29 September 2017

Kruger National Park Calendar - November

Weather:
  • early summer
  • very hot days and warm evenings
  • rain - rainfall usually double that of October
Temperatures:
Kruger National Park, South Africa, baby elephant
 
Landscape:
  • 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

Open Streets: Cape Town's busiest main roads closed for motorised vehicles on 01 October 2017!

Cape Town's busiest main roads between Observatory and Cape Town's CBD, including parts of Main Road (M4), Vicoria Road, Sir Lowry Road and Darling Street, will be reserved for people, not cars, during the first ever "Open Streets Main Road" taking place on 01 October 2017. Closed to motorised vehicles between 08:00 - 16:00, the roads will become an open space for pedestrians, cyclists, skateboarders, wheelchair users and other non-motorised transport users to move in safety. "Open Streets Main Road" is free and everyone is encouraged to participate and help plan the day.


"Open Streets Main Road" is organised by Open Streets Cape Town, a local non-profit organisation, in partnership with the City of Cape Town's Transport and Urban Development Authority, with the financial support of the WWF Nedbank Green Trust, Millennium Trust and Woolworths, as well as the help of many volunteers, residents and friends of the NPO.

28 September 2017

South African Airways to reduce flights to the Eastern Cape!

South Africa's flag carrier, South African Airways, is set to reduce domestic flights to the Eastern Cape as part of the airline's newly developed five-year Corporate Plan to improve schedule efficiencies. Effective 29 October 2017, the airline will operate two instead of four daily flights to Port Elizabeth and two instead of three daily flights to East London. South African Airways assures its customers that it will honour its obligations to all ticketed passengers who purchased tickets in advance. Ticketed customers will be re-accommodated on other flights.

South Africa, Port Elizabeth, airplane, beach, skyline

Air Botswana adds an extra flight between Gaborone <> Cape Town!

The state-owned national flag carrier of Botswana, Air Botswana, is set to introduce an extra flight between Sir Seretse Khama International Airport (GBE) in Gaborone and Cape Town International Airport (CPT) in Cape Town on 29 October 2017.

Kenya Airways to discontinue flights to Hong Kong & Hanoi!

Kenya's flag carrier, Kenya Airways, will discountinue flights to Hong Kong and Hanoi (Vietnam) from 29 October 2017 to optimize its route network. This move will allow the airline to operate with a better schedule to Asia with a daily flight to Bangkok (Thailand) and Guangzhou (China). Kenya Airways will continue to serve Hong Kong and Hanoi through its partners.

27 September 2017

Get on a MyCiti bus to Cape Town’s past!

The City of Cape Town's Transport and Urban Development Authority has produced a fold-out heritage map with information about 20 sites of interest that are easily accessible via the MyCiTi bus routes. Many of these sites are clustered in Cape Town's city centre and surrounds, with others along scenic routes to the West Coast and Hout Bay. Residents and tourists can get a myconnect card and load a Day Pass for R94. This will allow unlimited travel on all MyCiTi routes at any time, or they can load a R39 OPT1 package, which allows unlimited travel outside the weekday morning and afternoon peak. Monthly Pass users can simply hop on the bus and enjoy the sites. 

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You can access the MyCiTi heritage map free of charge at all MyCiTi stations and participating retailers, or they can get copy here.

Johannesburg is the most popular city in Africa for international travellers!

According to the Mastercard Global Destination Cities Index 2017, Johannesburg in South Africa is the most popular city in Africa for international travellers. The city is projected to welcome 4.88 million (+6.8%) international overnight visitors in 2017 and had 4,57 million international overnight visitors in 2016. Cape Town is the continents second most popular destination with an estimated 1.62 million (+6.8%) international overnight visitors in 2017 and 1.52 million visitors from outside the country in 2016.
In terms of international overnight visitors spending,
Johannesburg also takes the lead in Africa. MasterCard expects visitors to the City of Gold to spend US$2.89 bn in 2017 (US$2.56 bn in 2016). Cape Town comes in second with a spending forecast of US$1.43bn by international overnight visitors in 2017 (US$1.26 bn in 2016).

