmerising comfort to be soaked in as you retire from the bustling city life in this little town. Guests can take in the sea view from their room. Facilities include an indoor fireplace, braai/barbecue, shared lounge, free parking, and Wi-Fi.

Baviana Beach Lodge

Address: 18 Baviaantjie Bend, Jacobs Bay

Baviana Beach Lodge is a 4-star accommodation at the heart of Jacobsbaai. Here you’ll find a combination of self-catering and guest houses facilities. Enjoy beautiful sunsets from this amazing West Coast gem. You are sure to return to this fine accommodation as you experience the homely service catering to your vacation needs. Facilities include a braai/barbeque area, indoor fireplace, Wi-Fi, DSTV and secure on-site parking.

Kanoentjie

Address: 14 Mauritz Road, Jacobs Bay 7379

Kanoentjie boasts exquisite sea views and is sure to get you feeling relaxed in this laidback village. This self-catering accommodation is fully-equipped and can sleep two guests. You’ll wake up to the fresh ocean breeze while gazing at the welcoming sea view flat on the west coast. Facilities include an outside braai/barbeque, DSTV, and double bed.

Restaurants:

Die Weskus Plek

Address: Beach Road, Jacobsbaai

Types of Cuisine: The restaurant serves scrumptious seafood dishes such as mussels, fish curry, smoked fish, and crayfish. Meat lovers can enjoy the tasty lamb stew.

Operating Hours:

8:30 am – 9 pm

Mamre

mamre horses west coast

Nestled between Darling and Atlantis, the incredible town of Mamre is dazzled with old buildings and history to relish in. The palpable sense of community amongst the locals is something to marvel at in one of these West Coast gems. The rural charm can be seen with horses trotting freely and locals strolling to the church through the town’s streets on Sundays. The main attraction in Mamre is the Moravian Mission Station located on the western side of the town which was established in 1808. Tourists can get involved with wine tasting and exquisite Cape cuisine in the small town. Once in Mamre, you should do the Heritage Walk which affords tourists the opportunity to divulge in a rich history dating back 300 years, when the Moravian Missionaries settled in this West Coast town.

Things to do:

Coffee Shop Tori Oso Geselshuisie

Get a taste of the town by visiting this one of a kind coffee shop. Young and old can enjoy this fine establishment. Tori Oso Geselshuisie is situated on the Werf in a historical building, the Ou Winkel.

Mamre Heritage Walk

Take a trip through Mamre’s history by doing the Mamre heritage walk. You’ll get to grasp the incredible heritage that permeates in the little town of Mamre. Take a stroll through Mamre’s streets and travel back in time as you learn about how the Moravian Missionaries settled in this West Coast village.

Mamre Nature Garden

A beautiful ambiance of culture and a rich biodiversity captivates visitors who stumble across this beautiful Nature Garden. The Mamre Nature Garden includes the endangered Atlantis Sand Fynbos along with 234 other plant species.

Accommodation:

Twin Gables Guest House

Address: 8 Henning Huisen Street, Mamre

This family-run guest house provides the ultimate accommodation necessities during your stay in Mamre. Twin Gables Guest House is centrally located nearby the Swartland regions of Darling and Malmesbury, making it ideal to venture to nearby wine farms. With its stunning balcony view, guests can enjoy the welcoming tranquillity. Facilities include Wi-Fi, a conference centre, parking on premises and braai/barbeque.

West Coast Beaches

west coast beaches travelstart

While venturing up the West Coast, do not forget to stop at some of its most exquisite beaches.

Jacobs Bay Beach – Jacobsbaai

Preekstoel Beach – Still Bay

Shelley Bay Beach – Shelley Point

Doringbaai Beach – Doringbaai

Pearl Bay Beach – Yzerfontein

Image Credit:

kelincleo via Instagram

iamleejacobs via Instagram

being_cindy via Instagram

vickigagiano via Instagram

jonnowalks via Instagram

munchma_quchi_official via Instagram

up_the_ant3 via Instagram

 

The post Discover Epic West Coast Gems appeared first on Travelstart Blog.

Top 10 South African Gifts to Take With on Your Travels

Yay! You’re going overseas and you need gifts that are perfect to pack. But, you’ve never been where you’re going and want to take along something uniquely South African.

Book your flights now, start planning your visa, and if you need something for that great host, long-lost family member or close friend who left last year – here are 10 uniquely South African gifts ready to take with on your travels.

