30 November 2010

Enjoy 24 days of Christmas prizes with HostelBookers

With everybody counting down the days to Christmas, HostelBookers, the budget accommodation specialist, is today launching a great competition*. Participants will have the chance to win fantastic prizes worth over £3000.

Everyday, between 1st and 24th December, HostelBookers will be posting a question on their Facebook wall. To enter the competition participants need to email their correct answer, full name and which Hostelbookers Facebook group they follow to be in with a chance of winning an iPad, an iPod, Ryanair vouchers, a hostel stay, a scuba diving course, sunglasses, shopping vouchers and much more.
Winners will be picked from qualifying entries and announced, along with their prize, the following day on Facebook and via the blog.
For more information about how to enter the 24 days of Christmas Prizes competition please click here!

*Terms and conditions apply

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

View Virtual tour through Kruger National Park in a larger map

  • 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

Comair adds additional flight on Durban <> Cape Town route

Comair Limited, operator of British Airways in South Africa and kulula.com, announced an additional British Airways return flight on the popular Durban <> Cape Town route. The additional BA flight is scheduled once a day from Monday to Friday (effective from 15 December 2010), adding to the existing schedule of three returns flights per day, Monday to Friday, and one return flight on Saturday and Sunday.
  • 10:45 Durban > Cape Town 12:55 Mondays to Fridays
  • 13:30 Cape Town > Durban 15:25 Mondays to Fridays

O.R. Tambo International Airport: Full scale emergency simulations exercise on 30 Nov 2010 was a success

A full scale emergengy simulations exercise was held at Johannesburg's O.R. Tambo International Airport this morning. According to a message on the airport's facebook page it was a success and all went well! 
The full scale emergency simulation exercise held at O.R. Tambo International Airport this morning was a success. The excercise is part of O. R. Tambo International Airport’s preparedness for aviation and other emergency situations at the airport. The goal of the exercise is to enable airport and community fire, security, medical,and other resources to join in an effective, coordinated response to airport emergencies.
The exercise was involving a crashed aircraft commenced at 3.30am this morning and included emergency services from across the province.
online flight booking on TravelComments.com >>
Johannesburg city guide, tour & accommodation booking >>

26 November 2010

Home away from home - Chanters Lodge in Livingstone, Zambia

Tucked away in a quiet, secure and peaceful suburb of Livingstone, Zambia, just a 15 minute walk from the city centre and only a 10km drive away from the awesome Victoria Falls, Chanters Lodge boasts the best food and atmosphere you'll find in Livingstone.

The Lodge has 10 comfortable, self contained, air-conditioned rooms and 1 suite, all with satellite television (choice of 5 channels). There's a well stocked bar, excellent a la carte restaurant and a lovely swimming pool set in tropical gardens. An ideal setting in which the weary traveller can relax.
All rooms have Wifi availability. The lodge gives one free hour internet access per room to Guests on arrival and internet vouchers at US$2 per hour are available for purchase thereafter. There's also a laptop available for Guests to use in one of the offices, if required.

We offer family or twin bedded accommodation in large rooms with self contained shower, as well as poolside double rooms with one double bed and private bath with seperate shower. Rates range from US$55 to US$150 per room per night and the lodge offers free transfers on arrival and departure within Livingstone (including the city airport) if required by Guests.
The lodge has a stand-by electricity generator in case of power cuts and a 28,000 litre reserve water supply. The site is surrounded by a wall fence and there is a security guard at night. There is space for parking approximately 10 vehicles.
We believe that in providing well located, versatile, reasonable, comfortable accommodation with personalised service, Chanters Lodge offers an alternative to backpacker accommodation at one end of the market and the more expensive hotels at the other.
There are, these days, a multitude of activities available for the visitor to Livingstone and we are happy to give details and arrange activity reservations for visitors. Details are available on this page of our website.
As mentioned the lodge has a wide ranging a la carte menu featuring lots of standards as well as Zambian dishes and a well stocked bar. Prices are reasonable and the restaurant and bar are open all day and evening until 21.30 hours. English breakfast is included in our room rates and is served from 07.00 hours onwards to residents. Early breakfast is available on request and there is no closing time for breakfast.

Lodge management is provided by Richard Chanter and his team - Richard has years of hotel management experience all over Africa and was previously General Manager of Southern Sun Ridgeway Hotel in Lusaka, a 150 roomed 4 star operation formerly known as Holiday Inn. Many of the mostly female staff have served Chanters Lodge for 4 years or more.
The lodge has excellent reviews on TripAdvisor.

