28 January 2016

Fastjet suspends flights to Malawi!

Pan-African low cost airline Fastjet has suspended its services between Julius Nyerere International Airport (DAR) in Dar es Salaam in Tanzania and Lilongwe International Airport (LLW) in Lilongwe in Malawi with with immediate effect. According to the airline, the major reason for withdrawing from Malawi is the depreciation of the Malawian currency (kwacha) and the unwillingness of Malawi's government to grant Fastjet an 8th freedom cabotage traffic right for flights between Lilongwe and Blantyre despite earlier assurances they would be granted.

27 January 2016

Table Mountain National Park: Various trails closed due to fires!

South African National Parks (SANParks) has closed various trails in Cape Town's Table Mountain National Park (TMNP) due to recent fires that broke out in the Park.
  • Red Hill Trail via Kleinplaas Dam to Slangkop is closed until the repairs to the trail post-fire can be affected
  • Swartkopberg Trail is under repair and currently closed
  • The Chapmans Peak footpath (on the Noordhoek side) is closed indefinitely
  • The Riverwalk in Silvermine West is closed for construction and will reopen as soon as the construction work is complete. Silvermine West remains open to the public

25 January 2016

Ethiopia: Ethiopian Airlines to launch flights to New York!

Ethiopia's flag carrier, Ethiopian Airlines, has announced plans to launch flights to New York City (USA) by the end of June 2016. Flights between Addis Ababa Bole International Airport (ADD) in Addis Ababa and  New York's John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK) will depart Tuesday, Thursday and Sunday mornings, and will return from New York to Addis Ababa the same evening.  Flights will make an intermediate stop in Lomé (Togo), home base for Ethiopian Airlines' partner ASKY Airlines, in both directions. Ethiopian Airlines will be deploying the Boeing 787 Dreamliner, which is configured with 24 business class and 246 economy seats, all of which are equipped with on-demand video monitors featuring a variety of entertainment options.
  • There will be connectivity beyond Addis Ababa to and from major economic and tourist destinations in East, Southern and Central Africa and the Middle East, including Nairobi (Kenya), Entebbe (Uganda), Dar es Salaam (Tanzania), Kigali (Rwanda), Khartoum (Sudan), Jeddah, and Riyadh (Saudi Arabia).
  • There will be connectivity between New York and many cities in West Africa with Ethiopian Airlines' partner ASKY Airlines, via Lomé, including Lagos, Abidjan, Dakar, Libreville, Douala, N’djamena, Kinshasa, Bamako, Conakry, Ouagadougou, and Niamey.

22 January 2016

Swaziland: Swazi Airways set to launch operations in February 2016!

update (01 August 2017): According to the "Times of Swaziland", the official successor to Royal Swazi National Airlines, Swazi Airways, has officially closed down and retrenched 23 employees.

update (17 May 2016): According to a Project Status Report of Swazi Airways that was presented to the Portfolio Committee of Swaziland's Ministry of Public Works and Transport in April 2016, the airline is expected to make it's maiden flight in July 2016.

update (25 Feb 2016): Swaziland's new state-owned airline, Swazi Airways, has finally received its long awaited Boeing 737 aircraft and has presented to the Swaziland Civil Aviation Authority (SWACAA) on 24 Feb 2016. The aircraft is now getting checked for safety purposes and to determine its airworthiness. We'll keep you posted!

update (10 Feb 2016): The maiden flight of Swaziland's new state-owned airline, Swazi Airways, to Durban's King Shaka International Airport (DBN) has been canceled because the airline has no permit yet. 

The official successor to Royal Swazi National Airlines, Swazi Airways, is set to commence scheduled passenger operations in the first week of February 2016. Swaziland's new state-owned airline will initially operate three (?) weekly flights between King Mswati-III International Airport (IATA: SHO) in Manzini and Durban's King Shaka International Airport (DBN) on board a Boeing 737-500. According to Swazi Airways's acting CEO Guillermo Barrios, additional destinations will include Cape Town International Airport (CPT) in Cape Town, Harare International Airport (HRE) in Harare and eventually Dubai International Airport (DBN) in Dubai as well as Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport (BOM) in Mumbai. We'll keep you posted!

