28 November 2014

Kruger National Park Calendar - January

  • peak of rainy season
  • frequent thunder storms
  • hot days
  • warm nights
  • high humidity levels

  • 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

Johannesburg: Lanseria International Airport launches uncapped WiFi!

Lanseria International Airport (HLA), located north of Randburg and Sandton to the north west of Johannesburg, has partnered with South African Internet service provider, MWEB, to offer uncapped WiFi to its visitors. The service, which is available for all smartphone mobile devices, laptops and tablets through MWEB WiFi zones, covers about 97% of the airport. Lanseria's WiFi is free for the first 30 minutes, but travellers have to pay R10 an hour after that.

27 November 2014

Turkish Airlines to launch daily non-stop service to Cape Town!

The national flag carrier airline of Turkey, Turkish Airlines, will launch a nonstop service between Istanbul Atatürk Airport (IST) in Istanbul and Cape Town International Airport (CPT) in Cape Town. From 25 October 2015 the airline will operate daily flights on board an Airbus A330 between the two destinations. Cape Town is currently served as a one-stop service via Johannesburg's OR Tambo International Airport (JNB).

26 November 2014

Angola: More than 2.600 ATMs now accept MasterCard!

The operator of Angola's only interbank network, Empresa Interbancária de Serviços (EMIS), and American multinational financial services corporation MasterCard have formed a new partnership that sees all of EMIS' 2.600+ Automated Teller Machines (ATMs) in Angola accept MasterCard debit, credit and prepaid cards. Prior to the partnership, which came into effect today (26 Nov 2014), MasterCard cardholders could only access funds at 65 ATMs in Angola.

24 November 2014

Interview: The rhino poaching situation in Namibia

Two rhinos got killed in the Etosha National Park in Namibia earlier this month. A total of 20 rhino got illegally poached in the country since the beginning of 2014. Jaco Muller, a rhino farm owner and the Chairperson of HoRN.nam (Help Our Rhino Now Namibia), was interviewed on NBC's Good Morning Namibia (24 Nov 2014) and gave some insights to the current rhino poaching situation in Namibia.

Kenya Airways suspends direct service Nairobi <> New Delhi

Effective from today (24 Nov 2014), Kenya Airways stops its direct flights between Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (NBO) in Nairobi in Kenya and Indira Gandhi International Airport (DEL) in New Delhi in India. The airline continues to operate daily flights between Nairobi and Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport (BOM) in Mumbai and partners with Jet Airways for the onward connection to New Delhi.

Namibia: Kasamane border post to Angola officially inaugurated!

Namibia's Minister of Home Affairs and Immigration, Pendukeni Iivula-Ithana, officially inaugurated the Kasamane border post between Namibia and Angola on 21 November 2014. The construction of the first phase of the border post has been completed, with the second phase to follow suit. Kasamane border post is located in the Okalongo constituency in the Omusati region and will mainly cater for residents in and travellers coming trough the Omusati region on the Namibian side and the Cunene province in southern Angola. Travellers and residents were in the past limited to use the Oshikango border post in the east or the Omahenene border post in the west, which are about 150km apart.

20 November 2014

Johannesburg named second-most inspiring city in the world!

The Good Magazine has issued the results of this year's Good City Index, through which the magazine celebrates 50 cities around the world that best capture the elusive quality of possibility. According to the Index, Johannesburg is the second-most inspiring city in the world – after Hong Kong. The City of Gold scored the highest points in all categories the publication uses to rank cities. These included categories such as being a Hub of Progress, City Engagement, Street Life, Defining Moments, Connectivity, Green Life, Diversity and Work Life Balance. Congratulations! Johannesburg is one of only three African cities to feature in the Top 20 list of the 2014 Good City Index. The others included Nairobi in Kenya (#5) and Dakar in Senegal (#9). Cape Town was named 25th-most inspiring city in the world, while Accra in Ghana was ranked 29th, Addis Ababa in Ethiopia 35th, Maputo in Mozambique 43rd and Kampala in Uganda 49th.
The results of the 2014 Good City Index were based on data culled by Good Magazine's editors and solicited from a network of global correspondents.

Kulula & Air France started codeshare service!

