Chinese Adventure Yangtze River Cruise (Tour Code: ATCH)

11 Nights / 12 Days

Itinerary

Arrive in Beijing.

Today enter the world of “Air Tours Holidays” as you begin your journey through China. On arrival at Beijing airport, transfer to the hotel & check in.

Later this evening, enjoy a welcome Indian dinner with wine and Champagne.
Overnight at Beijng Mercure Wanshang hotel  or similar in Beijing. (D)

Guided City Tour. Visit the Tiananmen Square. Visit the Forbidden City – the Chinese Imperial Palace. Visit the Yonghe Lamasery. Visit the Temple of Heaven – The Altar to Heaven.

After a buffet breakfast at the hotel, proceed for a city tour with an experienced English speaking local guide. Visit the Tian Anmen Square, one of the largest public plaza in the world where Chairman Mao Tsetung proclaimed to the whole world the founding of the People’s Republic of China. Visit the Forbidden City - The Imperial Palace for the Ming and the Qing Dynasty with 800 buildings and over 9,000 rooms. After a lunch, proceed to the Yonghe Lamasery - the centre of Lama Administration. Later, visit the Temple Of Heaven - China’s largest existing complex of ancient sacrificial buildings. It is considered as one of the most beautiful buildings in the world. Walk down the famous Hutongs – the narrow lanes and alleys, characteristic of the city (if time permits).

Tonight enjoy Local / Western dinner.
Overnight at Beijng Mercure Wanshang hotel  or similar in Beijing. (B, LL, LD)

Visit the Great Wall at badaling pass with round trip cable car – one of the greatest wonders. Visit the Summer Palace – the Garden of Natural Harmony. 

After a buffet breakfast at the hotel, proceed for an excursion to the Great Wall of China. Walk on this mammoth structure that is visible from outer space. After a Lunch, visit the Summer Palace and see the second home of the Imperial Court, with its huge collection of over 1,000 paintings, charming gardens with marble pagodas and delicately arched bridges.

Tonight enjoy an Indian Dinner
Overnight at Beijng Mercure Wanshang hotel  or similar in Beijing. (B,LL,D) 

On to Xi’an. Visit Wild Goose Pagoda

After a buffet breakfast at the hotel, check out and proceed to the train Station for your high speed train ride to Xi’an – the ancient capital city of 11 dynasties.

(Please prepare handbags for 02 nights in Xian, 01 big bag will be transferred to Cruise Directly from Beijing),

Today, enjoy lunch or packed lunch. Visit the Wild Goose Pagoda – the symbol of the old –line Xian, a well-preserved ancient building and a holy place for Buddhists.

Tonight enjoy an Indian dinner. 
Overnight at Grand Noble Hotel or similar in Xi’an. (B, PL, D)

Visit the Terra Cotta Army Museum – the most significant archeological excavations of the 20th century. Visit of Shanxi Museum; See The Tang Dynasty Music and Dance Show.

After a buffet breakfast at the hotel, proceed to the Terra Cotta Army Museum that showcases the 2200-year old colored terra-cotta army of more than 8000 soldiers and horses that guard the tomb of China’s first emperor- Qinshihuang. Have a visit of the Shaanxi History Museum. After lunch, free time to relax.

Later, today enjoy The Tang Dynasty Music and Dance Show, a wonderful performance of ancient music and dance.

 Tonight enjoy Local / western dinner.
Overnight at Grand Noble Hotel or similar in Xi’an. (B, L, LD)

Visit Ancient City Hall. High speed train to Chongqing and board the Victoria Cruise.

After a buffet breakfast at the hotel, check out and visit the Ancient City Wall - the most complete city wall that has survived in China, as well being one of the largest ancient military defensive systems in the world

Enjoy an early lunch today.

Thereafter, proceed to the station for high speed train to Chongqing.

Enjoy an Indian dinner and then board the luxurious Victoria Cruise.
Overnight on board the cruise. (B,LL,D)

Visit Fengdu – The city of Ghosts. Visit Wanxian.

Breakfast on board the cruise. Start your Yangtze River Sail. Disembark for a Shore excursion in Fengdu, “City of Ghost”. (Excursion included)   Arrive at Wanxian, a small town with rich production of oranges and tangerines. Its local market gives you a unique experience of a small mountainous city on the Yangtze River. Pass through the Qutang Gorge, the shortest but most dramatic of the three Gorges.

Lunch and Indian dinner on board the cruise.
Overnight on board the cruise. (B,LL,D)

Xiling Gorge

Breakfast on board the cruise. View the Wu Gorge 44 km long, famed for its deep valley with misty peaks and pillar-like mountains reaching as high as a mile. Disembark at Sampans to travel up the crystal clear water of the Three Lesser Gorges on the Shennong Stream. In the afternoon pass through the longest and fiercest Xiling Gorge with great rapids and breath-taking rock formations.

Lunch and dinner on board the cruise.
Overnight on board the cruise. (B, LL, D)

Three Gorges Dam. Fly to Shanghai.

After a buffet breakfast disembark and proceed to view the Three Gorges Dam – which is one of the largest hydro-electric power stations in the world by capacity. This is the largest project that has been undertaken in China since the Great Wall and the Grand Canal. Later proceed to the airport in Yichang for your flight (flight cost not included) to Shanghai. On arrival proceed to the hotel and check in.

Tonight enjoy an Indian dinner.
Overnight at Shanghai Radisson Hongquan or similar hotel (B, LL, D)

Visit the Jade Buddha Temple, Yuyuan Gardens and the Bund. Cruise on Huang Pu River

After a buffet breakfast at the hotel, visit the Jade Buddha Temple that houses the largest Jade Buddha Statues carved from a single piece of white Jade. After lunch, visit the Yuyuan Gardens – a world famous classical garden with spectacular architecture and zigzag bridges.  Later visit the Bund – bustling the waterfront on the Huangpu River. Enjoy a cruise on the Huang Pu River and see Shanghai all lit up at night.

Tonight enjoy Local/ Western dinner.
Overnight at Shanghai Radisson Hongquan Hotel or similar in Shanghai (B,L,LD)

Day for Shopping. Acrobatic Show at night.

After a buffet breakfast at the hotel, the entire day is kept aside specially for you to shop for bargains in Shanghai. After a lunch, continue your shopping frenzy with some more time at Nanjing Road. Tonight enjoy a spectacular acrobatic show that showcases the skills of these talented artists.

Tonight enjoy an Indian dinner.
Overnight at Shanghai Radisson Hongquan Hotel or similar in Shanghai. (B, LL, D)

Ride the Maglev Train. Fly back home

After a buffet breakfast at the hotel, check out and board the fantastic bullet train – Maglev to the airport for your flight back home. Return home with wonderful memories of your China tour. (B)

Tour Cost & Date

Land Cost
Twin / Double US$2,200
Single Person US$650

NOTE

  • As a 3rd person in a triple room, most hotels use rollaway beds and room size may be the same as the double bed. There will be no reduction for triple sharing.
  • Single Room Supplement charges will be applicable in case of any one member sharing room with other cancel their reservations.

  • DEPARTURE DATES 2019
    August
    14
    September
    04

    NOTE

    • Tour starts in Beijing on the above mentioned dates. There could be a possibility of flight departure on the previous evening
    • On certain departure dates the itinerary may be operated in reverse order. However, all services and inclusions will remain the same.

    POST TOUR GULIN (02 Nights / 03 Days)

    (Tour Code: ATCHG)

    Itinerary

    On to Guilin (LL,D)

    On arrival, proceed ON YOUR OWN to the hotel & check in. On arrival enjoy Local lunch.

    Tonight enjoy Indian Dinner at restaurant
    Overnight at Bravo Hotel or similar in Guilin

    Guilin (B, LL, LD)

    Half-Li river cruise, West Street & Elephant Trunk Hill

    Today after breakfast, depart from your hotel in the morning and begin your Half -Li River Cruise which is the masterpiece of nature. The crystal water, picturesque mountains, peaceful farm field, hard-working fishermen and wondering water buffalos compose a poem of Guilin scenery and life. Under the blue sky, your river boat is floating on the river, making you feel in an unreal dream. After you disembark the Western-influenced town—Yangshuo, you can roam at the West Street, it earns its name since almost everyone in West Street can speak fluent English and every restaurant or bar offers menus in several languages. You feel no boarder and distance here and fall in love with the town at the first sight. Moreover, it is flanked by small shops and vendor stands selling different kinds of souvenirs, which are the best gifts for your friends and relatives. Then have a visit of Elephant Trunk Hill. It is a huge rock formation of an elephant by the confluence of the Yang and Li rivers, which looks as if its trunk, dipping into the water. Later after local lunch Have an outside view of the Glass Bridge on Ronghu River (not guaranteed to open every day, because its local people’s private property).

