Sent by Karl and Lilian Van Rooyen
Byrne Valley, Near Richmond. KZN 01/11/2011
Based in Richmond
Looking for help with your business travel? Find out how I can help here
My name is Amanda van der Spuy. I am an independent Travel Counsellor, based in the Southern Midlands of KZN, and I have worked in the business and leisure travel industry for almost 32 years in South Africa.
I have a passion for travel and have personally travelled to most countries in Europe and within the Far East, the USA (I loved Disney World), Australia and more recently to Egypt and Jordan.
I am franchised to Travel Counsellors, which has over 1700 Travel Counsellors throughout the world and I have access to their combined support, expertise and experience, 24 hours a day.
Whatever your leisure travel needs are, I can assist you with a fast and efficient personal service and I offer a quick response to quotes and enquiries and up to date information on special offers and the best available deals.
In addition to this, I can save you the time and frustration of internet bookings. When the ash cloud hit, I was able to assist all my passengers quickly, however passengers who booked through the internet were left stranded.
For all your travel requirements give me a call.
I absolutely live and breathe travel and I love to write about my experiences! Please take a look through my posts - you might find your own holiday inspiration.
25 July 2012
In July 2012 I had the pleasure to travel to FORT COLLINS in Colorado...I flew with Emirates direct from Durban to Dubai and then onto Seattle, within a few hours I was on my way again to Denver and then had a road trip to FORT COLLINS. Emirates Airlines is a great airline with efficient staff both on the ground and in the air ...their flights were full and yet the level of service was of a high standard... My first impression of USA airports – is that they are bigger and better in the USA...the security is of a high standard and it takes time to pass through all the channels. But the airports are well sign posted and you will easily find someone to assist should you be unsure of where you should go etc. Seattle I saw mostly from the air, a beautiful city on a bay, and because it is summer there I did not except to see so much snow still on the mountains around Seattle, it made some beautiful pictures... Arriving in Denver was another great experience - again well signed instructions get you where you need to be, on arrival one of my suitcases did not make it, but no problem they had put it onto the next flight and would deliver it to me in Fort Collins ...and they did the next morning at 05:30 sharp! Fort Collins is about an hour away from Denver; it has a very similar landscape to what we have in the Midlands, along with a similar weather pattern, warm dry summers and cold winters, with the odd afternoon shower. There is much to do in Fort Collins, it is like visiting the beautiful Este Park in the mountains nearby, where they have a old fashion little town with all the shops you can think of that they would had about 60 years ago. They have kept the small town image ... you can go up further into the mountains by cable car and have a magnificent view over the Colorado state...they have a large amount of snow during their winter months which make skiing there a pleasure. On the way up to the Park you pass many cabins that people use during the summer holidays where they enjoy hiking, trout fishing and in the winter months skiing. In Fort Collins there is a big University, with beautiful campus grounds that flows into the old town, during the time the University in the town is flooded with students and during the long summer months it seems that the town is empty because all the students are away on their holiday. The town has many restaurants to offer – there are over 300 restaurants in the old town area ranging from fast foods, Mexican, Chinese etc. You have to try the ice cream, in one of the many ice cream parlours – they are to die for! There are two big BUDWEISER plants in the area around Fort Collins and they offer tours through the plant to show how the beer is made...and you get a free tasting at the end! I did not spend time in Denver, but made use of the Quilitay Inn Suites at Denver Airport, it is well appointed with a free shuttle to and from the airport. There are a few restaurants around the hotel for a quick bite. My overnight stop in Dubai was at the Millinium Emirates Hotel. It was a good experience for a STPC stop over. Dubai Terminal 3 is huge...you will walk for miles - I thought of ordering wheelchair assistance! They can cope with the masses that come through that Terminal without any problems. I am now safely back in sunny South Africa! Nothing like home sweet home!
25 May 2012
Mauritius – first thing that comes to mind is the green beautiful Palm trees, white sandy beaches and cocktails on the beach!! And all this is what you will get at the 5 Star Beachcomber Shandrani Hotel, which is just a 10 minute drive from the airport on the southern side of the island! The Shandrani Hotel is an impressive hotel with their reception lobby looking straight onto the ocean – and is so welcoming. This hotel has 327 rooms; which is made up of superior suites, deluxe rooms, family apartments and superior rooms – to accommodate everyone’s choice. They offer 5 restaurants to choice from, a magnificent Wellness Centre, 2 swimming pools and 3 great beaches, from where you can enjoy a glass bottom boat ride, waterskiing, swimming, snorkeling, kayaking etc. I also had the pleasure to visit the eastern side of the island to pay a visit to new LONG BEACH Resort – WOW! This hotel is an hour and half from the airport, drive along the beach side of the island a little hair rising! This hotel is a very different style of hotel, and not built like the any other hotel on the island, and SA architect has done a marvelous job on this property. This use to be the old Le Coco Beach hotel…but not anymore…it has 4 restaurants ranging from Japanese, Chinese, International buffet and beach restaurant. They offer half board but with an option to upgrade to full board. Their rooms are to dream of – beautiful white with pastel greens, pinks etc. The family unit is two rooms joined with a common door entrance that can be closed and the kids are safely inside. The “kids” room has two pull out sleepers like a full bed and their own flat screen TV, and during the day this area becomes a lounge area. The Kiddies club is great, and caters for 6 month up to teenagers (they have their own section where there are computers, game stations etc.) There is this amazing ROCK CLIMBING wall (the only one on the island) bikes to ride, swimming pool, great gym and more. The Wellness centre is really of a very high standard and has much to offer for the discerning client. Mauritius weather at this time of year can offer a little more rain than the rest of the year and this side of the island is a little windier than the western side. Still a great destination to visit most time of the year. Sadly I had to say good bye to Mauritius and return a bitterly cold SA. Amanda
