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!

Special Offers

Special Offers

Keep an eye on these special offers...

African Safari And Beach Holiday News.

The Travel Butlers Blog

South Africa and Antarctica: The Ultimate Trip To The Wild South

Luke Davies - May 24, 2019

An exciting new 10 day itinerary has just been announced that combines an outstanding 5* safari experience at Singita with a couple of days in Cape Town (the Mother City), and to top it all off, a journey to one of the most remote places on earth, Antarctica.

With just one set departure date announced so far for November 2019, your unforgettable journey begins on 12th November with a flight from Johannesburg to the iconic Kruger National Park, where you will spend 4 nights at either Singita Lebombo or Sweni Lodge. Both lodges are located in the private Lebombo Concession, which is on the eastern side of the Park, bordering Mozambique.  The area boasts beautiful scenery and excellent game viewing, including the Big 5, large populations of antelope and diverse birdlife to go with it. Twice-daily game drives in open 4×4 safari vehicles get you unbelievably close to Africa’s wildlife in a natural, untamed setting.

Singita Lion

Singita Lebombo is elevated on a sheer cliff top and has 15 luxurious glass cuboid suites, each with incredible views of the Nwanetsi and Sweni Rivers, along with the surrounding savanna plains. The more intimate Singita Sweni has just 7 secluded suites and is set on the bank of the Sweni River, surrounded by trees with views of the African bush.

After your stay at Singita, the journey continues south down to Cape Town, where you will spend 2 nights at the prestigious One&Only Cape Town. With its spectacular location in the Victoria & Alfred Waterfront and stunning views of Table Mountain, the resort is a destination in itself.

One&Only Cape Town View

During your stay here, enjoy the bustling V&A with its many shops and attractions, take a trip to the top of the magnificent Table Mountain, or simply retreat to the peaceful sanctuary of the One&Only Spa – located on its own private island the Spa has an extensive range of classic and exclusive holistic spa treatments which your therapist will tailor perfectly to your needs.

In the evenings, enjoy a selection of the most celebrated vinicultural and dining experiences at one of the excellent restaurants and bars that the One&Only is famed for.

On the 17th you will be invited to a comprehensive safety briefing, hosted by your tour leaders, who will make sure you have all the correct clothing and ensure you are fully prepared for your journey further south the next day.

Finally, the last leg of this incredible journey takes you to Antarctica, where you will spend 5 nights at Whichaway Camp, the perfect place from which to explore this region and its wonders. The camp itself has 6 state-of-the-art sleeping pods that can accommodate up to 12 guests.  There is also a communal lounge, dining room and kitchen.

Whichaway Camp

While most of us have only ever seen this unique continent and its remarkable wildlife on a TV screen, this is your chance to discover all that it can offer. Experience a true wildlife spectacle, as the Emperor Penguin colonies prepare for their chicks to hatch, hike and explore the blue-ice tunnels with your polar guide, venture out to the local science bases to see the work they do firsthand, and if you’re feeling truly adventurous, why not try out some ice climbing.

Emperor Penguins

The package includes return Federal Air flights between OR Tambo International Airport in Johannesburg and Singita Kruger National Park; the flight from Johannesburg down to Cape Town; airport meet and greet with transfers to/from the One&Only in Cape Town; and return flights from Cape Town International Airport to the Antarctic interior on a Gulfstream G550 jet. In addition, at Singita all meals and beverages (excluding French Champagne), daily game drives, walking safaris, Wi-Fi and a laundry service are included; at One&Only your rate includes daily breakfast at Reuben’s plus use of the Spa Thermal Suites; and at White Desert all meals and beverages are included plus all excursions and a visit to the 6,000 strong Emperor Penguin Colony at Atka Bay by a DC3 Basler flight.

This true ‘journey of a lifetime’ starts from USD 67,000 per person – please contact one of the team at Travel Butlers on info@travelbutlers.com, quoting ‘Emperor Penguin’ and we will get back to you with a final quotation, including if required a quote for your international flights from your preferred airport.  With just 12 seats on this trip – don’t delay too long to get in touch!

Safari Lodges In South Africa Start To Introduce Electric Vehicles

Paul Campbell - April 11, 2019

Game reserves and safari lodges are essentially very eco-friendly, and without them (and tourists they attract) far less land would be set aside for conservation and the protection of Africa’s magnificent wildlife.  Permanent structures are not allowed in more sensitive habitats, meaning that many lodges and camps can be taken apart and moved to another location allow the land to recover,  and even in instances where permanent buildings are used these tend to use solar energy to reduce their impact on the environment.

