Exotic South America (Tour Code: ATSA)

10 Nights / 11 Days

Itinerary

Rio De Janeiro

Embark on your exciting discovery of South America as you arrive at Rio De Janeiro airport, where you will be meet by your Tour Manager in the arrival’s area. You will be transfer to the restaurant for lunch. Lunch at local restaurant.

Rio de Janeiro is rich in cultural diversity, with numerous cultural centers, museums of diverse interests, many themed bookstores and excellent libraries. Many of these places are installed in secular buildings of great historical value, which have marked part of the country's history. We will start our tour of the Cultural Heritage of Unesco, the church of São Bento, we will continue our tour through the XV square, Arcos do Teles, Banco do Brasil Cultural Center, post office, Fine Arts Museum and finalize our tour in the newest Complex of the city, The Boulevard Olimpico, our guide will take you to explore the historic Mauá Square and its charms, strolling past the Mauá Pier, Rio Museum of Art, Museum of the Morning, where we will visit this splendor futuristic museum (Ticket included).

Dinner buffet at an Indian restaurant.

Overnight in Rio De Janeiro at Americas Copacabana Hotel or similar (LL,D)

Full day visit to Corcovado, Tijuca Forest and Botanical Gardens.

Enjoy buffet breakfast in your hotel. Departure from the hotel in 4x4 Jeep (opened military style jeeps) for an exciting tour passing the famous Copacabana and Ipanema beaches, through the heart of the exuberant Tijuca Forest, the largest urban forest in the world. First stop will be at Vista Chinesa "Chinese View" a lookout that has a pagoda-like gazebo. Further up and already entering the Tijuca forest national park, passing by the Açude da Solidão which is a secondary entrance to the forest passing by to the Emperor´s Table. Returning to the jeeps, another stop now at the famous Tijuca Waterfall, Cascatinha falls. No-one will believe that they are in the middle of a "jungle" in Rio de Janeiro! Then transfer until the Paineiras station where you will board on the van with 10 seats to go up to the Statue of Christ – the Redeemer on the summit of Corcovado Mountain. You have some free time to enjoy the view and take photos.

Return to Paineiras in vans and embark in the jeeps.

Lunch at local restaurant.

After lunch, now in a minibus, visit the Botanical Garden which is 137 hectares and has vegetation similar to the Atlantic Forest. The arboretum, to which the visitors have access, counts 54 hectares. With 7200 species of plants classified, including roughly 5500 trees and shrubs, it is considered one of the most important botanical gardens in the world. The first greenhouse at the Rio de Janeiro Botanical Gardens was built in 1890. It was made out of wood and shaped as an octagon. In the 1930's, the greenhouse was remodeled in glass and iron, similar to the style of the English glasshouses. Today the Orchidarium includes the glasshouse and the whole area that surrounds it, with a nursery with over 3000 orchid vases.

Dinner buffet at an Indian restaurant.
Overnight in Rio de Janeiro at Americas Copacabana Hotel or similar. (B,L,D)

Visit Sugar Loaf Mountain. Enjoy the Ginga Tropical Show!.

Enjoy breakfast in your hotel, after which you head out toe Sugar Loaf Mountain - Via the Aterro do Flamengo, you will be taken to the neighborhood of Urca where one of the largest symbols of the city is located: Sugar Loaf. You will travel all the way to the top in two steps by cable car. The first cable car takes us to Urca Hill, a vantage points 215 meters high for which already grants beautiful views of Guanabara Bay and its islands, the Rio-Niterói Bridge and Corcovado Mountain. From this stage, a second cable car takes us up to the top. At 395 meters we will enjoy splendid views of Copacabana beach, the Santa Cruz fortress and several beaches of Niterói.

This evening, enjoy an Indian dinner and then head out for the Ginga Tropical Show. You will be picked up from the hotel. First you will enjoy a delicious dinner at Indian restaurant and then attend a show with the colorful and rich Brazilian culture, which will bring different expressions of their traditions and artistic manifestations together on stage. You will know each region of Brazil through its music, dances, colors and charm: the "Ziriguidum", the Northeast, the Amazon, the Pampa with its folklore, besides Bahia with its Capoeira and its mystical rituals; Rio de Janeiro with its incomparable Lapa Bohemia, its dance halls and the performance of the legendary Tricksters. It will culminate with the luxurious Carnival, with fantastic drummers and beautiful Mulatas.

