Travelstart Wins Best E-Commerce Service of 2017 at Price Check Awards

On 14 September 2017 the Price Check Tech & E-Commerce Awards were held at The Westin Hotel in Cape Town. All the big boys of South Africa’s online industry were there, hoping to scoop up a prize at the most momentous awards ceremony of its kind in the country, and be recognised by peers and customers alike as a major player in the e-commerce space.

Travelstart was announced as a finalist in two categories, for both the Best Online Travel Platform and the evening’s most coveted award, the Best E-Commerce Service Of The Year.

In the end, much to the delight of the entire Travelstart team in attendance, Travelstart claimed the precious Best E-Commerce Service Of The Year award as our own.

Pricecheck award

 

Recognition that our mantra of “Travel Made Simple” is not just three words, but something that is evident on our platforms, we’re proud that this award is testament to our focus on providing an intuitive, transparent travel booking service, excellent customer service, incredible fares and out of the box marketing initiatives.

 

price check announcement

 

We kindly permitted Airbnb -our honourable and deserving co-finalists- to win the Best Online Travel Platform of the year, and we congratulate them as well as the other deserving winners of the evening on their achievements!

 

team travelstart

Thanks to all our customers who showed their support by voting for Travelstart as Best E-Commerce Service of the Year 2017!

The post Travelstart Wins Best E-Commerce Service of 2017 at Price Check Awards appeared first on Travelstart Blog.

Tuk Tuks, Trams And Segways: Unique Ways To Tour SA

Trains, tuk-tuks, bikes and Segway gliding tours, explore SA’s top attractions from an original perspective. Travelstart brings you fun, fresh and unusual ways to get out and experience SA.

Image courtesy of @itote_ruboxd via @upcycles via Instagram

1. Segway gliding tours, Durban

Image courtesy of Moses Mabhida Stadium

Explore Durban’s iconic Moses Mabhida Stadium on a guided gliding tour of the stadium and its surrounds via effortless Segway. Explore the ins and outs of this magnificent structure while you coast smoothly along its highways and byways.
First off you’ll be given a 15 minute training session, thus prepared you’re ready to take on the tour, your guide will share their wealth of knowledge on the latest addition to the eThekwini skyline.
Choose from the Moses Mabhida All Access Tour and a range of Segway Gliding Tours to suit every rider. Enjoy the balmy Durban breeze as you glide along and take in the scenery.
Tours operate daily from 8 am to 4:30pm.
Choose from the:

  • 45min Express Tour priced at R230 per person.
  • The 1 Hour Beach Glide priced at R280 per person.
  • The Full Stadium Glide priced at R290 per person.
  • The Stadium & Beach Glide priced at R440 per person.
  • The Ushaka Glide priced at R480 per person.

Regretfully no children under the age of 10.
To book call: 083 456 8507/ 078 458 0055/ +27 (0) 31 303 4534

2. Wine Tram, Franschhoek

Image courtesy @winetram via Instagram

This charming Hop-on hop-off tram tour is an ideal way to explore this corner of French wine heaven. The tram glides past wild flowers and lush mountain views stopping at the entrance to several established wine farms. Guests board the tram at the ticket office located in the centre of Franschhoek. The tram passes each spot once an hour so there is ample time to enjoy each estate.
Choose from several lines. The Blue Line departs on the tram-bus first and stops at Mont Rochelle, Le Lude, La Bri, La Bourgogne, Holden Manz, La Couronne, Rickety Bridge and Grande Provence. The Green, Red and Yellow lines stop at variety of different estates while the Purple line operates exclusively on the tram-bus and showcases the western region of the Valley stopping at Boschendal and Vrede en Lust.
Tram tickets are available from R220 per person and it’s worth booking ahead as there are a limited number of tickets available each day.
The service runs every day except for 24 December, 25 December, 31 December and 1st January.
You can leave your wine purchases with the conductor and they will be waiting for you at the ticket office at the end of your tour.

Image courtesy @winetram via Instagram

3. Up Cycle Rentals Sea Point

Image courtesy @upcycles via Instagram.

The coolest way to explore Sea Point, the CBD and the endless blue coast of Bantry bay, Clifton and Camps Bay, Up Cycles’ bright orange bikes are a smart way to get around the city. Up Cycles is Cape Town’s first drop and go bike rental company. Cycle from the iconic Sea Point Pavilion to the Creamery in Mouille Point for an ice cream, meander past the red and white candy-striped Lighthouse, explore Green Point park and the vibey eateries in Bree Street.
One hour is priced at R60, Two hours: R90, Three hours: R120, Half a day R180 and a full day until sunset R220. Child seats are priced at R50. Prices include helmets and locks.

Image courtesy of @amanda_mandibles via @upcycles via Instagram.

Good to know

Don’t miss out on Up Cycles’ birthday specials. Just take along your proof of birth date and you’ll get one hour free on your birthday!
Pensioners get 20 % off all rides.
The last rides of the day depart 30 minutes prior to sunset.
Find the Up Cycles stations at the Pavilion in Sea Point, Silo 5 at the V & A Waterfront, Breakway Café on de Waterkant Street Fan Walk in the CBD and at the Bay Hotel in Camps Bay.

Image courtesy @upcycles via Instagram.

4. Ceres Steam Train

Image courtesy @raynobosman via Instagram

The perfect weekend adventure, the whole family will enjoy an old-fashioned train trip through the countryside to picturesque Ceres Valley. This fertile valley known for cherry-picking in the summer and snow in the winter will captivate your imagination. Depart from the Royal Cape Yacht Club in Cape Town bright and early and reach Ceres by midday. Explore the town or lunch at the Ceres Golf Club before returning to Cape Town by late afternoon.
R400 for adults one way and R800 return.
R250 for kids aged 3 to 13 one-way and R500 return.

