South Africa News
The South African Department of Home Affairs has delayed implementation of the requirement for children under the age of 18 to travel with unabridged birth certificate until June 1, 2015. In addition to this, the requirement for children travelling with just one parent to have written permission to travel from the other parent have also been postponed.

Minister of Home Affairs, Malusi Gigaba,  told reporters at a media briefing "We have granted the postponement of these two particular requirements - the unabridged birth certificate and written permission, to June 1, 2015."

This news will be widely welcomed in the tourism industry, and we congratulate the Minister and all those who have campaigned for a postponement as this will undoubtedly help boost travel to South Africa over the coming months.


Published in News

Updated Wednesday, 16 September 2014

It has been announced that these new regulations will be postponed until 1 June 2015




With the new regulations for visitors to South Africa travelling with children coming into effect from 1st of October, we have been having a look for some practical advice on how to comply with the new requirements.

The change that will affect the greatest number of travellers from the UK is that all children under 18 years are required to have a certified copy of their unabridged birth certificate in addition to their passport.

We have found that a number of our clients have panicked when initially hearing this, however travellers from the UK who cannot find this document can obtain a certified copy from the General Register Office at: https://www.gov.uk/order-copy-birth-death-marriage-certificate

In order to test this system, we went through the process and ordered a duplicate certificate ourselves: the system required registration, however the form itself was fairly straight forward providing you knew the full name, date and place of birth and names of the parents. The whole process took about 5 minutes, and you can pay the £9.25 fee online.

The certificate we ordered came through 3 weeks after we placed our order, contained all the information required, and was clearly marked as a “Certified Copy of An Entry of Birth”.

Note that whilst the bottom of the certificate also stated “Warning: A Certificate Is Not Evidence of Identity”, we do not believe that this will be an issue. The South African Authorities are not looking to use the certificates as evidence of identity as such, but they are being used instead to establish the relationship between the passport holders with the passports being the evidence of identity.

For full details of the new regulations, including important information for additional requirements for when children are travelling without both parents being present, see the following official websites:

      The South African High Commission In London 

      Department For Home Affairs In South Africa

      PDF Summary Of New Rules From South African High Commission



About the author:  Paul Campbell is a member of the SATOA Committee and Managing Director of Travel Butlers Ltd.


Published in News
Wednesday, 20 August 2014 14:11

SA tourism under no threat from Ebola

Government reiterates that South Africa remains the destination of choice for tourism, despite a report in the media which stated that the industry had become the first victim of Ebola.  

No cases of the Ebola virus have been reported in the country, and government is confident of the systems and protocols that are in place to address any incidence of the virus.    

Minister of Communications Ms. Faith Muthambi said, “It is unfortunate that the newspaper would choose to report that a handful of tourists cancelled their trip due to fears, which according to the report are based on erroneous facts about the virus. This is despite the government’s assurance that it has efficient systems in place at the country’s ports of entry and medical facilities.  The risk of Ebola being introduced into South Africa remains low and our tourism industry remains vibrant and lucrative.”

Since the advent of democracy the arrivals in the country have grown by more than 300% to reach nearly 15 million last year, of which 9.6 million were tourists.

Tourist arrivals to South Africa in 2013 showed positive growth from all regions.  South Africa is one of the most-sought after global destinations offering a diverse variety of unforgettable experiences, which include leisure, business and events.  “South Africa is on record having hosted some of the biggest tourism mega-events in the world and the 2014 Tourism Act actually caters for the demands of the 21st century,” said Muthambi.

As a sought-after destination, government reiterates that it has ensured that stringent measures have been put in place.  The surveillance for viral hemorrhagic fevers has been strengthened at ports of entry. The National Health Laboratory Service and the National Institute for Communicable Diseases have also intensified laboratory surveillance and the port health services, including public and private health care practitioners, who are on alert for any ill persons that have travelled to very high risk areas. There are 11 designated health facilities in the country to manage any reported Ebola cases. South Africa has even dispatched a specialist team in response to the virus in Sierra Leone.