[guest post by Richard Chanter]

Video: Elephants rescuing a baby elephant from drowing!

Just came across this amazing footage - watch how (female) elephants resuce a baby elephant from drowning in a waterhole... wow!

25 November 2010

1time to start flying to and from Lanseria (Johannesburg) in 2011

Low-cost airline 1time will begin offering flights to and from Lanseria Airport, north-west of Johannesburg, in 2011. Because of a five-year exclusivity agreement between Lanseria and Kulula Airlines operator, Comair, a British Airways franchisee, budget airline Kulula is currently the only airline to use the airport. This agreement will end in 2011, which will then open the market for new airlines, such as 1time and other African airlines.

View Lanseria Airport, Johannesburg in a larger map

Due to the interest of the airlines in a second airport in the Johannesburg area, the airport now plans to build a new runway, a multi-storey parkade, improve its shuttle service and is also in talks with the hospitality industry about building a hotel in the airport grounds. Last year the airport already increased its parking to 1 800 bays. Additional parking will be accommodated in the new multi-storey parkade.

Tour: Cape Town Jazz Safari

Seek out the soul of Cape Town on a unique Jazz Safari, taking you to the heart of South Africa’s world-renowned jazz scene. Meet local jazz artists and listen to live performances in an evening that’s sure to hit all the high notes for culture lovers and music fans alike.

Visit the home of a local jazz musician for dinner, drinks, and an exclusive live performance.  Hosts include famous jazz cat names such as Mac McKenzie, Hilton Schilder and Blackie Tempi, who are sure to keep you entertained with anecdotes about Cape Town's thriving Jazz scene, spirit and culture.
Hit the town after dinner to enjoy more contemporary Cape Town sounds at a live jazz nightspot.  Alternatively the Jazz Safari will take you to the home of a second musician to wind down with a nightcap before returning to a central location.

update (17 May 2011): Special Offer - Book and travel before 31 August 2011 and receive a free CD compilation of Cape Town music - BOOK NOW!

Departure Point: Whale Street or selected Cape Town hotels (within the City Bowl and Atlantic Sea Board, up to Sea Point)
Departure Time: Monday & Wednesday 19:00pm | Saturday & Sunday 18:00pm (If departing from Whale Street, please arrive 20 minutes prior to this time)
Hotel pickups commence prior to this time, you must contact the local service provider to verify your exact pick up time.
Return Details: Concludes at 11:30pm Mondays & Wednesdays | Concludes at 11:00pm Saturdays & Sundays

Inclusions: Dinner | Entrance fees | Live entertainment | Local guide | Hotel pickup (selected hotels only)
Exclusions: Alcoholic drinks (available to purchase) | Drinks | Gratuities (optional) | Hotel drop off

24 November 2010

South African backpackers - Island Vibe Backpackers, Jeffreys Bay

Set on a dune overlooking the beach and the town of Jeffrey's Bay, Island Vibe Backpackers is kinda ideal setting for a holiday destination. All rooms have fantastic sea views and a quick run down the steps gets you straight onto the beach, in the waves. Campers wake to the splish splosh of dolphins, dorm rooms open on to the garden and double en suites have access to balconies that provide the view of a life time.

Their outside bar and restaurant serves excellent value for money meals and a variety of drinks which could lead you to a good boogie session to end the day! Guests in doubles can even request brekkie in bed... Enjoy!

eDreams to sponsor Worldreader.org

One of Europe's largest online travel agencies, eDreams, is currently (throughout November 2010) supporting the NGO Worldreader.org by donating $1 to the NGO for every person who joins their new Facebook causes page. Great initiative, eDreams. So, please, you readers of this blog out there, join the cause and support the work of Worldreader.org.

Worldreader.org’s mission is to make digital books available to all in the developing world, enabling millions of people to improve their lives. Emerging e-book technology is sharply reducing the cost and complexity of delivering reading material everywhere.

23 November 2010

Video: Dolphins see themselves in mirror!

CNN's Randi Kaye visits the Baltimore National Aquarium in the US and goes down in an underwater lab to see how dolphins react to themselves in a mirror. Stunning pics of incredible creatures...

