31 May 2017

Kruger National Park Calendar - July

  • warm to cool days
  • cold nights & chilly mornings
  • occasional winds
  • occasional patches of hot weather
  • almost no rain

  • Water becomes scarce throughout the park
  • bush is very dry; almost no leaf cover
  • strange-smelling "potato bush" begins flowering
Animal Activity:
  • Game increasingly concentrated around water
  • game spotting usually very good in the South of the park
  • north of the park dominated by elephants
  • resident raptors breeding
  • many weaker aninmals taken by predators

Kenya launched a new railway between Nairobi <> Mombasa!

update (02 June 2017):  The Madaraka Express train service between Nairobi and Mombasa is currently operational with one train leaving Mombasa and another leaving Nairobi as below:
This is an express service with the train only stopping at Mtito Andei Intermediate station. Tickets are on sale at the Mombasa Terminus and the Nairobi Terminus. Travelers can buy tickets by cash or through the debit/credit cards. 

Kenya has launched a new railway between Nairobi and the coastal city of Mombasa. The 472km Mombasa–Nairobi Standard Gauge Railway (SGR) is the country's biggest infrastructure project since independence. The passenger service named Madaraka Express operates three passenger trains between Nairobi and Mombasa: two Intercity Trains and one County Train. The Intercity Trains are express train between Nairobi and Mombasa while the County Train makes stops at the Intermediate Stations (Mariakani, Maisenyi, Voi, Mtito Andei, Kibwezi, Emali and Athi River).

An economy class ticket for the Madaraka Express costs Sh900 ($8.5; £6.7; €7.6), while a  business class ticket is Sh3,000 ($28.5; £22.2; €25.6).
The Intercity Trains offer 1,200 seats per train and are operating at a maximum speed of 120 km/h. The travelling time between
Nairobi and Mombasa is four hours and 30 minutes (bus: nine hours; previous railway: twelve hours). The County Train has the same seat capacity and is scheduled to have a travelling time of about five hours and 30 minutes.

29 May 2017

Namibia: Donkey Bay received it's first good waves for the year! (drone video)

Donkey Bay (or Skeleton Bay), located just outside of Walvis Bay on your way out to Pelican Point and actually not too far from Swakopmund, is known for having one of the world's best waves to surf. The Bay received it's first good waves for the year some days ago, so Bernt Bruns, a local from Swakopmund, took his drone up in the sky and filmed the video below... Stunning! Kudos Bernt!

The wave at Skeleton Bay was kown to Namibian surfers for many years, but only became internationally acclaimed when American surfer Brian Gable submitted the spot as an entry to Surfing Magazine's "Google Earth Challenge 2" competition in 2007.

26 May 2017

Drone Video: "My Durban"!

Check out Brad Hunter's drone video of Durban through which he wants us "to explore Durban, its heritage, passion, people, culture and vibe. Fall in love with it - as I have - immerse yourself in it". Kudos Brad! Switch the video to fullscreen, put your headphones on, turn up the volume, lean back and enjoy Durban from a bird's perspective! 

South Africa: Construction work at Mokala National Park in June/July 2017!

South African National Parks (SANParks) is set to upgrade the last three non-self catering units to self-catering in Mokala National Park. The construction work will start on 12 June 2017 and is planed to be finished by 15 July 2017.

Mokala National Park is SANParks' newest Park. It is situated approximately 70km south-southwest of Kimberley, and west of the N12 freeway to Cape Town. Nestled in the hills, landscape of the National Park boasts a variety of koppieveld (hills) and large open plains.

Cape Town: Museum Night returns to the V&A Waterfront!

The Museum Night returns to Cape Town's V&A Waterfront with two editions in 2017. The first event will take place on 28 June 2017; the second Museum Night will follow later in the year. The museums at the V&A Waterfront will be open from 17:00 until 22:00. Most museum sites offer free admission to the public, with the Two Oceans Aquarium offering half price tickets on the night.