“So there is no need to incite panic and speculation on the tourism industry. South Africa is safe and is still an attractive destination for tourists,” said Muthambi.
Published in News
Thursday, 19 June 2014 09:43

Mossel Bay Fishing Getaway 2014

A 4 Day Fishing Program Mossel Bay 2014
Together with Out And About Travel & Go Fish Mossel Bay

Mossel Bay – Boggomsbaai – Vleesbaai - Fransmanshoek
4 Days / 3 Nights
4 – 10 Persons
1st June 2014 – 1st December 2014

Day 1:
• Arrival at the George Airport
• Meet and greet by your driver who will take you to your accommodation establishment
• You will either stay at a Hotel in Mossel Bay or outside town in Boggomsbaai at the Sandpiper Cottages
• Arrival at your accommodation establishment and check in
• Lunch will be served upon arrival
• After lunch, you will be met by your expert fishing guide. He will be your fishing guide for the next 3 days.
• An afternoon fishing excursion will take place. Considering the weather and water conditions, your guide will decide if rock or beach fishing is favourable on this day
• Return after your fishing excursion to freshen up
• Dinner will either be served in town at a local restaurant or if staying in Boggomsbaai, a traditional “Kaggel Braai” dinner will be served
• Overnight

Day 2:
• After breakfast, you will depart on a full day fishing excursion
• Again, your guide will take his experience to decide where the best fishing spots will be
• Lunch packs will be taken along and enjoyed on the beach
• PM fishing to take place
• Return to your accommodation to freshen up
• Dinner will either be served in town at a local restaurant or if staying in Boggomsbaai, a traditional “Kaggel Braai” dinner will be served
• Overnight

Day 3:
• After some breakfast, your guide will lead you on a half day boat fishing excursion
• Return after fishing for lunch at a local restaurant
• Some time will be had at leisure before going on another afternoon fishing excursion
• Return to accommodation to freshen up
• Dinner will either be served in town at a local restaurant or if staying in Boggomsbaai, a traditional “Kaggel Braai” dinner will be served
• Overnight

Day 4:
• After some breakfast, you will check out
• Transfer back to the George Airport
• Arrival and check in for your flight home
• End of your fishing getaway

For more info and booking visit our website at: www.oatravel.co.za
or just contact us by email: info@oatravel.co.za

Published in News
Follow the movements of Sabi Sabi's sophisticated guests and you will find them to be electronically mobile, online savvy and demanding of fast, instant information at their fingertips. Their briefcases - if they carry one - generally holds a cell-phone, laptop or tablet, and very little in the way of paper!

In line with this trend, Sabi Sabi has abandoned printed brochures and marketing copy and gone 'paperless' as part of an ongoing commitment to minimising the company's environmental footprint.

A stunning electronic e-brochure has replaced the heavy paper booklet, and features magnificent images of the lodges, wildlife and staff at Sabi Sabi. It is beautiful to look at, environmentally friendly and easy to access - available on www.sabisabi.com.

Dozens of social media platforms keep followers updated on happenings at the lodges and keep the safari experience alive. Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Instagram are just some of the options available to those around the world who follow Sabi Sabi avidly, while the ever popular blog remains a very firm favourite. Updating current bushveld events has become second nature to the team entrusted with writing the exciting Sabi Sabi stories and the number of followers just keeps growing.

A Sabi Sabi app, launched earlier this year, is free for download from the iTunes App Store. It features all the information any guest could need - from the brochure to animal checklists, useful information and interactive applications (available at present for iPad only - click here to link to the Apple Store).

But while Sabi Sabi makes the most of the myriad social media and online platforms available while planning a visit, on arrival guests are encouraged to switch off the electronics, tune out the media and immerse themselves in the sights, sounds and unedited glory of the Sabi Sabi bushveld.
www.sabisabi.com
www.pinterest.com/sabisabireserve
www.facebook.com/SabiSabiReserve
www.twitter.com/SabiSabiReserve
www.itunes.apple.com
www.plus.google.com




Published in News
10 June 2014 Pretoria – The Department of Home Affairs has provided a grace period to allow children to travel with parents or guardians without an unabridged birth certificate until end of September 2014.

