Brazil as a visa-free destination, is a favourite for South African travellers.
With most direct routes from OR Tambo International in Johannesburg touching down at its airport hub Guarulhos International Airport in the capital city of São Paulo - you'll find yourself with a day or two to explore this super city at one point or another.
It's rough-around-edges appeal, with favela upon favela resembling what can best be described as the Western Cape suburbs of lower Wynberg or Hanover Park en masse - its most notable difference being that these low-income blocks of flats fall just short of being labelled skyscrapers, dotting the city's skyline as far as the eye can see and wander. With an estimated population of 12-million within its immediate city borderlines, strongly divided along economic social lines of north and south - the sprawling reason why is obvious.
An itinerary first when in São Paulo should always include a visit to the Mercado Municipal - deemed one of the city’s most popular tourist attractions.
It is quite literally buzzing on any given day of the week.
We were there on a Thursday and locals were sipping frothy ales and tucking into traditional delicacies such as the “Pastel de Bacalhau” and the famous “Lanche de Mortadela” - which in my opinion continues the south-to-south BRICS traditions on a new level as it resembles a cheesy polony gatsby, without the chips. Really delicious, worth the hype and not for those who are overly concerned about their cholesterol level.
You'll come hungry and leave happy. Watch the video below for the full experience.
TRAVEL PLANNING: Quick Guide to Brazil: Visa-free travel for South Africans
Here's what you need to know if you go:
Visas: Not required for holders of South African passports for stays of up to 30 days.
Passport validity: Passports need to be valid for at least 30 days after the return date.
National Carrier: Though Brazil has no (majority) state-owned national carrier, LATAM Brasil is the largest international airline in the country.
Airport Hub: Guarulhos International Airport (São Paulo)
Useful app to download: GRU Airport (iOS, Android) app for flight tracking and information.
Flight Route Access: South Africans have a variety of options to choose from when deciding on how to get to Brazil. Airlines servicing the South African market include South African Airways, Ethiopian Airlines, Qatar Airways, LATAM Airlines and TAAG Angola Airlines.
READ MORE: Sisters need to do more for themselves: What an all-women crew flight across the Atlantic taught me
Flight time: Johannesburg to São Paulo: 10 hours, 35 minutes. Johannesburg to Rio de Janeiro: 16 hours, 30 minutes.
Currency: Brazilian Real (R$)
*Disclaimer: Traveller24 Editor Selene Brophy was hosted by South African Airways as part of a media tour for the duration of her stay in São Paulo, including flights and accommodation.