update (10 October 2019):Red Bull Surfing has released a "Made in South Africa" bonus video featuring Frankie and Koby Oberholzer! Enjoy! Red Bull Surfing has put South Africa in focus for its latest installment of "Made In...". Capetonian filmmaker Jason Hearn spent month of filming with some of South Africa's most legendary surfers for the web series. The first episode of "Made in South Africa" features Cape Town and follows local surfers Mikey February, Jordy Smith, Frank Solomon, Josh Redman, Matt Bromley, and Dale Staples as they surf the cities world-class waves. In the second episode, filmmaker Jason Hearn heads from Cape Town up the coast to Durban, to Cave Rock. In the third episode of "Made in South Africa", Jason meets one of surfing's greatest characters, Frankie Oberholzer.
"Made in South Africa" Episode 1 - Exploring The World-Class Waves of Cape Town With The City's Best Surfers
"Made in South Africa" Episode 2 - Ricky Basnett Takes Us Inside Durban's Cave Rock Crew
"Made in South Africa" Episode 3 - Catching Up With OG Free Surfer And Search Legend Frankie Oberholzer
"Made in South Africa" bonus video - The Extra Footage From Episode 3 Of "Made In South Africa" With Frankie And Koby Oberholzer
Due to the low water levels of the Zambezi, the low water season officially starts today (27 June 2019) in Livingstone in Zambia. This means that low water rafting tours, which include all rapids from #1 to #25, are available again. Livinstone Island, which is located in the middle of the Zambezi right on the edge of the Victoria Falls just before the water thunders down a 103 metre drop, also re-openes today (27 June 2019). Tours to Livingstone Island include the opportunity to swim in the famous Devil's Pool, a rock pool right on the very edge of the mighty Victoria Falls.
Low water rafting tours starting from the Zimbabwean side of the Zambezi River are expected to start from next week. We'll keep you posted!
The Kingdom of Eswatini got its first UNESCO Biosphere Reserve. The Lubombo Biosphere Reserve is one of the 18 new sites in 12 countries which got added to World Network of Biosphere Reserves by the UNESCO's Man and the Biosphere (MAB) programme. The new additions were approved at the Paris meeting from 17 - 21 June 2019 of the International Co-ordinating Council of UNESCO’s Man and the Biosphere Programme.
The Lubombo Biosphere Reserve is located in the Lubombo Mountain Range, which forms the eastern border of Eswatiniwith Mozambique and South Africa. The 294,020 hectares reserve is part of the Maputoland-Phondoland-Albany Biodiversity Hotspot. Twenty of the eighty-eight mammal species in the area, can only be found in the Lubombo region. Notable among these mammals are Leopard, White Rhino, Tsessebe, Roan Antelope, Cape Buffalo and Suni. The Lubombo Biosphere Reserve's ecosystems include forest, wetland and savannah. The reserve is home to numerous conservation and monitoring projects, as well as commercial enterprises, industry, agriculture, animal husbandry, and forestry.
Cape Town's "The Test Kitchen", with acclaimed chef Luke Dale-Roberts at the helm, has just been named Africa's best restaurant 2019 and the World's 44th best restaurant 2019 (2018: 50th) at the The World’s 50 Best Restaurants 2019 awards. The fine dining eatery's food is based on popular global dishes with South African ingredients and twists. "The Test Kitchen" is located in The Old Biscuit Mill on 375 Albert Road in Woodstock.
The World's 50 Best Restaurants list provides an annual snapshot of the opinions and experiences of over 1,000 international restaurant industry experts. It is a globally recognised gastronomic reference point which showcases leading trends and highlights great restaurants from all corners of the Eart
South African National Parks (SANParks) has released a new promotional about Agulhas National Park in the Southern Overberg region of the Western Cape. The video highlights the major tourist attractions and main characteristics in the National Park and invites the viewers to discover the legendary Cape of Storms, to stand at the Southernmost tip of Africa, to explore the historic Cape Agulhas lighthouse and to marvel at the shipwrecks that dot Agulhas National Park's rugged, beautiful coastline.
update (19 July 2019):Kruger National Park Rangers and Working on Fire teams will be burning grass inside Mopani Rest Camp on 23 July 2019 and surrounding areas from 24 July to 01 August 2019.