Craft Liquor

Swap out the traditional (and expected) bottle of wine for South Africa’s latest trend – craft booze. Yep, from Gin to Tequila, South Africa is starting to develop some note-worthy labels. The unique flavours and craft detail make a bottle of South African spirits a beautiful and different gift – that should, technically, last longer than a bottle of wine. Just remember to pack your bottles in your suitcase, you wouldn’t want to have to leave it behind at airport security.

gifts bar_liquor

Check out Bar Keeper for a large range of locally-made liquor to choose from, and they deliver!

Statement Pieces from Pichulik

gifts pichulick_necklace

Need the ideal gift for your best friend? Or your trendy aunt who has it all? Pichulik offers bespoke, hand-crafted statement pieces that anyone with style will love. Manufactured in Cape Town with locally-sourced products, Pichulik jewellery is a rare gift that your receiver is sure to treasure. Plus, they’re perfect to pack in your hand-luggage without weighing you down.

The Perfect Leave Behind

In departures and forgot something? Get to the nearest bookshop and be inspired to show-off the best of South African cuisine. Grab a great last minute gift, the Ultimate Braai Cookbook and teach your friends how to braai. Say thank you to your amazing hosts with a braai and leave behind this awesome cookbook, just to remind them how it’s done.

One of a Kind Cases from Wren Design

Wren Design produces bags and sleeves using the paper from cement bags and the technique used to create ballet shoes. The outcome; a durable and stylish product perfect for everyday use. And, they’re light and flexible – making them the ideal space saver when you’re packing. So, why not surprise your host with an SA-innovation, a one-of-a-kind laptop sleeve that’ll last and they’ll love.

gifts design_gifts_wren

T-Shirts with Your Favourite SA Saying

If you’re looking for something fun and easy to pack – check out the t-shirts from Mevrou & Co. They make great inside-jokes and interesting conversation-starters – great for your best-mate in Oz or your sister’s new baby.

gifts mevrou_co_tshirt

Gifts for the Home

On a farm, just outside Robertson, sits a beautiful farmhouse – turned pottery barn where magnificent, hand-crafted ceramics come to life. This is Rialheim – a range of exclusive ceramics, made by hand from their African farm. There items are unexpected and all have exquisite finishes. Perfect for anywhere in the home, anywhere in the world. This gift exudes South African elegance.

gifts rialheim_ceramic

Outstanding Organic Skin Products

Oh Lief produces locally-made natural and organic body products that are great to pack and will make divine gifts – no matter where you go. They use all-natural ingredients and have a wide range of products, for different skin types and needs. Also, if you need something for a new-born, their baby-range is divine. The stylish packaging and organic ingredients make these products easy to pack and make pleasing presents.

A Crowd Pleaser

If you’re not sure who you’ll need gifts for, take a few bars of delicious De Villiers chocolate to have to hand out when the time comes. Grown and crafted in Africa, by Africans – De Villiers Chocolate is sustainable and practices with respect for people and the planet. And they’re delicious!

With so many flavours available, you’ll definitely be able to find something to suit everyone.

Gifts that Locals Love

gifts granadilla_swim_shorts

You’ve seen them on Clifton 4th and when you look, you know their inspiration comes from local beach days – yep, Granadilla Swim shorts and costumes are everywhere. They’re a favourite with locals and sworn in the surf to be comfy and cool  – we’re sure once you gift a pair, they won’t come off. So, booking a trip to Bali or Thailand? Maybe take an extra pair with, just in case. You wouldn’t want to lose your swim shorts to your cousin on the first day of vay-cay.

And, Something Truly South African

Ostrich Eggs hold a lot of beauty and in SA is a symbol of hope. So, instead of opting for the predictable, ostrich egg on a stand, take a look at the stunning pieces from Avoova, inspired by the Karoo and surrounds. Made in Prince Albert, Avoova creates beautiful, handmade products enhanced with stylish patterns formed using ostrich egg shell pieces. So give an exquisite gift which holds more meaning than meets the eye.

gifts ostrich_egg_avoova_design

 

Book your flights now and be the giver of these uniquely South African gifts.

Let us know in the comments below if you’ve got any other great local gift ideas.

 

Image Credits:

Bar Keeper via Instagram

Pichulik Africa via Instagram

The Wren Design via Instagram

Mevrou & Co via Instagram

Rialheim via Instagram

Granadilla.Swim via Instagram

Avoova Originals via Instagram

 

*Disclaimer!

