Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Stellenbosch on Two Wheels

A Stellenbosch-based adventure sports company has launched guided bicycle tours through the historic town and surrounding winelands.

"It is something different. You actually have an opportunity to experience Stellenbosch and its surroundings, and not just sit in a bus," says the Adventure Shop's Raino Bolz.

You don't even have to be in peak condition to join in. Bolz advises tourists to travel light and cycle in comfortable gear such as shorts and t-shirts. The guides carry a snack pack for each rider. From here, tourists cycle through Stellenbosch to interesting historic sites.

The tour kicks off in Stellenbosch, at the tourist information centre where riders collect their mountain bikes and helmets.

En route the guides will point out other prominent landmarks such as the 'moederkerk', and the theological seminary.

Heading into the countryside

Next, the group heads out to the Jonkershoek Nature Reserve, just outside Stellenbosch. Cyclists might work up a bit of a sweat on this part of the route, but the beautiful mountain fynbos should offer enough of a distraction.

The tour follows a winding road through oak and poplar forests to two wine estates in the Jonkershoek Valley. At Lanzerac Wine Estate, cyclists are also treated to chocolate and wine pairings, the ultimate indulgence.

Ending a perfect day outLink

After the tasting, the group cycles back into Stellenbosch, which is mostly downhill.

Bolz says that there are some variations to this route, and that the tour can be tailored to suite the group's cycling ability. The duration of the tour is four to five hours and cyclists depart at 9.30am from the Stellenbosch tourist information centre, where the Adventure Shop is located.

The cost is R490 per person, which includes a guide; bicycle and helmet rental; two wine tastings and a snack pack and drink.

Visit www.adventureshop.co.za to find out more.

For the full article, click here.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Visitors stream through SA airports

Johannesburg - There was an "impressive" increase in passenger traffic at airports countrywide from November 2011 to January this year, Airports Company SA (Acsa) said on Monday.

"These are encouraging indications of an improvement in air travel numbers and it is hoped that growth will be maintained through 2012," spokesperson Solomon Makgale said in a statement.

"In spite of tough market conditions as a result of poor economic performance, the three months... showed that 9.2 million passengers... were facilitated through... a countrywide network of airports."

This represented a 2.9% growth when compared to the same period a year ago.

"Traffic was boosted noticeably over the summer period at Cape Town International Airport due to additional international seasonal capacity and the introduction of Velvet Sky flights," he said.

The airport recorded "impressive" increases in international passenger travel over the previous year, with November's traffic growing by 12%, while December and January each had a 17% rise.

In December during the 17th Conference of the Parties (COP17) in Durban, the number of flights at King Shaka International Airport increased by 7.1% with 10 380 additional visitors.

"International traffic grew exceptionally by 105%, with an average flight occupancy of 95%."

Makgale said although OR Tambo International Airport in Johannesburg saw a modest 1.5% growth during the three months, statistics confirmed it remained southern Africa's traffic hub with an average of 1.6 million passengers passing through it each month.

"Overall traffic results showed that Acsa facilitated a total of 29.9 million arriving and departing passengers between April 2011 and January 2012, an increase of 2.6 percent over the previous corresponding period," Makgale said.

- Sapa

Monday, February 6, 2012

TripAdvisor in hot water

Travel website TripAdvisor was censured by Britain's advertising watchdog on Wednesday, and told it must not claim that all of its user-generated reviews are from real travellers.

The website carried statements such as "more than 50 million honest travel reviews and opinions from real travellers around the world" and "reviews that you can trust", the Advertising Standards Authority said.

But the watchdog upheld complaints that the US-based company - which claims to be the world's biggest travel site - did not verify the reviews to the extent that it could guarantee they were all genuine.

It said that claims that all reviews on the site were from actual travellers were "misleading".

"We told TripAdvisor not to claim or imply that all the reviews that appeared on the website were from real travellers, or were honest, real or trusted," it said in a statement.

TripAdvisor said its fraud detection systems were "advanced and highly effective" but that it was "not practical" for them to screen all reviews manually.

A key complaint was made last year by an online reputation management firm called KwikChex.com, which said it had spoken to thousands of hotels claiming to be affected by malicious reviews, the Guardian newspaper reported.

Full article on iafrica.com