31 July 2018

Botswana: The annual "Gaborone International Airshow" has been canceled!

The Botswana Tourism Organisation (BTO), a parastatal under Botswana's Ministry of Environment, Natural Resources Conservation and Tourism, just announced on Facebook that the third annual Gaborone International Airshow, which was scheduled to take place on 04 August 2018 at Sir Seretse Khama International Airport (GBE) in Gaborone, has been canceled. According to the BTO, "the cancellation is necessary to allow the organisation to reposition this and other events for optimal value derivation, from tourism-type events".


GABORONE INTERNATIONAL AIRSHOW HIGHLIGHTS 2017 from ATV Media Group on Vimeo.

Iziko Museums of South Africa: Free entry on National Womens Day!

In commemoration of South Africa's National Women's Day, Iziko Museums of South Africa is offering 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 Thursday, 09 August 2018. National Women's Day is a public holiday in South Africa.
 


Iziko Museums of South Africa provides free entry on the following days:
  • 21 March – Human Rights Day
  • 27 April – Freedom Day
  • 18 May - International Museum Day
  • 25 May – Africa Day
  • 24 September – Heritage Day and Heritage Week
  • 16 June – Youth Day
  • 09 August – National Women’s Day
  • 01 December – World Aids Day & Emancipation Day

Kruger National Park Calendar - September!

Weather:
  • it is spring time in the park
  • fresh mornings & warm to hot days
  • it can get pretty cold at night
  • occasional showers
  • pretty unpredictable weather patterns
Temperatures:
impala, male impala, Kruger National Park, South Africa
 
Landscape:
  • first green shoots
  • spring flush depending on rain
  • new mopane growth with red-tinged leaves
  • good spring indicator: purple flowers of tree wisteria
Animal Activity:
  • Game still concentrated around watering holes etc.
  • migrant birds begin arriving
  • Elephants are coming south from their winter feeding grounds in the north

30 July 2018

Video: Pro surfer rides an epic wave on Namibia's Skeleton Coast!

Koa Smith, a pro-surfer from Hawaii, recently visited Namibia to surf one of the longest sand-bottomed left hand wave in the world. Located on the country's Skeleton Coast, the surf spot, known as Skeleton Bay, offered the surfer a ride he'll never forget. Koa Smith rode the wave for two minutes and managed to travel over 1.5km while getting barreled eight times (!). Watch the drone footage below (Kudos Chris Rogers!) as well as Koa's point-of-view clip from the GoPro that he managed to keep locked between his jaws the whole two minutes. Enjoy!



Botswana to ban imports of bottled natural and mineral water!

Botswana's Ministry of Investment, Trade and Industry has imposed restrictions on the importation of bottled natural and mineral water through the country's Control of Goods, Prices and Other Charges Act. As of 01 August 2018, the importation of water packed in bottles of less than 10 litres in to Botswana will be prohibited. The implementation of the regulations aims at promoting the competitiveness and sustainability of Botswana's domestic water bottling sector. The Statutory Instrument No. 44 of 2018 was published in the Government Gazette dated 06 April 2018.

27 July 2018

South Africa: SACAA clears SA Express for take-off!

update (01 August 2018): SA Express plans to resume its flight schedules in the next few weeks!

The South African Civil Aviation Authority (SACAA), the national aviation authority of South Africa, has cleared South African regional carrier SA Express for take-off by reinstating the airline's Air Operator Certificate (AOC). SA Express' Aircraft Maintenance Organisation (AMO) approval was already reinstated about a month ago. In addition, two of the airline's aircrafts got Certificates of Airworthiness (CoA), so that SA Express is now permitted to operate scheduled commercial flights again with these two aircrafts in South Africa.
Back in May 2018, the SACAA suspended the state-owned
SA Express' Air Operator's Certificate (AOC), the Aircraft Maintenance Organisation (AMO) approvals as well as the Certificates of Airworthiness (CoA) of nine of the airline's 21 aircraft.


Addo Elephant National Park: New hiking trail in the Park's Zuurberg section!

