28 February 2020

South African Airways' Business Rescue Plan release extended to 31 March 2020!

South African Airways' (SAA) Business Rescue Practitioners (BRPs) Siviwe Dongwana and Les Matuson have received an one-month extension from lenders and creditors to publish their plan to save South Africa's embattled flag carrier from liquidation. A majority of lenders and creditors agreed to the extension. The two Business Rescue Practitioners (BRPs) can now file their Business Rescue Plan on South African Airways (SAA) by the end of March 2020.
"We believe that a further extension of one month will allow for sufficient time for us to finalise the Plan, given the complexity and extent of engagement that is required in a business of this size. We then intend to communicate the Plan to the creditors committee, the employees committee and the shareholder, prior to the formal publication of the Plan". [src.]
South African Airways (SAA) has been placed under business rescue since December 2019, with Business Rescue Practitioners (BRPs) Siviwe Dongwana and Les Matuson taking over the management of the airline.

Kruger National Park Calendar - April!

Weather:
  • seasonal shift towards autumn
  • drop in daytime temperatures with cool evenings
  • occasional late summer rains
Temperatures:

Landscape:
  • vegetation dense > thick tree canopies
  • many trees are bearing seeds/fruits
  • pods are out on mopaneveld
Animal Activity:
  • game dispersed throughout the park
  • game spotting generally difficult
  • Warthog, Impala & Wildebeest rutting season
  • most migrant birds depart

27 February 2020

South Africa: Airlink to launch mid-morning flights between Johannesburg <> East London!

South African privately-owned regional carrier Airlink is set to introduce a new service between OR Tambo International Airport (JNB) in Johannesburg and East London Airport (ELS) in East London. Effective 16 March 2020, the airline will operate daily mid-morning return flights to East London on board an Embraer E190 E-jet configured with 6 business and 92 economy class seats. The flights will depart Johannesburg at 10:10 arriving in East London at 11:45 while the return flight will depart East London at 12:15 arriving in Johannesburg at 13:45. Airlink flights will operate under the "SA8" flight code until 10 June 2020, after which they will be operated under the airline's unique "4Z" code.

26 February 2020

South Africa: Mango to launch flights between Johannesburg <> East London!

South African low-cost airline Mango is set to introduce a new domestic service in South Africa. Effective 01 March 2020, the airline will operate two weekly return flights on Fridays and Sundays between OR Tambo International Airport (JNB) in Johannesburg and East London Airport (ELS) in East London in the country's Eastern Cape. Mango is 100% owned by South African Airways (SAA), which is itself owned by the government of South Africa, but operates independently as a low-cost airline.

Eastern Cape, South Africa

25 February 2020

South Africa: All long distance passenger rail services are terminated until further notice!

Following a directive received from South Africa's Rail Safety Regulator (RSR), Main Line Passenger Services (MLPS), which operates the long distance passenger train services in South Africa (Shosholoza Meyl and Premier Classe), has with effect from 21 February 2020 temporarily terminated all long distance passenger rail services in the country. Customers in possession of valid train tickets will receive a full refund. No alternative transport will be provided. According to the press release, in which the MLPS announced the termination of services until further notive, the temporary discontinuation will allow the company to:
  • focus on the implementation of an improved maintenance and operational plan before the services are reinstated
  • offer an uniformed train service on all routes
  • improve on MLPS customer service and meet customer expectations
  • offer and improved and reliable train service
  • live up MLPS' promise of "A Pleasant Experience"

LAM - Mozambique Airlines to resume flights between Maputo <> Lisbon!

The flag carrier of Mozambique, LAM - Mozambique Airlines, is set to resume flights between Maputo International Airport (MPM) in Maputo and Humberto Delgado Airport (LIS) in Lisbon, Portugal, on 02 June 2020. The flights are scheduled to take place on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays from Maputo to Lisbon, and on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays from Lisbon to Maputo. Flights will be operated on board an Airbus A330 - 200 aircraft, with a capacity of 269 seats, 251 in economy and 18 in business class.