22 October 2010
Mauritius in October is a good time to visit ... Sunny days with some cloud cover ...and a little breeze to keep you cool!! We departed on Air Mauritius from Johannesburg to Mauritius , a comfortable 4 hour flight, they served us a late lunch with drinks, followed by a movie ...then you arrive in Mauritius ....the new airport is a pleasure to arrive at...customs as friendly as they are allowed to be ...and in no time we had our baggage. The transfer from the airport to our first hotel took about an hour and a half, on a reasonable highway - a big improvement since I was there last (11 years ago). Major construction on route and you can see big changes in the economy ...even the retail outlets like; Game, KFC and Debonaires are to be seen along the way. On our arrival we were met by a joyful bunch of GO 's (General Organiser’s) who were waiting for us with a welcome cocktail, and then they showed us to our rooms. We had time to freshen up and then we made your way to the dining room where a buffet awaited us, for a late evening meal. The Club Med Pointe Aux Canonries is an excellent choice for young families, as you will see many children around the different areas, enjoying the pool and beaches etc. The kiddies club is the best that I have seen in a very long time, catering from small babies up to the age of 16 years. I believe this is a must if Mom and Dad want to have some time to themselves. All the standard water sports are catered for, the beaches are beautiful ....long white beaches for you to take long walks and to have a swim as you wish. On the beaches you will find lounges ready for your use for as long as you wish. The rooms range from standard rooms through to suites and they are of a very high standard, with beautiful finishing etc. The only suggestion that I would like to have made is that they included in the standard rooms, coffee and tea making facilities, you would love to have a cup of coffee on your beautiful veranda before coming down to the dining room for breakfast. The food is of very high standard and cannot fault them for variety, catering for all tastes and likes. Our next visit was Club Med La Plantation d ‘Albion; the reception area is to dream of, with beautiful decor and water venetians in the back ground. This property is of a very high standard and is a good 5 Star! The best selling point of this property is the Villas having a 2 bedroom up to a 4 bedroom ....you have your own butler to look after you during your stay, your own beautiful villa with your own pool area and pool bar ...and you have the use of the resort with all of its amenities during your stay, and the restaurants etc. I would say this resort is for the more mature discerning family ...and saying that their kiddies club is excellent, providing parent’s time for themselves during their stay. The sport activities include all water sports and added a Trapez area ...a beautiful Spa and Zen pool/area. Again the food buffet is of a high standard and provides a great choice for each meal ranging from Mauritian Creole, Italian, and French etc. Club Med have a winning recipe with their all inclusive program, it is worth every cent you pay on your package. Especially if you have children that like to have cool drink ,eats throughout the day ...and do not forget about Dad and Mom and their like for sundowners!
22 June 2009
The flight from Johannesburg to Cairo on Egypt Air was on the new Airbus complemented with good food and service. The new terminal at Cairo Airport is impressive and efficient. We were met and transferred to Shepherds Hotel. The hotel is well situated and overlooks the Nile, and is within easy walking distance of the Egyptian Museum, and the city centre. The rooms are not modern but big and comfortable. The breakfast is generous and the staff very pleasant. Although this was my third visit to Egypt, I still enjoy going to the Khali Kali Bazaar, which has grown since I was last there. I just love walking in the city centre and experiencing the sights and smells of the place. A day tour to Memphis Sakkara just outside Cairo is well worth the time as is dinner on a floating restaurant on the Nile, also a short and safe stroll from the hotel. The next day we flew to Amman. This was my first visit to Jordan and I was impressed with the modern airport and service at customs and passport control. We were met and transferred to our hotel, the Amman Century. Amman is rich in historical interest and one needs to allow at least two to three full days to see the sights such as the Citadel, the restored Roman Theatre, the Roman Forum, the Nymphaeum and the Grand Husseini Mosque. The following day we left Amman on a private tour of Jordan. En-route to the Dead Sea we visited the Desert Castles at Qasr Amra, Azrag and Kharaneh. These castles were built in the desert as overnight accommodation for ancient traveller’s en-route to and from the Dead Sea. We stayed at a hotel on the western bank of the Dead Sea. A swim in the Dead Sea is the most amazing experience and is highly recommended. The water is salty but not unpleasant; one is not allowed to stay in the water for longer than 20 minutes as one’s blood pressure can drop. From the Dead Sea we travelled via Madaba (the City of Mosaics,) Mount Nebo (the site of a monastery commemorating Moses) to Kerak through Wadi Mujib, a deep valley with breathtaking views, to Petra. A visit to the Kerak Castle is a must with its diverse history dating from the Byzantine era. One can start the tour of Petra by horse back or take a nice walk down. We took the horse back option!!! At the end of a walk between overhanging cliffs the first vision of Petra is amazing, a sight never to be forgotten. For the reasonably fit a climb up 800 steps to the monastery is well worth the effort. We stayed in unique accommodation in Petra: The Petra Taybet Zaman was an old Bedouin village converted in to a hotel...it was really something special. The food was excellent, the meat dishes really different but very enjoyable. We then made our way to Wadi Rum, Jordan’s largest desert and where Lawrence of Arabia had his headquarters. A tour into the desert by 4x4 is reasonably inexpensive and well worth it. The beautiful seaside resort of Aqaba is the play ground of the rich. The Aqaba Movenpick Resort has its own private beach with every possible amenity and on a clear day one can see Israel. Jordan as country has amazing sites to visit, the people are friendly and helpful, the standard of hotels high, it is safe and well worth a visit.
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