11 August 2020

South Africa: North West Parks Board (NWPB) reopens its Nature Reserves for intra-provincial overnight visitors!

Following the announcement made by the Minister of Tourism, Mmamoloko Kubayi-Ngubane on the easing of regulations for alert level 3 lockdown, the North West Parks Board (NWPB), the governmental organisation responsible for the management of protected areas and public nature reserves in South Africa's North West Province, has announced the reopening of its Nature Reserves for intra-provincial overnight visitors. Camping is still not allowed in NWPB's Nature Reserves except the bush camp facilities in Botsalano Nature Reserve where single groups/families will be allowed at these facilities.
  • Guided open game drives will only be allowed if the number of guests in a game drive vehicle do not exceed 70%, and adequate social distancing is apply.
  • Visitors will be allowed to use picnic areas for recreational use, i.e. seating, food preparation, relaxing, etc.
    • To minimize the risk for infection, only single groups will be allowed at one stand/braai area, and groups must be from the same family.
    • Visitors to such facilities must know other visitors are also using these facilities, and surfaces and seating places must be cleaned / sanitizes before such picnic areas are occupied.
  • Visitors must bring along their own sanitizing bottles as prescribe in the regulations (at least 70% alcohol).
  • Where communal ablutions will be used, like with ablutions elsewhere in the reserves, visitors must apply social distance, sanitize before and after using such ablutions, and ensure masks are worn at all times.
  • Selfdrive excursion will only be allowed for private vehicles that comply with the directions issued by South Africa's Minister of Transport in respect of private vehicles.
The following Nature Reserves in the North West Province are ready and open to provide different accommodation and conference facilities:
  1. Botsalano Nature Reserve
  2. Mafikeng Nature Reserve
  3. Molemane Eye Nature Reserve
  4. Barberspan Bird Sanctuary
  5. Vaalkop Dam Nature Reserve
  6. Wolwespruit Nature Reserve
  7. Bloemhofdam Nature Reserve
  8. Molopo Nature Reserve
  9. Kgaswane Mountain Reserve
  10. Pilanesberg Nature Rreserve
  11. Borakalalo Nature Reserve
  12. Madikwe Game Reserve

Mpumalanga Tourism and Parks Agency (MTPA) has reopened accommoation facilities at its various Nature Reserves in Mpumalanga!

The Mpumalanga Tourism and Parks Agency (MTPA) has reopened accommoation facilities at its various Nature Reserves in Mpumalanga for intra-provincial leisure travellers with effect from 08 August 2020. Tour operators with guided tours in Open Safari Vehicles (OSVs) are permitted to operate. This follows the announcement made by the Minister of Tourism, Mmamoloko Kubayi-Ngubane on the easing of regulations for alert level 3 lockdown.
The Nature Reserves that are used as quarantine sites are not available for accommodation bookings but are open for self-drives and OSVs. No picnic or swimming sites is open except for the use of the ablution facilities. Overnight guests as well as day visitors are required to provide proof of residence when making a booking as well as during check in. No more than two people are allowed per accommodation facility except for parents and children. While visiting
MTPA's Nature Reserves in Mpumalanga, guests are required to wear their face masks at all times, maintain social distance and follow the necessary directives relating to transport capacity. The regulations set by the Department of Transport in terms of 70% vehicle capacity for self-drives still apply.

07 August 2020

Western Cape: CapeNature reserves now open for overnight bookings!

CapeNature, the public institution with the responsibility for biodiversity conservation in South Africa's Western Cape, has announced the reopening of overnight stays for self-catering accommodation, camping, selected overnight hiking trails and eco-venues from today (07 August 2020). All visitors entering a controlled CapeNature reserve entrance gate will be subjected to a screening process upon arrival. This will include the mandatory completion of a four-step check-in process for the safety of all our visitors. This process will involve the compulsory sanitising of hands, wearing of masks, temperature checks and completion of a quick "Visitor Access Register". A compulsory fifth step for all overnight visitors has been added, which is the completion of a "Visitor Screening Questionnaire", for each person.

CapeNature will momentarily close some of our tourism products and conditions such as 50% occupancy for dormitory-style accommodation, will apply to certain tourism products, due to the strict social distancing protocols. In addition, picnicking and selected activities on reserves will not be permitted. We'll keep you posted!

06 August 2020

South Africa: Airlink launches three additional domestic routes!

South African regional carrier Airlink is set to introduce three new domestic routes and increase frequency on five of the routes it is currently operating. Effective 17 August 2020, the airline will introduce an early morning and late afternoon service on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays between OR Tambo International Airport (JNB) in Johannesburg and Kimberley Airport (KIM) in Kimberley. On 18 August 2020, Airlink will launch an afternoon scheduled service on Tuesdays and Thursdays between Cape Town International Airport (CPT) in Cape Town and Kimberley. Effective 24 August 2020, the airline will introduce daily (Monday through Friday and Sundays) early morning and late afternoon flights between Johannesburg and East London Airport (ELS) in East London.