South African National Parks (SANParks) has extended one of its two Zuurberg Hiking Trails, the 3-hour (8km) Doringnek Hiking Trail, in the Zuurberg section in Addo Elephant National Park. The circular hiking trail now has a length of 12 km or 5 hours. The Doringnek Hiking Trail departs from the Zuurberg permit office; it includes a picnic spot along the way and passes "Otto's pool" – in which hikers may choose to cool off on hot days. Drinking water, a sunhat and sunblock are essential, especially during summer. Animals to look out for along the route include mountain reedbuck, red hartebeest, bushbuck and other small buck species, monkeys, baboons and dassies. Bird life is also prolific in the Zuurberg mountains

26 July 2018

South Africa: Shark nets removed from KwaZulu-Natal's beaches due to strike action!

According to a recent media release by the KwaZulu-Natal Sharks Board Maritime Centre of Excellence (KZNSB), all shark safety gear at protected beaches along the coast of KwaZulu-Natal has been temporarily removed due to upcoming strike action over wage and other demand negotiations by their workers. The strike, which is initiated by the South African Liberated Public Sector Workers Union (SALIPSWU), is set to start on 27 July 2018. The duration of this strike action is unknown at this time.

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The KwaZulu-Natal Sharks Board Maritime Centre of Excellence (KZNSB) maintains shark nets and drum lines off the coast of KwaZulu-Natal to protect bathers and surfers from shark attacks at a total of 37 beaches. Most of the shark nets deployed by the KZNSB are 214m long and 6m deep and are secured at each end by two 35kg anchors; all have a stretched mesh of 51cm. The nets are laid in two parallel rows approximately 400m offshore and in water depths of 10-14m.

24 July 2018

Zimbabwe: Robert Gabriel Mugabe International Airport undergoes a major facelift!

Zimbabwe's main international airport, Robert Gabriel Mugabe International Airport (HRE, formely known as Harare International Airport) in Harare, is set to undergo a major facelift. Funded by the Chinese government and carried out by China Jiangsu International from China, the upgrade and expansion of the airport is expected to last three years and cost US$153 million. The modernization of the airport in Harare will include the expansion of the international terminal building and aprons, installation of four new air bridges, a secondary radar system, the airfield ground lighting system, the communication systems and construction of a VVIP (not just a VIP...) pavilion and new satellite fire station. The annual passenger handling capacity will grow from the current 2.5 million to 6 million.

Zambia: Proflight Zambia launched a new service between Livingstone <> Lower Zambezi!

Zambian airline Proflight Zambia has launched a new daily direct flight between Harry Mwanga Nkumbula International Airport (LVI) in Livingstone and two airstrips in Lower Zambezi for the 2018 safari season. The flights operate between 15 June 2018 and 15 October 2018, with departure from Livingstone at 09:55 every morning, arriving at Royal Airstrip (owned by the Royal Zambezi Lodge) at 11:30 and Jeki Airstrip at 12:00. Flights from Lower Zambezi depart at 07:20 and 07:50 respectively, arriving in Livingstone at 09:25.

Proflight Zambia, Lower Zambezi, travel, tourism, flights, Zambia
Proflight Zambia: linking Livingstone and Lower Zambezi direct.

De Beers Group to move 200 elephants from South Africa to Mozambique!

Diamond producer De Beers Group and the Peace Parks Foundation, a leading not-for-profit organisation focused on the preservation of large functional cross-border ecosystems, have begun to move 200 elephants from Venetia Limpopo Nature Reserve (VLNR) in South Africa to Mozambique. During the first phase of the project, approximately 60 elephants will be transported in July 2018 and August 2018 from the VLNR to Zinave National Park in central Mozambique. The remaining approximately 140 elephants will be moved to conservation areas that hold sufficient elephant carrying capacity within Mozambique from 2019.

De Beers-owned Venetia Limpopo Nature Reserve (VLNR), which is located about 80 km from Musina im Limpopo and forms part of Mapungubwe National Park, covers an area of 320km². It can accommodate around 60 elephants without causing extensive damage to the Nature Reserve's ecosystem. As a result of natural population growth, VLNR is currently home to 270 elephants. The elephant population in
Mozambique's Zinave National Park, which covers an area of 4080km², is estimated to be around only 60 animals. The elephant population in Mozambique was badly hit by a 15-year civil war that ended in 1992. In more recent years, elephants in the country are threatened with extinction because of poaching. 

South Africa, elephant, wildlife, conservation

23 July 2018

Addo Elephant National Park: Family of 27 elephants to be relocated to the Park's north!

