31 August 2009

Ryszard Kapuscinski "The Shadow of the Sun"

If there is a book about Africa "The Shadow of the Sun" is defo one of the books that will come to people's mind. Written by the Polish journalist Ryszard Kapuscinski the book is actually a collection of essays about his experiences in Africa he made in 40 years of beeing a foreign correspondent - from the initial enthusiasm in the 1950s when colonial power began to wane to the destruction of that dream and war and starvation.
Each essay could stand alone, but all together they are forming a pretty unique portrait of Africa, the people and, of course of the author, Ryszard Kapuscinski.

Polish writer Ryszard Kapuscinski died on January 23, 2007, at the age of 74. As a foreign correspondent, Kapuscinski covered coups and revolutions in the developing world for forty years. This interview originally aired in 1988.

28 August 2009

Movie recommendation: "Catch a Fire" (2006)

The plot of "Catch a Fire" is based on a true story that happend in South Africa in the 1980ies. The dramatic thriller, made in 2006, is about a young, rather apolitical man named Patrick Chamusso who is getting accused of carrying out an attack against the Apartheid government. The antagonist is the policeman Nic Vos, played by Tim Robbins, who is in charge of locating the perpetrators of a recent bomb attack. Somehow Patrick, played by Derek Luke, is getting swept into the investigation of the bomb attack...

Get Your Head Around The Lost Continent With Acacia Adventure Holidays

Tweet Up Q&As Now Available Online
Forums and blogs are the usual online avenues adventurers tend to follow when they are researching destinations, but Twitter brings a whole new interactive element into play.
Acacia Adventure Holidays Tweet up on the lost continent, held on Friday 21 August, certainly brought some interesting questions to the fore including; when is the best time to spot Lemurs, how are tourists contributing to eco-tourism, and why travel with a tour operator as opposed to travelling independently?
Madagascar has recently hit the headlines with the visa waiver (available to tourists staying under 30 days and travelling up to 31 December), while the current power sharing agreement has also brought political stability to the fourth largest island nation.
Anyone who missed the Tweet Up can now visit the tour operators blog (“Acacia Africa: stuck on you”) to find out more about the lost continent as the full list of Q&As are available at: http://bit.ly/2IW8Q
Acacia Adventure Holidays' tours to Madagascar start from £630pp with departures every Saturday (April – December). The 8-day Madagascar Dhow Sailing adventure begins at Hellville Port, the itinerary taking travellers around the Nosy Be archipelago. When not camping on secluded islands adventurers can opt for forest walks, swimming and diving. Highlights include Nosy Tanikely, a marine reserve which is perfect for snorkeling; Nosy Komba, noted for its friendly Lemurs; and Mahalina – with opportunities to explore the mangroves by kayak.
The price includes all highlights, transport, camping equipment, sleeping mat, airport transfers, some meals, and services of skipper, chef, and three crew. Excludes visas, travel insurance, flights, departure taxes, sleeping sheet, snorkel, kayaks and fishing line hire, tips, soft drinks, optional activities and items of a personal nature. Group size (maximum ten). Accommodation: guest house (1-night), camping two person dome tents (6-nights).

Contact Acacia Adventure Holidays on 020 7706 4700, email info@acacia-africa.com or visit www.acacia-africa.com for further information. ATOL No. 6499 and ABTA No. W4093 PROTECTED.

27 August 2009

uShaka Marine World, Durban, South Africa

The uShaka Marine World is one of Durban's top tourist attractions. It is the 5th largest aquarium in the world boasting 32 tanks totaling 17,500 cubic meters of water.
The main sections of the uShaka Marine World are the uShaka Sea World (the actual aquarium), uShaka Wet 'n Wild (a water park for young & old), uShaka Beach (well, guess, a beach) & uShaka Village Walk (restaurants, shops etc.).
The whole complex is located on the strip of land between Durban's beachfront and the harbour.

uShaka Sea World opening times:
Monday to Sunday from 0900 to 1700 (after dark only on Sundays)
uShaka Wet n' Wild opening times:
Wednesday to Sunday from 0900 to 1700 (Mon & Tues only open during public hols & school hols)

26 August 2009

GAP Adventures: Last Minute Specials in Africa for October 2009

South Africa Coastal Experience
Departure Date
: Sun, Oct. 4, 2009 to Thu, Oct. 15, 2009
Price: 1 Adult €679 - Save 15%
Local Payment: 300 USD

Drakensberg Mountains, Wine Tasting, Cape Town, Durban, Plettenberg Bay, Wild Coast.
At each turn, the look and feel of the landscape and cultures of South Africa change as you make your way through a fantastically diverse and beautiful country. This is an ideal adventure for those looking to explore South Africa's rugged green coast, have some fantastic wildlife encounters, participate in numerous activities, and explore one of the world's impressive cities, Cape Town - What a trip!

