28 December 2009

Denmark also chose Knysna as 2010 World Cup™ base

The Danish football team will stay at the luxurious Simola Golf & Country Estate in Knysna during the 2010 World Cupin South Africa. The 325-hectare estate is situated in the hills overlooking the Knysna Lagoon. The Danish team will be using Loerie Park, Knysna’s biggest public sporting facility as a practice field.

View Simola Golf & Country Estate in a larger map
How to get there?
From Plettenberg Bay / Knysna C.B.D
: When leaving Knysna on the Main Street (N2), turn right into Old Cape Road (around 200m from the Waterfront Drive traffic lights).
From George / Sedgefield: Drive towards Knysna, over the white bridge, and the length of the Lagoon road. Turn left into Old Cape Road after the Welbedacht turn-off.
From the turn-off: Follow Old Cape Road away from the Lagoon for approximately 3.5km. At the traffic circle bear right (opposite the Eastford entrance) and follow the road up to the Simola Hotel entrance (approximately 2km from the circle). [src.: simolaestate.co.za]

23 December 2009

Jabulani - the official football of the 2010 World Cup™ in South Africa

The adidas Jabulani is the official football of the 2010 FIFA World Cup in South Africa. Jabulani, meaning "to celebrate" in isiZulu, is the 11th edition of adidas's FIFA World Cup balls. The 11 colours (acutally 11 lines in 11 different colours) on the ball represent the 11 official South African languages and the 11 major ethnic group of the country as well as each team player on the pitch of a football match.

Cameroon: first professional footage of elusive Cross River gorillas

This video could be the first professional footage of very rare Cross River gorillas, the most endangered subspecies of gorilla, filmed recently in Cameroon's Kagwene Gorilla Sanctuary, home to an estimated 16 gorillas. The Cross River gorilla is listed as critically endangered on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species - the estimated number is most likely fewer than 300 across its entire range in Cameroon and Nigeria.

21 December 2009

Last Minute: Dunes, Deltas & Falls Discoverer (Southern Africa) at the 23 Feb 2010

What a great offer - GAP Adventures' 20 day "Dunes, Deltas & Falls Discoverer" tour starting at the 23 Februar 2010 is discounted by 15% (or 346€!).
Discount now 25% (577€)

start/end: Cape Town to Livingstone
Accommodation: Hotel (7 nts), Guesthouse (1 nt), Guest farm (2 nts), Camping (2 nts - pitched tents), Desert lodge (1 nt), Chalet (3 nts), Basic camping (2 nts), Safari tent (1 nt).
Group size: Max 18, Avg 12
Highlights: Cape Town, Fish River Canyon, Namib Desert, Sossusvlei, Swakopmund, Etosha National Park, Windhoek, Kalahari, Maun, Chobe National Park, Okavango Delta, Victoria Falls.
Description: Marvel at the incredible wildlife, learn about fascinating cultures and take in the breathtaking scenery of this diverse region of Africa. Highlights include visits to the world's highest sand dunes and the Fish River Canyon, game drives in Etosha National Park, Mokoro trips in the Okavango Delta and visiting the mighty Victoria Falls - what an adventure!

19 December 2009

The deepest ocean volcano eruption ever recorded!

Ok, the vid has nothing to do with (Southern) Africa, travelling, backpacking or so. It is simply a stunning video footage about what is going on deep down there on the ocean bed...

18 December 2009

Cape Town: The Disrict Six Museum

The District Six Museum in Cape Town was established in December 1994 to serve as a remembrance to the events of the apartheid era as well as the culture and history of the "District Six" before the removals.
The "Sixth Municipal District of Cape Town" or simply "District Six" used to be a mixed community of freed slaves, merchants, artisans, labourers and immigrants from around the world. Not for long though - already in 1901 the history of removals began with the resettlement of black South Africans. In 1966 the area was declared a white area under the Group areas Act of 1950, and by 1982, the life of the community was over. 60 000 people were forcibly removed to barren outlying areas aptly known as the Cape Flats, and their houses in District Six were flattened by bulldozers.