South African National Parks (SANParks) and non-profit animal welfare organisation Network for Animals (NfA) will be relocating a family of 27 elephants, including mothers‚ babies‚ teenagers‚ bulls and the matriarch, from Addo Elephant National Park's main game area to the Park's remote Darlington section on 31 July 2018. Elephants last roamed the area in the northern-most part of Addo Elephant National Park about 150 years ago.


Addo Elephant National Park, located about 70 km north-east of Port Elizabeth in the Eastern Cape, is the third largest national park in South Africa and the country's the second-most visited National Park. It is home to more than 600 elephants, more than 400 Cape buffaloes and close to 50 endangered black rhinos.

20 July 2018

Cape Town's "Unfinished Bridge" to remain unfinished! [UPDATE]

update (23 July 2018): According to Cape Town's Mayor, Patricia De Lille, the project to finish the Foreshore Freeway Bridge is not "dead and buried" and the city will try to find another way of making the project work. We'll keep you posted!

The project to finish Cape Town's "Unfinished Bridge", which was initiated by the City of Cape Town in 2016, has been shelved due to legal concerns and a controversy over alleged tender irregularities. The bridge will remain as is for now.

Cape Town, South Africa, unfinished bridge, Foreshore Freeway Bridge

The Foreshore Freeway Bridge, also known as  Cape Town's "Unfinished Bridge", was build in the 1970s, but got never completed. It actually stands in its unfinished state since construction officially ended in 1977.

18 July 2018

South Africa's most visited tourist attractions in 2017!

According to South Africa Tourism's 2017 Annual Tourism Report, the top five of South Africa's Top 20 most-visited attractions or landmarks are located in and around Cape Town. The V&A Waterfront was the country's most-visited attraction or landmark with 1 162 000 tourists in 2017, followed by Cape Town's Central City with 1 080 000 tourists, Cape Point on the Cape Peninsula with 943 000 tourists, Table Mountain Cableway with 799 000 tourists and the suburb of Camp's Bay with 779 000 tourists.
Cape Town, V&A Waterfront, South Africa

The 20 most-visited attractions or landmarks in South Africa 2017:
  1. V&A Waterfront - 1 162 000 tourists
  2. Cape Town Central City - 1 080 000 tourists
  3. Cape Point - 943 000 tourists
  4. Table Mountain Cableway - 799 000 tourists
  5. Camp's Bay - 779 000 visitors
  6. The Winelands - 730 000 visitors
  7. Sandton City / Mandela Square - 688 000 tourists
  8. Table Mountain  - 494 000 tourists
    (not cableway)

  9. Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens - 490 000 tourists
  10. The Garden Route - 478 000 tourists
  11. Clifton Beach - 418 000 tourists
  12. Kruger National Park - 391 000 tourists
    (via Skukuza, Numbi, Malelane, Crocodile Bridge)

  13. Robben Island - 331 000 tourists
  14. Apartheid Museum - 301 000 tourists
  15. Tsitsikamma National Park - 296 000 tourists
  16. Mandela House (Soweto) - 234 000 tourists
  17. Eastgate Mall (Johannesburg) - 219 000 tourists
  18. Tour of Soweto - 217 000 tourists
  19. Addo Elephant National Park - 217 000 tourists
  20. Blyde River Canyon / God's Window - 194 000 tourists

Kenya: New Madaraka Express train schedule from August 2018!

Kenya Railways (KR), the national railway of Kenya, has revised the schedule of the Madaraka Express. The revision of the old timetable and the introduction of the new schedule aims to improve the performance of the service, which operates between Kenya's capital Nairobi and the coastal city of Mombasa. The new schedule will be effective from 01 August 2018. Under the new schedule, the Inter-County train will leave Nairobi Terminus in Nairobi at 08:20 and arrive at Mombasa Terminus in Mombasa at 14:18 while the Express train will leave Nairobi at 14:35 to reach Mombasa at 19:18. The Inter-County train from Mombasa to Nairobi will leave at 08:00 to arrive in Nairobi at 13:42 while the Express train will leave at 15:15 to reach Nairobi at 20:14.
The changes of the schedule will not affect ticket prices, which were recently adjusted from Sh700 (approx. GBP5.50; €6.00; USD7.00; ZAR92.00) to Sh1000 (approx. GBP7.50; €8.50; USD10.00; ZAR130.00) in economy class from
Nairobi <> Mombasa. One-way tickets for passengers in first class (Nairobi <> Mombasa) are Sh3000 (approx. GBP22.50; €25.50; USD30.00; ZAR400.00).

