28 July 2015

Kruger National Park Calendar - September

  • it is spring time in the park
  • fresh mornings & warm to hot days
  • it can get pretty cold at night
  • occasional showers
  • pretty unpredictable weather patterns

  • first green shoots
  • spring flush depending on rain
  • new mopane growth with red-tinged leaves
  • good spring indicator: purple flowers of tree wisteria
Animal Activity:
  • Game still concentrated around watering holes etc.
  • migrant birds begin arriving
  • Elephants are coming south from their winter feeding grounds in the north

27 July 2015

Air China to launch direct flights to South Africa in October 2015!

The national flag carrier of China, Air China, will launch direct flights between Beijing Capital International Airport (PEK) in Beijing, China, and OR Tambo International Airport (JNB) in Johannesburg, South Africa, on 29 October 2015. The airline will operate three flights a week between the two destinations, codesharing with South African Airways (SAA). Flights will depart Beijing at 23:15 on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Sundays, arriving in Johannesburg at 07:55. Return flights from Johannesburg will depart at 11:50 on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, arriving the following day in Beijing at 07:30.

24 July 2015

Namibia: New Swakopmund image film!

The Swakopmund Municipality has, in cooperation with print and digital media company Legends of Africa, produced a new image film about the town of Swakopmund. The 15-minute film focuses on all that Swakopmund has to offer, from activities to services, accommodation to development. Enjoy!

British Airways suspends flights between London <> Entebbe (Uganda)!

The flag carrier airline of the United Kingdom, British Airways, will end its service between London Heathrow Airport (LHR) in London and Entebbe International Airport (EBB) in Entebbe, Uganda, in October 2015. The last flight between the two destinations will depart London for Entebbe on 02 October 2015, while the last flight to London will leave Entebbe on 03 October 2015. British Airways currently operates three weekly flights on board a Boeing 767 between London and Entebbe.

23 July 2015

South African Airways lifts ban on transportation of hunting trophies

The cargo division of South African Airways (SAA), South African Airways Cargo (SAA Cargo), has, according to the Cargo Policy and Procedures Advisory No 278 (20 July 2015), lifted the ban on the transportation of hunting trophies. SAA Cargo's trophy transport ban covered species such as elephant, rhino, lion and tiger.

South African Airways (SAA) announced the decision to ban the transportation of hunting trophies on 21 April 2015, following an incident in which hunting trophies were allegedly shipped to Perth (Australia) under a false label of "mechanical equipment". [more]

22 July 2015

Kenya: Airspace closure on 24 & 26 July 2015!

update (24 July 2015): Kenya Airways has released an update regarding the airspace closure.

Kenya's airspace will be closed few hours on 24 July 2015 and on 26 July 2015 due to the visit of the President of The United States Barack Obama to Kenya. Kenya Airways expects some disruptions to its flight schedule during this time and has rescheduled some flights departing from or arriving at Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (NBO) in Nairobi during the airspace closure time. Please contact Kenya Airways in case a flight you are booked on is affected.

The airspace closure times are:
  • 24 July 2015: 07:45pm to 08:35pm
  • 26 July 2015: 05:05pm to 05:45pm

21 July 2015

Cape Town: Chapman's Peak Drive closed due to rock falls!

update (27 July 2015): Cape Town's Chapman's Peak Drive is open!

update (22 July 2015): Cape Town's Chapman's Peak Drive will remain closed for the time being due to rock falls!

Cape Town's Chapman's Peak Drive is expected to be closed for at least two days after a six ton rock has broken off and needs to be brought down off the mountain slopes above the road. Motorists and other road users are urged to make use of the Ou Kaapse Weg as an alternative route during the closure.

A 6 ton rock has broken off & needs to be brought down off the mountain slopes above the road. #Chappies will be closed for about 2 days if all goes well.
Posted by Chapman's Peak Drive on Tuesday, 21 July 2015

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.

20 July 2015

Qantas to reduce flights to Johannesburg!

The flag carrier airline of Australia, Qantas, has announced that it will reduce scheduled flights between Sydney's Sydney Airport (SYD) and OR Tambao International Airport (JNB) Johannesburg from currently seven return services a week to six (excluding Wednesdays), effective 03 Feb 2016. All passengers booked to travel on flights QF63 and QF64 on or after 03 Feb 2915 have been re-booked to travel on flights QF63 and QF64 on the next day (Thursday!).

17 July 2015

TAZARA: Train operations resume in Zambia!

