South Africa tours now on sale!
three routes in this motorcycling nirvana
AFTER TWO YEARS of research and recce, we are stoked to announce that our flight-inclusive South African Tours are finally up for your perusal and on sale. With a choice of three routes through this stunning country, and a selection of five models from the BMW range from which to choose, we hope that there is something that will appeal to everybody's sense of adventure.
Following the granting of our Air Travel Organisers' Licence (ATOL), the South African routes are the first of our tours to be flight-inclusive from the UK and will feature direct flights – so no hanging around in the Middle-East waiting for your connection.
Each of the new routes has been chosen with an emphasis on the quality of riding and the landscapes through which we will be passing. All the tours also include breath-taking mountain riding, a wildlife safari factor and feature the chance to spend some time relaxing by the country's spectacular coastline.
So why have we chosen South Africa as our first non-Asian destination?
Well, the riding is worth another mention... sweeping roads, nadgery switchbacks and desert cruising – generally all on very good surfaces with minimal traffic and without the UK's now stifling open road speed limits. Add to this biking heaven the excellent dining (and wining), awesome wildlife-watching opportunities, stunning scenery, polite and friendly people, compelling history and high-quality hire bikes and... touring bliss awaits.
For Spring/Summer 2013 all our South African tours will be led by Damon and Suzie (we wouldn't miss out on this) and followed by a luggage-carrying support vehicle. There will be a maximum of twelve bikes available for each tour, with pillions welcome and spaces available in a four-wheeler if booked in advance.
Blazing trails gets an atol
Company now in a position to offer flight-inclusive tours
WE ARE CHUFFED to bits to have been granted an Air Travel Organisers' Licence (ATOL), by the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA), which allows us to legally sell flight-inclusive package holidays.
Any UK-registered company offering any 'flight element' to a tour abroad must have an ATOL, whether this flight is international, or a domestic flight in a destination country. Those offering such holidays without an ATOL are operating outside the law.
The ATOL scheme offers holiday-makers the highest level of passenger protection in the world and ensures that if a tour operator goes out of business you will not lose any money that has been paid. If you are already abroad at the time, the CAA will arrange for you to finish your holiday and fly home.
The granting of our ATOL will mean that there will be some changes to the way we do business. Our intention is to go over to doing only flight-inclusive holidays within the next 12 months, but that will have no effect on those who have already booked tours.
Those who wish to book ground-only holidays on the current basis will be unaffected until we change the tour into a flight-inclusive journey.
We are making the change to flight-inclusive trips for several reasons, the main one being that participants all taking the same flight and arriving at the same time makes meeting up easier for both us and our clients. The changes do not mean that you cannot arrive early or late for a tour, but we may have to charge an increment for taking a different flight.
How our ATOL might affect you...
You have already booked a ground-only tour and flight
You will be unaffected by the changes and your holiday will still be protected by our Association of Bonded Travel Organisers' Trust (ABTOT) bond.
You have already booked a tour with an internal flight element involved
You will not be affected by the changes and your journey will be covered under the ATOL.
You have already booked a non-flight tour, but not a flight
Again you will not be affected and your trip will be covered by our ABTOT bond. The responsibility for booking a flight still lies with you.
You wish to book from outside the UK, but in the EU
That’s fine, you can either fly to the UK to pick up the package flight, or we can arrange a flight for you. If flying from outside the EU, then please contact us and we can arrange a deal for you without the flight.
You wish to book a tour
Then please book away. It will be clearly indicated whether a tour is flight-inclusive, or not. In either case you will be covered by either the ATOL, or the ABTOT bond.
You wish to book a flight-inclusive tour, but would like to arrive on a different day
That's fine, but you will have to contact us to book your alternative flight through Blazing Trails. This is fine, but likely to attract a surcharge as you will not be on the 'group' flight, which will incur an extra cost to us.
competition winners chose zanskar tour
PLEASE EXTEND your heart-felt congratulations to Peter Stilwell and Vince Stephens, winners of Bennett's Insurance's 'Biking Dream', competition. The jammy duo joined us on our Ladakh and Zanskar tour this year, having a fine old free time of it.
Lovely chaps, actually, and a pleasure to have along with us on this Himalayan epic, so thanks for choosing one of our tours as the prize.
The fortunates were joined by journalist, Geoff Hill, who should be producing a trip report for MCN (among others) in the near future, so keep an eye out.
Nepal Tour Article for download
Magazine piece on our Nepal Tour, by Sue Reed
Download an article by tour participant Sue Reed that was published in 'Together' magazine, a journal for English-speaking people working in the EU...
Click to DOWNLOAD
Bike Magazine Feature on our Ladakh Tour
Article by Rupert Paul that appeared in Bike Magazine, UK
Download an article on a Ladakh tour by columnist, Rupert Paul. It was published in 'Bike' magazine, Britain's biggest motorcycle title...