South Africa: 1175 rhinos killed by poachers in 2015!

According to South Africa's Environmental Affairs Minister Ednah Molewa, a total of 1175 rhinos got killed by poachers in South Africa in 2015. Of these, 826 were poached in the Kruger National Park. To put this into context: South Africa lost 333 rhinos to illegal poaching in 2010, 448 rhinos in 2011, 668 rhinos in 2012, 1004 rhinos in 2013 and 1215 rhinos in 2014.
During 2015, a total of 317 poachers were arrested for rhino poaching related offences in South Africa. Of these, 202 were arrested in the Kruger National Park and 115 in the area adjacent to Kruger. This is a marked increase in arrests from 258 in 2014. A total of 125 firearms were seized inside the Kruger National Park in 2015, and 63 just outside the Park – a total of 188 compared to the 148 in 2014.

According to a new census of the rhino population conducted by South African National Parks (SANParks) in 2015, Kruger National Park is home to between approximately 8 400 to 9 300 white rhinos.

21 January 2016

Proflight Zambia links up with South African Express!

Zambian airline Proflight Zambia and South African regional airline South African Express have signed a sales and purchase agreement, which allows customers of the two airlines to make joint Proflight Zambia-SA Express bookings. The agreement enables customers of Proflight Zambia to book flights to three destinations within South African Express' network (Cape Town, Port Elizabeth, East London) and customers of South African Express to book flights to seven of Proflight Zambia's destinations within Zambia (Lusaka, Ndola, Livingstone, Mfuwe, Solwezi, Kasama, Lower Zambezi) as well as to two of the airlines regional destinations Lilongwe in Malawi, Durban in South Africa).

20 January 2016

Emirates to increase capacity to Zambia and Zimbabwe!

The largest airline in the Middle East, Emirates, is set to increase capacity on its daily Dubai - Lusaka - Harare route. Starting 01 Feb 2016, the airline will be operating its flights to Zambia and Zimbabwe on board a larger Boeing 777-300ER aircraft. The aicraft will replace the current Airbus A340-300 and offer an additional 97 Economy Class seats per flight. The Boeing 777-300ER aircraft will have eight private suites in First Class, 42 lie-flat seats in Business Class and 310 spacious seats in Economy Class.

19 January 2016

Fastjet to launch two new routes between Johannesburg & Zimbabwe!

update (28 Jan 2016): Pan-African low-cost airline Fastjet has delayed the launch date (03 Feb 2016) of its new service between OR Tambo International Airport (JNB) in Johannesburg and Victoria Falls International Airport (VFA) in Victoria Falls to ensure that flying times and the flight frequencies are customer-centric. Once Fastjet  has engaged with the tourism industry regarding the optimal flight frequencies and times, schelduled flights will be confirmed. We'll keep you posted!

Pan-African low-cost airline Fastjet just announced the launch of two new routes from Johannesburg in South Africa to Harare and Victoria Falls in Zimbabwe. Starting on 01 February 2016, the airline will operate two flights per day between OR Tambo International Airport (JNB) in Johannesburg and Harare International Airport (HRE) in Harare. Two days later, on 03 February 2016, Fastjet will start operating three flights per week on Sundays, Wednesdays and Fridays between OR Tambo International Airport (JNB) in Johannesburg and Victoria Falls International Airport (VFA) in Victoria Falls.

18 January 2016

Hoscars 2016: The best hostels in Southern & East Africa!

Hostelworld.com, the world's leading hostel-focused online booking platform, has announced the winners of the 2016 HOSCARS (Hostelworld.com Customer Annual Ratings). Now in their 14th year, the HOSCARS are known to be the world's most prestigious hostel awards, recognizing the top hostels around the globe as voted for by the Hostelworld.com users. Congrats!

