12 August 2022

South Africa: Kruger National Park prepares for the fire season (June - October)!

South African National Parks (SANParks) has announced its management plans for the current fire season in Kruger National Park which usually takes place between June and October. Proactive use of fire in a fire-driven landscape such as Kruger National Park is important in order to limit the risk of large, unwanted wildfires later in the dry season. As such, SANParks has already begun burning early-season fires to break up the grass layer as well as burning and grading firebreaks around key infrastructure such as camps, staff facilities and the National Park's border in order to reduce the risk of unwanted fires.

"Last year, nearly 20% of the Park burnt due to very high amounts of grass which accumulated as a result of the high rainfall experienced during the 2020/21 summer months. For the last few years, less than 10% of the Park would burn on average. Following another year of substantial rainfall in Kruger National Park, we are anticipating another year where approximately 15% or 300 000 ha of the park may burn. The majority of these burns will be part of our controlled burning programme conducted by our Rangers for ecological reasons. However, we do also anticipate the likelihood of unplanned fires in the coming months but these will be managed as and when they occur by our trained and equipped personnel," explained Kruger National Park's Abiotic Scientist, Tercia Strydom.

11 August 2022

Two new UNESCO biosphere reserves in Zambia and Zimbabwe!

The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization's (UNESCO) has approved the designation of 11 new biosphere reserves in 9 countries, including the Kafue Flats Biosphere Reserve in central and southern Zambia and the Chimanimani Biosphere Reserve in eastern Zimbabwe. With the new designations, the World Network of Biosphere Reserves totals 738 biosphere reserves in 134 countries, including 22 transboundary sites (90 sites in 33 countries in Africa). These additions were decided by the 34th session of the International Co-ordinating Council, the governing body UNESCO’s Man and the Biosphere (MAB) programme, which is composed of 34 representatives of UNESCO Member States. The Council was meeting from 13 to 17 June 2022 at UNESCO’s Headquarters in Paris.

The Kafue Flats Biosphere Reserve in central and southern Zambia has a size of more than 2,600,000 ha and cuts across various districts that are of archaeological and historical significance, as well as a Ramsar site and an Important Bird Area. The biosphere reserve is home to over 400 bird species and several mammal species, such as zebra, buffalo, hippopotamus and the endemic Kafue lechwe.

The Chimanimani Biosphere Reserve in eastern Zimbabwe comprises a mosaic of mountains, forests, grasslands and shrubs, along with freshwater ecosystems. The landscape extends into Mozambique, forming part of a proposed transboundary biosphere reserve that would extend into the East African montane ecosystem, which is a global biodiversity hotspot

06 August 2022

Covid-19: Namibia re-opens six border posts with South Africa and Botswana!

The Namibian Ministry of Home Affairs, Immigration, Safety and Security has informed the public that four border post between Namibia and South Africa, which have been closed since 2020 due to the Covid-19 pandemic, will re-open. The four border posts are Welverdiend/Mata Mata, Vellorsdrift/Onseepkans, Sendelingsdrift and Klein Manasse/Rietfontein. The Ministry further announced that the Dobe border post and the Kasika border post, which are bordering Namibia and Botswana, are re-opening today (06 August 2022).

05 August 2022

Namibia: New rhino and elephant poaching figures!

Namibia has recorded 33 cases of rhino poaching, of which 24 are black rhinos and nine are white rhinos, and two cases of elephant poaching since the beginning of 2022. According to the spokesperson of the Namibian Ministry of Environment, Forestry and Tourism (MEFT), Romeo Muyunda, this year’s poaching cases include nine black rhinos poached on custodianship farms, 15 black rhinos in the Etosha National Park, and another nine white rhinos on private farms.
Namibia recorded 44 rhinos poached in 2021, 42 in 2020, 57 in 2019, 83 in 2018, and 55 in 2017 as well as eight elephants poached in 2021, 12 in 2020, 13 in 2019, 27 in 2018 and 50 in 2017.

Namibia is home to a third of the entire remaining population of back rhino on the planet and the second largest white rhino population in the world after South Africa. The country also has the largest population of free-roaming black rhinos as well as the largest population of black rhinos in protected areas.

03 August 2022

Covid-19: eSwatini and South Africa have re-opened the six remaining border posts!

The Government of eSwatini and the Government of South Africa have agreed to re-open the six border posts between the two countries that were still closed due to Covid-19 on 01 August 2022. Travellers intending to visit eSwatini and returning residents of eSwatini are required to be fully vaccinated against Covid-19. Fully vaccinated persons entering eSwatini do not require a negative PCR-test result, while persons not fully vaccinated against Covid-19 are required to present a negative PCR test issued at most 72 hours before arrival at the port of entry.
The following six border posts between eSwatini and South Africa, which had been closed since 01 January 2022, have been re-opened on 01 August 2022:

  • Sicunusa/Emahlathini - 08:00 to 18:00
  • Gege/Bothashoop - 08:00 to 16:00
  • Bulembu/Josefsdal - 08:00 to 16:00
  • Sandlane/Nerston - 08:00 to 16:00
  • Nsalitje/Onverwacht - 08:00 to 18:00
  • Lundzi/Waverley - 08:00 to 16:00

West Coast National Park: Annual flower season kicks off!

South African National Parks (SANParks) has announced that the annual West Coast National Park (WCNP) flower season has kicked off. SANParks recommends to select sunny days to visit the national park. If at all possible, it is advisable to plan the visit on a week day. Weekend days are often very busy with queues developing at the gate, and congestion in the flower viewing areas within West Coast National Park . Please note the following information:

  • The Geelbek Restaurant is operational within the park
  • Gate times for Postberg are as follows:
    • 09:00 to 17:00 with last entry at 16:30
  • Gate times for the general park area are as follows:
    • August: 07:00 to 18:00 with last entry at 17:30
    • September: 07:00 to 19:00 with last entry at 18:30
  • Conservation fees for August and September are as follows (child < 12 years old):
    • South African adults (with ID)  – R100 per person
    • South African children  – R50 per person
    • Southern African Development Community (SADC) National adults (with passport) – R150 per person
    • Southern African Development Community (SADC) National children – R75 per person
    • Standard Conservation Fee/International Visitors for adults – R220 per person
    • Standard Conservation Fee/International Visitors for children – R110 per person
  • Kindly note that the Geelbek Resturant will be opened for lunch during this time.

“We are excited about this year’s flower season. Although we had a substantial decrease in rainfall during the winter season, the flowers should be in full bloom within the next two to three weeks. During the August and September months, visitors to the park will see a wide variety of flowers on display, from daisies, to bulbs etc. Large areas of flowers can also be seen in the Seeberg\Mooimaak section of the park,” says Patricia Bopape - West Coast National Park (WCNP) Park Manager. 

02 August 2022

South African National Parks (SANParks) announced the dates for the South African National Parks Week 2022!

South African National Parks (SANParks), the body responsible for managing South Africa's national parks, has announced the dates of the SA National Parks Week 2022. The 17th edition of the annual event will take place from 11 to 16 September 2022. The week grants free access to most of the 22 (19?) national parks for day visitors, especially people from the local communities. It should be noted that free access to the national parks does not include free access to accommodation facilities and other tourist activities. Some of the parks will be extending the week to include the weekend. 

Since its inception in 2006, the SA National Parks Week has seen an influx of over 619 252 day visitors in all participating national parks in South Africa.

P.S.: In the previous years, when the SA National Parks Week took place in September, 18 national parks took part and only the Namaqua National Park (annual natural flower show will be in full bloom in September) and the Boulders Penguin Colony area in the Table Mountain National Park were excluded from the event.