    Enjoy Local Dinner at restaurant
    Overnight at Bravo Hotel or similar in Guilin

    Guilin Departure (B, LL)

    Visit Reed Flute Caves.

    Today after breakfast, you will visit the Reed Flute Cave, which is named after a certain kind of reed grown near the carve gate, which is used for making a flute instrument. The natural beauty of a large amount of stalactites and stalagmites, with their endless variety of remarkable scenes in the cave could undoubtedly evoke breathless admiration from you. Thus, the cave is highly praised as the Huge Art Palace of the Nature. Later after local lunch proceed to the airport to take your flight back home

    TOUR COST

    Land Cost (Minimum 15 Pax)
    Per Person on Twin Sharing US$ 750
    Single Person US$ 100

    NOTE

  • As a 3rd person in a triple room, most hotels use rollaway beds and room size may be the same as the double bed. There will be no reduction for triple sharing.
  • Group size below 15 will attract supplement cost on above tour cost.
  • Single Room Supplement charges will be applicable in case of any one member sharing room with other cancel their reservations
  • NOTE

  • As a 3rd person in a triple room, most hotels use rollaway beds and room size may be the same as the double bed. There will be no reduction for triple sharing.
  • Group size below 15 will attract supplement cost on above tour cost.
  • Single Room Supplement charges will be applicable in case of any one member sharing room with other cancel their reservations.

  • Tour info

    WHAT YOUR TOUR PRICE INCLUDES
    SIGHTSEEING'S & EXCURSIONS
    • Li River Cruise, West Street and Elephant Trunk Hill
    • Visit the Reed Flute Caves
    • Glass Bridge

    HOTELS

    • 02 nights' accommodation at Bravo Hotel or similar in Guilin

    MEALS

    • Daily buffet breakfast except on Day 01
    • 3 Indian vegetarian and non vegetarian Lunches
    • 2 Indian vegetarian and non vegetarian Dinners
    • 1 bottle of water per person per day – 1 ltr

    FLIGHTS

    • Flight Shanghai-Guilin-Shanghai

    TRANSFERS

    • Daily tansfers during the tour on private basis
    • Return airport transfers on private basis

    TIPS & PORTERAGE

    • Tips to Driver and Guide
    • Porterage of one bage of 20 kgs per person at hotels only.

    TOUR MANAGER

    • Services of an experienced and professional Tour Manager for groups of 15 adults and above only.

    WHAT YOUR TOUR PRICE DOES NOT INCLUDE

    • Cost of International Air Ticket
    • Cost of deviation - In case you wish to deviate from the group departure dates mentioned in the brochure i.e. either travel before the departure date of your tour or would like to come back on a later date after the tour ends, there will be an additional charge that will be applicable which will be advised to you by our sales team. The same is subject to availability of seats & class for the given dates & ticket validity. Kindly also note, the deviation request is to be made at the time of booking.
    • Cost of Transfer: :  The individual arrival & departure transfer in case you have opted for deviation OR due to flight delay OR purchase separate ticket on own & not traveling under our tour cost option with international flights.
    • Cost of visas to travel on the tour.
    • Medical/ Travel insurance.
    • Any expenses of personal nature such as porterage, laundry, wines, mineral water, food and drink not in the regular menu provided by us, mini bar, telephone calls, pay channels, cruise shore excursion and any type of beverages in cruise etc. Anything not specified under inclusions.
    • Meals other than what is mentioned in your itinerary
    • Cost of excursions, city sightseeing, entrance fees and local guides availed of by the passengers, other than that mentioned in ‘What your tour price includes’
    • Departure taxes except where indicated

    IMPORTANT

    • All tours will be operated subject to a minimum of 25 full paying passengers traveling together. In case there are less than 25 full paying passengers the clients will be given an option of travelling on another departure date.
    • Check for detail cancellation rules in our booking form.
    • Updating of Mileage is subject to Airlines terms & conditions in group fare.
    • We request the airlines for your preferred seats however this is as per their policy and at their discretion to confirm the same
    • Keeping in view of Luggage compartment of coach & Internal Flight regulations, we strongly recommend you to carry only medium size Bag of 20kg and 1 carryon bag of 5 kg per person.
    • The dates and granting of Visas is at the sole discretion of the concerned consulate. Air Tours Holidays are not responsible for granting of visas and are only a facilitator in the visa application process and any situations arises out of delay in granting visa by the consulate/embassy.

    Points to be noted

    • Any damages caused to the hotel rooms/coach during your stay, shall be payable by the passengers. Air Tours will not be liable for the same.
    • The Company shall not accept any liability or responsibility for any damages, loss, injury, accident, death, delay, breakdown or irregularity which may occur in carrying out of the tour arrangement.
    • Management reserves the right to claim any additional expenses due to delay or changes in train, plane, bus, ship or other services, weather conditions, strikes, war, quarantine and any other cause whatsoever and all such loss or expenses must be borne by the passengers.
    • We reserve the right to amend, alter, vary or withdraw any particular departure, excursion advertised or substitute a hotel of similar class if deemed advisable or necessary.
    • For the convenience of our passengers, Air Tours will sometimes amend the itinerary; however all the other services will remain the same.
    • The Tour Cost is combination of all the arrangement and hence cannot be calculated on individual service basis. Tour cost is one component and not calculated on individually.
    • Single Room Supplement charges will be applicable in case any of the guest cancel the reservations sharing room together.
    • Air Tours will not be liable in any loss of baggage by the Airline.
    • Please refer to the booking form for detailed ‘Terms and Conditions’.

    POINTS TO BE NOTED

    • Please refer to our brochure for further details, terms & conditions.

    MEDICAL INSURANCE

    • It’s very important to find out BEFORE you leave whether or not your medical insurance will cover you overseas. Your regular U.S. health insurance may not cover doctors’ and hospital visits in other countries. ALWAYS LOOK INTO THE ASPECTS OF COVERING YOUR TRIP FOR UNFORSEEN EVENTS.

    PRE TOUR HONGKONG & MACAU (3 Nights / 4 Days)

    (Tour Code: ATCHH)

    Fly to Hong Kong

    Today start on your fabulous tour as you board your flight to Hong Kong. Arrive in Hong Kong – a vibrant and colourful city. On arrival at Hong Kong Airport, we proceed for lunch at restaurant. Then transfer to your hotel & check in. Later visit to Aberdeen, Repulse Bay.

    Enjoy dinner at local Indian Restaurant
    Overnight at the Hotel in Hong Kong (LL,D)

    Hong Kong city tour with Top Level Victoria Peak. Visit Lantau Island

    After breakfast at the hotel, Proceed for Hong Kong City tour to visit the Victoria Peak with 1 way tram ride. Lunch at restaurant. Then depart for Lantau Island to visit Ngong Ping 360 – Big Buddha with standard Cable Car (Tian Tan Buddha).

    Enjoy dinner at local Indian Restaurant
    Overnight at the Hotel in Hong Kong. (B,LL,D)

    Hong Kong –Macau - City tour of Macau. Visit Macau Tower.

    After breakfast at the hotel, check out.

    Take ferry from Hong Kong to Macau. Enjoy lunch at restaurant. Then proceed on a City tour of Macau (with guide) visit the ruins of St. Paul, A Ma temple, the old city walls, fisherman’s wharf & souvenir shop and visit Macau Tower with entry to observatory deck. Later transfer to your hotel & Check in.

    Dinner at local Indian Restaurant
    Overnight at Hotel in Macau. (B,L,D)

    Farewell

    After breakfast at the hotel, check out and proceed to the ferry terminal & board the ferry from Macau to Hong Kong Airport to board your flight back home. (B)

    TOUR COST

    Land Cost
    Per Person on Twin Sharing US$ 675
    Single Person US$ 200

    NOTE

  • As a 3rd person in a triple room, most hotels use rollaway beds and room size may be the same as the double bed. There will be no reduction for triple sharing.
  • Single Room Supplement charges will be applicable in case of any one member sharing room with other cancel their reservations.
  • Tour info

    WHAT YOUR TOUR PRICE INCLUDES

    SIGHTSEEING TOURS AND EXCURSIONS
    Hong Kong
    • Hong Kong city tour
    • Visit top level of Victoria Peak with one way peak tram ride.
    • Visit Ngong Ping 360 with 1 way cable car
    • Visit to Aberdeen, Repulse Bay
    Macau
    • Macau city tour with Macau Tower Observatory Deck

    HOTELS

    • 02 night’s accommodation at Holiday inn Express Kowloon East or similar in Hong Kong
    • 01 night’s accommodation at Sheraton Hotel or similar at Macau

    MEALS

    • Daily buffet breakfast.
    • Daily local / Western vegetarian/non-vegetarian lunches
    • Daily local / Indian vegetarian / non-vegetarian dinners

    Tips, Porterage, Water

    • Tips to Driver & Guide
    • Porterage of 1 bag per person only at hotels.
    • 2 bottle of 500 ml mineral water per person per day

    TRANSFERS

    • All transfers and excursions will be conducted by a deluxe air-conditioned coach.
    • Ferry from Hong Kong –Macau- Hong Kong

    TOUR MANAGER

    • Service of professional Tour manager throughout your tour in Hong Kong (Subject to 15 full paying passengers)

    WHAT YOUR TOUR PRICE DOES NOT INCLUDE

    • Cost of international airfare and taxes
    • Cost of deviation - In case you wish to deviate from the group departure dates mentioned in the brochure i.e. either travel before the departure date of your tour or would like to come back on a later date after the tour ends, there will be an additional charge that will be applicable which will be advised to you by our sales team. The same is subject to availability of seats & class for the given dates & ticket validity. Kindly also note, the deviation request is to be made at the time of booking.
    • Cost of Transfer The individual arrival & departure transfer in case you have opted for deviation or purchase on separate ticket & not traveling under group ticketing.
    • Cost of visas to travel on the tour
    • Medical/ Travel insurance
    • Any expenses of personal nature such as porter age, laundry, wines, mineral water, food and drink not in the regular menu provided by us, mini bar, telephone calls, pay channels etc.
    • Tips other than mentioned in "what your tour price includes"
    • Meals other than what is mentioned in your itinerary
    • Cost of excursions, city sightseeing, entrance fees and local guides availed of by the passengers, other than that mentioned in ‘What your tour price includes’

    POINTS TO BE NOTED

    • Any damages caused to the hotel rooms/coach during your stay, shall be payable by the passengers. Air Tours will not be liable for the same.
    • The Company shall not accept any liability or responsibility for any damages, loss, injury, accident, death, delay, breakdown or irregularity which may occur in carrying out of the tour arrangement.
    • Management reserves the right to claim any additional expenses due to delay or changes in train, plane, bus, ship or other services, weather conditions, strikes, war, quarantine and any other cause whatsoever and all such loss or expenses must be borne by the passengers.
    • We reserve the right to amend, alter, vary or withdraw any particular departure, excursion advertised or substitute a hotel of similar class if deemed advisable or necessary.
    • For the convenience of our passengers, we will sometimes amend the itinerary, however all the other services will remain the same.
    • Air Tours will not be liable in any loss of baggage by the Airline.
    • Please refer to the booking form for detailed ‘Terms and Conditions’.

    MEDICAL INSURANCE:

    • It's very important to find out whether or not your medical insurance will cover you overseas, your regular U.S. health insurance may not cover doctors and hospital visits in other countries. ALWAYS LOOK INTO THE ASPECTS OF COVERING YOUR TRIP FOR UNFORSEEN EVENTS. PLEASE BE INFORMED THAT INSURANCE TAKEN WITHIN 15 DAYS FROM THE DAY OF DEPOSIT MAY OFFER CERTAIN ADDITIONAL BENEFIT (e.g. Pre existing coverage).

    ADD ON TANZANIA (05 Nights / 06 Days)

    (Tour Code: ATKAT)

    Welcome aboard! Arrive into Kilimanjaro. Onto Lake Manyara

    Today embark on your exciting tour of Tanzania. On arrival at Kilimanjaro Airport, you will be met by our professional and experienced tour manager / local representative in the arrival area located outside the customs hall. Drive to Arusha.

    Enjoy lunch and proceed to Lake Manyara National Park. Enjoy an afternoon game drive (if time permits), after which you check into your lodge.

    Enjoy dinner at the lodge
    Overnight at the Lake Manyara Kilimamoja Lodge or similar (L,D)

    Enjoy Game Drives. Onto Serengeti

    Later after an American breakfast at the lodge, check-out and drive to Serengeti National Park. Enroute enjoy a picnic lunch. On arrival proceed on a game drive in the Park and then check into your lodge deep in the heart of this famous migration corridor.

    Overnight stay at Serengeti Sopa Lodge or similar in Serengeti National Park (B, L, D)

    Serengeti Game Drive

    After an American breakfast at the hotel, enjoy the morning and afternoon game drives. Behind masses of migrating animals, follow the ever-searching predators – watch as this life and death drama unfurls before your eyes. Enjoy lunch at the lodge and spend the evening at leisure.

    This evening, enjoy a sumptuous dinner at your lodge.
    Overnight stay at Serengeti Sopa Lodge or similar in Serengeti National Park (B,L,D)

    Serengeti Game Drive

    After an American breakfast at the hotel, enjoy the morning and afternoon game drives. Behind masses of migrating animals, follow the ever-searching predators – watch as this life and death drama unfurls before your eyes. Enjoy lunch at the lodge and spend the evening at leisure.

    This evening, enjoy a sumptuous dinner at your lodge.
    Overnight stay at Serengeti Sopa Lodge or similar in Serengeti National Park (B,L,D)

    Serengeti Game Drive

    After an American breakfast at the hotel, enjoy the morning and afternoon game drives. Behind masses of migrating animals, follow the ever-searching predators – watch as this life and death drama unfurls before your eyes. Enjoy lunch at the lodge and spend the evening at leisure.

    This evening, enjoy a sumptuous dinner at your lodge.
    Overnight stay at Serengeti Sopa Lodge or similar in Serengeti National Park (B,L,D)

    Farewell

    After an American breakfast at the hotel, check out & drive to Arusha airport to board your flight back home with wonderful memories of your Safari Vacation!! (B)

    TOUR COST

    Land Cost
    Twin / Double $1,800
    Single Person $2,200
    Child with Bed $1,550
    Child No Bed -

    PRICES WITH FLIGHTS ON INSTANT PURCHASE IS AVAILABLE

    NOTE

  • A person below 12 years is considered a child.
  • There will be no reduction for triple sharing.
  • Single Room Supplement charges will be applicable in case of any one member sharing room with other cancel their reservations.
  • Tour info

    WHAT YOUR TOUR PRICE INCLUDES

    • Game drives as mentioned in the above itinerary
    • All transfers & excursion as specified in the itinerary

    HOTELS

    • 03 nights’ accommodation at Shishangeni Private Lodge or similar in Kruger National Park

    MEALS

    • Daily buffet breakfast
    • Daily local / western vegetarian / non-Vegetarian lunches
    • Daily Indian vegetarian/ non– vegetarian dinners

    TIPS & PORTERAGE

    • Tips to driver & guide
    • Porterage of 01 bag (20 kgs) per person at hotels only

    TOUR MANAGER

    • Services of a professional and experienced tour manager or a local representative throughout your tour.

    WHAT YOUR TOUR PRICE DOES NOT INCLUDE:

    • Cost of international airfare and taxes
    • Cost of deviation - In case you wish to deviate from the group departure dates mentioned in the brochure i.e. either travel before the departure date of your tour or would like to come back on a later date after the tour ends, there will be an additional charge that will be applicable which will be advised to you by our sales team. The same is subject to availability of seats & class for the given dates & ticket validity. Kindly also note, the deviation request is to be made at the time of booking. 
    • Cost of Transfer:  The individual arrival & departure transfer in case you have opted for deviation or purchase on separate ticket & not traveling under group ticketing.
    • Cost of visas to travel on the tour
    • Medical/ Travel insurance
    • Any expenses of personal nature such as porter age, laundry, wines, mineral water, food and drink not in the regular menu provided by us, mini bar, telephone calls, pay channels etc. 
    • Meals other than what is mentioned in your itinerary 
    • Cost of excursions, city sightseeing, entrance fees and local guides availed of by the passengers, other than that mentioned in ‘What your tour price includes’
    • Incidental tips/gratuities to hotels/lodge staff 
    • Any item (s) of personal nature i.e. tobacco, porter age, laundry and drinks
    • Departure taxes except where indicated
    • Optional activities and excursions
    • Drinks, tips, laundry and other personal expenses Anything not specified under Inclusions

    IMPORTANT:

    • Updating of Mileage is subject to Airlines terms & conditions in group fare.
    • We request the airlines for preferred seats however this is as per their policy and at their discretion.
    • Keeping in view of Luggage compartment of coach & Internal Flight regulations, we strongly recommend you to carry only medium size Bag of 20kg and 1 carryon bag of 5 kg per person.
    • The dates and granting of Visas is at the sole discretion of the concerned consulate. Air Tours Holidays are not responsible for granting of visas and are only a facilitator in the visa application process.