All information on this blog page was correct at the time of publishing and may change at any time without prior notice. Travelstart will not be held liable for loss or inconvenience resulting from the use of out-dated or incorrectly noted information. 

The post Top 10 South African Gifts to Take With on Your Travels appeared first on Travelstart Blog.

Cherry Blossoms of Korea: A 2018 Guide and Forecast

Korea’s cherry blossoms are the highlight of the spring season, and definitely worth a trip. But with such a short blooming period, these beautiful flowers are hard to catch. Luckily, there are spring festivals all over the country for the cherry blossoms that travelers can join in. Here’s a guide to the best time and place to catch the cherry blossoms.

Jinhae Cherry Blossom Festival

Jinhae FotoliaIf the cherry blossoms are your main agenda for your spring Korea trip, then catch the Jinhae Cherry Blossom festival. The largest and grandest of its kind in the whole country, the small naval town of Jinhae comes alive as over 350,000 cherry blossom trees come into full bloom. Jinhae’s flowers are also some of the most fleeting, but you can book a day tour ahead to guarantee a spot.

Seoul: Early April

Yeouiseo-ro Street, Yeouido Spring Flower Festival

Seoul

This festival is ideal if you may not have the time to explore outside of Seoul. Yeouiseo-ro Street is easily accessible by public transport, with an impressive 1,886 cherry blossom trees in full blooms this time of year.

Jeju: Late March

Jeju Cherry Blossom Festival, Seogwipo

Jeju Island Spring

Jeju Island is often seen as a summer getaway, with its pristine beaches, sparkling oceans, and volcanic landscapes. But come spring time, you’ll find Korea’s first brush of cherry blossoms. Jeju’s Cherry Blossom Festival features lots of photo opportunities and programs tourists are sure to enjoy

Gangwon-do: Early April

Nami Island

Nami

Discover rural Korea at this must-see tourist spot. Nami Island, which is just a short day trip from Seoul, is a scenic tourist spot and the setting of many famous K-Dramas. In spring, the entire island atmosphere is peaceful and romantic.

Taean: Mid-April to Early May

Taean International Tulip Festival

Taean Tulip Festival

For an off-beat, but equally rewarding Spring festival, head to Taean for the world-famous Taean International Tulip Festival. The bright and vivid colors of the tulips, as well as a number of other exotic flowers are a cheery welcome to a new season.

The post Cherry Blossoms of Korea: A 2018 Guide and Forecast appeared first on HotelsCombined Blog.

Cherry Blossoms of Korea: A 2018 Guide and Forecast

Korea’s cherry blossoms are the highlight of the spring season, and definitely worth a trip. But with such a short blooming period, these beautiful flowers are hard to catch. Luckily, there are spring festivals all over the country for the cherry blossoms that travelers can join in. Here’s a guide to the best time and place to catch the cherry blossoms.

Jinhae Cherry Blossom Festival

Jinhae FotoliaIf the cherry blossoms are your main agenda for your spring Korea trip, then catch the Jinhae Cherry Blossom festival. The largest and grandest of its kind in the whole country, the small naval town of Jinhae comes alive as over 350,000 cherry blossom trees come into full bloom. Jinhae’s flowers are also some of the most fleeting, but you can book a day tour ahead to guarantee a spot.

Seoul: Early April

Yeouiseo-ro Street, Yeouido Spring Flower Festival

Seoul

This festival is ideal if you may not have the time to explore outside of Seoul. Yeouiseo-ro Street is easily accessible by public transport, with an impressive 1,886 cherry blossom trees in full blooms this time of year.

Jeju: Late March

Jeju Cherry Blossom Festival, Seogwipo

Jeju Island Spring

Jeju Island is often seen as a summer getaway, with its pristine beaches, sparkling oceans, and volcanic landscapes. But come spring time, you’ll find Korea’s first brush of cherry blossoms. Jeju’s Cherry Blossom Festival features lots of photo opportunities and programs tourists are sure to enjoy

Gangwon-do: Early April

Nami Island

Nami

Discover rural Korea at this must-see tourist spot. Nami Island, which is just a short day trip from Seoul, is a scenic tourist spot and the setting of many famous K-Dramas. In spring, the entire island atmosphere is peaceful and romantic.

Taean: Mid-April to Early May

Taean International Tulip Festival

Taean Tulip Festival

For an off-beat, but equally rewarding Spring festival, head to Taean for the world-famous Taean International Tulip Festival. The bright and vivid colors of the tulips, as well as a number of other exotic flowers are a cheery welcome to a new season.