We just got information from the Tanzania-Zambia Railway Authority (TAZARA) that train operations in Zambia resume today (17 July 2015). TAZARA's train operations in Zambia stopped on 29 June 2015 due to a strike by the unionized staff, who tried to press for the payment of their four months salary arrears through work stoppage. The workers at all stations between New Kapiri Mposhi and Nakonde called off their strike action on 16 July 2015 following the payment of the salary arrears by the government of Zambia.
With the resumption of normal operations, the ordinary passenger train, which normally runs on Fridays, will be operated from New Kapiri Mposhi today (17 July 2015) and U-turn on 18 July 2015 at Nakonde on the Zambian side, whilst the Tanzanian side will also run a scheduled ordinary passenger train from Dar es Salaam today and U-turn at Mbeya on 18 July 2015 as well. Both the Mukuba and Kilimanjaro express passenger trains will resume full cross-border operations between Tanzania and Zambia on 21 July 2015.

16 July 2015

Turkish Airlines set to introduce flights between Istanbul <> Durban!

The national flag carrier airline of Turkey, Turkish Airlines, is set to introduce flights between Istanbul Atatürk Airport (IST) in Istanbul and King Shaka International Airport (DUR) in Durban via Johannesburg's OR Tambo International Airport (JNB) in October 2015. Turkish Airlines will become the third major global hub carrier to introduce flights to Durban; King Shaka International Airport (DUR) is already served by Emirates with direct flights to Dubai, while Qatar Airways has also announced the introduction of services to Doha, also via Johannesburg. Durban will be Turkish Airlines' third destination in South Africa after Johannesburg and Cape Town.

Zambia: Proflight Zambia launches new flight between Lusaka <> Kitwe

Zambia's only domestic scheduled airline, Proflight Zambia, has launched an 11x weekly service between Kenneth Kaunda International Airport (LUN) in Lusaka and Southdowns Airport (KIW) in Kitwe. The route is the airline's ninth domestic destination. Kitwe is the second largest city in Zambia. Tourist attractions around the city include the Mindolo Dam, the Makwera Falls as well as the Chembe Bird Sanctuary.

14 July 2015

European Union bans import of elephant hunting trophies from Tanzania, Mozambique and Zambia!

The European Union Scientific Review Group (SRG) decided on 02 July 2015 to issue a ban on the import of any elephant hunting trophies into the European Union (EU) from Tanzania, Mozambique and Zambia. According to the press release (see below) by the European Commission, the SRG found that the information at its disposal was not sufficient to conclude that the import into the EU of such trophies from the three countries would be sustainable.

South Africa: Nelson Mandela's gravesite to be open to the public in the future

According to Ndileka Mandela, the oldest grandchild of the late Nelson Mandela, Madiba's gravesite in Qunu (Eastern Cape) would eventually be opened to the general public by his family in the future. No date has been set, although discussions about the matter with various sectors of the government as well as the ANC are already under way. Nelson Mandela, who died at the age of 95 in December 2013, is buried on a hill in his childhood Qunu homestead in rural Eastern Cape. Qunu is located about 30km south-west of Mthatha on the N2 between Butterworth and Mthatha.

13 July 2015

Gauteng: Suikerbosrand Nature Reserve to reopen!

The the 11 500-hectare Suikerbosrand Nature Reserve, located about one hour from Johannesburg near the twon of Heidelberg, will be reopened this week (29/2015). The reserve was closed since January 2015 after management said it could not guarantee the safety and health of visitors because of problems with the water supply due to a burst pipe. Parts of the Suikerbosrand Nature Reserve, including the the main gate, Diepkloof picnic site, the farm museum and the 4.4km Cheetah hiking trail and the 11.5km Bokmakierrie hiking trail, already reopened on 16 June 2015. The remaing parts of the reserve, including the self-guided game drives and Holhoek picnic site, will reopen on 15 July 2015.

The Suikerbosrand Nature Reserve is one of the best places in Gauteng for cycling, hiking or picnicking among magnificent fauna and flora. Over 200 bird species have been identified in the reserve. Suikerbosrand Nature Reserve is also home to Aardvark, Black Wildebeest, Brown Hyena, Baboon, Eland, Kudu, Porcupine, Small-spotted Genet, Springok and Zebra. The reserve takes its name from the Transvaal suikerbos or sugarbush (Protea caffra) that outnumbers all plants and vegetation in the reserve.

10 July 2015

Malawian Airlines: Direct flights to Johannesburg!

