Dear Valued Client

With Spring approaching we sincerely hope that you, your family and loved ones are healthy and looking forward to warmer weather.

“Where flowers bloom so does hope.” – Lady Bird Johnson

We are truly grateful to you for choosing us as your best travel service provider.  Your faith in us is greatly appreciated.

Our team

Choices Travel

We continue to work remotely and assure you that we are fully operational. We moved out of our office at 885 Justice Mahomed Street Brooklyn.  Meeting with clients is by appointment only or telephonic.  We are situated in Irene, Centurion.

You are welcome to contact us for any travel arrangements via email or contact numbers below:

Contact number: 012 4259960/63/64 or 082 893 4263

Mariana@choicestravel.co.za

Vanda@choicestravel.co.za

Remember our social media platforms

Website: www.choicestravel.co.za

We would love to hear from you!  We have an enquiry form added to the website.  Contact us for any information or country specific packages you may be interested in.

Facebook:   Choices Travel

Twitter:      @ChoicesTravel

Instagram:  https://www.instagram.com/choices.travel/

Days closed

Choices Travel will be closed 24 September.  You may contact Mariana on 082 893 4263 for any emergency booking on days closed and after hours.  After hour fees will be applicable for non-emergency bookings.

Domestic Travel

The following domestic airlines are operational:

  • FlySafair
  • Airlink
  • Cemair
  • Lift
  • British/Airways & Kulula started 1 September 2021
  • SAA planning to fly from 23 September 2021

FlySafair has rebooted its premium fare option to introduce business class on all domestic routes. The business-class ticket offers passengers some of the services that were included under premium, such as two checked bags at 23kg each, priority boarding and preselected seating. But it also has new features. These include a blocked middle seat for comfort and privacy, food allowance (when eating on board is permitted again), and priority baggage claim on arrival.

Airlink and Emirates have agreed to expand their existing partnership into a unilateral codeshare agreement across Airlink’s network of more than 40 domestic and regional destinations across 12 African countries. Emirates customers can now transfer from Johannesburg, Cape Town and Durban to domestic points such as Bloemfontein, George, Upington, Nelspruit, Hoedspruit, Kimberley, Skukuza, Pietermaritzburg, Richards Bay, Sishen, Mthatha and Port Elizabeth. It will especially benefit inbound tourists by giving them a number of simpler, seamless options for travel in the region.

CemAir operates to Cape Town, Port Elizabeth, Kimberley, Shishen, Margate, King Shaka, Bloemfontein and Internationally to Luanda, Angola. CemAir announced, with regret, the suspension of all its flights into Plettenberg Bay with immediate effect. This affects both the Johannesburg and the Cape Town services. The suspension results from the downgrading of Plettenberg Bay Airport to below the minimum category required for our flights to operate into the airport.

Mango Airlines SOC Ltd (Mango) would like to update its customers, staff, and all affected stakeholders that the statutory meetings of creditors and employee representatives will take place on Wednesday 18 August 2021.At this stage, we just want to reassure all customers who made ticket bookings with us that your ticket is of value to us and that we are doing everything plausible to preserve all of them and that we will be issuing vouchers equivalent to that effect. Please allow us some time to revert back with further and clearer details on vouchers.

SAA released a statement yesterday saying its first flights as a new re-constituted airline will be on September 23rd 2021. The national carrier says it will, in its “initial phase” operate flights from Johannesburg to Cape Town, Accra, Kinshasa, Harare, Lusaka and Maputo, and more destinations will be added to the route network as it ramps up operations in response to market conditions. Thomas Kgokolo, interim CEO, said there was a profound feeling of enthusiasm within Team SAA as it prepared for take-off.

International Travel

The Board of Airline Representatives of South Africa (Barsa) has called on industry stakeholders and government departments to intensify their efforts toward the digitisation of vaccination certificates on a standardised and harmonised basis. Barsa represents the interests of its international member airlines and provides a single voice on policy and other matters to government and other stakeholders in transport, business and tourism. Ceo of Barsa, Zuks Ramasia, said in a release: “A digital health certificate will be a significant step forward to facilitate the free and safe movement of travellers between South Africa and the world. Additionally, it would considerably reduce the administrative and financial implications associated with travel and therefore boost South Africa’s position as a favourable global destination.”