From 17 August 2020, Airlink will enhance its flight services on the following routes:

  • Johannesburg <> Cape Town
    • the additional mid-morning flight will depart Johannesburg at 10:00 arriving in Cape Town at 12:30.  The lunch time flight will depart Cape Town at 13:30 arriving in Johannesburg at 15:40, operating on Monday through to Fridays and Sundays
  • Johannesburg <> Nelspruit
    • the additional early morning flight will depart Johannesburg at 07:00 arriving in Nelspruit at 07:50.  The flight will depart Nelspruit at 08:25 arriving in Johannesburg at 09:15, operating on Mondays to Fridays.
  • Johannesburg <> Port Elizabeth
    • the additional mid-morning flight will depart Johannesburg at 10:15 arriving in Port Elizabeth at 12:00. The midday flight will depart Port Elizabeth at 12:30 arriving in Johannesburg at 14:10. Mondays to Fridays and Sundays.
  • Johannesburg <> Bloemfontein
    • the additional early morning flight will depart Johannesburg at 06:40 arriving in Bloemfontein at 07h55. The flight will depart Bloemfontein at 08:20 arriving in Johannesburg at 09:35. Mondays to Fridays.
  • Cape Town <> Bloemfontein
    • With the additional flights on Tuesdays and Thursdays commencing on 18 August 2020, travelers will have the freedom to connect daily between Cape Town and Bloemfontein.
All international passenger flights in South Africa remain prohibited except those flights authorised by the Minister of Transport. Domestic passenger air travel remains not permitted for recreational, leisure or tourism purposes.

Mozambique: President Nyusi announces another 30 days of state of emergency!

The President of Mozambique, Filipe Nyusi, announced in a televised speech to the nation on 05 August 2020 that the country will enter another 30 days of state of emergency starting on 08 August 2020 and ending on 06 September 2020. The Government of Mozambique will also implement a three-stage strategy to to gradually resume social and economic activities. The first stage is set to start on 18 August 2020 and will last until 31 August 2020. In stage one (activities of low risk), face-to-face classes in higher education institutions, teacher-training, technical-professional, health institutes and military academies will be allowed to resume. Religious gatherings with no more than 50 people will also be allowed. During stage two (01 September 2020 - 29 October 2020; activities of medium risk) cinemas, casinos, gyms, and driving schools will reopen. In the final stage three (30 October 2020 - ???; acitivities of high risk), Grade 12 face-to-face classes will resume, while other grades will be resumed as soon as sanitation conditions are qualified.
According to President Nyusi, many other activities that were not mentioned will be subject to the regulations to be defined by the council of ministers. We'll keep you updated!

As of 06 August 2020, Mozambique has 2,079 confirmed cases of COVID-19, including 778 in which the patients have recovered, and 15 deaths.

05 August 2020

Namibia: New rhino and elephant poaching figures!

According to Namibia's Ministry of Environment, Forestry and Tourism (MET), the country has lost 17 rhinos and two elephants to poaching since the beginning of 2020. A total of 45 rhinos and 12 elephants got illegally killed by poachers in Namibia in 2019, compared to 57 rhinos and 26 elephants that lost their lives to poaching activities during 2018.  
Namibia has the second largest population of white rhinos in the world after South Africa and, according to Save the Rhino, it holds one-third of the world’s remaining black rhinos.

rhino, rhinoceros, safari, Namibia

04 August 2020

South Africa: SANParks sets a date to reopen accommodation facilities in National Parks to intra-provincial travellers! [update]

update (11 August 2020): South African National Parks (SANParks) reminds overnight guests planing to stay in Kruger National Park to book accommodation in their respective provinces otherwise they risk being turned back from the park. North of the Olifants Rest Camp cater only for Limpopo residents and south of the Olifants Rest Camp for Mpumalanga. 

update (07 August 2020): South Africa's Minister of Tourism, Mmamoloko Kubayi-Ngubane has published the amended Risk-Adjusted Strategy for Tourism Facilities, Services and Products to include the regulations for Guided Tour Operators which includes Overland Safari Vehicle (OSV) Operators. [more]

South African National Parks (SANParks) has announced that accommodation facilities in the majority of its 19 National Parks, including Kruger National Park, will be open for intra-provincial leisure travellers as from 14 August 2020. In addition, Addo Elephant National Park, Camdeboo National Park, and Karoo National Park will reopen accommodation facilities in 17 August 2020, while Mountain Zebra National Park is set to reopen its cottages, chalets and the camping ground on 20 August 2020.
According to SANParks CEO Fundisile Mketeni, the reopening of the National Parks for accommodation is done under the strictest health protocols to safeguard both staff and guests. Accommodation in the National Parks will initially not run at full capacity as SANParks will employ a phased-in approach to opening. Travellers can therefore expect limited availability of accommodation in some National Parks in the beginning stages of the reopening, with a gradual increase in availability in the next few weeks.

Kruger National Park, lion, safari, wildlife, South Africa

SANParks has implemented additional visitor management procedures in line with regulations and to further mitigate the risk of the spread of coronavirus. Overnight guests will be required to provide proof of residence (municipal account or similar legally accepted form of verification of primary residence) at the time of booking accommodation and again when checking in. No more than two people will be allowed per accommodation unit except for parents and children.
Tour operators will be allowed to conduct guided tours in Guided Overland Safari Vehicles (OSVs) [Open Safari Vehicle?] once regulations pertaining to their operations are gazetted by the Government of
South Africa; all OSV operators need to be registered with SANParks before they are permitted to enter the parks.
The opening of visitor activities and tourist attractions in the National Parks will be in keeping with restrictions and aligned with the opening dates set out. As more information is gazetted SANParks will amend the protocols and inform guests. We'll keep you posted!