28 August 2015

Zanzibar: Sauti Za Busara 2016 cancelled!

The organisers of the Sauti Za Busara festival on Zanzibar have announced that Eastern Africa's single most important performing arts, music and film festival will be cancelled in 2016. Busara Productions named a shortage of funding the main reason for canceling the event for the first time in thirteen years.

For the past twelve years, Sauti Za Busara attracted thousands of visitors from all corners of the world to Zanzibar, at a time which used to be low season. BBC World Service hailed Sauti Za Busara as one of "Africa's best and most respected music events". It is also included in CNN's "7 African music festivals you really have to see" and tops Afro-Tourism's list of "Best Music Festivals".

27 August 2015

Cape Town: Cape Town Tourism releases new promotional video!

Cape Town Tourism has released a new promotional video about Cape Town titled "See, hear, smell, taste, embrace Cape Town". How do you like it?

Kenya: Nairobi Transit directions now available on Google Maps

Google, in cooperation with Digital Matatus, has made bus & matatus (minibuses/ minivans used as public transport) routes information for Nairobi available to the public via maps.google.co.ke. This new Transit feature on Google Maps will make it quick and easy for anyone within Nairobi to find the best route for wherever they're planning to go.

The Transit feature on Google Maps is free, and can be accessed either via the web browser, as well as the Google Maps app on both the Android and iOS platforms.
  • click on "Get Directions" button on Google Maps
  • click on the "public transport" icon
  • enter your place of departure and destination
  • Google calculates the quickest route from A to B & suggest the transport that most conveniently suits your time of travel
Digital Matatus has also made various Nairobi Transit Maps available to download. See their website for a pocket map (pdf; below) and a wall map (pdf) as well as GIS data and GTSF data.

26 August 2015

Table Mountain National Park (TMNP): Certain burnt areas to re-open!

Cape Town's Table Mountain National Park (TMNP) has announced the re-opening of certain burnt areas which had been closed off to the public following the fires in March 2015. These areas were closed for the safety of visitors and to allow natural systems to recover. Five months after the fire, fynbos recovery is showing great progress, so that visitors to Table Mountain National Park can look forward to their favourite hikes and to see the wonders of fynbos. 
  • The mountains above Lakeside, Muizenberg, St James and Kalk Bay will reopen to the public at the start of SA National Parks Week (14 - 19 September 2015). 
    • Permitted recreational activities in the re-opened areas mentioned above will continue as before, including hiking and dog walking with people kindly requested to remain on demarcated footpaths and to be mindful of rules pertaining to keeping dogs under control.
  • Re-opened paths in Table Mountain National Park include: Pecks Valley, Bailey’s Kloof, Spes Bona, Echo Valley, Trappies Kop, Ou Kraal and Steenberg Plateau.
  • Gifkommetjie and Circles Vlei areas, located in the Cape of Good Hope section of the Table Mountain National Park, have also been re-opened to the public. 
    • Burnt infrastructure has been replaced and visible signage has been put up to indicate existing routes
  • The unique Olifantsbos Beach-Cottage at Cape Point is now also open for bookings
  • The Silvermine area, including the mountains above Hout Bay, Noordhoek and Constantia, will reopen by the end of December 2015.
  • The Upper Tokai section of Table Mountain National Park remains closed as rehabilitation work still in progress. The area may reopen in early 2016. 

25 August 2015

South African Airways and Air China sign new codeshare agreement!

Chinese airline Air China (CA) and South Africa's flag carrier, South African Airways (SAA), have signed a new codeshare agreement. The agreement enables South African Airways to put its code on Air China's newly inaugurated non-stop service between Beijing and Johannesburg as well as destinations beyond Beijing to Chengdu, Shanghai, Hangzhou and Chongqing. Air China in turn puts its code on South African Airways' services between Johannesburg to Cape Town, Durban and Port Elizabeth. The codeshare agreement is open for sale from 25 August 2015, for travel effective 29 October 2015.

South Africa: Fly Blue Crane to launch operations on 01 Sept 2015!

New South African airline, Fly Blue Crane, has announced that it will commence operations on 01 September 2015. The airline will initially be offering daily flights from its hub at OR Tambo International Airport (JNB) in Johannesburg to BloemfonteinKimberley and Nelspruit. During its launch phase, Fly Blue Crane will operate a modern and fuel-efficient 50-seater Embraer Regional Jet 145 (ERJ) aircraft in a single class configuration.

Fly Blue Crane's schedule during its initial launch phase:

21 August 2015

Cape Town named World Cocktail Capital 2015!

Diageo, the world's largest producer of spirits, has named Cape Town the World Cocktail Capital 2015. The British multinational alcoholic beverages company is set to host the final of its WORLD CLASS Bartender of the Year 2015 competition in Cape Town and Johannesburg (31 Aug - 04 Sept 2015). This year's event is the biggest WORLD CLASS competition yet, with 55 of the most talented bartenders from over 50 countries competing to be crowned the best bartender in the world. Diageo's WORLD CLASS Bartender of the Year competition, now in its seventh year, is the biggest and most prestigious mixology event in the world.