South African National Parks (SANParks) has announced that National Park Rangers and Working on Fire* teams will be igniting fires in certain areas of Kruger National Park to carry out the Kruger National Park (KNP) bush burning mandateover the next few weeks. Tourists driving in Kruger National Park are advised to be careful as they might encounter fire or smoke. The following precautions should be taken:
Reduce travelling speed.
Switch on vehicle lights as visibility may be hampered.
Do not drive too close to the flames.
Do not get out of your vehicle.
*Working on Fire is a government-funded, job-creation programme, focused on implementing Integrated Fire Management in South Africa.
update (09 July 2019): Foreign travellers in Zimbabwewill can still use their own currency in cash or through credit and debit card. The Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe has clarified that tourism operators are allowed to accept settlement for goods and services from tourists in foreign currency.
update (27 June 2019): The Zimbabwe Tourism Authority (ZTA) has released a statement regarding the ban of foreign currencies in Zimbabwe. According to the ZTA, the regulations will not negatively affect foreign travellers in the country.
The Government of Zimbabwe has outlawed the usage of international and regional currencies as legal tender for all local transactions in Zimbabwe. Currencies, such as the US Dollar, British Pound, South African Rand, the Botswana Pula and any other foreign currency are no longer acceptable in the country. According to a Statutory Instrument (SI142 of 2019) only Bond Notes and RTGS$ (Real Time Gross Settlement Dollar), which are both at par with the Zimbabwe Dollar*, are Zimbabwe's only legal tenders with effect from today (24 June 2019).
Government has gazetted SI142 of 2019 known as Zimbabwe (Legal Tender) Regulations. The Bond Note and the RTGS are now the only currency to be used for day today transactions in Zimbabwe pic.twitter.com/WecUAUnlWv
— Ministry of Information, Publicity & Broadcasting (@InfoMinZW) June 24, 2019
*there is currently no physical currency called the Zimbabwe Dollar in Zimbabwe!
Mango, the state-owned South African low-cost airline and subsidiary of South African Airways, is set to launch a new service between Lanseria International Airport (HLA) in Johannesburgand Abeid Amani Karume International Airport (ZNZ) on the island of Zanzibar. Effective 29 June 2019, the airline will operate one weekly return flight on board a Boeing Next Generation 737-800 on Saturdaysfrom Lanseria to Zanzibar. Fligths will depart Lanseria at 09:50 and arrive on Zanzibarat 14:15. The return flight will depart Zanzibarat 15:05 and will arrive at Lanseria International Airport (HLA) at 18:05. This is in addition to Mango's flights currently being operated from O.R. Tambo International Airport (JNB), also located in Johannesburg. The new service between Lanseria and Zanzibarwill more than likely be scheduled according to seasonality depending on the uptake by travellers.
Mango, the state-owned South African low-cost airline and subsidiary of South African Airways, is set to launch a new service between Lanseria International Airport (HLA) in Johannesburg and Port Elizabeth International Airport (PLZ) in Port Elizabeth. Effective 11 July 2019, the airline will operate twice daily return flights to Port Elizabeth. Flights will depart Lanseria International Airport (HLA) at 08:45 (JE575) and 15:45 (JE591) and will arrive in Port Elizabeth at 10:20 (JE575) and 17:25 (JE591) respectively. The return flights will depart Port Elizabeth at 10:55 (JE576) and 18:00 (JE592) and will arrive at Lanseria International Airport (HLA) at 12:35 (JE576) and 19:50 (JE592) respectively.
Ethiopia's flag carrier, Ethiopian Airlines, has been named Best Airline in Africa in the 2019 edition of the Skytrax World Airline Awards. South African Airways, the national carrier of South Africa, gained the second highest passenger satisfaction ratings on the continent, followed by Air Mauritius, Air Seychelles and Kenya's flag carrier Kenya Airways. Pan-African low-cost carrier Fastjet was named seventh best airline in Africa, South African budget carrier Mango eight best and Kulula, the low-cost airline subsidiary of British Airways franchise Comair in South Africa, was named 10th best airline in Africa 2019.
