|8 Apr 2017||The Three Boutique Hotel||Cape Town||3 nights||B&B|
|11 Apr 2017||Kuzuko Lodge||Addo Elephant National Park||2 nights|
|13 Apr 2017||Overnight Travel||1 night|
|14 Apr 2017||Medhufushi Island Resort||Meemu Atoll||7 nights|
Resting at the confluence of the Indian and Atlantic oceans, sandwiched between the slopes of the iconic Table Mountain and the glistening sapphire waters of Table Bay, the exceptionally scenic city of Cape Town is in a class of its own. Some cities boast rich culture, vibrant nightlife, a cosmopolitan atmosphere and extraordinary architecture, while others boast breathtaking landscapes and extraordinary natural wonders. Cape Town is lucky enough to be blessed with all of these attractions and so much more. With its bustling harbour, world-class beaches, top-notch vineyards, and its mountainous surroundings brimming with diverse flora and fauna, Cape Town consistently captivates the hearts of all who visit.
Addo Elephant National Park
Set in the enchanting Eastern Cape Province of South Africa, the Addo Elephant National Park is the country’s third largest national park and offers a truly unforgettable safari experience. This finely-tuned ecosystem provides a sanctuary to large numbers of elephant, lion, buffalo, black rhino, spotted hyena, leopard, antelope, zebra and over 400 bird species. This unique park is the world’s only park with the ‘Big 7’ - the Big 5 plus the southern right whale and great white shark off the coast of the Algoa Bay. Spend your days marvelling at the free-roaming wildlife, enjoy exhilarating 4x4 safari adventures, exciting horse riding excursions, and wonderful night drives where you are likely to spot some fascinating nocturnal wildlife. Famed for its large herds of elephant, Addo provides an ideal, tranquil retreat for those looking to escape the stresses of big city living.
Meemu Atoll – also known as Mulaku Atoll – is the administrative region of the Maldives that encompasses the natural atoll of the same name. Comprised of eight inhabited islands and over 20 deserted islands, Meemu Atoll boasts countless pristine beaches lapped by turquoise waters. Renowned for its first-class dive sites, visitors flock here to explore the atoll’s underwater coral wonderland and adventurous surfers can enjoy prime surf breaks at Boahuraa Point, Veyvah Point, and Mulee Point. Visitors can spot manta rays and whale sharks in the crystal-clear waters, explore the ancient wreck off the coast of Kolhuvaariyaafushi Island and visit a historical mosque on Kolhufushi Island.
This vast country is undoubtedly one of the most culturally and geographically diverse places on earth. Fondly known by locals as the 'Rainbow Nation', South Africa has 11 official languages and its multicultural inhabitants are influenced by a fascinating mix of cultures. Discover the gourmet restaurants, impressive art scene, vibrant nightlife and beautiful beaches of Cape Town; enjoy a local braai (barbecue) in the Soweto township; browse the bustling Indian markets in Durban; or sample some of the world’s finest wines at the myriad wine estates dotting the Cape Winelands. Some historical attractions to explore include the Zululand battlefields of KwaZulu-Natal, the Apartheid Museum in Johannesburg and Robben Island, just off the coast of Cape Town. Above all else, its remarkably untamed wilderness with its astonishing range of wildlife roaming freely across massive unfenced game reserves such as the world-famous Kruger National Park. With all of this variety on offer, it is little wonder that South Africa has fast become Africa’s most popular tourist destination.
The currency is the Rand, which is divided into 100 cents. There are R200, R100, R50, R20 and R10 notes. Coins come in R5, R2, R1, 50c, 20c, 10c and 5c.
Banks are found in most towns, and are generally open from 09h00 to 15h30 on weekdays and 08h30 to 11h00 on Saturdays (Closed Sundays and Public Holidays). Most of them offer foreign exchange services - with cash, bank & credit cards as well as travellers cheques. You can also obtain cash from automatic teller machines (ATMs). Several international banks have branches in the main city centres. Always advise your bank that you are travelling outside of the country as they might block your purchases if they are not informed.
Travelling around South Africa is relatively easy by air, road and rail.
Principal air routes are serviced by SAA and British Airways, operated by Comair. There are 2 low-cost carriers on main routes, namely Kulula.com and Mango.
Facilitating travel around South Africa are 10 airports managed by the Airports Company South Africa (Acsa). In addition, there are some 90 regional airports, including the Kruger Mpumalanga International Airport in Nelspruit and the Skukuza Airport, offering access to the Kruger National Park.
An extensive tarred road system makes travelling in South Africa by vehicle convenient and easy. You will find gravel roads in rural areas though. Note:
- A valid international driver's licence is required.
- We drive on the left hand side of the road.
- Wearing seat belts is compulsory and cell phones can only be used ‘hands free'.
- Speed limits are generally set at 120km on freeways, 100km on secondary roads and 60km in urban areas.
- Toll fees apply on certain national roads.
- Petrol stations are widespread.
