Category: Travel Tips

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Searching for hotels and tours can be time-consuming let alone reading endless reviews and trying to figure out which ones to believe. With a good travel advisor, you can get great information and testimonials from previous clients. You have the opportunity to ask questions and get the information needed quickly.

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Specialists

Travel advisors usually specialize in certain geographical areas or a certain type of travel. They can give you the in-depth information, tips and insights which may be difficult to get online. A travel advisor takes into consideration your preferences, budget and interests to put together an itinerary to make sure you get the best out of your trip.

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Connect with a Travel Advisor at Integrity Tours Today!
Call 416-768-5375 or email info@integritytours.ca

We get it! As much as you want to travel, it’s not always easy to come up with the entire amount to pay for your trip.

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So why not sign up for one of our convenient payment plans, you tell us how much you want to pay and when and we’ll set it up. This way you can keep your payments on track and before you know it – you’ll be all set to take the trip of your lifetime. Please note all payments must be received 90 days prior to departure.

South Africa is a perfect family-friendly holiday destination with much to interest offspring of all ages. There’s beach fun, the thrill of seeing animals in the wild, theme parks, sports facilities and adventure activities.

Children-friendly facilities are found throughout South Africa. Hotels will oblige with inter-leading rooms, triple bed arrangements, cots, babysitters, feeding chairs at meal times And children’s rates. Self-catering options should also be considered, especially establishments which offer multi-roomed cottages and apartments.

In peak holiday time, when South African families take their annual breaks (notably the month of December), coastal resorts offer children’s entertainment programmes, movie theatres screen the latest family-oriented movies and there are special stage treats like the annual pantomime at the Civic Theatre in Johannesburg.

Theme parks such as uShaka Marine World in Durban, Gold Reef City in Johannesburg and Ratanga Junction in Cape Town are great children-friendly facilities in South Africa, as is the Two Oceans Aquarium, also in the Mother City. Sun City has restyled itself as a family-oriented resort with popular water rides at the Valley of the Waves, as well as animal attractions. Countrywide there are good zoos, bird parks, crocodile farms and reptile parks. Some of the private game lodges may not take children

Oudtshoorn_Cango Caves 1

Under 12, but the national parks are great for family-friendly holidays in South Africa.
If your South African sojourn includes a road trip, national routes are well supplied with ‘pit-stop’ conveniences incorporating gas stations, restaurant and restroom facilities.

Family-style restaurants in South Africa are good about offering children’s menus, and keeping the young ones busy with colouring books and crayons as they wait for their meals. Baby food, milk and nappies, are of course, plentiful in supermarkets. Children’s car seats are available from car rental companies and airlines will oblige with Bassinets, both with advance notice.

Of their 3 meals a day, most South Africans enjoy their main meal at night. Most hotels serve a full, delicious breakfast. On weekends, you may encounter large parties in cafes around mid-morning, as ‘brunch’ becomes increasingly popular for laid-back Saturdays and Sundays.
South African food etiquette is mostly Westernised, with some of its own oddities. For instance, it’s ok to eat pasta twirling it onto a fork with aid of a spoon, and lobster with your hands.

The popular braai (barbeque) is another occasion where you can use your hands. In rural areas, traditional stew and mealie pap are also eaten with the hands – use your right hand only and roll the pap into a ball with your fingers, then dip it into the stew and eat.

At fine dining restaurants, dress a little more formally towards a ‘smart-casual’ look. Most other eateries, however, are extremely informal, and in the many family-friendly establishments South African food and general etiquette is relaxed. it’s a good idea to call ahead and make a reservation, especially at the more popular establishments, which can be booked weeks ahead in peak holiday season.

If you are invited to dine at the home of South Africans or share a braai with them, it is good etiquette to take a box of chocolates or a bunch of flowers, or a small gift as a token of appreciation.

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If you are a traveler with specific food requirements during your trip to South Africa, read on:

  • Certified halal food products and restaurants are available, controlled by the South African National Halaal Authority. Their website offers a directory of products and restaurants, of which there is a fair spread. Products certified halal are found in supermarkets.
  • Kosher food requirements in South Africa are supervised by the South African Beth Din. The choice of kosher restaurants is small, and is limited to areas such as Glenhazel and surrounds in Johannesburg, and the Sea Point area of Cape Town. Supermarket chains and delis stock kosher foods which carry the Beth Din stamp.
  • Vegetarian restaurants are few and far between in South Africa, although most restaurants do have vegetarian items on their menus. These options are sometimes a little indifferent, but the better eateries will have a surprisingly good selection. Check the online restaurant directories to locate vegetarian restaurants. Supermarkets stock vegetarian meals in their pre-prepared ranges.
  • Tourists with allergies and health issues, who require specially prepared foods in South Africa, will find our health shops stocked with alternatives from the preservative-free to the probiotic-rich. Most are staffed by personnel clued up on vitamins, supplements and natural options.

