21 October 2017

Ethiopian Airlines: Free wifi at Addis Ababa Bole International Airport!

Ethiopia's flag carrier, Ethiopian Airlines, in cooperation with Ethiopian Airports Services have availed free Wi-Fi connection at Addis Ababa Bole International Airport (ADD) in Addis Ababa with immediate effect. The introduction of free wifi at the airline's main hub will particulary benefit transit passengers waiting for connecting flights.
Ethiopian Airlines has also fully digitalized all its business processes such as aircraft maintenance and Flight Operations, Commercial Operations, Finance, HRM, Customer Services, Procurement and supply Chain Management, Online learning, management approvals and authorizations by removing paper from the entire system as of 28 September 2017.

Ethiopian Airlines
is the fastest growing Airline in Africa. It commands the lion's share of the pan-African passenger and cargo network operating the youngest and most modern fleet to more than 100 international passenger and cargo destinations across five continents.

20 October 2017

South Africa: Malaria season update!

South Africa's National Insitute for Communicable Diseases (NICD) issued a new malaria alert on 19 October 2017. According to the alert, high numbers of malaria cases are currenly being reported in the malaria transmission areas in Limpopo and Mpumalanga. A modest increase in cases in the Kruger National Park and private reserves in the area has also been confirmed. It is therefore highly advised to take the necessary precautionary measures against malaria when visiting the affected regions.

South Africa, Malaria, Malaria Risk Area map
Malaria Risk Areas in South Africa
via http://www.nicd.ac.za/index.php/malaria-alert-03-may-2017/

The high numbers of malaria cases follow a very busy 2017 malaria season, which peaked in April and May and extended into June. High rainfall, humidity and ambient temperatures provided ideal conditions for malaria mosquito breeding and contributed to an increase in malaria cases in the southern African region. Unusually mild winter temperatures in malaria areas have allowed for ongoing mosquito and parasite development and led to an early and busy malaria season, which started already in August 2017. (via NICD)

South Africa: South African National Parks adjusts its Wild Card tariff fees!

South African National Parks (SANPArks) has announced the annual tariff adjustment of its Wild Card programme membership for all parks, effective from 01 November 2017. The new Wild Card membership tariffs are applicable for the period of 01 November 2017 to 31 October 2018. The adjustment is an annual occurrence and is in line with the yearly Consumer Price Index applied to daily conservation fees payable in our national parks.

South Africa, Kruger National Park, safari vehicle, rhino

The following Wild Card membership prices will apply from 01 November 2017:
  1. All Parks Cluster – For access to more than 80 parks and reserves in South Africa including SANParks, Msinsi, Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife, CapeNature and Swaziland's Big Game Parks Clusters Park: individual R565, couple R930 and family* R1,140
  2. SANParks Cluster – Access to all 21 of SANParks' National Parks in South Africa: individual R540, couple R880 and family* R1,055
  3. Msinsi Cluster – Access to all 6 of Msinsi's resorts and reserves near Durban and Pietermaritzburg: individual R490, couple R805 and family* R995
  4. Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife Cluster – Access to 25 of Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife's parks and reserves in KwaZulu-Natal: individual R540, couple R875 and family* R1,050
  5. CapeNature Cluster – Access to 24 of CapeNature's parks and reserves in the Western Cape: individual R490, couple R800 and family* R960
  6. Swaziland's Big Game Parks Cluster – Access to Big Game Parks of Swaziland's three parks in Swaziland: individual R405, couple R665 and family* R810
  7. International All Parks Cluster – Access to the more than 80 parks and reserves in South Africa which include SANParks, Msinsi, Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife, CapeNature and Swaziland's Big Game Parks Cluster Parks: Individual R2,430, couple R3,800 and family* R4,545
Local clusters (#1-#6) are only available to Nationals of South Africa and the Southern African Development Community (SADC). Internationals may only purchase an International All Parks Cluster (#7) unless in possession of a valid South African residency/work permit.

*Note: Family card = up to seven individuals, maximum two adults

19 October 2017

Kruger National Park: Restaurant facilities in three rest camps temporarily closed!