Kenya & Tanzania Lodge Safari

Departure Date: Sun, Oct. 4, 2009 to Sat, Oct. 17, 2009
Price: 1 Adult €2082 - Save 15%
Local Payment: 800 USD
National Park Fee: 65 USD

Game drives, Lake Nakuru, Lake Naivsha, Masai Mara, Great Rift Valley, Arusha, Lake Manyara, Serengeti, Ngorongoro Crater, Olduvai Gorge.
This trip is the ultimate East Africa lodge safari! From the millions of flamingos on the soda lake of Nakuru, breathtaking views East Africa's Great Rift Valley, to the vast expanses of the Serengeti plain, search for the "Big 5" - lion, leopard, rhino, elephant and buffalo in their natural habitat, all while enjoying your evenings in comfortable safari lodges and hotels. Travel by small safari vehicles to maximize the quality and amount of time on safari.

Tanzania Lodge Safari
Departure Date: Sat, Oct. 10, 2009 to Sat, Oct. 17, 2009
Price: 1 Adult €1181 - Save 15%
Local Payment: 400 USD

Game Viewing, Arusha, Lake Manyara, Serengeti, Ngorongoro Crater, Olduvai Gorge.
The perfect lodge safari! Tour the best known game parks in Tanzania in search of the "Big 5" - lion, leopard, rhino, elephant and buffalo, experience breathtaking views East Africa's Great Rift Valley, see phenomenal wildlife in its natural habitat, all while enjoying your evenings in comfortable safari lodges; this a truly unforgettable adventure.

25 August 2009

Endangered Wildlife Conservation, Zululand, South Africa

The Project
The Endangered Species Monitoring Programme is lead by an experienced, passionate and hands-on team. We work across many reserves in Zululand (Zululand has some of the most beautiful and productive wild lands in Africa), and therefore give you a in-depth insight into holistic conservation efforts. Real Africa - Real Conservation
We are looking for people who want their contribution to be directly and effectively utilised in genuine conservation efforts. If you wish to be a part of a professional conservation team, and experience some of the most exciting conservation work in Africa, then you are the kind of volunteer we are looking for!

Country: South Africa
Location: South Africa wildlife reserves
Departures: 2009: 31 Aug, 14 Sep, 28 Sep, 12 Oct, 26 Oct, 9 Nov, 23 Nov, 7 Dec, 21 Dec
Price: From €950 - €1700 (2-4 weeks) excluding flights. Price includes accommodation at the camp, all meals and training. Longer stays can be arranged from €700 per 2 weeks spent after 4 weeks

Offers: Late booking: Join us in October or November and your friend pays half price

the amazing things you'll be doing
The Endangered Species Monitoring Programme:
We personally initiate, implement and manage the Endangered Species Monitoring programmes on reserves that don’t have the means to do so themselves. Our programmes are responsible for important wildlife research, working with amongst other animals, Black Rhino, Cheetah, Wild dog, Lion, Elephant, Leopard and Hyena.
As a volunteer you will be actively involved the hands-on conservation work we do including:
  • Wildlife conservation Endangered species tracking, via radio telemetry equipment
  • GPS mapping of sightings
  • The creation and updating of identity kits
  • Animal behavioural research
  • Game counts
Activities that occur regularly are:
  • Radio collaring animals
  • Tagging of animals
  • Relocation, re-introduction of game
  • Bird ringing
  • Alien plant control

22 August 2009

BBC documentary podcast about "Gold"

Gold - part one
Duration: 20min
Man's long-term obsession with gold and the lengths we have gone to to get it. From the ancient myth of King Midas, through Alexander The Great and the Spanish Conquistadors to the massive mines of South Africa, Nick Rankin unlocks the history and enduring fascination of the rare yellow metal that has been integral to economic exchange systems for millennia. [download]

Gold - part two
Duration: 24min
Nick Rankin descends into the deepest goldmine in the world – Tau Tona in South Africa for part two of this series. Five thousand miners extract gold up to four kilometres under the surface but for every tonne of ore they take out, there is only 8 grams of gold to be found. Nick talks to miners about their lives underground and learns about the real price of gold. [download]

Gold - part three
Duration: 23min

Nick Rankin explores how we assess the value of gold. [download]

20 August 2009

The indi traveller's shopping basket in South Africa...