The post Cherry Blossoms of Korea: A 2018 Guide and Forecast appeared first on HotelsCombined Blog.

Your guide to the best time to visit Zanzibar!

The best time to visit Zanzibar is between the months of July and September when it is warm and balmy, and then again in the popular dry season between the months of December and February. Zanzibar experiences a wet season, around the months of March, April and May.

Tourists and adventure travellers flock to Zanzibar for a number of reasons, and depending on your interests, the most ideal time to visit Zanzibar will mostly depend on what it is that you’re after. Beach strolling and taking dips in the warm ocean, inhaling the sweet aromas of the spice tours around Stone Town or scuba diving to marvel at the beautiful creatures down below – Zanzibar has it all and so much more!

Zanzibar is an island archipelago off the eastern coast of Tanzania, an African gem that gets its fair share of visitors every year as well. Tanzania is situated just south of the Equator and so experiences relatively hot and humid temperatures all year long. There are two seasons in this tropical section of the world, a wet and dry season, but you can look forward to glorious days, guaranteed, almost every day of the year!

Zanzibar is made up of two larger islands, Unguja and Pemba island, and many smaller ones too.

Book your cheap flights to Zanzibar with Travelstart and get the most affordable option for your perfect vacation.

visit-zanzibar-stone-town

Average temperatures in Zanzibar

Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
Low °C 25°C 26°C 24°C 24°C 24°C 23°C 22°C 21°C 23°C 24°C 24°C 25°C
High °C 29°C 29°C 28°C 27°C 27°C 26°C 26°C 26°C 27°C 27°C 28°C 28°C
Rainfall (mm) 89 56 153 401 251 68 48 47 50 97 226 194

 

zanzibar island boatsThe Wet Season

Though it rains plenty and you may need to carry an umbrella with you, the wet season of Zanzibar is far from a monsoon-like and definitely won’t keep you stranded in your hotel room. This period falls between March to May and you can look forward to temperatures around 29°C. During this time, you will be find plenty of opportunities to go scuba diving off the coast of the island and get a chance to see the coral reefs up close and swim with the marine life below. You may experience rain downpours when you visit Zanzibar for between 30 minutes at a time, to a maximum of 2 hours. After that though, you’ll find that the sky will clear up and you’ll be granted a good few hours of sunshine to go sightseeing and enjoy your time on this beautiful island! On average, the island gets between 150 – 400 millimetres of rain for this period, per month.

The second wet season of Zanzibar is in November through to the first week or so of December. Though not as damp as the first wet season, you can still expect a few good days of rain with intermittent sunny skies.

The Dry Season

Zanzibar has two dry seasons with one being more popular with tourists than the other. During the months of July and September, you’ll find groups of tourists enjoying the shimmering sand and turquoise waters.  This is when you can enjoy temperatures around 26°C and find most days pleasantly warm and perfect for the beach or a stroll in the capital city of Stone Town. This season is ideal for those travelling solo, young groups of friends and couples looking to do spent some romantic time together.

The second dry season and also a good time to visit Zanzibar is the holiday season that falls between December and February. This time of the year is quite popular with travellers to the country that tend to take their holidays over the annual festive season and when their children are away from school. You will find more family groups than in the first dry season and many hotels make sure to cater for children during this time, with activities and tours especially adapted for families that have young ones with them. These months are essentially considered a summer season (with an average high of 29°C)  in Zanzibar and with this in mind, you may have less luck finding that exclusive private spot as holiday-makers are everywhere.

So, depending on your interests and who you’ll be travelling to Zanzibar with, you could either visit in the slightly less busy season of the first dry season (July to September) or the second, more family-orientated dry season (December to February). Either way, you’ll be guaranteed to have a great time.

For the best time to visit Zanzibar, have a look at our holiday specials for the best deals!

visit-zanzibar-turtles

Daylight hours

With Tanzania’s proximity to the equator, you will find that the daylight hours of the island archipelago are more or less consistent throughout the year, and you can enjoy 12 hours of daytime fun from between 6:00am and 6.30pm.

zanzibar-sunset

How much are flights to Zanzibar?

Peak season (December to February)

As this is the most popular time to visit Zanzibar, you can expect to pay between 30 – 40% more for your flights and accommodation. Remember that the later you choose to book your flights, the more you might pay.

