24 April 2017

TAZARA: Adjustment of timetables for cross-border passenger trains

The Tanzania-Zambia Railway Authority (TAZARA) has just informed us that it will, with effect from 01 June 2017, adjust the Interstate (Cross-Border) Passenger Train Timetables in order to provide for:
  • Ample time for immigration formalities for international travellers
  • More detention (stoppage) time at all the stations that are normally congested with parcels and/or passengers
  • More time and convenient connections for passengers u-turning at the Tunduma/Nakonde Border
Overall, the adjustments will affect the train movements in the following manner:
 
Terminal Departures

Terminal Arrivals
  • In the case of the Mukuba Express, which departs New Kapiri-Mposhi on Tuesdays 16:00, the arrival time at Dar es Salaam will now be 12:10 on Thursday, while arrival time for the New Kapiri-Mposhi bound Mukuba Express will be 13:45 on Sunday.
  • For the Kilimanjaro Ordinary, which departs Dar es Salaam on Tuesdays at 11:00, the arrival time at New Kapiri-Mposhi has changed to 22:54 on Thursday. For the return journey from New Kapiri-Mposhi, the Kilimanjaro Ordinary Passenger Train will now be reaching Dar es Salaam on Sunday at 22:09.
Connections at Nakonde
  • The passengers from Zambia who board the Mukuba Express on Tuesday will arrive in Nakonde on Wednesday morning at 08:41 and may return back to their home stations the same day with the Kilimanjaro Ordinary departing Nakonde at 19:34.
  • For those who head to Nakonde from New Kapiri-Mposhi with the Kilimanjaro Ordinary on Friday, they will arrive in Nakonde on Saturday at 14:07 and may catch the returning Mukuba Express Train at 19:40 the same day.
Detention Times at Stations
  • The detention period has now increased to 10 minutes for Nseluka, Chimba, Chandaweyaya, Makasa, Luchewe and Kapwila stations in Zambia and Chita, Mgeta and Mbingu stations in Tanzania, where extreme congestion of passengers and parcels have been observed in the past.
  • In the same vein, detention time has been increased to 25 minutes at Kasama and Chozi stations, to 40 minutes at Nakonde and Makambako stations and to 60 minutes at Mbeya station, for purposes of immigration formalities and other technical reasons.

Travel & Tourism Competitiveness Report 2017 - the Southern/Eastern African countries

The World Economic Forum (WEF) has released the biennial Travel &Tourism Competitiveness Report 2017. The report, which features the latest iteration of the Travel & Tourism Competitiveness Index (TTCI), measures "the set of factors and policies that enable the sustainable development of the travel and tourism sector, which in turn, contributes to the development and competitiveness of a country" [src.]. The 2017 TTCI benchmarks the T&T competitiveness of 136 economies. It comprises four subindexes, 14 pillars and 90 individual indicators.

Spain tops the 2017 edition of the TTCI global rankings for the second time, followed by France (#2) and Germany (#3). Japan (gaining five places compared to 2015), the United Kingdom, the USA (loosing two places), Australia, Italy, Canada (up one) and Switzerland (loosing four places) complete this year's top 10.

South Africa is the highest-ranked Sub-Sharan African country in the Index on position #53 (regional rank #1; loosing five places on global level), followed by Mauritius (#55 | #2), Kenya (#80 | #3) and Namibia (#82| #4).

The Travel & Tourism Competitiveness Report 2017

The Travel and Tourism Competitiveness Index measures "the set of factors and policies that enable the sustainable development of the travel and tourism sector, which in turn, contributes to the development and competitiveness of a country".
South Africa (global #53 | regional #1)

positive:

  • continues to rely on cultural resources (19th), strong natural resources (23rd), and a conducive business environment (21st), characterized by minimal red tape and modest administrative burden
  • labour market remains inefficient (118th), but there has been some progress in this area: it ranked 135th two years ago
  • improved price competitiveness (43rd) by reducing tickets charges, taxes and hotel prices
negative:
  • tourism competitiveness has deteriorated on two elements — safety and security (120th) and environmental sustainability (117th)
  • Fears of terrorism and an increased sense of insecurity related to crime make tourists less light-hearted about travelling in the country
  • With 33 homicides per 100,000 people, South Africa has one of the worst homicide rates in the index, ranking 131st
  • deforestation and loss of habitat have proceeded at a rapid rate since 2000. The global interest and demand for South Africa’s natural resources is increasing, but insufficient habitat preservation could prevent the country from benefitting from this growing source of tourist attraction
  • reduced efforts made by the government to support the tourism sector (59th)
Although spending has remained unchanged, marketing campaigns have been perceived as effective (40th).
To foster its tourism sector,
South Africa could also implement more open visa policies (71st) and service trade agreements (91st).

