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Monthly Archives: June 2015

Edito 066 – Family Affair

One thing for sure that requires planning, is a family trip!

First of all, choose the destination.
You can go for an exotic one but it has to be thought-through. A destination that will please the youngest that still doesn’t let go of his dummy, disconnect the teenagers from their smartphones and allow mom and dad some breathing… Especially mom…

edito

A country where the local food won’t disturb your stay… Like mosquitoes and jellyfishes…
A journey with well-thought rhythm and distances. Not too long… with enough breaks to allow everyone to let off steam.
Fully equipped lodges, guest-houses, hotels. With a well-trained staff, onsite activities…

And above all, an agency that won’t have forgotten the bottle warmer, the car seat, to check the size of the trunk, the babysitter, the inter-leading bedrooms, the stroller, the planning of activities and everything you need to take with you when traveling.
An agency that has an appropriate selection of accommodation.
Because, once you’re in the plane, your only concern should be to spend a wonderful time all together.

Luckily, I know one whose consultants are also mothers and fathers… who could advise you better?

Happy reading and happy holidays,

SC

How can you Make a Teenager Happy?

Growing up in a large Italian family I know what it means when you struggle to keep your children and especially teenagers entertained on a holiday – but luckily for you that is where we come in!
We put together a great adventurous holiday for you and your family that will be just as appetising to your children as a 5 star gourmet menu would be for you.

Activities Tour for Teenagers

Whether you have a quiet teenager that just wants to watch animals, or the adrenalin junkie that wishes to bungee jump or maybe a brilliant little mind that wants to submerge in the local culture and history – South Africa has plenty to offer for both parents and teenagers to enjoy together.
So get on board and get ready to be taken on an imaginary adventure ride with us along the Garden Route!

Day 1

We start off with the International arrival and your Meet & Greet after which you take your national flight to George and pick up your rental car and hit the road.
First stop are three nights in Plettenberg Bay at the Trogon House and Forest Spa. Freshen up, relax after your long trip in this beautiful accommodation nestled within an indigenous forest and have a good meal to get into the swing of things.

TROGON

The Trogon House and Forest Spa

Day 2

What better way to spend the day then by leisurely cruising and watching the whales – the gentlest giants that reign over our waters on a cruise. The spectacular sightings you get to enjoy are what makes whale watching a must do activity and will render you speechless.

Whales Cruise

Whales Cruise

Day 3

Make your way to your bungee jumping experience on Bloukrans Bridge.
Not only is bungee jumping part of most people’s bucket lists – in this case it is also recognised as the highest bungee from a bridge worldwide! Situated on Africa’s largest bridge and with views over the majestic Bloukrans valley it ticks many boxes all at once!

Bungee jumping experience on Bloukrans Bridge

Bungee jumping experience on Bloukrans Bridge

Day 4

Hit the sky again and experience skydiving over the forests of Knysna and the beaches of Plettenberg Bay. Experience the rush of a free fall of half a minute at 200KPH from 10,000 feet.

Skydiving over the forest of Knysna

Skydiving over the forest of Knysna

Day 5

Make your way to Oudtshoorn and find the caveman within you at the Cango Caves. They offer two different educational tours with expert guides – a heritage tour for the parents and an adventure tour that leads deeper into the cave and will have you even crawling on your knees. Stalagmites and incredible limestone rock formations are to be discovered together with a wall painting.
Enjoy lunch at one of the many safari ostrich farms and make your way to your accommodation.
You will overnight at the La Plume Guesthouse a homestead located on a working ostrich, alfalfa and vine farm with spectacular views of the Swartberg Mountains.

Cango Caves

Cango Caves

Day 6 – 8

Enjoy time away from civilisation with three fun filled days of authentic safari experience. The Gondwana Game Reserve offers game drives, cycling, exclusive Africology spa treatments and a very popular Junior Ranger program – something for everyone in the family. The family bush villas with expansive decks are the ideal accommodation for you and your children.

