30 September 2013

Video: The top 5 burger joints in South Africa

Everyone loves burgers, right? A very good reason for the Expresso Show, a daily breakfast show on SABC 3 in South Africa, to named the Top 5 burger joints in the country. According to the show the following five are South Africa's best:

In the second half of the video clip, Zola, one of the show's cooks, cooks the so-called Expresso Breakfast Burger. Not bad aswell! Enjoy!

Kruger National Park Calendar - November

  • early summer
  • very hot days and warm evenings
  • rain - rainfall usually double that of October

  • lush vegetation
  • many trees in flower
  • new pans appear in drier areas
  • river levels start rising
 Animal Activity:
  • breeding season underway for most animals
  • plains animals very aggressive in protecting their young as predator activity increases
  • explosion in insect activity after the first good rains

Tanzania: Power cuts on Zanzibar

Due to technical faults, the island of Zanzibar is currently facing electricity rationing. The rationing started already on 25 Sept 2013 and will continue through to 18 October 2013. The reason for the power cuts are problems with the new 100 MW power cable link with the mainland, which was installed earlier in 2013. According to the Zanzibar Electricity Corporation (ZECO), it had to switch back to the old 40 MW cable to repair the new power supply. The old cable is now causing the rationing of power on Zanzibar. We'll keep you posted!

Free digital magazine: "South Africa Bucket List"

Are you looking for some inspiration for your next trip to South Africa? Well, South African Tourism Australia has teamed with Travel Weekly, an Australian magazine for the Australian travel industry, and set up a list of 30 attractions in South Africa that you don't want to miss. The bucket list includes a trip to the world's largest man-made forest in Johannesburg, star-gazing in the Cederberg, whale-watching in Hermanus, volunteering with endangered animals, a picnic in the Cape Winelands and 25 other attractions in South Africa. Enjoy the read and, of course, South Africa!

Namibia: Etosha National Park ist set to undergo a major facelift

Namibia's most popular tourist attraction, the Etosha National Park, is set to undergo a major facelift in the coming months. Funded by the Millennium Challenge Account (MCA), the infrastructural upgrades will include:
  • addition of camping, picnic and game-viewing facilities at the Olifantsrus waterhole
  • upgrading of the Southern Anderson Gate
  • creation of the new Galton Gate in the west of the park (opening in mid-2014)
The infrastructural upgrades will cost approx. $N340 million. The Millennium Challenge Account (MCA) is currently also funding the development of three massive self-drive travel routes through Northern Namibia. One of the routes will be linked to the Etosha National Park through the new Galton Gate.

27 September 2013

South Africa: SA Express to launch three new domestic routes

South African carrier SA Express just announced via Twitter that it will lauch three new routes on 01 November 2013. The airline will operate flights between Cape Town (CPT) and George (GRJ), Johannesburg (JNB) and Kruger Mpumalanga International Airport (MQP) in Nelspruit as well as between Johannesburg (JNB) and Pietermaritzburg (PZB).
SA Express is a domestic and regional passenger carrier in Southern Africa. Although operationally independent of the country's flag carrier South African Airways, SA Express' flights are incorporated within the strategic alliance with South African Airways and privately owned SA Airlink.

South Africa: Thaba Ya Batswana Eco Hotel and Spa gets FTT-certification

Fair Trade Tourism (FTT), a South African NGO that encourages and monitors fair and responsible practises in tourism establishments and activities, recently added the Thaba Ya Batswana Eco Hotel and Spa in the Klipriviersberg Nature Reserve to the list of FTT-certified businesses in South Africa. The Thaba Ya Batswana Eco Hotel and Spa sleeps 208 guests in 52 rooms. All rooms have access to WiFi and are equipped with iPad docking stations, en suite bathrooms, TV sets, air conditioning, lounge areas and complimentary coffee stations. The Klipriviersberg Nature Reserve, often referred to by locals as Johannesburg's "best-kept secret", is situated to the south of the city centre and stretches over 680 ha of open veld landscape and koppies.
Thaba Ya Batswana not only supports small and medium sized businesses with a favourable BBBEE rating, but also puts community interests first in all business dealings. The hotel has employed people from the community who live less than 20km from the hotel premises, in order to reduce each employee’s carbon footprint, as well as to enhance their family lives by less time travelling to and from work.
Local charities and schools are some of the beneficiaries of financial and practical assistance, provided in order to improve the lives of children, adults and the elderly in the community. 
The owners of Thaba Ya Batswana are founding members of both SOJO and KUBiC – organisations proactively involved in the ecological improvement and greening of the south of Johannesburg. The first self-sustaining green corridor will be their legacy.
Fair Trade Tourism's (FTT) certification programme, which was recently outsourced to FLO-Cert, is based on adherence to specific criteria including fair wages and working conditions, fair distribution of benefits, ethical business practice, and respect for human rights, culture and the environment.