The today's museum is not a big museum in terms of size, but one of them places visitors coming to Cape Town shouldn't miss. It is demonstrating you in a very special way, why Cape Town is what it is like today. The roots of the very Cape Town feeling are defo lying here - the art, the colourful people, the cosmopolitan vibe. All that seems to come from that particular "District Six" that the Apartheid government tried to destroy. As I said - if you are in Cape Town make sure that you are visiting this eye-opening museum!

Opening times:
09h00 – 14h00 Mondays (doors close at 13h30)
09h00 - 16h00 Tuesdays - Saturdays (Sundays are by appointment only)
Physical Address:
25A Buitenkant Street, Cape Town, 8001
South Africa
Tel/ Fax: +27(0)21 466 7200

Kruger National Park: S36 and S145 roads in the Nkayeni Region now open

The S36 and S145 roads to Talamati, in the Kruger National Park’s (KNP’s) Nkayeni Region, are now open for tourists. Both roads were closed since the 3rd of December because heavy rains in that area were expected. Guests are advised that it is now safe for vehicles to use this road.

btw - Talamati is a Xitsonga word that actually means "Lots of Water” ...

16 December 2009

Great books to read - "Playing the Enemy: Nelson Mandela and the Game That Made a Nation" by John Carlin

Clint Eastwood's new film "Invictus" (in cinemas in South Africa & the US already) about Nelson Mandela's life during the 1995 Rugby World Cup in South Africa is actually based on a book written by John Carlin. Carlin is a scotish/spanish journo and author dealing with both sports and politics. He was The Independent's South Africa bureau chief from 1989-1995 and published the book "Playing the Enemy: Nelson Mandela and the Game That Made a Nation" in 2008.

Book description:
In June 1995, Nelson Mandela conquered the hearts of white South Africa and united his country, black and white, behind their rugby team. This book tells the extraordinary story of the journey to that moment. As the day of the final of the 1995 Rugby World Cup dawned, and the Springboks faced New Zealand's all-conquering All Blacks, more was at stake than a sporting trophy. When Nelson Mandela appeared wearing a Springboks jersey and led the all-white Afrikaner-dominated team in singing South Africa's new national anthem, he conquered the hearts of white South Africa. "Playing the Enemy" tells the extraordinary human story of how that moment became possible. It shows how a sport, once the preserve of South Africa's Afrikaans-speaking minority, came to unify the new rainbow nation, and tells of how - just occasionally - something as simple as a game really can help people to rise above themselves and see beyond their differences. [src.: amazon.co.uk]

French Football team will be based in Knysna during the 2010 World Cup

The French national football team will be based at Pezula Resort Hotel & Spa in Knysna during the 2010 World Cup in South Africa. The resort has its own private multi-sports field which the team can utilise for practices. The complex is set on a stunning 1,000 ha estate and is known for its secluded beach, sweeping fynbos landscapes and ancient indigenous forests.

View French headquarter during the 2010 World Cup in a larger map

How to get there:
Directions from Cape Town (±500 kms /311 miles) Take the N2 from Cape Town to Knysna passing Somerset West, Caledon, Swellendam, Albertinia, Mossel Bay and George.
  • Continue along the main road through Knysna, past the Provincial Hospital on the left.
  • After the Caltex Petrol Station on the right, turn right into George Rex Drive (road to Knysna Heads).
  • Immediately after Knysna Golf Club, turn left into Wilson Street and right at the circle into Duthie Drive.
  • Follow Duthie Drive up the hill to Pezula Resort Hotel & Spa (this is well sign-posted)
Directions from Port Elizabeth (±260 kms /162 miles) Take the N2 from Port Elizabeth to Knysna, passing Humansdorp, Storms River and Plettenberg Bay.
  • As you drive into Knysna, turn left into George Rex Drive (road to Knysna Heads).
  • Immediately after Knysna Golf Club, turn left into Wilson Street and right at the circle into Duthie Drive.
  • Follow Duthie Drive up the hill to Pezula Resort Hotel & Spa (this is well sign-posted) [src.: pezularesorthotel.com]

15 December 2009

Game Drive For Free With Acacia Africa & Win A 6-day African Insight Overland Safari