The flag carrier airline of Malawi, Malawian Airlines, has introduced direct flights between Lilongwe International Airport (LLW) in Lilongwe and OR Tambo International Airport (JNB) in Johannesburg and between Chileka International Airport (BLZ) in Blantyre and OR Tambo International Airport (JNB). The airline previously operated flights to Johannesburg from Lilongwe via Blantyre. Malawian Airlines will operate the flights on board a Boeing 737-800 with 138 economy-class seats and 16 business-class seats on Wednesdays and Saturdays.

08 July 2015

Malawi to introduce a new "visa regime" in October 2015!

update (12 Oct 2015): Visa New Regime October 2015 ­ Official document:

update (22 Sept 2015): The British Foreign & Commonwealth Office (FCO) has updated its Malawi travel advice. According to the FCO, it has so far not been advised of the process or requirements of the new visa regime in Malawi which is supposed to come in effect on 01 October 2015. Given the possibility of arrangements being implemented at short notice the FCO advises those visiting Malawi to bring cash in US dollars to cover any possible entry requirements.

update (15 July 2015): According to the latest foreign travel advice Malawi by the British Foreign & Commonwealth Office (FCO), the Malawian government has announced that it intends to introduce a visa regime for visitors from any country requiring visas for Malawian Citizens visiting their country of citizenship from 01 October 2015.

update (13 July 2015): According to Ulendo Safaris, a tour operator and travel service provider from Malawi, airport immigration in Malawi have started charging the USD75 "entry fee" for visitors on 11 July 2015.

NEW ENTRY FEE FOR VISITORS TO MALAWI (Effective 11 July 2015)How's this for a cracking Monday morning!We like...
Posted by Ulendo Safaris on Monday, 13 July 2015

Malawi's Ministry of Foreign Affairs has released an update regarding the introduction of an "entry fee" for visitors from any country requiring visas for Malawian Citizens visiting their country of citizenship. 
The Ministry has confirmed this would be the introduction of a new "visa regime" rather than simply an "entry fee". The implementation of the new "visa regime" in Malawi has been postponed from 01 July 2015 to 01 October 2015. The visa will be available on entry on payment of US Dollars in cash. An electronic payment system is, according to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, currently at an advanced stage. Holders of long term permits will be treated as returning residents and will therefore be exempt from the new visa regime. We will keep you posted!

The visa costs will be as follows:

  • Transit valid 7 days – USD50/person
  • Single entry valid 3 months – USD75/person
  • Multi entry valid 6 months – USD150/person
  • Multi entry valid 12 months – USD250/person

07 July 2015

Supermarket prices in South Africa

To give you an idea on the supermarket prices in South Africa, we have set up a list of what we think are the most typical items travellers usually buy. It hopefully helps planning your holidays in South Africa. Safe travels! [exchange rates in the daily news update]

  • bread - from R7.99/loaf (700g)
  • Rama Margarine - from R12.00/250g
  • eggs (large, free range) - from R16.00/6ea
  • mixed fruit jam - from R13.50/450g
  • peanut butter - from R16.00/250g
  • Nutella - from R25.00/180g
  • Bovril - from R23.50/125g
  • Marmite - from R23.50/125g
  • baked beans - from R6.50/can (400g)
  • bacon - from R24.00/200g
  • milk - from R12.50/1l
  • muesli - from R34.00750g
  • yoghurt (plain) - from R6.00/175g
  • cheese - from R27.00/200gr (sliced gouda/cheddar)
  • potatoes - from R5.00/kg
  • tomatoes - from R11.00 (750g)
  • onions - from R10.00/kg
  • mushrooms - from R19.00/250g (white mushrooms)
  • cucumber - from R10.00 (english cucumber) 
  • lettuce - from R11.50 (crisp lettuce)
  • avocado - from R12.95 (Avocado Bachelor)
  • pasta - from R9.00/500g (macaroni)
  • pasta sauce - from R24.00/405g
  • instant soup - from R9.50 (Cup-A-Snack e.g. Chicken & Mushroom Noodle Soup)
  • biscuits - from R8.50/200g
  • rusks - from R29.00/500g
  • chewing gum - from 11.00/pack (Dentyne)
  • boerewors - from R56.00/1kg
  • steak - from R78.00/kg (T-bone)
  • chakalaka - from R12.00/can (410g)
  • chutney - from R23.00/bottle (Mrs H.S.Ball's Hot Chutney 470g)
  • hot sauce - from R13.00/bottle (125g)
  • potato chips - from R4.00/30g
  • bottled water (still) - from R4.00/500ml 
  • Coke - from R9.00/500ml
  • orange juice - from R8.00/350ml
  • beer - from R9.50/330ml or 340ml (Castle/Hansa)
  • beer - from R11.00/330ml (Windhoek Lager)
  • cider - from R12.00/330ml (Hunters Dry)
  • cider - from R13.00/330ml (Savanna Dry)
  • wine - from R25.00/750ml or R68.00/3l box (white)
The list above is probably missing some items. Let us know what you think is missing & we will add it!