The Travel Corporation (TTC) has announced a new COVID-19 vaccination requirement for all adult guests, across all its guided tour brands. This came into effect on August 13. The policy, which applies to Trafalgar, CostSaver, Contiki, Insight Vacations, Luxury Gold, Uniworld, U by Uniworld and Haggis, requires guests to show documented proof of having received complete vaccination with Pfizer, Moderna or AstraZeneca, or Johnson & Johnson. The final dose of the vaccine must have been taken 15 days prior to departure. TTC stresses that its own requirements, listed above, may differ from those imposed by airlines and/or countries to be visited. The new policy will remain in effect until at least December 31, 2021, and could be extended or reviewed.

Please note:  Information given below may change please reconfirm with us when you are ready to travel.

Spain: Spain’s Health Ministry has lifted the ban on travellers from Brazil and South Africa. but they will still have to quarantine for ten days even if they are fully vaccinated. Quarantine could be finalised sooner if on the seventh day a negative result for an infection-diagnostic test can be shown. Travellers from South Africa are limited to those who are residents in Spain or Andorra and spouses of Spanish citizens, with few exceptions.

Germany: Germany, another destination to add to our travel list. Germany has announced that it is open to fully vaccinated South African travellers.

France: If you’re fully vaccinated, you can now travel to France without having to quarantine on arrival, or on your return to South Africa. The French Tourism Office has clarified details concerning foreigners in France accessing the pass sanitaire (health pass), which is essential to enter restaurants, cafés, museums, galleries, large shopping centres and other venues, and for air, train, and bus travel. Travellers can apply for a COVID vaccine certificate of equivalence if they meet certain conditions.

Switzerland: Europe is slowly reopening to international travellers, and Switzerland is now accepting fully vaccinated visitors from South Africa.

Austria: Austria has flung open its doors to South Africans – as long as they are fully vaccinated. The requirement now is full vaccination, with the last dose having been administered 22 days before entry into the country. Once in the country, travellers may need to show documentary proof of vaccination in order to enter hotels, restaurants, museums etc. Since 18 August 2021, Austria’s new rules are in effect. Travellers are considered vaccinated starting on the 22nd day after their first dose, lasting for 90 days from the vaccination date. After the second dose, the validity extends for another 270 days. Vaccines that only require one dose are valid from the 22nd day after that dose and for 270 days from the vaccination date. Travellers must have been immunised with one of the following vaccines: BioNTech/Pfizer, AstraZeneca, Johnson & Johnson, Moderna, Sinovac, Sinopharm, Covishield.

Croatia: Travellers can enter Croatia using either a negative COVID-19 test, vaccine passport, or proof of recovery, but now have a 210-day expiry date on their vaccine passport.

UK: South Africa remains on the Red List, along with 55 other countries, 24 of them African. To enter the UK, residents of these countries must be a British or Irish National, or have residence rights in the UK. The situation remains as it was – these travellers must have a pre-booked and paid quarantine hotel package, including 2 COVID-19 tests.

IRELAND:  The Republic of Ireland is the latest country to ease travel restrictions for South African visitors.  Fully vaccinated travellers are not required to quarantine.

USA: Passengers who have transited or have been in South Africa in the last 14 days are not allowed to enter or transit.

Canada:  Fully vaccinated South Africans may now travel to Canada.

Seychelles: Seychelles reopened its borders to the world in March but excluded South African travellers.

Maldives: South Africans may now travel to Maldives. A negative PCR test must be presented on arrival. A Covid-19 PCR test can be done at the resort prior to departure and the cost thereof is between 50 and 80 USD.

Mauritius (probably Seychelles biggest competitor in the upper sections of the SA market). “Phase Two of the reopening, which takes place on October 1, will allow vaccinated travellers to enter Mauritius without restrictions upon presentation of a negative PCR test taken within 72 hours of departure,” advised MTPA.

However, there has been some uncertainty about whether the island will allow vaccinated South Africans to enter on this date, due to an ongoing ban on travel from South Africa, which the Mauritius government has been extending on a monthly basis, reportedly due to South Africa’s slow vaccine roll-out.  Air Mauritius introduced a flight once a week as from October from Johannesburg to Mauritius.

Dubai & Emirates Airline: Emirates started their flight operations to/from South Africa.  The airline advises early check-ins at Cape Town, Johannesburg, and Durban as the various entry regulations and COVID-19 test requirement checks are mandatory before flight departure. Good news for all travellers wanting to travel from South Africa to Dubai. Effective 31st August 2021, all types of visas are permitted to enter Dubai (Both vaccinated and unvaccinated passengers) with below requirements. Early check-in will open up 4hrs prior to departure from Johannesburg, Cape Town & Durban airport.

