30 April 2018

Kruger National Park Calendar - June!

Weather:
  • days usually warm, sometimes hot
  • generally wind free
  • cold evenings
  • rarely rain falls
Temperatures:

Landscape:
  • most pans and vleis dry up
  • bush thins out
  • grasslands begin receding
  • umbrella acacia pods twirl out
Animal Activity:
  • large elephant populations in northern Kruger
  • animals concentrate around reliable water sources
  • predators very active around reliable water sources

26 April 2018

South Africa: Toll tariffs on national roads 2018!

South Africa's Department of Transport has approved the adjustment of toll tariffs on national roads for the 2018/19 tax year. The new tariffs, which are getting adjusted on an annual basis, are influenced by the Consumer Price Index (CPI) over the preceding twelve months and reflect the increase in value-added tax (VAT) from 14% to 15% recently announced in South Africa's 2018/19 budget. The adjustments were published in the Government Gazette 41545 (28 March 2018, page 7); the new toll tariffs in South Africa came into effect on 12 April 2018.

South Africa, toll tariffs 2018, travel, tourism
via https://archive.opengazettes.org.za/archive/ZA/2018/
government-gazette-ZA-vol-633-no-41545-dated-2018-03-28.pdf

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Botswana: Winter temperature outlook (May - July 2018)!

Botswana's Department of Meteorological Services (DMS) has released the "Botswana Winter Outlook (May to July 2018)". According to the DMS, normal temperatures with a tendency to below-normal are likely to be experienced throughout Botswana between May 2018 and July 2018.

Normal maximum and minimum temperatures for:

  • The northern parts of Botswana (Ngamiland, Chobe and northern parts of the Central District): Normal with a tendency towards below-normal temperatures. Normal maximum and minimum temperatures for this region are 27.8°C and 9°C respectively..
  • The eastern parts of Botswana (Northeast and southern parts of the Central District): Normal with a tendency towards below-normal temperatures. Normal maximum and minimum temperatures for this region are 24.0°C and 7.2°C respectively.
  • The southern and western parts of Botswana (Kgalagadi, Ghanzi, Southern, Southeast Kgatleng and Kweneng): Normal with a tendency towards below-normal temperatures. Normal maximum and minimum temperatures for this region are 23.6°C and 5.1 °C respectively.
Normal to below normal temperatures are expected over Botswana during May 2018 to July 2018. Cold spells will be experienced from time to time, due to local and intra-seasonal variations.

STATEMENT SEASONAL FOR MJJ 2018.pdf

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25 April 2018

Johannesburg: National strike might cause delays to and from OR Tambo International Airport!

Due to today's national strike (25 April 2018) in South Africa, the management of OR Tambo International Airport (JNB) in Johannesburg advises passengers of possible delays in reaching the airport and recommends to play it safe, to anticipate potential delays and leave earlier for the airport than they would under normal circumstances. Strike-related flight delays are currently not expected.

The South African Federation of Trade Unions (Safttu) and affiliates called for national strike in South Africa on 25 April 2018 in protest against the proposed national minimum wage of R20 an hour and changes to labour laws.

Kruger National Park: Gate quotas in force during the Freedom Day/Workers' Day long weekend!

South African National Parks (SANParks) will enforce daily quotas for day visitors at the entrance gates to Kruger National Park over the Freedom Day/Workers' Day long weekend (26 April 2018 - 01 May 2018). Through the day visitor quota for Kruger National Park SANParks aims to better manage the expected volumes of visitors, as well as to improve the visitors' expectations. SANParks has introduced three time slots, of which day visitos can choose from. It is advised to book a time slot prior to arrival, as pre-booked day visitors will get preference over non-booked day visitors at Kruger National Park's entrance gates.

