30 November 2016

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

Zambia: Proflight Zambia to launch flights between Lusaka <> Kalabo!

Proflight Zambia, the operator of the largest fleet of aircraft in Zambia, has announced the introduction of a direct scheduled service between Kenneth Kaunda International Airport (LUN) in Lusaka and Kalabo Airport (KLB) in Kalabo in Zambia's Western Province. Commencing on 15 March 2017, the new route will be operated twice weekly from April - June and from October - December on Wednesday and Saturday mornings by a Cessna Caravan with a capacity of eight passengers.
Kalabo is a small town and administrative district in the Western Province of
Zambia, on the plains west of the Zambezi River and the Barotse Floodplain. It is located about 70km from the border with Angola and 70km from the capital of the Western Provice, Mongu. Kalabo is ideal for accessing Liuwa Plain National Park, the upper Zambezi and surrounding areas in Mongu.
  • Lusaka 08:15 > 10:45 Kalabo
  • Kalabo 11:05 > 13:35 Lusaka
Liuwa Plain National Park, which covers about 3660km², hosts the second largest (blue) wildebeest migration in Africa. The remote National Park is also home to other unusual antelope such as oribi, red lechwe, steinbuck, duiker, tsessebe and roan. Jackals, servals, wildcats, wild dogs as well as lions and hyenas are the predators of the Liuwa Plain National Park. The National Park also supports globally important bird populations, with at least more than 330 bird species recorded.

29 November 2016

SANParks removes five redundant man made water point structures in Kruger National Park!

South African National Parks (SANParks) in conjunction with the South African National Defence Force (SANDF) has begun to demolish five redundant artificial water structures found in the northern and central areas of Kruger National Park as part of a long term rehabilitation program on 27 November 2016. The removal is planned to be finished by 09 December 2016. Explosives will be used to demolish these structures; after which the rubble will be removed and re-used as part of the rehabilitation process.

Structures scheduled for the operation include:

  • Sirheni Dam – it was breached by the 2012 floods and partially demolished in October 2015 but work was not completed
  • Langtoon Dam  – in the Vlakteplaas Ranger Section, this was breached in 2008
  • Ngotso and Bangu Weirs – along the S89 and the old main road S90 in the Houtboschrand Ranger section
  • Gudzani north windmill located along the S90 and S41 roads also in the Houtboschrand Ranger Section
The following safety measures will be put in place during the operation:
  • The area around the targeted structures will be cleared to ensure animals and human are safe
  • All roads in the areas will also be temporarily closed
  • Working on Fire, SANDF and Ranger teams will be on standby to extinguish any wild fire that might arise
  • An aerial flight will be dispatched to the area immediately prior to detonation to ensure that no tourists may be in the vicinity of the targeted structure
SANParks has been closing artificial water points in Kruger National Park for the past eight years, with the last being that of Sirheni in October 2015.

Artificial water holes where water did not naturally occur have led to numerous ecological problems such as erosion and other environmental degradation. This also resulted in a negative consequence for the rare herbivore species such as roan and sable antelope, increasing grazing competition by the more abundant herbivores. Conservation management has taken steps to rectify these negative consequences by closing and demolishing certain artificial water holes. To enhance tourist experience, alternative game viewing opportunities will be provided at areas of naturally occurring surface water. [src.: SANParks]

28 November 2016

Fastjet to suspend three routes!

update (29 Nov 2016): Contrary to their posting on Facebook, Fastjet only suspended three and NOT four routes from 05 December 2016 - Dar es Salaam in Tanzania <> Entebbe in Uganda, Dar es Salaam <> Nairobi in Kenya, as well as Victoria Falls in Zimbabwe <> Johannesburg in South Africa.

Pan-African low-cost carrier fastjet is set to suspend four of its services from 05 December 2016. They are Johannesburg <> Victoria Falls, Dar es Salaam <> Entebbe, Kilimanjaro <> Entebbe and Dar es Salaam <> Nairobi.
Passengers who have already booked and paid for affected flights will get refunded by Fastjet. Those on flights from
Johannesburg to Victoria Falls will be offered an alternative routing via Harare.
According to a statement by the airline, the suspended routes were not commercially viable due to low passenger demand and the inefficient use of aircraft. Fastjet also replied to a post by an affected passenger on facebook saying that "this suspension of the routes is part of our ongoing turnaround program in pursuit of long term sustainable financial structures for our businesses in Tanzania and Zimbabwe".