Tour: Whale & Dolphin Watching in Plettenburg Bay (South Africa)
A wonderful opportunity to witness Dolphins frolicking in the surf and enjoy a close-up encounter with other marine species including whales, sharks, seals and a variety of marine birds on this exciting two-hour boat cruise.
Depart from Plettenberg Bay at the heart of the Garden Route and discover the abundant Cape marine life as you head for the renowned Arch Rock. Here it is usual to see bottlenose dolphins, small pods of the rare indo-pacific humpback dolphin and many species of shark. As you head to the middle of the bay, look out for resident bryde whales, magnificent Southern Right whales and if you are truly lucky you may get to see orcas which can be seen from July to November. Among the highlights is a visit to the seal colony at spectacular Roddberg Peninsula Nature Reserve for wonderful views of these enchanting animals. [more info & booking]

South Africa: Quicker permits for foreigners

South Africa has centralised the issuing of study, work and business permits – and is looking at extending the period of their validity – in order to make it easier for foreigners to work and study in the country, and for businesses to import scarce skills.
The Department of Home Affairs said last week that work, study and business permits would now be issued from its headquarters in Pretoria.
Previously, permits were applied for at Home Affairs' regional offices across the country. These applications were then sent to the department's headquarters for adjudication and ratification, resulting in huge backlogs.
Need for scarce skills
These backlogs had a negative impact on the operation of businesses that wanted to import scarce skills from abroad, and created hardships for foreigners who had apply for their permits to be re-issued annually.
As a result, South Africa was losing out on critical skills that could contribute to the growth of the economy and the development of the country. For foreign students, delays in receiving their study permits often meant that they lost their positions at academic institutions.
"This is totally unacceptable and has become unbearable for business, students and foreign workers," said Home Affairs Minister Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma.
Dlamini-Zuma said she also wanted permits to be valid for three to five years, doing away with the need for annual re-applications for permits. To achieve this, the department was looking into introducing changes to its current operating procedures.
Zimbabwean nationals excluded
Home Affairs Director-General Mkuseli Alpeni stressed that the centralisation of the process of issuing permits did not apply to Zimbabwean nationals, who were required to regularise their stay in South Africa following a Cabinet decision.
So far, the department had received 73 407 applications from Zimbabweans wanting to regularise their stay in the country, Apleni said, adding that 20 966 of these applications had been approved and 5 486 rejected, with the rest awaiting adjudication.
The deadline to document all illegal Zimbabweans by 31 December 2010 had not changed, he added. [source: BuaNews]

19 November 2010

Today is World Toilet Day (19 Nov 2010)

World Toilet Day is a global day to raise awareness of the global sanitation crisis. 4,000 children die every day from diarrhoea caused by dirty water and poor sanitation. About 2.6 billion people worldwide are without access to proper sanitation, which risks their health, strips their dignity, and kills 1.8 million people, mostly children, a year.

World Toilet Day has been created by the WTO (World Toilet Organisation) as an annual celebration of toilets and sanitation and their vital contribution to public health, personal dignity and environmental sustainability.

18 November 2010

Video: Sahara Wonderland

I watched a lot of travel videos, documentaries, slide show etc. over the last couple of years, but I have rarely watched such an amazing video like "Sahara Wonderland". Switch the vid on fullscreen, get your headphones and enjoy!

Sahara Wonderland from zoomion on Vimeo.

The dudes who made the video are even providing google maps placemarks:

What a great idea - a football that produces "real" energy!

Jessica Lin, Jessica Matthews, Julia Silverman and Hemali Thakkar met in an engineering class at Harvard University back in 2008. All four of them had spent time in different places in Africa and all of them saw kids playing and enjoing football whereever they went. Talking about their experiences Jessica, Jessica, Lin and Hemali somehow got the idea that is must be possible to translate the "positive" energy of football into "real" energy people in the world’s most impoverished areas could actually use to power light in their homes, a fridge, a phone and more. Thats how the idea of the "sOccket", a football with an internal generator, was born.

Soccket Electrifies! from GlobalGirl Media on Vimeo.

The ball’s mechanism is similar to those found in shake-to-charge flashlights. When the sOccket rolls, a magnetic slug slides back and forth inside an inductive coil in the ball, generating power that is stored in a capacitor.
After 15 minutes of play, the sOccket ball is currently providing enough energy for 3 hours of LED light, a clean, efficient alternative to kerosene lamps. Kudos, girls! Great project!

