30 June 2015

Kruger National Park Calendar - August

  • cool mornings and cold evenings
  • temperatures & humidity rise during the day

Free poster download: "The Dangerous Snakes of Namaqualand"!

Herpetologist Johan Marais, author of "A Complete Guide to Snakes of Southern Africa" (available in South Africa via kalahari.net), has published a new poster about the dangerous snakes of the Namaqualand. The poster is available as a free download in high resolution and is designed to be printed in A3 (or A4). To download the poster click here (pdf, 7mb) or here (jpg, 100kb)! Kudos & many thanks, Johan!

Click here to download it (pdf, 7mb, A3) for free!

The Namaqualand, located along South Africa's west coast, stretches from beyond Garies in the south to the Orange River in the north and from Pofadder in the east to the Atlantic coastline in the west. This vast and varied region turns into a "rainbow country" after the annual winter rainfalls. Hard to belief in summer, but this region is home to the phenomenon of wild flower appearance, which is probably unique in the world. The flower season peaks between early August and late September and its delights depend on the winter rains (the official flower season runs every year from 01 August - 30 September), so some years are better than others. If there has been a steady flow of cold fronts during the winter, then it is likely to be a good flower season. However spring temperatures are also important. If it heats up too quickly then the early visitors have glorious sunshine but the flowers do not last very long.

29 June 2015

Rwanda: First lions to return to Akagera National Park!

update (28 July 2015): The seven lions have been released into Rwanda's Akagera National Park!

update (01 July 2015): The seven lions from South Africa have arrived in Rwanda's Akagera National Park!

Lions will return to Rwanda for the first time in 15 (20?) years, after the species was wiped out in the country following the 1994 genocide. The non-profit organisation African Parks is currently translocating seven lions from South Africa - two males and five females - into Akagera National Park, located in eastern Rwanda bodering Tanzania. The lions, which have been donated by &Beyond Phinda Private Game Reserve in KwaZulu Natal and by Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife from Tembe Elephant Park also in KZN, are today (29 June 2015) being transported from South Africa and will arrive in Akagera National Park on 30 June 2015 after an approximately 26 hour journey.

On arrival in Akagera National Park, the seven lions will be placed in a specially-erected 1,000m² boma. They will be quarantined for a minimum of 14 days, during which they will be continually monitored, before being released into the park.

Did you know... approximately 11% of all birds call Uganda their home!

Did you know that Uganda is home to approximately 50% of all bird species found in Africa as well as to approximately 11% of all bird species found worldwide? Did you know that no other country in the world has more bird species per m² than Uganda? Did you know that tour operators in Uganda have developed a special mobile for app for Android [Birds of Uganda] to provide more information about Uganda's bird life?

Screenshot "Birds of Uganda!"
download (Adroid)

Fastjet to launch flights between Dar es Salaam <> Lilongwe!

update (30 June 2015): Fastjet operate flights between Dar es Salaam and Lilongwe on Mondays and Fridays.

Tanzania-based low cost-airline Fastjet is set to launch scheduled flights between Julius Nyerere International Airport (DAR) in Dar es Salaam (Tanzania) and Lilongwe International Airport (LLW) in Lilongwe (Malawi). From 27 July 2015, the airline will operate two flights per week between the two destinations. The flying time between Dar es Salaam and Lilongwe is one hour and fourty minutes. Flights are open for booking.

26 June 2015

South Africa: George Airport will be the first regional airport to run off solar energy alone!

update (07 March 2016): George Airport (GRJ), located in George in the Western Cape, goes solar! [more]

George Airport (GRJ)
, located in George in the Western Cape, will be the first regional airport in South Africa to run off solar energy alone. In the first phase of the solar power project it will produce up to 750kW and in the second phase a 1MW peak. Once the first phase of the project is completed (by the end of June 2015), the plant will provide George Airport (GRJ) with 41% of its power daily.
The construction of the solar power plant at George Airport (GRJ) started in May 2015. Other regional airports around South Africa are expected to follow the solar energy route soon. We'll keep you posted!

25 June 2015

Kenya: Brussels Airlines to cease flights Brussels <> Nairobi!

Belgium's flag carrier, Brussels Airlines, will, due to a new Lufthansa Group strategy, cease flights between Brussels Airport (BRU) in Brussels (Belgium) and Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (NBO) in Nairobi (Kenya) as from 24 October 2015. From then on, flights between the two cities will be operated by Lufthansa Group partner airlines SWISS (via Zurich, Switzerland) and Lufthansa (via Frankfurt, Germany).

Travel video: "South Africa"

Dutch traveller and filmmaker/photographer Joren de Jager recently visited South Africa for a three week trip. While roadtripping about 3,000 km from Cape Town to Johannesburg, he shot the great travel video simply titled "South Africa" with his brandnew Panasonic GH4. Enjoy! Kudos Joren!

South Africa. from Joren de Jager on Vimeo.

Also check out Joren's photos on flickr!