South African National Parks (SANParks) just announced that the restaurant facilities at Letaba Rest Camp, Olifants Rest Camp and Satara Rest Camp in the Kruger National Park are temporarily closed until further notice. Visitors to the park can make use of the temporary facilities that have been set up in each of the camps. All accommodation facilities in the three rest camps are equipped with braai facilities and kitchens (private/communal) in case visitors wish to self-cater. We'll keep you posted!

Kruger National Park, South Africa, safari, yellow-billed hornbill

18 October 2017

South African Airways: Intra-Africa service changes from October 2017!

South Africa's flag carrier, South African Airways, will terminate flights to Libreville (Gabon), Cotonou (Benin) and Douala (Cameroon) in January 2018 and has made some additional changes to its operations to Luanda in Angola and Pointe Noire and Brazzaville in the Republic of the Congo.
  • JohannesburgLibrevilleCotonou: Reduce from 3 to 2 weekly (effective 29 October 2017); last flight on 07 January 2017 
  • JohannesburgLibrevilleDouala: Reduce from 3 to 1 weekly (effective 06 October 20117); last flight on 06 January 2017
  • Johannesburg <> Luanda: Reduce from 7 to 4 weekly (effective 09 October 2017); between 29 October 2017 - 03 January 2018, 2 of 4 weekly service will be operated by a A320 (replacing A330/340)
  • JohannesburgPointe NoireBrazzavilleJohannesburg: 1 weekly service cancelled (effective 08 October 2017; reduced from 3 weekly flights since 24 September 2017)

Cape Town: Table Mountain Aerial Cableway to introduce a new queueing system at the Lower Station

Cape Town's Table Mountain Aerial Cableway is set to introduce a new queueing system at the Lower Station in November 2017, which ensures that online ticket holders are given preference when accessing the cable cars. 

Table Mountain, Cape Town, South Africa,

There will still be two queues at Table Mountain's Lower Station - one for ticket holders (e.g. online tickets holders) and one for visitors who want to purchase tickets at the Cableway's Ticket Office. Those who don't have a ticket when arriving at the Lower Station will have to queue for tickets first before they can join the ticket holders queue and will no longer be able to directly join the ramp queue for the lifts once they have purchased tickets at the Ticket Office as it is currently the practice.

Cape Town: New requirements for Robben Island visitors!

Cape Town's Robben Island has introduced new requirements for visitors to the island and the museum on 05 October 2017. All visitors booked for trips to Robben Island must provide identification (ID, passport, birth certificate, drivers licence or certified copies thereof) when purchasing tickets. 

Cape Town, Robben Island, visitor requirements
src.: Website of the Robben Island Museum (*.docx)

According to the Southern Africa Tourism Services Association (SATSA), the identification is getting verified when visitors check in for their trip and has to be kept handy by visitors at all times. Robben Island Museum said the move was part of an ongoing effort to provide guests with the best possible service, says SATSA. Well... We'll keep you posted!

17 October 2017

Cape Town: Expect roadworks on Chapman's Peak Drive until December 2017!

According to a media release by Western Cape government's Department of Transport and Public Works, sections of the Chapman's Peak Drive in Cape Town will be closed from 23 October 2017 until 01 December 2017 for the re-surfacing of the roadway.
  • During the second half of November 2017, the section from Lookout Point to the Noordhoek end will be closed entirely to traffic from 09:30 until 16:00 every day. 
  • The resealing of the road from the Hout Bay end to Lookout Point will be tackled in half widths, with stop/ go controls in place. Motorists can expect delays of between 10 to 20 minutes while this section of the road is under construction.
Resurfaced sections will be reopened once they have been swept and all loose stones removed.

Chapman's Peak Drive is a scenic 9km route between Noordhoek and Hout Bay along the western flank of the Chapman's Peak, a mountain on the western side of the Cape Peninsula, located about 15 kilometres south of Cape Town

13 October 2017

Fastjet set to launch domestic flights in Mozambique!

