29 September 2014

Rwanda: Rwandair to temporarily suspend all flights to Kamembe Airport

The flag carrier airline of Rwanda, Rwandair, just announced via facebook that it is temporarily suspending all flights to Kamembe Airport from 01 November 2014. The airport will undergo major renovation works, including the re-surfacing of the runway, the lengthening of the runway from 1.5km to 2.2km and the expansion of the aircraft parking area outside the airports terminal. RwandAir has arranged shuttle services to help passengers connect to their flights through Kigali International Airport in Kigali.

Schedule for the shuttle is as follow:
  • WB601/Daily Kamembe to Kigali Timings: Departure 9:00am
  • WB602/Daily Kigali to Kamembe Timings: Departure 11:30am
Kamembe Airport is located near Cyangugu in Western Rwanda. The airport is a popular gateway for travellers intending to visit the Nyungwe Forest National Park, as well as for all hikers planing to hike along the famous Congo Nile Trail.

25 September 2014

HostelBookers Awards for Excellence 2014: South African hostels scoop four awards!

Budget accommodation specialist Hostelbookers has revealed the best hostels around the world in the HostelBookers Awards for Excellence 2014. Most of the awards in Africa & the Middle East went to establishments in Northern Africa, but four hostels in South Africa also managed to scoop awards.

South Africa: The first nature reserve in 20 years has been declared in the Western Cape

WWF South Africa, CapeNature and the Leslie Hill Succulent Karoo Trust (LHSKT) yesterday announced the declaration of the Knersvlakte Nature Reserve. The 6 600km² reserve – the first to be declared for 20 years in the Western Cape – is located about a three-hour drive north of Cape Town. It forms part of the Succulent Karoo region and is considered a very important endemic region within this hotspot of international conservation concern. The Knersvlakte Nature Reserve is home to about 1 500 plant species, with 190 endemic species, of which 155 are threatened with extinction according to the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species in the area. The reserve area is owned by WWF South Africa through the funding of the LHSKT and is managed by CapeNature with an advisory board comprising of South African National Biodiversity Institute (SANBI), CapeNature and local landowners.

How to get to the Knersvlakte Nature Reserve:
The Knersvlakte starts just north of the town of Vanrhynsdorp, located about a three hours’ drive along the N7 north of Cape Town.
Best time to visit the Knersvlakte Nature Reserve:
The spring flowers, depending on the rains during winter, come early to this region. It is at its best between the end of July and the end of September.

Kenya Airways to increase baggage allowance in all classes

Kenya's flag carrier, Kenya Airways, is set to introduce a new baggage policy across its entire network. From 01 October 2014 the airline will fully adopt the so-called piece concept baggage policy and move away from the old weight concept. Most of Kenya Airways' passengers will be allowed 64kg of free check-in baggage in Premier World and 46kg in Economy. Passengers will also be allowed to bring more weight on board as hand luggage: the current allowance of 10kg has been revised upwards to 12kg in all classes.

Kenya Airways' free checked baggage allowance (effective 01 Oct 2014):
  • Africa - America/Europe/Asia/Far East & Middle East:
    Premier World: 2 Pieces, 32kg max each
    Economy: 2 Pieces, 23kg max each
  • Intra Africa 2 (Rest of Africa):
    Premier World: 2 Pieces, 32kg max each
    Economy: 2 Pieces, 23kg max each
  • Intra Africa 1 (East Africa):
    Premier World: 2 Pieces, 32kg max each
    Economy: 1 Piece, max 32kg
  • Domestic:
    Premier World: 2 Pieces, 32kg max each
    Economy: 1 Piece, max 32kg
  • Marine/Seamen/Military (for any routing): 
    Premier World: 2 Pieces, 32kg max each
    Economy: 2 Pieces, 23kg max each
  • Sky Team Elite Plus & Elite (Platinum, Gold and Silver card holders):  
    Premier World: +1 Piece Extra, max 32kg   
    Economy: +1 Piece Extra, max 23kg

24 September 2014

Namibia Wildlife Resorts: Short documentary about seven of its resorts

Namibia Wildlife Resorts (NWR), the state-owned enterprise running the tourism facilities within the protected areas of Namibia, has recently released a short documentary about seven of its 19 resorts on facebook. Enjoy & kudos NWR!

The resorts featured in the video:

Namibia Wildlife Resorts (NWR) also released a new corporate video on facebook:

flydubai to launch flights to Tanzania in October 2014

Dubai-based low-cost airline flydubai will launch flights between Dubai International Airport and three destinations in Tanzania in October 2014. From 16 October 2014, the airline will operate daily flights between Dubai and Dar es Salaam. Flights to Kilimanjaro International Airport (JRO), located between Arusha and Moshi in Northern Tanzania, via Dar es Salaam will commence on 17 October (two flights per week on Mondays and Fridays) while flights to Abeid Amani Karume International Airport (ZNZ) on Zanzibar via Dar es Salaam will be launched on 19 October 2014 (two flights a week on Wednesdays and Sundays).
flydubai recently announced the introduction of  flights to Bujumbura in Burundi, Entebbe in Uganda and Kigali in Rwanda in September 2014. [more]

23 September 2014

Malawi: Malawian Airlines set to launch flights to Mozambique

The flag carrier of Malawi, Malawian Airlines, will launch flights to Mozambique. From 01 November 2014, the airline will operate two flights per week from Lilongwe (LLW) to Nampula (APL) and three weekly flights from Lilongwe (LLW) to Tete (TET).

Lilongwe - Nampula - Blantyre - Lilongwe (ET050)
LLW 08:25 - 09:40 APL 10:25 - 11:25 BLZ 12:10 - 1250 LLW
Lilongwe - Nampula (ET050, ET051)
LLW 14:15 - 15:30 APL (ET050)
APL 16:51 - 17:30 LLW (ET051)

Lilongwe - Tete - Harare - Lilongwe (ET038)
LLW 08:25 - 09:05 TET 09:50 - 10:40 HRE 11:25 - 12:50 LLW
Lilongwe - Tete - Harare - Lilongwe (ET038, ET039)
LLW 14:00 – 15:15 HRE 16:00 – 16:50 TET (ET038)
LLW 15:40 – 16:55 HRE 17:40 – 18:30 TET (ET038)
TET 17:35 – 18:15 LLW (ET039)
TET 19:15 – 19:55 LLW (ET039)

22 September 2014

South Africa: 787 rhinos killed by poachers so far in 2014

According to the latest statistics released by the Department of Environmental Affairs, South Africa has lost 787 rhinos to illegal poaching since the beginning of 2014. Of the rhinos poached, 503 rhinos were killed in the Kruger National Park, 103 in Limpopo, 67 in KwaZulu Natal, 47 in the North West, 45 in Mpumalanga, 12 in the Eastern Cape, 4 in the Free State, 3 in Gauteng, 1 in the Western Cape and 1 in the Northern Cape.
A total of 227 people have been arrested for rhino poaching-related offences in South Africa since January this year. 

Latest rhino poaching figures (as of 22 September 2014):
  • Kruger National Park (SANParks) - 503 rhinos poached
  • MAP (SANParks) - 1 rhino poached 
  • MNP (SANParks) - 0 rhino poached
  • Gauteng -  3 rhino poached
  • Limpopo - 103 rhino poached
  • Mpumalanga - 45 rhino poached
  • North-West Province - 47 rhino poached
  • Eastern Cape - 12 rhino poached
  • Free State - 4 rhino poached
  • KwaZulu Natal - 67 rhinos poached
  • Western Cape - 1 rhino poached
  • Northern Cape - 1 rhino poached

The Department of Environmental Affairs (DEA) is urging members of the public to report incidents of rhino poaching or any tip-offs to the anonymous tip-off lines 0800 205 005, 08600 10111 or Crime-Line on 32211.

Etihad Airways to launch flights Abu Dhabi <> Dar es Salaam (Tanzania)

The flag carrier airline of the United Arab Emirates, Etihad Airways, has announced that it will launch flights to Dar es Salaam in Tanzania. From 01 December 2015 the airline will operate flights between Abu Dhabi International Airport (AUH) in Abu Dhabi and Julius Nyerere International Airport (DAR) in Dar es Salaam using an Airbus A320 aircraft in a two-class configuration, with a total of 16 seats in Business Class and 120 seats in Economy Class. Dar es Salaam will be Etihad Airways' 11th route in Africa and the fourth in East Africa.

18 September 2014

FlyAfrica.com to launch flights Harare <> Johannesburg

FlyAfrica.com, a new low cost carrier in Southern Africa with plans to operate scheduled regional flights in Africa from various hubs, has announced the introduction of its second route. From 01 03 November 2014 the airline will operate daily flights between Harare International Airport (HRE) in Harare, Zimbabwe, and OR Tambo International Airport (JNB) in Johannesburg, South Africa. Tickets will be available from midday 22 September 2014.
FlyAfrica.com currently operates three flights per week between Victoria Falls International Airport in Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe, and OR Tambo International Airport (JNB) in Johannesburg on Wednesdays, Fridays & Sundays.

South Africa: Johannesburg to rename streets

The City of Johannesburg has announced that five streets in downtown Johannesburg as well as two streets in Alexandra and Orlando West will soon be named after well-known heroes of South Africa's struggle for liberation and to commemorate the 20th anniversary of the country's democratic transition. Dual signage containing both old and new names will be retained for a maximum of 12 months.