Fastjet to delay the launch of Dar Es Salaam <> Johannesburg operations

update (03 Oct 2013): According to the South African Department of Transport (DoT), the delay was caused by Fastjet originally having submitted all of its documents under the name "Fly540 Tanzania", operating as Fastjet. In August, however, the airline's name was officially changed to "Fastjet Airlines Tanzania". Fastjet now has to submit certain new documents reflecting the new name to get the OK form the DOT to launch flights between Dar Es Salaam (Tanzania) and Johannesburg (South Africa).

African low-cost carrier Fastjet announced that it had to postpone the launch of its first international service between Dar Es Salaam (Tanzania) and Johannesburg (South Africa). The operations between the two destinations were scheduled to start from 27 Sept 2013. Due to unexpected administrative delays caused by the South African Department of Transport, the airline is now forced to delay the flights, but Fastjet is confident that it will be operating on this service by mid-October 2013. All passengers affected by this delay will receive a full refund and assistance with re-booking a complimentary seat to fly within the next month. Please contact Fastjet for further information.

26 September 2013

Video: The Durban Curry

On his hunt for the world's best curries, the Urban Rajah recently visited Durban to find out more about the curries of South Africa. At the famous Oyster Box Hotel, he spoke with executive chef Kevin Joseph about the three main curry dishes in South Africa, the three key ingredients in South African curries, asked him what a bunny chow acutally is. Enjoy and get hungry! Kudos Urban Rajah!

South Africa: Leriba Hotel and Spa (Centurion) gets FTT-certification

Fair Trade Tourism (FTT), a South African NGO that encourages and monitors fair and responsible practises in tourism establishments and activities, just announced that the Leriba Hotel and Spa has joined the list of FTT-certified businesses. The Leriba Hotel and Spa is a 4 and 5 Star hotel, nestled on 12 hectares of indigenous forest on the banks of the Hennops River in Centurion. The hotel is in walking distance to Centurion City and Centurion Gautrain Station. Johannesburg is 35 minutes away, OR Tambo International Airport only 45 minutes from OR Tambo International Airport and Pretoria just 10 minutes.

Leriba' sustainable tourism initiatives include:
  • Hosting a number of tourism students each year for work and practical experience.
  • Providing Adult Basic Education and Training (ABET) training to their own staff.
  • Using local and small suppliers extensively in their procurement process.
  • Receiving 100% for Broad-Based Black Economic Empowerment (B-BBEE) procurement.
  • Contributing significantly to community social investment (both financially and in-kind).
  • Obtaining a Gold Heritage Rating for their environmental practices, including waste management, water and energy consumption.
  • Making significant financial investment in environmental projects.
  • Ensuring excellent Health and Safety systems on site for guests and staff, including the number of staff who have valid First Aid and fire fighting certificates
Fair Trade Tourism's (FTT) certification programme, which was recently outsourced to FLO-Cert, is based on adherence to specific criteria including fair wages and working conditions, fair distribution of benefits, ethical business practice, and respect for human rights, culture and the environment. 

25 September 2013

Al Jazeera: New series follows trainee rangers as they fight rhino poaching in South Africa

update (12 Nov 2013): The sixth and last episode of "Wildlife Warzone" is online and available in the playlist below.
update (05 Nov 2013): The fifth episode of "Wildlife Warzone" is online and available in the playlist below! Learn more about the Shamwari Game Reserve in the Eastern Cape!
update (29 Oct 2013): The fourth episode of "Wildlife Warzone" is online and available in the playlist below! Learn more about the Selati Game Reserve in Limpopo!
update (22 Oct 2013): The third episode of "Wildlife Warzone" is online and available in the playlist below!
update (15 Oct 2013)
: We have added the second episode of "Wildlife Warzone" to the playlist.
"Wildlife Warzone" is a new six-part documentary series produced by 5to9 Productions for international news channel Al Jazeera. The series follows a new batch of young South Africans from all kind of backrounds as they are put through their 38 day course to become rhino rangers for Protrack, the first private anti-poaching unit in South Africa.

"Wildlife Warzone" is partly shot in and around the Kruger National Park and at Shamwari Game Reserve in the Eastern Cape, named the World’s Leading Conservation Company and Leading Safari Lodge at the 2012 World Travel Awards.
The series screens from Monday, 07 October 2013 at 22:30GMT, with additional screenings on Tuesdays at 9:30GMT, Wednesdays at 03:30GMT, and Thursdays at 16:30GMT. We'll add the following episodes to the video playlist above as soon as (and if) Al Jazeera makes them available.