This means that families will be able to travel with children even for the coming school holidays as some would have made the necessary arrangements ahead of the commencement of the Immigration Amendment Acts of 2007 and 2011 and the new Immigration Regulations. The Amendment Acts and the new Regulations came into effect on 26 May 2014.

From 01 October 2014, the requirement for an unabridged birth certificate for children travelling with parents will come into effect for the safety of children, including their protection from child trafficking, abduction and kidnapping.

The Department urges citizens and foreign nationals to heed the call to apply for unabridged birth certificates for children. An unabridged birth certificate of the child reflecting the particulars of the parents is required in terms of the Immigration Regulation 6 (12)(a) for children travelling with parents.

Enquiries: David Hlabane, 071 527 9463 and Thabo Mokgola, 071 712 9710.
Published in News
A new regulation came into effect at the beginning of June as part of the new Immigration Amendment Act in South Africa.

Under the new regulations, people travelling to South AFrica with children under the age of 18 years are required to produce an unabridged birth certificate for each child.

In the case where only one parent is travelling with the child(ren), consent in the form of an affidavit from the other parent registered is required.  Alternatively, either a court order granting full parental responsibilities and rights or a death certificate of the other parent must be produced.

According to BARSA, South Africa will be the only country mandating that children travel wit han unabridged birth certificate.  From July 1st airlines will be forced to refuse travel to families not in possession of these documents. 

We ask that you ensure all your family travellers are aware of these regulations for the future.

SATOA 

Published in News
Newmark is delighted to have added the Drosty Hotel in the Eastern Cape to their growning portfolio.  This historic Victorian property was originally the magistrate's office in Graaff-Reinet (one of South Africa's 4 oldest towns).  It was converted into a hotel of great character in 1878 and is a fantastic base from which to explore the Karoo and its National Parks including Camdeboo and Mountain Zebra. Renovations are full steam ahead to return this gem of a property to its former glory as a 5 star boutique hotel experience, with a grand re-opening scheduled for December 2014. For more information visit www.newmarkhotels.com and follow Newmark on twitter on @newmarkhotels.  For more details and rates etc please contact info@ethosmarketing.co.uk
Published in News
Safari holiday specialist Travel Butlers has reported record sales of holidays to South Africa as people take advantage of the current strength of the pound against the South African Rand.

This week, Managing Director Paul Campbell spoke about the impact the fluctuating exchange rate has had on sales: “Two years ago, 1 pound was worth around 12 South African Rand. This has gradually changed over time and in January 2014 1 pound was worth around 18 Rand on average, and briefly peaked at over 18.5. This means that holiday makers are now getting 50% more for their money…and that is before taking into account the huge number of special offers that are currently on offer.”

The impact of the exchange rates and special offers is that Travel Butlers is reporting passenger bookings to South Africa up by more than 60% in January, with many people also taking advantage of the exchange rates to book more expensive hotels.

As Paul explains, “It is probably easier to see the impact of these changes if we look at the cost of staying at one of South Africa’s best known 5* safari lodges. A three night stay at Bayethe Lodge in the Shamwari Game Reserve in July 2012 would have cost £2100 for 2 people if booked in January of that year. The equivalent three night stay in July 2014 will only cost £1160 at current exchange rates - a saving of around 45% or nearly £1000.”

Travel Butlers believe that the combination of favorable exchange rates and numerous special offers is a win-win situation for both hoteliers and holidaymakers after several difficult years. As Paul recalls, “South Africa had a great reputation for value for money ten years ago. This was somewhat eroded around the time of the Football World Cup in 2010, when many hotels started to charge 5* prices for 3* services, and visitor numbers suffered a bit as a result. It has taken a couple of years, however we believe that South Africa is now better value for money than ever before, and this can only be good news for hoteliers and holidaymakers alike.”