The Skytrax World Airline Awards 2019 are based on customer responses to an online survey which was operated from September 2018 to May 2019. Over 100 customer nationalities participated in the survey with 21.65 million eligible entries counted in the results. All survey entries were screened to identify IP and user information, with duplicate, suspect or ineligible entries deleted. Over 300 airlines are featured in the survey results.
The Victoria Falls municipality has reintroduced parking fees. Motorists have to pay US$1 (or in local RTGS according to the prevailing interbank rate) per hour to be allowed to park their vehicles in the town's Central Business District(CBD). The local authority is planning to engage suppliers of automated devices, which will detect time the car has been parked and clamp it once the time lapses, for partnership in the project. The reintroduction of parking fees, which got suspended a few years ago due to operational challenges, is meant to decongest Victoria Falls'CBD and mobilise revenue for the municipality.
eThekwini Municipality, the local government body responsible for governing and managing Durban and surrounding towns, has announced that Isipingo beach in Isipingo, Pipeline beach in Amanzimtoti, Warner beach in Warner Beach (Kingsburgh) and Umgababa beach in Umgababa will temporarily be closed due to bad that is expected over the upcoming weekend. Please note that all shark nets will be removed at these beaches. Residents and tourists/travellers are cautioned to never attempt to bathe at beaches while shark nets are removed.
South African National Parks (SANParks) has recently compiled a multimillion-rand develepment plan for Kruger National Park. Although some infrastructural developments are planned to take place in the Southern part of South Africa's most popular and largest National Park, the main focus of the future development is clearly on the Northern part. South Africa'sDepartment of Environmental Affairs and Tourism (DEAT) awarded R396 million in funding to SANParks for infrastructure development over the next three years in 2018. SANParks allocated R195 million to Kruger National Park earmarked for tourist facilities, staff accommodation, conference and day visitors' facilities, entrance gates, roads and smaller upgrades.
a cultural village at Masorini Archaeological Site
new bird hides and ablution facilities at several hides
staff accommodation units in villages will be upgraded to en-suite units, and additional units will be built
number of gravel roads will be replaced and stabilised. Roads will be upgraded
hybrid power supply systems at Sirheni Bushveld Camp, Shimuwini Bushveld Camp, and Bateleur Bushveld Camp will be upgraded, in addition to lapas and swimming pools, which are set to be built at these camps, as well as at Biyamiti Bushveld Camp
the shop at Mopani Rest Camp will be turned into a conference centre, and the current cafeteria will be turned into the shop
water and sewage facilities will be receiving an upgrade, including main bulk water supply lines between Balule Rest Camp and Satara Rest Camp and between Malelane Rest Camp and Berg-en-Dal Rest Camp
some developments at Berg-en-Dal Rest Camp, Lower Sabie Rest Camp and other parts in the Southern region of the Kruger National Park are planned
southern gates, as well as Phalaborwa Gate and Orpen Gate, will also be upgraded,
Crocodile Bridge Rest Camp will receive a new bridge and road to ensure it
becomes an end-destination. Roads will therefore no longer pass through
the height of the Crocodile Bridge will be increased
a swipe card system will be introduced at all gates to facilitate fast lanes for Wild Card holders
Namibia is set to introduce a compulsory levy on non-biodegradable plastic bags. The levy is still being finalised by the country's Ministry of Finance and is expected to be gazzetted in July 2019. According to Ministry of Environment and Tourism spokesperson Romeo Muyunda, the envisaged plastic levy should be viewed as entry point to ban plastics. The funds generated through the plastic bag levy will be directed to Namibia's Environmental Investment Fund. Some shops in Namibia, such as Pick n Pay Namibia, already started charging 50 cents per plastic bag at the beginning of June 2019.
Chinese carrier China Southern Airlines has launched a new direct service between Changsha Huanghua International Airport (CSX) in Changsha and Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (NBO) in Nairobi. The airline operates two return flights on Wednesdays and Sundays to the capital of China's Hunan province. The new route means China Southern Airlines now operates four weekly flights between China and Kenya, the other two being non-stop flight between Nairobiand Guangzhou on Mondays and Fridays. The new service between Changshaand Nairobiwill be part of the airline's codeshare with Kenya Airways.
South African National Parks (SANParks) continues with the demolition of artificial dams in Kruger National Park. Starting on 18 June 2019 to 28 June 2019, Louis se Gat Dam and Kanniedod Dam in the Shingwedzi area and the Sirheni area will be demolished. The process will affect some tourist routes in both areas as they will be closed off completely for the next two weeks.Kruger National Park harbours over 40 fish species and the artificial redundant dams become a hindrance to their migration and livelihood. The National Park is the first Park in Africa to demolish dams for ecological purposes. This will also improve river connectivity and natural hydrology in Kruger National Park, as well as remove barriers within the river system.
update (12 July 2019): There has been a fair amount of sardine related activity between Pennington and Amanzimtoti over the past few days. There is still loads of sardine related activity between Port St Johns to Water Fall Bluff but there are no actual solid shoals of sardines to be seen. At the moment the bathing remains banned between Isipingoand Umtentwini, due to the sardine related activity which keeps showing up in these areas.
update (04 July 2019): According to an update of the previous press release by the KwaZulu-Natal Sharks Board, bathing between Isipingoand Port Edward is banned due to the sardine related activity in these areas.
update (04 July 2019): According to a press release by the KwaZulu-Natal Sharks Board, there has been an increase in sardine related activity between Bazely Beach and Amanzimtoti over the past few days. At the moment bathing between Isipingo and Scottburgh is banned due to the sardine related activity in these areas. update (21 June 2019): According to a press release by the KwaZulu-Natal Sharks Board, there has been an increase in sardine related activity between Manteku and Mbotyi over the past few days. There has also been a definite increase in action in the Luphuthana Mouth area, which could be the fish which was prevoously at Mbotyi. There is also Common Dolphin activity off Waterfall Bluff which is always a good sign.
The KwaZulu-Natal Sharks Board has received confirmed reports of sardine related activity between the Nqabara River Mouth and the Dwesa Marine Reserve as well as of activity in the Rame Heads area which is 26 km South of Port St Johns. According to a press release on Facebook, no further sightings of much activity north of this have been recorded but hopefully the sardine activity will increase between Port St Johns and Port Edward after the cold front passes later this evening (13 June 2019). We'll keep you posted!
The famous "sardine run" occurs each year in June or July along the KwaZulu-Natal coast when large shoals of sardines move in a band up the coast. These shoals take advantage of cool water on the continental shelf of South Africa's east coast that occurs seasonally as a narrow band between the coast and the warm, southward flowing Agulhas current.
The Wildlife and Environment Society of South Africa (WESSA) has announced that the uMngeni Valley in the KwaZulu-Natal'sMidlands has finally been proclaimed a Nature Reserve. Situated just 1km from Howick, the 900 hectare WESSA uMngeni Valley Nature Reserve starts at the base of the majestic Howick Falls and follows the course of the uMngeni River.
Due to the various altitudinal gradients of the area varies, there are a wide variety of habitat types. These include Midlands Mistbelt Grassland, KZN Hinterland Thornveld, Southern KZN Moist Grassland, forest patches, riverine thicket, sub-tropical thicket and thornveld savannah. uMngeni Valley forms part of the core area of the Greater uMngeni Biosphere Reserve initiative, incorporating the uMngeni and Karkloof River Catchments, from Midmar Dam to Nagle Dam. It also contributes to the hydrological functioning, ecosystem and biodiversity value of the uMngeni River Catchment, which is a critically important river system in KwaZulu-Natal. The WESSA uMngeni Valley Nature Reserve features panoramic views, diverse walking trails and mountain biking routes, guided walks (including stargazing and full moon walks), adventure activities and a variety of animal and birdlife making it a paradise for nature lovers.
CapeNature, the public institution with the statutory responsibility for biodiversity conservation in South Africa'sWestern Cape, is allowing free access to all CapeNature reserves on Youth Day (16 June 2019) to all persons aged 35 and under. Visitors will only need to provide an identification document to verify their age. The free access fee will pertain to general access (conservation fee) and hiking, mountain biking and picnicking. Normal rates and access fees apply for any accommodation booked online or through CapeNature's call centre.
CapeNature is in charge of all the reserves within the Western Cape inheriting 24 Nature Reserves stretching from the Boland to the Garden Route regions.
Ethiopia's flag carrier, Ethiopian Airlines, will launch a new service between Bole International Airport (ADD) in Addis Ababa and John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK) in New York City via Félix-Houphouët-Boigny International Airport (ABJ) in Abidjan, Ivory Coast. Effective 17 June 2019, the airline will operate three weekly return flights to New York City's primary international airport. With the addition of the new service to John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK) to the already operating 4 weekly service to Newark Liberty International Airport (EWR), which serves the New York City - Philadelphia Urban Area, via Lomé–Tokoin Airport (LFW) in Lomé (Togo), Ethiopian Airlines will operate to New York daily.
Cape Town'sMuseum Night is back. On Thursday, 27 June 2019, several museums and sites at the V&A Waterfront will be open from 17:00 until 22:00, offering free admission to the public, with a number of other attractions offering half price admission. Together with the curatorial staff of the participating museums and institutions, an exciting programme of performances, walkabouts, talks, activities and more has been put together. The participating museums and institutions include:
update (19 July 2019): We just got the confirmation from the Malawi Shipping Company that the MV Ilala is back in operation since 05 July 2019.
The famous MV Ilala, which operates weekly on Lake Malawi between Monkey Bay in the south and Chilumba in the north, has been withdrawn from Lake Malawi waters for routine maintenance by the Malawi Shipping Company. The maintenance work is expected to be finished by the end of the June 2019. The relatively new MV Chilembe, which is in operation on Lake Malawi since 2014, replaces the MV Ilala during that time. The MV Ilala is the oldest passenger ship on Lake Malawi. The 400 tonne passenger motor ship was built in 1949 and is in operation on the lake since 1951. It has a total capacity of 450 passenger and offers cabin class, first class, second class and economy class facilities as well as bars and restaurants.
update (10 July 2019): FlyWestair will operate two daily return flights between Eros Airport (ERS) in Windhoekand Ondangwa Airport (OND) in Ondangwa. update (17 June 2019): According to post by the airline on Facebook, FlyWestair now also offers scheduled flights between Eros Airport (ERS) in Windhoekand Ondangwa Airport (OND) in Ondangwaon Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays and Sundays.
Westair Aviation, a private airline based in Namibia, is set to launch domestic passenger flights in Namibiaafter it was granted "designated carrier" status by the Namibian Transport Commission. This accreditation makes Westair Aviation an official scheduled passenger airline. Effective 24 June 2019, the airline will offer three flights per week between Eros Airport (ERS) in Windhoek and Oranjemund Airport (OMD) in Oranjemund in southern Namibia. Ticket are available from today (12 June 2019). Other domestic routes are planned to open in July 2019, while regional flights are planned to open in August 2019 (subject to on service agreements being reached with authorities and service providers). Westair Aviation, which will operate under the brand name "FlyWestair", is looking to offer flights to Cape Town (serviced from Oranjemund and Windhoek), Walvis Bay, Ondangwa and Johannesburg. We'll keep you posted!
The national airline of the Republic of Seychelles, Air Seychelles, and the national airline of South Africa, South African Airways, have expanded their codeshare partnership effective 29 May 2019. Under the agreement, Air Seychelles is placing its "HM" code on South African Airways' daily services to Perth in Australia and to Windhoek in Namibia. Passengers can reach both new destinations with one ticket, covering sectors flown by South African Airways and by Air Seychelles. Baggage can be checked through to the final destination.