Pan-African low cost-carrier Fastjet is set to launch domestic flights in Mozambique on 03 November 2017. The airline is the first low-cost carrier to enter the country's domestic aviation market. Fastjet will initially operate an Embraer ERJ145 aircraft on the following routes in Mozambique:

12 October 2017

Botswana: Temporary closure of Gaborone Game Reserve!

Botswana's Department of Wildlife and National Parks just informed the public that the popular Gaborone Game Reserve in Gaborone will be closed to the public between 16 - 27 October 2017. This is due to the fact that the facility will be used for interviews during the said period. The Gaborone Game Reserve will be open again from 28 October 2017 for business and leisure.

The Gaborone Game Reserve is located on the western side of
Gaborone about 1km east of the Broadhurst Mall. It covers an area of only 5km², but is third busiest game reserve in Botswana. Gaborone Game Reserve is home to wildebeest, elands, gemsboks, kudus, ostriches and warthogs as well as to a particularly plentiful birdlife. All roads in the reserve are accessible by two-wheel drives (2WD).

Cape Town: De Waal Drive renamed Philip Kgosana Drive!

Cape Town's De Waal Drive, which forms part of the M3 road that connects the upper part of the City Bowl to the Southern Suburbs, will officically become Philip Kgosana Drive today (12 October 2017). Philip Kgosana (1936 – 20 April 2017) was a former regional secretary of the Pan Africanist Congress (PAC) in South Africa's Western Cape. He led a march of approximately 30 000 protestors opposing South Africa's pass laws from Langa and Nyanga along De Waal Drive on 30 March 1960. The march is known to be one of the largest anti-apartheid demonstrations to take place in Cape Town.

11 October 2017

Kruger National Park: Orpen Gate currently inaccessible!

South African National Parks' (SANParks) Wild Card Magazine just posted on Facebook that Kruger National Park's Orpen Gate is currently inaccessible (11 October 2017) due to to protests taking place on the R531 in front of the Southern Wildlife College. Travellers planing to enter or exit Kruger National Park through Orpen Gate are advised to use alternative gates such as Paul Kruger Gate or Phalaborwa Gate until further notice.

South Africa: Kruger National Park encourages the public take precautions against malaria!

Due to reported cases of malaria in South Africa's Mpumalanga Province recently, in particular in the Ehlanzeni District Municipality of which the southern part of Kruger National Park (KNP) falls under, South African National Parks (SANParks) would like to caution visitors coming to Kruger National Park to take the necessary precautionary measures against malaria.
Visitors to Kruger National Park are advised to take prophylaxes in consultation with doctors, use repellants on the skin, wear long sleeve clothes if they happen to go outside of their units, keep the window gauzes and doors closed at all times and check that these are not broken, as well as to ensure that air conditioners in the chalets are fully functional.
SANParks request visitors who contract malaria after having visited Kruger National Park to assist them by immediately reporting to their local doctors at Skukuza Rest Camp (Tel +27 13 735 5638) as this can assist in recording and identifying all the affected areas in need of attention”.

South Africa, Kruger National Park, weaver birds

Kruger National Park is known to be one of the malaria endemic areas in South Africa. The mosquito-borne infectious disease can be contracted at any time of the year, but usually the malaria season is October to April, with March and April being the highest risk period.

10 October 2017

New promotional film: "Imagine Reality: Malawi"!

The Malawi Travel Marketing Consortium (malawitourism.com), which represents travel companies, hotels, lodges, safaris and car hire companies in Malawi, has published Malawi's latest promotional film on youtube. The video was produced for (and by?) Malawi's Department of Tourism or rather Malawi Tourism (visitmalawi.mw).

Zambia: Proflight Zambia increases capacity on Lilongwe (Malawi) route!

Proflight Zambia, the operator of the largest fleet of aircraft in Zambia, has increased the capacity on its flights between Kamuzu International Airport (LLW) in Lilongwe and Kenneth Kaunda International Airport (LUN) in Lusaka with the introduction of a larger aircraft on the route. The airline, which flies daily direct from Lilongwe to Lusaka, has upgraded its aircraft on the one-hour-30-minute flight to a 29-seat British Aerospace Jetstream 41 aircraft, from the previous 18-seater British Aerospace Jetstream 32. 

