19 February 2019

Botswana: Air Botswana to resume flights to Harare & Lusaka!

Botswana's flag carrier, Air Botswana, is set to resume scheduled direct flights between Sir Seretse Khama International Airport (GBE) in Gaborone and Robert Gabriel Mugabe International Airport (HRE) in Harare as well as between Gaborone and Kenneth Kaunda International Airport (LUN) in Lusaka. Flights will commence on 02 April 2019 and will be operated on Tuesdays and Saturdays. Air Botswana suspended flights operations between Gaborone and Lusaka as well as between Gaborone and Harare in 2016 due to a route rationalisation exercise in order to reduce operational costs on non-profitable routes.

World Restaurant Awards: A tiny South African beach restaurant has just been crowned world's "Restaurant of the Year"!

The World Restaurant Awards held their inaugural awards ceremony on 18 February 2019 in Paris. Winner of the "Restaurant of the Year" category is Wolfgat, a restaurant in Paternoster in South Africa's Western Cape. Congratulations! According to the judging panel, the menu at Wolfgat is "perfectly balanced between creativity and accessibility" and a "hyper-local". approach to sourcing ingredients. The remote 20-cover restaurant also scooped the award for "Off-Map Destination" – a category that embodies the awards' ambition to reflect the full breadth and depth of the international restaurant scene.
Wolfgat located at 10 Sampson Street in
Paternoster. At the first intersection in Paternoster, coming from direction Vredenburg (R45), turn left onto St. Augustine road. Pass the Paternoster Hotel and Paternoster Lodge on your left. At the Rooykliphoek centre on your left, turn right into Sampson street. The restaurant is situated about 100m down the road on your right. Lunch and dinner at Wolfgat is served by appointment only. The restaurant offers a seven course tasting menu at R850 per person

The World Restaurant Awards were created by IMG in partnership with Joe Warwick and Andrea Petrini to celebrate restaurants as culture, considered in the same way as film, art and music. That means relevant/progressive categories judged with robust integrity by an expert panel in an attempt to better reflect the true range and diversity of the international restaurant scene: from fine dining innovators to humble, accessible establishments; major culinary capitals to more remote destinations. [src.]

18 February 2019

Johannesburg: M2 to be partially closed until October 2019!

The Johannesburg Roads Agency (JRA) is set to close the M2 motorway between the Crown Interchange and Maritzburg Street in Johannesburg due to structural defects of the Karsene and Selby sections of the M2 bridge. The closure will beginn on 28 February 2019 and is expected to last until October 2019. The closure of the motorway will affect several on-ramps, which will have to be closed, and affected motorists are advised to seek alternative routes.

SA Express to resume flights between Johannesburg <> Mthatha!

South African regional carrier, SA Express, will resume its operations between OR Tambo International Airport (JNB) in Johannesburg and Mthatha Airport (UTT) in Mthatha in the Eastern Cape starting 21 February 2019. The South African Civil Aviation Authority (SACAA) is satisfied that the airport has addressed its shortcomings and the airport is open again for schedule services. SA Express will operate a daily service between Johannesburg and Mthatha between Sunday and Friday with the intention of increasing frequency in the coming weeks.
Mthatha Airport (UTT) in Mthatha was closed by the SACAA since 25 January 2019 due to the sub-standard rescue and firefighting response times, as well as a lack of aerodrome emergency management systems. 

15 February 2019

Airlink to resume flights between Johannesburg <> Mthatha!

South African regional carrier Airlink will resume flights between OR Tambo International Airport (JNB) in Johannesburg and Mthatha Airport (UTT) in Mthatha in the Eastern Cape on 19 February 2019. The South African Civil Aviation Authority (SACAA) is satisfied that the airport has addressed its shortcomings and the airport is open again for schedule services.
Airlink will provide early morning and late afternoon return flights using one of its Embraer 135, 37 seats regional jets Monday to Friday. An early morning flight will operate on Saturdays and an afternoon flight on Sundays. Additional flights will be added to the schedule as the route returns to normality.
Mthatha Airport (UTT) was closed by the SACAA since 25 January 2019 due to the sub-standard rescue and firefighting response times, as well as a lack of aerodrome emergency management systems. 

14 February 2019

South Africa released rhino & elephant poaching statistics for 2018!