The participating museums include Chavonnes Battery Museum, Robben Island Jetty Museum, Iziko Maritime Centre, and the Springbok Experience Rugby Museum,
amongst other sites. The Zeitz Museum of Contemporary Art Africa (MOCAA), which opens to the public in September 2017, will host a programme outside the museum building. More information will be made available closer to the event - we'll keep you posted!

23 May 2017

Cape Town: The revamped Iziko Planetarium and Digital Dome set to reopen!

The revamped Iziko Planetarium and Digital Dome in Cape Town is set to open it's doors to the public on 27 May 2017. The Planetarium, which is located at the Iziko South African Museum in Queen Victoria Street (Gardens), underwent a major digital upgrade since July 2017 and is now a world-class digital fulldome high res 3D-theatre with multiple functionality. It provides unequalled edu-tainment, making virtual travel to explore the universe, the depths of the oceans, the inner working of the human body, the intricacies of atomic and chemical structures possible, or just providing animation and 360° cinema for sheer entertainment. [src.]

Tickets for the re-opening of the Iziko Planetarium and Digital Dome can be purchased at the door and members of the public are encouraged to arrive early on opening day to secure a seat. Seating for each show is limited to 140 visitors.

New image video: The Kruger Lowveld 2017!

Kruger Lowveld Tourism has released the new 2017 image video for the Kruger Lowveld. The region is located in South Africa's Mpumalanga Province and is bordered by the towns of Komatipoort in the east, Lydenburg/Mashishing in the west, Barberton in the south and Hoedspruit in the north. Other well-known towns and places of interest in the Kruger Lowveld include Sabie, Graskop, Pilgrim's Rest, Hazyview, Nelspruit/Mbombela, as well as the Kruger National Park, the Panorama Route and the Barberton Makhonjwa Geotrail. Enjoy!

Oudtshoorn: Two major ostrich show farms stopped ostrich rides!

Two major ostrich farms in the Oudtshoorn area, the Cango Ostrich Farm and the Safari Ostrich Show Farm, have stopped offering ostrich rides. According to statements on their websites, both farms recognise a trend towards a more ethical interaction with animals and decided therefore to stop the sitting and riding of their ostriches. Two other ostrich show farms in the Oudtshoorn area, the Highgate Ostrich Show Farm and the Chandelier Game Lodge & Ostrich Show Farm, are sticking to the feature and are still offering ostrich rides.

Oudtshoorn, known to be the "ostrich capital of the world", is located in the Klein Karoo region of South Africa's Western Cape. The town is home to the world's largest ostrich population.

19 May 2017

Video: Cape Town - Helicopter Flight in 4K!

Dutch independent travel videographer Jeroen Schrage travelled through South Africa a short while a ago. While visiting Cape Town, he went on a helicopter flight and shot this stunning aerial video of the Mother City. Switch the video to full screan, put your headset on, turn the volume up, lean back and enjoy the beauty of Cape Town! Kudos Jeroen!

Namibia: Limited fuel supply at /Ai-/Ais Hot Springs Spa & Resort!

update (19 May 2017): We just got the info from Namibia Wildlife Resorts (NWR) that the situation went to normal now!

According to a press release by Namibia Wildlife Resorts (NWR), fuel suppy at the /Ai-/Ais Hot Springs Spa & Resort in the /Ai-/Ais-Richtersveld Transfrontier Park is currently limited [experiencing challenges].

The /Ai-/Ais Hot Springs Spa & Resort is located at the base of the mountain peaks at the southern end of
Fish River Canyon in the Karas Region of southern Namibia.

The |Ai-|Ais/Richtersveld Transfrontier Park is a Peace Park located on the border between South Africa and Namibia. The park was formed in 2003 by combining the |Ai-|Ais/ Hot Springs Game Park in Namibia and the Richtersveld National Park in South Africa.

18 May 2017

Kruger National Park advises visitors to take malaria precautions!