Proflight Zambia to discontinue its service between Lusaka <> Lilongwe!

Zambian airline Proflight Zambia is set to terminate its four-weekly service between Kenneth Kaunda International Airport (LUN) in Lusaka and Kamuzu International Airport (LLW) in Lilongwe in Malawi. According to the airline's international timetable (valid February to May 2020), the service will be discontinued from 29 February 2020.
From its base in
Lusaka Proflight Zambia's domestic routes include Livingstone, Mfuwe, Ndola, Solwezi and Ndola <> Solwezi and regional routes to Durban, South Africa, along with a direct service from Ndola to Johannesburg in South Africa.

Proflight Zambia to increase flights between Ndola <> Johannesburg!

Zambian airline Proflight Zambia is set to introduce a fifth weekly return service between Simon Mwansa Kapwepwe International Airport (NLA) in Ndola, Zambia, and OR Tambo International Airport (JNB) in Johannesburg. Effective 29 März 2020, the airline will operate an additional return flight on Sudays to Johannesburg. As of now, Proflight Zambia operates four weekly fligts on Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays.
  • Ndola (NLA) 08:15 > 10:45 Johannesburg (JNB) on Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays
  • Johannesburg (JNB) 11:45 > 14:15 Ndola (NDL) on Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays

24 February 2020

Namibia: Namibia Wildlife Resorts to slash rates by 70% during March 2020!

Namibia Wildlife Resorts (NWR), the state-owned enterprise mandated to run the tourism facilities within the protected areas of Namibia, has announced that it will celebrate Namibia's 30th independence anniversary by offering a 70% accommodation discount at its establishments  during the month of March 2020 (01 - 31 March 2020). The discount will be running at all NWR facilities spread across Namibia excluding campsites. The rates are bed only - no breakfast is included. In addition, NWR will also be offering N$30 off on all meals and a further 30% discount on activities. The discounts are only applicable to Namibians.

elephant, Namibia, Etosha National Park

18 February 2020

Zimbabwe: Zuva Petroleum to accept foreign currency at eight DFI fuel stations!

Zimbabwean energy company Zuva Petroleum has announced that eight of its 72 retail service stations in Zimbabwe will be accepting foreign currency payments. Customers can pay for their fuel in foreign currency (US$) at the following fuel stations across the country: Lorraine, Groombridge, Pendennis, Valley (all in Harare), Macs Garage (Bulawayo), Oasis (Beitbridge), Palmerstone (Mutare) and Zambezi (Victoria Falls). All eight locations are DFI (direkt fuel imports) service stations, which means these sites are likely to have guaranteed fuel supplies.

17 February 2020

South Africa: New national toll road tariffs for 2020 announced!

The South African National Roads Agency (Sanral) has announced the new toll road tariffs for 2020 in South Africa, which will come into effect on 01 March 2020. According to SANRAL, South Africa's Minister of Transport, Fikile Mbalula, has approved the toll tariffs as part of the annual tariff adjustments. The adjustments are made on an annual basis in line with the Consumer Price Index (CPI) as obtained from Statistics South Africa (Stats SA). The CPI percentage that was applied to determine the March 2020 tariff adjustment is 4,31%.

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South Africa's total road network is about 747 000km, the longest network of roads of any African country. Around 19% of the national roads are toll roads, most of which are maintained by Sanral, while the rest have been concessioned to private companies to develop, operate and maintain.

14 February 2020

LAM - Mozambique Airlines to launch flights between Pemba <> Johannesburg!

The flag carrier of Mozambique, LAM - Mozambique Airlines, is set to launch a direct service between Pemba Airport (POL) in the port city of Pemba in northern Mozambique and OR Tambo International Airport (JNB) in Johannesburg. Effective 30 March 2020, the airline will operate three weekly return flights on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays to Johannesburg. Flights will depart Pemba at 09:40 and will arrive Johannesburg at 12:20, while the return flight will depart Johannesburg at 13:00 and will arrive in Pemba at 15:40. South African regional carrier Airlink is currently the only airline operating scheduled direct flights between Pemba and Johannesburg.