Contact: 079 077 5332
bookings@ceresrail.co.za

5. Walking and biking tours with Past Experiences, Joburg

Image courtesy @ebrahimyasmeen via Instagram

Known as the original Inner City walking tour, Past Experiences offers a fantastic range of tours, don’t miss out on their “Upcoming Weekend Budget Tours” which end in early October.
On Saturday the 16th September co-founder Jo is hosting a Braamfontein Art Tour. This invigorating walking tour will take in graffiti, street art, public art and examine area revitalization.
Time: 09:30am to 11:30am
Priced at just R160 per person
The meeting point is Velo Café, the Grove at the corner of Juta and Melle Street.
Book by calling 011 782 5250/083 701 3046

Then on Saturday the 7th October join Past Experiences on their Jozi Inner City Walk, Mad Giant Brewery Your and Beer Tasting priced at just R290.
This is perfect for love Jozi and also enjoy a good beer. Expect to get a taste of architecture, public art and street art followed by the taste of Mad Giant Brewery’s beer. The tour starts at 09:30am and end at 12:30/13:00pm.
Meeting at Parking at No 1 Fox Street.
Book by calling 011 782 5250/083 701 3046

6. Wine Tuk-tuks Stellenbosch

Image courtesy @devonvalleyhotel via Instagram

A fun way to stay safe while wine-tasting, the Stellies Wine tuk-tuks take you on a tour of wine estates in the City of the Oaks.
Half-day tours visit three wine estates, namely Lanzerac, Morgenhof and Simonsig. There are two departure times: 10am to 1pm and 2pm to 5pm .
The Full-day tour departs at 10am and ends at 4pm. Tickets are R1000 per person including lunch and all wine tastings. First stop is Waterford Estate for a chocolate & wine pairing plus a cellar tour, next up is Lanzerac followed by Neil Ellis for lunch and wine tasting. Morgenhof is next for wine-tasting and a small tour of Underground Cellar and finally Simonsig for wine-tasting.
Book here: http://www.tuktukstellies.co.za/tuk-tuk-tours/

7. Tuk-tuks in Melville, Joburg

Image courtesy @ goodhopestudies via Instagram

The cheapest, most fun and refreshing way to get around vibey Melville. Take in the bookstores and bars in this laid-back, arty suburb. Plus you won’t have to worry about traffic and parking. The e-tuk-tuks operate within 7km of Melville. Call: 072 316 8099. 66 4th Avenue Melville

8. Flaming aloes on the Creighton Aloe Steam Train, KZN


Photograph courtesy of Monique van Deventer

All aboard the Aloe Steam Train! Every July weekend experience a 3-hour return ride on the Creighton Aloe Steam train as you meander alongside the beautiful Ngogwaan river, through thousands of flaming orange aloes.
Tickets are priced from R150 depending on which coach you choose.
Children under three ride for free.

Find out more here.

For the rest of the year the Inchanga Choo choo operates on the last Sunday of every month and departs from the Stokers Arms in Kloof, stopping at the Inchanga interchange for the craft market and picnic area. Book here.
The next train trip is set for the 24 September.

9. Free-wheel down Table Mountain on eco scooters with Scootours

Image courtesy @ malikadavis4 via Instagram

A thrilling way to explore Table Mountain and Signal Hill. Guided tours depart from the Kloofnek parking lot and will take you on an off-road 5km route free-wheeling down the side of Signal Hill into the beautiful Bo Kaap. You will then be transported to Table Mountain for a final run down a single track. The non-motorised push-bikes are Swiss-made and eco-friendly, specially designed for Swiss mountains in the summer when the snow has melted.
A Solo ticket is priced at R550 for those aged 10 years and older, passenger tickets for kids aged 4 to 9 are priced at R290.
Contact: 082 776 0557 to book.
Specials available for kids birthday parties and groups.

The post Tuk Tuks, Trams And Segways: Unique Ways To Tour SA appeared first on Travelstart Blog.

Insider Guide to Sun City. Your Ticket To A Fun-Filled Getaway.

As the car pulls up to the entrance, the towering palm trees sway back and forth. The clouds roll over as glimpses of the grand architecture comes into sight leaving the dull landscape behind you.  In front of you stands Sun City, an African oasis, a world of luxury and adventure.

Sun City lives between the Elands River and the Pilanesberg, about a two-hour drive from Johannesburg. It’s the perfect location for an opulent weekend away or a fun family holiday.  The resort has endless activities for both day and night.  Go from great heights in a hot air balloon during sunrise to lounging on a tube on the lazy river at the Valley of the Waves.  Guests can see the Big 5 at the neighbouring Pilanesberg National park, join a Segway tour of the resort, or enjoy a day of golf on one of the exceptional courses.  The options truly are endless!

The resort is home to four hotels: The Cabanas, Soho Hotel, Cascades Hotel and The Palace, each offering a unique experience, making Sun City a holiday destination that caters for every traveller’s budget.

The Cabanas – 3 Star:

Situated on the bank of the Sun City Waterworld Lake, The Cabanas has recently undergone renovations. The guest rooms, the reception area and the restaurant now boast modern finishes with pops of bright colours, a refreshing change from the African flair of the Sun City Resort.

This family oriented hotel offers a wide range of facilities and activities like mini-golf, go-carts and an outdoor pool, as well as access to the resort’s Valley of the Waves and golf courses.

Guests have a choice between a twin room or family room. The family room has a slightly larger living space and a sofa bed, perfect for kids up to 12 years old, while the twin room is better suited for families travelling with teens.  Every morning, guests can tuck into an English breakfast at the Palm Terrace restaurant as they plan their day of sunshine and adventures.

Soho Hotel – 4 Star:

If being close to the action is what’s on your check-list, then Soho Hotel is the place for you. The first hotel to be built on the resort, Soho has direct access to the casino and is central to all resort activities.

Consisting of 340 pool and lake-facing rooms, the hotel offers beautiful presidential suites with private balconies to luxury twin and family rooms. Guests get to wake up to gorgeous views and calls of nature before heading down to the hotel’s restaurant for a buffet breakfast followed by a day lounging at the hotel pool or strolling through the beautiful gardens.

After an action-packed day, wind down at one of the hotel’s restaurants, or try your luck on a slot machine before a night on the dancefloor at the hotel’s club, Encore. If relaxing with a cocktail in hand tickles your fancy, visit Harlequin’s Cocktail Bar for live music and delicious Cherry Daiquiris.

Cascades Hotel – 5 Star:

Named after the tranquil waterfalls surrounding the hotel, Cascades hotel is a tropical paradise that brings calm into the bustle of the resort. As the sun filters through the lush vegetation, guests will come up close and personal with resident monkeys and birds, a sure spectacle on a morning or afternoon walk around the property.