- Most global car hire firms have branches in South Africa
Another means of getting around South Africa are luxury inter-city bus services such as Greyhound and Trans-Lux. Metrobus buses are available for in-city transport. Metered taxis must be ordered by telephone. There is a hop-on-hop-off bus in Cape Town and Johannesburg.
Our rail system includes the long-haul, inexpensive Shosholoza Meyl Metrorail trains. More luxurious options are the Blue Train, Premier Classe and the steam train Rovos Rail. There is also the new Gautrain rapid transit railway system in Gauteng Province which links Johannesburg, Pretoria, Ekhuruleni and OR Tambo International Airport.
Bring clothes that are cool, light and comfortable because summer temperatures can get well into the 30 - 40 degree Celsius range in some areas. Also bring an umbrella or raincoat during summer as this is when most of the country gets its rain, but don't forget a swimming costume (bathing suit).
The winters are generally mild, comparing favourably with European summers. But there are days when temperatures dive, especially in high-lying areas such as the Drakensberg, so be prepared with jerseys and jackets. Cape Town gets its rain during the winter season so it’s advisable to bring rain gear along.
Always bring a hat, sunglasses and sunblock as the sun can be strong even in the winter months.
Walking shoes are a good idea all year-round, with warm socks in the winter.
If you are doing business in the country, business attire (suit and tie) is generally called for in the corporate sector, but media for example generally dress more casually.
For game viewing, a couple of neutral-toned items will be useful, but there's no need to go overboard. A good pair of walking shoes is also advisable.
For the evening, if you are dining at an upmarket restaurant or seeing a show, smart-casual attire is recommended.
Standards of hygiene in relation to food health and safety in South Africa, are generally high in hotels, restaurants, pubs and nightspots. Tap water in South Africa is safe to drink and cook with when taken from taps in urban areas. Not all tap water in rural areas is safe for consumption, so take precautions if necessary.
It is safe to eat fresh fruit, vegetables and salads, and put ice in your drinks. South Africa's fish, meat and chicken are of excellent quality, so there is no need to limit yourself when enjoying the local cuisine.
Restaurants are subject to South Africa's food safety control legislation, which is implemented by local government. Regulations include certification and regular inspections by health inspectors to ensure hygienic standards are maintained.
Street food is not as common in South Africa as it is in other countries, although vendors selling traditional snacks and meals can be found in city centres and townships. Food safety in such instances cannot always be guaranteed.
Current is 220/240 volts at 50 cycles per second. A three-point round-pin adapter plug should be brought for your electrical appliances - such adapters are also available at major airports..
South African temperatures, which are measured in centigrade, average at highs of 28°C to average lows of 8°C in the summer months while winter temperatures range from 1°C at night to around 18°C in the day. Average annual rainfall is on the low side at under 500mm a year, making the country somewhat dry. Much of the rain falls in the Western Cape in the winter, differing from the rest of the country, which experiences summer rainfall. On the plus side, the South African climate boasts more than its fair share of sunshine, recording an average of 8.5 hours a day.
Encompassing over 1000 coral islands that form about 25 natural atolls, the Maldives is separated from the rest of the world by the seemingly endless Indian Ocean, offering visitors a secluded little pocket of paradise. These exquisite tropical islands are best known for their white powder sand beaches, glistening blue lagoons and extensive reefs which are home to a diverse range of colourful marine life. The nation’s bustling capital of Male features an array of charming shops and restaurants as well as a busy fish market and a must-see 17th-century mosque known as Hukuru Miskiy which was constructed out of intricately carved white coral. Visitors will find plenty of activities to keep them entertained including: scuba diving, snorkelling, water skiing, stand up paddle boarding, spa visits, and hopping from one idyllic little island to the next.
Maldivian Rufiya (MVR; symbol MRf) = 100 laari. Notes are in denominations of MRf 500, 100, 50, 20, 10 and 5. Coins are in denominations of MRf 2 and 1, and 50, 25, 10, 5, 2 and 1 laari.
Major currencies can be exchanged at banks, tourist resort islands, hotels and leading shops. Payments in hotels can be made in most hard currencies (particularly US Dollars) in cash, traveller's cheques or credit cards.
Banking hours are from Sunday-Thursday from 0730-1430.
Most major island resorts, local and souvenir shops will accept American Express, Diners Club, MasterCard and Visa. Arrangements vary from island to island. There are ATMs widely available in Malé but it isadvisable to check with your bank at home to find out if your card is compatible with ATMs in the Maldives
Travellers cheques are generally accepted. To avoid additional exchange rate charges, travellers are advised to take traveller's cheques in US Dollars.
There are no restrictions on the import or export of local or foreign currency.
Internal flights in the Maldives are operated by Maldivian (www.maldivian.aero), linking Malé with provincial centres Hanimaadhoo, Kaadedhdhoo, Kadhdhoo and Gan.