Best Hostels in Africa - The top three hostels in Africa who received the highest ratings on Hostelworld.com in 2015:
  1. The B.I.G in Cape Town, South Africa - 98% rating
  2. Amber Tree Lodge Backpackers in Cape Town, South Africa - 96% rating
  3. Atlantic Point Backpackers in Cape Town, South Africa - 94% rating

Best Hostel by country - The top hostel in each country in Southern & East Africa who received the highest ratings on Hostelworld.com in 2015:

South Africa

Western Cape: Kogelberg Nature Reserve closed due to fire!

update (22 Jan 2016): The Kogelberg Nature Reserve has been reopened to the public. The reopening includes all accommodation, the Palmiet trail and the Oudebosch trails. The Kogelberg trail and Mountain Bike trail remain closed!

The Kogelberg Nature Reserve, located along the mountainous coast on the eastern edge of Cape Town, has been closed until further notice due to a fire that broke out in the Overberg region on 16 January 2016. There is no current threat to the reserve or to the accommodation in the Kogelberg Nature Reserve - however there is a great deal of smoke in the area, and the decision has been made by Cape Nature to close for the safety of the public.

Ein von Rupert (@rk_ct) gepostetes Foto am

14 January 2016

Kenya introduces new incentives to boost tourism!

Kenya's president Uhuru Muigai Kenyatta has unveiled an incentive package to revitalise the tourism industry in Kenya at the opening of the English Point Marina in Mombasa, the first luxury yachting marina in Kenya.
  • Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) fees will be capped at $60 (down from $90) for the 2016/17 financial year
  • Value Added Tax (VAT) charges on National Park fees will be removed for the 2016/17 financial year
  • Visa fees for children under 16 will be scrapped indefinitely from 01 February 2016
  • The Ksh1.2bn charter incentive scheme continues until 30 June 2018. This waives landing fees at Moi International Airport (MBA) in Mombasa and Malindi Airport (MYD) in Malindi for all charter aircraft and provides at $30.00 (thirty dollar) rebate for all disembarking tourists
  • expansion of Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (NBO) in Nairobi and Malindi Airport (MYD) in Malindi to handle greater numbers of visitors
  • construction of the Port-Reitz-Airport Road in Mombasa 
  • construction of the Dongo Kundu bypass that will allow tourists to travel to the South Coast (Diani) without using the ferry
  • Kenya Ferry Service (KFSL) will buy and operate two new ferries for the Likoni Channel crossing

13 January 2016

Uganda: Street View goes live in Kampala & Entebbe!

The capital of Uganda, the city of Kampala, as well as Entebbe, located about 35km southwest of Kampala and the location of Uganda's largest commercial airport, Entebbe International Airport (EBB), are now (since Oct. 2015) live on Google Street View!

11 January 2016

Zimbabwe: 50 rhinos killed by poachers in 2015!

According to the Lowveld Rhino Trust (LRT), a conservation organization operating primarily in the South-East Lowveld of Zimbabwe, at least 50 rhinos got killed by poachers in Zimbabwe in 2015. Out of the 50 rhinos poached, 42 were black rhino. The majority of losses were suffered in conservancies in the Lowveld, located in the south of Zimbabwe.

The rhino population in the Lowveld is regarded  by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) as the only one in Zimbabwe being genetically and demographically viable. Zimbabwe only lost around 20 rhino to poachers in 2014.

Zimbabwe/Zambia: KAZA univisa has been reinstated!

The KAZA univisa has been reinstated. According to Zimbabwe's Minister of Tourism Dr Walter Mzembi, the visa, which allows visitors from 40 countries to travel between Zimbabwe and Zambia using the same document, was put on hold at the end of December 2015 due to Zambia running out of the required stamps. With the reinstatement, the KAZA univisa moves from pilot stage one to stage two, so that Namibia, Botswana and Angola are also now included (see video at 0:47/2:33).