Skytrax World Airline Awards: Africa's Best Airlines 2018!

Ethiopia's flag carrier, Ethiopian Airlines, has been named Best Airline in Africa in the 2018 edition of the Skytrax World Airline Awards. South African Airways, the national carrier of South Africa, gained the second highest passenger satisfaction ratings on the continent. Air Mauritius was named third best airline in Africa, followed by Air Seychelles and Kenya's flag carrier Kenya Airways. South African budget carrier Mango was named eigth best airline in Africa, followed by pan-African low-cost carrier Fastjet and Kulula, the low-cost airline subsidiary of British Airways franchise Comair in South Africa.

The Best Airlines in Africa 2018:
  1. Ethiopian Airlines (Ethiopia)
  2. South African Airways (South Africa)
  3. Air Mauritius (Mauritius)
  4. Air Seychelles (Seychelles)
  5. Kenya Airways (Kenya)
  6. Royal Air Maroc (Marocco)
  7. Mango (South Africa)
  8. Fastjet (pan-African)
  9. Kulula (South Africa)
  10. TAAG Angola Airlines (Angola)
South Africa, Port Elizabeth, Port Elizabeth International Airport, aviation, flights

South African carrier Mango was named Best Low-Cost Airlines in Africa 2018, followed by pan-African low-cost carrier Fastjet and Kulula, the low-cost airline subsidiary of British Airways franchise Comair in South Africa.
  1. Mango (South Africa)
  2. Fastjet (pan-African)
  3. Kulula (South Africa)
  4. Jambojet (Kenya)
  5. fly540 (Kenya)
Namibia's flag carrier Air Namibia was awarded second Best Regional Airline in Africa 2018, followed by Rwandair, the flag carrier of Rwanda. Air Botswana, the national airline of Botswana, came in sixth in the regional ranking.
  1. Royal Air Maroc (Marocco)
  2. Air Namibia (Namibia)
  3. RwandAir (Rwanda)
  4. Tunisair (Tunisia)
  5. Sénégal Airlines (Senegal)
  6. Air Botswana (Botswana)
  7. Air Côte d'Ivoire (Ivory Coast)
  8. Air Burkina (Burkina Faso)
  9. Afriqiyah Airways (Libya)
  10. ASKY Airlines (West Africa)
South African Airways was given the award for Best Airline Staff in Africa 2018, followed by Ethiopia's national airline Ethiopian Airlines and Kenya Airways, the flag carrier of Kenya.
  1. South African Airways (South Africa)
  2. Ethiopian Airlines (Ethiopia)
  3. Kenya Airways (Kenya)
  4. Air Mauritius (Mauritius)
  5. Mango (South Africa)
  6. Air Seychelles (Seychelles)
  7. Royal Air Maroc (Marocco)
  8. Fastjet (pan-African)
  9. RwandAir (Rwanda)
  10. Kulula (South Africa)
The Skytrax World Airline Awards 2018 are based on customer responses to an online survey which was operated from August 2017 to May 2018. Over 100 customer nationalities participated in the survey with 20.36 million eligible entries counted in the results. All survey entries were screened to identify IP and user information, with duplicate, suspect or ineligible entries deleted. 335 airlines are featured in the survey results.

online flight booking on TravelComments.com >>

17 July 2018

Namibia: Tsau//Khaeb National Park to get a facelift!

The Tsau//Khaeb National Park, formerly known as Sperrgebiet National Park, in Namibia is set to get a facelift. The country's Ministry of Environment and Tourism (MET) officially launched the construction of staff houses, offices and park entry gates on 12 July 2018. The facelift will furthermore include the refurbishment of the historic old post office building in Lüderitz as MET's local office, construction of a new office in Aus as well as the extension to the existing offices in Rosh Pinah and Oranjemund. The new entry gates will be constructed at the Lüderitz Peninsula in Lüderitz, in Kolmanskop, Rotkop, Garub, Aus, Obib, Sendelingsdrift and Swartkop. 