Proflight Zambia's 29-seat Jetstream 41 aircraft at
Kamuzu International Airport in Lilongwe.

Proflight Zambia's Lilongwe service was launched in June 2013 as the airline's first international route with a three-times-a-week schedule, and has grown steadily since then. Going forward, the airline would consider operating its 50-seat Bombardier CRJ Jet on the route if demand continued to grow over the coming years.

09 October 2017

South Africa: KwaZulu-Natal released new rhino poaching figures!

According to Ezemvelo KZN Wildlfe* spokesman Musa Mntambo, at least 193 rhinos have been killed in KwaZulu-Natal between 01 January 2017 and 29 September 2017. Although Ezemvelo KZN Wildlfe does no longer provide a breakdown per protected area, conservation sources assume that the vast majority of rhino killings are taking place in KwaZulu-Natal's flagship Hluhluwe-iMfolozi Park.  
KwaZulu-Natal lost 162 rhinos to illegal poaching in 2016‚ 116 animals during 2015 and just 18 in 2008. 

South Africa, KwaZulu-Natal, rhino, rhino poaching

*Ezemvelo KZN Wildlfe is the governmental organisation responsible for maintaining wildlife conservation areas and biodiversity in KwaZulu-Natal.

06 October 2017

Zambia/Zimbabwe: KAZA univisa stickers available again from next week!

update (10 Oct 2017): Various sources from Victoria Falls and Livingstone have confirmed that the KAZA univisa is available again at border posts in Zimbabwe and Zambia!

Zambia and Zimbabwe ran out of KAZA visa stickers in August (Zambia) and September (Zimbabwe), so that no KAZA univisa were available at Harry Mwaanga Nkumbula International Airport in Livingstone, Victoria Falls Border Post, Kazungula Border Post, Harare International Airport in Harare and Victoria Falls International Airport in Victoria Falls. It has now been reported that KAZA univisa stickers will be available again in Zambia and Zimbabwe from next week. The stickers will be dispatched within the next few days, and issuance should resume next week. We'll keep you posted!

Zimbabwe, Zambia, Victoria Falls

05 October 2017

South Africa's Blue Flag beaches 2017/18!

A total of 44 beaches in South Africa, along with eleven sustainable tourism boats and seven marinas have been awarded Full Blue Flag status by the 2017/18 International Blue Flag Jury. The jury results include 45 Blue Flag sites in the Western Cape, nine sites in KwaZulu-Natal and eight sites in the Eastern Cape.
Blue Flag is a certification issued by the Foundation for Environmental Education (FEE) that a beach or marina meets its stringent standards. The main criterias include standards for water quality, safety, environmental education and information, the provision of services and general environmental management criteria. Blue Flag is sought for beaches and marinas as an indication of their high environmental and quality standards.
South Africa, the first country outside Europe to be granted Blue Flag accreditation for its beaches, the Blue Flag programme is managed by WESSA (Wildlife and Environment Society of South Africa) in partnership with participating coastal municipalities.

South Africa, beach

Western Cape Blue Flag beaches:

Cape Town - Silwerstroomstrand  
Cape Town - Clifton 4th  
Cape Town - Camps Bay  
Cape Town - Llandudno  
Cape Town - Muizenberg  
Cape Town - Strandfontein  
Cape Town - Mnandi
Cape Town - Bikini
Cape Town - Melkbosstrand
Cape Town - Fishhoek  
Kleinmond (Overstrand Municipality) - Kleinmond  
Hermanus (Overstrand Municipality) - Hawston  
Hermanus (Overstrand Municipality) - Grotto
Stillbaai (Hessequa Municipality) - Lappiesbaai  
Stillbaai (Hessequa Municipality) - Preekstoel
Witsand (Hessequa Municipality) - Witsand  
Mossel Bay - De Bakke  
Mossel Bay - Hartenbos  
Mossel Bay - Klein Brak
Knysna - Buffalo Bay
Knysna - Brenton-on-Sea
Plettenberg Bay (Bitou Municipality) - Robberg 5
Keurboomstrand (Bitou Municipality) - Keurboomstrand
Keurboomstrand (Bitou Municipality) - The Dunes
Natures Valley (Bitou Municipality) - Nature's Valley
Plettenberg Bay (Bitou Municipality) - Lookout 
Plettenberg Bay (Bitou Municipality) - Singing Kettle
Cape Agulhas (Cape Agulhas Municipality) - Struisbaai

