27 May 2022

Botswana: Air Botswana's Embraer E170 Jet is grounded for safety reasons! [update]

update (27 May 2022): Air Botswana has announced the reinstatement of its Embraer E170 Jet into commercial operation. According to the airline, the inspections carried out resulted in zero findings and that the aircraft is fit for commercial operation, as of today 27 May 2022). 

The Civil Aviation Authority of Botswana (CAAB), the body charged with the regulation and service provision of aviation in Botswana, has grounded Air Botswana's Embraer E170 Jet (registration A2-ABM) on 25 May 2022 by suspending its Certificate of Airworthiness for safety reasons. According to the regulator, the grounding was necessitated by CAAB's concerns over a series of recurring problems surrounding the aircraft. The suspension of the Certificate of Airworthiness will remain in place until Air Botswana has satisfactorily carried out all inspections and tasks recommended by the aircraft manufacturer (Embraer) and the CAAB, and the aircraft is deemed fit for release to service.
According to Air Botswana it has engaged Embraer for technical advice over some of the recurring issues with the Embraer E170 Jet and is currently implementing the recommended corrective plan. The airline further announced that its schedule is not getting affected by the grounding as a contingency plan has been put in place to minimize disruptions to the travelling community. We'll keep you posted!

online flight booking on TravelComments.com >>

25 May 2022

South Africa: Increased shark activity along the coastline of the Southern Cape & the Eastern Cape!

South Africa's National Sea Rescue Institute (NSRI), a voluntary non-profit organization tasked with saving lives through drowning prevention in South Africa, local Municipalities along the Southern Cape and Eastern Cape coastline and marine authorities  are appealing to coastal users, in particular bathers, paddlers, surfers, body boarders and kite boarders, to exercise caution due to increased inshore shark activity. According to the NSRI, over the past weeks and more recently increased shark activity has been noticed along the Southern Cape coastline from Mossel Bay to Plettenberg Bay and the Eastern Cape coastline from Storms River, Tsitsikamma, to Jeffrey's Bay. A large shark, for instance, was spotted in the breaking surfline at Secrets Beach across Commercial Marine (Jeffrey's Bay) on 25 May 2022. Surfers cleared the water without incident.

23 May 2022

"Go2 Traveller Transfers": New hop-on hop-off passenger transport service in Namibia!

Namibian hospitaliy company Gondwana Collection has launched a daily hop-on hop-off transport service in Namibia. The new service, which is bookable since 20 May 2022, and operational as from 01 June 2022, offers nine transfer routes to Namibia’s top destinations. The routes include the Fish River Canyon, Namib desert and Kalahari desert, Damaraland, Swakopmund and Etosha National Park. "Go2 Traveller Transfers" is not only for guests staying at Gondwana Collection's properties throught the country, but for all visitors to Namibia.

Image credit: gondwana-collection.com (go2.na)

"Go2 Traveller Transfers" leave in the morning from Windhoek to the Kalahari, Swakopmund, Etosha National Park and Sossusvlei; and from Sossusvlei to the Kalahari; Swakopmund to Sossusvlei and Damaraland; Etosha National Park to Damaraland. The return trips are in the afternoon. "Go2 Traveller Transfers" also operates three weekly transfers from Windhoek to the Fish River Canyon in southern Namibia. Passengers can be dropped off at their respective destinations along the pre-set routes. Vehicles range in size from Quantums and Sprinters to 4x4 Iveco Busses.

UK: Virgin Atlantic to resume flights between London <> Cape Town!

British airline Virgin Atlantic has announced that it resumes flights to Cape Town in South Africa. The airline suspended flights to the Mother City during the Covid-19 pandemic (direct flights between London and Cape Town already stopped in 2015!) and is now planning to return from 05 November 2022 with a new daily direct service. Virgin Atlantic will operate flights between Heathrow Airport (LHR) in London and Cape Town International Airport (CPT) in Cape Town on board a Boeing 787-9 with 31 Upper Class, 35 Premium and 192 Economy Delight, Classic and Light seats. The new winter service runs until 24 March 2023 and will complement the existing year-round daily service to OR Tambo International Airport (JNB) in Johannesburg

online flight booking on TravelComments.com >>

South Africa: Limpopo's first National Botanical Garden has been launched!

South Africa's Minister of Forestry, Fisheries and the Environment, Barbara Creecy, has officially launched the Thohoyandou National Botanical Garden in the far northeastern corner of Limpopo on 22 May 2022. The site is the first in the province and supplements the national network of botanical gardens in South Africa by contributing approximately 82 hectares of the Soutpansberg Mountain Bushveld. The Thohoyandou National Botanical Garden is situated within the Vhembe Biosphere Reserve, the largest biosphere reserve in the country, near the town of Thohoyandou in the Vhembe District Municipality and the Thulamela Local Municipality. The garden is home to a number of unique butterfly species, insects and threatened plant species. The infrastructure that the Thohoyandou National Botanical Garden hosts serves as a biodiversity centre for Limpopo, showcasing traditional botanical garden features and scientific research facilities. As a nature-based, cultural and scientific tourism attraction, the garden will contribute to the socio-economic development of the area, supporting the surrounding communities including the youth, students and local businesses. The Thohoyandou National Botanical Garden is managed by the South African National Biodiversity Institut (SANBI).

20 May 2022

Covid-19: Malawi introduces new entry requirements for travellers! [update]

update (20 May 2022): According to Malawi Tourism, the definition of being "fully vaccinated" against Covid-19 does not include a booster shot.

Malawi is lifting the mandatory Covid-19 PCR test requirement for fully vaccinated incoming travellers. This is according to a press statement by the country's Presidential Task Force on Corona Virus, issued on 19 May 2022. The new entry requlations become effective on 01 June 2022. The following will be travel requirements for incoming travellers:

  • all incoming travellers inclunding Malawians that are fully vaccianted and have a digital Covid-19 vaccination certificate will no longer be required to produce a Covid-19 PCR test certificate prior to entering Malawi
  • all incoming travellers including Malawians that are not fully vaccinated or don't have a valid electronic verifiable Covid-19 full vaccination certificate will be required to produce a negative PCR based Covid-19 test certificate that is not older than 72 hours at the time of arrival in Malawi
  • Covid-19 PCR test certificate and or full Covid-19 vaccination certificate requirement for outgoing travellers will depent on the destination country's requirements.

src.: facebook.com/visitmalawiofficial.mw


19 May 2022

Namibia: Namibia Wildlife Resorts reduces losses by 44%!

Namibia Wildlife Resorts (NWR), the state-owned enterprise mandated to run the tourism facilities within the protected areas of Namibia, has annouced that it has reduced its losses from N$174 million in 2020 to N$97 million in the 2021 financial year, a reduction of 44% or N$77 million. According to NWR, the improved performance is attributed to, amongst others, the reduction in staff complement through voluntary seperation exercise and having the senior management and board members to take a 25% cut on their salaries and board fees respectively.

"We have devised a strategy that will allow us to return to profitability. The strategy involves moving beyond just providing facilities. The launch of our NWR camera at the waterhole has created a huge interest in our resorts. We hope with the new innovative ideas and customer experience initiatives that we aim to implement, such as enhanced digital and online presence, group packages for families and runners' clubs, and other planned acitivities at our resorts, will enable us to increase our occupancies and enable us to make greater revenue than currently", said NWR managing director, Dr Matthias Ngwangwama.