South African National Parks (SANParks) advises the public to take precautionary measures against Malaria before visiting Kruger National Park. Due to the heavy rain received this year, there are pools of water in abundance everywhere and the Park is experiencing Malaria cases especially in the northern part. Although classified as a low risk area, Kruger National Park is situated in a malaria area.
SANParks Acting Head of Communications, William Mabasa, said in a statement issued today:

"Malaria seems to be on the brink of an outbreak lately despite the fact that we almost in winter now with some of the country’s provinces reporting hundreds of people who have been admitted and tested positive for the disease in hospitals. We therefore would like to advise visitors to take the necessary precautions which include the use of prophylaxes and vaccinations in consultation with their doctors to prevent the possibility of contracting Malaria as Kruger National Park is known to be one of the Malaria endemic areas in this country." [src.]
He further said that 
"although Malaria can be contracted at any time of the year the Malaria season in this country is October to April, with March and April the highest risk period; however this year seems to be slightly different. With winter approaching, mosquitoes which are carriers of the parasite causing Malaria, should begin to hibernate and the situation shall possibly improve." [src.]
There are medical doctors permanently based at Skukuza Rest Camp. The public can also consult them for information and advice prior to their visit to the Kruger National Park on telephone number +27 735 5638.

17 May 2017

EU Air Safety List: Good news for Mozambique, bad news for Zimbabwe and Angola!

The European Commission has updated the EU Air Safety List (16 May 2017), the list of non-European airlines that do not meet international safety standards, and are therefore subject to an operating ban or operational restrictions within the European Union. According to the list, a total of 181 airlines are banned from EU skies. Among these banned airlines are the flag carrier of Zimbabwe, Air Zimbabwe, and the flag carrier of Angola, TAAG Angola Airlines. While Air Zimbabwe is now fully banned from entering EU skies due to unaddressed safety deficiencies that were detected by the European Aviation Safety Agency during the assessment for a third country operator authorisation, TAAG remains one of the six airlines worldwide that are only allowed to fly to the EU with specific aircraft types. The good news that came with the update of the EU Air Safety List is that all airlines certified in Mozambique are now cleared from the list and are therefore not banned from entering EU skies anymore.

16 May 2017

Cape Town: Free entrance to Iziko Museums on 18 May 2017!

The International Museum Day (IMD) is taking place worldwide on 18 May 2017. To celebrate the occasion, visitors will have free entrance to all Iziko Museums in Cape Town (except for the Groot Constantia Estate). The Iziko Planetarium in Cape Town will not be open to the public on International Museum Day this year, but visitors can look forward to the re-launch. Doors to the revamped Iziko Planetarium and Digital Dome are set to re-open later this month.

Namibia: NWR currently upgrades the Terrace Bay Resort and the restaurant of the Okaukuejo Resort!

Namibia Wildlife Resorts (NWR) is currently upgrading the Terrace Bay Resort in the Skeleton Coast National Park and the restaurant of the Okaukuejo Resort in the famous Etosha National Park. According to the NWR, these upgrades will in no way hamper the resorts' daily operations.

In Terrace Bay, the renovations are meant to improve the rooms with the sole aim of boosting guest experience. The facelift is currently at an advanced stage and all rooms should be completed in the coming week (week 21).
Okaukuejo, NWR felt the need to give it a facelift considering that the last time it was renovated was more than 10 years ago.

South Africa: The world's widest Baobab has collapsed!

The famous Sunland "Big Baobab" in Modjadjiskloof in South Africa's Limpopo Province, known to be the widest of its species in the world, has topped over on 13 April 2017. The Baobab, which is carbon dated to be well over 1 700 years old, used to be 22 meters high and 47 meters in circumference. The trunk diameter was 10.64 meters and the crown diameter was 30.2 meters. Baobabs begin to hollow inside from a certain age and so did the "Big Baoboab". The owners of the farm the tree stands on cleared out the hollow centre of the tree and opened up the world famous "Baobab Tree Bar" inside the "Big Baobab" in 1993. The bar is now missing it's roof.