Requirements for passengers holding UAE Residence Visas (visa stamped on the passport)

  1. UAE Residents must have GDRFA or ICA approval.
  2. Present a valid HARD COPY of a Negative Covid-19 PCR test certificate with a QR code issued within 48 hours prior to departure and from an Emirates approved Laboratories.
  3. Present a Rapid PCR test report with a QR code conducted at the departure airport within six (6) hours prior to departure and from an Emirates approved Laboratories.

Requirements for all other passengers (holders of all other types of visas i.e – Newly issued employment & Residence visa, Short stay/Long stay visa, Visitors visa, Visa on arrival)

  1. Present a valid HARD COPY of a Negative Covid-19 PCR test certificate with a QR code issued within 48 hours prior to departure and from and Emirates approved Laboratories.
  2. Present a Rapid PCR test report with a QR code conducted at the departure airport within six (6) hours prior to departure and from an Emirates approved Laboratories.

PCR Test Exemptions:

  1. All UAE nationals arriving from any country to Dubai are not required to conduct a PCR test before boarding a flight to Dubai. They are only required to perform a PCR test on arrival in Dubai.
  2. 1st degree non-UAE national accompanying a UAE national family member.
  3. Domestic workers accompanying a UAE national sponsor.
  4. Children of age under 12-years and passengers with moderate to severe disabilities.

Transit Passengers:

  1. All transit passengers must complete all the requirements of their final destination.
  2. All passengers travelling from South Africa are required to present a HARD COPY Negative Covid-19 PCR test certificate (from one of our Emirates Approved Laboratories) valid 72 hours before departure and any requirements as mandated by their final destination.

Emirates Approved Laboratories For The PCR Test (Within 48 hours prior to departure)

Ampath, Lancet. PathCare. Atter Pathology Services (APS), IndaloBio Genetic Laboratories, Universal Pathology Laboratory. Next Pathology.

Emirates Approved Laboratories for the RAPID PCR test at the airport within six (6) hours prior to departure (Advance Booking Recommended)

* OR Tambo International Airport: NEXT Pathology at the International hotel in the Kafue conference room, Phone: +27 11 697 2900 Email: travel@nextpath.co.za

* Cape Town International Airport: Navomixhealth at the Terminal Building, Shop 32, Ground Floor, Phone: +27 87 148 9727 Email: bookings@navomixhealth.co.za

* Durban King Shaka International Airport: Navomixhealth at the Terminal Building, Second Floor, Departure Level, Phone: +27 87 148 9727 Email: bookings@navomixhealth.co.za

All cost related to PCR test are at passenger’s own expense.

If all above requirements have been met no QUARANTINE will be needed in Dubai.

Contact us for up-to-date entry requirements to the above and other destinations.

Travel Insurance

Living in these interesting times, it is of paramount importance that all travellers avail themselves of travel insurance to best suit their travel needs.

Current Visa information for South African passport holders

Only applicable to fully vaccinated travellers (please note that requirements do change daily – contact us for the latest information)

ANGOLA- The Angolan Embassy is currently only issuing 10-Day Visas.
CANADA- At the moment Canada is accepting visa applications for temporary residence visas.
USA- Currently very difficult to get an available appointment online
AUSTRALIA & NEW ZEALAND- Still not accepting any visa applications.
CHINA- Still not accepting any visa applications.

INTERNATIONAL TRAVEL 

AUSTRIA- Open for Business visa applications.
BELGIUM- Open for Business visa applications.
FRANCE- Open for Tourist and Business visa applications.
GERMANY- Open for Tourist and Business visa applications.
ITALY- Open for Business visa applications.
MALTA- Open for Tourist and Business visa applications.
SWITZERLAND- Open for Tourist and Business visa applications.
TURKEY- Open for Tourist and Business visa applications.
UKRAINE- Open for Tourist and Business Visa applications.
DUBAI- Open for Tourist and Business visa applications
INDIA- Open for Business visa applications.

