TRAVEL NOTES

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The Independent Culture
GETTING THERE: Jonathan Glancey travelled to South Africa courtesy of South African Airways (reservations 0171-312 5000, fares 0171-312 5001). Return fares from London to Johannesburg cost from pounds 656, and flights leave Heathrow daily. Bluebird Express (01444 235678) operates charter flights twice a week, departing from Gatwick for Johannesburg. Until the end of February the economy Apex fare (bookable seven days in advance) is pounds 499, or pounds 699 business class. Campus Travel (0171-730 8111) has a student fare of pounds 476 return to Johannesburg until the end of June. The flights, on Alitalia, depart from both Gatwick and Heathrow with a short stop in Rome.

INCLUSIVE HOLIDAYS: South African Affair (0171-381 5222) offers holidays to various areas in South Africa with flights, car hire and accommodation included. Itineraries are fully flexible. A 10-day trip to the Cape area costs from pounds 942 per person a nd includes four days in Cape Town, two days in the Wine Land and four days on the Garden Route. For pounds 1,200, two days could be spent in a game reserve with full board and game drives included. Tana (01789 414200) also offers various holidays which take in both some of the major cities and the South African countryside. A morning's Balloon Safari is available on Tana's Johannesburg and Pretoria holiday for pounds 143 per person.

SAFARIS: Guerba (01373 826689) organises safaris to South Africa, with prices including all transport by fully equipped expedition vehicles, entry fees to parks, guide fees and return flights from London. A 29-day safari from Harare to Cape Town costs fr om pounds 1,210 per person, including return flights from London.

THE BLUE TRAIN: The railway journey undertaken by Jonathan Glancey, from Johannesburg to Cape Town, takes approximately 24 hours, departing at 10.10am. It costs pounds 455 per person, based on two people sharing a luxury cabin, or pounds 636 including a private shower and WC. The train can be booked travelling in either direction through Sartravel (0171-287 1133).

THE OTTER TRAIL: This five-day, 41km walk - in one direction only - runs through the Tsitsikamma National Park, which stretches along the southern Cape coast of South Africa. The walk costs approximately pounds 35 per person, including four nights of hut accommodation. Hikers, who should be reasonably fit, are adv ised to travel in parties of at least four people. Reservations are made and confirmed between 12 and 11 months in advance, with a maximum of 12 people allowed on the Otter Trail per day. Further information is available from the National Parks Board (00 27 12 343 1991), PO Box 787, Pretoria 0001. Late a pplications for the Otter Trail within three days of the starting date should be referred to the Park (00 27 42 541 1607).

CAR HIRE: Budget (0800 181181) offers a week's small-car hire from pounds 200 per week all inclusive. Avis (0181-848 8733) offers seven days' all-inclusive car hire for pounds 231. Minimum age of drivers for both hire companies is 23.

FURTHER INFORMATION: South African Tourism Board (0181- 944 6644), 5/6 Alt Grove, Wimbledon, London SW19 4DZ. South African Embassy (0171-930 4488), South Africa House, Trafalgar Square, London WC2N 5DP.

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