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Help needed - what do YOU look for as a visitor to SA?

Cape Town Central...
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611 posts
19 reviews
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Help needed - what do YOU look for as a visitor to SA?

Hi all,

I know this is not strictly a forum post, but your help would be excellent.

I am currently doing some research into the way that potential visitors to South Africa find their information. Obviously Trip Advisor is a hugely popular research tool for tourists, but other than the forums here, do you get frustrated at the level of information or badly laid out websites that are on the web?

Do you have any particular favourites that you like to use? (other than TA!)

What are your chief annoyances finding that info? Or what information is hard to find?

Any other insights that you would like to see? And of course, how important are Trip Advisor ratings to you? Do you discount establishments purely because they aren't featured here?

Your help is greatly appreciated.

Many thanks

Worsie76 (Internet marketing & design specialist)

Leeds, United...
Destination Expert
for Western Cape, Cape Town Central
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3,979 posts
552 reviews
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1. Re: Help needed - what do YOU look for as a visitor to SA?

Hi Worsie

Very happy to help you, as you are so helpful on TA!

My number source of research is Trip Advisor, followed by Greenwood Guides and then Portfolio Collection.

Once I have a route planned, I look for accommodation on all the above, and also area / town's own tourist websites. Some are much better than others. My favourites, from the trip that I have put together for November, are -

Overberginfo.com

Overberg.co.za

wineroute.co.za

cederberg.co.za

elginvalley.co.za

greenmountain.co.za

sawestcoast.com

I also like to look at all the accommodations own websites. Also winery websites. Many of these also have very good tourist information.

I find most South African websites very well laid out, full of information and easy to navigate, especially when compared to some other parts of the world. Information is very easy to find, but then I am a google freak!

Trip Advisor ratings are quite important to me, although I have booked places with mixed reviews and enjoyed great stays.

I would not discount a place, just because it wasn't on Trip Advisor. It may be new or just not a TA favourite. One of my main reasons to book, is usually the speed of response for information from an establishment and their ability to answer any specific questions. Anywhere, that just sends me a pre written generic answer does not get booked.

Not really come unstuck with this in SA - a couple of places where I wouldn't return, but 90% of which I would, and am, returning to!

I also have a good library of travel guides for South Africa now, but I would never use these to look for accommodation.

Hope this is of some use and good luck with your research

Lisa

Cape Town Central...
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611 posts
19 reviews
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2. Re: Help needed - what do YOU look for as a visitor to SA?

Thanks Lisa, very informative. Thank you. Once I have all my ducks in a row I shall definitely let you know about the outcomes.

new jersey
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934 posts
41 reviews
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3. Re: Help needed - what do YOU look for as a visitor to SA?

This forum was very helpful and lead me to many sources about planning my trip.

Aside from the local experts on this thread, I used the following guidebooks:

-Lonely Planet (the best I felt)

-Rough Guide to South Africa

- Nightsbridge.co.za seems to be the biggest (and very helpful) lodging booking sight. Overall, I felt that many smaller places (guesthouses) lacked online booking capability. I think this may have dissuaded a few people from booking at these smaller places. having to wire transfer money is not easy.

-Rental car, I booked thru an agent that lead me to Europcar?. this along w/ Avis seem to have a monopoly on the rental market.

-Plenty of info on the web in regards to various safari companies and touring companies.

- I felt (in contrast to Safari information) that tourist info from the outer regions (Limpopo, Rustenburg) was a bit lacking and not informative. I think the local businesses would benefit from a government grant or assistance to help them improve and update area information in regards to lodging, restaurants, activities, etc....

-Otherwise, I relied on the help and suggestions of the locals who I have labeled as being South Africa's greatest resource.

Paris, France
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848 posts
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4. Re: Help needed - what do YOU look for as a visitor to SA?

Hello Worsie - My sources of planning a trip to SA are similar to Lisasplaces i.e Greenwood Guides (the very entertaining descriptions are usually spot on) and Portfolio Collection ( because I like and trust their grading system) followed by a look at South African comments on Safarinow. (nothing is as good as local opinion!) Again like her I look at the websites of specific areas or towns , some are very professional, others are definitely not. .Probably my chief annoyance with a lot of general accommodation websites is that they just repeat the blurp which appears on the establishment website, so not giving their opinion of it so not really very useful.. I always look at Trip Advisor ratings but always discount one poster ratings as 'contrived'. I don't discount places if they are not on TA especially in the areas that are not so frequented by tourists. I also subscribe to the SA travel magazine Getaway for new ideas. Hope this is of help.

Edited: 18 July 2010, 19:11
5. Re: Help needed - what do YOU look for as a visitor to SA?

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