INTERNATIONAL TRAVEL – AFRICA

ANGOLA- Open for Business visa applications.
BURKINA FASO- Open for Business visa applications.
BURUNDI- Open for Business visa applications.
CAMEROON- Open for Business visa applications.
CHAD- Open for Business visa applications.
CONGO- Open for Business visa applications.
DRC- Open for Business visa applications
EGYPT- Open for Tourist and Business visa applications.
ETHIOPIA- Open for Tourist and Business visa applications.
EQUATORIAL GUINEA- Open for Business visa applications.
GHANA- Open for Business visa applications.
GABON- Open for Business visa applications.
GUINEA- Open for Business visa applications.
IVORY COAST- Open for Business visa applications.
KENYA- Open for Tourist and Business visa applications.
LIBERIA- Open for Business visa applications.
MADAGASCAR- Open for Business visa applications.
MALI- Open for Business visa applications.
MOZAMBIQUE-Open for Tourist and Business visa applications.
NAMIBIA- Open for Tourist and Business visa applications.
NIGERIA- Open for Tourist and Business visa applications.
SENEGAL-Open for Business visa applications.
SIERRA LEONE- Open for Business visa applications.
SUDAN- Open for Business visa applications.
TOGO-Open for Business visa applications.
UGANDA- Open for Business visa applications.

Travelling

South Africa

After more than seven years of planning and construction. The Ashton Arch Bridge in the Western Cape was finally completed on Saturday 14 August 2021.

The small town of Ashton, which sits at the foot of the Langeberg mountain range, made South African history with the official launch of the new bridge crossing the Cogmanskloof River. The 110m tied-arch bridge is part of a series of upgrades to Trunk Road, 31 Sections and 3 connecting Ashton with Montagu.

The arch weighs approximately 7 260 metric tonnes, features five 15,5m overhead wishbone beams, and is 22m tall. It is high enough to avoid the risk of flooding, and features four 3,4m traffic lanes and two 2,4m sidewalks. This stretch of road is the start of the iconic Route 62 which winds through the Klein Karoo and is popular with tourists. 

Visit the Klein Karoo in style:

Rosenhof Country House is situated in Oudtshoorn, en route to the Cango Caves, Ostrich Farm and the Swartberg Pass. The carefully renovated homestead (Circa 1852), with its yellowwood beams and ceilings and a tasteful collection of antique furniture, exudes an aura of authenticity. The lovely rose garden, which gave Rosenhof its name, leads to stylishly decorated bedrooms, each individually furnished. All rooms provide air-conditioning, underfloor heating, Wi-Fi, satellite television (DSTV), telephone, mini bar, digital safe and tea and coffee facilities. The two Executive Suites each with their own pool, lounge and patio, has tranquil views of the Swartberg Mountain. Rosenhof has a cosy pub and several luxury lounges with fireplaces where visitors can relax and admire works from well-known South African artists. In summer, cool down in the pool or take tea in the manicured gardens. The Wellness Centre offers a fully equipped Gym, Sauna and Spa.

Swartberg Country Manor is nestled at the foot of the Swartberg mountains lies the eternal charm of the A peaceful getaway into a world of serene beauty and relaxation. As an endearing home away from home, our desire is that our guests encounter a timeless escape amidst an impressive landscape that features the tallest mountains in the Western Cape. Enjoy a tranquil escape from busy life in an area of unspoiled natural beauty. The extraordinary panoramic views of the Swartberg Mountains from the veranda of the original farmhouse compelled us to create a venue where more people could share in the tranquillity and serenity of this beautiful valley.

The Retreat is a Victorian farmhouse set in 560ha of the beautiful Groenfontein Valley Conservancy, bordering on the 129 000ha Swartberg Nature Reserve overlooking the sweeping gardens and majestic Swartberg mountains. Our Guests can enjoy Karoo lamb dishes and local Cape specialties. Meals are served on the veranda under the stars in the summer or in the beautiful dining room, with a crackling fire, during the cold winter evenings. The Retreat has a full liquor licence and carries a selection of fine wines of the region. The meals at Groenfontein have a health emphasis, vegetarians are welcome and we cater for problem diets.

Of South Africa’s 20 National Parks, 12 will go cash-free from 1 September. The only exceptions are those in Kwazulu Natal and the North West. A spokesperson for SANParks said the parks would make use of a manual card approval process if needed, and that “in areas where electricity and connectivity are a challenge, solar power will be installed to insure there is a signal for the network. International cards, Visa, Mastercard, Diners Club and American Express would be accepted. The cash-free payment system will be implemented in a two-phase approach with several parks implementing from the 2021/ 22 financial year and the remaining parks implementing the system in the 2022/ 23 fiscal year.