The times slots below will apply:
  • Time slot 1: 06:00 to 08:00
  • Time slot 2: 08:00 to 10:00
  • Time slot 3: 10:00 onwards
Pre-booked day visitors must ensure that they arrive within the time slots, as per their reservation. Arriving outside the booked time slot, will be regarded as non-booked and therefore not preferential. These bookings can be changed through SANParks Reservations offices. Visitors will be able to book up to 80% of Day Visitor Quota per gate.


Kruger National Park, rhino, safari, safari vehicle, South Africa

Visitors should also take note of the following important information:
  • Day Visitor bookings are subject to a non-refundable booking fee of  R41 per adult and R21 per child.
  • Day Visitors who have pre-booked will still be required to pay Conservation Fees or use a valid Wild Card to enter Kruger National Park. The Conservation Fee for residents of South Africa is 83 per adult and R42 per child (between ages 2 – 11) and for international guests it is R331 per adult and R166 per child.
  • Guests planning to use Wild Cards are requested to ensure membership is valid before arrival and this can best be done online at www.sanparks.org/wild
  • The number and profile of persons (adults and children) on the reservation and actual persons arriving should correspond.
  • All guests (drivers and passengers) may be required to identify themselves upon admission (SA driver’s license, identity document or passport).
  • Due to existing contractual arrangements with Open Safari Vehicles (OSVs), they are regarded as booked for all Day Visitor admissions.
  • Gate Quotas will be applied and un-booked guests could be denied entry.

24 April 2018

Shosholza Meyl: Temporary suspension of the main line passenger service between Johannesburg <> Durban in May 2018!

Shosholza Meyl just announced that due to rail line maintenance the main line passenger service between Johannesburg <> Durban will be suspended on 09 May 2018 (Wednesday) and 11 May 2018 (Friday). Booked passengers travelling on 09 May 2018 or 11 May 2018 on the Durban line will be transported by bus to their various destinations. For more information contact Shosholoza Meyl.



Shosholoza Meyl, a division of the Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa (PRASA), operates long-distance (intercity) passenger rail services in South Africa.


Shosholoza Meyl operates the following routes in South Africa:

23 April 2018

Addo Elephant National Park: Visitor numbers exceed 300 000 in 2017/18!

South African National Parks (SANParks) has released the visitor numbers to Addo Elephant National Park in South Africa's Eastern Cape. According to SANParks, the Park had 305 510 guests between 01 April 2017 and 31 March 2018. This represents an increase of 15% on the same period in 2016/17 with 265 585 guests to Addo Elephant National Park.
Slightly over half of these were international tourists – 158 162 (52%), with 146 091 South Africans (47%) while 1 257 visitors from Southern African Development Community (SADC) countries made up the minority. Dissected into day/overnight visitors, 82% or 250 232 were day visitors, while the remaining 18%, or 55 278 were overnight guests.



Addo Elephant National Park, Addo, Elephants, South Africa, safari

The majority of South African visitors to
Addo Elephant National Park originated from the Eastern Cape – 101 374 which represents 69% of the total, followed by 21% or 30 448 from the Western Cape
Germany, Netherlands and United Kingdom were the
Addo Elephant National Park's top three overseas markets, which represented 87 146 (55%), 15 391 (10%) and 8 361 (5%) of the international market respectively.

20 April 2018

Durban: Four beaches partially closed for sand pumping!

The eThekwini Metropolitan Municipality, the metropolitan municipality that includes the city of Durban and surrounding towns, just announced that portions of:
  • North Beach
  • Dairy Beach
  • Country Club Beach
  • Battery Beach 
will be closed to public from today (20 April 2018) to allow for sand pumping. The beaches will reopen in approximately four weeks.

19 April 2018

Swaziland: King Mswati III has officially renamed the country!

Swaziland's King Mswati III announced at the 50th anniversary celebrations of the country's independence (and his 50th birthday) the official renaming of Swaziland (Kingdom of Swaziland). The new official name of Africa's last remaining absolute monarchy is from today "Kingdom of eSwatini" ("place of the Swazi" in siSwati, the Swazi language). Well... we'll keep you posted!

