2019 will be a landmark year as South Africa celebrates 25 years of freedom and democracy. South African Tourism is encouraging travelers to make 2019 the year they discover everything that the country has to offer, from its wildlife, natural beauty, and dramatic coastlines to its world-class restaurants, art galleries, and compelling explorations of culture. It is a unique moment to reflect and acknowledge the country’s socio-economic progress since the end of apartheid and its journey to becoming one of the world’s most sought-after travel destinations.
The new year will offer a diverse array of authentic experiences from art, culture and adventure to exciting hotel developments and new itineraries. With the continued strength of the dollar to the rand, it’s the opportune time to travel to the destination!
Reviving Cape Town
Thanks to innovative solutions put in place earlier this year to combat the drought in Cape Town, the Mother City is open for business and looks towards a bright 2019 with water levels stabilizing and significant efforts continuing to play a key role in the conversation on conserving our precious water. The city’s diverse range of breathtaking landscapes, rich cultural experiences, world class food and wine, art, marine life, nature and much more, are all ready to return to the spotlight in 2019.
New Activity Offerings
The UNESCO World Heritage Site, Robben Island Museum, is starting to offer tours to visitors upon request. A new exhibit at the Mayibuye History Centre at the University of the Western Cape are unique multimedia collections depicting images of the resistance and freedom struggles caused by Apartheid. The two historical exhibits offer visitors the ability to experience, learn, and pay respects to South Africa’s history and better understand the forward momentum the country has made.
Boosting Family Travel
South Africa is becoming more accessible for traveling families through updated regulations. The Department of Home Affairs (DHA) announced on December 1st, 2018 that they are relaxing some of the regulations for children traveling to South Africa. The announcement comes at a pivotal point for family travel as the Festive Season, a time when many families travel with their children, is fast approaching.
As visas are not required for US & CAN travelers visiting for less than 90 days, generally, children (under 18) travelling with both parents will experience no additional questioning and will not be requested to provide any additional documents, over and above a valid passport.
However, if it may appear that you are not the parents of the child for any reason, documentation may be requested. It is suggested that you consider carrying a birth certificate which features the details of the parent or parents, or other documentation that might assist to prove the parental relationship such as a marriage certificate, adoption certificate etc.
For more details from the Department of Tourism click here.
News from the Bush
Located on the Kapama Private Game Reserve, the Relais & Chateaux safari lodge, Camp Jabulani, is opening “Little Jabu” in October 2019 that will house 12 suites. 7 are “Jabulani Suites” ideal for couples and 5 are “Little Jabu Family Suites” for families with up to two children. The award winning lodge is known for guided bush walks and Big 5 game drives as well as the Hoedspruit Endangered Species Centre, a leading private research and breeding facility for endangered species in the country.
In the Eastern Cape, the renowned Shamwari Private Game Reserve has finalized the first phase of its extensive $25 million refurbishment of the Eagles Crag Lodge and the Riverdene Family Lodge. The second phase, due to complete November 2019, will see a new, flagship luxury tented camp, and the renovation of the historic Long Lee Manor, featuring 18 private luxury suites. The reserve offers visitors the opportunity to get behind the scenes of the conservancy’s volunteering efforts and environmental regeneration projects.
The Royal Portfolio announced that the The Farmstead will open May 1, 2019. This property will be an exclusive lodge at Royal Malewane, just a mere 12 minute drive south of it, and stand as The Royal Portfolio’s first property in South Africa’s Greater Kruger National Park. Accommodations will be provided in a main lodge as well as luxury villas and suites with rates inclusive of accommodation, meals, drinks, game drives and bush walks. It provides a completely different design style than the existing safari lodges in South Africa with light oak, tin roofs, wrought iron and gentle hues of blue and white defining the style.
Welcoming New Urban Retreats
Newmark Hotels, Residences, Reserves & Lodges, known for the noteworthy opening of Hallmark House in Johannesburg’s trendy Maboneng Precinct, is opening Stock Exchange – an eclectic city hotel in Cape Town’s most up-and-coming region, Woodstock. Set to open March 2019, it will boast just 33 apartment-style rooms with kitchens and will include a restaurant, swimming pool, gym and shops. The interior of the rooms celebrate local talent and the connection with the neighborhood. As a result, furniture and decorations items in the rooms will be pinpointed on a “design map” of Woodstock, allowing guests to purchase similar items and support the region’s artists.
Placed on the only tree-lined and fully pedestrianized avenue in Cape Town is Gorgeous George, a new hotel set to open early 2019. The new structure is the first hotel in the area to be a member of Design Hotels. Located between St. George’s Mall and Green Market Square, the goal of the hotel is to be a new cultural hub that reflects South Africa’s design scene.