29 July 2016

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

28 July 2016

Lufthansa to introduce direct, year-round flights between Frankfurt <> Cape Town!

Germany's largest airline, Lufthansa, will extend the direct flight service between Frankfurt Airport (FRA) in Frankfurt and Cape Town International Airport (CPT) in Cape Town from a seasonal offering to a year-round service. From 02 December 2016, the airline will operate three nonstop flights per week on Wednesdays, Fridays and Sundays between the two cities. Cape Town will be served by an Airbus A340-300, which boasts over 279 seats in Business Class, Premium Economy and Economy Class.

27 July 2016

World Health Organization: Yellow fever certificates now have lifetime validity!

According to an "Amendment to International Health Regulations (2005), Annex 7 (yellow fever)" by the World Health Organization (WHO), all properly issued yellow fever vaccination certificates have legal validity for the lifetime of the traveller instead of 10 years with effect from 11 July 2016. The lifetime validity of these yellow fever vaccination certificates applies automatically to certificates issued after 11 July 2016, as well as certificates already issued.

Emirates to deploy an A380 on Dubai <> Johannesburg route!

The largest airline in the Middle East, Emirates, will operate an Airbus A380-800 on one of its four daily flights (EK761/762) between Dubai International Airport (DXB) in Dubai and OR Tambo International Airport (JNB) in Johannesburg, effective 01 February 2017. The airline currently operates all four daily flights on board a Boeing 777-300ER.

25 July 2016

RwandAir to launch direct flights between Kigali <> Mumbai!

Rwanda's flag carrier, RwandAir, is set to launch direct flights between Kigali International Airport (KGL) in Kigali and Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport (BOM) in Mumbai in the last quarter of 2016 (December?). RwandAir will be operating four weekly flights to Mumbai with its brand new A330-300, a state of the art triple class 274 wide-body seater equipped with full flat beds in business class and unmatched leg room in premium economy, with inflight entertainment and Wi-Fi as well as GSM connectivity across all three classes.

22 July 2016

"Mzansi Style Guide" - a three-part web series about South Africa's street culture!

Hypebeast, an international lifestyle website/magazine, has produced a three-part series about South Africa's street culture scene. By setting a main focus on selected retailers and corner stores such as Area 3, DIP ST., Shelflife, Baseline and more, "Mzansi Style Guide" portrays Braamfontein in Johannesburg and it's vibrant urban street life culture (Ep 1), Cape Town and it's sneaker scene (Ep 2) as well as the local skate scene in the Mother City (Ep 3). Kufos Hypebeast! Enjoy!

"Mzansi Style Guide" Episode 1:
  • adidas Area 3
    Shop 2, Ground Floor 155
    Smit Street, Bramfontein, Johannesburg
  • DIP ST.
    33 De Korte St, Braamfontein, Johannesburg
  • Father Coffee
    73 Juta St., Braamfontein, Johannesburg 
 "Mzansi Style Guide" Episode 2:
  • Shelflife
    167 Longmarket Street, Cape Town
  • PUMA Select concept store
    137 Bree Street, Cape Town
  • Lost Property
    Shop 3, Rheede Street Mall
    Gardens, Cape Town
    "Mzansi Style Guide" Episode 3:
    • Baseline
      Shop 4, Buitenkloof Studios,
      8 Kloof Street, Gardens, Cape Town
    • House of Vans
      23 Boulevard Way, Capricorn Park,
      Muizenberg, Cape Town
    • Corner Store
      103 Sir Lowry Road, Woodstock, Cape Town

    Uganda reduces fee for a single entry visa by half!

    The Government of Uganda has halved the fee for a single entry visa in a move to boost the country's tourism sector. With effect from today (22 July 2016), travellers visiting Uganda only have to pay USD50 instead of USD100 for their visa. According to a press statement issued by Immigration Uganda, all Uganda borders have been notified to effect the change.

    21 July 2016

    Study: South Africa's great white sharks are heading for possible extinction

    update (02 August 2016): The Earth Touch News Network asks: Are South Africa's great white sharks really "dying out"?

    According to a six year study by the Stellenbosch University, South Africa's great white sharks are heading for possible extinction. The study of the country's coastal waters, the largest field research study on South Africa's great white sharks undertaken to date, concluded that only 353 to 522 great white sharks remain. This is 52% fewer than what was estimated in previous studies. The main reasons for the sharp decline in white shark numbers are the impact of shark nets and baited hooks implemented on the eastern seaboard of South Africa. Other contributing factors are poaching, habitat encroachment, pollution and depletion of their food sources.
    The reseachers also found that the South African population of great white sharks is made up of an effective population size of only 333 individuals. The effective population size is the number of individuals in a population who contribute offspring to the next generation.