24 September 2013

Edelweiss Air to resume seasonal Zürich <> Cape Town flights

Swiss airline Edelweiss Air has announced that it will return to Cape Town for the third consecutive year during the 2013/14 European winter season. The airline will offer two direct daytime flights between Zürich in Switzerland and Cape Town per week between 30 September 2013 and 02 May 2014. As a member of the Lufthansa Group (SWISS), Edelweiss Air operates its long-haul flights with an Airbus A330-300 and an Airbus A330-200.

23 September 2013

South Africa: Low-cost carrier FlySafair launched ticket sales

(update 08 Oct 2013): FlySafair just announced via Twitter that contrary to their expectations, the court today granted an interim interdict against FlySafair, so that the airline won’t be starting operations immediately. The court ordered Comair to accommodate FlySafair passengers by honouring their ticket prices & dates of travel as agreed to with FlySafair.

South African air logistics and specialised air services company Safair today launched the website and ticket sales for its new low-cost airline FlySafair. The airline is the newest
entrant to the low cost air travel market in South Africa and will initially be flying between Johannesburg and Cape Town. FlySafair, which is going to offer up to ten daily flights between the two destinations, will have its maiden flight on 17 October 2013. The airline will operate Boeing 737-400s with a seating capacity of 165 passengers. Plans are already underway to quickly expand the airlines's network. We'll keep you posted!

SANParks announces changes to rates for open safari vehicles in the Kruger National Park

Great news for South Africans and nationals of the Southern African Development Community (SADC). From 01 November 2013, South African National Parks (SANParks) will change the rate structure for the usage of Open Safari Vehicles (OSVs) to experience the iconic Kruger National Park. Conservation fees for Kruger National Park and OSV visitors will be R62 for local residents, R124 for SADC nationals (passport holders) and R248 for international visitors. Children under 12 pay 50% of these rates. Current OSV rates are R204 for all visitors. During the 2012/13 financial year, the OSV guests numbers in Kruger National Park reached a record 120 000, comprising 7.1% of total guest entries.

22 September 2013

South Africa: 688 rhinos killed by poachers so far in 2013

According to the latest statistics released by the Department of Environmental Affairs, South Africa has lost 688 rhinos to illegal poaching since the beginning of 2013. Of the rhinos poached, 418 rhinos were killed in the Kruger National Park, 80 in Limpopo, 69 in North West, 65 in KwaZulu-Natal, 48 in Mpumalanga, 4 in Gauteng and 2 in the Eastern Cape and in the Marakele National Park respectively.
To date 219 alleged rhino poachers have been arrested in South Africa since the start of 2013.

Latest rhino poaching figures (as of 21 September 2013):  
  • Kruger National Park (SANParks) - 418 rhinos poached
  • Marakele National Park (SANParks) - 2 rhinos poached
  • Gauteng - 4 rhinos poached
  • Limpopo - 80 rhinos poached
  • Mpumalanga - 48 rhinos poached
  • North-West Province - 69 rhinos poached
  • Eastern Cape - 2 rhinos poached
  • Free State - 0 rhino poached
  • KwaZulu Natal - 65 rhinos poached
  • Western Cape - 0 rhino poached
  • Northern Cape - 0 rhino poached

The Department of Environmental Affairs (DEA) is urging members of the public to report incidents of rhino poaching or any tip-offs to the anonymous tip-off lines 0800 205 005, 08600 10111 or Crime-Line on 32211.

19 September 2013

South Africa to host the 2014 African Nations Championship (11 Jan - 01 Feb 2014)

South Africa is hosting the 2014 African Nations Championship (CHAN) from 11 January 2014 to 01 February 2014. The annual CHAN finals feature African national teams made up entirely of players from the domestic leagues of the different countries. The host cities of the tournament are Cape Town (Cape Town Stadium & Athlone Stadium), Polokwane (Peter Mokaba Stadium) and Mangaung/Bloemfontein (Free State Stadium).
There will be 32 matches played in 16 match days with Cape Town hosting two quarter finals games and the other two in Mangaung/Bloemfontein and Polokwane. The semi finals will both take place in Mangaung/Bloemfontein whilst Cape Town hosts final and third-place matches.