The polished 5-star hotel boasts 241 sophisticated rooms that overlook the property’s gardens and sandy white beach pool area.  Guests can enjoy 24-hour room service with a fresh Nespresso coffee in their fluffy white slippers or head down to the hotel’s restaurant, Peninsula, for a drink on the sunny terrace.

Waking up to the soothing sounds of the waterfalls, guests can head downstairs for a buffet breakfast; an array of goodies to satisfy any hungry traveller! The helpful hotel concierge is on standby as guests decide what’s in store for them for the day – a game drive in Pilanesberg National Park, an adventure through the Southern Hemisphere’s largest maze or a relaxing day at the hotel’s beach pool area…

The Palace – 5 Star:

Known the world over, The Palace is one of South Africa’s most sought after 5 star hotels.  Epitomising African luxury, there are surprises on every corner – from zebra hide chairs and tusk-shaped stationary to pillars carved with African stories and the most intricate African landscape painting found on the entrance ceiling. The Palace transports its guests into a mythical lost African kingdom from the second they step through the front doors.

The hotel has 335 elegantly decorated rooms and suites with beautiful views of water or jungle, and an exquisite swimming pool shaded by tall palm trees.  Guests can dine at some of the finest restaurants, indulge in a high tea fit for the queen or socialise over a drink at the Tusk Lounge and Bar; the options are endless.

Guests have direct access to the thrilling Valley of the Waves that can be reached by the winding paths through the property’s jungle. Choose to spend hours soaking up the sun on the beach before retiring to one of the hotel’s lounges, or take a trip up to the King’s Tower for a breathtaking view over The Palace and its surrounds – a hotel-exclusive view not to be missed!

A World Within A City

Whether it be a family trip or a luxurious romantic getaway, Sun City definitely caters for every traveller.  From the accommodation to the activities, parents can thank the African gods for a resort that promises a memorable, action-packed holiday with their children, while couples can think back on an adventure that offered romantic sunset safaris and intimate moments over opulent dinners. Sun City is undoubtedly an African oasis complete with endless luxury and adventure.

The post Insider Guide to Sun City. Your Ticket To A Fun-Filled Getaway. appeared first on Travelstart Blog.

5 Reasons Why You Need to Add Malawi to Your African Bucket List

Experience the Warm Heart of the People

Malawi regards itself as “The Warm Heart of Africa” and once you step foot in this beautiful land, you will immediately understand why this statement rings true.

The locals are warm at heart and you will truly feel at ease when touring their country. Tourists are welcomed with open arms with the greeting of “Takulandirani muli bwanji?” (Welcome, how are you?) and you are constantly made aware of why Malawi is such a great tourist destination.

Malawians are a proud nation of people and even more so of their pride and joy, Lake Malawi.

Take a Dip in Lake Malawi

Lake Malawi stretches far beyond your wildest dreams and is often referred to as the Lake of Stars by locals. It covers a significant part of the Malawian landscape and crosses over into Tanzania where it is known as Lake Nyasa and Mozambique where it goes by Lago Niassa. Lake Malawi is the ninth largest in the world and boasts crystal clear fresh water and is home to the highest biodiversity of fresh water fish in the world.

Forget about those Indian Ocean island dreams and choose to spend a few days at the lake by soaking up some sun, snorkelling or just give those arms a workout with a lovely kayak paddle along the shores. With a range of great accommodation resorts and lodges to choose from, all that is required from you is to relax and take in the sights and sounds of this amazing place, the experience is well worth it.

Visit Lake Malawi National Park, an UNESCO-World Heritage Site and first freshwater National Park worldwide.

Mumbo Island – Image Source: https://kayakafrica.co.za

Enjoy the Wildlife

Those in search of the Big Five will have a ball, as Malawi has them all. National parks such as Liwonde National Park offers great daytime game drives as well as beautiful sunset drives for those with a keen interest in sighting nocturnal animals.

Liwonde National Park is located along the banks of the Shire River (pronounced Shi-ra) and boasts beautiful accommodation facilities in the form of Mvuu Lodge & Camp, ideal for honeymooners, holiday goers and family getaways.

Set off on an adventure and say “Hi” to the likes of the hippo, warthogs, yellow baboons- watch out for the crocs and see the majestic elephant roaming these parts too. Other parks to be on the lookout for are Majete Game Reserve, Lake Malawi National Park and Lengwe National Park.

Malawi is a real haven for all creatures big and small.

Liwonde National Park

Indulge in Some Local Cuisine

As with visiting any new county, you should be tempted to give the local cuisine a go and with Malawi having the lake at its disposal, it is only natural that fish would be on the menu. The local dish of Chambo (fish) and Nsima (pap/maize) is enjoyed by all and is widely available.

If you have not tried Chambo and Nsima then you have not experienced Malawi. It’s absolutely delicious whether your preference is to have it grilled, fried or perhaps served as fish cakes you just have to give it a try. Other foods include traditional chicken stews, fried bananas, slow roasted meats as well as normal western and eastern dishes.

Chambo

Hike Mount Mulanje

Mount Mulanje is located just 65 km east of Blantyre. The surrounding Mulanje District is renowned for their tea plantations. Mount Mulanje is a hiker’s paradise so best to pack in those hiker boots and set off on an exploration of discovery as you become one with nature. The rocky peaks, grasslands, gorges and rivers makes this region a perfect place to have a hike and enjoy the landscapes.

 

A post shared by @vineethzomba on Aug 28, 2017 at 12:13pm PDT

Cheap flights to Malawi are now available, are you ready to experience the Warm Heart of Africa?

The post 5 Reasons Why You Need to Add Malawi to Your African Bucket List appeared first on Travelstart Blog.

5 Interactive Bike Tours In and Around Johannesburg

Known for being fast-paced, Johannesburg’s bustling city can be intimidating for many folks. Well, now you have the pleasure of exploring the ‘City of Gold’ on an interactive bike tour. This engaging means of seeing historic and cultural attractions will leave you with a wealth of knowledge, and the bonus is a pat on the back for getting your fitness levels up!

 

Soweto Bicycle Tours

bike tour in soweto

Image courtesy @sowetobybike via Instagram

Run by Lebo’s Soweto Backpackers, tourists are taken on extensive bike tours through the dynamic township of Soweto. You will have the pleasure of cycling through the communities of Meadowlands and Orlando West – embracing the vibrant energy of the locals. Discover interesting historical sites around Soweto.The tour includes a stop at the Hector Pieterson Memorial – the historical landmark of the 1976 Student Uprising.  Once you’ve conquered the cycle across all the cultural and historical sights, you’ll get to cycle back to Lebo’s Soweto Backpackers and will have the chance to enjoy home brewed beer, and take in a wealth of information about the African customs and traditions.

Tour Highlights

  • The full day bike tour experience includes seeing Soweto’s hidden spots.
  • Learn about the lives of migrant workers.
  • Feel welcomed by the locals of Soweto as you ride through its streets.
  • Indulge in local treats at the street market.
  • Listen to the vivid stories of the Sowetan locals.
  • A visit to a former migrant worker’s hostel.
  • See the homes of Nelson Mandela and Desmond Tutu in Vilakazi Street.
  • Enjoy a traditional lunch – African stew, cooked the traditional way, and pap.

Prices

2 hour tour (includes lunch) R470 Per Person (Tour only guest) R390 Per Person (Backpackers guest)
4 hour tour (includes lunch) R580 Per Person (Tour only guest) R500 Per Person (Tour only guest)
8 hour tour (includes lunch) R750 Per Person (Tour only guest) R670 Per Person (Backpackers guest)

 

Contact Details

Telephone: +27 11 936 3444

Email: lebo@sowetobackpackers.com 

 

Alexandra Tours

Alexandra bike tour

Image courtesy @84onfourth via Instagram

Bask in the ‘real’ Alexandra Township – one of South Africa’s oldest townships. There is no better way to engage with the locals than on a bicycle. Tourists get to see the lifestyle of the people beyond the usual tourist sites. You will be shown around the township by an informative local guide. A bike tour through Alexandra aims to change the narrative about the township. Alexandra Tours exposes you to the traditions within the humble community.

In groups of 8, the bike tour begins at the Gautrain Station in Marlboro, sending you on a pedal mission to an enhanced perspective of Alexandra. Delight in the harmonious spirit of the locals and brush up on your history of Alexandra during the apartheid era.

Tour Highlights

  • Participants get to taste umqombothi – a traditional African beer.
  • Storytelling is a thought provoking means of gaining insight to different communities, locals rouse you with their oral histories detailing their resilience – it is a powerful and moving experience.
  • A visit to the local shebeen, the first primary school in Alexandra and Nelson Mandela’s house.
  • Lunch is included in all the tours (taste the

Prices

2 hour tour R450 Per Person
4 hour tour R550 Per Person

Contact Details

Telephone: +27 71 279 3654 OR +27 61 365 7695

Email: mulaudzi.tours@gmail.com

Maboneng City Cyclists

bike tour in maboneng

Image courtesy @mabonengcitycyclists via Instagram

The trendy Maboneng Precinct can be traversed on a bike every Thursday. Maboneng means “Place of Light” in Sotho and it sure does emit positive light, as it sees diverse people frequenting the trendy area. It is more than your average cycle through town. Join the social movement along with Johannesburg’s cool crowd and take in all the creative sights. Exciting opportunities to see the city on a bike include group rides, social rides, and many fun, engaging cycling activities. Explore Maboneng and beyond, creating a wonderful sense of adventure. Maboneng City Cyclists hosts a variety of events, which get locals and tourists on bikes and eager to explore their surroundings. Meet up at Love Revo SA (corner of Betty and Fox Street) and depart at 7pm.

Tour Highlights

  • Take on the challenge of conquering multiple routes and discover the city’s gems.
  • The bike ride includes a break, where you can enjoy great food and drinks with your fellow riders.
  • The benefit of joining the Maboneng City Cyclists social movement is the chance to conquer your fear of the city, time slows down on a bicycle and it affords you the moment to delight in Johannesburg’s urban beauty!
  •  It is a great way to meet new people while getting your endorphins pumping.

Tour Prices

Bike rentals are available from Get Fixied Bikes for R120 with lights and helmet.

Contact Details                                                           

Facebook: Maboneng City Cyclists

East City Cycle Tour

jeppestown bike tour

Image courtesy @mainstreetswalks via Instagram

Explore the streets of Maboneng, Doornfontein and Troyeville – see the ‘City of Gold’ like you’ve never seen it before. With the moderately paced cycle tour, you get to take in the fresh air of the urban life. Prepare for a day of public arts, urban living, breath-taking architecture and captivating history. The East City Cycle Tour takes place on Saturdays and Sundays, or you can arrange a private or group tour for any day of the week. Take in the progressive mural installations that can be seen along the epic bike tour. Discover Johannesburg and its hidden gems as you cycle through the city.

Tour Highlights

  • Create new friendships with local and foreign people participating in the cycling adventure.
  • Unveil your inner child and go on a hidden treasure hunt through the city streets.
  • Tour the city’s street art.

Tour Prices:

2 hour tour R200

Contact Details

Telephone: +27 (0)11 614 0163

Facebook: Mainstreetwalks Johannesburg

Jozi Hustle

johannesburg night cityscape

Image courtesy @igersjozi via Instagram

This unique take on cycling the city gets your blood pumping as it takes place at night! Hosted by the guys at Hunter Cycling, Jozi Hustle sees avid bikers and amateurs racing or simply riding through the street on a fixed route. A unique adrenalin rush can be expected as you make your way through the streets on bike. Attractions such as The Mandela Bridge becomes sensational sights to behold as you peddle the night away. Keep a look out for Hunter Cycling’s group rides in different parts of the city!

Tour Highlights

  • One-of-a-kind views of the city at night
  • It is 100% FREE!
  • Feeling safe navigating through the city with a mass group of like-minded individuals.
  • Grab a beer and socialise with fellow riders after you’ve conquered the route.
  • Meeting cool people along the way.

Contact Details

Telephone: +27 (0) 76 541 2443

Facebook Page: Hunter Cycling


 

 

The post 5 Interactive Bike Tours In and Around Johannesburg appeared first on Travelstart Blog.

12 Popular Apps For Travelling the World

Tourist Using Her Smartphone

Since the beginning of the Digital Revolution in the 1950s, technology has come a long way to making our lives easier. Let’s show you how with these 12 leading apps that are ideal for a holiday experienceFrom flights to keeping the kids busy, these apps will guarantee you have a trouble-free experience discovering the treasures of the world.

Book a flight within minutes!