The codeshare agreement between French flag carrier, Air France, and South Africa's largest low-fare airline Kulula came into effect on 17 November 2014. Air France's "AF" appears on the following routes serviced by Kulula in South Africa:

South Africa: 1020 rhinos killed by poachers so far in 2014

update (20 Nov 2014): The Department of Environmental Affairs has just confirmed that South Africa lost 1020 rhinos to illegal poaching since the beginning of 2014. A total of 344 alleged rhino poachers, couriers and poaching syndicate members have been arrested in South Africa since the start of 2014.

According to Julian Rademeyer, author of the book "Killing for Profit - Exposing the illegal rhino horn trade" and editor of fact-checking site @AfricaCheck, South Africa has lost a total of 1020 rhinos to illegal poaching since the beginning of 2014.

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.

19 November 2014

Pretoria: Rietvlei Nature Reserve introduced a male cheetah after a two year absence!

The Rietvlei Nature Reserve, situated between Johannesburg and Pretoria, has introduced a new male cheetah into its 3 800ha reserve after a two year absence in order to regulate the prey population in the reserve. The reserve was left without cheetah after the two male cheetah, which got reintroduced into Rietvlei in March 2003, died in 2012 and 2013 from old age. Rietvlei Game Reserve and the Endangered Wildlife Trust (EWT) are currently also searching for a female cheetah to join the new male. This should happen by early 2015. Rietvlei Nature Reserve forms part of EWT's Cheetah Metapopulation Project.

Rietvlei Nature Reserve, owned and managed by the City of Tshwane Metropolitan Municipality, is situated 18km from the centre of Pretoria and 38km from the OR Tambo International Airport. Located within the reserve is the Rietvlei Dam. The reserve is home to blesbuck, black wildebeest, red hartebeest, eland, Burchell's zebra, waterbuck, reedbuck, springbuck, mountain reedbuck, steenbuck, grey duiker, as well as to cheetah, leopard, buffalo, hippopotamus and white rhino.

17 November 2014

Eat Out names South Africa's best restaurants 2014!

South Africa's leading restaurant guide, Eat Out, has named the winners of the 2014 Eat Out Mercedes-Benz Restaurant Awards. For the third year in a row, South Africa's Restaurant of the Year is The Test Kitchen in Cape Town. According to this year's awards, the Western Cape is again the country's foodie paradise with seven out of the top ten restaurants being based in Stellenbosch (4), Cape Town (1), Franschhoek (1) and Hemel-en-Aarde Valley (1). Congrats!

The top 10 restaurants 2014 are:
  1. The Test Kitchen (Cape Town)
  2. Five Hundred (Johannesburg)
  3. The Tasting Room at Le Quartier Français (Franschhoek)
  4. Restaurant Mosaic (Pretoria)
  5. Jordan Restaurant (Stellenbosch)
  6. Overture (Stellenbosch)
  7. Rust en Vrede Restaurant (Stellenbosch)
  8. DW Eleven-13 (Johannesburg)
  9. The Restaurant at Newton Johnson (Hemel-en-Aarde Valley)
  10. Terroir Restaurant (Stellenbosch)

Restaurant of the Year: The Test Kitchen in Cape Town
Eat Out S. Pellegrino Chef of the Year: Chantel Dartnall, Restaurant Mosaic in Pretoria
Grolsch Service Excellence: The Tasting Room at Le Quartier Français in Franschhoek
Nederburg Rising Star: Kobus van der Merwe, Oep ve Koep in Paternoster
Tsogo Sun Wine Service: Patson Mathonsi, DW Eleven-13 in Johannesburg
The Lannice Snyman Lifetime Achievement Award in association with Paarl Media: Eduan Naude and the late Brian Shalkoff
Woolworths TASTE Eat Out Bursary Award: Thozamile Mgumane
Boschendal Style Award: Equus Dine at Cavalli in Stellenbosch
Best Asian Restaurant: Kyoto Garden Sushi  in Cape Town
Best Everyday Eatery: Chefs Warehouse & Canteen in Cape Town
Best Country-Style Restaurant: Café Bloom in Nottingham Road
Best Italian Restaurant: La Sosta's Trattoria in Swellendam
Best Steakhouse: The Local Grill in Parktown North (Johannesburg)

14 November 2014

Zimbabwe & Zambia: KAZA Visa roundup!

update (11 May 2015): Zambian Minister Of Tourism and Arts Jean Kapata said at a Ministerial round table discussion on the eve of Tourism Indaba 2015 in Durban, that the unvisa between Zimbabwe and Zambia has been successful and will be extended to Namibia, Botswana and Mozambique.

update (09 Feb 2015): The univisa for Zimbabwe and Zambia (KAZA Visa) is not available at Kariba, Chirundu and the Beitbridge border posts!