    Fly Blue Crane to launch flights between Johannesburg <> Mthatha!

    South African budget carrier Fly Blue Crane will launch scheduled services between Johannesburg (OR Tambo or Lanseria?) and Mthatha Airport (UTT) in Mthata on 01 October 2016. The airline will initially operate two flights per day on board a 50-seater Embraer Regional Jet 145 (ERJ) aircraft in a single class configuration.

    SANParks announced the dates for the SA National Parks Week 2016!

    update (30 Aug 2016): South African National Parks (SANParks) will be opening its 11th annual SA National Parks Week, which takes places from 12 to 16 September 2016, at Addo Elephant National Park in the Eastern Cape. Some of the South Africa's National Parks will be extending the week to include the weekend, as indicated below:
    South African National Parks (SANParks) has announced the dates of the South African National Parks Week 2016. The 11th annual SA National Parks Week will take place from 12 to 16 September 2016. During the week, South African day visitors will have free access to most of the 21 National Parks in the country. Only the Namaqua National Park (annual natural flower show will be in full bloom in September) and the Boulders Penguin Colony area in the Table Mountain National Park will be excluded from this year's SANParks' National Parks week.

    It should be noted that free access to parks does not in include free access to accommodation facilities and other tourist activities. The excluded Parks will apply normal entry tariffs.

    20 July 2016

    Ethiopian Airlines adds fourth flight to New York-Newark!

    Ethiopia's flag carrier, Ethiopian Airlines, is set to a add a fourth weekly flight between Addis Ababa Bole International Airport (ADD) in Addis Ababa and Newark Liberty International Airport (EWR) in New York as of 05 August 2016. The airline commenced scheduled thrice weekly flights to Newark Liberty International Airport (EWR) from Addis Ababa on 03 July 2016, via Lomé–Tokoin Airport (LWR) in Lomé, Togo. 
    Newark Liberty International Airport (EWR) is Ethiopian Airlines' 4th gateway in the America's. The airline is currently operates daily nonstop flights from Washington DC to Addis Ababa, three weekly nonstop flights from Toronto to Addis Ababa as well as three weekly flights from Los Angeles to Addis Ababa via Dublin.

    18 July 2016

    The Nelson Mandela Museum in Mthatha reopens today!

    The Nelson Mandela Museum in Mthata in the Eastern Cape has been reopened today after a four-year closure for renovations. The reopening of the museum forms part of the International Mandela Day celebrations to celebrate former state president Nelson Mandela's birthday on 18 July. According to museum spokeswoman Noku-zola Tetani, the upgrade of the Bhunga Building, in which the museum is located, as well as the upgrade of the actual museum cost a total of R54-million.

    The Nelson Mandela Museum in Mthata curates two sites - the actual Nelson Mandela Museum in the Bhunga Building in Mthata and the Nelson Mandela Youth and Heritage Centre in Qunu.

    Timelapse-Video: I AM CAPE TOWN 3 (in 4K)

    Brendon Wainwright, a self taught photographer from Cape Town, has released part three of his stunning "I AM CAPE TOWN" series. Switch the video to fullscreen, put your headphones on, press play and enjoy the incredible timelapse-video about Cape Town! Kudos Brendon!

    15 July 2016

    Namibia travel update: FCO advises travellers to bring a valid yellow fever certificate! (UPDATED)

    update (19 July 2016): The FCO has updated the "entry requirements section" of the Foreign travel advice - Namibia again. According to the current update (18 July 2016), yellow fever vaccination is required for travellers arriving from countries with risk of yellow fever transmission; this includes transiting through a yellow fever risk country.

    According to today's update of the Foreign travel advice - Namibia (15 July 2016) by the Foreign & Commonwealth Office (UK), travellers arriving in Namibia are advised to have a valid yellow fever certificate for inspection by Namibian customs or health authorities. Otherwise travellers could be refused entry to Namibia or get quarantined!

    Video: Five of the best burger joints in Cape Town?!?!

    Burger aficionados, you don't want to miss this video. South Africa's leading restaurant guide, Eat Out, asked Ajax Cape Town's striker Nathan Paulse to test five delicious burgers at five different burger joints in Cape Town. We are pretty sure that at least one of the restaurants will make it onto your Cape Town bucket list, right? Enjoy the video!