24 June 2015

Germany: Condor to launch new flights to Namibia, Kenya & Tanzania!

German airline Condor (Condor Flugdienst) is set to introduce flights between Munich Airport (MUC) in Munich (Germany) and Hosea Kutako International Airport (WDH) in Windhoek (Namibia), Munich and Moi International Airport (MBA) in Mombasa (Kenya) and between Munich and Abeid Amani Karume International Airport (ZNZ) on the island of Zanzibar (Tanzania) with the beginning of the (northern) summmer season 2016. Condor will operate one flight per week between Munich and the three new destinations in Africa.

23 June 2015

South Africa: FlySafair set to introduce four new routes!

South African low-cost carrier FlySafair recently asked travellers in South Africa which domestic routes the airline should add to their existing network. The results are in now and FlySafair announced the introdution of the following four new routes:
Tickets for the new routes will go on sale on 22 July 2015 for flights starting on 25 October 2015. Flights between Johannesburg <> Durban , Johannesburg <> East London and Cape Town <> East London start from R399 one way including taxes, with Cape Town <> Durban starting from R499.

22 June 2015

Malawi to introduce a new entry fee for visitors!

(update 29 June 2015): According to the latest update of the foreign travel advice Malawi by GOV.UK, the government of Malawi has advised that plans to introduce an entry fee for visitors from any country requiring visas for Malawian Citizens visiting their country of citizenship on 01 July 2015 have been postponed.
 According to the African Travel and Tourism Association (ATTA), Malawi is set to implement a new US$75 "entry fee" for visitors from any country requiring visas for Malawian Citizens visiting their country of citizenship. From 01 July 2015, all passport holders from Schengen member states, the United Kingdom, United States, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and most Middle East countries will be required to pay the new entry fee upon arrival. Citizens of Southern African Development Community (SADC) and Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) member states (excluding Angola) are exempt from the fee. We'll keep you posted!

19 June 2015

Short film: "Johannesburg"

Marie-Laure Roux and Oliver Petrie of Drifting Visual recently visited Johannesburg in South Africa. While in the city, the two shot the remarkable short film "Johannesburg". If you have never been to Jozi or it is simply quite a while since you have been there, the film will give you a great impression on what Johannesburg can be like these days! Kudos Marie-Laure & Oliver! Enjoy the film!

Johannesburg from Drifting Visual on Vimeo.

[Arts on Main | i was shot in Johannesburg :) | The Neighbourgoods Market]

18 June 2015

Zambia: Lusaka National Park has been opened to the public!

Zambia's President Edgar Lungu on 03 June 2015 officially opened the much-awaited Lusaka National Park to the public. The country's newest and most accessible national park, which has been in development since the 1990s, is located roughly 30km south-east from Lusaka. Lusaka National Park park spans roughly 6.715 hectares and is home to more than 1,000 species including white rhino, giraffe, eland, hartebeest, zebra, sable, kudu, blue wildebeest, waterbuck, black lechwe, impala, puku, bushbuck, reedbuck, warthog, pangolin, and axis deers. A 33km fence has been installed to keep animals within the park safe.

 With the opening of this park, Lusaka becomes the second city in Zambia after Livingstone to have a nearby national park without a game management area - meaning that no hunting will be allowed and instead wildlife will be permanently protected.

17 June 2015

Uganda: Lake Mburo National Park to welcome eight giraffes!

update (03 July 2015): The Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA) relocates not only 8 but 15 giraffes to Lake Mburo National Park in Uganda.

The Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA) is set to relocate four female and four male giraffes from Murchison Falls National Park to Lake Mburo National Park in Uganda. This was confirmed by UWA's spokesperson Jossy Muhanji who said this would increase the attractiveness of tourism in the park since there are no giraffes in the national parks of Western Uganda where Lake Mburo National Park, Queen Elizabeth National Park, Rwenzori Mountains National Park, Bwindi Impenetrable National Park and Mgahinga Gorilla National Park are located.

Lake Mburo National Park is located in the Kiruhura District in Western Uganda about 240km, by road, west of Kampala. At 260km², the park is the smallest of Uganda's Savannah national parks. It is home to a variety of animals such as zebras, impala, buffaloes, and over three hundred bird species.

South African Airways named best airline in Africa!

South Africa's flag carrier, South African Airways (SAA), has been named Best Airline in Africa for the 13th year in a row in the Skytrax World Airline Awards 2015. Air Seychelles was named second best airline in Africa, followed by Air Mauritius. South African budget carrier Mango gained the seventh highest passenger satisfaction ratings, while another South African carrier, Kulula, the low-cost airline subsidiary of British Airways franchise Comair, was voted ninth best airline on the continent.
South African Airways (SAA) was also named winner in the category "Best Airline Staff Service in Africa". The category "Best Low-Cost Airlines in Africa" was won by Mango, followed by Kulula.