    Points to be noted:

    • Any damages caused to the hotel rooms/coach during your stay, shall be payable by the passengers. Air Tours will not be liable for the same. 
    • The Company shall not accept any liability or responsibility for any damages, loss, injury, accident, death, delay, breakdown or irregularity which may occur in carrying out of the tour arrangement. 
    • Management reserves the right to claim any additional expenses due to delay or changes in train, plane, bus, ship or other services, weather conditions, strikes, war, quarantine and any other cause whatsoever and all such loss or expenses must be borne by the passengers. 
    • We reserve the right to amend, alter, vary or withdraw any particular departure, excursion advertised or substitute a hotel of similar class if deemed advisable or necessary. For the convenience of our passengers, we will sometimes amend the itinerary, however all the other services will remain the same. 
    • Gold reef city in Johannesburg is closed on Mondays. 
    • Air Tours will not be liable in any loss of baggage by the Airline. 
    • Please refer to the booking form for detailed ‘Terms and Conditions’.

    CHILD POLICY:

    • New regulations for families travelling with children to and from South Africa
    • The South African immigration department has expressed concern about the growing issue of global child trafficking and has announced new requirements for adults travelling with children under the age of 18, which will take effect from 1 June 2015. Parents travelling with children would now be requested to provide an unabridged birth certificate (including the details of the child's father as well as the mother) of all travelling children. This applies even when both parents are travelling with their children.  When children are travelling with guardians, these adults are required to produce affidavits from parents proving permission for the children to travel. The above applies to foreigners and South Africans travelling to or from South Africa as well as travellers in transit.
    • South Africa does not have a "no bed" policy for children. Children will be accommodated on a standard bed, a roll away bed or a sleeper couch.

    Tour info

    WHAT YOUR TOUR PRICE INCLUDES

    SIGHTSEEING TOURS AND EXCURSIONS
    Beijing
    • Visit the Tian Anmen Square
    • Forbidden City
    • Summer Palace
    • Visit the Great Wall from Badaling with return Cable Car
    • Yonghe Lamasery
    • Visit the Temple of Heaven
    • Stroll down the famous Hutongs (if time permits)
    Xi’an
    • Visit the Terra Cotta Army Museum
    • See the Tang Dynasty Music and Dance show
    • Visit the Wild Goose Pagoda
    •  Visit the Ancient City Wall
    • Visit the Shanxi Museum
    Cruise
    •  Victoria Yangtze Cruise
    •  Sail along the Qutang, Xiling and Wuxia Gorges
    •  Three Gorges Dam, Xiling Gorge
    • Shore excursions to Fengdu, 3 Gorges Dam, Xiling Gorge
    Shanghai
    • Acrobatic Show
    • Guided City Tour
    • Visit the Jade Buddha temple
    • Visit the Yuyuan Gardens
    • Ride the MagLev Train.
    • Huang Pu River Cruise
    • Free day for shopping with transfers

    HOTELS

    • 03 nights’ accommodation at Hotel MercureWanshang/Beijing Skyline Intnl/Pullman South/Radisson Blu Beijing
    • 02 nights' accommodation at Hotel Grand Noble/Golden Flowerr in Xi’an
    • 03 nights’ accommodation at US Victoria Jenna Cruise in Cruise
    • 03 nights’ accommodation at Hotel Sheraton Waigaoqiao/Radisson Hongquan/Radisson Exhibition Centre in Shanghai

    MEALS

    • Daily buffet breakfast.
    • A Welcome Indian dinner with Wine and Champagne
    • 6 local / Western Vegetarian lunches
    • 4 Indian Vegetarian lunches
    • 9 Indian Vegetarian  /Non Vegetarian dinners 
    • Services of a Indian chef onboard the cruise only

    TRAIN & FLIGHTS

    • Train from Beijing to Xi’an
    • High Speed train from Xi’an to Chongqing
    • Flight from Yichang to Shanghai

    TRANSFERS

    • All transfers and excursions will be conducted by a deluxe air-conditioned coach

    TIPS

    • Tips to the guides/ driver

    PORTERAGE

    • Porterage of 01 bag per person at the hotels
    • 1 bag from pier to the cruise and Lobby to Cabin
    • 1 bag per person couriered from Beijing hotel to Cruise.

    WATER

    • 02 Water bottles (500 ml) per person per day

    VISAS REQUIRED TO TRAVEL ON YOUR TOUR

    To travel on your China tour, you would be required to possess the following visas
    Single Entry China Visa
    Cost of visas NOT INCLUDED in your tour price

    WHAT YOUR TOUR PRICE DOES NOT INCLUDE

    • Cost of International Air Ticket
    • Cost of deviation

      - In case you wish to deviate from the group departure dates mentioned in the brochure i.e. either travel before the departure date of your tour or would like to come back on a later date after the tour ends, there will be an additional charge that will be applicable which will be advised to you by our sales team. The same is subject to availability of seats & class for the given dates & ticket validity. Kindly also note, the deviation request is to be made at the time of booking.
    • Cost of Transfer:

      The individual arrival & departure transfer in case you have opted for deviation OR due to flight delay OR purchase separate ticket on own & not traveling under our tour cost option with international flights.
    • Cost of visas to travel on the tour

    • Medical / Travel insurance.
    • Any expenses of personal nature such as porterage, laundry, wines, mineral water, food and drink not in the regular menu provided by us, mini bar, telephone calls, pay channels, cruise shore excursion and any type of beverages in cruise etc. Anything not specified under inclusions.
    • Meals other than what is mentioned in your itinerary
    • Cost of excursions, city sightseeing, entrance fees and local guides availed of by the passengers, other than that mentioned in ‘What your tour price includes’
    • Departure taxes except where included.

    IMPORTANT

    • All tours will be operated subject to a minimum of 25 full paying passengers traveling together. In case there are less than 25 full paying passengers the clients will be given an option of travelling on another departure date.
    • Updating of Mileage is subject to Airlines terms & conditions in group fare.
    • Check for detail cancellation rules in our booking form.
    • We request the airlines for your preferred seats however this is as per their policy and at their discretion to confirm the same
    • Keeping in view of Luggage compartment of coach & Internal Flight regulations, we strongly recommend you to carry only medium size Bag of 20kg and 1 carryon bag of 5 kg per person.
    • The dates and granting of Visas is at the sole discretion of the concerned consulate. Air Tours Holidays are not responsible for granting of visas and are only a facilitator in the visa application process and any situations arises out of delay in granting visa by the consulate/embassy.

    Points to be noted

    • Any damages caused to the hotel rooms/coach during your stay, shall be payable by the passengers. Air Tours will not be liable for the same.
    • The Company shall not accept any liability or responsibility for any damages, loss, injury, accident, death, delay, breakdown or irregularity which may occur in carrying out of the tour arrangement.
    • Management reserves the right to claim any additional expenses due to delay or changes in train, plane, bus, ship or other services, weather conditions, strikes, war, quarantine and any other cause whatsoever and all such loss or expenses must be borne by the passengers.
    • We reserve the right to amend, alter, vary or withdraw any particular departure, excursion advertised or substitute a hotel of similar class if deemed advisable or necessary.
    • For the convenience of our passengers, Air Tours will sometimes amend the itinerary; however all the other services will remain the same.
    • The Tour Cost is combination of all the arrangement and hence cannot be calculated on individual service basis. Tour cost is one component and not calculated on individually.
    • Air Tours will not be liable in any loss of baggage by the Airline.
    • The Tour Cost is combination of all the arrangement and hence cannot be calculated on individual service basis. Tour cost is one component and not calculated on individually.
    • Single Room Supplement charges will be applicable in case any of the guest cancel the reservations sharing room together.
    • Please refer to the booking form for detailed ‘Terms and Conditions’.

    Points to be noted

    • Please refer to our brochure for further details, terms & conditions.