One of the first questions that comes to your mind when planning your travels is:

How much money will I need?

plane tickets? check!
accommodation? sort of... check!
tours, safaris? sort of... check!
rental car, bus, train etc? sort of... check!
restaurants, snacks? well, once in a while... check!

But what about the every day costs?
bread, pasta, bottled water, cigs, beer, wine ... well, check the list:
  • bread - R6-R8/loaf
  • butter - from R15/250gr
  • eggs - from R8/6ea free range
  • fruit jam - from R8/450gr
  • baked beans - from R5/can
  • bacon - from R16/250gr
  • milk - from R10/1l
  • muesli - from R20/500gr
  • yoghurt - from R4/150ml
  • cheese - from R25/250gr
  • fruits - price depending on season... relatively cheap
  • bottled water (still) - from R3/500ml
  • coke - from R7.50/500ml
  • juice - from R13/1l
  • biscuits - from R5/packing
  • pasta - from R10/500gr
  • pasta sauce - from R15/400gr
  • instant soup - from R3/portion
  • steak - from R50/kg (rump etc.)
  • chakalaka - from R10/can
  • chutney - from R15/bottle
  • chili sauce - from R10/bottle
  • potato chips - from R8/125gr
  • cigs - from R20/20 pack
  • beer - from R5/340ml bottle
  • cider - from R6.50/340 bottle
  • wine - from R15/bottle R50/3l box (babalas guaranteed)
The list is probably missing some stuff. Let me know what you think is missing & I will add it.

19 August 2009

The Apartheid Museum in Johannesburg, South Africa

Johannesburg's sombre monuments to its apartheid past make it an unusual but worthwhile tourist destination, says David Smith
Johannesburg's Apartheid Museum, illustrating the rise and fall of the Apartheid, opened its doors in 2001. For anyone wanting to understand and experience what apartheid South Africa was really like, a visit to the Apartheid Museum is fundamental.

The whole museum complex, conceptualised by several leading architectural firms, is a superb example of design, space and landscape offering the international community a pretty unique South African experience.
All 22 individual exhibition areas in the museum, including provocative film footage, photographs, text panels and artefacts illustrating the events and human stories, are taking the visitor through a dramatic emotional journey that tells a story of a state-sanctioned system based on racial discrimination and the struggle of the majority to overthrow this tyranny.

Opening hours: Tue to Sun, 10h00 - 17h00
The Museum is closed Mondays, Good Friday & Christmas Day
Where: Northern Parkway & Gold Reef Road

18 August 2009

Table Mountain Tickets for sale online

As of 17 Aug 2009 you can purchase Table Mountain cableway tickets online. The online tickets are available from www.tablemountain.net, the official website of the cableway. They are valid for seven days after purchase (full refunds are available during the 7 day period). Visitors can also extend the ticket for a further three weeks and forego a refund.

Online ticket rates:
Adult return - R145 + R10 administrative fee (valid till 30 Sept. 2009)
Child return - R76 + R10 administrative fee (valid till 30 Sept. 2009)

Adult return - R160 + R10 administrative fee (valid from 1 Oct. 2009 till 30 Sept. 2010)
Child return - R80 + R10 administrative fee (valid from 1 Oct. 2009 till 30 Sept. 2010)

17 August 2009

The Africa They Never Show You.

Another new Zimbabwean airline?

According to Zimbabwe's Financial Gazette a new airline has applied for a licence to operate in Zimbabwe. Nu-Aero, trading as Fresh Air, will operate passenger and cargo flights to regional and international destination. No information were given if & when the airline may start operations. Last month several newspapers were reporting that an airline called Fly Kumba is scheduled to begin operations in September in Zimbabwe.

In another article the newspaper is quoting AirZim's Chief executive officer Peter Chikumba saying that Air Zimbabwe Holdings (AirZim) is technically insolvent and on the verge of collapse.

14 August 2009

Webcam: Wild Dog Den in South Africa

The Wild Dog is South Africa's most endangered large carnivore. There are fewer than 500 free-ranging wild dogs in the country, most of whom live in the Kruger Park, with a handful found at smaller provincial and private reserves.

The Cradle of Humankind is turning 10

The Sterkfontein Caves, situated in Gauteng province, are a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1999 and the area is called the Cradle of Humankind because it is believed to be the place where man originated millions of years ago. Among the stunning discoveries made at these Caves are the oldest human fossil and a skull of pre-historic female, which anthropologists have dubbed Mrs Ples.

Maropeng at the cradle of humankind from murray ralfe on Vimeo.