15 May 2017

Pretoria: Free entrance to three Museums (15 - 21 May 2017)!

The International Museum Day (IMD) is taking place worldwide on 18 May 2017. To celebrate the occasion, visitors to the Pretoria Art Museum (Arcadia, Pretoria), the Melrose House Museum (Central Pretoria) and the Fort Klapperkop Heritage Site (Groenkloof, Pretoria) will have free entrance between 15 May 2017 and 21 May 2017.
  • Pretoria Art Museum
    Corner of Francis Baard and Wessels Streets, Arcadia Park, Arcadia
    Open to the public on Tuesdays to Sundays, 10:00 to 17:00
    Tel: 012 358 6750
  • Melrose House Museum
    280 Scheiding Street, Central Pretoria
    Open to the public on Tuesdays to Sundays, 10:00 to 17:00
    Tel: 012 322 0420
  • Fort Klapperkop Heritage Site
    Johan Rissik Drive, Groenkloof
    Open to the public on Tuesdays to Sundays, 10:00 to 17:00
    Tel: 012 346 7703

Proflight Zambia launched flights between Lusaka <> Kalabo (Liuwa Plains)!

Proflight Zambia, the operator of the largest fleet of aircraft in Zambia, has launched a new service between Kenneth Kaunda International Airport (LUN) in Lusaka and Kalabo Airport (KLB) in Kalabo in Zambia's Western Province. The new route will be operated twice weekly on Wednesday and Saturday mornings by a Cessna Caravan with a capacity of eight passengers and aims to service the new King Lewanika Lodge in the Liuwa Plains National Park.

12 May 2017

Victoria Falls: The high water rafting season 2017 has started!

The Zambezi River water levels are dropping so fast that rafting on the mighty river is possible again. After a super short high water closure (since 02 April 2017), high water rafting trips from Victoria Falls (Zimbabwe) and Livingstone (Zambia) are now running again from Rapid #15 to Rapid #24. Enjoy!

Lufthansa to increase flights Frankfurt <> Cape Town during the Northern winter 2017/18!

Germany's flag carrier Lufthansa is set to expand its service between Frankfurt Airport (FRA) in Frankfurt and Cape Town International Airport (CPT) in Cape Town in the Northern winter season 2017/18. From 29 October 2017, the airline will operate five flights per week on the route. During the Northern winter season 2016/17, Lufthansa operated three weekly flights (four flights per week during the holiday period) between Frankfurt and Cape Town.


Edelweiss Air to increase its seasonal non-stop service Zürich <> Cape Town!

Swiss airline Edelweiss Air is set to increase its seasonal non-stop schedule between Zürich and Cape Town from two to three weekly frequencies from 27 Novemebr 2017. The new flight is scheduled to operate on Mondays from Zürich Airport (ZRH) and on Tuesdays from Cape Town International Airport (CPT). Edelweiss Air operates an Airbus A340-300 aircraft on the route.

10 May 2017

South Africa: Malaria alert May 2017 (via NICD)

update (02 June 2017): South Africa's National Institute for Communicable Diseases (NICD) has released an update regarding the current malaria situation in  South Africa [read more]

update (24 May 2017): South Africa's National Institute for Communicable Diseases (NICD) has released an update regarding the current malaria situation in Mpumalanga and Limpopo! [read more]

update (12 May 2017): South Africa's National Institute for Communicable Diseases (NICD) has released an update regarding the current malaria situation in Mpumalanga and Limpopo! [read more]

