31 January 2019

Kenya: Jomo Kenyatta International Airport in Nairobi to face strike action! [update]

update (06 February 2019): The Kenya Aviation Workers Union (Kawu) has called off the strike that was scheduled to start today.

update (05 February 2019): According to a tweet by Kenyan low cost-carrier Fly540, the strike at Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (NBO) in Nairobi is set to start on 06 February 2019 and not today (05 February 2019). We'll keep you posted!

The Kenya Aviation Workers Union (Kawu) has issued a 7-day strike notice in opposition to planned takeover of Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA) in Nairobi by Kenya Airways. Members of the union, including the airport's ground staff, are expected to boycott their duties from 05 February 2019. Duty-free shops, inflight functions and cargo operations are also expected to join the strike action. According to the Kawu, they fear that the takeover will render most its members jobless
Kenya Airways has proposed the formation of a subsidiary dedicated to managing operations at Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA) for a concession period of 30 years.



Kruger National Park Calendar - March!

Weather:
  • end of summer...
  • still hot and humid during the day, but nights begin to get colder
  • last major rainfalls of the season
Temperatures:
Kruger National Park, safari, South Africa, elephants

Landscape:
  • Water availability at its peak
  • river levels high
  • dense vegetation
  • grasslands in full seed
Animal Activity:
  • animal dispersal at its widest
  • animals rather relaxed - least competition for resources
  • water sources throughout the park are usually full
  • buffalo & kudu breeding peak
  • many migrant birds leaving

Cape Town: The Table Mountain Aerial Cableway has announced the dates of the 2019 annual maintenance shutdown!

Cape Town's Table Mountain Aerial Cableway will be closing for scheduled annual maintenance from 08 July 2019 to 18 August 2019. This year's shutdown will last for six instead of the usual five weeks. The renovations will include the replacing of cable car ropes and more. You can still hike up Table Mountain at your own risk during maintenance shutdown, but cable cars and all facilities, including the Cableway's restrooms, eateries and shops will not be open.

Table Mountain, Cape Town, South Africa

The Table Mountain Aerial Cableway is one of Cape Town's most popular tourist attractions with approximately 800,000 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 WiFi Lounge and free thirty-minute guided walking tours.

30 January 2019

Ethiopian Airlines introduces free transit tours in Addis Ababa for international passengers!

Ethiopia's flag carrier, Ethiopian Airlines, will extend its free transit tour to global passengers as of 01 February 2019. The new complimentary city tour package takes transiting passengers with 6 to 8 hours' time in Addis Ababa on a journey through one of the landmarks of the city, the National Museum, accompanied with a taste of Ethiopian Coffee and souvenir shopping and make them experience the unique flavors of the political capital of Africa during their brief stay. The city tour package is organized by ET Holidays, the tour operator wing of Ethiopian Airlines.
 

International Shark Attack File: South Africa experienced two non-fatal shark attacks in 2018

According to the University of Florida's International Shark Attack File (ISAF), South Africa experienced two non-fatal shark attacks in 2018*. Another four remaining unclassified attacks from South Africa are still under investigation. A total of 130 incidents of alleged shark-human interaction occured worldwide in 2018. Out of the 130 interactions between humans and sharks, 66 cases are confirmed unprovoked shark attacks on humans, while 34 are confirmed as provoked attacks on humans.
  • Unprovoked Attacks - 66 incidents
  • Provoked Attacks - 34 incidents
  • Boat Attacks - 9 incidents
  • Scavenge - 4 incidents
  • Habituation - 1 incident
  • Public Aquaria - 1 incident
  • Doubtful - 10 incidents
  • Not Confirmed - 5 incidents
  • Total Cases - 130 incidents
The International Shark Attack File (ISAF) defines unprovoked attacks as "incidents where an attack on a live human occurs in the shark’s natural habitat with no human provocation of the shark" and provoked attacks as incidents where "a human initiates interaction with a shark in some way. These include instances when divers are bitten after harassing or trying to touch sharks, attacks on spearfishers, attacks on people attempting to feed sharks, bites occurring while unhooking or removing a shark from a fishing net, etc." [src.]

beach, South Africa, Port Elizabeth
 
The International Shark Attack File (est. 1958) is housed at the Florida Museum of Natural History and is the only scientifically-generated database that documents and monitors shark attacks on a global basis.

*
South Africa has an annual average of four total shark attacks and one fatality.

29 January 2019

Air Namibia to increase domestic and regional flights!

Namibia's flag carrier, Air Namibia, has announced schedule changes that will come in effect on 30 March 2019. The airline will increase capacity on routes where they often have high levels of spillage, and also introducing flights on days of week most suited to their clients requirements. The following four domestic routes and two regional routes are affected by Air Namibia's schedule changes:
 

  • Windhoek Eros Airport (ERS), Windhoek – Ondangwa Airport (OND), Ondangwa – Windhoek Eros Airport (ERS), Windhoek:
    • flight frequencies will increase to 20 per week, from previously 17 flights per week. Additional frequencies will be introduced on Fridays, Sundays and Wednesdays. This will result in a total of 3 flights on each of these 3 days of the week.
  • Windhoek Eros Airport (ERS), Windhoek – Katima Mulilo Airport (MPA), Katima MuliloWindhoek Eros Airport (ERS), Windhoek:
    • flight frequencies will be increased from the current 4 to 5 per week, with the new additional rotation scheduled for Thursdays.
  • Windhoek Eros Airport (ERS), Windhoek – Rundu Airport (NDU), RunduWindhoek Eros Airport (ERS), Windhoek:
    • flight frequencies will be increased from the current 3 to 4 per week, with the new additional rotation scheduled for Mondays.
  • Ondangwa Airport (OND), Ondangwa – Walvis Bay International Airport (WVB), Walvis BayOndangwa Airport (OND), Ondangwa:
    • flight frequencies will remain on 3 flights per week, currently operated on Saturdays, Tuesdays and Thursdays. Days of operation will change to Fridays, Sundays and Wednesdays.
  • Hosea Kutako International Airport (WDH), Windhoek – Kenneth Kaunda International Airport (LUN), LusakaHosea Kutako International Airport (WDH), Windhoek
    • flights will change days of operation, with frequency increase to 4 per week, previously 3 flights per week. New days of operation will be Sundays, Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays.
  • Hosea Kutako International Airport (WDH), Windhoek – Robert Gabriel Mugabe International Airport (HRE), HarareHosea Kutako International Airport (WDH),Windhoek:
    • flights will change days of operation, with frequency increase to 4 per week, previously 3 flights per week. New days of operation will be Sundays, Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays.

28 January 2019

Timelapse-Video: I AM CAPE TOWN 4 (in 4K)!

Brendon Wainwright, a self taught photographer and time-lapser from Cape Town, has finally released the long awaited part four of his stunning "I AM CAPE TOWN" video series. Switch the video to fullscreen, put your headphones on, press play and enjoy the incredible timelapse-video about Cape Town in the highest possible quality and size! Kudos Brendon!



South African Airways to resume flights between Johannesburg <> Blantyre! [update]

update (04 February 2019): South African Airways (SAA) has resumed flights between OR Tambo International Airport (JNB) in in Johannesburg and Chileka International Airport (BLZ) in Blantyre, Malawi. The resumption of operations follows the conclusion of audit and inspection processes at Chileka International Airport in Blantyre relating to the condition of that airport.
 
South Africa's flag carrier, South African Airways (SAA), plans to resume flights between OR Tambo International Airport (JNB) in in Johannesburg and Chileka International Airport (BLZ) in Blantyre, Malawi, on 02 February 2019. On 18 January, SAA took a decision to cancel flights between the two cities after the audit process which confirmed that the airport was not fully compliant with minimum standards required for South African Airways to operate in line with its licensing conditions.
SAA will confirm the date for the reinstatement of the service as soon as the South African Aviation Authority (SACAA) has granted permission to resume flights. We'll keep you posted!

Airlink temporarily suspends all flights between Johannesburg <> Mthatha!

South African regional carrier Airlink just announced that all flights between OR Tambo International Airport (JNB) in Johannesburg and Mthatha Airport (UTT) in Mthatha in the Eastern Cape are suspended forthwith as there are no emergency services available at the airport, as notified by the South African Civil Aviation Authority (SACAA). With immediate effect, the airline will close all flights for sale until the SACAA is satisfied that Mthatha Airport has addressed its shortcomings and the airport is open again for scheduled services. The suspension is directly attributable to the airport and therefore no flights can operate.

Western Cape: Hottentots Holland Nature Reserve closed until further notice! [update]

update (01 February 2019): The Hottentots Holland Nature Reserve has been reopened today!

CapeNature, the public institution with the statutory responsibility for biodiversity conservation in South Africa's Western Cape, has informed the public that the Hottentots Holland Nature Reserve has been closed until further notice due to the Groenlandberg fires. This includes overnight huts, hiking trails, ziplining and kloofing. The public is urged to steer clear of the area.