Maropeng Visitor Centre nearby is a world-acclaimed tourist destination and an area of spectacular beauty. A visit to the state-of-the-art Maropeng Museum, spread over a 47,000 hectare valley, takes you on an incredible journey back in time, literally millions of years in evolution.

Wine tasting in South Africa

So you want to learn about wine, but don't want to sit in a stuffy tasting room with Mr. Know-it-all sitting next to you who was clearly born on the vine itself, and knows far more about wine than you may ever aspire to? You'd like to learn and explore and have a good laugh with a great guide on a well-planned trip, and not HAVE to spit it out?!
Check this tour, book it and experience the fun the STA Travel World Traveler Interns had on their expedition into the Cape Winelands!

13 August 2009

new District 9 trailer...

The release date of "District 9" is coming closer and closer. Check the latest trailer to get even more appetite for the movie...

some tourism news from Southern Africa

South Africa: New 4x4 trail opens in Camdeboo National Park
The National Park in the Eastern Cape of South Africa has opened a new 4x4 Trail. The "Koedoeskloof 4x4 Trail" is free (except for the park conservation fee). No booking is necessary; a 4x4 vehicle is essential.

South Africa: Wild Golf in Dinokeng
Wild Golf? In Dinokeng? Yes! Where? Well, Zebra Country Lodge has now it's own Wild Golf course. Dinokeng's vast landscape is perfect for "wild" golf, which is being played on natural terrain. Only one club with three striking faces is used and the ball, which weighs as much as a golf ball, is rubber and is more than twice the size of a normal golf ball.

Zimbabwe: Facelift for Vic Falls
The town of Victoria Falls in Zimbabwe recently got a facelift. In honour of the 13th COMESA (Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa) Heads of State meeting all roads were resurfaced and buildings were repainted.

Swaziland: Update on roads in Swaziland
The Mbabane bypass (highway from Ngwenya/Oshoek border post to Manzini) is now open for public use. The Lavumisa to Big Bend road has just been resurfaced and is now open for public use as well.

Swaziland: New Campsite at Mlilwane Wildlife Sanctuary
Mlilwane Wildlife Sanctuary has opened a new campsite, with 18 sites, each featuring a braai and an electrical outlet.

Table Mountain Cableway will re-open to the public on Monday

Table Mountain Cableway will re-open to the public on Monday August 17, 2009, (weather permitting) after four weeks of annual maintenance.

Table Mountain Cableway is required to do annual maintenance to meet the highest global cableway standards set by the Swiss Governing Body for Cableways (BAV).
Visitors can take advantage of the specials that are on offer at the Cableway:
  • free return ticket to adults on their birthday on presentation of a South African ID
  • Cableway family winter special that offers two children under 18 years a free return trip if they are accompanied by a full paying adult (valid over weekends, school holidays and public holidays until September 15, 2009).
    Should your birthday have fallen within the Cableway's closure you may redeem this offer one week after (August 17 - 23, 2009) annual maintenance.
The Cableway operates weather permitting. For information call (021) 424 8181 or visit www.tablemountain.net

12 August 2009

ESL World Music Sampler for FREE!

NEW & FREE!!!! ESL World Music Sampler on Amazon.com! Features a track from Thievery Corporation and seven other artists from ESL Music!

1. Mandala -Thievery Corporation
2. La Lluvia - Nickodemus
3. Suena Mi Guitarra - Federico Aubele
4. Everybody - Ancient Astronauts
5. Danger Buds - Chris Joss
6. Mystics - Ursula 1000
7. Azul - Natalia Clavier
8. Revolt Of The Cockroach Peoples - Ocote Soul Sounds
The sale of MP3 Downloads is currently available only to US customers located in the 48 contiguous states, Alaska, Hawaii, and the District of Columbia.

Some airline news from Southern Africa

BA to reduce weekly Cape Town flights
BRITISH Airways has announced that, effective from 27 Oct 2009, it will reduce its frequency between London and Cape Town from 14 to 13 flights per week.
Flights on Tuesdays and Wednesdays will be cancelled. The cancellation is a result of the airline’s decision to introduce an additional Luanda service. Passengers booked on these flights will be re-accommodated.