The Gondwana Game Reserve

The Gondwana Game Reserve

Day 9

Today you will make your way to the Mother City. After check in get ready to roll: You will enjoy the spectacular sights of the Cape Peninsula while being chauffeured around in a vintage World War Two Motorcycle sidecar!
Your accommodation is the urban sanctuary known as The Four Rosmead Guesthouse.

Sidecar tour of the Cape Peninsula

Sidecar tour of the Cape Peninsula

Day 10

For the surfing and snowboarding teenagers we suggest the following two activities that Cape Town has to offer: ride the waves Muizenberg or if you prefer not getting wet – how about sand boarding in Atlantis!?
And if riding the waves is not for you – take a day trip and get into the waters with another marine giant – the great white shark! Another experience that can be ticked off your bucket list and that will get the adrenalin rushing.

Muizenberg beach

Muizenberg beach

Day 11

For some insight into South Africa’s history, culture, art and local living head over to Woodstock. Get an insight into the local Street Art with a local expert. Then have a decadent brunch at the Pot Luck Club whilst enjoying a spectacular view of the city, followed by a walk on the Neighbourgoods Market of the Old Biscuit Mill.
Spend the afternoon learning about the Malay culture in the Bo Kaap and take a cruise to Robben Island where Mandela was held captive for 18 of his 27 prison years and immerse yourself into the history, life and legacy of our beloved Madiba.

Street art in Woodstock neighbourhood

Street art in Woodstock neighbourhood

Day 12

Let’s finish off this holiday with a relaxing day in the city. Visit our Mother City’s landmark the Table Mountain. The afternoon is spent best with a picnic basket in the Kirstenbosch Gardens where in summer you can enjoy concerts under the stars.

Kirstenbosch garden  canopy walk

Kirstenbosch Garden Canopy Walk

Day 13

After dropping off your rental car at the airport you will be checking into your flight back home. And we hope you do so with some tired teenagers who are filled with amazing memories of a very unique, adventurous holiday in South Africa!

By Alessendra Klein

Travel to South Africa: List of Papers you should not forget

Breaking news! New regulations on travelling with children to South Africa have just been implemented by the local government with effective application.

WHY a new law?

Let’s be honest, planning family holidays takes lots of time and energy in your already super busy day. So why would South Africa add more chores and paperwork on top of the pile? They must have a pretty good reason.
Indeed! Instead of feeding you with complicated legal and technical explanations, we’ll stick to this figure >>30 000. This is the estimated number of minors trafficked through South African borders every year. 50% of them are under the age of 14. This is THE reason why local government decided to finally take action.

Be practical

What does it change for you, parents, grandparents, uncles and aunties who want to treat your beloved kids with an amazing and memorable adventure trip in South Africa?
Let’s break down the most common cases and documents you would need to carry in your suitcase to get in and out of this amazing country.

1/ Yay ! Your tribe is flying to South Africa.

Only 2 Documents demanded: passport of the child + full birth certificate showing both parents details.

2/ No husband, no wife! Only you and your child.

You have decided to head off to spend some quality time with your little one or your teen.
Well, in this case you must provide: passport of the child + full birth certificate showing both parents details + affidavit of consent from the non–travelling parent and a copy of his ID.

3/ Mum and Dad are not getting along very well anymore.

You are divorced. If you have the sole custody, you won’t need your ex-partner to provide an affidavit of consent. The court of order of such sole custody would be sufficient.
Plus, of course, the basic combo: passport of the child + full birth certificate showing both parents details.
If you don’t have the custody, scroll up to section 2.

4/ A precious friend or member of your family wants to travel with your even more precious progeny.

Since she has retired, Granny has secretly dreamt of borrowing your kid for 15 days and treating him/her with super cool holiday in SA. Well, she will have to summon up her patience and determination.
She would need: passport of the child + full birth certificate showing both parents details + affidavit of consent form signed by both parents + both parents copy of ID’s + full contact details of both parents.