17 September 2014

Victoria Falls Airport (Zimbabwe): Cold bottle of water as a welcome gift!

From 18 September 2014, every traveller arriving at International Arrivals at Victoria Falls Airport (VFA) in Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe, will get a cold bottle of water as a welcome gift. Hospitality assistants wearing t-shirts branded with Zimbabwe Tourism Authority's slogan "Zimbabwe A World of Wonders" will hand out the complimentary bottle of water to travellers and will also point visitors in the right direction, ensure they are in the correct line, assist the elderly, those with disabilities and young families, and carry spare pens for filling out forms. The initiative, which will from now on be in place every year over the three-month peak tourist season, is a joint venture between the tourism industry in Victoria Falls, the Department of Immigration, the Civil Aviation Authority of Zimbabwe, the Zimbabwe Revenue Authority and the Zimbabwe Tourism Authority.

16 September 2014

South Africa: New regulations for travelling children postponed to 2015

update (23 Feb 2015): According to Tourism Update, Mayihlome Tshete (spokesperson of Department of Home Affairs) told the tourism specialists that
"[...] the birth certificates required by South Africa’s immigration regulations would need to be in English. This is despite a joint statement released by the Departments of Tourism and Home Affairs that stated that a translation would not be required. Read this statement here. [...]" [src.]
update (16 Feb 2015): In his State of the Nation address on 12 Feb 2015, South Africa's President Jacob Zuma said the review of visa regulations - e.g. the requirement that people make visa applications in person and for children to travel with an unabridged birth certificate or the equivalent from their country - would be prioritised.
We will also prioritise the review of visa regulations to strike a balance between national security and growth in tourism. [src.]

South Africa's Minister of Home Affairs Malusi Gigaba has announced that the implementation of two new travel requlations, which require children to carry an unabridged birth certificate and a letter of permission from their parents or guardians in order to travel, has been postponed until 01 June 2015. The new regulations were initially set to come in effect on 01 July 2014, but due to widespread complaint the Department of Home Affairs granted a three-month reprieve and set 01 October 2014 as the new implementation date. The decision to delay the implementation again to 01 June 2015 followed talks between Home Affairs Minister Malusi Gigaba, South Africa's Tourism Minister Derek Hanekom and stakeholders in the tourism and aviation industry, in which the tourism industry raised concerns that there was not enough time to contact missions abroad and travel operators to communicate the new requirements, as well as parents did not have much time to acquire the requested documents before their planned travels.
[...] Subsequent to our meeting with the Minister of Tourism last month, Mr. Derek Hanekom, we have also met with tourism and aviation industry stakeholders including representatives from the IATA, ASATA the South African Tourism Council, and announced the formation of a joint task team between the Department and the industry as a vehicle for on-going engagement.

We are enormously pleased with the establishment of the task team, and trust that its representatives will bring invaluable perspectives and information on the tourism and travel sector, and help us improve communication with their clients and the sector as a whole.

We have further continued to engage with the representatives of the film industry and soccer fraternity.

The different stakeholders have drawn our attention to the challenges relating to the new requirements for travelling children, which come into effect on October 1st, 2014, which were instituted to ensure the safety of children, in line with the Children’s Act of 2005 and our own international obligations.

In particular, the stakeholders have highlighted challenges regarding the requirement that all children entering or exiting South Africa be in possession of a passport, an Unabridged Birth Certificate, and written permission from both parents or guardians of the child, authorizing that child’s travel.

While the requirement that all children possess a passport has been implemented successfully, challenges have been raised regarding the requirements for the Unabridged Birth Certificate and written permission.

Stakeholders have alerted us to two main challenges: firstly, of ensuring accurate and timely communication to missions abroad, travel operators, and prospective travellers around the world about the new requirements; and secondly, that parents and those authorized to travel with children have time to obtain the required documentation in time for their travel plans.

It was put to the Department, that while the new regulations are accepted as necessary and are fully supported, due to these challenges mentioned above, and particularly in light of the upcoming peak travel periods for families – that is, December / January for the festive season and April for Easter – a postponement would greatly assist travellers and the sectors as a whole.

The Department has taken this input into consideration, along with our obligation to ensure the safety of children entering and exiting the country.

Having taken all of this into account, we have granted a postponement of these two particular requirements – the Unabridged Birth Certificate and written permission to June 1st 2015. [...] via "Statement by the Minister of Home Affairs, Mr. Malusi Gigaba MP, in relation to the implementation of new immigration regulations on 16 September 2014 in Cape Town"  http://goo.gl/Sy6sZL