*The show is only available on Tuesdays, Thursdays, Friday and Saturdays *

Overnight in Rio de Janeiro at Americas Copacabana Hotel or similar. (B,LL,D)

Onto Iguassu

After breakfast, check out and transfer to the airport for your flight to Iguassu (flight cost not included) On arrival at the Foz Do Iguassu airport, proceed on a guided tour of the Brazilian Falls.

Brazilian Falls Tour - Duration: 5 hrs approx. Located on the west end of the Paraná river, the Iguassu Park is a huge tropical rainforest which has been declared a World Heritage Site: it is one of the largest forest reserves in South America. Countless flora and fauna species live in it. We will take an elevator down to the base of the waterfalls and stop right above the river level. From a 1,000-meter footbridge, we will be able to admire the majestic Iguassu Falls or go up an elevator to the Salto Floreano viewpoint. Enjoy a local lunch. Proceed to your hotel for check in.

Enjoy a local dinner tonight
Overnight in Iguassu at the Mercure Iguassu or similar. (B,LL,LD)

Argentinean Falls tour and Big Adventure navigation

After breakfast in your hotel, proceed on a full day tour of the Argentinean side of the Iguassu Falls. Duration: 6-7 hs approx. - Iguassu National Park a total of 55,500 hectares— bears the name of the river serving as northern border, which means "great waters" in the guaraní language. Surrounded by a lush subtropical rainforest, we will find the majestic Iguazú Waterfalls. Its water volume and more than 275 falls places it among the most important and spectacular waterfalls in the world. On different footbridges, we will visit the heart of the waterfalls, appreciating them from different angles. We will visit the lower circuit, and feel part of nature, refreshing ourselves with waterfall drizzle. On the upper circuit, we will stop at different viewpoints, and then reach the balcony at Garganta del Diablo (Devil's Throat). No doubt, this is the most amazing of all falls: water falls down from 80 meters. BIG ADVENTURE NAVIGATION A tour that combines rainforest and waterfalls. We will drive trucks into the vast wild vegetation joined by experimented guides. We will get off at the pier and board a boat to sail the Iguassu Inferior river canyon, rafting the river rapids to appreciate falls from the San Martín island peaceful backwater. Then we will visit the TresMosqueteros (Three Musketeers) fall, and Garganta del Diablo (Devil's Throat) will crown the tour. Sailing the coast of the island, we will get to the next exciting point: the San Martín fall, the greatest a boat can approach. Lunch will be at a local restaurant

Enjoy a local dinner tonight.
Overnight in Iguassu at the Mercure Iguassu or similar. (B,LL,LD)

Iguassu - Buenos Aires – the Paris of South America!! Enjoy a guided city tour followed by a Tango Show

After a buffet breakfast, check out and transfer to the airport for your flight to Buenos Aires (flight cost not included). On arrival, proceed on a guided tour of the city including Palermo - Plaza de Mayo - Puerto Madero - San Telmo - La Boca among other tourist attractions.On an unforgettable route, we will live all the porteño magic. These few hours feature all the magic of Argentina"s capital city. In this most complete overview of the Paris of South America we will visit the glamorous neighborhoods of Recoleta and its most famous cemetery, Palermo, May Square and the Pink House, the Metropolitan Cathedral, the newest & trendiest Puerto Madero Area and many other emblematic buildings and palaces of unique architectural, historical, and cultural value. The visit would not be complete without the sights of the first settlements of the city of Buenos Aires. The pintoresque neighborhood of San Telmo, residence to the porteño aristocracy until the end of the XIX century and where the renowned antiques market is held every Sunday; Caminito Street, in the colorful, Italian immigrants neighborhood of La Boca. Lunch will be taken at a traditional Argentinean restaurant on our way.

Later this evening, enjoy a traditional Tango Show with dinner. Tango Porteño is a unique place. The building used to be the Metro movie house, owned by the Metro Goldwyn Meyer company, a few steps from the Obelisco, in the heart of Buenos Aires. Now, the place is totally transformed into a tastefully decorated room where a refined tango show magically recreates the history of this musical genre, paired with international cuisine, honoring the golden days of classic Buenos Aires.