07 January 2016

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 R8.40/loaf (700g)
  • Rama Margarine - from R8.00/125g
  • eggs (large, free range) - from R16.00/6ea
  • mixed fruit jam - from R13.00/450g
  • peanut butter - from R16.00/250g
  • Nutella - from R29.00/180g
  • Bovril - from R23.50/125g
  • Marmite - from R23.50/125g
  • baked beans - from R7.00/can (400g)
  • bacon - from R29.00/200g
  • milk - from R12.00/1l
  • muesli - from R29.00/750g
  • porridge oats - from R15.00/500g
  • yoghurt (plain) - from R7.00/175g
  • cheese - from R27.00/200g (sliced gouda/cheddar)
  • potatoes - from R11.00/kg
  • tomatoes - from R13.00 (250g)
  • onions - from R8.00/kg
  • mushrooms - from R22.00/250g (white mushrooms)
  • cucumber - from R7.50 (english cucumber) 
  • lettuce - from R11.50 (crisp lettuce)
  • avocado - from R25.00 (Avocado Bachelor)
  • pasta - from R10.00/500g (macaroni)
  • pasta sauce - from R24.00/405g
  • instant soup - from R10.00 (Cup-A-Snack e.g. Chicken & Mushroom Noodle Soup)
  • biscuits - from R9.00/200g
  • rusks - from R30.00/500g
  • chewing gum - from 11.00/pack (Dentyne)
  • boerewors - from R65.00/1kg
  • steak - from R83.00/kg (T-bone)
  • chakalaka - from R13.00/can (410g)
  • chutney - from R23.50/bottle (Mrs H.S.Ball's Hot Chutney 470g)
  • hot sauce - from R17.00/bottle (250g)
  • potato chips - from R5.00/30g
  • bottled water (still) - from R4.00/500ml 
  • Coke - from R9.50/500ml
  • orange juice - from R9.00/500ml
  • beer - from R9.50/330ml or 340ml (Castle/Hansa)
  • beer - from R10.00/330ml (Tafel Lager)
  • beer - from R12.00/330ml (Windhoek Lager)
  • cider - from R13.00/330ml (Hunters Dry)
  • cider - from R14.00/330ml (Savanna Dry)
  • wine - from R25.00/750ml or R70.00/3l box (white)
The list above is probably missing some items. Let us know what you think is missing & we will add it!

Kenya: 50 live broadcasts from the Maasai Mara and Watamu over 11 days!

update (19 Jan 2016): For all the video footage and pictures of #KenyaLive (including a video of the world's first live Periscope broadcast from the back of a sea turtle), visit http://www.discoverafrica.com/kenyalive!

Make It Kenya, a newly launched international campaign brand for Kenya, has teamed up with HerdTracker, a web-app which plots the precise location of the great wildebeest migration in real time to a Google map, to showcase Kenya's stunning wildlife with two world firsts in a series of live web broadcasts using a combination of the most innovative filming technology and Twitter's Periscope app. The #KenyaLive campaign enables people to witness the excitement of a night safari in the Maasai Mara - as well as Kenya's coastal underwater treasures - as the action happens in real time. To follow the live broadcasts, download the Periscope app (IOS - Android) and follow HerdTracker's channel from 07 - 18 January 2016.

07 - 13 January 2016 | Mara Conservancy Lion Interaction

The first of the live broadcasts will offer an unprecedented view of the lions in the Olare Motorogi Conservancy and the Naboisho Conservancy of the Maasai Mara, and what the conservancies have to offer: off-road game drives, fly camping, night game drive safaris as well as walking safaris. Viewers will be treated to a  series of live night broadcasts - the very first of their kind!

08 - 14 January 2016 | Local Ocean Trust, Watamu
The team will be in the coastal town of Watamu to host live broadcasts of the Local Ocean Trust project, including the world's first live underwater broadcasts. The project rescues sea turtles accidentally caught in fishing nets as bycatch before sending them back into their natural habitat. One very special broadcast will even involve live footage captured via "TurtleCam", using a GoPro strapped to a turtle's back.
Live broadcasts will also include some of the activities Watamu hast to offer: a dhow cruise, treetop yoga, kitesurfing as well as a live stand up paddleboard broadcast

Namibia: 80 rhinos killed by poachers in 2015!