The one thing that has always seemed less than ideal, however, is the use of  petrol or diesel powered 4×4 vehicles for game drives.  Whilst the animals themselves are usually not particularly bothered by noise of the vehicles, especially in well established reserves, it is good to hear that Cheetah Plains, in the Sabi Sands, and Makanyi Private Game Lodge, in Timvabati, have become among the first game lodges to introduce electric vehicles for game drives.  There have been occasional trials of electric vehicles in the past, most notably by Londolozi, however development stalled and it is only recently that a company in Nelspruit has started offering to convert traditional petrol or diesel vehicles.

Makanyi Electric Safari Vehicle

Jessica Gold, owner of Makanyi, says: “We have always looked at ways to ensure that we preserve our beautiful natural environment, and when we heard about Electric Safari Vehicles doing conversions of game viewers, we jumped at the opportunity to convert one of our own Land Rovers – and the results have been astonishing! So much so, that we look forward to having our entire fleet converted in the near future.”

The vehicles are recharged from solar panels and a full charge lasts around 6 hours on average, which equates to between 150 km and 200 km  depending on the terrain.  Given most game drives only cover less than 40 km, the chances of getting stranded in the bush are minimal (although this has happened to me a couple of times in petrol vehicles…).  The vehicles are water proof and dust proof, and can operate as four-wheel-drive across all types of terrain with excellent power and torque.

In addition to the environmental benefits, there are a number of advantages to electric vehicles for guests, as Makanyi’s Head Ranger commented: “The silence is tremendous, and has totally transformed the safari experience. We can communicate more easily with our guests and the tracker without shouting over the sound of the engine, and we can better follow more sensitive or elusive game – leopards, bull elephants in musth, or mothers and babies for whom the sound of the engine can spark a negative reaction.”

The smooth drive of the vehicles will also provide a better platform for taking photos and videos to capture scenes without the vibration and noise from the engine.

I have not had a chance to go out on one of these vehicles as yet, but hope to in a few months when I am next in the Kruger area.  From everything I have heard so far this sounds like a fantastic development and something from which the environment, animals and guests will all benefit.

 

 

 

The Travel Butlers Top Ten of … Driving Tips in South Africa

TraceyCampbell - July 15, 2015

One of the best ways to see South Africa is to get into your own car and explore at your own pace. Driving in South Africa is easy and enjoyable, as the main roads and highways are generally maintained in a good condition, and are straight, long and fast. There are very few roads in South Africa where you would need a 4WD – even in safari areas, the roads are good and a 2WD can adequately cope with the odd bit of unevenness.

dreamstime_xl_22858201

1. In order to pick up your hire car, you must be in possession of a valid driving licence written in English. If the licence is not in English, then please ensure that you obtain an International Drivers Licence before you travel! You must carry your driving licence with you at all times when you are driving. If you licence doesn’t have a photograph on it, then you must also carry your passport with you so that you can be identified as the legal holder of the driving licence. Please also note that the various car hire companies have different regulations regarding the length of time that you need to have held a driving licence, so it is advisable to check with your hire car company about their requirements.

2. Most hire car companies also require a credit card number as a security deposit, regardless of whether you have pre-paid for your hire car or not. An amount will be blocked off the card, and when the hire car is (hopefully) returned in one whole piece at the end of the agreed rental period, then the block will be cancelled. It is common practice for the main driver to also provide the credit card – please check this beforehand, as if the driver cannot produce the credit card, then you will not be allowed to take the car.

dreamstimemaximum_15191851

3. Speed cameras operate in cities and towns.  If you are caught on camera, the fine will go straight to the hire car company, who will simply debit your credit card with the amount. A more common speeding trap, however, is on the outskirts of towns, where traffic police wait for the unsuspecting driver to come racing out of the built up area. If you are caught speeding by traffic police, the correct procedure is to give the traffic officer your details (name, car rental agency details and car registration number) and ask him to issue you with a speeding fine ticket. You can hand the ticket into the hire car company when you return the car but if you forget, don’t worry – the fine is automatically be sent to the car rental company in any case, who will then redirect the cost of the fine to you together with an admin fee.You also have the option of taking the speeding ticket to a local police station and paying it directly – however, this may not be a feasible option as it may involve a long detour and eat into valuable holiday time. In a few areas, it is worth mentioning that some traffic officers are asking for an on-the-spot cash fine instead of writing you a speeding ticket – if you feel comfortable refusing to pay this, please do, as on-the-spot fines actually do not exist under SA traffic law.

4. If you are planning on taking your hire car across from South Africa into a neighbouring country (such as Namibia, Lesotho, Botswana or Swaziland), do remember to clear this with your hire car company beforehand – many companies will need to issue you with a Letter of Authority to show at the border post.

