Tailor-made Holidays

Tailor-made Holidays

Travel Butlers will ensure you have a fantastic holiday that is tailored to your individual interests and budget.

Safari and Beach

Safari and Beach

Combine Africa's amazing wildlife with the white sand beaches and crystal clear waters of the Indian Ocean for the perfect holiday

Holidays in South Africa

Holidays in South Africa

Cosmopolitan cities, stunning wildlife and deserted beaches - South Africa has it all.

Tanzania Safari And Beach

Tanzania Safari And Beach

Migrating wildebeest, idyllic palm-fringed beaches, and snow-capped mountains ... these could be YOUR Tanzania holiday memories!

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African Safari And Beach Holiday News.

The Travel Butlers Blog

The Travel Butlers Top Ten of … Different Things to do in Cape Town

TraceyCampbell - June 3, 2015

If you have some time in Cape Town, of course it is obligatory to visit Table Mountain, take a tourist bus around the city, and maybe do a cruise around the harbour, but what about considering something a little unique and off the normal, well trodden tourist track… it will certainly be something to talk about when you get home over dinner with the neighbours!

1. Cape Malay Cultural Experience Tour

Enjoy a unique interaction and experience the cultural diversity of the Cape Malay community, descendants of the original Malay slaves.  Departing every day at 3 pm (apart from Thursdays and public/ religious holidays and Ramadan) you start your tour at the Bo-Kaap Museum in the heart of the Cape Malay Quarter where you learn more about their history and the preservation of their traditions in Africa. Your story-telling host will then guide you on an entertaining walking tour giving you insights into the historical and architectural landscape that adds so much colour and character to Cape Town’s City Bowl. The highlight of this experience is enjoying an authentic home-cooked dinner at the home of your host family.

http://www.dreamstime.com/royalty-free-stock-images-bo-kaap-district-cape-town-south-africa-image15210559

2. Mount Nelson Afternoon Tea Experience

The Mount Nelson Hotel is a notable hallmark of luxury and indulgence. The world-renowned afternoon tea buffet is set in the elegant lounge overlooking the manicured garden. Enjoy the scrumptious selection of chocolate éclairs and petit-fours, mini cakes and classic carrot, chocolate and cheese cakes, savoury sandwiches and empanadas, scones and succulent fresh fruits. There are over 30 loose leaf teas to try, from Rooibos and Lapsang Souchong, to Earl Grey and Darjeeling.

Nelson

3. Vintage Sidecar Winelands Experience

Relive the thrill of a bygone era in the sidecar of a classic 750cc motorcycle and take in the splendour of the magnificent mountains and vineyards as you range through the Cape’s premier wine regions. Visit a Paarl wine estate for a cheese and wine tasting before winding through mountains and valleys to the French-inspired town of Franschhoek. Enjoy a wine tasting before taking the scenic road to Stellenbosch. Enjoy another wine tasting at a top wine estate before returning to Cape Town.  Authentic riding gear is provided for use on the ride, making great wish-you-were-here photos!  A minimum of 2 guests will share 1 motorbike (1 guest in the sidecar and 1 guest on the motorbike, behind the Tour Guide).

Sidecar

4. Township Life Experience

Visit Bo-Kaap, District Six, Langa (oldest formal township) and Khayelitsha, the highest populated township in South Africa. Learn about the history of South Africa. There is also the opportunity to interact with a pre-school centre and in a school classroom to gain an understanding of the education system. Finally, you visit the Women’s Empowerment Centre in Khayelitsha and interact with the weavers and painters, and enjoy a walking tour to interact with the local community.

5. Cape Town Dinner Experience

Join a fun filled evening of interactive entertainment and delectable food at Gold Restaurant. Sample a set Cape Malay/African style menu which is served at the table in sharing and individual portions. The evening starts off with an interactive djembe drumming session followed by a traditional soothing hand washing ceremony.  A professional djembe drum instructor will teach you how to play the basic rhythms of the djembe drum.  Live entertainment during dinner includes a Mali puppet show which involves story telling with singers, dancers, puppets and musicians. The final performance is by the waiters and kitchen staff who will entertain you with some local song and dances.