British Airways to increase flights between London <> Cape Town! [update]

update (21 February 2020): British Airways will be adding three more weekly flights between Gatwick Airport (LGW) in London and Cape Town International Airport (CPT) in Cape Town between 30 March 2020 and 19 April 2020!

The flag carrier airline of the United Kingdom, British Airways, is set to increase the number of flights between Gatwick Airport (LGW) in London and Cape Town International Airport (CPT) in Cape Town. Effective 10 January 2021, the airline will operate two extra return flights a week to the Mother City. The new services will mean that customers can choose from 19 flights a week to Cape Town from London, with the outbound and return flights overnight to maximise time in South Africa, alongside 14 to Johannesburg, again overnight both ways, and three to Durban.

Cape Town, Table Mountain, South Africa

13 February 2020

Business Rescue: SA Express operations continue as normal!

South African state-owned airline SA Express has confirmed that it is now under a formal Business Rescue restructuring process and that all its regional and domestic operations continue as normal. According to the airline, the Business Rescue process is well-coordinated with no disruptions to customers and employees.
SA Express was placed under Business Rescue, a form of bankruptcy protection, by the Johannesburg High Court on 06 February 2020 due to a lawsuit brought forward by global logistics company Ziegler SA which claimed that the airline is technically insolvent and is owing it about ZAR11.3 million.

12 February 2020

Virgin Atlantic to relaunch flights between London <> Cape Town!

British airline Virgin Atlantic is set to relaunch a service between Heathrow Airport (LHR) in London and Cape Town International Airport (CPT) in Cape Town. Effective 25 October 2020, the airline will operate a daily return service to the Mother City. Flights will depart London at 16:20 and will arrive in Cape Town at 05:55, while the return flight will depart Cape Town at 08:00 and will arrive in London at 18:00. Virgin Atlantic's new service will be on sale from 18 February 2020. The new service complements the airline's the existing daily service to Johannesburg. Virgin Atlantic previously operated a non-stop service to Cape Town from 1999 until 2014. The service was discontinued as it was found to be unprofitable.

Cape Town, shipwreck, Robben Island, South Africa

KwaZulu-Natal: A new multi-purpose and exhibition centre has been opened in the Nelson Mandela Capture Site Precinct!

South Africa's Minister of Tourism Mmamoloko Kubayi-Ngubane, KwaZulu-Natal Premier Sihle Zikalala and the KwaZulu-Natal MEC for Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (COGTA) Sipho Hlomuka, have officially unveiled a R20 million state of the art multi-purpose and exhibition Centre in the Nelson Mandela Capture Site Precinct near Howick in KwaZulu-Natal on 11 Februay 2020.* According to the curator Christopher Till, the idea of the multi-purpose exhibition centre is to create an interactive experience of South Africa's rich history. The main feature of the exhibition centre is a 360-degree film experience, which connects the capture of Nelson Mandela by the Apartheid police on 05 August 1962 with his time on Robben Island and the emancipation of South Africa, including the election in 1994, in three different films.

At the event, Minister Kubayi-Ngubane announced the commencement of a R12-million upgrade of the visitors' parking at the Nelson Mandela Capture Site Precinct, which includes a gatehouse, driveway upgrade, turning circle visitor parking, pedestrian walkways, internal fencing and way-finding signage. KZN Cogta is also to commence with R1.5- million improvements to the Mandela sculpture lighting, the Long Walk to Freedom lighting, ambient lighting around the Education Centre, and additional electrical infrastructure which will ensure that the site can be utilised by tourists even at night.
The Nelson Mandela Capture Site Precinct is located about 5 km north-west of
Howick on the N3 between Durban and Johannesburg. It is open daily from 09:00 - 16:00. As of 13 February 2020, the admission fee will be R30 for young adults (12 - 18 years), R100 for adults, R60 for adults 60 years+ and R60 for students.

*11 February 2020 is the 30th anniversary of former President Nelson Mandela's release from prison.