    MEDICAL INSURANCE:

    • It’s very important to find out BEFORE you leave whether or not your medical insurance will cover you overseas. Your regular U.S. health insurance may not cover doctors’ and hospital visits in other countries. ALWAYS LOOK INTO THE ASPECTS OF COVERING YOUR TRIP FOR UNFORSEEN EVENTS.

    Tips

    INTRODUCTION

    An extraordinarily diverse and exciting country to visit, South Africa is rightly celebrated for its wonderful climate, beautiful beaches and fascinating cultures.

    The miraculous shift from apartheid state to thriving democracy has opened up the country's many attractions to a stream of overseas visitors. The transition has not been seamless, and the country's vast tourist potential remains largely unfulfilled - but for those that do make the effort to visit, South Africa rewards you with a rich diversity of experiences that will appeal to everyone.

    South Africa continues to attract a wide variety of visitors: tourists on short-term visits are drawn to well established highlights such as the Kruger Park with its "Big Five" safari animals, and Cape Town's Table Mountain, one of the most beautiful vistas anywhere in the world.

    Sports lovers come to play golf, try rock climbing, mountain biking, bungee jumping and hike the numerous pristine nature reserves. While backpackers fall in love with the Garden Route's beauty and effortless bohemia. And of course everyone loves the golden beaches, welcoming wine farms and the great food.

    This broad and wonderfully complex country is brimming with contradictions and surprising contrasts. Living side by side you'll find poverty and wealth; desert and rainforests; secluded beach and mist-shrouded mountain; and it's all populated by over thirty different cultures that are still learning to talk to one another.

    The tourist infrastructure is outstanding, comparing well with European standards of comfort and efficiency. And the weakness of the Rand against major international currencies makes for a hard to beat value for money holiday. In short, South Africa has it all - a combination of everything a visitor could want, in a territory that is a true paradise on earth.

    GAMEPARKS: KRUGER AND THE PRIVATE RESERVES – MPUMALANGA

    The Kruger National Park is one of South Africa's biggest domestic tourist drawcards welcoming over 600,000 annual visitors to its camps.

    The park is also one of the largest in the world, measuring some 350km in length and comprising an area of over 20,000 sq km (the size of Wales). The park is home to the "big five" game animals - leopard, lion, elephant, buffalo and rhino - and seeing any of these magnificent creatures in the wild is an experience you'll remember for the rest of your life.

    This enormous park offers an authentic bushveld experience with most visitors driving themselves around the park in their own vehicles. Ranger-supervised bush walks are also an option and eco-educational trips are increasingly popular. Rustic but comfortable overnight camps are dotted throughout the park, each with their own character. Accommodation is typically in circular rondavels, a design known to insulate against the heat of the bushveld summers. You will need to book far in advance to secure the more popular accommodation.

    While the Kruger Park is accessible to the ordinary man's budget, the same cannot be said of the game lodges surrounding the Kruger. These private parks offer luxurious accommodation, five-star cuisine and a dedicated ranger who will take you on night drives and off-road excursions.

    If you can afford prices from ZAR2000 per night, the experience will not disappoint.

    CAPE WINELANDS - WESTERN CAPE

    Against a backdrop of snow-brushed mountains, the rolling vineyards of South Africa's wine-producing heartland welcome visitors for summer picnics, wine-tasting and gourmet food. Some of the most popular estates are Spier, which hosts concerts on summer evenings, Boschendal and Simonsberg. Most estates are clustered around the historic towns of Franschoek, Paarl and Stellenbosch, each full of charm and well worth a visit en route to your wine tasting. These are some of the oldest settlements in South Africa, founded by French Huguenots in the 17th century. Fleeing religious persecution, these settlers brought with them live vines and vintner skills from France.

    As the wine estates are at least an hour's drive from Cape Town, you will need to either rent a car or take an organised tour from the city - the latter option preferred by those wishing to engage in extensive tasting.

    Wine can be bought tax-free at good prices and then shipped to your home address.

    TABLE MOUNTAIN - WESTERN CAPE

    So called because of its 3km wide flat top, Table Mountain and its outlying peak of Lion's Head tower over Cape Town. Often covered by the "tablecloth" of white cloud that rolls over in late afternoon, Table Mountain is South Africa's most recognisable symbol and the pre-eminent guardian of the Mother City.

    The views from atop the 1100m peak are spectacular, with golden beached Camps Bay to your left, Lions Head and Robben Island ahead of you, and the winelands calling from the distant right. For the energetic, superb lung-searing hiking and climbing routes lead to the top; for everyone else the rotating cable-car (ZAR120 return) does the journey in five minutes.

    The recently upgraded restaurant, bar and café facilities around the cable car station are top-quality and there is no better place in the world to watch a sunset. On the eastern side of the mountain, Kirstenbosch Botanical Garden ranks as among the most beautiful in the world.

    Devoted to indigenous plants, the garden hosts sunset concerts in summer and is interspersed with open-air sculptures.

    DRAKENSBERG - KWA-ZULU NATAL

    The Drakensberg National Park is a paradise mountain wilderness unparalleled in Africa. The Zulu name for the mountains, Ukhahlamba, means "Barrier of Spears", and it is an apt description of the jagged peaks of this 200km-long world heritage site. It is a land of cliffs and rocky outcrops, and flower-strewn lush valleys - breathtaking stuff.

    Hiking trails wend their way up to the elevated ridges and plateaux, but you don't have to have a head for heights to enjoy the 'Berg; driving trails and bridleways allow you to explore the park with minimum effort. Nearby Tugela is home to the world's second-highest waterfall, which plunges 850m over a precipice to the churning waters below, a must-see.

    Tranquil resorts, championship-quality golf courses, and various Zulu cultural sites offer variety among this wealth of nature. The park is home to over 35,000 primordial rock paintings, a unique testament to the lives and experiences of South Africa's original ancestors (the San). Get there by car, turning off the N3 to Durban at Estcourt, or catch a bus or train to Estcourt where hotels can pick you up.

    SUN CITY - NORTHERN PROVINCE

    The liberalisation of the gaming laws have spread gambling throughout the country, but until a few years ago Sun City was the only world-class gambling and entertainment venue accessible to South Africans.

    Its very presence is somewhat miraculous: in place of arid, dry soil there are now two lush Gary Player designed golf-courses, a theme park boasting the world's first pool wave generator, and some wonderfully kitsch pseudo-African architecture.

    The Lost City development (the largest thermal resort in the world) has greatly enhanced the prestige of this, South Africa's very own Las Vegas.

    Nearby Pilanesberg Game Reserve is one of South Africa's most popular reserves, with a huge variety of flora and fauna, including the Big Five, and some lovely rest camps and accommodation facilities.

    DURBAN - KWA-ZULU NATAL

    Durban, capital of Kwa-Zulu Natal and the country's prime seaside resort city, has a wonderful Indian character blended with a lazy surfer's chic that are manifest in surprising ways.

    Mahatma Gandhi spent some time here as a young man - his experiences of racial injustice proved influential in his later life as liberator of colonial India. Durban enjoys a distinctive tropical climate quite different to the dryness of the Highveld or the Mediterranean ambience of the coastal Cape. The beaches are fringed by lush vegetation and the city surrounded by acres of sugar cane.

    The city itself is well set up for tourists and has been for years the prime holiday venue for locals. Currently reinventing its identity, Durban is an interesting city to visit, with good beaches and manifold attractions in the vicinity, including the Drakensberg, the Battlefields and numerous gameparks.

    SOWETO - GAUTENG

    A tour to Soweto is an excellent and highly rated way to meet, greet and eat in the very welcoming company of township residents. For many visitors this is the surprise highlight of a visit to Johannesburg.

    Soweto, an acronym for South Western Townships, was created in the 1930s as a repository for migrant workers and black people relocated from inner city areas designated for white occupation during the establishment of apartheid. It was the focus of much of the unrest that finally brought an end to the system of racial segregation, and is now a symbol of the new hopes for the future evident throughout the country.

    Popular attractions include a visit to a shebeen (a local speakeasy), a traditional healer (sangoma), and tours past the former residences of Nelson Mandela, Winnie Mandela, and Desmond Tutu. The nightlife is good here, particularly the local jazz played in venues which evoke the gritty bonhomie of Dixieland New Orleans.

    GARDEN ROUTE - WESTERN CAPE

    The celebrated Garden Route winds its 200km coastal way from Storms River Mouth in the north to Mossel Bay in the south. It passes, in turn, through the spectacular gorge of Storms River, verdant Tsitsikamma forest, the blissful retirement enclave of Nature's Valley, the holiday idyll of Plettenberg Bay, and, finally, gentrified Knysna - last stop on the way to Mossel Bay.