5/ I am 17 and I want to explore South Africa ALONE.

Great idea! Travel shapes youth as the saying goes. To embark on the plane and enter the country your dearest teen will have to carry the below documents in his bag besides the IPad, GoPro, flip-flops and sunglasses.
Passport of the child + full birth certificate showing both parents details + affidavit of consent form signed by both parents or one of the parent if this is the one having sole custody + parents copy of ID’s + full contact details of both parents + invitation letter of the person welcoming your child in SA with his/her ID details and proof of residency.

Don’t worry, this is just paperwork, and the below links will help you to get everything you need to embark on your next South African adventure.

Read more:

NEW IMMIGRATION REGULATIONS
SOUTH AFRICAN REQUIREMENTS FOR MINORS TAVELLING INTERNATIONALLY

By Camille Roques

Grandpa, Dad, Mum, my Sister and Me

In terms of travel, we all have in our minds the holidays with our parents or the summer reunions in our grandparents’ house. But today, I would like to share another original and trendy way to travel as a family: the multigenerational trips.
Let us try to be clearer: this kind of travel allows grandparents, parents and children, and even great grandparents and aunts, to be together during a journey which promises to be memorable.
However, for trips of this ilk, in particular in the stunning Southern Africa, things need to be decided and prepared seriously. To make this trip unforgettable and magical, some necessary precautions have to be taken.

A roundtable of the XO Africa consultants allowed me to list some of their best tips to make this journey as entertaining and peaceful as possible:

Get everyone involved in the preparation process…

…and make sure that each person should contribute one thing they really want to do or see, and make sure they get to do it. This point may seem obvious but it is the depart line of a good multigenerational trip.

Family Safari

Family Safari

The accommodation is a crucial issue

Make sure you choose accommodations that offer something for everyone! Go for comfortable, safe structures with possibly lots of activities and amenities to choose from, e.g. spa treatments, playgrounds, children programs, restaurants.

For instance if you go to Cape Town, I can suggest the One & Only Hotel which has restaurants, a spa and lots of shops within walking distance.

If you are more oriented to live a game drive experience, the best option should be to choose a family-friendly lodge like the Bakubung in the Pilanesberg National Park as well as the Footsteps camp in Botswana. Late tip: Double-check the children policy in the Lodge. Some of them do not charge the children should they share with their parents. Others do not accept low-aged children within their structure or safaris whereas some of them offer discounts for group and big families. The Sun City resort in Pilanesberg may be an alternative which proposes game drives, aquatic activities and other activities to gather all the family.

Footsteps Camp - Botswana

Footsteps Camp – Botswana

Health and documents

Before going to Southern Africa, make sure that you contracted a good medical insurance because let us not forget that the health care is costly. Find out about visas and the immigration policy and regulations, in particular on minors travelling. This point is crucial. Indeed, it may lead to difficulties if it is not well-handled. To avoid some concerns about malaria or yellow fever, we recommend you to pick a malaria free destination like the beach spot Maputaland in Kwazulu-Natal withRocktail.

Activities

Activities will be focused on sharing moments together and building family memories. For instance, we can advise you to do a private boat cruise at the Waterfront in Cape Town or elsewhere in Botswana along the Chobe River. A picnic in the vineyards around Cape Town is also an entertaining way to federate everyone. For more adventures, why not embark on a helicopter flight over Cape Town or the Victoria Falls in Zambia?

Chobe River Cruise in Botswana

Chobe River Cruise in Botswana

 Take a break

With this kind of travel, the time for oneself is essential. Now and then, think about a baby-sitter or registering your low-aged children at the Hotel’s mini-club. Moreover, it may be burdensome to organise everything from A to Z, especially for trips in foreign countries. Hence, we suggest you to go through a Tour Operator or a guide that will be able to indicate and help you enjoy the best spots. Regarding the self-driving tours, ensure you that you keep the distances shorter to keep the journey comfortable.