International access to South Africa is via air travel. O.R. Tambo International Airport in Johannesburg is the major airport in South Africa and is the hub for 55 airlines from all 5 continents. The flights from New York or Washington are about 12 hours long. Another option from North America is to fly via Europe (Amsterdam, London, Paris etc) and then onto Johannesburg. Lots of international flights arrive in beautiful Cape Town as well. If you’re leaving from Toronto, go through the USA, Europe or try another more exotic route, fly via Dubai or Ethiopia!

Sunrise over Sabi River in Kruger Park

For the majority of foreign nationals who travel to South Africa for vacation, entry is straightforward and hassle-free. All visitors to South Africa must be in possession of a valid passport which is valid for at least 6 months from the day of arrival. Canadians and American nationals do not require a visa unless they plan to stay longer than 3 months. Make sure you have 2 blank pages in your passport for entry to South Africa. If you do need a visa contact your local South African Consul General’s office to assist you.

Blyde River Canyon

Most parts of the country can be safely visited by tourists, provided they take basic common-sense precautions e.g. not walking alone in deserted areas at night, not flashing photographic equipment or jewellery and, in traffic, maintaining a safe following distance. Most major cities run organized crime prevention programmes and Basic Safety Tip guidelines are available at hotels and tourism information offices. If you are in doubt as to the safety of a particular area or attraction, contact the National Tourism Information and Safety Line on 083 123 2345. This number may also be used for assistance in replacing lost documents or reporting incidents.

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Malaria is found only in the Lowveld of Mpumalanga (incl. the Kruger National Park), Limpopo (north-eastern areas and near the Zimbabwean and Mozambican borders) and on the Maputaland coast of KwaZulu-Natal (north-east as far south as the Tugela River). Malaria risk is highest October-May. Although the incidence of malaria is rare, it would be best to take adequate precautions if you choose to visit these areas. In addition to malaria prophylaxis, insect repellents and mosquito nets can be effective. Check with your doctor or a travel clinic before you leave to make sure you get proper medical advice. South Africa has a large network of hospitals offer excellent service, but make sure you have adequate health insurance.

Traditional Village in Mpumalanga
South Africa’s tap water is potable and of the safest and cleanest in the world. In hotels, restaurants and nightspots, the standards of hygiene and food preparation are generally top-notch. It is safe to eat fresh fruit and salads and to put as much ice as you like in your drinks — a good thing, too, after a day on the beach or in the bush. Tap water undergoes treatment which ensures it is free of harmful micro-organisms and contaminants. In some areas, South African drinking water is rich in minerals, and may involve a bit of getting used to. Avoid, however, drinking water from streams and rivers, especially in areas where there is human habitation. These may carry water-borne diseases. But if you encounter an unpolluted mountain steam, a drink should be most refreshing.

South Africa boasts world-class transport infrastructure, telecommunications, banking, medical and tourism facilities. Accommodation caters for all needs and is accredited by the national Tourism Grading Council, which upholds very high standards. Most hotels accommodations include a full and delicious breakfasts. Whether you’re looking for a comfortable room and clean shower or a small boutique intimate hotel, there are hundreds of options. And if you want a luxury, off-the-chart, spectacular hotel, South Africa has many of those to. In fact, a few of South Africa’s hotels are almost always featured in top 50 best hotels in the world.

Nelson Mandela Street Art 3

If you like shopping, South Africa will not disappoint. Modern shopping malls, arts & crafts routes and markets, flea markets and informal vendors offer a wide variety of goods, curios, and shopping experiences. South Africa’s fashion, gold and diamond jewelry, and art are sought-after. As are the traditional handcrafted items such as Zulu beadwork; carved chessboards; painted ostrich eggs; colourful woven baskets, handbags and soft furnishings; mohair or sisal rugs; traditional wooden masks and carvings; pottery and leather items. And don’t forget the world-renowned Cape wines, exotic fruit liqueurs, brandy, rooibos tea, dried fruit, biltong (dried meat snacks) and chutney. Most major shopping centres and malls operate 7 days a week, but small town shops are often closed on Sunday.

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Known to some as sunny South Africa, the country has a warm to hot climate, making it one of the best year-round destinations in the world. Most provinces enjoy a summer rainfall with occasional afternoon thunderstorms, which are spectacular to see. Snow sometimes occurs, especially on the mountain peaks. Some areas have such mild winters, that visitors will never guess it’s winter at all. Johannesburg can be pretty chilly during the evenings in July and August, but during the day, a light jacket is all you need.

Cape Town at Dawn

 

The population of South Africa is approximately 47.5 million, made up of diverse people and cultures. Groups include the majority Nguni (incl. Zulu, Xhosa, Swazi); Sotho-Tswana; Tsonga; Venda; Afrikaners; English; Coloureds; Indians; Khoi and San; and immigrants from Africa, Europe and Asia. The majority religion is Christian, but freedom of worship is guaranteed by the Constitution. There are 11 official languages, including English. Most South Africans are multi-lingual and English is fairly widely spoken, mostly in urban centres.

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