    1. Jerry's Burger Bar in Observatory, Kloof, Blouberg, Willowbridge Centre or - comming soon - in Sea Point (Cape Town)
    2. IYO Burger in 103 Bree St., CBD (Cape Town)
    3. Hudsons - The Burger Joint in Gardens, Claremont, Greenpoint (Cape Town), Stellenbosch, Parkhurst (Johannesburg) and Hazelwood (Pretoria)
    4. Franky's Diner in 303 Main Road, Sea Point (Cape Town)
    5. Gibson's Gourmet Burgers & Ribs in Shop 157 Lower Level, V&A Waterfront (Cape Town)
    Capetownians, what is your favourite burger joint in the Mother City? Which burger do you recommend?

    14 July 2016

    Johannesburg: Fastjet extends check-in time!

    Pan-african low cost-carrier Fastjet has announced that in response to long immigration queues at OR Tambo International Airport (JNB) in Johannesburg, the check-in times have been extended for all departures from the airport. Effective immediately, Fastjet's check-in desks are open three hours instead of two houres before scheduled departure. This allows passengers to have one extra hour to check-in, leaving more time for immigration at OR Tambo International Airport (JNB). [src.]

    South Africa's most visited tourist attractions in 2015!

    According to the 2015 Annual Tourism Report, which was released by South African Tourism in June 2016, Cape Town's CBD is the most visited tourist attraction or landmark in South Africa. The V&A Waterfront, the most visited attraction of 2014, comes in second, followed by the Table Mountain Cableway.

    Attractions or landmarks visited by tourist in South Africa 2015:
    1. Cape Town Central City > 883 000 (2015) | 774 000 (2014)
    2. V&A Waterfront > 840 000 (2015) | 918 000 (2014)
    3. Table Mountain Cableway > 722 000 (2015) | 761 000 (2014)
    4. Cape Point > 664 000 (2015) | 718 000 (2014)
    5. The Winelands > 559 000 (2015) | 662 000 (2014)
    6. Robben Island > 317 000 (2015) | 291 000 (2014)
    7. The Garden Route > 284 000 (2015) | 325 000 (2014)
    8. Kruger National Park* > 242 000 (2015) | 246 000 (2014)
    9. Apartheid Museum > 208 000 (2015) | 227 000 (2014)
    10. Durban Beachfront > 208 000 (2015) | 252 000 (2014)
    11. Tour of Soweto > 173 000 (2015) | 157 000 (2014)
    12. Whale Watching > 167 000 (2015) | 192 000 (2014)
    13. Beaches Wild Coast > 148 000 (2015 | 188 000 (2014)
    14. The Karoo Ostrich farms > 144 000 (2015) | 119 000 (2014)
    15. Lion & Rhino Park > 140 000 (2015) | 165 000 (2014)
    16. Cape Town township tours > 134 000 (2015) | 166 000 (2014)
    17. Blyde River Canyon / God's Window > 133 000 (2015) | 157 000 (2014)
    18. Cape Agulhas > 132 000 (2015) | 148 000 (2014)
    19. Cango Caves > 121 000 (2015) | 113 000 (2014)
    20. West Coast > 113 000 (2015) | 91 000 (2014)
    * via Skukuza, Numbi, Malelane & Crocodile Bridge

    13 July 2016

    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 14th consecutive year in the 2016 edition of the Skytrax World Airline Awards. Air Seychelles was named second best airline in Africa, followed by Air Mauritius. South African carrier, Kulula, the low-cost airline subsidiary of British Airways franchise Comair, gained the seventh highest passenger satisfaction ratings, while budget carrier Mango, also from South Africa, came in 8th.
    Kulula was also named Best Low-Cost Airline in Africa 2016, followed by Mango. The category Best Airline Staff Service in Africa 2016 was won by Ethiopian Airlines; the winner of 2015, South African Airways, came in second (Kulula #7, Mango #8).