Overnight in Buenos Aires at the American Buenos Aires Park Hotel or similar. (B, LL, LD)

Tigre Delta navigation

Enjoy a buffet breakfast in your hotel and the highlights of today’s tour will be the San Isidro Cathedral - Tigre Navigation. This tour will offer the passengers a different way to explore and enjoy the nature, very close to the city. On the way north to Tigre, which is about 30 km away from Buenos Aires, and one of the biggest Deltas in the world, you will go through one of the most beautiful accesses downtown, passing by residential suburban neighbourhoods with their calm narrow roads, Yacht clubs, and mansions. Departing from Tigre`s pier, on board of a typical island launch, the green labyrinth of channels and streams will open its doors to let you explore the nature of its islands, enjoying the views of beautiful riverside villas, Victorian docks, English gardens, and traditional rowing and boating clubs. For more than 100 years, the maze of rivers and channels of the Tigre Delta have been a favourite weekend gateway for "porteños". During this relaxing off-site, you will leave the bustling city behind and enter a world that has changed little since the 1920s. Local lunch at typical restaurant.

Enjoy dinner at an Indian restaurant
Overnight in Buenos Aires at the American Buenos Aires Park Hotel or similar. (B,L,D)

Buenos Aires, Lima. Enjoy a guided city tour

Buffet breakfast in the hotel, check out and transfer to the airport for your flight to Lima (flight cost not included). On arrival, proceed to enjoy a delicious lunch at a local restaurant, before heading for a city tour of Lima. Visit downtown in the “City of the Kings”, the most important American city during colonial times. Take a walk around the Main Square, where you can find Presidential Palace, the Cathedral, the Archbishop’s Palace and Metropolitan City Hall, beautiful buildings full of history and tradition. Then, discover the San Francisco Monastery, one of the most spectacular churches of colonial Lima. Visit its catacombs and a very fine museum of religious art from the XVII century. The tour goes all the way to the modern district of San Isidro, where you will appreciate HuacaHuallamarca, a pre Incan pyramid made out of adobe, and finish in the touristic district of Miraflores, where you will observe the Pacific Ocean coast from the vast seafront.

Dinner at local Indian restaurant.
Overnight in Lima at Jose Antonio Deluxe Hotel or similar. (B,LL,D)

Lima, Cusco– Enjoy a guided city and archeological tour of Cusco

After breakfast, transfer to the airport for your flight to Cusco (flight cost not included). On arrival, proceed for a delicious local lunch. Head out for a guided city and archeological tour of Cusco. Visit to the city of Cusco, also called the Imperial City, and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The excursion starts at Koricancha temple, an ancient Inca palace and centre of worship of the sun god, on the site of which the Dominicans ordered a church to be built, which survives to this day. Then to the Main Square, where you will visit the cathedral, the most important religious building in the city. The climb continues to Sacsayhuaman fortress, an impressive example of Inca military architecture. Then to Kenko, where the sun, moon and stars were worshipped. Next: a visit to Puca-Pucara, which may have been a “tambo” or rest and lodging place for the Inca. Finally, you will visit the Inka’s Expression art workshop, where you will appreciate how different Peruvian natural products are used (such as plants, fruits, vegetables among others) and you will discover their nutritional, curative and cosmetic properties.

Enjoy a delicious dinner at Indian restaurant
Overnight in Cusco at Hilton Garden Inn Cusco or similar (B,LL,D)

Machu Picchu by Vista dome Train

Buffet breakfast in your hotel. At the scheduled time, you will be transferred from Cusco to the Ollantaytambo station to visit one of the most important tourist destinations in the world: Machu Picchu. The excursion starts with a train trip to the town of AguasCalientes, also known as Machu Picchu Pueblo. The natural beauty of the surroundings makes the train the best way to start your visit. When you arrive, you will start the ascent to the ruins, which will without a doubt be one of your most unforgettable experiences. At Machu Picchu you can see one of the Seven Modern Wonders of the World and take some impressive photos. Then it is back down to AguasCalientes for lunch in a local restaurant. Finally, you board the train for the return journey and transfer to your hotel

Dinner at the hotel
Overnight in Cusco at Hilton Garden Inn Cusco or similar (B,LL,LD)

Farewell!!!

After a buffet breakfast, you will check out and transfer to the airport for your flight back home, or why not consider an extension to Santiago De Chile! (B)

Tour Cost & Date

Land Cost
Per Person on Twin Sharing $3,850
Single Supplement $625

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
    October
    06
    November
    17

    NOTE

    • Tour starts in Rio De Janeiro 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 Chile (Santiago) 2019-2020 (02 Nights / 03 Days)

    (Tour Code: ATSAC)

    Itinerary

    Santiago (D)

    Arrival and transfer to hotel in Santiago

    Santiago de Chile was founded in 1541 by the Spanish conquistador Pedro de Valdivia, who was sent by the conqueror of the Incas, Pizarro, to establish a new capital in the Spanish empire of rapid growth in the New World. Much of the central design designed by master builder Pedro de Gamboa remains to this day. The city of Santiago is the perfect mix between the old colonial style and modern architecture, characteristics that make the city one of the most interesting in South America.