Zimbabwe and Zambia are going to introduce a joint visa scheme, the so-called KAZA Visa, at the end of November 2014 (28 Nov 2014?). The visa will allow travellers to visit both countries with just one visa.
  • the KAZA Visa will be availabe at:
  • the KAZA Visa will cost USD50
  • the KAZA Visa will last up 30 days as long as one remains within Zambia and Zimbabwe
  • the KAZA Visa also covers those who visit Botswana for day trips for the Kazungula borders
  • the following countries are eligible for the KAZA Visa:
    • Argentina, Germany, Poland, Austria, Greece, Portugal, Australia, Hungary, Puerto Rico, Brazil, Iceland, Russia, Britain (UK), Israel, Rwanda, Brunei, Italy, Slovakia Republic, Burundi, Japan, Slovenia Republic, Canada, Liechtenstein, Spain, Cook Islands, Luxembourg, Sweden, Czech Republic, Monaco, Switzerland, Denmark, Netherlands, U.A.E, Finland, New Zealand, Uruguay, France, Norway, USA
The common visa for Zimbabwe and Zambia is the pilot initiative for an UNIVISA covering all member states of the Southern African Development Community (SADC). If the pilot initiative of the KAZA Visa proves to be successful, Angola, Botswana and Namibia are going to become part of the joint visa scheme.* In stage three of the UNIVISA implementation process, the five countries will be joint by Mozambique, South Africa and Swaziland, before in stage four the remaining SADC countries, namely the DR of Congo, Lesotho, Madagascar, Malawi, Mauritius, Seychelles and Tanzania, are going to get covered the UNIVISA scheme.

*Zambia, Zimbabwe, Angola, Botswana and Namibia are the five countries that established the Kavango–Zambezi Transfrontier Conservation Area (KAZA) in in 2006.

Air Zimbabwe: Passengers now required to pay airport tax in cash on departure

All passengers travelling on domestic and international flights with Air Zimbabwe are with immediate effect (since 10 November 2014) required to pay their airport taxes (Passenger Service Charge (PSC) & Aviation Infrastructure Development Fund (AIDEF)) in cash at Zimbabwe's airports prior to their departure. Fees are payable in cash in US$, Rand, Euro, Pula or Pound equivalent. The airport tax is usually collected by airlines on behalf of the Civil Aviation Authority of Zimbabwe (CAAZ), but "some policy changes" have made it necessary for the CAAZ to collect the PSC and AIDEF payments directly from Air Zimbabwe passengers. According to the CAAZ, the new arrangement will not be extended to other airlines.

The total charges per passenger are as follows:
  • International departure:  US$50 (or equivalent)
  • Domestic departure:  US$15  (or equivalent)
For more information please contact Air Zimbabwe!

13 November 2014

Kruger National Park: Delays en route to Malelane Gate!

In case you're planning to access Kruger National Park via the Malelane Gate in the next few days, expect a 30 - 90 minute delay due to stop-and-go roadworks points en route to the gate. South African National Parks recommends to take the R40, which leading directly from White River to Hazyview, instead and to access or exit Kruger via Phabeni Gate or Paul Kruger Gate.

12 November 2014

FlyAfrica to launch flights Harare <> Victoria Falls!

FlyAfrica (FlyAfrica Zimbabwe) just announced that it will introduce its first domestic route in Zimbabwe. From 01 December 2014 the airline will operate daily flights between Victoria Falls and Harare. FlyAfrica  also announced that it has plans to expand its services to further destinations in Mozambique, Zambia, Tanzania and Malawi.

FlyAfrica set to launch flights Johannesburg <> Bulawayo!

update (12 Nov 2014): FlyAfrica just confirmed that it will launch daily flights between Bulawayo (BUQ) and Johannesburg (JNB) on 02 March 2015.

According to well-informed Zimbabwean aviation specialist Mlandeli Ndlela (Harare Airport Blog), FlyAfrica is set to launch a direct service between Johannesburg (JNB) and Bulawayo (BUQ) on 01 March 2015. We'll keep you posted!