    The Best Airlines in Africa 2016:
    1. South African Airways (South Africa)
    2. Air Seychelles (Seychelles)
    3. Air Mauritius (Mauritius)
    4. Ethiopian Airlines (Ethiopia)
    5. Kenya Airways (Kenya)
    6. TAAG Angola Airlines (Angola)
    7. Kulula (South Africa)
    8. Mango (South Africa)
    9. Royal Air Maroc (Marocco)
    10. Air Austral (Réunion)
    Best Low-Cost Airlines in Africa 2016:
    1. Kulula (South Africa)
    2. Mango (South Africa)
    3. Fastjet (pan-African)
    4. Jambojet (Kenya)
    5. fly540 (Kenya)
    Best Airline Staff in Africa 2016:
    1. Ethiopian Airlines (Ethiopia)
    2. South African Airways (South Africa)
    3. Royal Air Maroc (Marocco)
    4. Air Seychelles (Seychelles)
    5. Air Mauritius (Mauritius)
    6. Kenya Airways (Kenya)
    7. Kulula (South Africa)
    8. Mango (South Africa)
    9. TAAG Angola Airlines (Angola)
    10. Egyptair (Egypt)
    The Skytrax World Airline Awards 2016 are based on customer responses to a survey which is run over a period of 10 months (August 2015 - May 2016). 19.2 million customer surveys were completed during that period. The survey, which covered over 280 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. 

    12 July 2016

    Condor launched seasonal non-stop service between Munich <> Windhoek!

    German airline Condor has started its new non-stop service from Munich (MUC) to the Namibian capital Windhoek (WDH) on 06 July 2016. During the summer schedule of 2016 (until 26 Oct 2016), the airline will operate one weekly flight on Wednesdays (return flight on Thursdays) between the two destinations. Apart from the new flight from Munich Condor also offers non-stop flight connections every Monday and Friday from Frankfurt (FRA) to Windhoek.
    Other Condor long-haul destinations that have been inaugurated this summer from Munich are Zanzibar (ZNZ) in Tanzania and Mombasa (MBA) in Kenya, operating once a week on Tuesdays.

    11 July 2016

    Eastern Cape: The attractions of Tsitsikamma - Gateway to the Garden Route!

    The Emfuleni Corridor Tourism Association (ECTOUR), an umbrella body of tourism associations from various tourism nodes across South Africa's Eastern Cape, has released a new image video highlighting the various attractions of Tsitsikamma. The region, which sits on a 200m high plateau stretches from the Bloukrans River in the west to the Tsitsikamma River in the east, is bordered on the north by the imposing Tsitsikamma Mountains and in the south by the Indian Ocean.

    07 July 2016

    Uganda has introduced an online visa application system!

    Uganda has introduced an online visa application system (Uganda e-Visa) on 01 July 2016. Anyone intending to visit Uganda for tourism, business, study or other reasons is now required to obtain a visa online. The following types of visa are applicable:
    • multiple-entry visa
    • diplomatic and offical visa
    • ordinary visa
    • East Africa Tourist Visa (multiple entry valid for 90 days to Uganda, Kenya, Rwanda)
    • transit visa
    How to apply online:
    1. Choose visa or permit type
    2. Fill in the application form
    3. Add the required documents
      (see https://visas.immigration.go.ug/#/help/visa)
    4. Submit your online visa application
    If the application gets approved, an approval letter will be sent as an attachment to the email provided by the applicant. This needs to be printed out and be presented together with a valid passport/travel document at the port of entry.

    Through the month of July 2016, it is still possible to get visa on arrival. However, the traveller arriving in Uganda has to go through the new electronic application process at the port of entry. This will only apply during July 2016, after which all visa applications shall be online.

    Uganda e-Visa

    06 July 2016

    Turkish Airlines to introduce direct flights Istanbul <> Cape Town!

    The flag carrier of Turkey, Turkish Airlines, is set to introduce direct flights between Istanbul Atatürk Airport (IST) in Istanbul and Cape Town International Airport (CPT) in Cape Town on 30 October 2016. The airline will operate daily flights to Cape Town on board an Airbus A330.
    Turkish Airlines currently operates flights to Cape Town via OR Tambo International Airport (JNB) in Johannesburg and King Shaka International Airport (DUR) in Durban. As a result of the new nonstop flight to Cape Town, the airline will increase the number of flights between Istanbul and Durban (via Johannesburg) from currently four to five flights a week, effective 31 October 2016.

    05 July 2016

    The 2017/18 Volvo Ocean Race will return to Cape Town!

    update (24 November 2017): Team MAPFRE from Spain just crossed the finishing line! Welcome to Cape Town!

    update (24 November 2017): The first boats will arrive at Cape Town's V & A Waterfront around 16:30 local time!

    update (24 January 2017): The Volvo Ocean Race 2017/18 will begin on 22 October 2017 with Leg 1 – a 700-nautical mile sprint from Alicante in Spain to Lisbon in Portugal. The boats will leave Lisbon for Leg 2 of the race on 05 November 2017 and are expected to arrive in Cape Town in South Africa about three weeks later (approx. 26 November 2017 +/-). The Cape Town In-Port Race will take place on 08 December 2017 and Leg 3 (Cape Town to Hong Kong) will begin two days later on 10 December 2017.