NOTE TO EDITORS:

Travel Butlers is a safari holiday specialist based in Weybridge, Surrey. Founded in 2003 the company works closely with customers of all ages and budgets to build completely unique, bespoke safari holidays across Southern and East Africa. Travel Butlers prides itself on the expert knowledge of its staff, who have personally visited the safari lodges that the company offers and can therefore provide first-hand advice.

With the exception of just one single day (23rd October 2008), the pound has bought more SA Rand on every day in January and February 2014 than at any time in the last 10 years.
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Published in News
Saturday, 01 February 2014 09:44

Hapless on a horse or pro' on a pony?

Whilst many are celebrating the New Year festivities of the Chinese Year of the Horse we wish to celebrate Pakamisa Lodge and Private Game Reserve, our very special property where one can enjoy all levels of horse-riding within the African bush.

Set high on the rolling hills of northern KwaZulu-Natal, Pakamisa Lodge enjoys an enviable position in this unspoilt setting.  It might surprise you that I highlight its lack of the ‘Big 5’ and predators as a plus-point, yet this very characteristic allows for a unique safari experience: horse-riding in the African bushveld, safe in the knowledge that one doesn’t have to contend with dangerous animals.  Whilst traditional game drives offer a fantastic way to see wildlife, the noise of the vehicles engine invariably heightens an animal’s desire to flee.  Sat quietly on horseback, the possibility to pass through a grazing herd of zebra and cause virtually no disturbance is significantly higher.

Isabella, the hands-on owner, is passionate about horses and over the years has developed a world-class stud.  The Arabs were brought in from Spain and Isabella has successfully cross-bred them with an indigenous South African breed to ensure an excellent stable.  Whether a beginner or advanced rider, guests will be paired with a horse best suited to their level of competence.  Those sitting on a horse for the very first time can partake in a short lesson to calm the nerves whilst experienced riders might choose to spend up to 5 hours out on the 2,500ha reserve with a picnic lunch.

All tack is kept in an excellent condition and English or endurance saddles are provided, as well as helmets and riding chaps.

For those less keen to sit in the saddle, one can enjoy game drives on the reserve or guided bush walks, which can be a leisurely stroll to a viewing point or a more invigorating expedition along one of the bush trails in search of wildlife or examples of the 200-strong species of birds that inhabit the reserve.  For those yearning to search the ‘Big 5’, afternoon game drives can be arranged at another nearby reserve.  Competitively-spirited guests might enjoy the challenge of archery, clay target shooting, or air rifle shooting which can all be arranged locally whilst angling enthusiasts may wish to wrestle a tiger fish from nearby Jozini Dam.

Pakamisa Lodge has 8 luxury suites individually positioned in the indigenous gardens to ensure breath-taking views across the rolling hills and valleys.  The rooms are generous in size, each with a large bedroom, substantial bathroom, and sunken lounge leading on to a spacious patio.  The suites can accommodate two additional beds and kids over 12 are charged the very competitive 3rd person rate.  In keeping with Pakamisa’s tranquil setting, the rooms are techno-free but internet connectivity is available in the Main House and mobile signal is relatively strong in most areas.

Pakamisa Lodge and Private Game Reserve is the perfect safari lodge for guests keen to experience a horseback safari in a safe environment.  It also works extremely well in conjunction with a traditional safari lodge, as clients are able to enjoy the best of a ‘big game’ safari and the many varied outdoor activities available at Pakamisa.

For those self-drive clients wishing to combine a safari in the greater Kruger with a beach stay on the KwaZulu-Natal coast, Pakamisa makes for a welcome break as it’s virtually halfway between Hazyview and Durban.  Those considering it as a stop-over are recommended to spend at least 2 nights at the lodge to ensure that they are able to fully experience all that this hillside retreat has to offer.

Although Pakamisa is not be celebrating the advent of the Year of the Horse with colourful parades and festive fireworks, they are offering a ‘stay 3, pay 2’ deal during May, June, and July 2014.
Published in News
Page 6 of 9

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