6. Cape Point Cycle and Winelands Adventure

This is a perfect way to combine some moderate physical activity with seeing the sights around the Cape Peninsula. Enjoy a peaceful cycle through the unique fynbos vegetation of the Cape Point Nature Reserve, visit the breeding colony of rare African penguins at Boulders Beach and relax at a scenic picnic lunch spot. Before returning to Cape Town you tour the historic Constantia Winelands which includes wine tastings at 2 premier estates.

7. Table Mountain Biking Adventure

An ideal way to experience the glorious nature of Table Mountain.  You are guided on the ‘Double Descent’ route on the lower slopes offering fantastic panoramic views. This adventure is suitable for experienced cyclists as well as those who want to try off-road biking.

Cycling

8. Table Mountain Hiking Adventure

There are a number of fantastic hiking routes to the summit of Table Mountain that require moderate fitness and offer an extraordinary nature experience right in the heart of the city. Your expert guide will ensure your safe passage to the top of this iconic mountain. If you find you are too tired to walk down, you have the option of taking the cable car.

9. Tunnel Exploration

Deep below the streets of Cape Town, there is a series of forgotten underground canals and rivers that date back to the 17th Century, that were used to supply passing ships with fresh water.  Now the ‘in’ thing to do is to don a hard hat and go explore them yourself with a qualified guide and a professional rescue medic.

10. Cape Town Stadium Tours

Built specifically for the 2010 World Cup, the Cape Town Stadium at Green Point is now an iconic image of the Cape Town skyline.  Enjoy an hour long tour around this, learning more about the construction and get to see the field close up.  You may even get to see the shower rooms…

Stadium

Images copyright Springbok Atlas/Travel Butlers via Dreamstime

Travelling with a Child to South Africa

TraceyCampbell - June 1, 2015

Today, the long awaited (or rather should I say much dreaded) new regulations for anyone travelling with a child under 18 years of age to and from South Africa comes into force and in case you have missed these all important changes, here is a summary of what you can now expect at Immigration at Johannesburg, Cape Town or Durban/King Shaka Airports.

Please note that these requirements apply regardless of nationality.

Parents travelling with children  must produce an unabridged birth certificate for the child, showing full details of the child’s parents. If the birth certificate is in a language other than English, it must be accompanied by a sworn translation issued by a competent authority in the country concerned. If the child is adopted, the adoption certificate must be produced.

If only one parent is travelling, said parent must also show consent in the form of an affidavit from the other parent named on the birth certificate authorising the child to travel (the affidavit must be no more than 3 months old from the date of travel), or a court order granting full parental responsibilities to the travelling parent, or (where applicable) a death certificate for the deceased parent. Legally separated parents should also provide a court order when the other parent does not give consent.

Where a person is travelling with a child who is not their biological child, he/she must produce an unabridged birth certificate for the child supplemented by affidavits from the child’s parents/legal guardian giving consent for the child to travel and copies of the identity documents or passport of the parents/legal guardian PLUS their contact details. There are also additional rules for unaccompanied minors – available on request.

An unaccompanied child has to produce an unabridged birth certificate or equivalent document, a Parental Consent Affidavit, a  letter from the person who is to receive the child in South Africa containing such person’s residential and work address and full contact details in SA, and finally a copy of the identity document or valid passport and visa or permanent residence permit of the person who is to receive the child in SA.

Additional notes:

It goes without saying that valid passports are also required for travel!

An Unabridged Birth Certificate is an extract from the Birth Register containing the particulars of the child and his/her parent or parents.

In the case of foreign countries that do not issue unabridged birth certificates, a letter to this effect issued by the competent authority of the foreign country should be produced. A suggested format for such an equivalent document is available at: http://www.dha.gov.za/files/EquivalentDocumentForeignGov.pdf

All documents must be original or copies certified as a true copy of the original by a commissioner of oaths or the equivalent commissioning authority, should commissioners of oath not be a practice in the country concerned.