Cape Town, Cape Town Stadium
  • 11 January 2014, 18:00 - South Africa vs. Mozambique
  • 11 January 2014, 21:00 - Mali vs. Nigeria
  • 15 January 2014, 17:00 - South Africa vs. Mali
  • 15 January 2014, 20:00 - Nigeria vs. Mozambique
  • 19 January 2014, 19:00 - Nigeria vs. South Africa
  • 20 January 2014, 19:00 - Morocco vs. Uganda
  • 25 January 2014, 20:30 - Quarterfinal A1 vs. B2
  • 26 January 2014, 17:00 - Quarterfinal B1 vs. A2
  • 01 February 2014, 17:00 - 3rd Place match
  • 01 February 2014, 20:00 - Final
Cape Town, Athlone Stadium
  • 12 January 2014, 17:00 - Zimbabwe vs. Morocco
  • 12 January 2014, 20:00 - Uganda vs. Burkina Faso
  • 16 January 2014, 17:00 - Zimbabwe vs. Uganda
  • 16 January 2014, 20:00 - Burkina Faso vs. Morocco
  • 19 January 2014, 19:00 - Mozambique vs. Mali
  • 20 January 2014, 19:00 - Burkina Faso vs. Zimbabwe
Mangaung/Bloemfontein, Free State Stadium
  • 13 January 2014, 17:00 - Ghana vs. Congo
  • 13 January 2014, 20:00 - Libya vs. Ethiopia
  • 17 January 2014, 17:00 - Ghana vs. Libya
  • 17 January 2014, 20:00 - Ethiopia vs. Congo
  • 21 January 2014, 19:00 - Ethiopia vs. Ghana
  • 22 January 2014, 19:00 - Mauritania vs. Gabon
  • 26 January 2014, 20:30 - Quarterfinal C1 vs. D2
  • 29 January 2014, 17:00 - Semifinal
  • 29 January 2014, 20:30 - Semifinal
Polokwane, Peter Mokaba Stadium
  • 14 January 2014, 17:00 - DR Congo vs. Mauritania
  • 14 January 2014, 20:00 - Gabon vs. Burundi
  • 18 January 2014, 17:00 - DR Congo vs. Gabon
  • 18 January 2014, 17:00 - Burundi vs. Mauritania
  • 21 January 2014, 19:00 - Congo vs. Libya
  • 22 January 2014, 19:00 - Burundi vs. DR Congo
  • 26 January 2014, 17:00 - Quarterfinal D1 vs C2

17 September 2013

South Africa: Maropeng Visitor Centre gets Fair Trade Tourism-certification

Fair Trade Tourism (FTT), a South African NGO that encourages and monitors fair and responsible practises in tourism establishments and activities, just announced that Maropeng has joined the list of FTT-certified businesses. Maropeng is the official visitor centre of the Cradle of Humankind, one of only eight World Heritage Sites in South Africa– and the only one in Gauteng. Maropeng and the Cradle of Humankind are located about 50km northwest of Johannesburg.
As part of its greening initiatives, Maropeng has constructed an ozone waste-water purification system at the Sterkfontein Caves, which uses ozone from the atmosphere to accelerate the breaking down of solids by bacteria; as well as to sterilise water.
Another water management initiative is an artificial wetland system, called a Subsurface Flow Constructed Wetland System (SSF CWS) at Maropeng's Visitor Centre. The wetland has been specially designed to naturally assist in the filtering and cleansing of the site’s grey and black water.
Other green projects close to Maropeng's eco-friendly heart include biodegradable packaging and eating utensils, the rechargeable torch batteries used by Maropeng's tour guides, conference notepads and pencils made using recycled paper, low-energy lighting and a variety of preservation efforts to protect indigenous fauna and flora in the area. (via Fair Trade Tourism)
Fair Trade Tourism's (FTT) certification programme, which was recently outsourced to FLO-Cert, is based on adherence to specific criteria including fair wages and working conditions, fair distribution of benefits, ethical business practice, and respect for human rights, culture and the environment.

South Africa's most punctual domestic airlines in August 2013

Airports Company South Africa (ACSA) has published the on-time performance results of domestic airlines’ flying out of OR Tambo in Johannesburg, Cape Town International Airport, and Durban's King Shaka International Airport in August 2013.
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, Johannesburg - 15 Min on Time Performance August 2013 (airport target 85%)
  1. Mango - 95.24% (July 95.50%)
  2. Airlink - 92.87% (July 90.73%)
  3. South African Airways - 90.97% (July 91.65%) 
  4. British Airways Domestic - 88.40% (July 91.65%) 
  5. Kulula.com - 85.40% (July 93.96%)   
  6. SA Express - 83.78% (July 82.62%) 
Cape Town International Airport - 15 Min on Time Performance August 2013 (airport target 87%)
  1. Mango - 93.87% (July 97.30%) 
  2. Airlink - 93.79% (July 97.01%) 
  3. South African Airways - 91.53% (July 93.49%)
  4. SA Express - 90.95% (July 93.04%)
  5. British Airways Domestic - 90.70% (July 91.96%)
  6. Kulula.com - 85.13% (July 92.72%)
King Shaka International Airport, Durban - 15 Min on Time Performance August 2013 (airport target 89%)
  1. Airlink - 96.48% (July 93.36%)
  2. Mango - 95.90% (July 97.80%) 
  3. South African Airways - 95.54% (July 95.48%) 
  4. SA Express - 94.48% (July 93.09%)
  5. British Airways Domestic - 91.33% (July 93.79%)
  6. Kulula.com - 89.85% (July 93.95%)