25 November 2016

Namibia: New rhino and elephant poaching figures!

According to the latest figures released by the Ministry of Environment and Tourism (MET), Namibia has lost at least 47 rhinos to illegal poaching since January 2016. During the same period of time, at least 69 elephants got killed by poachers. These illegal killings mainly happened in the Zambezi region and the Kavango region, while most rhinos were poached in Etosha National Park

Poachers have killed about 10% of Namibia's rhinos in recent years - one rhino was recorded poached in 2011, two in 2012, four in 2013, 24 in 2014 and 127 in 2015. Out of the 201 rhinos killed by poachers since 2011, 184 were black rhinos and 17 were white rhinos. 137 black rhinos and eleven white rhinos were killed in Etosha National Park, 40 black rhinos got slaughtered in conservancies and six white rhinos as well as seven black rhinos on private land.

Air Namibia to increase flights between Windhoek <> Frankfurt!

The flag carrier of Namibia, Air Namibia, is set to increase flights between Hosea Kutako International Airport (WDH) in Windhoek and Frankfurt Airport (FRA) in Frankfurt. From 26 March 2017, the airline will operate seven flights per week instead of the current six flights per week to Frankfurt. Previously Air Namibia operated six flights per week from July to November each year and seven flights per week from December to June. This will change in March 2017 when the seven flights per week will become a year-round service. 

Air France to introduce direct, year-round flights between Paris <> Cape Town!

The flag carrier of France, Air France, will extend the direct flight service between Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport (CDG) in Paris and Cape Town International Airport (CPT) in Cape Town from a seasonal offering (Northern summer only) to a year-round service. From 27 March 2017, 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 A330-200 with 40 seats in business class, 21 in premium economy and 147 in economy, and a Boeing 777-200 with 35 seats in business class, 24 in premium economy and 250 in economy class. 

24 November 2016

Turkish Airlines to temporarily reduce flights between Istanbul <> Cape Town in 2017!

Turkey's flag carrier, Turkish Airlines, will temporarily reduce its service between Istanbul Atatürk Airport (IST) in Istanbul and Cape Town International Airport (CPT) in Cape Town during the Northern summer 2017. From 25 March 2017 until 28 October 2017, the airline will operate five weekly flights instead of the current seven weekly flights to Cape Town. Turkish Airlines will also plans to change the operational aircraft from an Airbus A330-300 to an Airbus A330-200 from 30 May 2017.

Ethiopian Airlines to introduce flights between Addis Ababa <> Victoria Falls!

Ethiopia's flag carrier, Ethiopian Airlines, is set to introduce scheduled flights between Addis Ababa Bole International Airport (ADD) in Addis Ababa and the newly refurbished Victoria Falls International Airport (VFA) in Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe. The airline will launch flights to the resort town in March or April on 26 March 2017. Ethiopian Airlines will operate either an Airbus 350 or a Boeing 787 on the new route.

23 November 2016

Escapee Sylvester a step closer to become the King of Addo!

update (24 Jan 2017): Sylvester, South Africa's most talked about lion, his coalition partner, the younger male he has been bonding with in the boma since May 2016 and in the 200 hectares enclosure since November 2016, as well as the two lionesses the two lions had been in the enclosure with, have been succesfully released into the Kuzuko contractual area (15000 hectares) in Addo Elephant National Park'.

South Africa's most famous lion was moved out of the holding boma in Addo Elephant National Park's Kuzuko contractual area into a larger 200ha enclosure. The lion, nicknamed "Sylvester", got relocated into the boma from Karoo National Park at the end of May 2016.
Sylvester and his coalition partner, the younger male he's been bonding with in the boma since May 2016, joined up with the two females on the
enclosure. According to South African National Parks (SANParks) spokesperson Fayroush Ludick, the decision to let the two male lions out was based on Addo Elephant National Park management's opinion that the two had settled and bonded sufficiently in order to start a new coalition and lead Kuzuko's pride in future. Addo Elephant National Park's management will monitor the situation over the next days and weeks, paying particular attention to their social interaction, before making a decision about when to release the four lions into the entire 15 000 hectares of Kuzuko.
Sylvester gained popularity when he first escaped from
Karoo National Park in June 2015, and managed to evade capture for over three weeks. He was then fitted with a combination satellite/VHF collar to find his location should he manage to get out again. This collar then alerted authorities on 28 March 2016 that the lion had once again left the park's boundary, and played a big role in tracking him and returning him back to the park much quicker – three days later on 31 March 2016.

22 November 2016

Rwandair to introduce second direct service between Kigali <> Johannesburg!

The flag carrier of Rwanda, Rwandair, is set to introduce a second flight between Kigali International Airport (KGL) in Kigali and OR Tambo International Airport (JNB) in Johannesburg on 16 January 2016. The new flight, which will be in addition to the current daily service, will be operated daily except for Tuesdays and Thursdays.

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Eat Out names South Africa's best restaurants 2016!

South Africa's leading restaurant guide, Eat Out, has named the winners of the 2016 Eat Out Mercedes-Benz Restaurant Awards. For the fifth year in a row, the country's Restaurant of the Year is The Test Kitchen in Cape Town. According to this year's awards, the Western Cape is again the South Africa's foodie paradise with nine out of the top ten restaurants being based in Cape Town (3), Franschhoek (3), Somerset West (2) and  Stellenbosch (1). Congrats everyone! 

The Top 10 restaurants 2016:
  1. The Test Kitchen (Woodstock, Cape Town)
  2. La Colombe (Constantia, Cape Town)
  3. The Restaurant at Waterkloof (Somerset West)
  4. The Tasting Room at Le Quartier Français (Franschhoek)
  5. Restaurant Mosaic at The Orient (Elandsfontein, Pretoria)
  6. Overture (Stellenbosch)
  7. Greenhouse at The Cellars-Hohenort Hotel (Constantia, Cape Town)
  8. The Kitchen at Maison (Franschhoek)
  9. Foliage (Franschhoek)
  10. Camphors at Vergelegen (Somerset West)
Eat Out S.Pellegrino & Acqua Panna Chef of the Year: Gregory Czarnecki of The Restaurant at Waterkloof
Eat Out Nespresso Service Excellence Award: La Colombe
Eat Out Nederburg Rising Star: Angelo Scirocco of Urbanologi (Johannesburg)
Eat Out Retail Capital New Restaurant of the Year: Foxcroft (
Cape Town) 

Eat Out Wine Service Award: Tinashe Nyamudoka of The Test Kitchen
Eat Out Lannice Snyman Lifetime Achievement Award: Peter Veldsman
Eat Out Boschendal Style Award: Marble

Eat Out John Psillos Award for Outstanding Contribution to Service: Jennifer Hugé of
La Colombe
Eat Out Woolworths Sustainability Award: The Table at De Meye (Stellenbosch)
Woolworths TASTE Eat Out Bursary winner: Ayanda Matomela

17 November 2016

Air Botswana suspended flights to Harare and Lusaka!

The state-owned national flag carrier of Botswana, Air Botswana, has suspended scheduled flights between Gaborone and Harare (Zimbabwe) as well as between Gaborone and Lusaka (Zambia) on 12 and 13 November 2016 respectivley. In addition, the airline canceled its Monday service between Gaborone and Kasane on 14 November 2016. According to the press release, this rationalization is part of Air Botswana's "plans to enhance schedule integrity and improve customer experience without compromising the airline's commercial viability".

16 November 2016

Kenya Airways & Jet Airways expand their existing codeshare agreement!

Kenya's flag carrier, Kenya Airways, and India's second largest airline, Jet Airways, have expanded their existing codeshare agreement on 15 November 2016. Under the expanded agreement, Kenya Airways places its flight code (KQ) on Jet Airways' domestic flights between Mumbai (BOM), New Delhi (DEL), Ahmedabad (AMD) and Hyderabad (HYD).
existing codeshare agreement continues to include Jet Airways' code (9W) on Kenya Airways' double daily flights on the Mumbai Nairobi route, allowing Jet Airways' guests to connect to other onward destinations in Africa.