Airlink: Kruger Mpumalanga International Airport <> Livingstone fligths
AIRLINK will start operating its new route from Kruger Mpumalanga International Airport to Livingstone on August 17 2009.
  • Nelspruit (Monday, Wednesday, Friday at 11:55) > Livingstone (at 13:50)
  • Livingstone (Monday, Wednesday, Friday at 14:20) > Nelspruit (at 16:45)

RwandaAir's Joburg service
RWANDAIR has announced that, effective August 17, it will operate the Johannesburg/Kigali service via Bujumbura (Burundi).
  • Johannesburg (Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays at 18:30) > Bujumbura (22:20, departing at 22:50) > Kigali (at 23:15)
  • Kigali (Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays at 12:00) > Bujumbura (12:25, departing at 12:55) > Johannesburg (at 14:45)

11 August 2009

Tour of the day: Big cat conservation holiday in Namibia & Botswana

Country: Botswana, Namibia
Departures: 2009: 16 Aug, 30 Aug, 20 Sep, 4 Oct, 25 Oct, 8 Nov
Price: From £1690 (13 days) excluding flights. Price includes food, accommodation and project contribution

UPDATE: Last minute deal GBP1500. Applies to 4 Oct, 25 Oct & 8 Nov departures only.

the things you'll be doing
On these wildlife volunteering vacations you will start at Victoria Falls in Zambia and then travel to the Caprivi delta of Namibia and Botswana to study lions, cheetahs and leopards and their interactions with the local human population. The Caprivi delta boasts the same amazing array of African megafauna as the Okavango or Chobe National Park, but without the crowds. In fact, it is virtually unexplored and unmapped, and your job on the expedition will be to track, capture and relocate (if necessary) lions, cheetahs and leopards in order to mitigate human-wildlife conflict. You will also help our scientists to map the area properly and talk to local people about how predators and people can live side by side.

the project
These wildlife volunteering vacations will conduct a survey of five of Africa’s large carnivore species (lion, leopard, spotted hyaena, cheetah and wild dog) their dominant prey species (cape buffalo, giraffe, red lechwe, puku, sitatunga, roan antelope, kudu, Burchell’s zebra, blue wildebeest, warthog, bushpig, impala, common duiker, steenbok, numerous small mammal, primate and bird species) and domesticated species such as cattle, goats, pigs, cats and dogs. We will capture, collar and monitor key study animals and respond to incidents of livestock depredation in neighboring communities.
The expedition will also survey human populations in the area, conduct investigations into the ecology of human-predator conflict (HPC) and contribute to the development of rural livelihood strategies that will promote coexistence between people and predators and be implemented on a national scale. The area is of very significant conservation importance but also experiences the highest number of HPC incidents in Namibia and some of the highest in Africa. Data collected by this expedition will be crucial in our mission to combat the top threat to carnivore conservation in Africa today, namely human-predator conflict.

Zambezi Airlines: schedule changes at 15 & 16 August 2009

Zambezi Airlines has announced that:
due to service checks on aircrafts the airline has advised of the following schedule changes:
  • 15 Aug 2009: all passengers booked on the flights:
    Johannesburg - Ndola
    Ndola - Johannesburg
    Johannesburg - Lusaka
    will be be re-protected on other Zambezi flights
  • 16 Aug 2009: all passengers booked on the flight:
    Lusaka - Johannesburg
    will be be re-protected on other Zambezi flights
    The Johannesburg - Lusaka flight is supposed to be back on normal schedule.

08 August 2009

Acacia Adventure Holidays’ Big Five Flash Sale & Overland Twitter Tour

Acacia Adventure Holidays will be running a Big Five Flash Sale on Friday 14 August, lasting for exactly five hours. Featuring discounts of up to 55%, this is the ideal time to book an overland tour.

The term “Big Five,” was coined by the big game hunters themselves – these "now you see 'em, now you don't," predators being the hardest to hunt on foot. According to the tour operator, the Big Five are not a guarantee for safari goers either, but they continue to be the main exotic draw for adventurers in Africa.
Big Five Flash Sale, which will run from 12pm to 5pm, will incorporate all of the tour operator’s overland tours at a 25% discount – with a whopping 55% saving on the six-day African Insight. Featuring game viewing and night drives in the Kruger, river cruising in the Chobe National Park and an adrenaline fuelled day at the Victoria Falls, the bite size itinerary is perfect for adventurers who are looking to get a taster of the overland experience.
“Andy, the great outdoorsman from the Veldt,” a larger than life character appearing on the tour operators blog (africastuckonyou.blogspot.com), will also providing live commentary from outside the Acacia office and engaging with Acacia Adventure Holidays’ “tweeps” (or twitter fans) on the day of the Big Five Flash Sale.
In addition, there will be ongoing updates on the best place to catch up with these predators on the tour operator’s Twitter page before the sale begins (twitter.com/AcaciaAfrica). Adventurers are being advised to get in quick as discounts will be treated on a first past the post basis and Acacia is asking its customers to email info@acacia-africa.com, due to the huge influx of calls it is expecting to receive over the course of the five hour flash sale.
Heath Ashcroft, Marketing Director at Acacia Adventure Holidays, comments: “On my last trip we were treated to the sight of one of the more elusive Big Five, the leopard. As the September rains fell in the Serengeti, we watched the leopard bounding away to the safety of a nearby kopjie, dragging its prey behind it. While nothing is guaranteed on any African safari, we’re hoping that the same sense of excitement which hits game viewers when they catch sight of these amazing predators, will be captured in a our Big Five Flash Sale – a heavy online presence driving the buzz.”