    The drive is well serviced with restaurants and farm stalls that cry out for you to break your journey, and is best done over a few days. There are ample opportunities for hiking, canoeing and camping along the way, and with numerous small fishing villages to explore, this is certainly a part of the country that richly rewards a flexible agenda.

    Between Knysna and George a road leads north to Oudtshoorn, promoted as the ostrich capital of the world. Thrill seeking tourists can even ride one of the bizarre animals, a unique and hair-raising experience. The nearby Cango Caves is one of South Africa's top tourist draws and has been since 1780 when a local farmer discovered the expansive complex of calcite columns and otherworldly rock formations. The complete complex extends several kilometres into the mountains, although only a portion is open to casual tourists. More extensive guided tours can be undertaken by the daring - and reasonably fit. Cango Cave Tours from: ZAR48, adults; ZAR26, children. Tel: +27 (0)44-272-7410.

    ROBBEN ISLAND - WESTERN CAPE

    Nelson Mandela was jailed in this political prison for 27 years before emerging to lead his country into an inclusive democracy. The institutional brutality of the prison environment is in striking counterpoint to the manifest humanity and compassion fostered in Mandela during his incarceration.

    Recently declared a UNESCO World Heritage site, the island was first used as a prison in the 15th century and later as a 19th-century leper colony and mental asylum. Today a tour of the island takes in Mandela's cell and the labour mines, and is led by original inmates who share their stories and answer questions.

    You reach the island by leaving the Cape Town Waterfront by ferry. Tickets are available at the pier. Tel: +27 (0)21-419-1300.

    WHALE WATCHING - CAPE PROVINCE

    The Cape offers some of the world's best land venues for watching whales. The shamelessly exhibitionistic southern right whales frolic and play only metres from the shore, allowing onlookers unforgettable views. You are literally close enough to see the barnacles on their backs.

    Two popular venues are Hermanus, near Cape Town and known for the eccentric rams-horn toting whale crier, and De Hoop Nature Reserve, about 50km further up the East Coast. De Hoop is well worth a few nights' stay and is an excellent cycling venue; book by calling Tel: +27 (0)28-425 5020.

    KIMBERLEY - NORTHERN CAPE

    Although somewhat off the beaten track for most visitors, Kimberley is a historically rich town in the middle of nowhere that for a brief time in the 1880s felt like the centre of the world.

    The original tiny village was transformed when a local lad accidentally discovered an 83.5 carat diamond on a small hill. Within two months there were 30,000 men digging in an area measuring just 300m by 200m. Their combined labours created the largest man-dug hole in the world at 215m deep.

    Nearly 3,000kg of diamonds were mined here; all of them obtained by hand. Today the town is an open-air museum to South Africa's very own "Wild West". Kimberley's progenitor, the 83.5 carat "Star of Africa", is today part of the Crown Jewels of Great Britain.

    DOS AND DON'TS

    • In spite of South Africa's highly diverse political and social background, there are few crucial social conventions beyond observing good manners and courtesy.
    • Perhaps as nowhere else on earth, South Africans are highly sensitised to issues of race and have little tolerance for jokes or judgmental remarks regarding apartheid or the country's social history.
    • Don't let negative expectations get in your way of appreciating people and places for what they are. There are some criminals around but mostly people will be friendly and helpful. Take the chance of talking to the locals, and don't be too suspicious of being invited into people's homes - genuine hospitality is the norm rather than the exception.
    • That said, listen to local advice about where not to go; some areas are dangerous and you should avoid them entirely.
    • When driving, adopt a defensive, non-aggressive attitude as road-rage is a prevalent phenomenon.
    • When parking, lock your car and do not leave any tempting possessions in view. You are likely to be approached by a parking attendant who will offer to guard your car for you. Accept the offer and pay ZAR5 on your return.
    • Do not buy or use any drugs; penalties for possession are severe.
    • If you are subjected to a mugging or robbery, do give the assailant exactly what he wants and don't offer any resistance.
    • It may seem obvious but don't make yourself a target for crime by wearing expensive jewellery or by leaving possessions in a locked car.
    • Tipping is expected; 15% should suffice.
    • Smoking is widely tolerated although recent legislation forbids lighting up in public places or restaurants.

    GEOGRAPHY

    One of South Africa's main attractions is its tremendous geographical diversity, ranging from the floral splendour of the Southern Cape, to the arid, denuded landscape of the Karoo; from the towering giants of the Drakensberg to the golden beaches running the length of the country's coastline. 

    South Africa, the size of Spain and France combined, occupies the southern tip of Africa and is bordered by Namibia, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Swaziland, and Mozambique. The independent state of Lesotho is completely landlocked within the larger nation. 

    The country is divided into nine provinces: Gauteng, the wealthiest, is located centrally but slightly to the west. The region is home to Pretoria, the attractive administrative capital of South Africa, Johannesburg, the country's bustling economic centre, and Soweto, the sprawling township where Johannesburg's non-white residents were segregated during the years of apartheid. 

    Mpumalanga and Northern Province are together home to the famous Kruger Park, as well as private game farms, which for many people epitomise the South African experience. The Limpopo River forms the northern boundary and marks the border with Zimbabwe. 

    Kwa-Zulu Natal, in the Southeast has fantastic beaches along its coastline and enjoys subtropical weather. The Eastern Cape, forming the eastern part of the tip of the continent, offers an understated, unspoiled frontier quality. Its neighbouring province to the west is the 
    Western Cape which has much to offer visitors: the Garden Route, Cape Town, the winelands, hot beaches and a cool climate make it one of the most popular regions for visitors. 

    The Free State is famous for its farming, gold mines and Afrikaaner nationalism. The Northwest and Northern Cape (the largest of the provinces) between them have few tourist attractions apart from nature reserves and an awesome sense of empty space.

    WHEN TO GO

    South Africa is a year-round destination with an ideal climate: summers are hot and the winters, for the most part, absurdly mild. 

    The size of the country and the substantial variations in altitude mean that climatic conditions vary throughout.

    In the Johannesburg area, 2000m above sea level, summers are hot with showers, and the winters dry and chilly. Along the subtropical Kwa-Zulu Natal coast, summers are hot and humid with mild winters. Cape Town has a Mediterranean climate with rainfall during the winter and long, mellow summer days. 

    The following chart provides average rainfall measured in millimetres, and average temperature in degrees Centigrade for Johannesburg in the North, and Cape Town in the South. The climate and rainfall varies considerably between the two.

    TRANSPORT

    South Africa is a year-round destination with an ideal climate: summers are hot and the winters, for the most part, absurdly mild.

    The size of the country and the substantial variations in altitude mean that climatic conditions vary throughout.

    In the Johannesburg area, 2000m above sea level, summers are hot with showers, and the winters dry and chilly. Along the subtropical Kwa-Zulu Natal coast, summers are hot and humid with mild winters. Cape Town has a Mediterranean climate with rainfall during the winter and long, mellow summer days.

    The following chart provides average rainfall measured in millimetres, and average temperature in degrees Centigrade for Johannesburg in the North, and Cape Town in the South. The climate and rainfall varies considerably between the two.

    by Train

    South Africa has a functional though idiosyncratic national rail service that covers all the expected routes between major cities. There is no underground or tram system operating in any South African city.

    Spoornet is the national railway company, running intercity passenger services under its Shosholoza Meyl banner. Routes run between all major cities in the country. Call Tel: +27 (0)11-774-4555 or Tel: 086-000-8888 (toll-free from within the country) for passenger service information and reservations. 

    On long-distance trains pay careful attention to the class of ticket you buy. While first class gets you a sleeping berth complete with the sporadic attentions of a cabin attendant, third class will buy you a fairly rough ride in cramped conditions. The latter option at least guarantees an authentic and interesting encounter with the average South African citizen but there are legitimate safety concerns. 

    The celebrated Blue Train (Tel: +27 (0)12-334-8459) elevates the ordinary train journey into an epic of luxury and mobile indulgence. The full route covers two legs: Cape Town - Pretoria, and Pretoria - Victoria Falls (in Zimbabwe to the north). You can also take shorter journeys from Pretoria to Hoedspruit through the Valley of the Olifants, or Cape Town to Port Elizabeth, which passes through part of the Garden Route.