Flapp

Let’s start with our very own app for flights, Flapp! We launched this helpful tool back in 2015 (it’s the world’s first single route flight booking app!). Today, you can use Flapp to search for and compare all domestic and international flights as well as travel products; and book and pay for them within minutes and get confirmation via email. Flapp offers even more, letting you hire cars, arrange transfers, and you can manage your bookings with Travelstart through the app (check-in, changing a booking, etc.). With Flapp, you will be among the first to know about specials and promotions! Start booking your next flight to Rome with just a few taps! Download Flapp for free for your Android or iOS device today!

How will you get around?

Uber

If you’d rather not get behind the wheel, there are some additional options. Would you like to use a taxi to get around cities like Cape Town and Johannesburg? Try out Uber and Taxify, which are among the most popular apps for booking a ride-sharing taxi. You can even pay for the ride through your app, and when sharing a ride, Uber lets you split the cost with the other passengers! Uber is available for free for Android and iOS devices and Taxify is free on the Google Play Store and the Apple App Store as well!

Never get lost with an online (or offline) map!

Google Maps

 

If it’s your first time exploring the beautiful city of Paris, you’ll be in need of a map. Luckily, apps like Google Maps and HERE WeGo give you pocket-sized interactive maps that let you search for destinations, and even give directions! If you’re worried about running out of data, you can download the maps beforehand over Wi-Fi. Both apps let you see live traffic updates and take traffic information into account when giving you an estimated time of arrival. They even provide alternative routes when facing heavy traffic! Google Maps is available for free for Android and iOS devices, while HERE WeGo is only available for free for Android devices.

Are the kids along for the ride?

Hovercraft - Build Fly Retry

When you have the little and not-so-little ones in the backseat, you know you’ll need to keep them occupied, especially if you’re taking a long scenic drive from Los Angeles to Santa Barbara. Check out these apps that will keep them entertained! For those aged 2-4, The Very Hungry Caterpillar – First Words (for kids aged 2) entertains the little ones with beautiful, colourful images as they learn new words. This app is available for R 38.94 on the Apple App Store. Peg + Cat’s Tree Problem (for kids aged 3), lets the children play and learn math and solve puzzles. This problem-solving game is available for R 38.88 for Android and R 38.94 for iOS. Kids aged 5-7 can build their own racing hovercrafts with Hovercraft – Build Fly Retry, which is available for free on the Google Play Store and Apple App Store. Those between 8 and 9 can go exploring a digital world with Minecraft – Pocket Edition, which is available at R 89.06 for Android and R 109.99 for iOS.

Lost in translation?

Google Translate

The many countries of the world are all home to a variety of different languages, so there will definitely be times when you’ll be in need of a translator. Two of the most well-known apps that will help are Google Translate and iTranslate. Both apps can translate text, voice and even text messages. Google Translate goes further to translate text in pictures (handy for the signs you’ll get in Beijing) and translate text in any app, while iTranslate can be used side by side with other apps. If you encounter a certain language on a regular basis, these apps additionally offer the convenience of downloading languages for offline translation. You can get Google Translate for free on the Google Play Store and the Apple App Store, while iTranslate is available for Android and iOS devices as well.

For more on what’s happening in the technology scene around the world, visit South Africa Vibe. Not only will you find news on the latest innovations on the planet, you’ll also find that this online platform provides the place for artists, singers, bands, designers, DJs and celebrity figures to advertise their events, reviews and latest features, for free!

Are there any apps you’d recommend for exploring the world? Comment below!

The post 12 Popular Apps For Travelling the World appeared first on Travelstart Blog.

How to easily apply for your Schengen visa

It’s a dream of many to travel through Europe. Images of fairy-tale lands, expansive open fields, cobbled streets, age-old architecture and more known attractions than you could ever imagine, the lure of this magical continent appeals to the eye and soul alike.

Travel through the Schengen Zone countries can be as simple as driving along its winding countryside roads, hopping onto the Eurostar train, or taking a 45min flight to your next European city.

But before you get ready for your adventure, make sure to sort out your Schengen visa, so that you can concentrate on the good stuff!

copenhagen-denmark-schengen-visa

Copenhagen, Denmark

So, who needs to apply?

Anyone from South Africa (and many, many other countries) that wants to visit one or more of the dozens of countries that fall under the Schengen Zone. There are 26 countries in total, and while 22 of them are part of the European Union, Iceland, Norway, Switzerland, and Liechtenstein are not.

 

Which countries require a Schengen visa?

If you’re in possession of a valid South African passport, you’re going to need to get your papers ready if your dream holiday destination falls under the following list:

  1. Austria
  2. Belgium
  3. Bulgaria
  4. Switzerland
  5. Cyprus
  6. Czech Republic
  7. Denmark
  8. Estonia
  9. Finland
  10. France
  11. Germany
  12. Greece
  13. Hungary
  14. Italy
  15. Iceland
  16. Latvia
  17. Lithuania
  18. Luxembourg
  19. Malta
  20. Netherlands
  21. Poland
  22. Portugal
  23. Slovenia
  24. Spain
  25. Slovakia
  26. Sweden

 

rome-italy-schengen-visa

Rome, Italy

What do you need to apply?

The documents and other essentials that you’ll need will depend on the country that you’re applying to (make sure to check ahead of time), but all basic Schengen applications require the following:

  1. A valid S.A passport (not older than 10 years, with at least 3 months of validity left of it after your RETURN date to S.A.)
  2. Two blank consecutive pages in your passport
  3. Two passport photographs
  4. A Schengen application form
  5. Travel insurance
  6. Copies of previous Schengen visas (if applicable).

 

Where to apply?

Well, which country are you going to visit? If it’s just one, then you need to apply to that country’s consulate/embassy.

If, however, you’re planning on visiting more than one country, apply at the country’s consulate/embassy that you’ll be spending the majority of your time in.

Alternatively, if you’re planning on spending an equal amount of time in each of these countries, then it would be best to apply for your Schengen visa with the country that you’ll visit first.

 

When should you apply?

Ideally, at least 4 weeks before your trip is scheduled. Please note that you should not apply more than 3 months ahead of time.

 

How long is it valid for?

Your Schengen visa will be valid for 90 days, and you can make use of it over a period of six months. If, however, you’ve applied for a multiple entry Schengen visa, you may leave and return over the period of six months, but your combined stay must still not be more than 90 days.