The early bird catches the worm or more specifically the Big 5 when you’re on safari, and we game viewers were somewhat bleary eyed but nonetheless filled with a growing sense of anticipation as we got ready to go wild in the Kruger. We watched the sunrise and sipped coffee, our group completely captivated by the sounds of the African bush and what was to come. After heading off into Big 5 territory our jeep closed in on a solitary leopard dragging her prey towards a nearby kopjie (small hilltop). Her sleek fur glistened in the light, and her bright eyes were fixated on the surroundings as she surveyed the wilderness for incoming predators.
Awesome experience?!!! Not many parks or reserves can beat the Kruger when it comes to wildlife, and it’s still a major highlight for anyone looking to catch the big cats. One lucky adventurer will now be able to game drive in the national park for FREE, as Acacia Africa a leading adventure travel company, is giving away a 6-day African Insight overland safari as part of its “Go Wild Online” campaign.
From now until the 12th of February, the tour operator will be going in search of the "Acacia Wild Tweep", the competition targeted at fans of South Africa. Anyone who has been to the Rainbow Nation can enter, and applicants don’t need to have travelled on an Acacia tour. The winning safari enthusiast will be judged by some of the best expert Africa bloggers on the net including, AfricaFreak, PlanYourSafari and of course Travelcomments.com.
Before whisking adventurers away to the continent, Acacia will be asking the winning "Wild Tweep" to share their love of South Africa in a 20-minute virtual tweet up on the Africa specialist’s Twitter page. Scheduled to take place on Friday 26 February from 13:00-13:20 (GMT), the winning "Wild Tweep’s" mission will be to answer questions on the Rainbow Nation put forward by the tour operator’s tweeps.
The complete FREE 6-day overland trip includes river cruising on the Chobe River, optional adrenaline activities at the Victoria Falls and of course, Big Five game drives in the Kruger National Park.
So what are you waiting for? Simply fill in a Q&A and email your entry to gowildonline@acacia-africa.com. Closing date for entries 12 Feb 2010. See Terms & conditions

Join the South Africa Tweet Up!

South Africa: Kruger National Park internship

Country: South Africa
Location: Kruger National Park
Departures: 2010: 11 Jan, 12 Jul | 2011: 10 Jan, 11 Jul
Price: From £2595 (25 weeks) - £3995 (50 weeks) excluding flights. Price includes pre-departure support and discounted services, airport pickup, in country transport, accommodation and a 2 week training programme in the Kruger National Park.
These long term volunteer positions offer independent, ambitious volunteers the chance to work for one year in and around South Africa’s most famous national parks.
If you are seeking a change of direction or a long term, highly immersed experience in the field of conservation and environmental education these long term internship positions are for you. South African National Parks (SANParks) manages a system of 20 national parks that represent the indigenous flora, landscape and associated cultural heritage of the country. You will be placed with the ‘People and Conservation’ department according to priority projects and where your skills are most needed.
Interns play an integral part in the implementation of new policies and programmes developed by SANParks to integrate local communities into the conservation of the natural and cultural heritage sites within the parks. These national parks offer diverse adventure tourism opportunities such as game viewing, bush walks, canoeing and a chance to experience the history and culture of South Africa. The work carried out by interns is essential for the long term conservation of these areas which are both important to South Africa and the people who live alongside them.

  • Opportunity to gain experience in environmental education and conservation within a high profile organization
  • Be instrumental in the development of South Africa’s National Parks
  • Receive comprehensive training programme at the Kruger National park
  • Long term opportunity for cultural immersion
  • Possible opportunities to be involved in many other aspects of a National Park such as; guiding on interpretive trails, game drives, community activities, game counts, presentations.
  • Live and work in beautiful and remote parts of South Africa.

The highest definition picture ever taken of Cape Town

Virtual Africa, a South African company specialised in virtual tours, just took what is believed to be the highest definition picture ever taken of Cape Town.
Watch the video for the "making of..." and click here for the pic!