Click to DOWNLOAD
Newsletter, Winter Issue
Newsletter Number Two is Out – Subscribe Now Please
The second Blazing Trails Newsletter, featuring tour updates, new routes, nonsense, discounts and special offers is now ready, so please download our Winter 2010 NEWSLETTER HERE.
Nepal Tour Tuned
Huge improvements to Nepal Tour – Even Better Value
Following our recent Nepal Tour, which was a great success, we have decided to make some fairly large changes to the tour's itinerary in order to make this trip even better. The largest change is to take India out of the tour altogether and have international flights arriving and departing from Kathmandu. We have done this on the back of client feedback and for several reasons...Getting a double-entry visa for India is a pain and the border officials on the Indian side intentionally caused us great delays. The transport from Delhi to the border was also a chore, taking longer than envisaged (due to harvest traffic and monsoon damage) and we think we can make better use of this time in Nepal. The same was true of the exit to India.
In all we believe we now have a much, much (we're a bit excited ourselves) better tour and have been able to add a four more outstanding destinations: Gorkha, Nagarkot, Bhaktapur and a high-end camp by the Tibetan border. The tour now includes an internal flight in and out of KTM, which should be absolutely stunning – probably the best view in the world. The cost of these flights will be covered by us as part of the tour. Please have a gander at the new itinerary.
The World's Most Beautiful Ride
New Himalayan Tour – Ladakh & Around
We at Blazing Trails Tours are pleased to announce the launch of a new Himalayan tour, with the preposterously long title of Lakes and Landscapes of Ladakh and Zanskar. Yes, Zanskar. For the first time we are offering to take riders into this most magical of valleys.
We have also 'cherry-picked' what we believe to be the most beautiful and interesting destinations in Ladakh, always with an eye to the quality of riding. Included in the itinerary are the two highest motorable passes on the planet, amazing Nubra Valley and the incomparable Pangong Lake. We will also be visiting various cultural sights via roads twistier than a tornado full of snakes. There are two available dates, which we expect to fill up rapidly. International flights will be to Delhi, from where we will fly participants up to Leh, Ladakh and back. For more information, a full itinerary and some nice pictures, please hit the link above.
Blazing Newsletter Download
Catch Up with BT's Latest News Here
To read about recent tour updates, staff news, discounts and other stuff, please download our Summer 2010 NEWSLETTER HERE. Cheers.
Rajasthan Tour Update
New, improved Rajasthan Tour for 2010
Following this year's Rajasthan Tour, we have decided changes were needed to the tour's itinerary, as we felt some of the riding days and venues were too 'samey' and that the tour was too formulaic, following some over-beaten parts of the tourist track, which is not what we aspire to do. We also felt that we/you were missing out on a couple of India's 'must-sees'. After much brain-wracking and research, we think we have come up with a better tour, which now includes the Ranthambore Tiger Reserve and the Taj Mahal. To be able to include these elements, we have had to drop Mt Abu and Udaipur from the itinerary. However, we think all the essential elements of a Rajasthan tour remain and that what we now have is an improvement on the old. The standard/ambience of accommodation is improved and we believe the tour is now better value.
BT Gets Independent Bonding
Blazing Trails gets ABTOT Bonding for Clients' Financial Security
As of 28th July 2009, Blazing Trails has its own recognised travel agent's bond. This means, in official ABTOT wording, with official ABTOT grammatical errors:
'As a member of the Association of Bonded Travel Organisers Trust Limited (ABTOT), an Association approved by BERR, ABTOT member 5148, Blazing Trail Tour Ltd, has provided a Bond to meet the requirements of the Package Travel, Package Holidays and Package Tours Regulations 1992. In the event of The Company's insolvency, this Bond provides security for:
- Non-flight inclusive packages commencing in and returning to the UK; and
- Packages excluding flights to and from your destination which are offered by The Company.
Please note that bookings made from overseas must be made directly with The Company and not via an agent.
In the above circumstances, the following will apply:
- A refund of your prepayments if you have not yet travelled; or
- Repatriation where your non-flight inclusive package commences in and returns to the UK if you have already travelled.'
So there you go, your holiday money is safe and bonded; your flight will be bonded through whomsoever you book it. Check with any other tour provider that they are bonded before you book.
Suzie and Damon Get Married!
Blazing Trails Partners Tie The Knot
In a move that has shocked friends, family and innocent bystanders alike, Suzie Lumsden became Suzie I'Anson on 18th July.
"This will have very little bearing on the company, but I thought I'd stick a story up anyway," said the enormously proud groom. "I'd also like to thank all the customers who have sent their best wishes and also those who have contributed, by way of wedding gifts, to the charities we listed on the Just Giving website." Anybody who would like to contribute to Riders for Health, Great Ormond Street Hospital, or Cancer Research can go to http://www.justgiving.com, look up 'Damon and Suzie' and bung a couple of quid to these worthy causes.