 

What about payment?

At present, the price of a Schengen visa is 60 EUR (about R935) for a short stay of less than 90 days. You will need to pay upfront, and unfortunately, there is no refund if your application is rejected.

 

Will I need to make an appointment?

If all goes well with your application up until this point, you will then be called in to do your face-to-face interview at the Schengen country’s embassy or consulate. During your interview, you will also have your fingerprints taken.

 

How long does it take?

At the least, it takes about 10 working days from the day you apply until the day that it will be ready for collection/delivery.

 

prague-czech-republic-schengen-visa

Prague, Czech Republic

And you’re good to go!

When everything is ready, you’ll be notified via SMS or email and you can either pick your visa documents up, have it couriered to your home/office (have your South African I.D at hand), or have it picked up at the embassy by your appointed representative (with a copy of your I.D, their I.D and a letter of consent).

 

All you have to do now is make sure to pack your camera in, sunscreen (or ice boots!) and get ready for a Euro-trip of a lifetime. Make sure to tag us in your pictures of the Colosseum in Italy, Seville Cathedral in Spain, Prague Castle in Czech Republic, and more!

 

*The visa information on this page is not guaranteed. While every effort is made to keep information as fresh as possible, Travelstart takes no responsibility for any of the information being out of date or incorrectly noted. Please make sure to check visa requirements with the relevant embassies.*

The post How to easily apply for your Schengen visa appeared first on Travelstart Blog.

What’s Brewing in SA – Unique Craft Beer Hotspots!

South Africa is renowned for its love of beer and, with spring in the air, now is the perfect time to spend a sunny day outdoors sipping on a unique, refreshing craft brew. But, as we beer lovers know, not just any beer will do. Cape Town is the ultimate craft beer paradise, but we’ve decided to uncover some of the more obscure breweries around the country, that are pushing boundaries with their experimental fusions and flavours! First up we have…

 

Cape Town

Saggy Stone Brewing Co. 

Nestled among stretches of plum orchards is where you’ll find the rustic Saggy Stone brewpub, backdropped by the majestic Langeberg Mountains. This microbrewery was the brainchild of 2 brothers – Phillip and Adrian Robinson – who put their baking skills, recipes and dedication to the test. Grab a table at their eco-restaurant and indulge in their delicious tapas and burgers, as you marvel at the incredible views.

saggy stone

What’s unique about the beer? A combination of an all-grain brewing method and the purest mountain spring water results in the perfect, refreshing sip. Each of their craft beers offers something unique – taste all 5 and pick your favourite!

Must try: California Steam Lager & Big Red Ale

Opening Times:

Friday – Monday & Public Holidays: 11h00 – 16h00

 

Triggerfish Brewing 

Experimenting and a love of the ‘craft’ seems to be the motto of the brewers down at Triggerfish. From humble beginnings in Somerset West, these guys are all about pushing boundaries and creating new experiences.

image courtesy of @indianarunes

What’s unique about the beer? Each of their nine beers is so different from each other, you’ll have to try them out for yourself. From coffee-infused oatmeal to wooded (yes, wooded) beers, these craft brewers dare to brave the untapped market. Their fusions of local ingredients, barrel ageing and beer/ wine hybrids create the distinct flavours you can find in their experimental “wild” beers.

If you think their award-winning beer is their only claim to fame, these crafty masters also have wine blends and artisanal schnapps to offer, alongside a delectable, seasonal menu! Sample their unique tastings in the cosy Taproom or go on a guided tour of the brewery.

Must try: Sweetlips Blonde Ale & Ocean Potion American Pale Ale

Opening Times:

Monday – Saturday: 08h00 – 21h00

Brewery tours by appointment.

 

The Franschhoek Beer Co.

The pioneering spirit and innovation of the guys at The Franschhoek Beer Co. have lead them to create world-class beer in the scenic valley of Franschhoek. With celebrity chef, Reuben Riffel, commanding the kitchen, we can’t wait to get a taste of their mouth-watering menu when they open their doors in November!

What’s unique about the beer? After winning silver medals at the 2017 SANBT awards for their Stout and Three Oaks Craft Lager, it’s evident that head brewer, Olaf Morgenroth, certainly knows his craft. The brewery’s holistic brewing process, using fresh mountain spring water, malted barley, hops and yeast, creates the perfect balance to its 4 distinguished labels. The award-winning Stout exhibits bold aromas of dark chocolate and coffee; while La Saison is the perfect summer beer – light and fruity, with hints of citrus.

Must try: Three Oaks Craft Lager & La Saison Belgian Style

Opening Times: Brewery tours and tastings by appointment.

 

Johannesburg and surrounds

SMACK! Republic 

To us beer is a form of art, with every nuance of this craft being poetic and oh so glorious” – this pretty much sums up the philosophy of this hip, edgy craft brewery in the heart of Jozi. The dream of 3 beer enthusiasts, SMACK! Republic was born in 2013 and this brewery has since skyrocketed its way to the top, snatching some impressive awards along the way. Their punchy branding and bold inspiration is the keystone to their artisanal beer.

What’s unique about the beer? The brewmasters at SMACK! are all about pushing boundaries and innovation. It’s no surprise then that some of their key ingredients include rooibos, bluegum honey, naartjie, pine and bourbon. The creativity unleashed in their crisp, bold flavours will soon have you pouring another.

Must try: Bree Street Belle Golden Ale & Newtown Nemesis Milk Stout

Opening Times: Details for the new brewery will be announced soon. See a list of stockists on their website.

 

The Dog & Fig Brewery 

This microbrewery is situated on the outskirts of Parys with an easygoing atmosphere, perfect for a weekend visit with the family. Their gastro-lounge bar is warm and cosy, offering creative, top-notch food. Fun activities you can enjoy at the brewery include beer pairings and brewing demonstrations.

the dog and fig brewery

What’s unique about the beer? The philosophy of the brewmasters at The Dog & Fig is to create unique beers that can be appreciated, rather than quaffed. Their simple brewing process, using only malted barley, hops and water, leaves you with a crisp, unfiltered taste. Their constant experimenting lead to the creation of their distinct buchu beer, Boisterous Buchu.