I hope that these precious tips provided by the XO Africa experts will help you and clarify the way that multigenerational trips can work. Good luck and courage!

By Florence Neret

Singita: Lodges for Children’s Happiness

You love travelling, discovering new amazing destinations? You are curious of everything and you love nature and wilderness? So welcome in Africa! Only problem which wouldn’t be one, you have children. Yes, as you may know, some of the top range accommodations do not accept them. But, should you sacrifice your desire of making a safari with your whole family or sacrifice your comfort because you have kids? Of course no, don’t worry, the combination of a wonderful trip with your offspring is now possible!

We decided to select the group Singita, which is represented everywhere in South Africa, in Zimbabwe and in Tanzania. Well unknown for it high standing, it’s also thanks to its warm welcoming for the families and the originality of the activities proposed to the kids that Singita is nowadays really appreciated.

For parents travelling with their children, there are special two-bedroomed family suites at Singita Boulders and Ebony Lodges (South Africa). With bigger families or teens, the villa accommodation at Singita Pamushana Lodge (Zimbabwe) is ideal.
Activities at the lodges are tailored specifically to suit the interests and desires of each family. Here you can find few of them proposed in most of the Singita’s lodges which are, according to us, really interested thanks to their originality, their educative and informative goal.

Pamushana Lodge - Zimbabwe

Pamushana Lodge – Zimbabwe

Baking with the lodge chefs

What do you think about a first cooking experience with a chief? This activity, called “the cookie-cutter program”, is notably proposed in Ebony Lodges and Sweni Lodges. Children realize their own cookie with the assistance of one of the lodge chefs. It is a way to learn a new skill or notch up an exciting experience that will earn them bragging rights with their friends!

Children's activities at Singita

Children’s activities at Singita

Mini Rangers’ Course

This activity is a real chance for kids to discover the huge and complicated nature they are taking part of. Accompanied with a guide, these courses cover tracking animals; frogging; butterfly capture and release; astronomy; bush survival techniques; flower-pressing; game-spotting competitions; nature quizzes and a guide’s test.

Mini Rangers' Course

Mini Rangers’ Course

Community Projects: Early Childhood Development

Finally, we want to present you an initiative that is really important for Singita. The group is involved in the community development on the border of the Sabi Sand Game Reserve.  She created a partnership with the READ Educational Trust, a long-standing, non-profit organization which recognized child development leader, to enhance the quality of early childhood education offered by the preschools. For instance, they organized formal training courses for the teachers. For example, through the program “Growing to Read”, Singita has chosen to focus on the literacy of the children.

You can meet the children in those schools and learn more about this programme and its benefits. Through this initiative, it’s also a way to support children’s future, and one more time, the family notion in general.


By
Elise Langlois

One of us – Robyn Jeftha, Leisure Travel Consultant

What is you background?

Well, I am born and bred here in beautiful Cape Town.
I did French as a third language at school and through my French got the wonderful opportunity to travel abroad a couple of times and that has really broadened my horizon.

How would you define your job?

I should say attention to detail.
Having to plan and do clients itinerary is absolutely remarkable.
Families making memories are very important to me and I am so happy that I contribute towards it.

Tell us what is your job philosophy ?

Always give my best.
Going the extra mile to make sure everything is in place.

Where is your favorite place to eat in Cape Town?

Beluga in Greenpoint – I love the fact that it has a warm space, stunning art deco but best of all is the sushi is amazing !!

Tell us about a great little place you know?

My favorite picnic place is at Chapmans Peak drive.
It is isolated little picnic spots and the various viewpoints always encourage me to take lots of pictures, as the views are spectacular.

Robyn Jeftha

Robyn and her husband at Chapman’s Peak

Your idea of a well done job?

When my clients return home and had a wonderful experience and the feedback is positive.
That just makes my day!