The 43-day Kenya to Cape Town “overland Twitter tour,” will also be coming live and direct from Dan, “Acacia’s Man In Africa” (twitter.com/AcaciaAfrica) in August. A real traveller, Dan’s blog and his Acacia itinerary (beginning on 09 August) are available to view on his, “around the world travel blog”:

Terms and conditions: Big Five Flash Sale: Friday 14 August. Discounts available: 12-5pm (BST). 55% discount on the 6-day African Insight and 25% discount available on all other overland tours. Scheduled departures up to 31 December 2009. All prices subject to availability. Discount cannot be combined with any other promotion currently being offered by Acacia Adventure Holidays. Normal local payment(s) apply, subject to normal booking conditions. Promotional Code Big5@25_Aug09

Contact Acacia Adventure Holidays on 020 7706 4700, email
info@acacia-africa.com or visit www.acacia-africa.com for further information. ATOL No. 6499 and ABTA No. W4093 PROTECTED.

07 August 2009

Tour of the day: Wildlife conservation expedition on Karongwe Reserve

Country: South Africa
Departures: 2009: 14 Aug, 9 Oct, 13 Nov | 2010: 9 Jan, 13 Feb, 3 Apr, 8 May, 26 Jun, 31 Jul, 2 Oct, 6 Nov
Price: from £1595 (5 weeks) - £2595 (10 weeks) excluding flights.

The amazing things you'll be doing
We run wildlife research expeditions on the Karongwe Game Reserve and Venetia Limpopo Nature Reserve, both in the Limpopo province. We have been working in conjunction with local partners since June 2000.
The aim of this research is to determine the impact of reintroduced mammals on game reserves and to develop some of this land into fenceless wilderness areas. The results are shared with the Kruger to Canyons Biosphere Reserve, which is funded by UNESCO. South Africa's Game reserves are of key importance to South Africa's natural heritage because they house over 55% of the natural life on the subcontinent.
Following an intensive training week with lectures on topics including animal behaviour and ecology and tuition in the use of telemetry, volunteers will participate in wildlife and vegetation monitoring projects, including assisting with the research on predator/prey interactions, elephant impact surveys, reserve mapping and wild dog breeding programmes. In some circumstances the team might get involved with the exciting work of darting and the fitting of radio tracking collars to lions and leopards.
Expedition Members that participate for 10 weeks will get the opportunity to experience both Karongwe and Venetia; 2 of South Africa’s finest reserves, spending 5 weeks in each location. Both bases have a satellite camp, located in the mountains. The fresh mountain scenery, varied flora and fauna and panoramic views provide a refreshing break from the heat of the bush.
This is a great opportunity to be part of an expedition that really is making a difference to the survival of Africa's natural heritage. You will be working towards a long term conservation strategy amongst staff whoare dedicated to their work. Not only is it a spectacular location for game and scenery but the training and experience of the African bush are second to none.
Leisure activities during your free time: Research is a priority although if time allows side trips can be arranged to various local attractions including; a reptile park, wildlife rehabilitation centres, mountain picnics and white water rafting (dependant on water levels).

06 August 2009

Do I need an International Drivers Licence in South Africa?

Well, if your driving licence:
  • is issued in your home country
  • valid in your home country
  • is bearing your photograph
  • is bearing your signature
  • is in English
you DON'T need an International Drivers Licence.

If your drivers licence is NOT issued in ENGLISH you DO need an International Drivers Licence to drive a car in South Africa!

What is an International Drivers Licence?
An International Drivers Licence allows an individual to drive a private motor vehicle in another nation when accompanied by a valid license from their home country. The document is slightly larger than a standard passport and is essentially a multiple language translation of one's own existing driver's license, complete with photograph and vital statistics. It is not a license to operate a motor vehicle on its own.