There are also two seaplane companies operating seaplane transfers from Malé airport to individual resorts. These are Trans Maldivian Airways (www.transmaldivian.com) and Maldivian Air Taxi (www.maldivianairtaxi.com). These services are also available for charter trips around the islands.
There are only roads in Malé and a couple of other islands where there are small tarmaced strips. Overland transport on resort islands is usually by golf buggy.
Travel on individual islands does not present any problem since few of them take longer than half an hour to cross on foot.
In Malé, it is possible to take taxis but in most other areas taxi services are limited or non-existent.
Visitors generally remain on their resort island for the duration of their stay, although island-hopping trips by dhoni charters are widely available. High-speed boats usually meet arrivals at the airport, supplied by the resort they are booked with, and boats are available for hire at the ferry counter near the jetty area. The speedboats connect the airport with North and South Malé Atolls.
Lightweight cottons and linens are recommended throughout the year. Light waterproofs are advised during the rainy season. Sunscreen, a sunhat, a bathing suit and sunglasses are essential.
The water provided in the resort areas is generally safe to drink. In other areas, water of uncertain origin used for drinking, brushing teeth or making ice should first be boiled or otherwise sterilised. Food in upmarket hotels and resorts is usually risk free, although visitors should be cautious elsewhere.
Maldivian food is a fairly limited affair, consisting of fish, fruit and spicy curries. Your only chance to try ‘real’ Maldivian cuisine is in Malé, where cafés selling traditional snacks or ‘short eats’ (hedhikaa) are cheap and plentiful. Local specialities include: Seafood such as tuna, grouper, octopus, jobfish and swordfish; Kavaabu (deep-fried snacks made from rice, tuna, coconut, lentils and spices); and curries, usually made with chicken or beef. Curry leaves are added to a lot of Maldivian dishes.
On resort islands, there are normally between one and ten restaurants depending on the resort's size and level of luxury. Note that all restaurants on resort islands are run by the resort - there is no access to private enterprise. Cuisine is international, with all food other than seafood imported. All resorts have bars, where there is a good range of (usually pricey) alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks available. It’s not possible to drink alcohol in Malé or anywhere else outside resorts.All bars are situated on resort island (no alcohol is available on Malé, though it is available on the nearby Airport island). Locals do not drink at all.
Regional drinks include: Sai (tea; a Maldivian favourite) and raa (toddy tapped from palm trees, sometimes left to ferment and thus slightly alcoholic - the closest any Maldivian gets to alcohol).
In international style restaurants in Malé a 10-15% tip for good service is standard. In local cafés it is not expected. In resorts, a service charge of 10-15% is usually automatically included in meals and for drinks. Extra tipping is not expected, though cash tips (US$1 per bag) for porters is appreciated.
For the most part, electrical sockets (outlets) in the Maldives are one of three types: the "Type C" European CEE 7/16 Europlug, the "Type G" British BS-1363 or the "Type D" Indian 5 amp BS-546. It's just anybody's guess as to which of the three types will be installed at any given specific location. it is advisable to contact your resort before leaving your home country to find out if your appliance plugs and voltage are compatible with the electrical outlets they provide. If your appliance's plug doesn't match the shape of these sockets, you will need a travel plug adapter in order to plug in. Travel plug adapters simply change the shape of your appliance's plug to match whatever type of socket you need to plug into. If it's crucial to be able to plug in no matter what, bring an adapter for all three types.
Electrical sockets (outlets) in the Republic of Maldives usually supply electricity at between 220 and 240 volts AC. If you're plugging in an appliance that was built for 220-240 volt electrical input, or an appliance that is compatible with multiple voltages, then an adapter is all you need.
But travel plug adapters do not change the voltage, so the electricity coming through the adapter will still be the same 220-240 volts the socket is supplying. North American sockets supply electricity at between 110 and 120 volts, far lower than in most of the rest of the world. Consequently, North American appliances are generally built for 110-120 volts.
The Maldives climate provides warm, tropical weather all year round, even during the wet season the temperature averages around the high twenties and low thirties. The Hulhangu Monsoon season runs from May to November leading to significantly higher rainfall, particularly on the southern islands; this period can see strong winds and fierce storms as well as overcast skies. However, it is still likely visitors will experience long hours of bright sunshine amidst the short, sharp torrential downpours of the monsoon. The Iruvai dry season sees a reduction in humidity and rainfall starting in January and continuing until April. February and March provide the most sun for holidaymakers from Europe seeking refuge from colder climes back home.
The Maldives climate is constantly hot and humid wherever you are. The average temperature generally ranges between 25°C (77°F) and 31°C (88°F) during the day, falling to 23°C (73°F) at night. Humidity is generally high with the wet season experiencing humidity levels of above 80% on average and the dryer months still as high as 75%.
Due to the lower rainfall and reduced humidity, Maldives climate is best experienced during the dry season, particularly between February and April. Although there is greater chance of rain during the wet season, the temperature remains hot and there is a strong chance of extended periods of sunshine in between showers.