Western Cape Blue Flag marinas:

Knysna - Thesen Islands
Knysna - Thesen Islands  
Cape Town - False Bay Yacht Club
Cape Town - The Water Club
Gordon's Bay - Harbour Island  
Saldanha - Yachtport SA

Western Cape Blue Flag boats:

Plettenberg Bay (Offshore Adventures) - Robberg Express
Plettenberg Bay (Offshore Adventures) - Oceanic Express
Gansbaai (Dyer Island Cruises) - Whale Whisperer  
Gansbaai (Dyer Island Cruises) - Dream Catcher
Gansbaai (Marine Dynamics) - Slashfin
Knysna (Ocean Odyssey) - Oyser Catcher  
Knysna (Ocean Odyssey) - Sousa
Knysna (Ocean Odyssey) - Dolphin II
Kleinbaai (Great White Shark Tours) - Apex Predator 
Hermanus (Southern Right Charters) - Miroshca
Van Dyks Bay (White Shark Ventures) - Megalodon

Eastern Cape Blue Flag beaches:

Jeffrey's Bay (Kouga Municipality) - Dolphin
Port Elizabeth (Nelson Mandela Municipality) - Humewood
Port Elizabeth (Nelson Mandela Municipality) - King's
Port Elizabeth (Nelson Mandela Municipality) - Hobie
Hamburg (Amatole Municipality) - Hamburg  
Kenton-on-Sea (Ndlambe Municipality) - Kariega
Port Alfred (Ndlambe Municipality) - Kelly's

Eastern Cape Blue Flag Marina: 

St Francis Bay (Sarah Baartman District Municipality) - Cape St Francis 

KwaZulu Natal Blue Flag beaches:

Hibiscus Coast (Ray Nkonyeni Municipality) - Marina  
Hibiscus Coast (Ray Nkonyeni Municipality) - Trafalgar  
Hibiscus Coast (Ray Nkonyeni Municipality) - Lucien
Hibiscus Coast (Ray Nkonyeni Municipality) - Southport
Hibiscus Coast (Ray Nkonyeni Municipality) - Umzumbe
Hibiscus Coast (Ray Nkonyeni Municipality) - Ramsgate  
Hibiscus Coast (Ray Nkonyeni Municipality) - Hiberdene
Durban (Ethekwini Municipality) - Westbrook
Durban (Ethekwini Municipality) - Ushaka   

An additional 22 beaches across South Africa will participate on the Blue Flag Pilot Programme. This is an important developmental stage for potential Blue Flag sites, during which WESSA works with beach managers and Tourism Blue Flag Beach Stewards towards the longer-term goal of achieving full Blue Flag status.

04 October 2017

Supermarket prices in South Africa!

To give you an idea on the supermarket prices in South Africa, we have set up a list of what we think are the most typical items travellers usually buy. It hopefully helps planning your holidays in South Africa. Safe travels! [exchange rates in the daily news update]