Why do I need an International Drivers Licence?
In the South African National Road Traffic Regulations of 1999 it says on page 74/75:
[...] Conditions for acknowledgement and exchange of driving licence not issued in terms of Act, and international driving permit
110. (1) Subject to subregulation (3), a driving licence referred to in section 23(1)(a) of the Act, issued while the holder of it was not permanently or ordinarily resident in the Republic, shall, for the period for, and subject to the conditions under which it was issued, be deemed to be a valid licence for the purposes of Chapter IV of the Act, if —
(a) (i) the licence has been issued in an official language of the Republic; or
(ii) a certificate of authenticity or validity relating to the licence issued in an official language of the Republic by a competent authority, or a translation of that licence in such official language, is attached to it; and
(b) such licence contains or has attached to it, a photograph and the signature of the licence holder.

GAP Adventures: 2009 Travel Photography Scholarship

Gap Adventures have joined with WorldNomads.com & National Geographic Channel to give one exceptional individual the chance to go on assignment with renowned wildlife photographer Jason Edwards to Antarctica!
The brief is to photograph the world's most remote wilderness on Gap Adventures’ Antarctica Classic aboard the M/S Expedition, exploring the Shetland Islands and Antarctic Peninsula.
To help you take the best photos, the scholarship recipient will receive AU$2000 worth of Pentax photographic equipment of your choice.
Your best photos will be published on the National Geographic Channel's website where they will be viewed by thousands of travellers worldwide, offering you a once-in-a-lifetime chance to get your foot in the door of one of the most revered exploration organizations in the world!
Highly regarded for his wildlife and remote landscape photography, Jason Edwards is represented by National Geographic Image Collection.

Antarctica from Frenz on Vimeo.

Your Assignment Brief
  • You’ll be flown in from your country of residence to Ushuaia, Argentina where you will board the M/S Expedition on an 11 day assignment. You'll need to be available to be in Antarctica between November 22 - December 2, 2009.
  • On the Expedition, you will work alongside Jason Edwards photographing some of the planet's most impressive wildlife including Minke & Humpback Whales, Leopard Seals, Penguins, Albatross and dramatic iceberg landscapes. You will gain invaluable mentoring and hands-on experience in everything from shot set up, technique and composition through to insights into his many years of diverse experience as an award winning photographer.
  • Your assignment will involve observing and assisting Jason as well as undertaking your own photographic work. This will involve long days chasing the perfect shot!
  • You will keep a daily diary about your time on the trip and upload this to a WorldNomads.com travel journal, including pictures you've taken.
  • On your return you will submit your top photographs to National Geographic Channel for publication on www.natgeotv.com.au.
  • Most of all, you'll be experiencing what it's like to be a photographer-on assignment with National Geographic!
Who can apply
  • Anyone can apply - this is open to photography students, lovers of photography or any non-professional trying to kickstart a career in travel photography.
  • Minimum age 18.
  • This is a global opportunity - you may apply from any country.
  • You should be an exceptional photographer with a lust for adventure, ambition to grow your photographic skills and forge a career in Travel Photography, and of course a desire to travel to Antarctica.
Applications close: Midnight, October 4, 2009 (Australian Eastern Standard Time)

05 August 2009

South Africa: Great White Shark Cage Diving

Despite all discussions raging about whether cage diving is causing shark attacks to increase in frequency or not, Shark Cage Diving became one of the top tourist activities in the Western Cape of South Africa. Studies were made pro and con the diving and both side keep on declaring to be right with what they found out. Well, in the end it is your choice if you want to do it or not.

Great White Cage Diving, SA from George Pagliero on Vimeo.
Scuba Dive or Snorkel with Great White Sharks »
Location: Cape Town, South Africa - Duration: 11 hours (approx.)
Join this tour for the underwater experience of a lifetime as you scuba dive or snorkel with the Great White Sharks of South Africa! Take the opportunity during your stay in Cape Town to travel to the channels around Dyer Island and get up close and personal with the animal on top of the ocean's food chain.
Travel to Gansbaai and enjoy a light breakfast before proceeding to the channel by Dyer Island, a short boat trip of approximately 20 minutes. Named after Samson Dyer in the 19th century, Dyer Island is a breeding ground for marine birdlife, while nearby Geyser Rock is home to approximately 50,000 Cape Fur Seals. As a prime breeding site for these animals, the area is a natural magnet for the ocean's deadliest predator.
Check out the sharks with a surface view, before slipping into your wetsuit to join these misunderstood creatures in their natural habitat. Choose to snorkel, or scuba cage dive (must hold a valid scuba diving certificate) with the magnificent predators in their natural feeding ground. This is a rare opportunity to share the water with the top ocean predator, and feel the ultimate adrenaline rush as it looks you in the eye with curiosity and maybe a touch of menace!
If you don't want to enter the water, you can remain on the boat and enjoy the surface viewing. Being a surface feeder by nature the sharks swim close to the boat, therefore view onboard is superb and photo opportunities are lurking everywhere. If you are lucky, you may even get the opportunity to witness a spectacular breach as these huge creatures launch themselves clear of the water surface in the hunt for the next seal meal!