    Tonight enjoy an Indian Dinner
    Overnight at hotel Plaza San Francisco or similar in Santiago de Chile

    Santiago – Viña del Mar-Valparaiso – Santiago (B-LL-LD)

    Breakfast at hotel

    Full day excursion to Viña del Mar and Valparaiso

    Your tour will depart from Santia go to the coast line located 120 kilometers of Santiago,passing through the fertile “Curacaví and Casablanca Valleys”, its vineyards, fruit plantations and forest reserves. During the route, you will visit two important cities,“Viña del Mar”,the main resort of Chile and “Valparaíso”,a port city founded in the XVI century and declared“World heritage by UNESCO”.

    The promenade includes a panoramic tour by the emblematic places of Val par also, such as“National Congress”, “O’Higgins Park”,“Italia Park”,“Victoria Square”,“So to may or Square”and“Prat”dock located in the same port. You will then walk through the wonderful view points “Atkinson” and “Gervasoni”located in the most important hills of Valparaíso, “Cerro Alegre” and “Cerro Concepción”.Also,you will use its old and picturesque cable cars, which are still connecting this city.

    You will then enjoy a delicious lunch

    Then you will continue this beautiful route in front of the sea to arrive at the city of Viña del Mar, which is very well-known as the“Garden City”,fine,sophisticated and inspired about the French Riviera. You will then walk past the picturesque“Flower Clock”and go through the“Peru Avenue”with its traditional“Casino” and fine “Hotel Del Mar”, which is the first of Chile, founded in 1930. Finally, you will be able to see and take a picture of an authentic Moai from the Easter Island located on the outside of the important “Museum of Paleontology and Anthropology Fonck”.

    Dinner-Show at Bali Hai Restaurant
    Overnight at hotel Plaza San Francisco or similar in Santiago de Chile

    Santiago (B)

    Breakfast at hotel In due time Transfer to airport to board your onward flight.

    TOUR COST

    Land Cost (Minimum 15 Pax)
    Per Person on Twin Sharing $675
    Single Person $150

    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

    SIGHTSEEINGS & EXCURSIONS
    Chile
    Santiago De Chile
    • Guided City tour
    • Visit the Vina Del Mar and Valparaiso
    • Dinner show restaurant Bali Hai

    HOTELS

    • 02 nights accommodation at Plaza San Francisco Hotel or similar in Santiago

    MEALS

    • 02 buffet breakfast in the hotel
    • 01 Local/Western/Vegetarian lunch
    • 02 Daily local/Western/Vegetarian/Non Vegetarian dinners

    TIPS, PORTERAGE, WATER

    • Tips to driver and guide
    • Porterage of 1 bag (20 kg) per person at hotels only
    • 2 bottles of water per person per day (500 ml each)

    TOUR MANAGER

    • Services of a professional and experienced tour manager to accompany the groups

    WHAT YOUR TOUR PRICE DOES NOT INCLUDE:

    • Cost of International/Internal 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 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 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.
    • 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’

    VISAS REQUIRED TO TRAVEL ON YOUR TOUR

    US Citizen No Visa Required
    Green Card Holders Single Entry Chile Visa
    Indian National Single Entry Chile Visa

    Cost of above mentioned Visas is not included in your Tour cost.

    IMPORTANT:

    • Updating of Mileage is subject to Airlines terms & conditions in group fare. Air Tours will not be responsible for credit of mileage
    • Air Tours request the airlines for preferred seats however this is as per Airline policy and at their discretion.
    • Keeping in view of Luggage compartment of coach & Internal Flight regulations, Air Tours strongly recommend you to carry only medium size Bag of 20kg and 1 carryon bag of 5 kg per person
    • Check with us for correct flight information before you book any flight to take this tour.
    • The dates and granting of Visas is at the sole discretion of the concerned consulate. Air Tours Holidays is not responsible for granting of visas and is 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. 
    • Air Tours 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.
    • Air Tours 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 guests.
    • Air Tours 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 guests, 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’.