06 July 2015

South Africa: Cape floral heritage site expands!

The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) has approved the extension of the Cape Floral Region Protected Areas World Heritage Site. The approval was granted by the 39th Session of UNESCO's World Heritage Committee taking place in Bonn, Germany (28 June - 08 July 2015). The extension almost doubles the size of the world heritage site from 553 000 hectares to 1 094 742 hectares and includes Table Mountain National Park, Agulhas complex, Langeberg complex, Anysberg Nature Reserve, Swartberg complex, Baviaanskloof complex and the Garden Route complex.

The extended Cape Floral Region Protected Areas World Heritage Site is one of the richest areas for plants when compared to any similar sized area in the world. It represents less than 0.5% of the area of Africa but is home to nearly 20% of the continent's flora with some 69% of the 9000 identified plant species being endemic to the area.

03 July 2015

Uganda: Kampala set to introduce city tour buses to boost urban tourism

Uganda's capital Kampala is set to get its first city tour buses to boost urban tourism. The Kampala Capital City Authority (KCCA) has therefore signed a memorandum of understanding with Albrieux Africa Tours, which is supposed to get the product running by the end of 2015. The Kampala city tour itinerary will include stop overs at various locations, such as the Bahai Temple, the Old Kampala Mosque, the Namugongo Martyrs shrine, the Kasubi tombs, the Makerere University as well as the Uganda Museum. Tickets for the city bus tour will be available at the National Theatre, at Kabaka Anjagala Road, near Independence Monument and the Uganda Museum.

#TourBuses Kampala Capital City Authority - KCCA Visit Uganda (Tourism Uganda) Tourism Uganda Uganda Tourism Board The...
Posted by Visit Kampala on Sunday, 5 July 2015

Uganda has doubled visa fees!

According to Wolfgang H. Thome, one of the best informed East Africa specialists, Uganda has doubled its visa fees from USD50 per person to USD100 per person on 01 July 2015. Most offical Ugandan websites, including those of embassies and consulates, are still unaware of the change and are showing the (old) fee of USD50 per person, but tourist on arrival at Uganda's borders are told to pay USD100 for their visa.

02 July 2015

South Africa's most punctual domestic airlines in June 2015

Airports Company South Africa (ACSA) has published the on-time performance results of domestic airlines’ flying out of OR Tambo in Johannesburg, Cape Town International Airport, and Durban's King Shaka International Airport in June 2015.
On-Time Performance is measured by comparing the actual off-block time (when aircraft pushes back) against the airline schedule time for a departing flight. The measurement is done in accordance with the IATA (International Airlines Transport Association) universal standard benchmark with considers a 15 minute deviation from the scheduled time as an on-time departure.

OR Tambo International Airport, Johannesburg - 15 Min on Time Performance June 2015 (airport target 87%)
  1. South African Airways - 93.14% (May 93.72%)
  2. FlySafair - 92.32% (May 93.59%)
  3. Airlink - 90.69% (May 91.89%) 
  4. British Airways Domestic - 88.10% (May 80.33%) 
  5. Mango - 87.42% (May 83.56%)  
  6. Kulula.com - 86.57% (May 91.14%) 
  7. SA Express - 74.03% (May 74.52%)
Cape Town International Airport - 15 Min on Time Performance June 2015 (airport target 90%)
  1. Airlink - 94.28% (May 97.44%)
  2. FlySafair - 91.83% (May 94.05%) 
  3. South African Airways - 90.99% (May 94.03%) 
  4. Mango - 90.70% (May 90.25%)
  5. British Airways Domestic - 89.68% (May 80.51%) 
  6. Kulula.com - 84.20% (May 93.51%)
  7. SA Express - 82.52% (May 85.17%)    
King Shaka International Airport, Durban - 15 Min on Time Performance June 2015 (airport target 91%)
  1. South African Airways - 98.17% (May 97.20%) 
  2. Airlink - 92.33% (May 93.38%) 
  3. Mango - 92.01% (May 86.77%)   
  4. British Airways Domestic - 87.81% (May 79.64%)  
  5. Kulula.com - 86.95% (May 94.11%)
  6. SA Express - 86.63% (May 82.22%)