Swaziland, Kingdom of eSwatini, King Mswati III, Reed Dance

Cape Town: MyCiti bus service is suspended​ until further notice!

update (15 May 2018): Cape Town's MyCiti bus service has resumed operations earlier today.

The City of Cape Town just announced that the city's MyCiti bus service is suspended until further notice. This is due to a nationwide strike, over a wage dispute, affecting the entire bus industry across South Africa.



MyCiti
is
Cape Town's bus rapid transit (BRT) service. Founded in 2010, it has 42 stations and 760 stops in many areas of the Mother City.

Constitution Hill (Johannesburg): Free entry on Freedom 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. Constitution Hill opens its doors to visitors free of charge* on Freedom Day (27 April 2018). 
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.

Constitution Hill provides free entry on the following days:
  • Human Rights Day: 21 March
  • Freedom Day: 27 April
  • Youth Day: 16 June
  • Women's Day: 9 August
  • Heritage Day: 24 September
  • World Tourism Day: 27 September
  • Day of Reconciliation: 16 December 

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

South Africa: Airlink to launch direct flights between Johannesburg <> Port Elizabeth!

South African carrier Airlink is set to launch direct flights between OR Tambo International Airport (JNB) in Johannesburg and Port Elizabeth International Airport (PLZ) in Port Elizabeth on 06 May 2018. The new service will be served by one of the airline's recently acquired 74 seat Embraer E170 aircrafts.
The flights depart from OR Tambo International Airport (JNB) at 18:10 arriving at Port Elizabeth International Airport (PLZ) at 19:40, Monday to Friday and Sundays. The return flight departs
Port Elizabeth at 06:45 arriving at Johannesburg at 08:15. On Saturdays, the flight departs Port Elizabeth at 08:00 arriving at Johannesburg at 09:30. 

17 April 2018

Mozambique: African Wild Dogs have been reintroduced into Gorongosa National Park!

After an absence of more than 25 years, African Wild Dogs have been reintroduced into Gorongosa National Park in Mozambique by the South African Wild Dog Advisory Group (SAWAG). The founding pack of fifteen animals consists of nine males, which naturally dispersed from their natal pack in the uMkhuze Section of the iSimangaliso National Park in South Africa in 2016, and six free-roaming female wild dogs, also originating from the region.
African Wild Dogs are listed as endangered by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), and continue to face threats in many countries and landscapes in Africa. The pressures facing this charismatic species include loss of suitable habitat, persecution, snaring within existing game reserves, and disease.
 

Victoria Falls: New Intercape pick-up/drop-off point!

In case you are planning to use an Intercape bus to or from Victoria Falls in Zimbabwe: The pick-up/drop-off point has changed from The Kingdom Hotel (1 Mallett Drive) to the Total Garage Vic Falls (251 Livingstone Way; see map).



Intercape is the largest intercity passenger transport service operating in South Africa, Namibia, Botswana,
Zimbabwe, Zambia, Malawi and Mozambique.

Iziko Museums of South Africa: Free entry on Freedom Day!

update (26 April 2018): Please be advised that all Iziko Museums (except for The Castle of Good Hope and Groot Constantia) in Cape Town will be closed on Workers' Day, 01 May 2018.

Iziko Museums of South Africa just announced on Facebook that visitors will have free access to all of its museums and galleries in Cape Town (except for the Iziko Planetarium & Digital Dome, Groot Constantia and the Castle of Good Hope) on Freedom Day on 27 April 2018!



Iziko Museums of South Africa provides free entry on the following days:

  • 21 March – Human Rights Day
  • 27 April – Freedom Day
  • 25 May – Africa Day
  • 24 September – Heritage Day and Heritage Week
  • 16 June – Youth Day
  • 09 August – Women’s Day
  • 01 December – World Aids Day & Emancipation Day

16 April 2018

Edelweiss Air to increase its seasonal non-stop service Zürich <> Cape Town!

