Here are our top travel tips to help you book your travel to South Africa (and Chintsa) and make the journey here as easy as possible:
Booking International Flights
Chintsa is in the Eastern Cape, the nearest city is East London (approximately 40km away). If you're coming from outside of South Africa you need to fly into either Cape Town or Johannesburg international airports and then book a domestic flight from there to East London.
If you're booking flights on line we recommend that you search for your international and domestic flights separately. This is generally the most cost effective way to book. Here's an example of a search I did today:
I used booking engine Cheapflights.co.uk based on a return trip leaving the UK on Sun 31st Jan and departing South Africa on Mon 16th Feb:
Search 1: London Heathrow - East London South Africa - cheapest flight £584
Search 2a: London Heathrow - Johannesburg OR Tambo airport - cheapest flight £435
Search 2b: Johannesburg OR Tambo to East London airport - cheapest flight £51
Search 2 totals £486 - almost £100 cheaper than the original search.
For international flights it's usually good to browse options on booking engines like Expedia, Cheapflights, Tripsta, Lastminute.com or your preferred flight search engine.
Domestic Flights in and out of East LondonIf you're in South African already you will just need to get to Chintsa. There are several ways to do this - one is on a domestic flight. In the past it has been expensive to book a domestic flight in and out of East London but this year two budget airlines have started offering cheap flight options from both Cape Town and Jo'burg.
I personally use cheapflights.co.uk to search the best options for domestic flights too as it can save time - rather than checking all three airline's websites. Otherwise you can search direct with the airlines. Here's an example search (I looked for return flights to match the dates on the above itinerary):
Search 1: FlySafari - Johannesburg to East London - cheapest option R 1298.00 (that's roughly £57 on today's exchange rate)
Search 2: Kulula - Johannesburg to East London - cheapest option R 1186.00 (about £52 on today's exchange rate)
Search 3: South African Airways - Johannesburg to East London - cheapest option R 1469 (£65 on today's rate)
Other ways to get to Chintsa from elsewhere in SA...BazBus - the Bazbus is a hop-on hop-off bus service designed for backpackers. They run buses between popular towns, cities and backpackers throughout South Africa. Buccaneers Backpackers is the Bazbus stop in Chintsa. This option is especially fun if you're already in Cape Town and have a little time to spend exploring - you can buy a one way ticket from Cape Town to Chintsa and hop on or off the bus as many times as you like, all the way up the Garden Route! Find out more about the Bazbus routes, ticket prices and timetable.
Bus - you can get a bus from your current location to East London. The most reliable and safe bus services in SA are Translux, Greyhound and Intercape. I did a search travelling from Cape Town to East London with Intercape on Monday 1st Feb - the ticket price was R480 - 580 (approx. £21 - 26) depending on the ticket type. As the bus services drop off in East London you will then need to pre-book a shuttle service to get to Chintsa from there. We use a company called Imonti Tours who are based in East London - you can get in touch with Velile for prices of the journey either via his website or call him on +27 (0)43 721 2082.
Hire a Car - if you have time to spare and hold a full drivers license you can also hire a car. Car hire is very competitively priced in South Africa - especially taking the exchange rate into consideration! You can get a small car for as little as R250 per day that's about £11 per day (not including fuel).
You can always ask us for more info - our travel guru Karen is available to help plan your trip and give guidance on booking and logistics. You can get in touch with her on her email address firstname.lastname@example.org
*PLEASE NOTE that all prices in this blog are intended as a guideline - travel dates, times, the exchange rate and other factors will affect the cost of travel.