Off-peak (March to May and November)

Though you may encounter some showers, booking during the wet season of Zanzibar could save you up to 50% on your flights and accommodation! Please note that it is still best to book your flights as early as possible for the best deals, even in off-peak season.

visit-zanzibar-island-retreat

Top activities to do in Zanzibar

Scuba diving

One of the main attractions on this beautiful island would most certainly be scuba diving in Zanzibar. To take full advantage of this activity, you should consider planning your vacation around July/August and/or February/March. The two main areas for scuba diving can be found in the archipelago of the island and also the south of the island, known as the Mafia Islands. If you’re unsure of where to start, have a look at our complete guide to diving in Zanzibar.

Marine sightseeing

If you’d love to catch a glimpse of some of the Indian Ocean’s beauties, then the best time to visit Zanzibar would be in the month of March. This is, traditionally, the start of the rainy season on the island and the best time to spot turtles and dolphins. If you’re looking to spot the majestic humpback whales, July to November is your best bet! The most popular spot to see dolphins is from Kizimkazi Village, in the south of the island archipelago.

Coral reef snorkelling

There is nothing quite as enticing as seeing the marvellous display of the various, colourful coral reef at the bottom of the ocean floor in Zanzibar. Go snorkelling with a guide and enjoy the sights of what mother nature has created. Popular snorkelling spots include Chumbe Island, Mnemmba Island and along Kendwa beach as well.

Spice tour

Allow your nose to lead the way through an exotic array of spices, fruits and herbs with one of the famous spice tours in Zanzibar. During these walking tours, you will visit a spice farm and partake in smelling and tasting some tropical flavours and aromas, such as lemongrass, vanilla, turmeric and so much more.

Stone Town

This traditional town is a beautiful mixture of designs taken from the Swahili, European and Arab cultures that have influenced the design of the town. Walk down the cobbled streets and marvel at the architecture, and then try your hand at bargaining at the local souks around town.

Explore the beaches

And last but not least, one cannot visit this majestic island without spending a few days wondering and discovering the best beaches in Zanzibar! Make sure to pack in plenty of sunscreen and your swimming costume as you won’t be able to resist the silky sands and picture-perfect waters from Nungwi Bay to Kizimkazi Beach.

soccer-on-the-beach-visit-zanzibar

Annual events in Zanzibar

January

Zanzibar Revolution Day –  a celebration to celebrate the end of 200 years of Arab dominance, held on the 12th of January every year.

February

Sauti za Busara – one of Africa’s most-loved music festivals that includes more than 400 musicians and a carnival too.

July

Mwaka Kogwa – a colourful and lively festival that is celebrated by seven of Zanzibar’s villages to start the celebration of the Shirazi New Year.

Zanzibar Cultural Festival (end of July)– a cultural celebration that includes traditional music, dance and arts and crafts. You can also look forward to fairs, canoe races and to taste some traditional food.

August

Eid-ul-Fitr – an Islamic celebration that marks the end of Ramadaan and celebrated with gifts, feasts and spending time with family and friends.

September

Jahazi Literary & Jazz Festival – a relatively new festival that enjoys the sweet sounds of Tanzanian jazz musicians and poets.

December

Christmas – enjoy this festive day with everyone from around the island with gift exchanges, feasting and having a good time.

visit-zanzibar-spices

With this surreal destination being an affordable holiday choice with so much to see and do throughout the year, why not start planning your trip to this perfect island getaway? Subscribe to the Travelstart newsletter for the latest deals on the best time to visit Zanzibar and you’ll soon be on your way!

 

Image credits:

zanzibarguide via Instagram

kk.deniz via Instagram

tuipoland via Instagram

The post Your guide to the best time to visit Zanzibar! appeared first on Travelstart Blog.

An easy guide to the different types of visas for South African travellers

Planning a holiday and unsure of which visa you need? This simple guide to the different types of visas will help you understand what they are and help you figure out which one is right for you so you can make those travel dreams come true.

holiday visas

What is a visa?

It is an official document issued by the embassy or consulate of a particular country that grants you permission to travel to that specific country. You will need a valid passport to apply for a visa.

Need to renew your old passport? Find out how with this guide to a South African passport renewal.

Visas are required by most countries and are either obtained before travelling or issued upon arrival (e.g. Maldives, Cambodia, and Madagascar).

Find out more about visa-free countries for South Africans.

types of visas

What does a visa look like?

Visas are one-page printouts that are glued onto a blank page in your passport. These are unique to each country and usually include details such as your name, place of birth, the reason for travel, passport number, expiration date, and sometimes a photograph.