South Africa's Minister of Environmental Affairs, Ms Nomvula Mokonyane, has released the rhino poaching numbers for 2018. According to the Minister, a total of 769 rhinos got illegally killed by poachers in South Africa in 2018. This is a decrease of 259 rhino compared to 2017 when 1 028 rhino were killed for their horns. It is also the first time in 5 years that the annual figure is under 1000. Out of the 769 killed rhinos, a total of 421 rhino were poached in the Kruger National Park. One rhino was poached in the Marakele National Park. From 01 January to 31 December 2018, a total of 365 alleged rhino poachers and 36 alleged rhino horn traffickers were arrested in South Africa. A total of 229 alleged poachers were arrested inside and adjacent to the Kruger National Park, 40 more than the 189 arrested in 2017. There are currently 318 rhino poaching-related cases on the court roll involving 645 accused and 897 charges. 275 of these cases are trial-ready.

A total of 71 elephants were poached in the Kruger National Park between 1 January and 31 December 2018. One elephant was killed in KwaZulu-Natal which brings the total for South Africa to 72 elephant for 2018.

Mount Kenya National Parks: Major tourist roads upgraded!

Major tourist routes in Kenya's Mount Kenya National Park have been upgraded. The project has seen major improvement of access roads along Kalalu Farm to Sirimon Gate and Old Moses Camp, and Naromoru Gate to Met Station Road; a stretch of 27km. The Mt. Kenya roads project forms part of a 77km tourism roads project funded by the European Union (EU) and the Government of Kenya. The two other components of the roads project cover Tsavo East National Park and the Aberdare National Park. Works in Tsavo East National Park were already completed in 2015 while those in the Aberdare National Park will be completed in 2019.

Wanderlust travel magazine (UK): Namibia named "Top Country 2019"!

The readers of British travel magazin Wanderlust voted Namibia the "Top Country " in the 2019 edition of the Wanderlust Readers' Travel Awards. South Africa secured the 7th spot in the ranking. The awards were presented at a special event hosted at Destinations: The Holiday and Travel Show at Olympia London on 31 January 2019. A total of 33,450 travellers from the United Kingdom visited Namibia in 2018, which makes the UK the country's second largest European market.

Namibia, landscape, Africa

Wanderlust Readers' Travel Awards 2019 - Top Country:
  1. Namibia
  2. Japan
  3. New Zealand
  4. Iceland
  5. Chile
  6. Costa Rica
  7. South Africa
  8. Indonesia
  9. Peru
  10. Sri Lanka

13 February 2019

Namibia released rhino & elephant poaching statistics for 2018!

Namibia's Minister of Environment and Tourism, Pohamba Shifeta, has released the rhino and elephant poaching numbers for 2018. According to the Minister, a total of (at least) 57 rhinos and 26 elephants got illegally killed by poachers in Namibia in 2018. 120 suspected poachers were arrested in 2018. (At least) One rhino was reported poached so far this year.

Namibia, rhino, rhino poaching, rhinos, save the rhino

Earlier this month Namibia's Deputy Minister of Environment and Tourism, Bernadette Jagger, revealed that Namibia has lost an average of 50 rhinos annually to poaching since 2015. According to the Deputy Minister, despite the onslaught of poaching, the white and black rhino population of the country has preserved and continues to grow. The black rhino population in Namibia currently exceeds 2 000 species, and the white population currently stands at 1 000 animals.

12 February 2019

Air Namibia to cancel regional flights in February 2019 due to aircraft maintenance!

Namibia's flag carrier, Air Namibia, will cancel various regional flights in Southern African between 19 February 2019 to 22 February due maintenance of its Airbus A319 aircrafts. Affected flights will be SW727 and SW728 between Windhoek <> Johannesburg on 19 February 2019 and 21 February 2019, SW375 and SW376 between Windhoek <> Lusaka on 20 February 2019, SW405 and SW406 between Windhoek <> Victoria Falls on 20 February 2019 as well as SW303 and SW304 between Windhoek <> Luanda on 22 February 2019. In case your flight is among the services that will be canceled, we recommend to contact Air Namibia for further information.

Kenya Airways: Plans to introduce flights to Israel put on hold!