South Africa, Johannesburg, bw

The Mastercard Index of Global Destination Cities ranks cities in terms of the number of their total international overnight visitor arrivals and the cross-border spending by these same visitors in the destination cities in 2016, and gives visitor and passenger growth forecasts for 2017. Public data, and not Mastercard volumes or transactional data, is used in deriving the international overnight visitor arrivals and their cross-border spending in each of the 132 destination cities.

Cape Point: Cape Point Road is undergoing a makeover; stop & go in place!

The Cape Point Road in the Cape Point section of Cape Town's Table Mountain National Park is undergoing a makeover from today (27 September 2017). A stop & go is in place, so that the maintenance contractor can create a new smoother road surface. The work should take approximately 6 weeks to complete. We'll keep you posted!


26 September 2017

Ethiopian Airlines & Azul Brazilian Airlines signed a codeshare agreement!

Ethiopia's flag carrier, Ethiopian Airlines, and Brazilian carrier Azul Brazilian Airlines have entered a codeshare agreement effective 01 October 2017. Under the new agreement, Ethiopian Airlines will put its "ET"-code on flights to seven destinations in Brazil operated by Azul Brazilian Airlines (São Paulo (Guarulhos) to Belo Horizonte, Curitiba, Goiania, Porto Alegre, Cuiabá, Foz do Iguaçu and Florianopolis), while Azul Brazilian Airlines will reciprocally market Ethiopian Airlines' vast network throughout Africa and beyond.

25 September 2017

South African Airways to reduce regional flights!

South Africa's flag carrier, South African Airways, is set to gradually reduce regional flights for operational reasons. The airline will re-accommodate passengers on alternative days, with change fees waived. Tickets must be re-issued on/before 17 October 2017.

22 September 2017

Free poster download: The Common Spiders of Southern Africa!

Herpetologist Johan Marais, author of "A Complete Guide to Snakes of Southern Africa", has published a new poster about the Common Spiders of Southern Africa. The poster is available as a free download in high resolution and is designed to be printed in A3 (or A4).

Common Spiders of Southern Africa, Poster, Johan Marais
via http://www.africansnakebiteinstitute.com

To download the poster "Common Spiders of Southern Africa" click here (pdf, 6.7mb) or here (jpg, 339kb)!

21 September 2017

Johannesburg: No City Sightseeing hop-on hop-off tours on Heritage Day 2017!

Due to the FNB Joburg 10K CITYRUN in Johannesburg on Heritage Day (24 Sept 2017), the City Sightseeing open-top bus hop-on hop-off tours will not be running on that day. The FNB Joburg 10K CITYRUN is a race for anyone who wants to run 10km and explore Johannesburg's inner city. Celebrating its 2nd anniversary in 2017, the cityrun starts at the FNB Bank City in Johannesburg and ends at Mary Fitzgerald Square in Newtown. Iconic landmarks to look out for on the FNB Joburg 10K CITYRUN route will include:  the Nelson Mandela Bridge, FNB Bank City, Constitution Hill, Mary Fitzgerald Square, Wits University, Neighbourgoods Market and Ellis Park Stadium to mention just a few.



The City Sightseeing open-top bus hop-on hop-off tour in Johannesburg covers 12 stops around the city, including Constitution Hill, Ghandi Square and the Gold Reef City Theme Park. Travellers can remain on the bus and listen to the informative audio commentary during the entire 1.5-hour loop, or hop on and off and explore independently. 1-day or 2-day tickets for unlimited travel from the time of first use are available.

20 September 2017

Zimbabwe: Harare International Airport to be renamed after Robert Mugabe!

update (09 Nov 2017): According to news reports from Zimbabwe, the broke government of the country has so far spent $500 000 funding the process of renaming Harare International Airport after President Robert Mugabe. 

According to a document by the Civil Aviation Authority of Zimbabwe (CAAZ) that recently appeared on twitter and other social media channels, Harare International Airport (HRE) in Harare is set to be renamed after the ruling President of Zimbabwe, Robert Gabriel Mugabe. Effective 09 November 2017, the official name of Zimbabwe's main international airport will be "R. G. Mugabe International Airport". Well...


19 September 2017

Constitution Hill (Johannesburg): Free access on Heritage Day & World Tourism Day!