11 November 2014

Condor makes Windhoek (Namibia) a year-round destination!

German airline Condor (Condor Flugdienst) just announced that Windhoek (WDH) in Namibia will become one of its a year-round destinations. The airline, which operated its first ever direct flight to Namibia on 10 November 2015, will service the route between Fankfurt (FRA) and Windhoek (WDH) on Mondays and Thursdays during the Northern Winter season 2014/15 and on Tuesdays and Saturdays during the Northern Summer season 2015.

10 November 2014

Zimbabwe/Zambia: Slacklining across Victoria Falls (video)

Student Lukas Irmler, 26, from Germany, and his slackline partner, 34-year-old journalist Reinhard Kleindl from Austria, became the first two slackliners to successfully cross the Victoria Falls on the border of Zimbabwe and Zambia. Congratulations! Check out the video!

FlyAfrica to launch flights Cape Town <> Windhoek

update (27 Feb 2015): FlyAfrica has announced that its inaugural flight between Johannesburg <> Windhoek will be delayed by two weeks. The inaugural flight between Cape Town <> Windhoek will not be affected!

update (25 Feb 2015):
FlyAfrica has just announced via its facebook page that it is required to get some more approvals for both their Namibia flights (Cape Town <> Windhoek & Johannesburg <> Windhoek).

FlyAfrica just announced that it will launch flights between Cape Town International Airport (CPT) in Cape Town and Hosea Kutako International Airport (WDH) in Windhoek, Namibia, in March 2015. From 16 March 2015 the airline will operate daily flights between the two destinations!

FlyAfrica to launch flights Johannesburg <> Lusaka

update (29 Jan 2015): FlyAfrica has reschulded its planned service between Johannesburg <> Lusaka!
update (10 Nov 2014): FlyAfrica just confirmed the new route. Flights will be commencing on 09 March 2015!

According to aviation specialists routesonline.com, FlyAfrica is going to launch a new service between Johannesburg's OR Tambo International Airport (JNB) and Kenneth Kaunda International Airport (LUN) in Lusaka in Zambia in February 2015. From 16 February 2015 the airline will operate daily flights between the two destinations.

07 November 2014

Johannesburg will be Africa's most visited city in 2014!

According to the fourth edition of the MasterCard Index of Global Destination Cities, Johannesburg will be Africa's most visited city in 2014. The City of Gold will have 4.25 million international overnight visitors in 2014, compared to 4.1 million in 2013. International visitors are expected to spend around USD3.2 billion compared to around USD3.1 billion last year (+4.90%).
Johannesburg's top five feeder cities are London (458.000 passengers), Frankfurt (305.000), Harare (269.000), Maputo (204.000) and Paris (198.000). While visitor numbers from London (+3.30%) and Frankfurt (+4.30%) are growing, the others are dropping. The majority (77%) of international visitors to Johannesburg came from inside of the region.
Cape Town will be Africa's second most visited city with 1.6 million international overnight visitors, who are expected to spend approx. USD2.3 billion in 2014 (2013: USD2.10 billion; +5.50%).
The MasterCard Index of Global Destination Cities ranks cities in terms of the number of their total international visitor arrivals and the cross-border spending by these same visitors in the destination cities, and gives visitor and passenger growth forecasts for 2014. Public data are used in deriving the international visitor arrivals and their cross-border spending in each of the 132 destination cities, using custom-made algorithms. The MasterCard Index of Global Destination Cities not based on MasterCard volumes or transactional data. For more info about the MasterCard Index of Global Destination Cities click here (pdf).

South Africa: Flysafair to launch two new domestic routes!

South African low-cost carrier  FlySafair is set to introduce two new domestic routes in December 2014. From 03 December 2014 the airline will operate 12 weekly flights between Johannesburg and Port Elizabeth as well as five weekly flights between Johannesburg and George. Tickets will cost from R499 one way (all fares include taxes); bookings are open from today (07 Nov 2014).
FlySafair offers passengers a base rate which secures a seat on the flight, and allows travellers two pieces of free carry-on luggage (one bag and one personal item) weighing no more than 7kg in total. The airline operates Boeing 737-400s with a seating capacity of 165 passengers per aircraft.