    MEDICAL INSURANCE: 

    • It’s very important to find out BEFORE you leave whether your insurance will cover doctors’ and hospital visits in other countries. ALWAYS LOOK INTO THE ASPECTS OF COVERING YOUR TRIP FOR UNFORSEEN EVENTS.

    IMPORTANT NOTE – HEALTH 

    • Cuzco is well above 11,000 feet some guests travelling from lower elevations may experience symptoms of altitude sickness, known within the Andes as Soroche. This typically results in shortness of breath, nausea and headaches. In most cases the symptoms will gradually lessen and pass as ones body adjusts to the altitude, Travel to high altitudes could pose a serious risk of illness, hospitalization, and even death, particularly if the traveler has a medical condition that affects blood circulation or breathing. Tourists or business visitors, particularly those who suffer from cardiac-related problems or high blood pressure should discuss the trip with their personal physician prior to departing the United States.

    PRE TOUR AMAZON (Brazil) (03 Nights / 04 Days)

    (Tour Code: ATSAA)

    Arrive Rio De Janeiro

    Arrive Rio De Janeiro and transfer to your hotel. Check in and the rest of the day is at leisure.

    MEALS : NONE
    Overnight in Rio De Janeiro

    Manaus (B,L,D)

    After breakfast this morning, check out of your hotel and transfer to the airport for your flight (LA 3483 Leaving at 6.35am) to Manaus (Flight cost not included)

    Arrive Manaus and meet your Tour Manager in the arrivals area for a Coach and boat transfer to the Amazon Ecopark – your dwelling for the next 2 nights.

    (Included at the regular schedule of main flights arriving in Manaus during the day between 06h00 am until 17h00)

    AMAZON ECOPARK Jungle Lodge is a touristic, scientific and educational property, created and directed by a private initiative back in 1991, opening its doors to the public as an Ecotourism Lodge in 1995. Several streams of clear water run through the area. Located in the middle of the Amazon Rain Forest, at just 30 minutes by boat from Manaus, the Lodge is on the banks of the Rio Trauma - a tributary of Rio Negro- (Black River). Amazon Ecopark Jungle Lodge has a total of 70 rooms (bungalow style). Each unit has three apartments, made of concrete and wood. Each room with independent entrance, porches and bathrooms, all with air conditioning, electric showers and screened windows. The bungalows, although rustic, are pleasantly decorated and provide much comfort (night light, carpet, indigenous decorative objects, etc.)

    * Tours included:

    NATURE HIKE

    Biodiversity is the main characteristics of ECOPARK. It includes uncatalogued species in virgin rainforest, natural savannahs and creeks. Several streams of crystal clear warm water run through the rainforest. During tour the guide will lead clients, educating them about the local flora/fauna, how and where to find edible fruits and potable water, first aid , how to find their way in the forest and much more. Duration: 1 to 3 hours (depending on health conditions of participants).

    MONKEY FOREST

    The facilities for rehabilitation and re-introduction of wild animals in their habitat (known as the Monkey forest), was created in 1991 with the intention of receiving animals which have been confiscated from illegal commerce. This is a joint project with the Municipal Secretary of Environment and Sustainability. In this center, the animals are initially put into quarentine to be evaluated and taken care of by a team of veterinaries and biologists.In partnership with the FFV (Live Forest Foundation), a nonprofit institution overseen by Amazon Ecopark Lodge, a unique feeding system has been developed. Twice a day, (10:30 & 15:30), the animals receive supplements of their natural diet, ensuring that they are being fed the necessary nutrients. The Monkey Forest is open to guests at feeding times, always accompanied by a credentialed professional, permiting guests to film and photograph these animals in a natural and safe environment. It is also possible to “adopt” one of these animals and follow its development. Duration: 40 minutes to 1 hour.

    VISIT TO THE NATIVE´S HOUSE

    Depart the lodge on boat or motorized canoe, accompanied by a Bilingual guide to learn about the traditions and customs of local Amazonians (“natives").

    Duration: it may vary according to the place visited / "low water level seasons" is closest to the Lodge and does not involve any kind of boat.

    Duration: about 1 hour.

    FISHING TOUR

    Depart lodge in paddle or motorized canoes, accompanied by a Bilingual guide. (Fishing of piranhas another species, depending on season).

    Note 1: It is a non-professional fishing.

    Note 2: This tour can be combined with the "Meeting of the Waters" Tour and/ or with a "Visit to the Native's House".