According to the latest figures released by Namibia's Ministry of Environment and Tourism, the country has lost 80 rhinos to illegal poaching in 2015. Most of the animals have been poached in the Etosha National Park. Namibia has experienced a sharp increase in cases of rhino poaching over the past five years. The country lost one rhino to poaching in 2009 and 2010 respectively, two rhinos were illegally killed in 2012, four in 2013 and 25 in 2014. 

The Ministry of Environment and Tourism in Namibia offers rewards of N$60 000 for information that lead to the arrest and prosecution of rhino poachers.

05 January 2016

Fastjet to launch flights between Tanzania <> Kenya!

Tanzania-based low cost-airline Fastjet is introducing daily flights between Julius Nyerere International Airport (DAR) in Dar es Salaam and Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (NBO) in Nairobi as well as daily flights between Kilimanjaro International Airport (JRO) and Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (NBO) in Nairobi on 11 January 2016. Fastjet's flights to Nairobi will take just an hour from Kilimanjaro and 90 minutes from Dar es Salaam. Tickets are now on sale.

Zambia/Zimbabwe: KAZA uni-visa is no longer being issued!

According to Wild Horizons, a tourism company based in Victoria Falls (Zimbabwe), the issuance of the KAZA uni-visa has been suspended effective immediately in both Zimbabwe and Zambia. The "standard" visa are still being issued (more info > Zambia - Zimbabwe). We'll keep you posted!

Issue of the KAZA uni-visa has been suspended immediately pending further review.
Posted by Wild Horizons on Monday, 4 January 2016

04 January 2016

South Africa's most punctual domestic airlines in December 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 December 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 December 2015 (airport target 87%)
  1. FlySafair - 89.91% (November 88.89%)
  2. Airlink - 85.68% (November 86.13%) 
  3. British Airways Domestic - 80.33% (November 80.45%)
  4. Mango - 79.77% (November 85.59%)
  5. South African Airways - 77.74% (November 82.43%)  
  6. SA Express - 77.53% (November 79.83%)  
  7. Kulula.com - 65.56% (November 82.63%)  
Cape Town International Airport - 15 Min on Time Performance December 2015 (airport target 90%)
  1. Airlink - 95.94% (November 96.23%) 
  2. FlySafair - 92.31% (November 93.23%) 
  3. SA Express - 87.43% (November 94.68%)
  4. Mango - 84.99% (November 88.24%)   
  5. British Airways Domestic - 84.47% (November 83.15%)
  6. South African Airways - 84.09% (November 83.88%)   
  7. Kulula.com - 78.56% (November 90.00%) 
King Shaka International Airport, Durban - 15 Min on Time Performance December 2015 (airport target 91%)
  1. FlySafair - 97.30% (November 95.33%) 
  2. Airlink - 87.84% (November 91.04%)
  3. SA Express - 87.42% (November 89.14%)  
  4. South African Airways - 87.23% (November 91.66%) 
  5. Mango - 85.54% (November 90.60%)
  6. British Airways Domestic - 80.00% (November 79.03%) 
  7. Kulula.com - 69.91% (November 86.43%) 

South Africa: Northern Cape named among Rough Guides' 10 regions to vist in 2016

The Northern Cape in South Africa has made it to a shortlist of 10 regions to visit in 2016, according to travel guide publishing company Rough Guides. The publisher names the following reasons why travellers shouldn't miss out the Northern Cape in 2016:
  • Northern Cape is covering one third of South Africa's landmass and seldom explored by visitors
  • long distance travel in the Northern Cape is rewarded with swathes of wildflowers blooming amid the region’s red dunes, mountain deserts and wildlife including the black-maned lion of the Kalahari
  • visit the lands of the San Bushmen, the oldest population of humans on Earth
  • indulge your inner adrenaline junkie with kayak tours into Richtersveld National Park via the Orange River's white-water rapids
    (via http://www.roughguides.com)

 Rough Guides' Top 10 regions 2016:
  1. Alaska, USA
  2. Gujarat, India
  3. Tasmania, Australia
  4. Quebec, Canada
  5. Tohoku, Japan
  6. Northern Cape, South Africa
  7. Lombok, Indonesia
  8. Calabia, Italy
  9. Castilla Y Leon, Spain
  10. The Western Isles, Scotland