Namibia (#82 | #3)

Namibia loses 12 positions this year, resulting partially from statistical adjustments such as the inclusion of previously unavailable deforestation figures, which have significantly reduced the sustainability performance of the country.

positive:

  • natural resources (40th), its business environment (38th), air transportation (58th) and price competitiveness (30th) sustain Namibia's competitiveness as the country slowly continues to increase international arrivals
negative:
  • Namibia has lost a considerable portion of its forest since the early 2000s (127th) and its water resources have deteriorated
  • re-assessment of car rental services (72nd) and the diffusion of ATMs have resulted in a lower performance of Namibia's tourism service infrastructure (73rd).
Namibia still needs to improve its health and hygiene (117th) and under-appreciated cultural resources (127th), and renew focus on its inadequately qualified human resources (106th), which remain the main bottlenecks toward a faster development of the T&T sector in the country.

Tanzania (#91 | #6)

positive:

  • home to one of the most impressive concentration of natural resources (8th) and wildlife globally, with its rich variety of landscapes, ranging from Mt. Kilimanjaro to its coastline and Zanzibar
  • price-competitive destination (34th) where the government plays an active role in promoting the T&T sector (45th)
  • enormous untapped potential
  • Cultural resources (86th) could be nurtured to better complement the natural and safari tourism offer.  progress in the country’s infrastructure, particularly air (106th, up 10 places) and ground transport (102nd, up 18 places)
negative:
  • international arrivals have flattened since 2012, when the country welcomed 1 million international visitors
  • remains largely underdeveloped
  • tourism service infrastructure (103rd) and, specifically, the hotel reception capacity, remain low (119th). Tanzania's business environment (102nd) is still characterized by slow and costly processes to start a business or obtain construction permits
  • Health and hygiene conditions (125th) are also improving very slowly
  • the uptake of ICTs technologies is proceeding at a slower pace than in other countries (121st)
  • particularly low increase in mobile broadband subscriptions.
Despite its immense potential, Tanzania still has important gaps to fill to fully leverage the T&T sector as a mean to increase its living conditions.

Southern & Eastern African countries in the Travel &Tourism Competitiveness Report 2017*:

  1. South Africa (global #53)
  2. Mauritius (#55)
  3. Kenya (#80)
  4. Namibia (#82)
  5. Botswana (#85)
  6. Tanzania (#91)
  7. Rwanda (#97)
  8. Uganda (#106)
  9. Zambia (#108)
  10. Zimbabwe (#114)
  11. Ethiopia (#116)
  12. Madagascar (#121)
  13. Mozambique (#122)
  14. Malawi (#123)
  15. Lesotho (#128)
  16. DR Congo (#133)
  17. Burundi (#134)
*Angola, Seychelles and Swaziland are not covered this time due to insufficient data.

Cape Town: Table Mountain Cableway to close for annual maintenance!

Cape Town's Table Mountain Aerial Cableway will be closing for scheduled annual maintenance from 24 July 2017 to 06 August 2017. The cableway will reopen, weather permitting, 07 on August 2017.


The Table Mountain Aerial Cableway is one of Cape Town's most popular tourist attractions with approximately 900,000 people a year using it to visit the top of Table Mountain. The Cableway offers visitors a variety of experiences, including meals with a view at the Table Mountain Cafe, free WiFi at the new WiFi Lounge and free thirty-minute guided walking tours.

21 April 2017

South Africa: FlySafair named most on-time airline in the world for 2017!

South African low-cost carrier FlySafair has been named the most on-time airline in the world for 2017 by air travel intelligence company OAG. According to OAG, the airline achieved an annual overall on-time performance (OTP)* of 95.94%. FlySafair, second-placed Jazerra Airways from Kuwait and third-placed Air Baltic from Latvia are the only three airlines globally to achieve a 5-star rating. Out of the three top airlines for 2017, FlySafair is the only 5-star rated airline which is a low-cost carrier. Congratulations!



FlySafair:
  • Annual overall on-time performance (OTP) - 95.94%
  • Number of operations - 12366

OAG is the leading global provider of digital flight information. The  travel intelligence company provides digital information and applications to the world's airlines, airports, government agencies and travel-related service companies. The company has the world's largest network of air travel data, including the definitive schedules database of more than 900 airlines and over 4,000 airports, and the most extensive flight status information database in the market. 

*On-time is defined as arrivals that take place strictly less than 15 minutes after schedule.

South Africa's most punctual domestic airlines in March 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 March 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 March 2017 (airport target 87%)
  1. FlySafair - 93.01% (February 95.60%) 
  2. British Airways Domestic - 91.97% (February 91.19%)
  3. South African Airways - 89.07% (February 90.79%)
  4. Airlink - 86.91% (February 86.49%) 
  5. CemAir - 85.52% (February 93.83%)
  6. Kulula.com - 84.68% (February 86.45%)
  7. Mango - 82.31% (February 86.64%)
  8. SA Express - 75.21% (February 77.11%)
  9. Fly Blue Crane Aviation - --.-- (February --.--%)
Cape Town International Airport (CPT) - 15 Min on Time Performance March 2017 (airport target 90%)
  1. FlySafair - 96.08% (February 96.39%)
  2. CemAir - 94.23% (February 100.00%)
  3. Airlink - 92.08% (February 93.60%)
  4. British Airways Domestic - 91.81% (February 91.00%)
  5. South African Airways - 90.20% (February 93.84%)
  6. Kulula.com - 90.13% (February 92.36%)
  7. SA Express - 88.41% (February 87.80%) 
  8. Mango - 85.48% (February 91.81%) 
  9. Fly Blue Crane Aviation - --.-- (February --.--%)
King Shaka International Airport (DUR), Durban - 15 Min on Time Performance March 2017 (airport target 91%)
  1. FlySafair - 93.17% (February 98.79%) 
  2. South African Airways - 91.80% (February 93.75%)
  3. British Airways Domestic - 91.59% (February 87.32%)
  4. Airlink - 87.45% (February 85.31%)
  5. Mango - 87.29% (February 92.68%)
  6. Kulula.com - 83.87% (February 86.53%)
  7. SA Express - 75.95% (February 88.46%)  

20 April 2017

Namibia: Hobas Camp in the /Ai-/Ais-Richtersveld Transfrontier Park has been reopened!

Hobas Camp in the |Ai-|Ais/Richtersveld Transfrontier Park has been reopened by Namibia Wildlife Resorts (NWR) after a extensive refurbishment. The camp, which was previously just a campsite, now also offers 6 rooms (chalets), a restaurant (Quiver Restaurant), a swimming pool and, of course, 14 camping sites. The spacious chalets offer two single beds, a sleeper couch, toilet and bathroom. The total costs for the faceflift are about N$6.5 million.
Hobas Camp is situated at the northern end of the Fish River Canyon in the |Ai-|Ais/Richtersveld Transfrontier Park and is widely known as the main starting point of the Fish River Canyon hiking trail



The |Ai-|Ais/Richtersveld Transfrontier Park is a Peace Park located on the border between South Africa and Namibia. The park was formed in 2003 by combining the |Ai-|Ais/ Hot Springs Game Park in Namibia and the Richtersveld National Park in South Africa.

SOUTH AFRICA - A Mavic Tale (drone video)

US-based Rind-Raja Picture Company travelled with their DJI Mavic Pro to South Africa to film drone videos "and what transpired was magnificent". Kudos Rind-Raja Picture Company!

19 April 2017

The South African National Institute for Communicable Diseases (NICD) issued a new official malaria advisory!

South Africa, Namibia, Swaziland, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Zambia and Malawi are currently experiencing the annual malaria season and as expected there has been an increase in transmission due to the rise in ambient temperature, rainfall and humidity as compared to the same period in 2016. The South African National Institute for Communicable Diseases (NICD) has therefore issued a new official malaria advisory (April 2017) to remind travellers visiting any of the malaria areas within or outside of South Africa to take additional precautions and maintain a higher index of suspicion.


MALARIA ADVISORY APRIL 2017

Southern Africa is currently experiencing the annual malaria season and as expected there has been an increase in transmission due to the rise in ambient temperature, rainfall and humidity as compared to the same period last year.

18 April 2017

Eastern Cape: Discover the Wild Coast! (video)

The Emfuleni Corridor Tourism Association (ECTOUR), an umbrella body of tourism associations from various tourism nodes across South Africa's Eastern Cape, has released a new image video highlighting the various attractions of the Wild Coast. The Wild Coast, which stretches from the Mtamvuna River in the north to the Great Kei River in the south, offers incredible views of the dramatic coastline, jagged cliffs, sheltered bays, wild beaches and rolling hills and valleys.