For more information, contact the South African High Commission (http://southafricahouseuk.com/) or the South African Department of Home Affairs (http://www.dha.gov.za/).

PLEASE NOTE: Travel Butlers have made every effort to ensure that the information displayed here is correct and accurate, but the onus still remains with the traveller to verify the information with their local South African High Commission or Embassy.

Why we Recommend Travel Insurance

TraceyCampbell - February 18, 2015

Insurance is always a bit of a grey area and a lot of people resent having to pay for it, but you are just programmed or conditioned by society and your upbringing to do so.

You tend to accept that you have to fork out for home insurance and contents insurance, even though relatively very few people over the course of their home ownership make a claim. You also accept that you are more at risk if you own a car in something happening to it, whether it is your fault or someone else’s fault, so you will automatically take out car insurance – whether it is just third party or fully comprehensive.

So why are we not ‘programmed’ in the same way when it comes to taking out travel insurance?

As a matter of course, we always advise our customers, whether it is in the first email we send out and certainly when we are asking for a deposit payment, to take out travel insurance before they confirm any booking with us, to cover them in the event of being unable to travel – for whatever reason. Because if you do have to cancel your holiday once you have paid your deposit or balance, you will unfortunately lose some money – the percentage lost depends on how close to the travel date you cancel. And we are not alone in this – all tour operators, travel agents, airlines, guest house and hotels will operate similar cancellation policies.

A holiday is generally one of the more significant household expenditures in a year. Not only in terms of the cost, but also in terms of the time you have maybe saved up for it, or the time you have spent looking forward to it. Unfortunately, nothing in life is 100% certain, and although you have your flight tickets and holiday vouchers in your hands, nobody can actually guarantee that you will be able to go on the trip until you are physically sat on the plane! So basically, having to cancel your holiday means that all your hard-earned cash just gone down the drain, with no holiday memories or photos to show for it.

So for example, what if, the day before you were due to depart, you tripped over the cat and fell down the stairs? Or your car was hit from behind by a driver texting on their phone, and you suffered bad whiplash? These are not scenarios anyone thinks will ever happen to them (especially if they live in a bungalow or do not own a cat, I give you that), but you get my general point – ANYTHING could happen to you which would mean you simply cannot go on that holiday. Other common reasons for people having to cancel holidays are being called for jury service, finding out they are pregnant, a family bereavement, an illness, redundancy…there are many things that you would not plan to happen, but which could.

This is why we would always recommend just considering that additional peace of mind offered by a reputable travel insurance company and associated travel cover. A good travel insurance policy will cover you for having to cancel or even cutting short a trip under certain circumstances and therefore, if you lose any money at all by having to cancel (as long as the reason is indeed covered by the travel insurance), you should be able to claim this back against the travel insurance cover. And certainly at Travel Butlers, we will provide supporting documentation for you to send onto your insurance company, to help the claim go through smoothly and quickly.

Travel insurance will also cover you if you fall ill while actually away – while your credit card cover or private health cover may well offer some help, the level of cover may not always be sufficient – an emergency abroad that requires hospital treatment can be incredibly expensive. And if you need to be flown home immediately, the costs keep going up and up.

You can purchase travel insurance for just one trip, or if you are planning on having several holidays (or even one major holiday and a couple of long weekend breaks) over the course of 12 months, you can consider a multi-trip/annual cover, so every trip you make over a year is covered.

Before you rush out and purchase your travel insurance, do shop around for the best deal BUT remember that the less expensive policies often have less cover – so always read the small print carefully before you buy anything!

Love is in the Air

TraceyCampbell - February 11, 2015

With Valentine’s Day fast approaching, it got us thinking about the romance that Africa can offer you. Here is our shortlist:

Proposing on the top of Table Mountain – One of the most iconic destinations in Africa, if you want your proposal to be memorable then going down on one knee here will not fail to disappoint – and hopefully elicit the answer ‘yes’ from your bride-to-be!