South Africa, safari, cooking, potjie
  • bread - from R11.00/loaf (700g)
  • Rama Margarine - from R8.00/125g
  • eggs (large, free range) - from R22.00/6ea
  • mixed fruit jam - from R14.50/290g
  • peanut butter - from R20.00/250g
  • Nutella - from R30.00/180g
  • Bovril - from R25.00/125g
  • Marmite - from R25.00/125g
  • baked beans - from R8.50/can (410g)
  • bacon - from R19.00/200g
  • milk (full cream) - from R7.00/250ml
  • muesli - from R37.00 (750g)
  • porridge oats - from R19.00/kg
  • yoghurt (plain) - from R6.00/175g
  • cheese - from R18.00/125g (gouda/cheddar)
  • potatoes - from R13.00/kg
  • tomatoes - from R15.00/6ea
  • onions - from R10.00/kg
  • mushrooms - from R22.00/250g (white mushrooms)
  • cucumber - from R11.00 (english cucumber) 
  • lettuce - from R15.00 (baby gem lettuce)
  • avocado - from R16.00
  • pasta - from R10.00/500g (macaroni)
  • pasta sauce - from R31.00/405g
  • instant soup - from R11.50 (4ea)
  • biscuits - from R6.00/150g
  • rusks - from R29.00/500g
  • chewing gum - from 8.00/pack (Stimorol)
  • boerewors - from R72.00/kg
  • steak - from R137.00/kg (ribeye)
  • chakalaka - from R13.00/can (410g)
  • chutney - from R29.00/bottle (Mrs H.S.Ball's Hot Chutney, 470g)
  • hot sauce - from R21.00/bottle (750ml)
  • tomato sauce - from R18.00 (750ml)
  • potato chips - from R5.50/30g
  • bottled water (still) - from R4.30/500ml 
  • Coke - from R10.00/500ml
  • orange juice - from R20.00/1l
  • beer - from 10.00/330ml (Tafel Lager)
  • beer - from R11.00/330ml (Hansa)
  • beer - from R11.00/330ml (Castle Lager) 
  • beer - from R12.00/330ml (Amstel Lager)
  • beer - from R12.00/330ml (Windhoek Lager)
  • cider - from R13.00/330ml (Hunters Dry)
  • cider - from R14.00/330ml (Savanna Dry)
  • wine - from R30.00/750ml (White)
The list above is probably missing some items. Let us know what you think is missing & we will add it! 

02 October 2017

South Africa's most punctual domestic airlines in September 2017!

Airports Company South Africa (ACSA) has published the on-time performance results of domestic airlines’ flying out of OR Tambo International Airport (JNB) in Johannesburg, Cape Town International Airport (CPT) in Cape Town and Durban's King Shaka International Airport (DUR) in September 2017.
On-Time Performance is measured by comparing the actual off-block time (when aircraft pushes back) against the airline schedule time for a departing flight. The measurement is done in accordance with the IATA (International Airlines Transport Association) universal standard benchmark with considers a 15 minute deviation from the scheduled time as an on-time departure.

OR Tambo International Airport (JNB), Johannesburg - 15 Min on Time Performance September 2017 (airport target 87%)
  1. FlySafair - 94.86% (August 96.06%)
  2. British Airways Domestic - 90.09% (August 91.17%)
  3. Airlink - 89.21% (August 85.25%)
  4. South African Airways - 88.11% (August 87.66%)
  5. Kulula.com - 87.87% (August 87.54%)
  6. CemAir - 86.68% (August 91.21%)
  7. Mango - 83.11% (August 73.99%)
  8. SA Express - 70.16% (August 79.14%)
  9. Fly Blue Crane Aviation - --.-- (August --.--%)
Cape Town International Airport (CPT) - 15 Min on Time Performance September 2017 (airport target 90%)
  1. FlySafair - 95.31% (August 95.59%)
  2. British Airways Domestic - 91.93% (August 91.43%)
  3. South African Airways - 89.97% (August 91.84%)
  4. Mango - 89.91% (August 79.56%)
  5. Airlink - 89.45% (August 89.45%) 
  6. Kulula.com - 88.82% (August 84.49%)
  7. SA Express - 85.96% (August 85.11%)
  8. CemAir - 80.18% (August 75.86%) 
  9. Fly Blue Crane Aviation - --.-- (August --.--%)
King Shaka International Airport (DUR), Durban - 15 Min on Time Performance September 2017 (airport target 91%)
  1. CemAir - 100.00% (August --.--%)
  2. FlySafair - 98.45% (July 98.88%)
  3. South African Airways - 91.34% (July 92.35%)
  4. British Airways Domestic - 90.80% (July 90.79%)
  5. Kulula.com - 90.76% (July 88.38%)
  6. Airlink - 90.08% (July 92.51%)
  7. Mango - 89.17% (July 80.43%)
  8. SA Express - 86.55% (July 90.60%)