5. None of the petrol stations in South Africa are self-service. When you pull into a petrol station, you will generally be waved to a free petrol pump by an enthusiastic attendant, who are all dressed in smart uniforms and generally welcome you with a big smile. Do make sure that he waves you to the correct pump, however, as you do not want him putting petrol in your diesel car. As a matter of course, while the car is being filled up, they will clean your windscreen for you – and take great care in making sure even the smallest dirt mark is wiped away.  If you are really lucky, they may clean all the other windows as well!  It is customary to tip around R5 to the petrol attendants, but you may wish to tip more if they check the oil, water and tyres or if your car is exceptionally dirty!

petrol station

6. Outside of town areas, it is a common sight to see people walking along the side of the roads, especially schoolchildren who sometimes have a long journey on foot to get to and from their school. In addition, livestock are generally not fenced in, and have a tendency to wander wherever they feel like.  Don’t be surprised to go over a hill or round a bend in a road to find a herd of cows crossing the road in front of you, or several goats grazing right at the roadside. During the day, it is easy to see and avoid people and animals, but at night it is more difficult, and extra care should be taken.

7. Something else to be aware of during your self-drive holiday through South Africa is the erractic nature of road signs, and the inconsistencies between them and the published road maps. You may think that the route you are about to embark on is easy to follow, but certainly in the more remote areas, roads suddenly appear that are not marked on maps,  the road numbers and town names are completely different from what you are expecting, or road signs suddenly stop altogether. Given this, it is not uncommon that you may need to ask for directions at a petrol station or in a town, and if this happens you may be surprised to get the response “turn left at the next robot…”. You have not suddenly been transported into a Star Wars film:  a ‘robot’ is the South African term for traffic lights.

8. Many of the major main road are toll roads, in order to help maintain them in their present good condition.  Tolls range from a few Rand to over R50, and you can pay either by cash, or some toll booths will take Visa or MasterCard credit cards.  Many hire cars now, however, are fitted with ‘toll taggers’ so that the toll fee automatically is registered to the car and ends up on your final rental account. The toll roads are clearly signposted, and give you plenty of warning, however, if you do not feel like parting with any money, you can always take the alternative route which will be signposted as a non-toll road, but in general this will be longer.

http://www.dreamstime.com/stock-photos-scenic-road-western-cape-south-africa-image23098463

9. South Africans operate the 4-way stop procedure at junctions, so it is definately worth familiarising yourself with this before you go.

10. And finally, just some general common sense facts to round this off: It is law to wear a seat belt at all times, and using a mobile phone when driving is prohibited. Do not leave anything valuable on show in your car when you leave it unattended, and ALWAYS lock your car when you leave it, even if you are only going to be gone for a few minutes.  Don’t ever stop to pick up hitchhikers, however innocent, lost or appealing they look.  If you are worried about someone’s plight, stop at the next town and report it to someone there.

Happy driving!

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.

Seeing the Wild Dogs of Africa

TraceyCampbell - November 19, 2014

The African wild dog, or the Painted Dog as it is also called, is now unfortunately one of Africa’s endangered species. Changing habitats and disease have caused the population to drop rapidly, and it is estimated that there are now only between 3,000 and 5,000 left in the wild.

Unlike their domestic doggy cousins, the African wild dog only has 4 toes per foot (your pet at home has 5 toes on their forefeet).  They need a very large territory to roam over, and home territories can cover up to 1,500 square kilometres.  They are very sociable creatures, living in packs of up to 30.  Before a hunt, the pack will gather together to nose rub and lick each other, whilst wagging their tails and making high-pitched noises.

Seeing these beautiful creatures while on safari is a  priviledged sighting, and sometimes it can be a pretty gruesome one too, if you are unlucky (or lucky, depending on your mindset) to catch them on a kill.  Ferocious hunters, they work as a pack and will literally chase their prey to death, as the wild dog can reach speeds of up to 40-50 mph, although they can only sustain this speed for short distances.  The pack will simply pull down it’s exhausted prey, and before the poor animal has hit the ground, the pack are already starting to tear it apart.  A pack have been known to eat an entire gazelle within 15 minutes.

There are a few places where seeing wild dog can be part of your safari experience.  The Ol Pejeta Conservancy in Kenya has an impressive 2 pack population, currently totalling 32 individuals. The Selous Game Reserve in southern Tanzania is home to approximately one-third of the world’s wild dogs.    The Madikwe Game Reserve in South Africa has a thriving and active population, with 3 different hunting packs calling the reserve their home.  And the Kwando region of Botswana has the reputation of being the place to visit to encounter wild dog.

http://www.dreamstime.com/royalty-free-stock-images-african-wild-dog-hunting-dog-image12271609wild dog 1wild dog 3