The Great White shark cage diving season can be divided into three periods:
  • High season : May to October
  • Intermediate : April, November, December, and January
  • Low season : January, February and March

some recent tourism news from Southern Africa

Orlando Towers: Bungee jumping in Soweto
Orlando Towers, already known for developing the disused Orlando cooling towers in Soweto into a vertical adventure facility and tourist attraction for Soweto, will introduce Soweto's first bungee jumping facility to the market. They are currently hoping to have the BUNGEE BRIDGE complete some time in July, and will have the BUNGEE JUMP open to the public in August 2009... so start practising... 3,2,1.... BUNGEEEEEEEEE!
Tsitsikamma National Park: Dolphin Trail rebuild
Tsitsikamma's Dolphin Trail, a joint initiative with private parties adjacent the park, which got badly damaged during some storms and fires in 2008, has been rebuild. The semi-luxury hiking 17km trail follows the Tsitsikamma coastal belt, a narrow plateau between the Tsitsikamma Mountains and the Indian Ocean.

Open-top bus tour for Windhoek launched
Sense of Africa, a tour company based in has announced the launch of an open-top double-decker bus tour of Windhoek.
Du to the strong demand for cultural tours by visitors they have also set up a partnersip with a community-based operator in the Aabadi Bushman Village.

Zimbabwe: New cars for Avis
Avis Rent-A-Car Zimbabwe is upgrading their vehicle fleet. Zimbabwe's government recently allowed tourism operators to import capital goods on a duty-free basis and hence Avis is investing in new vehicles. Looking at 2010 one managing director said that the delivery of four new Chevrolet Aveo vehicles is the first phase of a programme to bring its fleet up to date and beyond. Well, let us take it as a good sign for Zimbabwe.

04 August 2009

Special Offer: Kenya Beach Resort on Manda Island

Manda Island, Lamu, Kenya
  • Double Banda from £70/night (£35/person)
  • family Banda from £80/night
  • Treehouse accommodation £100/night
    Please note that we are closed for May and June.
special offer: From 1st September - 30th November:
6 nights for the price of 7.
-- booking --

View Larger Map

The lodge is located on the beachfront with amazing views of the open ocean, Lamu island, Shela village and dhows sailing past. It is the perfect place to come and relax for days or weeks, away from the stresses and strains of everyday life. Here we offer more of a rustic ‘Robinson Crusoe experience’; we work closely with the local Swahili people taking into account their culture and only using local methods and materials to create a refreshing, eco-friendly, alternative style holiday.
We have six beach huts called bandas, including one family size which sleeps 4-8. The others have a double bed downstairs and a single bed mounted in the roof, a front porch and en suite shower, sink and flush toilet. All banda’s are provided with bedding, mosquito nets and towels. All have electricity with British socket from 7pm till around 10pm after which paraffin lamps are provided.
Bed, Kenya beach resort on Manda IslandWe also have a treehouse to rent. It sleeps between two and six people, with wooden floors, branches coming through the walls and a large veranda on the first floor stretching right around the tree, where drinks can be brought to you. It is an amazing experience to be lying in bed in a baobab tree watching the colourful birds fly by with a view across the village over to the dunes of Lamu island.
The restaurant seating area is shaded from the sun with large palm thatched umbrellas, conveniently situated with a fantastic view of the Indian Ocean. Our two experienced chefs prepare a variety of dishes from traditional Swahili cuisine to more conventional western and vegetarian foods. [more info]

03 August 2009

Kruger National Park: temporarily no Mountain Bike Tours

Due to an incident with a hippo (read the forum post on the sanparks forum) during a mountain bike tour starting at Olifants camp in the Kruger National Park all other cycling tours at Olifants are temporarily not available.

I'll keep you updated about further info about the tours!

update: just got an email from SANparks reservations desk saying "The mountain bike is closed until futher notice please contact Olifant on this number for more information (013)735-6606."

Win a trip to Borneo with Rough Guides

Rough Guides is celebrating the publication of Clean Breaks by offering you the chance to win a once in a lifetime trip to Borneo for two! Clean Breaks unearths 500 unique experiences and new ways to travel that make a real difference to the lives of local people and the planet.

Simply fill out the webform on www.roughguides.com/cleanbreakswin and get the chance to win the trip (prize draw is open to UK residents only)...

Good luck!