Kenya Airways' plan to introduce scheduled services between Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (NBO) in Nairobi and Ben Gurion Airport (TLV) in Tel Aviv, Israel, is currently on hold. The Government of Sudan rescinded its earlier decision to allow the airline to overfly its airspace enroute to Israel. According to the chairman of Kenya Airways, Michael Joseph, the airline is still optimistic about the launch of flights to Israel in the new future. The airline was scheduled to start weekly flights to Tel Aviv in March 2019. We'll keep you posted!

11 February 2019

Rwanda introduced new banknotes!

The National Bank of Rwanda released a new series of FRW 500 and FRW 1000 banknotes in Rwanda today. The FRW 500 banknote is brown in color, different from the current blue, while the FRW 1000 banknote retains its blue color. Both denominations were redesigned with enhanced security features to beat counterfeiters. The old banknotes were worn out but will continue to be used alongside the new ones for the next three years until the old notes are out of circulation.

08 February 2019

Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park: No diesel at Twee Rivieren Rest Camp! [update]

update (12 February 2019): Diesel is available again!

According to a posting in the SANParks - Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park facebook group by the Regional Communications Manager: Arid Parks at South African National Parks (SANParks), Genevieve Maasdorp, there is currently no diesel at Twee Rivieren Rest Camp in the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park. Visitors using Diesel vehicles are advised to fill up at the town of Askham before entering the park.

The Twee Rivieren Rest Camp is situated on the banks of the Dry Nossob Riverbed. It has a reception, shop, fuel, restaurant, information centre and swimming pool. This is the only camp in the
Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park with 24 hrs electricity and cell phone reception. The town of
Askham is located about 200 km north of Upington at the junction of the R31 and the R360 roads.

07 February 2019

Cape Town: Cape Town International Airport (CPT) to receive a facelift!

Cape Town International Airport (CPT) in Cape Town is set to undergo a R7 billion facelift to meet growing demand at the airport. The project will start in early 2020 and is expected to be completed by 2023. According to an Airports Company South Africa (ACSA) presentation, the expansion will include a new 3,500 metre runway, and new international and domestic departure lounges. ACSA will take precautions to limit the disruption and impact on passengers and to ensure that flights can still depart and land as the construction goes ahead. We'll keep you posted!

05 February 2019

South Africa's most punctual domestic airlines in January 2019!

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, Durban's King Shaka International Airport (DUR) and Port Elizabeth International Airport (PLZ) in Port Elizabeth  in January 2019.
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 January 2019
  1. FlySafair - 91.27% (December 91.96%)
  2. Airlink - 90.28% (December 84.12%)
  3. SA Express - 87.78% (December 79.64%)
  4. Mango - 81.68% (December 72.81%)
  5. South African Airways - 81.58% (December 77.10%)
  6. British Airways Domestic - 80.65% (December 67.10%)
  7. Kulula.com - 78.56% (December 64.88%)
  8. CemAir - 73.45% (December 72.13%)
Cape Town International Airport (CPT), Cape Town - 15 Min on Time Performance January 2019
  1. SA Express - 97.17% (December --.--%)
  2. FlySafair - 95.39% (December 94.31%)
  3. Airlink - 93.85% (December 88.38%)
  4. CemAir - 88.75% (December 81.12%)
  5. South African Airways - 85.63% (December 83.43%)
  6. Mango - 84.87% (December 80.95%)
  7. Kulula.com - 81.34% (December 71.07%)
  8. British Airways Domestic - 80.11% (December 67.76%)
King Shaka International Airport (DUR), Durban - 15 Min on Time Performance January 2019
  1. FlySafair - 94.30% (December 94.82%)
  2. Airlink - 93.18% (December 92.93%)
  3. Mango - 89.99% (December 80.85%)
  4. South African Airways - 80.87% (December 80.99%)
  5. British Airways Domestic - 79.97% (December 74.50%)
  6. SA Express - 79.61% (December 80.85%)
  7. Kulula.com - 78.16% (December 72.26%)
Port Elizabeth International Airport (PLZ), Port Elizabeth - 15 Min on Time Performance January 2019
  1. CemAir - 100.00% (December --.--%)
  2. FlySafair - 95.32% (December --.--%)
  3. Airlink - 92.21% (December --.--%)
  4. Mango - 88.61% (December --.--%)
  5. British Airways Domestic - 85.59% (December --.--%)
  6. South African Airways - 74.14% (December --.--%)
  7. SA Express - 74.04% (December --.--%)