11 February 2020

Addo Elephant National Park: Narina Bush Camp closed due to necessary maintenance! [update]

update (18 February 2020): The Narina Bush Camp in the Addo Elephant National Park is still closed!

The Narina Bush Camp in the Addo Elephant National Park in the Eastern Cape is closed until further notice due to necessary maintenance. The road to the Bush Camp is also closed to non-4x4 vehicles due to damage to the roads caused by recent heavy rains. The Narina Bush Camp is located  at the foot of the Zuurberg Mountains and on the banks of the Wit River in Addo Elephant National Park. It is situated about 25 km (about a 45 minute drive) away from the Addo Rest Camp on gravel roads. The Bush Camp offers four tents with beds, which provide accommodation for eight people. Facilities at Narina include a camp kitchen (gas fridge and gas stove), a hot water shower (paraffin-powered) and a flush toilet. Bedding, towels, cutlery, crockery and cooking utensils are provided. There is no electricity and lights in the camp are solar-powered.


elephant, addo elephant national park, eastern cape, south africa

10 February 2020

Kruger National Park: Roads & facilities closed due to rainfall! [update]

update (18 February 2020): According to South African National Parks' (SANParks) latest update, the following roads remain closed:
  • S106, S39, S47, S48, S62, S63, S64, S69
update (17 February 2020): According to South African National Parks' (SANParks) latest update, the following roads and facilities have been opened/closed:
  • North Roads: 
    • S140 still closed, to reach Talamati camp go via S36.
      Shireni access road is open.
  • Far North Region:
    • The S64 and half of S56 are still closed, the other roads are open.
  • Marula Region: 
    • S147, S69, S62, S145, S125, S126, S39 & S48 still closed.
  • Pafuri gate open.
  • Sand River low water bridge open.
  • The following roads have been opened: 
    • S114, S139, S116, S119, S112, S23, S120, S110, S121, S118, S22, S28, S79 and S82
update (12 February 2020): According to South African National Parks (SANParks; via @SANParksKNP), the following camps, gravel roads etc. in Kruger National Park are temporarily closed:
  • The Sand River low water bridge inaccessible. All gravel roads in the Nxanatseni (north) Region of Kruger National Park from Pafuri to Letaba will be closed; with exception of Giriyondo gravel road as it will be operational but monitored closely and a few others depending on the developments.
  • Biyamiti Bush Camp is accessible via S25.
update (11 February 2020): According to South African National Parks' (SANParks) latest media release, most (not all as previously announced!) of the gravel roads in Kruger National Park are closed for safety reasons due to heavy rains. Travellers in the National Park are advised to be on the look-out and avoid using the gravel roads until further notice. These closed roads are mostly in the north of Kruger National Park. Some remote Camps in the northern Kruger National Park are closed for the same reason.
The remote camps and gravel roads which are temporarily closed are as follows:

update (11 February 2020): The Sand River low water bridge outside Skukuza Rest Camp is overflowing and closed. The low-level bridge at Balule Nature Reserve ("Balule Bridge") in Kruger National Park is also closed.

update (11 February 2020): All gravel roads in Kruger National Park are closed!

update (10 Februay 2020; 12:00): South African National Parks (SANParks) has release an update regarding the closure of roads in Kruger National Park due to heavy rains.
  • Central region - all gravel roads and the H14 are closed
  • The following roads are also closed:
    • S79
    • S28
    • S82
    • S130
    • S27
    • S25

South African National Park (SANParks) has closed several roads in Kruger National Park on 10 February 2020 due to rainfall in the area. Visitors are advised to be cautious and not go into roads with "No Entry" signs. We will update this post as soon as new official reports/statements/press releases from SANParks are coming in. According to the latest updates, the following roads in South Africa's most popular National Park are currently closed: 
  • Lower Sabie Section - all gravel roads, except for Salitje/Old Tshokwane Road, are closed (84mm rain received)
  • Kingfisherspruit Section (Orpen) - all gravel roads are closed (120 mm rain received)
Please note Shingwedzi Rest Camp has lost all telephone and cellphone communication.