Stricter vehicle regulations in Zimbabwe from 01 Dec 2010

According to Tourism Update (citing one of the latest Zimbabwe Government Gazettes), vehicles in Zimbabwe will not be considered roadworthy from 01 Dec 2010 unless they are equipped with with:
  • a fire extinguisher (stored at a visible and accessible place in the cab of the vehicle)
  • two warning triangles (in the event of a breakdown you must place one at the front and one at rear of a vehicle)
  • a serviceable spare wheel
  • an efficient jack and a wheel spanner
  • red and white reflectors
Both the fire extinguisher and the warning triangles must conform to the Standards Association of Zimbabwe (SAZ). The triangles must also bear a serial number, name of the manufacturer and year of manufacture. The white reflectors are to be used at the front of the vehicle and red refelctors are to be used at the back of the vehicle.

Just make sure that, when going there, you got everything with you... and in the right place...

Cape Town: Wheel of Excellences moves to new location

One of Cape Town latest tourist highlights, the Wheel of Excellence, is set to move from its current site near the entrance to the V&A Waterfront to the Market Square, the heart of the precinct.

The breakdown of the Wheel already started on Monday (15 Nov) and will last a total of three weeks. It will officially open to the public in its exciting new location on 03 Dec. 2010. Ticket prices are R80 for adults, R50 for children aged 4-12 and free for under-4s. The Wheel of Excellence will remain in Cape Town until the end of February 2011.

17 November 2010

Finest backpacker cuisine: Beans on toast (incl. an explanatory video!!!) LOL

I just had beans on toast for dinner and, well, googled "beans on toast". Don't ask why... probably just because I was sitting in front of my computer while eating. Anyway - I found this video on youtube. I am not sure if the person who made the video is to be taken seriously about it (I am actually sure - she must be taking the piss LOL), but, hey, this is "How to make beans on toast":

In case you "forgot" what ingredients you need for "beans on toast":
  • half a can (210g) of baked beans
  • 2 slices of bread
  • 20g butter
  • 20g (grated) cheese
Heat the beans in a pot over low heat (or simply use a microwave). Toast the bread and spread the butter over them. Once the beans are heated through, pour them over the buttered toasts. Sprinkle the grated cheese over the beans... and enjoy...YEAH!

Aviation news from East Africa

KLM Royal Dutch Airlines operated its first flight to Kigali, the capital of Rwanda, on 31 October 2010. Five flights a week will be offered to Kigali with an intermediate stopover in Entebbe (Uganda). The new service will be operated using Airbus A330-200 equipment, offering seats for 243 passengers.
KLM and Air France (they merged in 2004) is now serving 43 African destinations at a frequency of more than 200 flights a week.
A cooperation with Kenya Airways will also make it possible for KLM to offer a more extensive network with even more destinations and higher frequencies in East Africa. Operating from the its Nairobi hub, Kenya Airways offers flights to destinations including Ndola, Harare, Mombassa, Lusaka, Lilongwe, Bujumbura and Zanzibar. In cooperation with Kenya Airways, Air France also offers flights to destinations including Dzaoudzi and Moroni via Nairobi.

Kenya Airways, the flag carrier of the East African country, will launch a Nairobi <> Rome (Italy) service from December 2010. The airline is then operationg flights to the four European destinations Amsterdam, London, Paris and Rome. Kenya Airways currently flies to 50 destinations worldwide, 41 of them in Africa.

A move by local carriers to introduce and increase flights to the Kenyan coast will be a boost for the whole region. Low-cost airline Fly540 startet a Nairobi <> Diani service on 11 Nov 2010 and will add flights to Ukundu in December 2010. Flag carrier Kenya Airways will add flights to Malindi in December 2010. In the recent past KQ has already increased frequencies to Mombasa (ex Nairobi) from 42 to 59 every week.

Ethiopian Airlines has joined the Star Alliance network. The airline became the 30th member in total and the third African carrier in the alliance, joining Egyptair and South African Airways. Ethiopian Airlines is adding five new countries (namely Chad, Congo, Rep. of Djibuti, Mali & Niger) and 24 African destinations to the Star Alliance network. The network has currently 30 carriers and is offering a choice of close to 25000 daily flights to 1196 destinations in 186 countries.

German airline Air Berlin is now offering a weekly direct service between Berlin (Germany) and Mombasa (Kenya). The new flight service departs Berlin at 20:00 every Thursday, landing in Mombasa at 06:40am the next day.