Johannesburg's Constitution Hill is a living museum that tells the story of South Africa's journey to democracy. The site is a former prison and military fort and is, today, home to the country's Constitutional Court. During September 2017, which is Heritage Month and Tourism Month in South Africa, Constitution Hill will be offering free entrance* on two days - on Sunday, 24 September 2017 (Heritage Day) and on Wednesday, 27 September 2017 (World Tourism Day).
The Constitution Hill precinct is located at 11 Kotze Street in Braamfontein, Johannesburg near the western end of the suburb of Hillbrow. The opening hours are daily from 09:00 to 17:00, with the final tour departing from the Visitor Centre at 16:00. Tickets for adults cost between R65 (1hrs highlights tour) and R350 (3hrs time travel tour). If you are visiting Constitution Hill as part of your City Sightseeing red bus tour, your red bus ticket entitles you to a 25% discount off your Constitution Hill ticket price on the day of your red bus trip.

*This offer applies to general admission for self-guided tours throughout the precinct.

14 September 2017

The 20 most dangerous roads to drive in South Africa!

South Africa's Road Traffic Management Corporation (RTMC) has released a list of the country's most dangerous routes to drive. The list is based on the number of road crashes and fatalities that took place on National Routes (N), Provincial Routes (R) and Regional Routes (R) in all nine provinces in South Africa

traffic, Cape Town, South Africa

The 20 most dangerous roads to drive in South Africa:
  1. N2 - East London <> Umtata (231km)
  2. N2 - Umtata <> Kokstad (188km)
  3. N1 - Mokopane <> Polokwane (58km)
  4. N1 - Polokwane <> Makhado (109km)
  5. N4 - Middelburg <> Belfast (72km)
  6. N2 - Durban <> Tongaat (48km)
  7. N12 - Springs <> Witbank (101km)
  8. R573 - Pretoria <> Kwamhlanga (74km)
  9. N1 - Naboomspruit <> Mokopane (44km)
  10. R71 - Polokwane <> Tzaneen (95km)
  11. R40 - Hazyview <> Hoedspruit (99km)
  12. R61 - Port St Johns <> Bizana (149km)
  13. N2 - Cape Town <> Somerset West (48km)
  14. N2 - King Williams Town <> East London (70km)
  15. R61 - Queenstown <> Umtata (226km)
  16. N3 - Warden <> Viliers (104km)
  17. N4 - Waterval Boven <> Nelspruit (91km)
  18. R573 - Moloto Road (140km)
  19. N14 - Coligny <> Beisiesvlei (47km)
  20. N17 - Liandra <> Ermelo (120 km)

Kruger National Park: Temporary closure of Shingwedzi Rest Camp in September 2017!

The Shingwedzi Rest Camp, located in the northern part of the Kruger National Park, will be hosting the 23rd edition of the "Baroque in the Bush" concert event from 18 to 24 September 2017. The rest camp is fully booked during that period and inaccessible to other guests except for the performing artists and the concert-goers. However, the filling station, shop and the public ablutions will operate as usual at Shingwedzi Rest Camp and are open to the public.



NB: The camp site at
Shingwedzi Rest Camp is currently being upgraded. The expected completion date is 30 October 2017.

13 September 2017

Malawi to introduce a new Road Access Fee (RAF) for all foreign registred vehicles

The Government of Malawi is set to introduce a new Road Access Fee (RAF) for all foreign registred vehicles. Effective 01 November 2017, the fee is applicable on all foreign registered (small) vehicles and all such vehicles that are currently not paying the International Transit Fee (ITF)*. The RAF will be charged by the Malawi Revenue Authority (MRA) at Malawi's border posts upon entry in the country in United States Dollars (US$) at a fixed rate of US$20 per vehicle and does not depend on the vehicle's country of origin or the distance to be travelled in the country. The on-the-spot penalty for those failing to pay the fee is US$500 per vehicle.

Land Rover, Pretoria, South Africa, Jacaranda

*The International Transit Fee (ITF) is charged by the Malawi Revenue Authority (MRA) on foreign registered vehicles with a minimum of two axles. The fee, which is collected at Malawi's borders upon entry in the country, is payable in foreign denominated currency per 100km or part thereof travelled in Malawi.

Western Cape: Free access to CapeNature's reserves in September 2017!

Cape Nature, a public institution with the responsibility for biodiversity conservation in South Africa's Western Cape, is providing free access to all of their reserves open to the public to day visitors between 18 - 25 September 2017. The waiver of the access fee will pertain to general access (the conservation fee), day hiking (included in conservation fee) and other activities, including white river rafting (with your own canoe), mountain biking (with your own bike) or picnicking. Normal rates will apply for accommodation and camping, horse riding at Anysberg Nature Reserve, multi-day hiking, as well as concessions that are run by outside suppliers on Cape Nature's reserves.

South Africa, Western Cape, landscape

Day visitors will have free access to the following Cape Nature reserves:

12 September 2017

Namibia: Delays at Hosea Kutako International Airport in Windhoek due to new biometric system!

Namibia's flag carrier, Air Namibia, just posted an "important customer notice" on facebook. According to the posting, passengers at Hosea Kutako International Airport (WDH) in Windhoek are currently experiencing (massive) delays at check-in points due to the introduction of the new Electronic Border Management System at the beginning of September 2017. We'll keep you posted and recommend travellers to arrive early at the aiport to avoid inconveniences.

Zimbabwe: Shortage of KAZA univisa stickers!

update (13 Sept 2017): According to state-owned Zimbabwean newspaper "The Chronicle", KAZA univisa stickers a are "still available in Zimbabwe's Harare International Airport, Victoria Falls International Airport, Victoria Falls and Kazungula border posts although reports say they could also be running out of stock". Well...

According to reports from Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe is now also experiencing a shortage of Kaza univisa stickers. All ports of entry, including Harare International Airport in Harare, Victoria Falls International Airport in Victoria Falls, Kazungula Border (Botswana) and the Victoria Falls Border (bridge border Zambia/Zimbabwe), are currently unable to issue the visa. Until this matter has been resolved, only the standard Zimbabwean single entry visa ($30), double entry visas ($45) and multiple entry visas ($55; to be supported by a letter) are currently available. Zambia ran out of stickers already about 3 weeks ago and is still unable to issue the Kaza univisa.

Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe, Zambia

The KAZA univisa (stickers) are valid for 30 days as long as the traveller remains in Zambia and Zimbabwe and cost $50 per person. The univisa also covers those who wish to visit Botswana for day trips through the Kazungula Border Post.

11 September 2017

Air Namibia & Condor to expand codeshare partnership!

According to aviation specialists, Routesonline, Namibia's flag carrier, Air Namibia, German leisure airline Condor expand their codeshare parthernship. Under the new extended agreement, Air Namibia puts it's "SW"-code on Condor's flights between Frankfurt and five destinations in the USA as well as Havanna on Cuba. The launch date is set to be today (11 Sept 2017), but this is likely to change.

09 September 2017

South Africa's most punctual domestic airlines in August 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 August 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 August 2017 (airport target 87%)
  1. FlySafair - 96.06% (July 93.59%)
  2. CemAir - 91.21% (July 90.30%)
  3. British Airways Domestic - 91.17% (July 88.41%)
  4. South African Airways - 87.66% (July 80.83%)
  5. Kulula.com - 87.54% (July 85.15%)
  6. Airlink - 85.25% (July 86.40%)
  7. SA Express - 79.14% (July 54.29%)
  8. Mango - 73.99% (July 79.87%)
  9. Fly Blue Crane Aviation - --.-- (July --.--%)
Cape Town International Airport (CPT) - 15 Min on Time Performance August 2017 (airport target 90%)
  1. FlySafair - 95.59% (July 93.42%)
  2. South African Airways - 91.84% (July 80.29%)
  3. British Airways Domestic - 91.43% (July 87.92%)
  4. Airlink - 89.45% (July 87.73%)
  5. SA Express - 85.11% (July 71.12%)
  6. Kulula.com - 84.49% (July 81.55%)
  7. Mango - 79.56% (July 80.38%)
  8. CemAir - 75.86% (July 98.11%) 
  9. Fly Blue Crane Aviation - --.-- (July --.--%)
King Shaka International Airport (DUR), Durban - 15 Min on Time Performance August 2017 (airport target 91%)
  1. FlySafair - 98.88% (July 96.27%) 
  2. Airlink - 92.51% (July 93.75%)
  3. South African Airways - 92.35% (July 84.26%)
  4. British Airways Domestic - 90.79% (July 86.16%)
  5. SA Express - 90.60% (July 69.40%)
  6. Kulula.com - 88.38% (July 87.61%)
  7. Mango - 80.43% (July 87.05%)