Tsau//Khaeb National Park, which covers an area of 22.000km², was proclaimed a National Park (Sperrgebiet National Park) in 2008. The Park is home to Brown Hyaena, Oryx, Springbok, Cape Fur Seal, Grey Rhebock, Heaviside's Dolphin, Southern Right Whale as well as to almost 60 wetland bird species along the Orange River, 120 terrestrial bird species, 100 reptile species, 16 frog species and 1050 plant species. Probably 90% or more of the invertebrates found in Tsau//Khaeb National Park have not been described by science.

16 July 2018

Rwanda's newest National Park to open for visitors in 2019!

Rwanda is set to open it's fourth National Park, the Gishwati-Mukura National Park, to visitors in 2019. The National Park is located in the Ngororero district and the Rutsiro district in the north-west of Rwanda and is known for a wide range of flora and fauna, including Chimpanzees, L'Hoest's monkeys, blue monkeys, golden monkeys, white and black colobus monkeys and various species of mammals among others. The 355 hectares Gishwati-Mukura National Park was declared a National Park in 2016.



Brandberg Heritage Site (Namibia): No tours due to reported cases of lions in the area!

update (02 August 2018): Tours at the Brandberg National Heritage Site are open again from 03 August 2018

The National Heritage Council of Namibia just informed the public that it is currently not conducting any tours at the Brandberg Heritage Site ("White Lady Hike") until further notice due to reported cases of lions in the area. The service at the site is therefore put on hold until the Hertiage Council finds a win-win solution to the above mentioned problem. We'll keep you posted!



The Brandberg Heritage site is situated about 30km north west of the small town of Uis, close to the road from Khorixas to Hentie's Bay.

12 July 2018

Malawi: A new road eases travel to/from Nkhata Bay on Lake Malawi!

Nkhata Bay, located on the shores of Lake Malawi in Malawi, has become more and more popular with travellers over the recent years. Travelling to and from town is set to become easier now due to a new road that connects Mzuzu City and Nkhata Bay. The 46km road, which was named after after President Arthur Peter Mutharika, links the court house roundabout in Mzuzu City with the Nkhata Bay Jetty in Nkhata Bay on Lake Malawi. The road ("APM Highway") forms part of the M05 road which connects Mzuzu City via Nkhata Bay, Dwangwa, Nkkhotakota and Salima with the junction of the M01 road at Balaka Market.

South Africa: Airlink to suspend its service between Pietermaritzburg <> Cape Town!

South African regional carrier Airlink will suspend its daily service between Pietermaritzburg Airport (PZB) in Pietermaritzburg and Cape Town International Airport (CPT) in Cape Town from 01 October 2018. According to the airline, the route has not become profitable since it was launched in February 2017. Airlink currently operates daily return flights on the route, using 37-seat Embraer ERJ135LR regional jets to deliver an effective full-service value proposition offering on the route. Customers holding confirmed tickets for travel after the 29 September 2018 will be offered a full refund. Please contact Airlink for more information.

Air Botswana and LAM - Mozambique Airlines sign agreement to cooperate!

The flag carrier of Botswana, Air Botswana, and the national airline of Mozambique, LAM - Mozambique Airlines, have signed a Special Prorate Agreement (SPA). The agreement extends Air Botswana's route network from Gaborone, Maun and Francistown by providing connections in Johannesburg in South Africa to seven of LAM's destinations in Mozambique. These include Maputo, Beira, Vilanculos, Pemba, Nampula and Inhambane. The SPA similarly allows for the same reciprocal arrangement for passengers traveling from Mozambique with LAM, who will be able to book and purchase tickets via Johannesburg onwards on Air Botswana's flights to Gaborone, Maun and Francistown. The SPA also allows for through check-in of baggage.

Zimbabwe: Fastjet to launch daily flights between Harare <> Bulawayo!

Pan-African low cost-carrier Fastjet will is set to launch daily flights between Robert Gabriel Mugabe International Airport (HRE) in Harare and Joshua Mqabuko Nkomo International Airport (BUQ) in Bulawayo from 20 July 2018. Ticket sales are already open for booking. Bulawayo is the second largest city in Zimbabwe and the nearest large city to Hwange National Park, Matobo National Park and Victoria Falls.
With the addition of the
Harare <> Bulawayo route, Fastjet's network in Zimbabwe now totals 4 destinations with more than 100 weekly flights.