The Best Airlines in Africa 2015
  1. South African Airways
  2. Air Seychelles
  3. Air Mauritius
  4. Ethiopian Airlines
  5. Kenya Airways
  6. TAAG Angola Airlines
  7. Mango
  8. Royal Air Maroc
  9. Kulula
  10. Air Austral
Best Airline Staff in Africa
  1. South African Airways
  2. Air Seychelles
  3. Royal Air Maroc
  4. Air Mauritius
  5. Mango
  6. Kenya Airways
  7. Kulula
  8. Ethiopian Airlines
  9. TAAG Angola Airlines
  10. Air Namibia
Best Low-Cost Airlines in Africa
  1. Mango
  2. Kulula
  3. Fastjet
  4. Jambojet
  5. fly540
The Skytrax World Airline Awards 2015 are based on customer responses to a survey which is run over a period of 9 months (September 2014 - May 2015). 18.89 million customer surveys were completed during that period. The survey, which covered over 245 airlines, measures passenger satisfaction across 41 key performance indicators of airline front-line product and service - including check-in, boarding, onboard seat comfort, cabin cleanliness, food, beverages, inflight entertainment and staff service.

16 June 2015

Uganda: Emirates set to increase capacity Dubai <> Entebbe!

The largest airline in the Middle East, Emirates, is set to upgrade its services between Dubai International Airport (DBX) in Dubai (UAE) and Entebbe International Airport (EBB) in Entebbe (Uganda) with the deployment of larger Boeing 777-200LR from 01 October 2015. The Boeing 777-200LR will replace the current Airbus A330-200 used on the route, and increase the total number of seats across all cabin classes by 12%, offering eight private suites in First Class, 42 lie-flat seats in Business Class and 216 seats in Economy Class.
Emirates flight EK 729 departs Dubai at 0920hrs and arrives at Entebbe at 1330hrs. The return flight, EK 730, departs Entebbe at 1610hrs and arrives in Dubai at 2230hrs.

15 June 2015

Cape Town: Chapman's Peak Drive to be closed every time it rains during winter!

The Western Cape Department of Transport and Public Works announced earlier today (15 June 2015) that Cape Town's Chapman's Peak Drive is expected to be closed every time it rains during the winter period, and when certain weather-related thresholds are exceeded. Motorists and other road users are urged to make use of the Ou Kaapse Weg as an alternative route during these closures.

Ein von Ross Rivalland (@rossrivalland) gepostetes Foto am

Chapman's Peak Drive is a scenic 9km route between Noordhoek and Hout Bay along the western flank of the Chapman's Peak, a mountain on the western side of the Cape Peninsula, located about 15 kilometres south of Cape Town.

12 June 2015

Zimbabwe: "Over African Skies" (aerial video)

Australian aerial photography specialists Scout aerial media & surveying recently travelled to Zimbabwe to shoot an aerial film that - as the managing director of the company, Patrick Weeden, said in an interview - "showcases the beauty of the country". The drone footage for "Over African Skies" was filmed over a two-week period in April 2015. Sit back, switch the video to fullscreen, put your headphones on and enjoy the beauty Zimbabwe! Kudos Scout aerial media & surveying!

South Africa welcomes the designation of two new Biosphere Reserves!

The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) on 09 June 2015 approved the designation of the Magaliesberg and Gouritz Cluster ecosystems as Biosphere Reserves.
Biosphere Reserves are sites of terrestrial and marine ecosystems designated under the UNESCO Man and Biosphere Programme, where people share a sustainable way of living with nature and innovative practices are tested in co-operation with local inhabitants with the aim of reconciling conservation of biodiversity with sustainable utilisation. The zone includes strictly protected areas at the core, which are typically surrounded by buffer zones where conservation is emphasised, but where people also live and work.

The Magaliesberg Biosphere Reserve covers approximately 360 000 ha and is located between the Pretoria and Johannesburg in the east and Rustenburg in the west, with approximately 262 000 people living within the designated area. In addition, the area is endowed with scenic beauty, unique natural features, rich cultural heritage value. It is also of high archaeological interest as it includes the Cradle of Humankind, which is part of the Fossil Hominid Sites of South Africa World Heritage Site with 4 million years of history. The area contains rich floral biodiversity, a number of faunal species, and over 45% of the total bird species of Southern Africa.
The second newly designated Gouritz Cluster Biosphere Reserve area covers an area of more than three million hectares and straddles the Eastern and Western Cape Provinces. The area is globally unique as it is the only area in the world where three recognised biodiversity hotspots - the Fynbos, Succulent Karoo and Maputoland-Tongoland-Albany hotspots - converge.
The entire biosphere domain falls within the Cape Floristic Kingdom which is the smallest, but one of the richest of the six floral kingdoms in the world, and the only one found entirely within the boundaries of one country.  This Reserve is home to high levels of endemic plant species, threatened invertebrates and butterfly species. It provides a migratory route for large mammals and serves as a nursery for marine species.  Due to its immense historical significance, the biosphere reserve includes three components of the internationally renowned Cape Floral Region Protected Areas World Heritage Site. (via environment.gov.za)

Existing Biosphere Reserves in South Africa are: