30 November 2017

Kruger National Park Calendar - January

  • peak of rainy season
  • frequent thunder storms
  • hot days
  • warm nights
  • high humidity levels
Hippo, Kruger National Park, South Africa, safari

  • 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

29 November 2017

Kenya: Fly 540 to resume flights between Nairobi <> Dar es Salaam!

Kenya's second largest airline, Fly 540, is set to resume flights between Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (NBO) in Nairobi and Julius Nyerere International Airport (DAR) in Dar es Salaam. Effective 01 December 2017, the airline will operate three weekly return flights on Wednesdays, Fridays and Sundays to Tanzania's capital.

Kenya: Jambojet to launch flights to Tanzania & Uganda!

Kenyan low-coast airline Jambojet, a subsidiary of Kenya Airways, was granted regulatory approval to fly to 16 destinations in Uganda, Tanzania, Rwanda, Burundi, Ethiopia and Democratic Republic of Congo in May 2017. To kick off its regional expanision plan, which includes routes to Entebbe, Addis Ababa, Dar es Salaam, Zanzibar, Kilimanjaro, Mwanza, Kigali, Juba, Bujumbura, Hargeisa, Mogadishu, Goma, Kisangani and Moroni, the airline is set to begin operating flights to Uganda and Tanzania in February 2018. Jambojet also plans to start flying to Wajir (Kenya) by next February, adding to its existing flights between Nairobi and Mombasa, Eldoret, Kisumu, Lamu, Malindi and Ukunda (Diani). 

Two Oceans Aquarium (Cape Town): Extended opening hours during the festive season!

Cape Town's famous Two Oceans Aquarium will extend its opening hours and will be open from 09:00 until 19:00 every day from 20 December 2017 to 07 January 2018, except for 25 December 2017 when it will close at 18:00. 

Animal feeding times at the Two Ocean Aquarium:

  • I&J Ocean Exhibit: Daily at 12:00 and 14:00
  • Penguin Exhibit: African penguins daily at 11:30 and 14:30
  • Predator Exhibit: Sundays at 15:00
The Two Oceans Aquarium is located on Dock Road at Cape Town's V&A Waterfront. Tickets are R165 per adult and R120 - R80 per child (free entrance for kids under 4 years of age).

28 November 2017

Zimbabwe declared Robert Mugabe's birthday a public holiday!

Zimbabwe has made former president Robert Mugabe's birthday a public holiday. As of 2018, the 21 February of every year will be a public holiday to be known as the Robert Mugabe National Youth Day. Well...

Public holidays in
Zimbabwe 2018:
  • 01 January 2018 - New Year's Day
  • 21 February 2018 - Robert Mugabe National Youth Day
  • 30 March 2018 - Good Friday
  • 31 March 2018 - Easter Saturday
  • 01 April 2018 - Easter Sunday
  • 02 April 2018 - Easter Monday
  • 18 April 2018 - Independence Day
  • 01 May 2018 - Workers' Day
  • 25 May 2018 - Africa Day
  • 13 August 2018 - Heroes' Day
  • 14 August 2018 - Defense Forces Day
  • 22 December 2018 - National Unity Day
  • 25 December 2018 - Christmas Day
  • 26 December 2018 Boxing Day

27 November 2017

South Africa: Airlink seeks regulatory approval to purchase Safair!

update (23 February 2018): South Africa's Competition Commission has prohibited the proposed merger between SA Airlink (Pty) Ltd and Safair Operations (Pty) Ltd, as the transaction is likely to result in a substantial prevention of competition. [more (pdf)] 

Airlink and Safair, two independent aviation groups from South Africa, will on 28 November 2017 apply to South Africa's Competition Commission for approval to unite under the common umbrella of the Airlink group of companies. The two airlines will continue to operate seperately under their unique brands and will retain their respective products, aircraft fleets, management as well as their leadership teams. Employees will be secure with no job losses because of the consolidation. The purchase of Safair will not affect Airlink's existing franchise partnership with South African Airways (SAA), which continues to deliver traffic and business to SAA and Airlink.
More details will be provided when
South Africa's Competition Commission has made its decision, which is expected to likely be during the first quarter of 2018. We'll keep you posted!

24 November 2017

Kenya Airways & Air France expanded their codeshare agreement!

According to aviation specialists, Routesonline, Kenya's flag carrier, Kenya Airways, and the national airline of France, Air France, have expanded their codeshare agreement. The new extended agreement includes additonal destinations in Europe as well as selected routes in North Africa.

Kenya Airways (KQ) operated by Air France (AF):

South Africa & Angola have concluded a visa exemption agreement!

The governments of South Africa and Angola have agreed to grant each other's passport holders visa exemption for holiday travel of up to 90 days per year, with a maximum stay of 30 days per visit. The new visa policy will become effective on 01 December 2017.

22 November 2017

Johannesburg: The "Neighbourgoods Market" in 4K (video)

One of Johannesburg's foodie highlights is definitely the "Neighbourgoods Market" in Braamfontein. Located in a former office building, the market is full of different food stalls offering cuisine styles from around the world and, of course, from South Africa. Photographer and cinematographer Arian of aevisuals.com recently visited the "Neighbourgoods Market" and shot the amazing video below. Kudos Arian!

Neighbourgoods x AEVISUALS [4K] | Johannesburg, South Africa from AE Visuals on Vimeo.

Neighbourgoods Market (
73 Juta Street
Braamfontein, Johannesburg
Open every Saturday from 09:00 to 15:00

21 November 2017

Iziko Museums of South Africa: Free entry on World Aids Day!

Iziko Museums of South Africa just announced on Facebook that visitors will have free access all of its museums and galleries in Cape Town (except for the Iziko Planetarium & Digital Dome, Groot Constantia, Castle of Good Hope and museums closed for renovation) on World Aids Day and Emancipation Day on 01 December 2017.

Iziko Museums of South Africa provides free entry on the following days:
  • 21 March – Human Rights Day
  • 27 April – Freedom Day
  • 25 May – Africa Day
  • 24 September – Heritage Day and Heritage Week
  • 16 June – Youth Day
  • 09 August – Women’s Day
  • first Saturday in November - International Children's Day
  • 01 December – World Aids Day & Emancipation Day

20 November 2017

Eat Out names South Africa's best restaurants 2017!

South Africa's leading restaurant guide, Eat Out, has named the winners of the 2017 Eat Out Mercedes-Benz Restaurant Awards. For the sixth year in a row, the country's Restaurant of the Year is The Test Kitchen in Cape Town. According to the 2017 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 (6), Somerset West (2) and  Stellenbosch (1). Congrats everyone!

Ein Beitrag geteilt von Eat Out (@eatoutguide) am
  1. The Test Kitchen (Woodstock, Cape Town)
  2. Restaurant Mosaic at The Orient (Elandsfontein, Pretoria)
  3. The Restaurant at Waterkloof (Somerset West)
  4. Chefs Warehouse at Beau Constantia (Constantia, Cape Town)
  5. Greenhouse at The Cellars-Hohenort Hotel (Constantia, Cape Town)
  6. Camphors at Vergelegen (Somerset West)
  7. La Colombe (Constantia, Cape Town)
  8. The Shortmarket Club (City Bowl, Cape Town)
  9. Overture (Stellenbosch)
  10. The Pot Luck Club (Woodstock, Cape Town)
  11. Jardine Restaurant (Stellenbosch)
  12. Foliage (Franschhoek)
  13. Wolfgat (Paternoster)
  14. Jordan Restaurant (Stellenbosch)
  15. Fermier Restaurant (The Willows, Pretoria)
  16. Thali (Gardens, Cape Town)
  17. DW Eleven-13 (Dunkeld West, Johannesburg)
  18. Hartford House (Mooi River, KwaZulu-Natal)
  19. Luke Dale-Roberts X The Saxon (Sandhurst, Johannesburg)
  20. La Tête (City Bowl, Cape Town)
Eat Out S.Pellegrino & Acqua Panna Chef of the Year: Liam Tomlin of Chefs Warehouse & Canteen (City Bowl, Cape Town)
Eat Out Retail Capital New Restaurant of the Year: La Petite Colombe (Franschhoek)
Eat Out Graham Beck Chefs’ Chef: Kobus van der Merwe, Wolfgat (Paternoster, West Coast)
Eat Out Rising Star: Kayla-Ann Osborn, The Chefs Table (Umhlanga)
Eat Out Woolworths Sustainability Award:
Camphors at Vergelegen (Somerset West)
Eat Out Service Excellence Award:
Restaurant Mosaic at The Orient (Elandsfontein, Pretoria)
Eat Out Wine Service Award: Moses Magwaza,
Restaurant Mosaic at The Orient (Elandsfontein, Pretoria)
Eat Out John Psillos Award for Outstanding Contribution to Service: Morne Wessels, La Petite Colombe (Franschhoek)
Eat Out Lannice Snyman Lifetime Achievement Award: Letitia Prinsloo
Eat Out Style Award: Fermier Restaurant (The Willows, Pretoria)
Woolworths TASTE Eat Out Bursary winner: Bryan Mlotshwa

17 November 2017

Garden Route National Park: Progress in the Harkerville area after the Knysna Fires!

The Harkerville area in the Knysna section of the Garden Route National Park, an activity hub for nature and is known for its blue duiker population, was heavily affected by the Knysna fires in June 2017. South African National Parks (SANParks) just released an update on the current status of the activities available in the Harkerville area:

Kranshoek Picnic area

  • The picnic area is open for use however there are portable toilets for visitors to use after the fire burnt the old toilet block.
  • SANParks is fast-tracking the procurement process of new water tanks to provide drinking water by the 15 December 2017.
Kranshoek Trail
  • The Kranshoek Trail is still closed, and maintenance work is currently underway.
  • About 90% of the route is complete and the rest should be open by end of this week (week 46).
  • Rebuilding and rehabilitating the route will probably continue until end of December 2017. The trail should be up and running by the end January 2018.
  • There is a clear sign at the entrance and parking area to inform the public of closure and maintenance of routes.
Kranshoek Viewpoint
  • Currently still closed and not accessible to visitors as yet until management and scientists have finalised urgent deliverables pertaining to the area.
Harkerville Trail
  • The coastal portion of the trail is still closed.
  • An alternative scenic route was opened along the coastal ridge
  • Bookings the trail will be open as from 20 November 2017.

Rwanda to introduce a new visa regime on 01 January 2018!

Rwanda is set to establish a new visa regime on 01 January 2018. The new regulations include the introduction of 30-day visa on arrival for travellers from across the world. Rwanda already has such a system in place for all African countries and a number of countries outside the continent.
Nationals of Australia, Germany, Israel, New Zealand, Sweden, United Kingdom, and United States of America will be issued with entry visa valid for a period up to 30 days and pay for a visa ($30) upon arrival without prior application. [src.]
The new visa regime also adresses areas like visa reciprocity for specific countries whose citizens get free visas with 90 days validity, visa waiver for particular diplomatic and service passport holders and specific 90 day visa on arrival for travelers from the COMESA (The Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa) region. It also allows Rwandans living abroad with dual nationality to use national IDs to enter Rwanda as well as foreign residents to use their resident IDs for entry.

16 November 2017

Alitalia to resume flights to Johannesburg (and Nairobi)!

The flag carrier of Italy, Alitalia, is set to resume operations between Leonardo da Vinci International Airport (FCO) in Rome and OR Tambo International Airport (JNB) in Johannesburg after a 17-year hiatus on 08 April 2018. The airline plans operate 4 weekly flights per week to South Africa.
Alitalia also plans to resume flights between Leonardo da Vinci International Airport (FCO) in Rome and Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (NBO) in Nairobi on 28 March 2018. Subject to government approval, the airline will operate four weekly flights to Kenya. Alitalia last served Nairobi in 2000.

Western Cape: Swartberg Pass to reopen in both directions on 17 November 2017!

The Swartberg Pass, considered one of the most spectacular mountain passes in the world, is set to reopen in both directions on 17 November 2017. The repair work is not completely finished, so that, at times, the untarred pass will only be open on a monitored stop/go basis.

The 27km Swartberg Pass, which runs through the Swartberg mountain range between Oudtshoorn in the south and Prince Albert in the north, was badly damaged by devastating floods in April 2017.

15 November 2017

SANParks has implemented water saving measures in Table Mountain National Park!

South African National Parks (SANParks) has implemented water saving measures at picnic areas in Cape Town's Table Mountain National Park (TMNP). The picnic areas include Bordtjiesdrift and Buffelsbay in Cape Point, Boulders as well as Tokai, Silvermine and Oudekraal. SANParks will continue to monitor the situation with regards to the water crisis and take necessary measures as required.

Cape Town, Cape Point, Table Mountain National Parks

Some of the measures are:
  • Waterless hand sanitation products, especially in the toilet facilities in Cape Point.
  • A reduction in the number of outdoor taps at picnic sites
  • The immediate closure of all outdoor shower facilities at picnic sites and coastal beaches
  • Visitors, especially those that are using the picnic sites, are encouraged to bring water from home
  • SANPArks encourages picnic site users, especially those wishing to braai, to ensure that they don’t leave fires unattended and put their fires out once they have finished braaiing.
  • Park users are encouraged to report leaking taps, pipes etc in the park to the closest TMNP office.

International Students' Day: Free access to all Iziko Museums in Cape Town for students!

International Students' Day is held annually on 17 November. Students will have free access to all 11 national museums* in Cape Town operated by Iziko Museums of South Africa on this day and will get tickets at half price for the Iziko Planetarium & Digital Dome. Terms and conditions apply; students must present a valid student card.
Cape Town, South Africa, Castle of Good Hope

*Bo-Kaap Museum, Groot Constantia Manor House, Koopmans-De Wet House, Maritime Centre, Michaelis Collection at the Old Town House, Planetarium, Rust en vreugd, SAS Sommerset, Slave Lodge, Social History Centre, South African Museum, South African National Gallery, Bertram House, William Fehr Collection at the Castle of Good Hope

14 November 2017

Cape Town: Spring and Summer Months = Shark Time!

The annual shark season in and around Cape Town has started and the City of Cape Town has therefore issued list of advises all beach and ocean users should be aware of. General shark safety tips include:
  • Use beaches where shark spotters are on duty
  • Take the time to speak to the shark spotters on the day you visit the beach
  • Use the shark spotters signs to familiarise yourself with the four-flag warning system and warning siren – the green flag indicates that spotting conditions are good; the red flag indicates that there is a high risk of in-shore shark activity; the black flag means spotting conditions are poor; and the white flag with the black shark indicates a shark has been spotted (a siren will sound and all should leave the water immediately)
  • Do not swim, surf or surf-ski when birds, dolphins or seals are feeding nearby
  • Do not swim, surf or surf-ski where trek-netting, fishing or spear-fishing is taking place
  • Do not swim in deep water beyond the breakers
  • Do not swim if you are bleeding
  • Do not swim near river mouths
  • Do not swim, surf or surf-ski at night
  • Do not swim, surf or surf-ski if there has been a whale stranding nearby
  • Obey beach officials, lifeguards and shark spotters if told to leave the water
  • Be aware that the rate of encounters with white sharks rises significantly when the water temperature is warmer (18ºC or higher) and during new moon, due to increased opportunities for feeding
  • If a shark has recently been sighted in an area where no shark spotters are present, consider using another beach for the day
  • First-time visitors to beach areas should ask the local law enforcement official, lifeguards or locals about the area
  • For those people kayaking or surf-skiing far out to the sea, please consider paddling in groups and staying close together (in a diamond formation)
  • Consider using a personal shark shield when you go surfing or kayaking
  • Pay attention to any shark signage on beaches

Cape Town, beach, South Africa

Surfers must be especially vigilant in the areas between Sunrise Beach and the Macassar Beach during the spring and summer months, as research has shown that shark presence in these waters is extremely common at this time of year.

The Shark Spotters information centre at Muizenberg Surfers Corner
in Muizenberg is open to the public from 08:00 until 18:00 seven days a week. The centre provides up-to-date information on sharks and marine ecology, basic first-aid, general public assistance and help with emergencies, and storage of valuables and lost property.

Shark spotters are present at the following beaches: 

  • Muizenberg Surfers Corner (Muizenberg)
    Monday - Sunday, 08:00 - 18:00 (October to April)
  • St James/Kalk Bay
    Monday - Sunday, 08:00 - 18:00 (October to April)
  • Fish Hoek
    Monday - Sunday, 07:00 - 18:45 (October to April)
  • Caves, Kogel Bay
    Monday - Sunday, 08:00 - 18:00 (October to April
  • Noordhoek (The Hoek)
    Monday - Sunday, 08:00 - 18:00 (October to May)
  • Clovelly  
    Weekends, public holidays and school holidays, 08:00 - 18:00
  • Glencairn
    Weekends, public holidays and school holidays, 08:00 - 18:00
  • Monwabisi
    Weekends, public holidays and school holidays, 08:00 - 18:00
The Fish Hoek exclusion net has proven to be an effective shark safety measure by creating a physical barrier preventing any sharks from entering the bathing area. The exclusion net is in operation during the summer season as follows:
  • October 2017
    weekends, public holidays and school holidays (09:00 and 17:00)
  • November 2017 to March 2018
    The net will operate on a daily basis, depending on the weather. Weekends, public holidays and school holidays will be prioritised. (09:00 and 17:00)
  • April 2018
    School holidays, public holidays and weekends (09:00 and 17:00)
The operating hours may be extended to allow for lifesaving training or events. The Shark spotters will inform beach goers as and when the net is deployed via Twitter, Facebook, and the Shark Spotter mobile application.

13 November 2017

OR Tambo International Airport (Johannesburg): No more public announcements for domestic flights!