The 70 000-hectare Hottentots Holland Nature Reserve is located in the Hottentots Holland Mountains, about 90km south-east of Cape Town. It stretches from Elgin in the south to beyond Villiersdorp in the north and from the Stellenbosch Mountains in the west to the Groenland Mountains in the east.

25 January 2019

Airlink to resume flights to Mthatha using a smaller aircraft!

South African regional carrier Airlink just announced that it will resume flights betweenOR Tambo International Airport (JNB) in Johannesburg and Mthatha Airport (UTT) in Mthatha on 28 January 2019. Due to the airport downgrade from Category 4 to Category 3 (Rescue and Fire Fighting Services) by the South African Aviation Authority (SACAA) earlier today (25 January 2019), the airline will temporarily provide three daily return flights using its 29 seat Jetstream 41 aircraft with restricted capacity. Affected passengers are advised to contact Airlink for further information. We'll keep you posted!

South Africa: SA Express & Airlink temporarily suspend flights to Mthatha! [update]

update (25 January 2019): Airlink to resume flights to Mthatha using a smaller aircraft! More info >>

The South African Aviation Authority (SACAA) has downgraded Mthatha Airport (UTT) in Mthatha in the Eastern Cape from 25 January 2019 following a negative audit finding against it. This means that the airport is currently unable to accommodate safe scheduled passenger air services. Due to the downgrade, South African regional carriers SA Express and Airlink have both temporarily suspended flights between OR Tambo International Airport (JNB) in Johannesburg and Mthatha Airport. Affected passengers are advised to contact the airlines for further information. We'll keep you posted!

24 January 2019

South Africa: Cemair remains grounded!

The South African Civil Aviation Authority (SACAA) just released a media statement regarding South African regional carrier Cemair. According to the statement the Johannesburg High Court has dismissed Cemair's urgent application to overturn SACAA's suspension and grounding notice on 23 January 2019. This means that Cemair's Air Operator Certificates (AOCs) remain suspended until such time. Due to the suspension of the AOCs, CemAir cannot operate as an airline in South Africa. The SACAA grounded Cemair on 11 January 2019 due to concerns over the systematic failure of the airline's maintenance controls. 

Kruger National Park: SANParks advises not to use Numbi Gate for the time being!

Due to protest action along the R538 between White River and Hazyview, South African National Parks (SANParks) yesterday (23 January 2019) decided to close Kruger National Park's Numbi Gate (Hazyview side) for the entire day. The gate is open again today (24 January 2019), but SANParks still advises visitors to use alternative gates such as Phabeni Gate or Paul Kruger Gate to access or exit Kruger National Park. We'll keep you posted!


Cape Town: The next "Museum Night" to take place in February 2019! [update]

update (21 February 2019): Remember that entrance to the SA Jewish Museum and Cape Town Holocaust Centre complex requires ID (ID book, driver's license, passport, etc.).
There'll be a few food trucks in the Company's Gardens, and there are a handful of restaurants that have shown their support for Museum Night.
This event does NOT include any of the Waterfront museums (Zeitz MOCAA etc.). It is in the city centre only.
Please note that the following 3 museums will open from 6pm, not 5pm: Iziko SA National Gallery, Iziko SA Museum + Planetarium, and Iziko Slave Lodge.


update (20 February 2019): The programme and the seconday programme of the upcoming "Museum Night" in Cape Town has been released! 

The famous "Museum Night" returns to Cape Town in a few weeks. The next edition of the popular event will take place on 21 February 2019 between 17:00 - 22:00. "Museum Night" is a multi-institution after hours cultural experience. For one night, the public is invited to explore Cape Town's museums and cultural institutions after-hours and free of charge. No tickets are required. Participating museums and institutions include the Iziko South African National Gallery, Iziko South African Museum + Planetarium, South African Jewish Museum, District Six Museum, Iziko Slave Lodge, Cape Town Holocaust Centre, The Old Granary, SA Sendinggestig Museum, A4 Arts Foundation and Muller’s Museum. More information on the full programme will be made available closer to the event. We'll keep you updated!

23 January 2019

Proflight Zambia to temporarily suspend flights between Lusaka <> Harare!

Zambian airline Proflight Zambia has temporarily suspended flights between Kenneth Kaunda International Airport (LUN) in Lusaka and Robert Gabriel Mugabe International Airport (HRE) in Harare with effect from 29 January 2019. The airline expects to resume flights from 01 March 2019. Proflight Zambia suspended the service between the two destinations due to the current situation in Zimbabwe and ongoing challenges with the repatriation of funds from Zimbabwe. Affected passengers will be refunded in full for tickets purchased for travel during this period (29 January 2019 - 01 March 2019).