Some details as to the size of the pic:
  • It was created by stitching 1850,fully zoomed (x 20 optical zoom), 10 MegaPixel images together.
  • The time it took from the first shot (top left) and last shot (lower right) being taken, was about 3 hours.
  • It’s 205 000 pixels wide.
  • That equates to a printout of about 90 m x 15 m!
  • The end result was a 25 GigaBytes RAW file
    [src.: virtualafrica.co.za]

2010 World Cup - ticket sales in numbers UPDATE

The third ticketing sales of the 2010 FIFA World Cup™ has hit the 500 000 mark within the first ten days.
  • South Africa - 386 300 tickets
  • USA - 22 942 tickets
  • UK - 20 232 tickets
  • Mexico - 7 981 tickets
  • Germany - 7 697 tickets
  • Australia - 6 277 ticktets
  • Brazil - 4 760 tickets
  • the remaining 44 348 tickets were bought from fans from around the world.
In total, ticket applications from 166 countries have been received.
The current third Ticket Sales Phase will run until 22 January 2010.
In total, about one million tickets for all 64 matches and categories are made available in the third sales phase including a limited number for the opening match and the final.
All applications within the sales phase will be treated equally. In an event of over-subscribed matches or price categories, there will be an electronic random selection draw on 1 February 2010.

11 December 2009

GAP Adventures' Africa Overland tours: All guaranteed until June 2010!

Big news for anyone heading to Africa in the next 6 months - all of GAP Adventures' Africa Overland tours are 100% guaranteed until June 2010!
GAP Adventures offers more than 35 Overland tours running through 10 countries in eastern and southern Africa. Trips are as short as 8 days or as long as 54 days.
If you have been sitting on the fence, then now is the time to book. Lock in your guaranteed trip and find some great airfare, our life-changing African Safaris have never been so easy before! Just imagine the possibilities...spoting the "Big 5" in the Serengeti, hanging out with the Maasai people, trekking for mountain Gorillas in Uganda, hearing the roar of Victoria Falls or taking a Mokoro through the Okavango are just a few highlights form GAP Adventures' Africa Overland program!
Note: Tour code DKTO is not included in this Africa Overland guarantee program.

GAP Adventures introduces Lifetime Deposits

You booked a tour with GAP Adventures and your plans changed due to some reason or just as a matter of fact? No problem anymore! GAP Adventures has introduced so-called "Lifetime Desposits" - each initial deposit per confirmed tour, per person, is valid for life and will remain secure on file, until travellers are ready to use it. The Lifetime Deposit can then be used on any future booking and is not limited to the tour on the original booking. The deposit is transferable, so that travellers may even give it to a person of their choice or donate it to GAP’s non-profit Planeterra Foundation.

10 December 2009

The essential guide to South African Wines

The current demarcation system of the South African Wine Industry often has little or no reference to the wines produced in these areas; neither does it indicate accurate geographical location. Thus, wine producing areas are presented in smaller demarcated areas, referred to as “Pockets”. The Pockets group together wineries based on their terroir (from available terroir information) with names indicating geographical similarity.
The essential guide to South African Wines presents the reader with a selection of the premium South African wine producers and explains why wines from one Pocket taste different from those of another Pocket.
The Guide takes the reader to the winery, armed with everything he/she needs to know — geographical and soil descriptions, viticultural techniques, winemaking methods, flagship wines, maps and GPS waypoints — to heighten the wine experience.
The partnership of local subject experts and internationally acclaimed wine writers and judges brings the latest research information to the reader. The easy-to-understand format, including explanatory text boxes for technical terms, demystifies the intricate world of fine wines and makes wine appreciation accessible to every wine enthusiast. [src.: cheviot-publishing.com]

09 December 2009

Last Minute Tours in Southern Africa & Kenya (Jan & Feb 2010)

13 days Cape and Dunes Discoverer >>
Countries Visited: Namibia, South Africa
Trip Style: Classic
Service Level: Standard
Tour departing at the 23 Feb 2010 - 15% discount!
Cape Town, Fish River Canyon, Namib Desert, Sossusvlei, Swakopmund, Etosha National Park, Windhoek.
Beginning in beautiful and cosmopolitan Cape Town and continuing up the western edge of South Africa through the fascinating Namibia, this tour is a nature and adventure lover's dream. Explore the world's highest sand dunes, the Fish River Canyon, participate in exciting activities, be awed by breathtaking scenery and marvel at incredible wildlife - this is truly an African experience! [more]