South Africa National Parks welcomes you:

Satara is a busy camp, and not without reason. It is situated in an excellent game viewing area, with the bush relatively open and the animals plentiful and diverse. The camp itself has a rustic charm, with the bulk of the accommodation set out in a series of circles. Satara is well wooded and the bird-life is prolific. At night the clink of fruit bats is fused with the chirping of cicadas and crickets. Accommodation at Satara Rest Camp caters to a variety of guest requirements. Choose anything from luxury, self-catering, caravanning or camping accommodation for your stay in the wilderness.

Lower Sabie graces the banks of the Sabie River, one of the few perennial rivers to flow through the Kruger National Park. Visitors cannot but feel soothed by the view towards the river and the Lebombo Mountains beyond. In this rest camp, the bounty and plenitude of nature is very evident, eloquently symbolised by the most conspicuous of its numerous trees, the mighty sycamore fig, which provides generously for the livelihood of many birds and insects. Not only do these giants produce fruit at least twice a year, but different trees produce fruit at different times, extending the gifts of life over many months. Watching the endless procession of animals coming to drink at the Sabie River establishes a sense of one’s own place in the eternal cycle. Accommodation at Lower Sabie Rest Camp caters to a variety of guest requirements.

The idyllic Letaba Rest Camp is situated on a sweeping bend of the Letaba River, midway between the southern and northern boundaries of the Kruger National Park. The name means “river of sand”, and the sandy riverbed is an excellent location for game viewing, particularly elephant, which thrive in the area. Letaba is a green oasis in the surrounding mopane veld, and remains a firm favourite with visitors. At night the stars overlook a symphony of sounds. Owls, nightjars, frogs, fruit bats, crickets and cicadas all vie to be heard, until the lion roars, then all are silent. Accommodation at Letaba Rest Camp not only caters for campsites, huts, safari tents, bungalows and guest cottages but also provides for two large luxury Guest houses in prime positions inside the camp, with riverside view. There are well-equipped kitchens (with microwave ovens) and multiple bedrooms and bathrooms. Limited channel DSTV televisions are provided.

Kruger Shalati: The Train on the Bridge. One of the most anticipated and exciting new offerings coming to the iconic Kruger National Park, South Africa. A perfect combination of Africa’s most breathtaking natural splendours with well-deserved luxuries aboard a newly refurbished train that’s reminiscent of African excellence.

Permanently stationed on the historically-rich Selati Bridge above the Sabie River, Kruger Shalati will offer the most unique luxury accommodation in a re-envisioned train which will pay homage to the guests who explored the park nearly 100 years ago while welcoming new explorers from near and far. The train celebrates where the first visits to the iconic park were allowed in the early 1920s, the train would park overnight in the exact spot where Kruger Shalati will be positioned.

Offering 31 rooms, consisting of 24 carriage rooms and 7 Bridge House rooms, all of which will provide a deeply visceral experience, tailored for immersive comfort. Whether you’re looking for a one-of-a-kind adventure, an enthralling break or to simply immerse yourself in earth’s finest creations, Kruger Shalati looks forward to welcoming you on a journey of discovery with nature in the most extraordinary way imaginable.

The glass-walled, large train rooms allow for infinite views along the length of the majestic Sabie River while the style of the train is a celebration of African design in collaboration with local art and crafting skills. High above the riverbanks, aligned with the floor level of the train, will lie our bespoke deck with pool, offering a swimming experience unlike any other – with crocodile, hippos, buffalos and elephants  greeting guests meters below – a vista unlike any other!

Thought-provoking, unique design is core to our offering, but the holistic experience is centred around our human-ness, our cultural nuances, the people involved in the making of every element, and ultimately the kindness with which we receive our guests. Experience the Kruger, suspended over the Sabie River.

Enjoy the ultimate bush escape in the world-renowned Kruger National Park at the newly-built Skukuza Safari Lodge.  The lodge offers world-class tourism facilities for local and international visitors.

South Africa is getting a new National Park – along the country’s highest lying road.  It will be known as The NE Cape Grasslands National Park.  The Park will start west of Maclear and stretch along the southern-most reaches of the mountainous Lesotho border.  The official timeline has not yet been revealed.

Information supplied by:  ASATA/TNW/Service Provider websites/Travel Info

Spring is the time for plans and projects. Get planning……….