    The Volvo Ocean Race route 2017/18 has been announced - and Cape Town in South Africa will again be one of the cities the famous round-the-world yacht race is going to make a stopover at. The 13th edition of the race will stop in eleven cities on five continents and will last around nine month (approx. 45,000 nautical miles). The 2017/18 Volvo Ocean Race starts from Alicante in Spain with a 700-nautical mile (3-4 days) sprint to Lisbon in Portugal. Leg 2 of the race will lead the yachts from the Portuguese captial over 7000nm (22 days) to Cape Town. From Cape Town the sailors will embark on one of the toughest legs (Cape Town to Hong Kong) in the history of the Ocean race with an expected 32 days at sea and a distance of 11,900nm.
    The departure date of the 2017/18 Volvo Ocean Race has not yet been announced, but it typically departs Europe in October.

    Leg 1: Alicante > Lisbon
    Leg 2: Lisbon > Cape Town
    Leg 3: Cape Town > Melbourne
    Leg 4: Melbourne > Hong Kong > Guangzhou
    Leg 5: Guangzhou > Auckland
    Leg 5: Auckland > Itajai
    Leg 6: Itajai > Newport
    Leg 7: Newport > Cardiff
    Leg 8: Cardiff > Gothenburg
    Leg 9: Gothenburg > The Hague

    Cape Town first appeared on the Volvo Ocean Race route in 1973-74, in the inaugural edition of what was then the Whitbread Round the World Race. The Tavern of the Seas was so far a stopover in 11 ot of 13 editions of the famous round-the-world yacht race.

    Eastern Cape: The attractions of the Sundays River Valley & the Greater Addo Area! (video)

    The Emfuleni Corridor Tourism Association (ECTOUR), an umbrella body of tourism associations from various tourism nodes across South Africa's Eastern Cape, has released a new image video highlighting the various attractions of the Sundays River Valley and the Greater Addo area. The Sundays River Valley is located in the Cacadu District Municipality. It stretches stretches from Addo in the south to Kirkwood further north. The valley is known for its evergreen world of citrus trees (the trees are in full bloom in October and bear fruit all winter) as well as for the world-renowned Addo Elephant National Park, which has the Big 7 in their natural environment within its borders. Enjoy!

    04 July 2016

    South Africa's most punctual domestic airlines in June 2016!

    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 2016.
    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 2016 (airport target 87%)
    1. FlySafair - 94.62% (May 96.20%)
    2. Airlink - 91.21% (May 91.86%)  
    3. South African Airways - 89.18% (May 90.08%)
    4. Kulula.com - 89.00% (May 84.13%)
    5. British Airways Domestic - 87.64% (May 84.33%)
    6. Fly Blue Crane Aviation - 86.76% (May 93.94%) 
    7. CemAir - 83.23% (May 84.24%)
    8. Mango - 81.53% (May 85.48%)
    9. SA Express - 76.34% (May 74.35%) 
    Cape Town International Airport - 15 Min on Time Performance June 2016 (airport target 90%)
    1. FlySafair - 94.76% (May 98.66%) 
    2. Airlink - 90.65% (May 90.90%)
    3. South African Airways - 89.48% (May 93.29%)
    4. British Airways Domestic - 86.37% (May 88.76%)
    5. Kulula.com - 84.79% (May 88.46%)
    6. SA Express - 83.73% (May 73.11%) 
    7. Mango - 79.98% (May 88.59%)   
    8. CemAir - 76.92% (May 84.38%)
    9. Fly Blue Crane Aviation - 76.32% (May 83.33%) 
    King Shaka International Airport, Durban - 15 Min on Time Performance June 2016 (airport target 91%)
    1. FlySafair - 99.07% (May 99.10%)
    2. Airlink - 93.70% (May 94.57%)  
    3. South African Airways - 91.06% (May 93.09%) 
    4. Kulula.com - 88.64% (May 85.99%)
    5. Mango - 85.04% (May 87.85%)
    6. British Airways Domestic - 84.83% (May 81.21%)   
    7. SA Express - 79.49% (May 77.60%)