20 days Dunes, Deltas & Falls Discoverer >>
Countries Visited: Botswana, Namibia, South Africa, Zambia
Trip Style: Classic
Service Level: Standard
Tour departing at the 23 Feb 2010 - 15% discount!
Cape Town, Fish River Canyon, Namib Desert, Sossusvlei, Swakopmund, Etosha National Park, Windhoek, Kalahari, Maun, Chobe National Park, Okavango Delta, Victoria Falls.
Marvel at the incredible wildlife, learn about fascinating cultures and take in the breathtaking scenery of this diverse region of Africa. Highlights include visits to the world's highest sand dunes and the Fish River Canyon, game drives in Etosha National Park, Mokoro trips in the Okavango Delta and visiting the mighty Victoria Falls - what an adventure! [more]

9 day Kenya Wildlife Adventure >>
Country Visited: Kenya
Trip Style: Classic
Service Level: Basic
Tour departing at the 17 Jan 2010 - 15% discount!
Game viewing, Samburu, Great Rift Valley, Lake Nakuru, Masai Mara.
Wildlife is one of the big draws of Kenya, and this trip has it all! Track down the Big 5 as you roam the savannah discovering the unique wildlife of Samburu, observe millions of flamingos at Lake Nakuru. Travel the vast open plains and rolling hills of the Masai Mara, and camp under the big African sky. [more]

South Africa: Do I need a Yellow Fever Certificate?

Yellow Fever?
Yellow fever is a virus carried by the Aedes mosquito that leads to death in about 25% of patients. There is no specific treatment, but vaccination is very effective.
Yellow Fever Certificate?
International law requires travellers crossing the borders of countries where yellow fever is endemic to have yellow fever vaccinations. After you have been vaccinated you will be issued with a Yellow Fever Certificate. The certificate only becomes valid ten days after vaccination, and stays valid for ten years.
Do I need a Yellow Fever Certificate when travelling to South Africa?
If you have travelled in a Yellow Fever region in the six days before you wish to visit South Africa, you will have to show your Yellow Fever Certificate when you enter the country.

African Countries:
  • Angola
  • Burkina Faso
  • Cameroon
  • Central Africa Republic
  • Democratic Republic of Congo
  • Equatorial Guinea
  • Ethiopia
  • Gambia
  • Ghana
  • Guinea-Bissau
  • Liberia
  • Mali
  • Sao Tome & Principe
  • Senegal
  • Uganda
  • Tanzania
  • Burundi
  • Benin
  • Chad
  • Rwanda
  • Cote d'Ivoire
  • Sierra Leone
  • Sudan
  • Gabon
  • Guinea
  • Congo
  • Kenya
  • Togo
  • Somalia
South & Latin American countries:
  • Brazil
  • Colombia
  • Guyana
  • Peru
  • Venezuela
  • Bolivia
  • Ecuador
  • Panama
  • Suriname
  • French Guiana
Please contact your next South African embassy to double check the information given. The official South African websites acutally name different countries as "yellow fever countries". The official 2010 World Cup website of the Ministry of Home Affairs for example names "Zaire" as one of the countries in the "yellow fever belt". The Democratic Republik of the Congo used to be Zaire - untill 1997!

08 December 2009

"The Last Resort: A Memoir of Zimbabwe" by Douglas Rogers

The Last Resort
is a dark, comic, true-life thriller about Lyn and Ros Rogers, white Africans of many generations, struggling to hold on to their game farm and backpacker lodge in Robert Mugabe's war-torn Zimbabwe. Travel writer Douglas Rogers returns to the family farm from his home in Brooklyn, New York to discover that marijuana is growing instead of maize; prostitutes, diamond dealers, and refugee farmers prop up the lodge bar, and war veterans and youth militia loyal to Mugabe hover outside the gates.
In going back Rogers discovers the "big story" he had traveled the world in search of is taking place in his parents' back yard.
Evoking elements of The Tender Bar and Absurdistan, The Last Resort is an inspiring coming-of-age tale about home, love, hope, responsibility and redemption. An edgy roller-coaster adventure, it is also a deeply moving story about how to survive a corrupt Third World dictatorship with a little innovation, humor, bribery, and brothel management. [src.: facebook group]

UPDATE: check the interview with Douglas Rogers in "The New Yorker"! (17 Dec 2009)

Longstreet, Cape Town, South Africa

is the heart of Cape Town's backpacker scene - awesome backpackers, restaurants, pubs & bars. The place to be in Cape Town if you are looking for a jol, rather than tranquility...