16 November 2010

South Africa: What happens if you are caught drunk driving?

First of all - never get into such a situation. Simply don't drink and drive! Word!
The limit - Your blood may not have an alcohol content of more than 0.05%!
Consequences - If you are stopped at by the police, and if it is determined that you have consumed more than the legal limit of alcohol (remember its 0.05% only!) that you may legally consume while driving, you will be arrested and charged with Driving Under the Influence of Liquor. You will be held in custody until you are able to post bail, you'll face a minimum fine of R2 000 (or a two-year prison sentence, or both). You may also lose your driver's licence, or have it suspended. And, of course, you will have a criminal record! 
A word to the fellow tourists in South Africa - if you are going out for dinner, enjoying the Cape Winelands or simply going out partying, pls take a taxi or book an organised tour (winelands). It is not worth it to drive drunk when a taxi costs you around R10/km. Remember - you are on a holiday and enjoying your time! Or do you want to end up with the police after a stunning dinner at one of SA's famous restaurants?

Japan Airlines - smoking "smokeless cigarettes" allowed during flights

Did you know that you are allowed to smoke during flights with Japan Airlines? Ok, no normal cigarettes are allowed, but Japan Tobacco's "Zero Style Mint" smokeless cigarette. According to The Wall Street Journal' JapanRealTime blog you can even smoke them on long-haul (=international) flights.
For example, Japan Airlines, the country’s largest airline by revenue, says Zero Style Mint can be used during its flights, including long-haul. Rail companies equally say that since it creates no smoke, it can be used without restriction in non-smoking cars in the country’s bullet trains. [src.]
Other (international) airlines, such as the German Lufthansa, don't allow "smokeless cigarettes" on board their flights "because they (the cigarettes) might remind passengers of normal cigarettes and therefore might irritate them". [src.] Well, what do you think?

15 November 2010

Cape Town: Rinkhals Snakes discovered living within the metropolitan boundaries

You may have heard about it already - once believed extinct in the Cape Town area, Rinkhals Snakes (or Rinkhals Spitting Cobra, Ring-necked Spitting Cobra), a type of spitting cobra, have now been discovered living within the metropolitan boundaries. [more on news24.com]

Video: Flying with Vultures (South Africa)

Only 2,900 breeding pairs of Cape Vultures remain world wide. Kerri Wolters, also known as the "vulture whisperer", therefore founded the Vulture Conservation Program in Magaliesberg, South Africa. Now Kerri is taking a unique opportunity to paraglide with vultures to gain a perspective of life through the eyes and wings of these majestic birds.

Flying with Vultures from Rocketboom on Vimeo.

Please visit vultureconservation.co.za for more information about the Vulture Conservation Program.

12 November 2010

Turkish Airlines: Five flights per week to South Africa from Jan 2011

Turkey's national airline "Turkish Airlines" will introduce a fifth weekly flight to South Africa from 17 Jan 2011 to be prepared for the 2011 European summer season.

The flights will depart Istanbul in Turkey at 23:45pm and will arrive in Johannesburg at 09:30am the following day. The connection flight to Cape Town will depart Johannesburg at 10:40am and will arrive Cape Town at 12:55pm. (return: Cape Town 17:10pm > Johannesburg 19:15pm, Johannesburg 20:25pm > Istanbul 06:10am).

11 November 2010

Lake Malawi / Lake Nyasa fact file

Lake Malawi contains the largest number of fish species of any lake in the world, probably over 500 from ten families. Particularly noteworthy are the Cichlids, of which all but five of over 400 species are endemic to Lake Malawi. The lake contains 30% of all known cichlid species.

Lake Malawi, the third largest in Africa and the eighth largest lake in the world, is located between Malawi, Mozambique, and Tanzania. It is the second deepest lake in Africa (only Lake Tanganyika is deeper), though its northern shore gives no hint of its depth.

View Lake Malawi... or should I say Lake Nyassa? in a larger map

Lake Malawi (or Lake Nyasa) is roughly 580 kilometres long, and about 75 kilometres wide at its widest point. The total surface area of this lake is about 29,600km².

The geographic name of the lake itself is highly disputed. Malawi claims that the lake is named "Lake Malawi", whereas most other countries, most notably the Republic of Tanzania, and many internationally-made maps state that the name of the lake is "Lake Nyasa". The official Mozambican name is "Lago Niassa".

"Lake of Stars" is the nickname for Lake Malawi coined back in the days by David Livingstone. The name reffers to the lights from lanterns of the fisherman in Malawi on their boats, that resemble, from a distance, stars in the sky. Today the "Lake of Stars" is also an annual music festival held at the shores of Lake Malawi in Malawi. 

btw - ever thought about renting a houseboat? Well, no problem on Lake Malawi. The Magunda, based in Cape Maclear in the south of the lake, is a 12 bed, luxurious houseboat fitted with a kitchen, lounge and dining area, toilets and showers, a diving platform, and upper deck. The boat has four cabins, two of which have double beds, one has four beds, and the crew cabin has four beds. [more info]

South Africa: Lions released in Karoo National Park after 170 year absence

update (07 March 2012): The lions released into Karoo National Park in November 2010 have adapted well to their new home and are in excellent condition. Both Park rangers and visitors have reported sightings of the lions at various areas in the Park over the past year and the lions have definitely brought a new aspect to wildlife viewing in the Great Karoo. [more]  

SANParks, South Africa's body responsible for managing the country's National Parks, has released eight lions (two male lions, two lionesses and four cubs) in the Karoo National Park near Beaufort West. Before the release into the park Africa's big cats were absent in the area for roughly 170 years. According to historical records, the last wild lion was shot at the nearby settlement of Leeu-Gamka in 1842. Historical evidence of lion occurrence in the area includes farm and river names based on the word “leeu” or lion and the fact that the two main rivers draining the central karoo mountains – the Leeurivier and Gamka River – derive from the Afrikaans and San words for lion respectively.

The eight new lions were translocated from nearby Addo Elephant National Park in the Eastern Cape, where the establishment of a lion population has been very successful following their introduction back in 2003.

10 November 2010

Escape the winter chill with HostelBookers

HostelBookers, the budget accommodation specialist, has today launched its Christmas sun campaign, offering customers who are looking for some cheap and chic winter sun the possibility to book selected hostels* at discounted prices – from 20% off their normal rates. Customers can warm up this winter without breaking the bank, booking their accommodation in some of the world’s warmest winter destinations between 10th November and 5th December. Travel needs to be completed by 31st January 2011*

Three examples of properties participating in the campaign are:
  • Riad Ghallia, located in Marrakech, Morocco – an exotic city guaranteed to spice up your Christmas holidays! The property is located near the Museum of Marrakech and the Medersa Ben Youssef. A patio, decorated with a large fountain, a typical Moroccan-style living room and a Moroccan lounge in the terrace will allow customers to discover the delights and beauty of Morocco. Rooms available at 20% off.
  • In Egypt, Canadian Hotel is located in El Cairo city centre, a few minutes’ walk from the Egyptian museum, the three pyramids in Giza and Khan Elkhalily Bazar. It boasts an Arabian style communal area and new, well furnished rooms, now available at 50% off.
  • Lub d Bangkok – Silom in Thailand is offering 35% off. It is a newly opened hostel in the heart of Bangkok, where shops, restaurants, mall centres and a skytrain are all within walking distance. This is the perfect place for travellers who are looking for a high quality budget accommodation with a friendly and relaxed atmosphere.
David Smith, COO at HostelBookers, states: "This campaign confirms, once again, our aim to provide further value to our customers and reinforce our great relationship with the properties. HostelBookers is the only major budget accommodation website in the travel industry that doesn’t apply a service charge, so there are no additional fees or hidden costs attached to its Christmas sale – just great value and lowest prices".

*Find out more about the Christmas sun sale and see which properties are featured in the deal
*terms and conditions apply

Travel: How to get upgraded... at least in theory!

A kinda dream all travellers from around the world have in common when checkin in at an airport is getting upgraded to Business Class or even First Class. But with airlines cutting back on flights and extras, there are fewer freebies only available. According to Budget Travel, your chances of an airline upgrade have dropped to "one in 100." However, you can improve your chances. Check the video:

iShamwari: the world's first mini wildlife documentary shot on the iPhone

The BBC series Safari School was filmed here, as well as the Animal Planet series titled Shamwari: A wild life and now the Shamwari Private Game Reserve in South Africa is the setting for the world's first mini wildlife documentary shot entirely on the iPhone 4.