    Along similar lines is Rovos Rail (Tel: +27 (0)21-421-4020) which offers a sumptuous journey from Cape Town to Pretoria and beyond, or you can do The Garden Route in luxury period style aboard The Union Limited's authentic steam train.

    by Bus

    South Africa's major coach companies Greyhound, Intercape and Translux offer reliable and affordable intercity transport. Note that South Africa's size makes for long journeys - e.g. 20hrs between Cape Town and Johannesburg.

    The Greyhound Travel Pass is good value at ZAR1400 for 7 days' unlimited travel within a 30-day period. Fifteen days unlimited travel in 30 days costs ZAR2700. Passes can be bought at any Greyhound office, bus terminus or travel agent within South Africa.

    Baz Bus and Hopper Bus offer hop-on/hop-off systems along various routes including the popular Cape Town to Durban stretch which passes through the Garden Route. Although marketed at young travellers, the service is good value and flexible enough for all. All tickets can be booked through Computicket, the national booking service; call the nationwide information line on Tel: 083-915-8000 (from within the country) or the Johannesburg office, Tel: +27 (0)11-340-8000.

    by Car

    Driving is a good option given the long distances between major cities. The road conditions in South Africa are generally very good. Be aware that many rural roads are not fenced off so animals can stray freely run into the road. It is obviously best to avoid such roads at night. Although petrol prices have risen sharply over the last few years, fuel is still relatively cheap by European standards. Car rental companies operate in all major cities, airports and at the Kruger National Park. Car rental can be expensive and it is best to pre-book with a travel agent before departure. All the major rental companies are represented within major cities and international airports in the country.

    Points to consider:

    • The minimum driving age in South Africa is 18 years. 
    • If you wish to hire a car, however, the minimum age is 23 years and you must have held a valid licence for 5 years. 
    • A valid national driving licence is fine if it is written in English and has a photo. 
    • If not in English you will need to obtain an International Driving Licence before you are able to drive in South Africa. 
    • Driving is on the left-hand side of the road. 
    • The speed limit is 120km per hour (75mph) on open roads, 100km per hour (62mph) on smaller roads and 60-80km per hour (37-50mph) in urban areas. 
    • It is compulsory to wear seat belts. 
    • There are a number of toll roads in South Africa. Tolls can be paid by credit card - Visa or MasterCard. Be aware that credit cards are not accepted at petrol stations and you must pay for fuel with cash. 
    • AA Emergency Rescue Service Number: Tel: 083-843-22 (24 hours a day, seven days a week). 
    • A word of warning: South Africa has its fair share of drunk, unlicensed and generally reckless drivers. Defensive driving is advisable. 
    • An alternative to self-drive is the "minibus" taxi, a 10-seater vehicle that amazingly fits up to 16 people over journeys that range from short distances within a city to the long haul between Cape Town and Johannesburg. The industry is largely unregulated, and minibuses can be regrettably unsafe, meaning you travel at your own risk. 
    • If you are doing a short hop between cities, a minibus journey will ensure an interesting and largely positive experience. Minibuses indicate their destination with a sign in the front window; get one to pull over by pointing at the ground with your index finger. 
    • Private hire taxis in cities or over longer distances will charge between ZAR8 per km. You are heavily advised to only use taxis clearly identified as such by their roof light and door markings. 

    The following table provides approximate driving distances between selected cities. Kilometres in the lower left of the table, miles in the upper right.

    City Joh Pre Sun Kru Dur Eas Por Mos Her Cpt
    Johannesburg   36 103 312 374 620 664 771 903 875
    Pretoria 58   67 276 410 656 699 807 941 913
    Sun City 165 107   343 764 716 775 894 1003 975
    Kruger Park 500 442 549   425 846 984 1103 1219 1188
    Durban 598 656 743 680   421 579 816 1071 1037
    East London 992 1050 1145 1354 674   188 435 662 651
    Port Elizabeth 1062 1119 1240 1575 927 300   246 456 472
    Mossel Bay 1234 1292 1430 1765 1306 696 396   221 246
    Hermanus 1445 1505 1605 1950 1713 1059 729 354   31
    Cape Town 1400 1460 1560 1900 1660 1042 756 394 50  

    by Air

    Flying is a safe and reliable way to cover South Africa's long distances. 

    International visitors will usually arrive at either Johannesburg International (Tel: +27 (0)11-921-6262) or Cape Town International (Tel: +27 (0)21-937-1200) airports. There are domestic terminals in Durban, Port Elizabeth, East London and Bloemfontein, among others. For flight information Tel: 086-727-7888 within SA. 

    A recent entry into the domestic airline market is Kulula, (Tel: 0861-585-852 within SA) which offers budget flights between Johannesburg and Cape Town. A one-way ticket starts at around ZAR450. 

    The international departure tax of ZAR180 is usually included in ticket prices. There is a lower level of tax (ZAR60) for flights to elsewhere in Africa and a token ZAR35 for domestic flights. Again, these taxes should be included in your fare.

    by Boat

    There are no regular internal ferry services in the country beyond the tourist crossings between Cape Town and Robben Island.

    SHOPPING

    South Africa's dynamic mix of cultures and favourable exchange rate makes for a rewarding shopping experience. Although you will find luxury consumer goods and electronics in all major cities, it is unlikely that you will end up shopping for products you can readily buy at home.

    WHAT TO BUY

    The most popular souvenirs are African masks or stone carvings, most of which comes from other African countries like Malawi or Zimbabwe. As you might expect with a country so rich in diamonds, gold and platinum, South Africa is an excellent place to buy jewellery or have custom pieces designed and made.

    Wine is another good bet, particularly since case lots are tax exempt for export and most wine estates will deliver purchases to your home.

    In Cape Town head for Greenmarket Square (in the middle of town) where there is a daily bustling flea market selling everything from authentic African curios to djembe drums and clothing of every description. The market has a wonderful ambience created by the easy mixing of people and the skilled buskers. The Waterfront has a high-quality craft market serving as a counterpoint to the main shopping mall. For books, go to Long Street where you will find rare first editions, secondhand novels, and various specialist shops focussing on obscure Africana. For wine, rent a car, designate a driver and head for a wine route: choose between the Stellenbosch or Paarl wineroutes, about 50km out of town, or the Constantia wine route, only a 15 minute drive from the city centre. Wine can be bought by the case and sent directly to your home address.

    In Durban, home to South Africa's Zulu population, you will find numerous street vendors and shops selling Zulu crafts: look out for high quality beadwork, woodcarvings and sandals made from car tyres. The Pavilion is an enormous mall that bills itself as an experience rather than a shopping venue; with over a million visitors a month it is more popular than the beach. Get there by travelling 15km north on the M3 towards Pietermaritzburg. 

    Johannesburg is home to an extraordinary number of malls each containing cinemas, restaurants, supermarkets and upmarket shops. They are a useful resource but a barren cultural experience for the overseas visitor. More fun and more South African are the thriving flea markets: try Bruma Lake for variety and the Market Theatre for character.

    OPENING HOURS

    Shops are typically open from 09h00-18h00 Mon-Sat. In large shopping malls opening hours are often extended until 21h00.

    TAX REFUND

    VAT is levied on most goods and services including hotel accommodation, goods and transport. The VAT rate is 14%. On departure from South Africa, tourists can apply for a tax refund at their point of international departure. The minimum purchase to qualify for a refund is ZAR250.

    To reclaim tax you need to have the original tax invoice, VAT refund control sheet and your passport. You will also need to present the goods for which the refund is being claimed to the customs officials.

    FOOD

    South African cuisine is an earthy combination of African, European, Indian and Malay influences, perhaps best articulating the country's rich and complex history. That said, restaurants that serve "traditional cuisine" are a bit thin on the ground and you are more likely to find international restaurants in the large cities.

    Classic South African dishes exhibit a blend of flavours drawing inspiration from the various nationalities that have infused their character into the food:

    Italian prisoners of war, brought to South Africa as labourers, contributed pasta; 

    Malay slaves brought spices, and contributed the national dish bobotie; 

    Indian sugar cane workers brought curry and spice and all things nice;

    Chinese railway workers brought Szechuan cuisine; 

    English settlers brought roast beef on a summer's day; and the 

    Portuguese contributed very very peri-peri (most famously incorporated into Nando's chicken). 
    With extensive Indian and Atlantic Ocean coastline visitors should make the most of the wonderful seafood on offer. Popular linefish include hake, yellow-tail, sea bass, tuna, and mackerel. Shell fish are another delicacy - don't miss out on lobster, crayfish, oysters and mussels, and abalone when it's available. 