    NIGHT TOUR IN CANOE

    Depart lodge in paddle or motorized canoes, to appreciate the sounds of the jungle at night, with the possibility to spot small alligators (or other nightly creatures). Alligators are spotted because their eyes shine like small red lights. Once the alligator is spotted by the guide’s spotlight, he will try to catch a small alligator with his own hands and bring it on to the canoe, and a brief explanation of their habitat follows. The alligator will then be safely released back to the river. (No harm is done to any of the animals)

    Duration: about 1 hour.

    Note: during "high water level" season (from April to August) and on full moon evenings, it might be difficult to find alligators.

    TOUR TO THE “MEETING OF THE WATERS”

    Departs ECOPARK at 08h30am on board of a regional double deck boat. The boat goes down the Negro River navigating along the shore of the City of Manaus, allowing passengers to view the Amazonas Theater, the Port of Manaus, the Customs and the interesting aspects of the local life - the stilt houses for instance. Arrival at The Meeting of the Waters by 11h30am. It´s a spectacular merge of Negro and Solimões Rivers. From this point on both rivers form the famous Amazon River that runs all the way to the Atlantic Ocean. The waters of the two rivers run together for about 12kms, side by side, without mixing. The phenomenon happens due to differences in temperature, density and speed of the waters of the rivers.

    Continue the trip on the Amazon River to the Island of “Terra Nova “where lunch will be served in a typical restaurant (rustic yet clean restaurant with buffet style, international and regional dishes). Depending on the level of the waters , a visit to a typical " caboclo " (local inhabitants) villa will be included (at Terra Nova Island) during this full day tour (may not be available during the months of May, June, July and sometimes also August , when the villa is floaded) . This visit will happen prior or after lunch.

    NOTE 1 : During  high level of waters the place of the lunch can also be changed to a restaurant located at the " Janauary Lake" , another beautiful place and , in this case , there is no visit to the villa. Return to the lodge and arrival by 05h30pm

    Duration: about 09 hours

    * NOTE: the distribution of the tours will be coordinated by the local operation department.  Overnight at Amazon Ecopark– Superior room


    Manaus (B, L, D)

    Breakfast at the Lodge

    * Tours: nature hike, Monkey Forest, visit to a "caboclo´s" house, fishing, evening tour in canoe to appreciate the nature and full day tour to the "Meeting of the Waters" phenomenon.

    Overnight at Amazon Ecopark– Superior room

    Manaus(B)

    Breakfast at the Lodge

    Check out and transfer from the lodge to Manaus airport for your flight (G3 1816 Leaving at 06:10hrs) onwards to Rio De Janeiro. (Flight cost not included)

    TOUR COST

    Land Cost (Minimum 15 Pax)
    Per Person on Twin Sharing $1,000
    Single Person $300

    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

    SIGHTSEEINGS & EXCURSIONS
    Brazil
    Amazon
    • Enjoy a nature hike and learn about how native’s use the local vegetation in daily life.
    • Visit to the Monkey Forest
    • Visit to a Caboclo’s House
    • Fishing excursion
    • Evening Canoe Tour
    • Full day tour of the “Meeting of the Waters”

    HOTELS

    • 01 night at Hotel Americas Copacabana or similar in Rio De Janeiro
    • 02 nights at the Amazon Ecopark or similar in Manaus

    TRANSFERS

    • All transfers will be conducted by a deluxe airconditioned coach and by boat/jeeps wherever required

    MEALS

    • 03 buffet breakfast in the hotel
    • 01 Local veg/non veg lunch at the hotel
    • 02 Local veg/non veg dinners at the hotel

    Tips, Porterage, Water

    • Tips to drivers and guides
    • One bag (20 kgs) per person at the hotel only
    • Two bottles of mineral water per person per day (500 ml each)

    TOUR MANAGER

    • Services of a professional and expert Tour Manager

    WHAT YOUR TOUR PRICE DOES NOT INCLUDE:

    • Cost of International/Internal 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 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 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.
    • Meals other than what is mentioned in your itinerary
    • Cost of excursions, city sightseeing, entrance fees and local guides availed of by the guests, other than that mentioned in ‘What your tour price includes’

    IMPORTANT:

    • Updating of Mileage is subject to Airlines terms & conditions in group fare. Air Tours will not be responsible for credit of mileage
    • Air Tours request the airlines for preferred seats however this is as per Airline policy and at their discretion.
    • Keeping in view of Luggage compartment of coach & Internal Flight regulations, Air Tours strongly recommend you to carry only medium size Bag of 20kg and 1 carryon bag of 5 kg per person
    • Check with us for correct flight information before you book any flight to take this tour.
    • The dates and granting of Visas is at the sole discretion of the concerned consulate. Air Tours Holidays is not responsible for granting of visas and is 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 guests. Air Tours will not be liable for the same.
    • Air Tours 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.
    • Air Tours 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 guests.
    • Air Tours 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 guests, 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’.