22 January 2019

Kenya Airways to launch flights to Rome and Geneva!

Kenya's flag carrier, Kenya Airways, is set to lauch flights from Jomo Kenyata International Airport (NBO) in Nairobi to Rome–Fiumicino International Airport "Leonardo da Vinci" (FCO) in Rome and Geneva Airport (GVA) in Geneva on 12 June 2019. The airline will operate four weekly flights on board a Boeing Dreamliner 787-8 between the three destinations. Kenya Airways previously operated flights to Rome until June 2012. With the resumption of this route and the addition of Geneva, this will bring the airline's European destinations to five and 55 worldwide.

Uganda: Uganda Wildlife Authority scrapped guided nature walk fees to view Sempaya Hot springs in Semuliki National Park!

The Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA) is no longer charging fees for guided nature walks to view the Sempaya hot springs in Semuliki National Park in Uganda. Visitors to the hot springs will only have to pay the usual park entry fees; no further charges will be levied. Other products, such as birding and nature walks, will be paid for according to UWA tariffs, available on the official website of the Uganda Wildlife Authority [pdf].
Semuliki National Park is located in westen
Uganda. The Park's Sempaya Gate is 59 km from Fort Portal, while the headquarters of the National Park at Ntandi is 6 km further along the road. Semuliki National Park was founded in 1993 and covers an area of 220km². It is one of the richest areas of floral and faunal diversity in Africa and home to 441 recorded bird species and 53 mammals.


South African Airways extends flights cancellations between Johannesburg <> Blantyre! [update]

update (24 January 2019): According to South African Airways (@flysaa_care), flights between Johannesburg and Blantyre "are still suspended till further notice" [src.].

South African Airways (SAA) just announced that it has extended its flight cancellations to include operations on Wednesday (23 January 2019) between OR Tambo International Airport (JNB) in Johannesburg and Chileka International Airport (BLZ) in Blantyre, Malawi. According to a travel advisory by the airline, the extended cancellation is due to the implementation of the corrective action plan following audit findings at Chileka International Airport in Blantyre relating to the condition of the airport. Last week, South African Airways announced a flight cancellation for Saturday and Sunday respectively (19 and 20 January 2019). We advise affected travellers to contact South African Airways for further information!


South Africa: Airlink has introduced enhancements to its service between Cape Town <> Kruger Mpumalanga International Airport!

South African regional carrier Airlink has introduced enhancements to its service between Cape Town International Airport (CPT) in Cape Town and Kruger Mpumalanga International Airport (MQP), located about 60km north east of Nelspruit in Mpumalanga. Since 14 January 2019, the airline's early morning flights depart Kruger Mpumalanga International Airport at 07:00 and arrive at Cape Town International Airport at 0925. Late afternoon flights depart Cape Town at 16:30 and arrive at Kruger Mpumalanga International Airport at 18:45. These flights are operated from Mondays to Fridays. On Saturdays a new early morning departure leaves Kruger Mpumalanga International Airport at 07:40 and arrives in Cape Town at 10:05.

17 January 2019

South African Airways improves luggage through-checks!

South Africa's flag carrier, South African Airways (SAA), has improved luggage through-checks for passengers across the SAA brand and its codeshare partner airlines. Passengers on codeshare flights are now able to through-check their baggage to the final destination when booked on South African Airways' "SA code" all the way, connecting between SAA, Mango, SA Express, Airlink and other codeshare partner operated flights.
Example: Customers can now through-check all the way from Durban-Johannesburg-Frankfurt-Stockholm when travelling on the "SA code" on a Mango operated flight from Durban – Johannesburg, then on an SAA operated flight from Johannesburg to Frankfurt and further on the "SA code" on a Lufthansa operated flight from Frankfurt to Stockholm.
Please not that all international arriving customers, with their final destination in South Africa, still need to collect their baggage at the first port of entry as per customs regulations. However, travellers booked on flights with South African Airways' "SA code"  can make use of the conveniently located South African Airways and Mango re-check facility at the international arrivals hall for their onward domestic connections.

Mango is a South African low-cost airline and a subsidiary of South African Airways. SA Express, a regional airline from South Africa, is operationally independent of South African Airways, but its flights are incorporated within the strategic alliance with South Africa's flag carrier. SA Airlink, also a regional airline from South Africa, has code-sharing and schedule co-ordination agreements with South African Airways and South African Express.

South Africa: Intercape and Greyhound have reopened routes to Zimbabwe! [update]

update (17 January 2019): Greyhound just announced that services to/from Zimbabwe - as well as to Malawi - have resumed!