Must try: Sturdy Stout & Wicked Weiss

Opening Times:

Sunday – Thursday: 10h00 – 18h00

Friday & Saturday: 10h00 – 22h00

 

Durban

1000 Hills Brewing Co. 

From the prickly inspiration of 2 porcupine quills, 1000 Hills Brewing Company have just relaunched their brand, and this brewery is one not to be missed. Look out for their quirky beer labels at craft beer festivals around the country. Students from the adjoining 1000 Hills Chef School combine their fine art of beer brewing with their culinary creations to serve up a delicious menu. Beer fanatics can go on a free behind-the-scenes tour of the brewery with the brewmaster himself, Trevor Maarschalk!

1000 hills brewery

What’s unique about the beer? Their beers are free from preservatives and encompass a vast range of flavours and rich, coppery hues. The beers consist mostly of pale ales across 5 labels – The Cheerleader, The Graduate, The Fes, The Dean and The Quarterback. Bring out your pom-poms and cheer for your favourite! Did we mention the stunning views over the rolling landscapes of the Valley of 1000 Hills, while relaxing under the trees sipping a cold one?

Must try: Score an A+ and try all 5!

Opening Times:

Friday – Sunday: 08h30 – 16h00

Please book brewery tours in advance.

 

So, whether you find yourself in The Mother City, Jozi or Durban, check out these craft breweries to quench your thirst and curiosity! Time to kick back, relax, and pour yourself a cold one. Cheers!

The post What’s Brewing in SA – Unique Craft Beer Hotspots! appeared first on Travelstart Blog.

Flying With Kids Made Easy With Virgin Atlantic

Big Smiles For Little People

You have just booked that all anticipated family holiday and palm fringed beaches with endless stretch of turquoise coastlines are in sight.  There is just one hurdle standing between you and your sun-kissed island getaway.

What is that you may ask? It’s the accusing glares of fellow passengers as they anticipate the glorious wails and deep tissue back massage from your bundle of joy (or tiny terror). As adorable as your kids may be, your Heidi Klum wannabe toddler who thing the aisle is her runway, the screeching meltdowns and 1000 “are we there yet”, can make it seem like you in your own horror movie titled “Toddlers on the plane”. Your dream holiday seems but a distant memory for now.

Virgin Atlantic Flies To The Rescue

But wait! Rising from the mist like a phoenix from the ashes of your shattered travel dreams, comes your saving grace dressed in crimson red attire. You block your eyes from the radiant glares of their bright smiles as you try to catch a glimpse of your hero. Boom! Pow! Swoosh! Virgin Atlantic flies to the rescue of parents. Unlock endless hours of kid-friendly entertainment and activities on-board Virgin Atlantic where baby-friendly crew members at your beck and call to assist you.

1. This Little Traveller Went On Holiday.

Virgin Atlantic is determined to add little touches with big smiles all through your journey with them. No stone was left unturned to ensure your flight with your kid is as peaceful and enjoyable as possible. The cabin crew is at your service to assist with minor emergencies in the event you run out of nappies, baby food, plastic spoons and more. Like nanny’s in the sky, the crew also offer specialised in-flight cots, will warm milk for you and some of the toilets offer changing facilities.

2. This Little Traveller Stayed Entertained.

One thing that Virgin Atlantic can guarantee is that there might be tantrums when trying to get your kids off the flight. Virgin Atlantic offers a myriad of child related entertainment options from TV series, movies and games to keep every traveller entertained. You will also be guaranteed to be humming the theme song of Peppa Pig as you exit the plane. Sorry, not sorry?

Book Cheap Flights On Virgin Atlantic

3. This Little Traveller Had Roast Beef

The kid’s meals are designed to appease the delicate taste buds of young travellers and should be ordered online 48 hours in advance. Little ones under 12 months get standard pureed or bottled food while those under 12 can go on a taste adventure trying the dinosaur pasta, yogurt tubes, jam sandwiches and much more. Can you hear that? It the little munches of satisfied travellers.

4. And This Little Traveller Had Fun.

Everyone loves a surprise goodie bag. Watch your kids eyes light up with excitement when they tuck into the Virgin Atlantic KiD backpack, filled with goodies to keep even the biggest of babies entertained. Each goodie bag contains a child-sized eye mask, Kanye West style shutter shades, warm socks, a rainbow pen and a Lonely Planet travel journey. Rock your little one to sleep by reading them a tale from The Great Hot Air Balloon Adventure written by Haywards Heath author Stephen D Holmes, provided by the cabin crew. Is that a sigh of relief we hear?

5. And This Little Traveller Went Wee All The Way Down The Aisle

Virgin Atlantic encourages their little travellers to be active. When it is safe, kids can stretch their little legs by walking up and down the aisle in the airplane.

Virgin Atlantic aims to provide parents a brief respite on board with the hopes of making your journey a tantrum-free one. Be sure to share your most memorable flight with your kids below or tell us what an angel your little ones are.

 

 

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11 Amazing Things To Do In Cape Town In September

Foodie and festival capital Cape Town has loads to offer in September. Travelstart is celebrating 11 years of amazing with insane birthday specials, so we thought we’d celebrate with 11 amazing things to do in September including where to find fantastic half-price cocktails, the best thing to do on a Saturday morning in the city, and irresistible winter pamper specials at the Twelve Apostles Hotel and Spa.

Above image courtesy of @_versacehottie_ via Instagram

Half Price Cocktails With A View In Camps Bay

Image courtesy of @mantracafe.za via Instagram

Recently opened Mantra Café by Melissa’s in Camps Bay has magnificent views of the beachfront. They also have a daily sundowner special with 50% off all Mantra Café cocktails from 5 to 7pm daily. Their fantastic Gin Fizz cocktail consist of Tanqueray gin, Angostura Bitters and Melissa’s fruit syrup cordials on crushed ice (choose between lemon, naartjie and apple & raspberry). Other specials to look out for are their Wednesday night Mantra Pizza Madness where you buy one wood-fired pizza and get-one free and their daily lunch special, with complimentary glass of wine or draft beer with every main meal from 12 to 4pm daily (including weekends). They also host live music on Wednesdays from 6pm to 9pm.