    MEDICAL INSURANCE

    • It’s very important to find out BEFORE you leave whether your insurance will cover doctors’ and hospital visits in other countries. ALWAYS LOOK INTO THE ASPECTS OF COVERING YOUR TRIP FOR UNFORSEEN EVENTS

    IMPORTANT NOTE – HEALTH

    • Cuzco is well above 11,000 feet some guests travelling from lower elevations may experience symptoms of altitude sickness, known within the Andes as Soroche. This typically results in shortness of breath, nausea and headaches. In most cases the symptoms will gradually lessen and pass as ones body adjusts to the altitude, Travel to high altitudes could pose a serious risk of illness, hospitalization, and even death, particularly if the traveler has a medical condition that affects blood circulation or breathing. Tourists or business visitors, particularly those who suffer from cardiac-related problems or high blood pressure should discuss the trip with their personal physician prior to departing the United States.

    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
    BRAZIL
    Rio de Janeiro
    • Guided city tour
    • Entrance to the Futuristic Museum
    • Visit the Corcovado Mountain to see the statue of Christ the Redeemer
    • Cable car up to Sugar Loaf Mountain
    • Free time at Copacabana Beach
    • Enjoy the Ginga Tropical Show
    • Visit the Tijuca Rain Forest in the heart of the city and the Botanical Gardens
    Iguassu Falls
    • Visit the Falls from the Brazillian side
    • Visit the Falls from the Argentinian side
    • Enjoy the Great Adventure Navigation
    ARGENTINA
    Buenos Aires
    • Guided City Tour
    • Dinner show at TanoPorteno
    • Full day Tigre Delta
    PERU
    Lima
    • Guided City Tour
    • Visit Miraflores
    Cusco
    • Guided City Tour
    • Visit Machu Picchu – The lost city of the Incas

    ACCOMMODATION

    • 03 nights accommodation at Hotel Americas Copacabana or similar in Rio de Janeiro
    • 02 nights accommodation at Hotel Mercure or similar in Iguassu
    • 02 nights accommodation at Hotel American Park or similar in Buenos Aires
    • 01 night accommodation at Hotel Jose Antonio or similar in Lima
    • 02 nights accommodation at Hotel Hilton Garden Inn or similar in Cusco

    MEALS

    • Daily buffet breakfast in the hotel
    • Daily local/Western/Continental, vegetarian/non vegetarian lunches
    • Daily local/Western/Continental/Indian, vegetarian/non vegetarian dinners

    TIPS, PORTERAGER & WATER

    • Tips to driver and guide
    • Porterage of one bag (20 kgs) per person at hotels only
    • 1 bottle of mineral water per person (1 litre)

    TRANSFERS

    • All transfers will be conducted by a deluxe air conditioned coach except where specifically mentioned in the itinerary, while visiting the Tijuca Rainforest, where you will be travelling in open jeeps

    TOUR MANAGER

    • Services of a professional and experienced tour manager throughout the tour

    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.
    • 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.

    VISAS REQUIRED TO TRAVEL ON YOUR TOUR

    USA Citizen Multiple Entry Brazil Visa
    Green Card Holders Multiple Entry Brazil / Argentina / Peru Visa
    Cost of above mentioned Visas is not included in your Tour Price.

    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.
    • 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 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.

    IMPORTANT NOTE – HEALTH

    • Cuzco is well above 11,000 feet some passengers traveling from lower elevations may experience symptoms of altitude sickness, known within the Andes as Soroche. This typically results in shortness of breath, nausea and headaches. In most cases the symptoms will gradually lessen and pass as ones body adjusts to the altitude, Travel to high altitudes could pose a serious risk of illness, hospitalization, and even death, particularly if the traveler has a medical condition that affects blood circulation or breathing. Tourists or business visitors, particularly those who suffer from cardiac-related problems or high blood pressure should discuss the trip with their personal physician prior to departing the United States.

    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...

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