According to South Africa's National Institute for Communicable Diseases (NICD), the country has seen an increase in the number of malaria cases over the past few weeks. Due to a rise in ambient temperature, rainfall and humidity, the number of malaria cases in South Africa in the 2016/17 season are notably higher than in the previous 2015/16 season. South Africa's neighbouring countries are experiencing a similar trend of rising cases due to similar weather patterns. Significant malaria transmission has been reported in Mozambique, Zambia, Zimbabwe and Malawi as well as in parts of Botswana and Namibia. However, no increase in the number of cases was reported in Swaziland.
  • Malaria cases in South Africa 2016/17: 9478 reported malaria cases, of which 5177 were imported cases (76 casualties)
  • Malaria cases in South Africa 2015/16: 6375 reported malaria cases, of which 4752 were imported cases (58 casualties)
  • Malaria cases in South Africa 2014/15: 11539 reported malaria cases, of which 6042 were imported cases (130 casualties)
Malaria Risk Map
via http://www.nicd.ac.za/index.php/malaria-alert-03-may-2017/
Travellers to malaria transmissions areas in South Africa (see malaria risk map), as well as to the neighbouring countries, are advised to take precautions. Travellers must consult with their doctors for anti-malarial chemoprophylaxis. Current recommended chemo-prophylactic regimens include mefloquine, doxycycline or atovaquone-proguanil. The consulting doctor will advise on the best option for each individual. It should be noted that whilst these medications are highly effective at preventing malaria, they are not 100% effective. All travellers, whether travelling to low or high risk areas, are advised to be aware of the malaria symptoms of fever, chills, sweats, headaches, nausea and vomiting, body aches, general malaise and yellow discolouration of eyes/skin, and to report to their nearest health facility or doctor if they suspect that they may have contracted malaria. [src.: via http://www.nicd.ac.za/index.php/malaria-alert-03-may-2017/]

09 May 2017

Temperature forecast (May - July 2017): Botswana to experience a mild winter!

According to Botswana's Department of Meteorological Services (DMS), the country will experience a relatively mild winter with largely normal with a tendency towards above temperatures for the months of May to July 2017. There is however a likelihood of increased cold spells over southern and western Botswana. Very cold conditions are expected toward the end of the season and extending into the month of August 2017.
  • May - July: normal maximum temperatures 23.6°C (Southern Botswana) to 27.8°C (Northern Botswana)
  • May - July: normal minimum temperatures 5°C (Southern Botswana) to 9°C (Northern Botswana)
Detailed Temperature Outlook for May to July 2017

Ngamiland, Chobe and the Northern Parts of Central districts:

  • normal with a tendency towards above-normal temperatures
  • normal maximum and minimum for this region are 27.4°C and 9°C respectively
Northeast, Southern parts of Central district and Northern parts of Kgatleng districts:
  • normal with a tendency towards above-normal temperatures
  • normal maximum and minimum for this region are 24.0°C and 7°C respectively
Kgalagadi, Gantsi, Southern, Southeast, Kweneng and Southern parts of Kgatleng Districts:
  • normal with a tendency towards above-normal temperatures
  • normal maximum and minimum for this region are 23.6°C and 5°C respectively

Rwanda: Price for gorilla permits doubles!

update (09 May 2017): Uganda's AUTO issues stark warning to Uganda Wildlife Authority not to follow suit (by Wolfgang H. Thome) >>

The Rwanda Development Board (RDB) has with immediate effect increased the price of gorilla permits in Rwanda from US$ 750 to US $1,500 for all visitors. The price increase will not affect tourists who purchased their permits prior to the introduction of the new rates (06 May 2017). Along with the new tariff, the tourism revenue sharing rate for communities adjacent to Volcanoes National Park will also increase from 5% to 10%. This will quadruple the absolute revenues received by the communities.
In line with
Rwanda's high-end tourism strategy, the price increase aims to strengthen conservation efforts and contribute more to the development of communities living around the Volcanoes National Park.

05 May 2017

Kruger National Park: Road "S44" temporarily closed!

The road S44 (loop) in the Nxanatseni Region near Olifants Rest Camp in the Kruger National Park is temporarily closed from today (05 May 2017) to 31 May 2017 due to maintenance work.

04 May 2017

Video: The luxury that awaits you in Cape Town and the Western Cape!