Shamwari Private Game Reserve is home to Africa’s Big 5 (elephant, rhino, buffalo, lion and leopard), is malaria free and is situated in the Eastern Cape of South Africa. Shamwari is situated in verdant bush along the Bushmans River, halfway between Port Elizabeth and Grahamstown, a pleasant drive from Cape Town and forms a natural extension to the famous Garden Route. The 25 000 hectare reserve boasts five eco-systems, thus enabling the support of many forms of plant, animal and bird life.

For more info about the "IShamwari" project please visit their facebook page

09 November 2010

awesome backpackers in Southern Africa - Buccaneers Backpackers & Lodge in Cintsa

Buccaneers Backpackers has been described as being like a backpackers' village because of the way it's spread out over the 8 hct of wild coastal forest right next to the stunning Chintsa beach. Most people say that it's a place to come home to, a legend in its own time.

There's a lovely lively bar which has certainly seen some great revelry in its time. Their stunning tropical pool is a buzzy spot in the summer months when a gorgeous poolside cafe offers decidedly decadent refreshments (including divine pizzas!). And every day they have some sort of free activity so you can chill and meet the rest of the gang.
And for you, the quieter ones, Buccaneers is a haven of tranquility and natural delights.

Lufthansa soon offering five frequencies on FRA <> JNB route

Germany's flag carrier Lufthansa will introduce an additional A380 flight on 20 Nov 2010 to the well-frequented Frankfurt (FRA) - Johannesburg (JNB) route. Lufthansa is than offering five frequencies a week on this route. 

The Airbus A380 has 526 seats in the best and most modern service classes offered by Lufthansa. The completely revamped First Class, with eight generous seats on the upper deck, promotes a sense of individuality. Business Class, with 98 seats on the upper deck, and Economy Class, with 420 seats on the main deck, provide unprecedented comfort and an impressive feeling of space.

From October 2010 until end of March 2011, a further daily non-stop flight between Frankfurt (FRA) and Cape Town (CPT) has been added to the airline’s timetable.

08 November 2010

Qantas cancelling Sydney <> Johannesburg flights

Qantas has currently suspended all scheduled A380 services and will not resume flying their A380 fleet until they are completely confident that it is safe to do so and they receive clearance from the manufacturers and their regulators (also see the news regarding the emergency landing at Changi Airport in Singapore). According to Qantas chief executive Alan Joyce the airline's six Airbus jets will remain out of action for at least the next 72 (from today) hours [src.].

AS a result of the temporary suspension, the airline has suspended the following flights between South Africa & Australia on 08 Nov 2010:
  • QF63 Sydney <> Johannesburg
  • QF64 Johannesburg <> Sydney
All passengers will be re-accommodated onto alternative flights, subject to availability as follows:
  • QF304 on 08 Nov 2010
  • QF304 on 09 Nov 2010
  • QF64 on 09 Nov 2010
Pls visit the Qantas.com.au for more and up-to-date info!

Earth-Touch: NEW SAW MOVIE - This time it's for real

Earth-Touch, a pre-eminent multimedia company that brings matters of the Earth (including wildlife and the environment) into the offices, homes and daily lives of people around the world, is continueing the SAW-sage in their very special way to support http://www.savetherhino.org and their fight against rhino poaching in Southern Africa.

Set against an eerie and remote African landscape, this sadistic killing spree is unlike any other and the helpless victims have nowhere left to hide. Because this time...it's for real.

05 November 2010

Game ranger course in South Africa

country: South Africa
location: Kruger National Park, South Africa wildlife reserves
start: Please enquire for departure details. A minimum number of four people is required to run this course
price: From ZAR 24,660 (28 days) excluding flights.

This course has been planned for visitors who want more than the regular safari experience, and will offer an introduction to a variety of topics and give insights into African wildlife, the environment and survival skills. Highly experienced instructions will give you an understanding of wildlife ecosystems and their inhabitants. You will have the opportunity of experiencing the African "bush" first-hand, on foot or in open 4x4 safari vehicles. To take a course such as this one, is an adventure all of its own.
The course will be held in a large reserve in the Kruger Park area. Through the reserve flows three rivers, carving their way through the bedrock and dividing the reserve. The vegetation of this reserve falls within the Savannah Biome. The reserve has abundant wildlife with over 60 different species of mammals, including lion, leopard, elephant, white rhino, wild dog and cheetah. The camp where you will be staying consists of large, walk-in style tents with twin beds (2 guests share each tent). There are shared shower / WC facilities and a central recreation area. Linen will be supplied. This will be an experience of a life-time, you have watched "game rangers" on TV and in films - come and join this course for a real-life experience of a "day in the life of a game ranger". A totally unique experience!
The course is structured to maximise the practical experience of the students in the bush. Each day allows for hours of time spent in the field interpreting the ecology and enjoying a wildlife experience. During the first week, the morning and late afternoon excursions are conducted on foot, whereas the remainder of the course alternates between walks and driving. [...]