Swiss airline Edelweiss Air will add an additional weekly flight between Zürich Airport (ZRH) in Zürich and Cape Town International Airport (CPT) in Cape Town from October 2018. This will increase the number of direct seasonal flights between the two cities from three to four a week. 

12 April 2018

Botswana: New elephant poaching figures!

According to the latest poaching statistics by Botswana's Department of Wildlife and National Parks (DWNP), the country has lost 62 elephants in 2017/18 to illegal poaching activities compared with 42 elephants in 2016/17. There has also been an increase in trafficking of elephant tusks - based on numbers of tusks recovered, 109 tusks have been trafficked in 2017/2018 (as of end of February) compared with 48 in 2016/2017. Elephants are mostly poached in the Linyanti and Shaile areas along Botswana's border with Namibia.


11 April 2018

Zimbabwe: FlyAfrica to resume flights between Harare <> Johannesburg!



According to the Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation (ZBC), low cost-carrier FlyAfrica will resume scheduled flights between Robert Gabriel Mugabe International Airport (HRE) in Harare and OR Tambo International Airport (JNB) in Johannesburg as well as between Joshua Mqabuko Nkomo International Airport (BUQ) in Bulawayo and OR Tambo International Airport (JNB) on 15 April 2018. Zimbabwe's state-controlled broadcaster also reports that, according to FlyAfrica's executive chairman Mr Cassidy Mugwagwa, all the necessary regulatory approvals have been secured for the operations. Well, we'll keep you posted!

10 April 2018

Air France to increase flights between Paris <> Nairobi!

update (16 April 2019): Due to operational day changes, Air France will continue to operate three weekly flights between Paris and Nairobi, instead of previously listed four weekly flights.

The flag carrier of France, Air France, is set to increase its service between Charles de Gaulle Airport (CDG) in Paris and Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (NBO) in Nairobi. The airline will introduce an additional fourth weekly flight on board a Boeing 787-9 on 28 October 2018.

South Africa's most punctual domestic airlines in March 2018!

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 2018.
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 2018 (airport target 87%
  1. FlySafair - 94.06% (February 89.98%)
  2. South African Airways - 88.35% (February 92.06%) 
  3. Airlink - 85.09% (February 86.97%) 
  4. CemAir - 83.52% (February 54.47%)
  5. Kulula.com - 72.78% (February 82.04%) 
  6. British Airways Domestic - 72.01% (February 79.36%)
  7. Mango - 70.72% (February 79.70%)  
  8. SA Express - 63.52% (February 67.32%)
  9. Fly Blue Crane Aviation - --.-- (February --.--%) 

Cape Town International Airport (CPT) - 15 Min on Time Performance March 2018 (airport target 90%)
  1. FlySafair - 90.80% (February 87.99%)
  2. South African Airways - 90.52% (February 92.90%)  
  3. Airlink - 86.60% (February 88.13%)
  4. Kulula.com - 77.35% (February 88.88%) 
  5. Mango - 75.18% (February 86.39%)  
  6. British Airways Domestic - 74.45% (February 81.19%)  
  7. CemAir - 71.26% (February 66.67%)
  8. SA Express - 70.15% (February 75.20%)  
  9. Fly Blue Crane Aviation - --.-- (February --.--%)

King Shaka International Airport (DUR), Durban - 15 Min on Time Performance March 2018 (airport target 91%)
  1. South African Airways - 94.79% (February 93.87%)
  2. FlySafair - 94.15% (February 94.84%) 
  3. Airlink - 90.73% (February 84.68%)
  4. Mango - 77.79% (February 82.35%)
  5. British Airways Domestic - 77.20% (February 79.30%)   
  6. Kulula.com - 74.63% (February 82.89%) 
  7. SA Express - 67.46% (February 64.45%)