Volunteering: Meerkat research project in South Africa

Country: South Africa
Departures in 2010: 30 Mar, 20 Apr, 11 May, 1 Jun, 22 Jun, 13 Jul, 3 Aug, 24 Aug, 5 Oct [more info & online booking >>]

The amazing things you'll be doing
Under the direction of experienced field staff, you’ll help observe six habituated colonies of meerkats in South Africa’s Kuruman River Reserve. You'll learn how to radio-track, conduct focal sampling, use a Global Positioning System, and weigh meerkats. The data you collect will help researchers evaluate how cooperative breeding affects the survival of both pups and helpers. You will also investigate interactions between the meerkats and a klepto-parasitic bird species, the fork-tailed drongo.
Supplementing the meerkat studies, you'll help conduct biodiversity, invertebrate, and plant surveys, and spend some time recording the size and activity of social bird colonies like pied babblers and weavers, in response to rainfall levels. You'll also help with outreach efforts to assist the local primary school. All of these adventures will be set against a backdrop of gemsbok, hartebeest, springbok, duiker, steenbok, bat-eared foxes, three kinds of mongooses, many birds, and the fantastic creatures of the Kalahari night.
You will be housed in your own thatched-roof rondavel with a cold-water sink, basic furnishings, electricity, and a fan. Hot showers and flush toilets will be available in a nearby building. The team will be part of ongoing research programs at the reserve and you will have a chance to interact with a variety of researchers—whether discussing their current studies or joining them in a game of volleyball!

A day in a life of a volunteer
Please be aware that schedules can be affected by weather and work conditions, and are likely to fluctuate. For example, in summer (September-April) research begins earlier (6:30 am) and there will likely be a longer midday break (sunset at about 6:45 pm). In winter (May-August), dawn is later (7:30 am), dusk is earlier (6:00 pm), and the team will have a shorter midday break. The following is a sample schedule:
Early morning: Breakfast, preparation for day’s activities
Morning: Session with meerkats, transect surveys, gather vital data
Midday: Processing of data, lunch, rest
Afternoon: Session with meerkats, transect surveys, more data collection
Evening: Dinner
Later evening: Night drive, informal talk presented by resident researcher, recreational time

05 December 2009

great travel books: Ryszard Kapuscinski - The Soccer War

In 1964, renowned reporter Ryszard Kapuscinski was appointed by the Polish Press Agency as its only foreign correspondent, and for the next ten years he was 'responsible' for fifty countries. He befriended Che Guevara in Bolivia, Salvador Allende in Chile and Patrice Lumumba in the Congo. He reported on the fighting that broke out between Honduras and El Salvador in 1969 after their matches to determine which one of them would qualify for the 1970 World Cup. By the time, he returned to Poland he had witnessed twenty-seven revolutions and coups and been sentenced to death four times. "The Soccer War" is Kapuscinski's story, his eyewitness account of the emergence of the Third World.[src.: amazon.co.uk]

Ryszard Kapuscinski - The Soccer War
get the book in the TravelComments.com eShop >>

Ethical Traveler: The Developing World's 10 Best Ethical Destinations 2010

Ethical Traveler recently released a top 10 list of "The Developing World's 10 Best Ethical Destinations". To create the list Ethical Traveler made an extensive research focussing on three general categories, namely "Environmental Protection", "Social Welfare" and "Human Rights" as basis for their research to identify the top ten destinations.