15 November 2016

South Africa: Kulula named "Best Low Fare Carrier Middle East/Africa 2017"!

South African carrier Kulula was named "Best Low Fare Carrier Middle East/Africa" for the third year in a row in AirlineRatings.com's 2017 Airline Excellence Awards. Congratulations, Kulula! The AirlineRatings.com Airline Excellence Awards program combines four major international industry and government audits, with another nine key criteria that include: fleet age, passenger review ratings, profitability, investment rating and key product offerings.
Airlineratings is an Australia-based global airline rating agency. Kulula is a South African low-cost carrier owned by Comair, which also operates flights as a franchisee of British Airways. The arline operates domestic flights within South Africa and serves the following destinations: Johannesburg, Cape Town, Durban, East London, Port Elizabeth and George. Through Kulula's codeshare agreement with Kenya Airways, the airline also offers flights to Nairobi (Kenya).

14 November 2016

Al Jazeera: South African minister linked to illegal rhino horn trade! (Video)

According to an exclusive report by the Al Jazeera's Investigative Unit, South Africa's Minister of State Security David Mahlobo is involved in illegal rhino horn trade. The reporters also discovered that members of the Chinese President's delegation went on an illegal spending spree in South Africa to buy ivory and rhino horn and smuggled the products back to China. 

11 November 2016

Namibia: No fuel available in Etosha National Park!

update (15 November 2016): The "Allgemeine Zeitung" reports in today's online edition, that fuel (550 ppm only) is available again at Etosha's Okaukuejo Camp.

According to Namibian newspaper "Allgemeine Zeitung", all three fuel stations inside Etosha National Park are currently out of fuel. The newspaper cites Namibia Wildlife Resorts' (NWR) spokesperson Mufaro Nesongano saying that problems with the fuel pumps at Okaukuejo Camp, Halali Camp and Namutoni Camp (all three camps are managed by NWR) caused the unavailability. Travellers visiting Etosha National Park are advised to refuel their vehicles in Outjo, Otavi or Tsumeb. [src.]

iSimangaliso Wetland Park to introduce new gate access system!

South Africa's first UNESCO World Heritage Site, the iSimangaliso Wetland Park in KwaZulu Natal, is set to introduce new gate access procedures. The Park's new system will become operational on 01 December 2016 at Bhangazi Gate, Dukukudu Gate, Nhlozi Gate, eMshophi Gate, Ophansi Gate and Sodwana Gate.
The new gate system will automate some of the current manual systems and assist with security in
iSimangaliso Wetland Park. The new features include:

10 November 2016

Namibia: Windhoek to introduce a new modern bus system!

update (22 Nov 2016): The new modern bus system in Windhoek ("Move Windhoek") has been suspended with immediate effect due to "some operational challenges that the City is currently addressing".

The City of Windhoek is set to introduce a new modern bus system on 14 November 2016, which will replace the old bus routes (direct buses). The new bus system (Move Windhoek bus lines) will consist of 14 bus lines that will provide a frequent bus service between Windhoek's suburbs, such as Katutura, Goreagab, Havana, Okahandja Park, Kabila and Otjomuise, and the City Centre, as well as between the surrounding suburbs, such as Auasblick, Rocky Crest and others, and the City Centre. In addition, the City of Windhoek will also introduce local bus lines operating between Soweto Market and Wernhill Park, from Goreagab and Otjomuise and from Wernhill Park to Eros, Klein Windhoek and Avis as well as from Wernhill Park to Olympia, Suiderhof and Auasblick.
During the transition period, officials will be at all key bus stops in Katutura during the morning hours to direct customers to the relevant busses. Customers can interchange from one bus line into another at Wernhill transit facility in
Windhoek's City Centre without paying again; therefore customers are required to retain their receipts as proof of payment. (via City of Windhoek media briefing dated 28 October 2016)
Tickets cost 6 NAD per person (cash) and 5 NAD per person if you are using the MoveWindhoek Smart Card.