Discover Cape Town & Western Cape (Discoverctwc), which forms part of Wesgro, the official Tourism, Trade & Investment Promotion Agency for Cape Town & Western Cape, has released a new promotional video showcasing the luxury that awaits you in Cape Town and the Western Cape! Enjoy!

The Love Cape Town Neighbourhood series Ep. 9 - Blouberg

Cape Town Tourism has released a new episode of the "The Love Cape Town Neighbourhood series" featuring Blouberg, a suburb located along the shores of Table Bay. Previous episodes include Kalk Bay, Cape Town CBD, Woodstock, Constantia, Somerset West, Langa, Khayelitsha and Durbanville

"The Love Cape Town Neighbourhood series" was launched by Cape Town Tourism in 2015 to promote and highlight Cape Town's diverse suburbs. The first three episodes were released in September 2015, another three in March 2016, the seventh episode on 15 January 2017, the eigth episode on 07 March 2017 and the ninth episode on 04 May 2017.

03 May 2017

Murchison Falls National Park (Uganda): Paraa ferry to temporarily close for maintenance!

According to East Africa specialist Wolfgang H. Thome, the Paraa Ferry in the Murchison Falls National Park in Uganda will be grounded for 12 days effective 08 May 2017 at 09:30 for general maintenance work. During this time, a technical team from the Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA) will service the ramps, pontoons, passenger decks, enginee and the transmission systems. UWA plans to resume operations on 20 May 2017 with a crossing at 17.00, but it is advised to check their website or else check the notices filed on their Facebook page.

Murchison Falls National Park is located in north western Uganda at the northern end of the Albertine Rift Valley about 300km by road northwest of the country's capital Kampala. The National Park spreads inland from the shore of Lake Albert around the Victoria Nile and covers 3,480km². Murchison Falls National Park is the largest and oldest conservation area in Uganda, hosting 76 species of mammals and 451 species of birds.

02 May 2017

South Africa's most punctual domestic airlines in April 2017!

Airports Company South Africa (ACSA) has published the on-time performance results of domestic airlines’ flying out of OR Tambo International Airport (JNB) in Johannesburg, Cape Town International Airport (CPT) in Cape Town and Durban's King Shaka International Airport (DUR) in April 2017.
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 (JNB), Johannesburg - 15 Min on Time Performance April 2017 (airport target 87%)
  1. FlySafair - 94.73% (March 93.01%) 
  2. British Airways Domestic - 89.87% (March 91.97%)
  3. Airlink - 88.48% (March 86.91%)
  4. Kulula.com - 85.86% (March 84.68%)
  5. South African Airways - 83.18% (March 89.07%
  6. CemAir - 82.46% (March 85.52%)
  7. Mango - 81.30% (March 82.31%)
  8. SA Express - 65.84% (March 75.21%)
  9. Fly Blue Crane Aviation - --.-- (March --.--%)
Cape Town International Airport (CPT) - 15 Min on Time Performance April 2017 (airport target 90%)
  1. FlySafair - 96.74% (March 96.08%)
  2. British Airways Domestic - 92.95% (March 91.81%)
  3. CemAir - 92.31% (March 94.23%)
  4. Airlink - 90.54% (March 92.08%) 
  5. Kulula.com - 89.06% (March 90.13%)
  6. South African Airways - 87.64% (March 90.20%)
  7. Mango - 87.61% (March 85.48%)
  8. SA Express - 85.04% (March 88.41%)  
  9. Fly Blue Crane Aviation - --.-- (March --.--%)
King Shaka International Airport (DUR), Durban - 15 Min on Time Performance April 2017 (airport target 91%)
  1. FlySafair - 95.77% (March 93.17%) 
  2. British Airways Domestic - 91.02% (March 91.59%) 
  3. Kulula.com - 86.76% (March 83.87%)
  4. South African Airways - 86.47% (March 91.80%)
  5. Airlink - 86.40% (March 87.45%)
  6. SA Express - 84.35% (March 75.95%)
  7. Mango - 83.49% (March 87.29%)