07 February 2020

South Africa: Airlink will continue operating on routes abandoned by South African Airways!

South African privately-run regional carrier Airlink, has confirmed that its schedule and operations are unaffected by South African Airways' (SAA) latest network cuts. The airline will operate services linking Johannesburg with Port Elizabeth, Entebbe, Ndola and Luanda after 29 February 2020, even though its franchise partner (code-sharing and schedule co-ordination agreements), South African Airways (SAA), will stop serving those destinations from that date.
Airlink has been operating flights to
Entebbe, Uganda on behalf of South African Airways (SAA) and will continue these services without disruption after 29 February 2020.
Currently Airlink operates two flights a day to
Ndola, Zambia, which will allow travellers booked on SAA's own flights to be re-accommodated on Airlink after 29 February 2020 with no interruption.
Airlink recently secured traffic rights to operate daily direct flights to
Luanda, Angola. It will commence this service after 29 February 2020.
Tickets already issued for travel on South African Airways (SAA) flight numbers on these routes, after 29 February 2020, will remain valid, subject to re-accommodation by Airlink. Customers holding those tickets may apply to SAA for re-accommodation onto Airlink's flights. Those who do not want to be re-accommodated, may apply to
South African Airways (SAA) for a refund in line with its Business Rescue refund policies.

06 February 2020

Business rescue: South African Airways to cut selected domestic, regional and international flights!

According to the latest press release by South African Airways (SAA), the joint Business Rescue Practitioners (BRPs) of the airline have identified which routes will be retained to drive a restructured SAA towards profitability.
South African Airways (SAA) will continue to operate all international services between Johannesburg and Frankfurt, London (Heathrow), New York, Perth and Washington via Accra. Regional flights from
Johannesburg to Blantyre, Dar es Salaam, Harare, Kinshasa, Lagos, Lilongwe, Lusaka, Maputo, Mauritius, Nairobi, Victoria Falls and Windhoek will also be retained. On the domestic route network, South African Airways (SAA) will continue to serve Cape Town on a reduced basis. All other domestic destinations, including Durban, East London and Port Elizabeth, will cease to be operated by SAA on 29 February 2020.
Effective 29 February 2020, South African Airways (SAA) will also close the following regional and international services from Johannesburg to Abidjan via Accra, Entebbe, Guangzhou, Hong Kong, Livingstone, Luanda, Munich, Ndola, and Sao Paulo.
All customers booked on any cancelled international and regional routes will receive a full refund. Customers booked on cancelled domestic flights will be re-accommodated on services operated by Mango. As of now, South African Airways (SAA) does not intend to make any further significant network changes. We'll keep you posted!

South Africa: SA Express must go into business rescue!

The Johannesburg High Court ruled earlier today (06 February 2020) that South African state-owned airline SA Express must be placed into business rescue. It comes just a matter of weeks after South African Airways (SAA) were forced into the same measures. In a first reaction, SA Express has instructed its attorneys to apply for leave to appeal. According to a press release by the airline, the Johannesburg High Court "went over and above what it was required and granted orders not sought by the applicant". 
SA Express is a South African domestic and regional passenger and cargo carrier. Although the airline is operationally independent of South African Airways, its flights are incorporated within the strategic alliance with South African Airways

Mpumalanga: Graskop Gorge lift to close for planned maintenance!

The Graskop Gorge lift in Mpumalanga, a viewing lift that takes visitors 51 metres down the face of the Graskop Gorge and into the forest below, will be closed on 11 and 12 February 2020 for planned maintenance. The world’s highest cable gorge swing, the Big Swing, and the Zipline (a 130m high-wire zipline!) will be operational, and the shops and restaurant will be open for business as usual. Walks in the Graskop Gorge will be at half price. The Graskop Gorge lift, which is operated by the Graskop Gorge Lift Company, is located just outside of Graskop on the R533 towards Hazyview along the famous Panorama Route (on the opposite side of the gorge to the Big Swing).