    Fresh fruit is another treat. Each region has its own specialities and prices are absurdly low. Try prickly pears and mangoes in the north of the country, pineapples and bananas from the eastern cape, apples and grapes from the western cape and wonderful citrus fruits wherever you go. 

    SPECIALITIES

    Here is our inventory of those dishes, drinks and cooking techniques that are peculiarly South African, if not downright peculiar:

    Braaivleis: The "braai" is a barbecue that has become an expression of culture, and perhaps even a unifying device across the race barrier. It is the one occasion where men are interested in food preparation, and Afrikaaners particularly take the associated arcane rituals very seriously. Most suburban houses have a dedicated braai area in the garden. 

    Vetkoek: A divine road to cholesterol: deep-fried twists of cornflour saturated with syrup. 

    Melktert: A definitively Afrikaans dessert tart made of set milky custard flavoured with nutmeg. 

    Bobotie: If South Africa has a national dish it is probably this delicious Malay-influenced curried-mince dish. 

    Samoosas: A small triangular pastry of Indian origin containing curried vegetables and/or meat. Best sourced from Durban, the Malay quarter of Cape Town, or the Oriental Plaza in Johannesburg.

    Chutney: Fruity and spicy relish. 

    Rooibos: A herbal tea made from a red bush; has reputed health enhancing properties to compensate for its distinctive taste. Very popular, a source of patriotic pride, and a valuable export product to Asian markets. 

    Biltong: Salted, spiced and dried meat, sold either sliced or in strips; perfect as an appetizer or general snack. The vegetarian equivalent - dried fruit - is an energising snack food that reliably generates flatulence.

    Poetjie: Another Afrikaans cooking technique reflecting their history as pioneers and frontier farmers. The idea is to put any ingredients to hand into a metal pot, which is then surrounded by hot coals for several hours. This often results in a Bredie - a bit like a tomato stew. 

    Boerewors: Spicy sausage much prized by connoisseurs. The staple of braaivleis. In its dried form it is sold as "droewors". 
    Mieliepap: A staple of African dishes, this is a delicious and nourishing mielie meal porridge. The most popular brand is the vitamin enriched "Iwisa." Pap has long been the staple food of southern Africa, and can be eaten at all times of day.

    Mashonzha: Mopani worms, cooked with chilli or paprika and served with peanuts. Delicious, nutritious and an authentic taste of traditional Africa.

    Bunniechow: Ubiquitous Indian takeaway meal consisting of a hollowed-out half-loaf of bread filled with curried beans, chicken, sardines, or anything that comes to hand. 

    Sosaties: Kebab-like skewered meat, often with rings of fruit or vegetables. 

    Peri-peri: A spicy Portuguese flavouring most usually found on chicken and now exported by famous local restaurant chain - Nando's Chicken. 

    DRINK

    South Africa is best known for its wine, which is enjoying something of a revival in Europe and the Far East after a period of indifferent reviews. The best way to taste and buy wine is to visit one of the many wine farms in the Western Cape. Given that you may want to visit several farms in the area, and engage in unrestrained tasting, you should take an organised round tour from Cape Town.

    Cape vineyards have a good reputation for full-bodied Cabernets, and musky Merlots, while Chardonnays and Rieslings are popular white wine grape varieties.

    Beer is widely consumed, across all social and racial barriers. South African Breweries (SAB) dominates 96% of the beer market with their stable of bottled lagers. Cheap and ubiquitous, lagers such as "Castle", "Amstel" and "Black Label" sell enormous quantities at the expense of the independent brewers such as Forrester's (from Knysna; makers of honey-flavoured ales) and Windhoek (from Namibia; makers of the increasingly popular Windhoek lager). Other drinks you can try include: 

    Witblitz: Translates into "white lightning" which should suggest some of its ferocious alcoholic properties; also known as "mampoer" and even "benzene" to wary victims. 

    Umqombothi: A home brewed sorghum beer that is very rich in vitamin B. 

    Amarula: A creamed whisky liqueur in the style of Baileys Irish Cream. Made from the fruit of the indigenous Marula tree. Elephants adore the Marula berries and have been known to become intoxicated after feasting excessively upon them. 

    CURRENCY

    Currency: South African Rand (ZAR). ZAR1 = 100 cents.

    Notes: ZAR10, 20, 50, 100 and 200

    Coins: ZAR1, 5, 10 and 1, 2, 5, 10, 20, 50 cents

    Credit cards: All major credit cards are accepted in most shops, hotels and restaurants.

    EXCHANGE

    You can use ATMs to withdraw local currency direct from your bank account although you may be charged for doing so per transaction. 

    Traveller's cheques in major currencies are easy to change in banks, hotels and bureaux de change although there will be a conversion charge. Hotels usually give the least favourable rate and should only be used in emergencies.

    The flattering exchange rate to other major international currencies makes South Africa good value for visitors, and guarantees an inexhaustible topic of conversation while you're there. 

    COSTS

    Below are approximate costs for the following items:

    Bottle of beer ZAR15
    Bottle of wine (restaurant) ZAR70
    Litre of petrol ZAR7
    Can of Coke ZAR6
    Mineral water (litre) ZAR10
    Packet of cigarettes ZAR20

    SERVICE CHARGES

    It is customary to tip waiters, taxi drivers and porters. In restaurants leave a tip of about 10% of the total bill, depending on the service you received. At serviced petrol stations you should offer a small tip to pump attendants if they have cleaned your windows and suchlike.

    VACCINATIONS

    Visitors to Kruger Park and game farms in the Northern Province and Mpumalanga should use anti-malarials and mosquito repellent to minimise the risk of contracting the disease.

    HEALTH CONCERNS

    Tap water is generally safe to drink throughout South Africa. In rural areas, however, you are advised not to drink tap water and wash fresh fruit before eating. 
    Medical facilities are generally excellent; certainly the best in Africa.

    South Africa's massively diverse socio-economic structure means that you will encounter varying standards in hygiene and food cleanliness. In the cities expect high standards, in rural areas you are advised to take more care not to eat raw foods, including unpeeled fruit and salads. 

    You are strongly recommended to take out travel insurance which covers medical costs and repatriation with your home country in case of an emergency. 

    PERSONAL SAFETY

    So, how bad is the crime? This concern is cited as the biggest deterrent to tourist growth in South Africa. The reality is that robberies and violent crime do occur, particularly in Gauteng and the Transkei, although high profile press coverage has over-emphasised the risks. Assuming you observe basic caution, and avoid danger areas (ask at you hotel for places to steer clear of), your safety is as assured here as anywhere else in the world. 

    The most common kind of crime against tourists is petty theft and pickpocketing. Use the normal precautions and keep your possessions secure at all times. Only carry as much cash with you as you will need for that day. When seated at outdoor cafés keep your eyes on your bag. Never leave it on the back of your chair or on the floor behind you. If walking around at night don't walk in isolated, dark areas. It is best to keep to the well-lit busy parts of town. Plan your route before you go so you know where you are heading.

    In hotels, never leave your bags unattended; even lobbies are targeted by thieves. Leave valuables, spare money and traveller's cheques in a hotel safety deposit box.

    If renting a car don't leave valuable possessions inside in view when the vehicle is unattended. Always lock the doors and ensure you haven't left windows open. 

    PHRASEBOOK

    With 11 official languages, a concise introductory guide is not possible.

    English is widely spoken though, and it is the official administrative language. 
    In many areas, African languages such as Zulu and Xhosa predominate and little English is used. 

    In the Western Cape however you will find Afrikaans as the main language. It is ironic that a language such as Afrikaans - widely predicted to die out - remains the most widely spoken in South Africa. 

    Below are some sample phrases in the four main languages:

    Hello Goei more Sawubona Molo
    Good-bye Tot siens Hamba kahle Hamba kakuhle
    Yes/No Ja/Nee Yebo/Cha Ewe/Xha
    Thank you Dankie Ngiyabonga Enkosi
    Please Asseblief Ngicela Ndicela
    My name is... My naam is... Igama lam ngu... Gam lam ngu...

    Insurance

    Inquiry

    Information

    • 2609, W. Devon Avenue, Chicago, IL 60659
    • info@airtoursinc.com
    • 1-773-764-4544 / 6928 / 6929
    • 1-773-409-5550

    Working Hours

    • Monday to Friday: 09:30 AM to 06:00 PM
    • Saturday: 10:00 AM to 02:00 PM
    • Sunday: Closed

    Book Now