Fair Trade Tourism certifies Cascade Country Manor in the Cape Winelands!

Fair Trade Tourism (FTT), a South African NGO that encourages and monitors fair and responsible practises in tourism establishments and activities, has added the Cascade Country Manor to its portfolio of tourism businesses in South Africa. Once the South African home of the 12th Duke of Bedford, this 4-star establishment is located outside Paarl in the Cape Winelands with the Klein Drakenstein mountains as its backcloth. Cascade Country Manor has 15 rooms and offers a range of activities including abseiling, mountain biking, hiking and wine-tasting tours. The boutique hotel is also a spa and wellness centre. The neighbouring olive farm ("Buffet Olives") is South Africa's biggest table olive producer and a tour of the factory can always be arranged on request.Cascade Country Manor has had an enduring commitment to sustainability and is invested in the local communities of Paarl. The management team apply strict environmental disciplines, including waste and water recycling initiatives, and reduce energy consumption as far as possible. Fresh produce is grown on the property with the ultimate aim of supplying all fresh produce needs from the garden.

Cape Town: Chapman's Peak Drive closed due to routine road maintenance

Planned maintenance work on Cape Town's famous Chapman's Peak Drive on 04 & 05 April 2017 could not be completed due to bad weather conditions. The required work will now take place on the following days:
  • 18 April 2017 (Tuesday) - Single lane closures with Stop & Go in place
  • 19 April 2017 (Wednesday) - Full road closure from 09:30 to 15:30
  • 20 April 2017 (Thursday) - Single lane closures with Stop & Go in place
The above work and closures will all be weather dependent.

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 April 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]

  • bread - from R8.00/loaf (600g)
  • Rama Margarine - from R8.00/125g
  • eggs (large, free range) - from R17.60/6ea
  • mixed fruit jam - from R13.00/290g
  • peanut butter - from R20.00/250g
  • Nutella - from R34.00/180g
  • Bovril - from R25.00/125g
  • Marmite - from R25.00/125g
  • baked beans - from R7.00/can (410g)
  • bacon - from R30.00/200g
  • milk (full cream) - from R17.00/1l
  • muesli - from R33.00/750g
  • porridge oats - from R18.00/1kg
  • yoghurt (plain) - from R15.50/500g
  • cheese - from R18.00/125g (gouda/cheddar)
  • potatoes - from R11.00/kg
  • tomatoes - from R11.00/750g
  • onions - from R9.00/kg
  • mushrooms - from R22.00/250g (white mushrooms)
  • cucumber - from R11.00 (english cucumber) 
  • lettuce - from R15.00 (crisp lettuce)
  • avocado - from R40.00 (4ea)
  • pasta - from R10.00/500g (macaroni)
  • pasta sauce - from R30.00/440g
  • instant soup - from R11.00 (4ea)
  • biscuits - from R7.50/200g
  • rusks - from R17.00/200g
  • chewing gum - from 8.00/pack (Orbit)
  • boerewors - from R46.00/600g
  • steak - from R100.00/kg (T-bone)
  • chakalaka - from R12.00/can (400g)
  • chutney - from R26.00/bottle (Mrs H.S.Ball's Hot Chutney, 470g)
  • hot sauce - from R18.00/bottle (125g)
  • tomato sauce - from R13.00 (375ml)
  • potato chips - from R6.00/30g
  • bottled water (still) - from R4.30/500ml 
  • Coke - from R10.00/500ml
  • orange juice - from R13.50/350ml
  • beer - from R9.50/330ml (Hansa)
  • beer - from R10.00/340ml (Castle Lager) 
  • beer - from R11.00/330ml (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! 

12 April 2017

|Ai-|Ais/Richtersveld Transfrontier Park: Tatasberg Wilderness Camp has been closed indefinitely!

The Tatasberg Wilderness Camp, one of just two wilderness camps in the |Ai-|Ais/Richtersveld Transfrontier Park, has been closed indefinitely due to a fire which broke out on 8 April 2017. The water supply and solar power system were largely affected by the fire, so that the Tatasberg Wilderness Camp had to be closed. Fortunately the rest of the camp's facilities have not been affected by the fire. We'll keep you posted!



The |Ai-|Ais/Richtersveld Transfrontier Park is a Peace Park located on the border between South Africa and Namibia. The park was formed in 2003 by combining the |Ai-|Ais/ Hot Springs Game Park in Namibia and the Richtersveld National Park in South Africa.