Intercape, one of South Africa's largest and most popular luxury coach transport service providers, has resumed services to/from Zimbabwe and Malawi on 17 January 2019. The services were suspended due to the political unrest in Zimbabwe since 14 January 2019. The services of Greyhound, another popular luxury coach transport operator in South Africa which also canceled services to/from Zimbabwe on 14 January 2019, remain canceled. We'll keep you posted!

16 January 2019

Karoo National Park: Bulkraal Picnic Site temporarily closed until further notice!

The Bulkraal Picnic Site in the Karoo National Park is temporarily closed until further notice. According to South African National Parks (SANParks), the popular spot is closed due to the water crisis in Beaufort West, and also due to a water pipe that needs to be repaired. Situated off the Lammerjiesleegte loop in the eastern part of the Karoo National Park, Bulkraal is a lovely picnic spot that features numerous braai sites and a swimming pool. Ablution facilities are also provided. Beaufort West, known as the "Capital of the Karoo", is located next door to the Karoo National Park.

15 January 2019

South Africa is one of the World's most instagramable countries!

According to global travel site Big 7 Travel, which forms part of Big 7 Media, South Africa is the fifth most instagramable country worldwide. Australia was named the World's most instagramable country, followed by Hong Kong, Canada and Indonesia. To create the list of the most instagrammable countries 2019, Big 7 Travel used a comprehensive scoring system that analysed the amount of hashtags per destination, survey results of about 1.5-million Big 7 Media readers, and votes cast by a panel of travel experts.



World's Most Instagrammable Countries 2019:

  1. Australia – 89.98%
  2. Hong Kong – 86.99%
  3. Canada – 82.84%
  4. Indonesia – 81.10%
  5. South Africa – 80.94%
  6. Maldives – 80.23%
  7. India – 80.00%
  8. United States of America – 79.97%
  9. Dubai – 79.92%
  10. Singapore – 79.45%

South Africa: Greyhound & Intercape have canceled all services to/from Zimbabwe [update]

update (16 January 2019): Greyhound has canceled all trips to/from Zimbabwe until further notice. Intercape has suspended services to/from Zimbabwe and Malawi for today!

Greyhound and Intercape, two of South Africa's largest and most popular luxury coach transport service providers, have both temporarily canceled all services to/from Zimbabwe due to the current political unrest in the country. This includes all coaches departing on 15 January 2019. Intercape has also canceled all services to/from Malawi. We advise to contact Greyhound or Intercape in case your travels are affected by the cancellation of services. We'll keep you posted!

14 January 2019

Fastjet cancels all flights to/from Harare for the remainder of the day (14 January 2019)!

Fastjet (Zimbabwe) has canceled all flights to and from Harare for the remainder of the day (14 January 2019) due to the current unrest affecting travel on the streets of Harare, and in particular to and from Robert Gabriel Mugabe International Airport (HRE). Affected customers will be allowed to change their bookings to a later date as long as travel is completed before 22 January 2019. Change fees will be waivered. Airfare differences may apply if the same fare is not available. We recommend to contact Fastjet (Zimbabwe) in case your flight in affected. [src.]

Malaria: South African Malaria Risk Map (December 2018)

South Africa's National Institute of Communicable Diseases (NICD) has published a new and updated South African Malaria Risk Map (December 2018). In South Africa, malaria transmission occurs in the north-eastern part of the country, mainly in the low altitude (below 1 000m above sea-level) areas of Limpopo, Mpumalanga and northern part of  KwaZulu-Natal. Limited local transmission may occasionally occur in the North West Province and in the Northern Cape along the Molopo and Orange rivers. Kruger National Park and Mapungubwe National Park are the only two National Parks in South Africa that are situated in malaria risk areas. The risk of malaria in both of these parks is usually low, even in the summer months. Malaria is distinctly seasonal in South Africa, with the highest risk being during the wet summer months (September to May).

Malaria, South Africa, Limpopo, Mpumalanga, KwaZulu-Natal, risk map
Source: NICD; click on map to enlarge

Zimbabwe: Fastjet increased flights between Harare <> Bulawayo!

Fastjet (Zimbabwe) has increased the number of flights between Robert Gabriel Mugabe International Airport (HRE) in Harare and Joshua Mqabuko Nkomo International Airport (BUQ) in Bulawayo to cope with with increasing demand. Since 10 January 2019, the airline operates two daily flights instead of one daily flight on the route. The new schedule includes a morning and evening departure, leaving Harare at 07:00 and again at 19:15, with return flights departing Bulawayo at 8:20 and 20:35.