Airports Company South Africa (Acsa), the state-owned airport management company that operates South Africa's nine major airports, has announced that OR Tambo International Airport (JNB) in Johannesburg will no longer make public announcements for domestic flights, such as calls for missing passengers or regular boarding calls. From 15 November 2017, terminal announcements will only be made for irregular operations such as gate changes‚ flight time changes‚ security matters‚ system failures and customer service anomalies such as lost minors. According to OR Tambo International Airport spokesperson Leigh Gunkel-Keuler, the silencing of the public address microphone for domestic flights is an effort in reducing the noise pollution at airports.

10 November 2017

Emirates and flydubai further expanded their partnership, now including Kilimanjaro and Zanzibar!

Dubai-based Emirates, the largest airline in the Middle East, and flydubai, a low-cost airline also based in Dubai, have expanded their existing codeshare agreement. The new, expanded network now includes 16 additional destinations to which Emirates' passengers will be able travel on a single ticket including Kilimanjaro International Airport (JRE) in northern Tanzania and Abeid Amani Karume International Airport (ZNZ) onthe  island of Zanzibar.

Cape Town: V&A Waterfront set to host the inaugural Ocean Life Festival!

Cape Town's V&A Waterfront is set to host the very first Ocean Life Festival later this month. The new festival will see a curated programme of events and activations spread across the property between 24 November 2017 and 10 December 2017. The intention behind each of the Ocean Life Festival's events will be to engage and delight visitors' interest in ocean life, ocean sustainability, and the potential of maritime assets such as South Africa's vast oceans. The inaugural editon of the festival, which is supposed to become an annual event, will have a strong sustainability message, with many activities focusing on the harm that plastics and other foreign materials do to the world's maritime assets.

South Africa, Cape Town, Waterfront, V&A Waterfront

The programme of the
V&A Waterfront's Ocean Life Festival 2017 will include:
  • The arrival of the Volvo Ocean Race (24 - 28 November 2017)
  • Innovation Station: Ocean Plastics (28 November - 03 December 2017)
  • V&A Ocean Film Festival, curated by Wavescape (29 November - 01 December 2017)
  • TEDxCapeTown Salon | Oceans (06 - 08 December 2017)
  • Alex in Waterland, a V&A Waterfront's Ocean Life Festival Theatre Show (02 - 03 December 2017)
  • CoCreateDESIGN – Making Waves for Change (27 November 2017 - 01 December 2017)
  • V&A Ocean Life Festival Beach Cleanup (02 December 2017)
  • Volvo Ocean Race Cape Town – Pro-Am Race (07 December 2017)
  • Volvo Ocean Race Cape Town – In-port Race (08 December 2017)
  • Volvo Ocean Race Cape Town – Race Restart / Closing Ceremony (10 December 2017)

09 November 2017

Bakkie Stories - A 10 day road trip through South Africa! (web series)

South African Tourism UK invited UK celebrities Maya Jama (TV presenter), Alice Liveing (Instagramer) and Saunders Carmichael-Brown (travel vlogger), on a 10 day road trip from Johannesburg via Durban, Port Elizabeth, the Garden Route and the Klein Karoo to Cape Town. Here is what they experienced in South Africa... Enjoy!

West Coast National Park: Gate closure due to Langebaan Country Estate Cycle Challenge!

South African National Parks (SANParks) just announced that the gates of the West Coast National Park will be closed from 07:00 to 12:00 on 11 November 2017 due a sporting event being held on this day. The Langebaan Country Estate Cycle Challenge 2017, which partially winds through the National Park, is an annual cycling event that has been rated one of the highest scoring Pedal Power Association (PPA) fun rides in South Africa.

Table Mountain National Park: Fire season to officially commence on 11 November 2017!

The fire season in the Table Mountain National Park (TMNP) officially commences on 11 November 2017. No braais or open fires will be allowed in the Silvermine Nature Reserve, which forms part of the TMNP, for the duration of the fire season. Picnic Site users can still braai in the official picnic sites in the designated braai stands. Please note that water taps outside ablutions have been turned off during the drought and we ask that you prepare to take your dishes and grid home with you to wash.

Silvermine Nature Reserve is located in the central section of the Table Mountain National Park and offers some of the best hikes in the TMNP with beautiful fynbos landscapes. It covers the section of the Cape Peninsula mountain range from the Kalk Bay mountains through to Constantiaberg. The Ou Kaapse Weg runs through the Silvermine Nature Reserve, cutting it into a northern and southern section.