Ethiopian Airlines to increase flights to Cape Town!

The flag carrier of Ethiopia and currently the fastest growing airline in Africa, Ethiopian Airlines, is set to increase the flight frequency to Cape Town. Effective 01 December 2016, the airline will operate 10 weekly flights between its main hub at Addis Ababa Bole International Airport (ADD) in Addis Ababa and Cape Town International Airport (CPT). Ethiopian Airlines currently flies to three cities in South Africa namely: Durban, Johannesburg and Cape Town.

Zimbabwe: Date of the official launch of the upgraded Victoria Falls International Airport has been announced!

The newly upgraded Victoria Falls International Airport (VFA), located about 20km south of the town of Victoria Falls in Zimbabwe, will be officially opened on 18 November 2016. The airport underwent massive modernization, renovation, and expansion works that took about 36 month. The upgrade of the airport was done in two phases:

Phase one:

  • construction of a new terminal building
  • construction of a new 4km runway
  • conversion of the existing 2.2km runway into a taxi way
  • construction of a new road network
  • construction of a new car park
  • construction of a new fire station
  • construction pf a new control tower
Phase two:
  • renovation and conversion of the old terminal building into a fully-fledged domestic terminal
Parts of Victoria Falls International Airport (VFA), such as the international terminal, the new runway and the new control tower became already operational in December 2016. The Civil Aviation Authority of Zimbabwe (CAAZ) initially planned the offical commission the airport to take place in May 2016 (and before that at various dates in 2015), but had to postpone the date due to delays in construction.
The work to upgrade
Victoria Falls International Airport (VFA) began in 2013 and was financed through the ExIm Bank of China.

08 November 2016

Rwanda: Rwandair to launch flights to the USA in 2017!

Rwanda's national carrier, Rwandair, just confirmed on twitter that it is planning to introduce flights between Kigali International Airport (KGL) in Kigali and the USA in 2017. According to news reports in Rwanda, the airline will enter the US market with a route to New York. Rwandair also plans to acquire another Airbus A350 XWB wide-body plane for it's flights between Kigali and New York.

Rwandair currently operates flights to 19 destinations and is planning to launch services to London-Gatwick in the UK (in 2017), Mumbai in India, Conakry in Guinea, Bamako in Mali, as well as to Dakar in Senegal, Harare in Zimbabwe, Lilongwe in Malawi and Durban in South Africa.

South Africa's most punctual domestic airlines in October 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 October 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 October 2016 (airport target 87%)
  1. FlySafair - 95.59% (September 91.93%)
  2. Airlink - 87.75% (September 88.87%)
  3. South African Airways - 84.16% (September 86.39%)
  4. CemAir - 83.73% (September 86.86%)
  5. Fly Blue Crane Aviation - 83.52% (September 92.19%)
  6. Kulula.com - 82.53% (September 83.78%)
  7. British Airways Domestic - 82.49% (September 84.47%)
  8. Mango - 80.26% (September 85.23%)
  9. SA Express - 70.83% (September 71.78%)
Cape Town International Airport - 15 Min on Time Performance October 2016 (airport target 90%)
  1. FlySafair - 96.96% (September 94.46%)  
  2. CemAir - 90.38% (September 88.46%) 
  3. Airlink - 87.96% (September 90.96%) 
  4. Kulula.com - 84.76% (September 87.21%)
  5. South African Airways - 83.83% (September 87.57%)
  6. Mango - 83.56% (September 89.02%)
  7. British Airways Domestic - 83.17% (September 84.44%)
  8. SA Express - 83.16% (September 87.75%)
  9. Fly Blue Crane Aviation - 72.73% (September 77.50%)
King Shaka International Airport, Durban - 15 Min on Time Performance October 2016 (airport target 91%)
  1. FlySafair - 96.46% (September 97.22%)
  2. South African Airways - 90.65% (September 93.30%)
  3. Mango - 86.58% (September 91.73%) 
  4. Kulula.com - 84.22% (September 89.27%)
  5. Airlink - 83.27% (September 90.81%)
  6. British Airways Domestic - 80.16% (September 84.26%)   
  7. SA Express - 74.84% (September 85.41%)