The best ethical destinations for 2010 are (in alphabetical order):

"Rim of Africa" - Africa's first long distance hike

South Africa is getting a new highlight with the opening of the "Rim of Africa" in October 2010. The "Rim of Africa" will be the first truly epic, long distance, hike on the African continent based on the likes of the Appalachian and Continental Divide Trails in the USA.

The trail stretches from the greater Cederberg wilderness area on the Cape's West Coast to the Outeniqua Mountains at the Garden Route, traversing more than 650km of mountain paths. The route takes in the Cederberg, Skurweberg, Hexrivier, Keeromberg, Langeberg and the Outeniqua representing a flagship hiking product of international significance, attracting hikers from around the world.
To walk the full length of the Rim of Afica will require at least 48 days of walking. The organisers of the "Rim of Africa" currently plan to offer four distinct stages, with each stage requiring around 10 to 12 days. All first three treks in October 2010 will be "modest" 11 day fundraising hikes to help complete construction of the trail.
See their website www.rimofafrica.co.za for more info!

International Volunteer Day (05 Dec 2009)

International Volunteer Day (IVD) at the 05 Dec 2009is an international observance designated by the United Nations since 1985. The declared aim of this day is to thank the volunteers for their efforts and increase public awareness on their contribution to society. The International Volunteer Day is marked by most non-governmental organizations throughout the World.

In the Video:
- United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) Executive Director Achim Steiner
- United Nations Volunteers
- UN-led "Seal the Deal" campaign
- "Volunteering for our Planet" campaign
- Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen

04 December 2009

Documentary - Kicking Out: Playing safe in Kenya

Kicking Out is an 18 min film looking at at how getting involved with sports and in particular football can help people and especially children, stay away from a lot of the struggles being poor in Kenya brings. The film looks at the use of sport to spread positive messages to help address the causes and problems of the HIV/AIDS crisis in Kenya.

Kicking Out from The SRK on Vimeo.

Photographed by Joe Cogan and edited by Tim Grabham and Suridh Hassan, the film was produced in association with Alive and Kicking and is dedicated to the memory of Jim Cogan OBE.

03 December 2009

Kruger National Park: Rainy season updates

Temporary closure of S36 and S145 roads in Kruger’s Nkayeni Region
The S36 and S145 roads to Talamati, in the Kruger National Park’s (KNP’s) Nkayeni Region, are currently not accessible until further notice. This is due to heavy rains experienced in that area.
Guests are advised to access Talamati through the S140 road which is from Orpen to Talamati. [src.: sanparks.com]

Closure of Crocodile Bridge Entrance Gate
The Crocodile Bridge Entrance Gate at the Kruger National Park (KNP) is currently closed due to the recent rains which has flooded the bridge.
More rain is expected and public are advised to contact 082 801 9898 or 082 908 2681 for more information. [src.: sanparks.com]

Malaria warning in Mpumalanga
The Mpumalanga Department of Health and Social Development has warned communities and visitors to the Lowveld (Kruger National Park area) to take the necessary precaution against malaria because of the heavy rains that fell in the province. [src.: news24.co.za]

02 December 2009

Etosha National Park: New entrance gate & lodge in the western part of the park

A new public entrance gate into the Etosha National Park on the western side of the park (Galton Gate) is going to be opened up in the near future. The opening of the gate will create a link between the Skeleton Coast Park and Etosha resulting in benefits for both parks as well as the communities along the way.
Namibia Wildlife Reservations is also going to open a fifth lodge in Etosha - the construction work is planned to be completed by the start of the 2010 peak season (last quarter of 2010). The camp, which is probably going to be called "Dolomite Zebra Camp", will be developed in the western part of the park using environment-friendly approaches only, such as renewable solar energy and careful water management. Only a minimum damage to the natural surroundings is planed to be done. The camp will consist of a reception, lounge, bar and a restaurant area, and a walkway leading to 25 thatched, en-suite chalets.

10th edition of Footprint's South Africa Handbook out now!