43 Victoria Rd, Camps Bay, Cape Town

Open everyday from 9am to 9pm
Call: 021 437 0206

Listen to live music for free at the Mojo Market

Image courtesy of @_versacehottie_ via Instagram

Sea Point’s Mojo Market has everything you might ever want to eat, drink and listen to conveniently located in one place. With ample seating space on two levels grab a bunch of different tasty food and drinks options, both local and international, and enjoy the live music performances showcasing fresh talent.
Live music takes place on Thursday and Friday evenings at 7.30pm, On Saturday at 12.30 pm and 4pm and 7.30pm.
The weekend music line up is released weekly on Facebook here.
30 Regent Road, Sea Point
Price: free

Seal Snorkeling

Image courtesy of @mpressions.de via Instagram

One of the most amazing wildlife experiences in the world, snorkeling with seals allows you to see these balletic animals in their natural environment. The playful Cape Fur seals twirl and glide through the water as you get to experience the habitat of the world’s most playful mammal. Animal Ocean are seal snorkeling experts run by enthusiastic owner and zoologist, Steve Benjamin. Their boats take up to 10 snorkelers and will get you to the Cape fur seals safely and speedily (sharks aren’t a concern as they prefer warmer waters of the east coast).

R800 per ticket (not available for kids under the age of 10), R550 per boat rider.

Find out more here.

2 nights of pampering at the Twelve Apostles

Image courtesy of @12apostleshotel via Instagram

The Twelve Apostles Hotel and Spa is an award-winning 5-star hotel. This September Travelstart brings you amazing specials such as the Hibernate to Rejuvenate Winter Package.
Price: R1,785 per adult sharing per night.

Book before the 30 September 2017.
Package includes:

  • Luxurious Accommodation in a Classic Room twin sharing
  • Full English Breakfast, including freshly harvested oysters and sparkling wine
  • A 40 minute head and shoulder massage per person per stay
  • One hour session in the temperature controlled plunge pools and salt water floatation pool at The Spa at The Twelve Apostles
  • Three-course dinner from our choice select menu in the Azure Restaurant or The Café Grill, once during your stay
  • Use of the 16 seater in-house cinema, enjoyed with popcorn and candy

1 night of Winter Spoils at the Twelve Apostles Hotel & Spa

Image courtesy of @12apostleshotel via Instagram

Book a night of Winter Spoils at the 5-star Twelve Apostles Hotel and Spa from R1,950 per adult sharing per night.
Book by the 30th September 2017.

1 Night of Winter spoils at the Twelve Apostles Hotel & Spa

Package includes:

  • Luxurious Accomodation in a Classic Room twin sharing
  • Full English Breakfast, including freshly harvested oysters and sparkling wine
  • Three-Course Dinner from our choice select menu in the Azure restaurant or the Café Grill
  • Your Choice of two of the following additional amenities:
  • Romantic Rose Petal Turndown
  • A bottle of sparkling wine
  • A Celebration cake
  • An Africa Spa Gift to enjoy in your room or pack to take home
  • A Mini Snack platter to enjoy while watching the sunset

Overnight Dinner and Movie Winter Package

Image courtesy of @12apostleshotel via Instagram

Overnight Dinner and Movie Winter Package
Indulge in a three-course luxurious dinner at Azure restaurant at the Twelve Apostles Hotel and Spa, enjoy popcorn and a film, then wake up to breakfast with oysters and MCC.
R1,730 per person sharing per night.
Book before the 30 September 2017.
The package includes:

  • Luxurious Accommodation in a Classic Room twin sharing.
  • Full English Breakfast, including freshly harvested oysters and MCC.
  • A three-Course Dinner from our choice select menu in the Azure restaurant or the Café Grill.
  • Use of the 16 seater in-house cinema, enjoyed with popcorn and candy.

Visit charming Olive Branch Deli in Kloof Street

Image courtesy of @olivebranchdeli via Instagram

This community deli is a magical cavern of local and exotic culinary treats. Tucked away down an alley in the Lifestyle Centre in the heart of Kloof Street this charming shoppe stocks amazing foodie gifts and anything you might want to buy from ethical local producers.
Shop G5-2, Lifestyle on Kloof Centre, Gardens,
50 Kloof St, Gardens, Cape Town
Call: 073 847 5499

Open Book Festival 6 – 10 September

Image courtesy of @openbookfestival via Instagram

Join local and international writers in conversation at various venues across Cape Town. This sparkling literary event includes dialogue with illustrators, comic book artists, poets and novelists.

The hubs will be the Fugard Theatre, The District 6 Museum Homecoming Centre and beloved bookshop, The Book Lounge.

To view the full programme go to www.openbookfestival.co.za .

Cape Town Street Food Festival 2-3 September

Image courtesy of @streetfoodza via Instagram

Renowned for being the best food city in the world Cape Town’s fine culinary tradition includes the popular Street Food Festival taking place on the weekend of the 2nd and 3rd of September this year. The Sunday also includes talks by prominent South African chefs and influencers which are free for holders of festival tickets. Speakers include Wesley Randles of the Shortmarket Club, Ming Cheau Lin of Butterfingers and Nobhongo Gxolo of Third Culture Experiment.

Both days include access to the street food festival and market.

R50 for Saturday access.

R100 for Sunday access.

Venue:

Side Street Studios, 48 Albert Road, Woodstock, Cape Town

Book here.

P.S. For those who can’t make it to the Cape Town festival there is also one taking place on the 10 September in uber hip Maboneng.

Climb Lion’s Head at dawn on Saturday and celebrate with a Vida Coffee when you return to the base.

Skip the Saturday crowds by starting your ascent of Lion’s Head 40 minutes before sunrise. Take along windbreakers, flasks of tea and don’t forget the rusks! When you return to the car park you’ll find a Vida E Caffe coffee truck waiting for you with steaming hot milk and delicious coffee smells emanating into the morning air. Initiatives like this are all about what it means to be Capetonian.

Remember to always climb in a group, wear sensible shoes and take along ample water.

Pizza and Pasta Festival, Tokai


On the 16 September Cape Town welcomes the Pizza and Pasta Festival. Pizza, pasta, dessert and drinks pairings await guests with live music by Majozi, Sunset Sweatshop and Daniel Baron plus loads of activities for kids.
Tickets
R200 for lunch tickets (11am – 5pm) & Dinner Tickets (5pm – 10pm).
R250 gets you an all day pass (11am – 10pm).
Free for children under 13.
Get your tickets here.
The Range Function and Conference Centre, Orpen Road, Tokai, Cape Town

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