Table Mountain

Little Kulala – with the desert and towering red sand dunes as your vista, your private thatched ‘kulala’ (the word means ‘to sleep’) offers not only stunning accommodation but also a private plunge pool, indoor and outdoor showers and a rooftop star bed for romantic star gazing. Truly one of the most romantic places I have ever stayed at, in all my years of travelling around Africa.

Little Kulala

Msambweni House – spacious rooms with private verandahs, a luxury tented room or private villas facing the ocean with private pools and jacuzzis. Whichever accommodation type you choose, end your day with a dip together in the infinity pool then walk down the winding jetty hand in hand to enjoy the perfect sundowner spot on a cliff overlooking the Indian Ocean. What could be more romantic?

Msambweni House

Sleeping out under the stars – For the hopeless romantic, nothing can beat a luxury safari sleep out. Imagine falling asleep in the middle of the African bush with a blanket of stars above you, surrounded only by flickering lanterns and listening to a bedtime lullaby of roaring lions, crying jackals and laughing hyenas.

Lion Sands Chalkley TreeHouse

Or for those not feeling quite so adventurous, then enjoy a luxuriant bubble bath on your private safari deck as the sun sets over the African bush. Either way, it is romance at its best!

Sanctuary Baines Camp

Denis Island – your own private Robinson Crusoe retreat, in the middle of the Indian Ocean. Step out of your villa onto the deserted white sandy beach. Barefoot escapism doesn’t get better than this.

Denis Island

Singita Sabora – situated in the Grumeti Reserve in northern Tanzania, this intimate 1920s-style explorer’s tented camp is steeped in character and romance. Playing host to the annual Great Migration is just one of the reasons to stay here.

Singita Sabora

Sunrise balloon ride over the safari plains – despite the early start, drifting slowly over the African plains as the sun rises, with a birds-eye view of the wildlife below is a wonderfully unique and romantic experience. Upon landing, enjoy a glass of sparkling wine before heading off for a bush breakfast – a memorable finale to your adventure.

Balloon Safari

Helicopter ride followed by romantic meal on top of a mountain – only in the private Entabeni Concession in the Waterberg area of South Africa can you combine a short but exhilarating helicopter flight with a romantic meal on a secluded mountain top – with just the two of you left alone to enjoy the indescribable natural beauty of the landscape beyond you.

Entabeni Safari Conservancy

Luxury Train Journey – journey aboard the Rovos Rail and take a nostalgic step back in time to the romantic days of privileged, decadent rail travel.- an unbeatable way to experience the epic and ever-changing landscape of Africa.

Rovos Rail

South Africa Relax Yellow Fever Vaccination Requirements

TraceyCampbell - February 6, 2015

It has been a good week for Zambia tourism!

On Saturday, following the World Health Assembly on Friday in Geneva, the South African Department of Health agreed to lift the yellow fever vaccination requirement for travellers entering South Africa from Zambia. The new ruling was effective immediately.

This decision came after the World Health Organisation officially confirmed that Zambia has a low yellow fever potential exposure status – which means that anyone now travelling to Zambia, be it for a short visit to the iconic Victoria Falls or to go on safari in Luangwa, Kafue or Lower Zambezi, no longer needs to carry a yellow fever vaccination certificate.

Tourism to Zambia has undoubtely suffered a bit over the past few years. Let’s be honest, the yellow fever vaccination is relatively expensive – I had one 2 years ago and said goodby to £80 – ouch (and ouch for the jab too, as it hurt a lot!). Many tourists who wanted to include a 2 night ‘bolt on’ trip to the Victoria Falls after their safari holiday in South Africa felt the same – and rather than not to go the Falls, they chose to stay on the Zimbabwe side instead.

For those wanting to combine South Africa with seeing the Victoria Falls from the Zambia side, you need to fly into Livingstone, which is serviced daily with direct flights from Johannesburg, taking just over 2 hours. Or, if you are ending your trip in SA with a safari in the Kruger National Park, you can also fly directly to Livingstone from Kruger Mpumalanga/Nelspruit (airport code MQP) on certain days. Which means you can begin your day with breakfast at your safari lodge overlooking the bush and end your day on an evening sunset cruise on the Zambezi! I could think of worst ways to start and end a day!