Product description:
South Africa has more to offer than you could possibly manage in one trip. With vibrant cities, dramatic scenery, a kaleidoscope of cultures, and the 2010 World Cup, it's an exciting place to be. Whether you're searching for the 'Big Five' in Kruger or exploring Cape Town's historic vineyards, there's something to appeal to every taste and budget. From the snowcapped peaks of the Drakensberg to the sweeping emptiness of the Kalahari desert, the 10th edition of Footprint's indispensable guide will help you find everything under the African sun. This title includes: Lesotho and Swaziland; amazing listings for adrenalin junkies - where to go bungy jumping, abseiling, sandboarding, canyoning, treetopping, surfing and so many more; full details on how to make the most of the stunning scenery, including the Wine, Garden and Brandy routes; up-to-the-minute accommodation listings from luxury lodge to homely hostels; and, detailed 32-page full colour wildlife guide. Annually updated - making this the most up-to-date guide available! [src.: amazon.co.uk]

Footprint's South Africa Handbook is available in the TravelComments.com eShop >>

2010 World Cup™ - Ticket sales in numbers

So far a total of 674,403 World Cup 2010™ tickets have been sold. 53.6% of those tickets have been sold to South African residents. Football fans from the US purchased 84,103 tickets up to now, followed by the UK (48,388 tickets), Germany (25,112 tickets), Australia (17,876 tickets), Canada (11,662), Switzerland (11,045 tickets), Japan (10,558 tickets) and Brazil with 8,006 tickets. 90% of the tickets made available to date are sold!

About one million tickets for all 64 matches and categories will become available in the 3rd sales phase starting at the 05 Dec 2009 – including a limited number for the opening match and the final. Fans will have to apply within 49 days (until 22 January 2010) for individual match tickets or Team-Specific Series.

North South Backpackers in Pretoria, South Africa

North South Backpackers has been up and about for 11 years now and is the best positioned backpackers in Pretoria. Close to embassies, stations and the university, North South Backpackers lies in the throbbing heart of happening Hatfield. You can find some of Pretoria's hottest nightclubs restaurants and bars in this area. It's a friendly stop where you can relax and put your feet up or go with the flow. It's easy to float your troubles away in the pool, cool off in the garden or melt down at the bar. We run a free shuttle between our two lodges and offer pick up's and drop off's to the International Airport Lodge.

The lodge consists off doubles, twins, singles and private rooms with safe boxes and clean comfortable linen.
We have a bar, pool table, swimming pool and self catering kitchen. There are internet facilities on the property.
Car parking and book exchange available.
Loads of porch space to relax on.
Tours available and car hire.

Looking for accommodation during the 2010 World Cup™ in Pretoria? North South Backpackers has still accommodation available! Check it out!

01 December 2009

The Kruger National Park Calendar - January

  • peak of rainy season
  • frequent thunder storms
  • hot days
  • warm nights
  • high humidity levels
  • between 18°C - 34°C (Fahrenheit: e.g. 34°C = [(34x9)]/5 + 32 = 93.2°F)
  • visit travelcomments.com/webcams_sa.htm and follow daily game drives via webcam to check the weather & how the landscape is changing during the year

  • many veld flowers in bloom
  • colourful landscape
  • marula tree in fruit
Animal Activity:
  • animals spread over wider areas
  • a lot predator activity in the south-eastern and central Kruger grasslands
  • many nursery herds having youngsters
  • a lot of elephant activity around marula trees

30 November 2009

Promotional Video - Tanzania with GAP Adventures

Geographic coordinates: 6 00 S, 35 00 E
Area: 947,300 sq km
Coastline: 1,424 km
Population: 41,048,532
Capital: Dar Es Salaam
Time difference: UTC+3
Religions: mainland - Christian 30%, Muslim 35%, indigenous beliefs 35%; Zanzibar - more than 99% Muslim
Language: Kiswahili or Swahili (official), Kiunguja (name for Swahili in Zanzibar), English (official, primary language of commerce, administration, and higher education), Arabic (widely spoken in Zanzibar), many local languages
Climate: varies from tropical along coast to temperate in highlands
Terrain: plains along coast; central plateau; highlands in north, south
Elevation extremes: lowest point: Indian Ocean 0m - highest point: Kilimanjaro 5,895m (highest point in Africa)
Main international Airports: Dar Es Salaam - DAR , Mount Kilimajaro - JRO & Zanzibar - ZNZ [online flight booking]