Kenya Airways to operate 10 daily flights to Mombasa from 05 Nov 2010

As of today (05 Nov 2010), Kenya Airways (KQ), the national carrier of Kenya, will be operating 10 daily flights per week to Mombasa with two dedicated Boeing 737-300 aircraft. The revamp of the route will include fares that begin at Kshs 7,999 (approx. 68€, GBP60, US$95, ZAR650) inclusive of all taxes on the route.

View new domestic flight services in Kenya in a larger map

Kenya Airways Group Managing Director and CEO, Dr. Titus Naikuni, noted that there has been an increase in passenger traffic on the Mombasa route and the airline was keen on offering capacity to the increased traffic. He added that KQ recently added 2 B737-300 aircraft in line with the airline strategy to increase the level of efficiency on the domestic and regional services by offering passengers more choice of flying times through increased frequencies.
The airline has plans to operate flights to Malindi early December 2010 aswell. Kenya Airways currently serves over three million passengers a year and flies to 50 destinations worldwide, 41 of them in Africa.

04 November 2010

Did you know that Harrismith is home to the largest truck stop in the Southern Hemisphere?

The rather remote city of Harrismith at the base of the Platberg (Afrikaans for "Flat Mountain") in South Africa's Free State province is not only the centre of one of the five wool producing districts in Southern Africa, but also home to the largest truck stop in the Southern Hemisphere, Highway Junction.

View Harrismith is home to “Highway Junction,” the largest truck stop in the Southern Hemisphere in a larger map

Situated between the N3 and the N5 (South Africa’s busiest routes), the Engen's biggest truck stop Highway Junction has a size of 170 000 m², has a partking capacity for 330 trucks and sleeping facilities for 100 drivers. Officially opened in May 1999, the truck stop was also the first of its kind in South Africa. Traveltrivia at its finest!

Interruption of water supply in Windhoek on 6 & 7 Nov 2010

Namibia's New Era newspaper is reporting that Windhoek will experience limited water supplies this weekend. The supply will be partly disrupted on 06 Nov 2010 and 07 Nov 2010 for roughly 30 hrs while improvements are made to the water connection at Von Bach Dam, which supplies the bulk of water to Windhoek.

View Larger Map

Although all other reservoirs supplying residents, businesses and clients with water, are filled to capacity,residents of the Namibian capital are requested to use water sparingly over the weekend. Also keep in mind that watering of gardens will not be allowed between 10h00 and 16h00 and that water use should be restricted to the absolute essentials on these days. [src.

03 November 2010

The Kruger National Park Calendar - December

  • height of summer
  • very hot & humid days
  • warm nights
  • often spectacular lightning storms
  • 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

  • vigorous plat growth everywhere in the park
  • tree canopy very thick
  • fig trees in fruit
  • mopane tree in flower
Animal Activity:
  • height of the impala breeding season
  • predators out to get their young
  • most resident non-raptor birds breeding
  • animal activity all over the park

British Airways has introduced five flights daily between Johannesburg and Dar es Salaam

South African-based Comair Limited, the exclusive operators of British Airways in the region, has launched a new South Africa <> Tanzania route. From 2 November 2010 the airline will offer five return flights per week between Johannesburg and Dar es Salaam in Tanzania. The five flights exclude only Sundays and Tuesdays but Comair will be available for the rest of the remaining days of the week. Bookings for the new Dar es Salaam route has been on sale from 01 Aug 2010.

Cape Town Tourism: "Ode to My Cape Town" wins video competition

Cape Town Tourism was recently running a video competition in which aspirant moviemakers from Cape Town were invited  to get out and about as tourists in their own city and capture their experience in video format. The competition was won by Cat Pritchard and Charlton Cleophas, who captured the essence of the Mother City in their enthusiastically and sincerely presented video entitled "Ode to My Cape Town". Congrats Cat & Charlton! Kudos!