Upon entering a country your passport will be stamped with an entry stamp e.g. Canada and the United States), although some countries (e.g. Hong Kong) issue landing slips that are stapled to a page in your passport.

america travel visas

What is an eVisa?

Unlike a traditional visa, which is glued to a page in your passport, the eVisa (electronic visa) is a digital visa that is stored in a database. Applications are typically done online, and the visa is linked to your passport number. You will receive a visa approval letter, which can be presented while travelling.

Electronic visas are only offered by certain countries (e.g. Sri Lanka). You will need to check the embassy or consulate website of your chosen country to see if this option is available.

SOME IMPORTANT THINGS TO REMEMBER

  • In some cases, you will need to book your flights before applying for a visa.
  • Entry into the country is at the discretion of the airport authorities at your destination. It is important that you ensure you have the correct visa before embarking on your journey and have all the necessary documents on hand. Find out more about our Visa Denied Service.
  • You should ensure your passport is valid for at least six months (or three months for a Schengen Visa) beyond your date of return.
  • Ensure you have two blank pages available for entry stamps.

different types of visas

What are visa categories?

Visas are divided into two main visa categories: short-term and long-term.

Long-term visas allow you to stay in a particular country for an extended period of time (e.g. Immediate Relative & Family Sponsored visas). In some cases, these eventually allow you to become a citizen of that country.

Short-term visas allow you to stay in a particular country for a limited period (typically about 90 days) and do not allow you to become a citizen of that country (e.g. Travel and Business visas). The requirements for these can vary widely.

How many different types of visas are there?

There are about 185 different types of visas around the world.

europe travel visas

What are the different types of visas?

Some of the most popular visas amongst South Africans include:

  • Transit visa – a transit visa allows you to pass through another country on route to your destination country. You will usually need one if you will be in the transit country for more than a few hours. In some countries, you may need one if you will be going through immigration control to collect your luggage or catch a connecting flight.
  • Tourist visa – a tourist visa (also known as a travel visa) allows you to travel to a foreign country for a set amount of time. These visas do not entitle you to work or participate in any business activities while you are in the country.
  • Work visa – a work visa allows you to take on employment while in the country. These visas are usually valid for the duration of the employment contract or a period not exceeding five years. There are several types of visas, including working holiday visas and professional speciality
  • Business visa – a business visa allows you to conduct business and engage in business activities in another country. These visas are granted to individuals who are attending a business conference or travelling to another country to do business with another company. You will need to show that you are not receiving any income from the country.
  • Student visa – a student visa allows you to pursue academic studies in another country. These visas allow you to enrol at a college, university, or academic programme and stay in that country for the duration of your course. You are also usually allowed to stay for a short period (anything from 60 days to four months) after completing your studies.
  • Spousal visa – a spousal visa allows you to visit your spouse if you are both from different countries. These visas entitle you to visit for two years and apply for residency after five years (although the rules and requirements vary from country to country).

canadian visa

Visas also range from media/journalist visas, medical treatment visas and religious worker visas to entertainer visas and exchange visas that cover au pairs, teachers and scholars.

There are also a number of special visas that are unique to certain countries:

  • The Escort Visa allows a man to accompany an unmarried woman while she conducts business in Saudi Arabia.
  • The Non-Immigrant “O-A” Visa allows applicants aged 50 years and over to live in Thailand for one year, but prohibits them from working during their stay.

The five most commonly issued visas are: tourist visas, immigration and naturalisation visas, student visas, business and work visas, and transit visas.

south america travel visas

What is the difference between a single entry and multiple entry visa?

A single-entry visa allows you to enter a specific country just once (e.g. you are attending a wedding in Australia and have no intention of returning in the near future), while a multiple-entry allows you to enter multiple times (e.g. a 10-year U.S. visa may be issued to a business person who frequently attends meetings and conferences in the country).

Some countries automatically consider applicants for multiple-entry visas (e.g. Canada), while others require applicants to specify which visa they need on their application and provide documents to support their choice.

Note: Whether you qualify for a multiple or single-entry visa is at the discretion of the visa officer.

visa information

While this guide aims to give you a better understanding of the different types of visas, each country has its own requirements and processes for obtaining them, so it is important to research the visa rules for your chosen country before you book your flights and set off on your journey.

For more information about a particular visa, check out these detailed guides to some of the most popular visas amongst South Africans.

All information on this page was correct at the time of publishing and may change at any time without prior notice. Travelstart will not be held liable for loss or inconvenience resulting from the use of information from this website.

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