08 April 2020

TAP Portugal to launch direct flights between Lisbon <> Cape Town!

The flag carrier airline of Portugal, TAP Portugal, is planning to launch a new service to Cape Town. Set to commence on 11 November 2020, the airline will operate a three weekly direct service between Humberto Delgado Airport/Lisbon Airport (LIS) in Lisbon, Portugal, and Cape Town International Airport (CPT) in Cape Town, South Africa. The airline will use its new Airbus A330-900neo on the route with the following schedule:

Coronavirus pandemic: South Africa offers the tourism industry financial support!

South Africa's Department of Tourism has made R200 million available to assist small, micro and medium-sized enterprises (SMMEs) in the tourism and hospitality sector who are under particular stress due to the implementation of government measures to curb the spread of Covid-19 in South Africa. The Tourism Relief Fund provides once-off capped grant assistance (max. R50 000 per entity) to eligible businesses. The Department of Tourism encourages theses businesses to apply for the Tourism Relief Fund during the application period from 07 April 2020 to 30 May 2020. Categories eligible to apply for the Tourism Relief Fund include the following:
  • Accommodation establishments: Hotels, Lodges, Bed and Breakfast (B&B’s), Guest Houses and Backpackers.
  • Hospitality and related services: Restaurants (not attached to hotels); Conference venues (not attached to hotels); Professional catering; and Attractions
  • Travel and related services: Tour operators; Travel agents; Tourist guiding; Car rental companies; and Coach Operators.
For comprehensive information on the Tourism Relief Fund visit www.tourism.gov.za.

07 April 2020

Corona pandemic: The empy streets of Cape Town during the lockdown! (drone video)

South Africa is in a 21-day lockdown since 26 March 2020 due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. South African ROC (Remote Operators Certificate) holder Step Above, a drone service company in the fields of agriculture, aerial cinematography, inspection as well as mapping and listed as an essential service during the lockdown in South Africa, took the chance to film the abandoned streets of Cape Town from the skies above during the stay-at-home order to show us the Mother City like you have never seen before — and hopefully never will. Kudos Step Above!

06 April 2020

South African National Parks (SANParks) has released a new destination video showcasing Golden Gate Highlands National Park!

South African National Parks (SANParks) has released a new destination video showcasing Golden Gate Highlands National Park in South Africa's north-eastern Free State. Nestled in the rolling foothills of the Maluti Mountains, the National Park's most notable features are its golden, ochre amd deeply eroded sandstone cliffs and outcrops as well as its numerous caves and shelters displaying San rock paintings. Golden Gate Highlands National Park consists of 340 km² and is home to a variety of wildlife, including Bearded Vulture, Bald Ibis, Black Wildebeest, Eland and Oribi.

Golden Gate Highlands National Park is located close to the villages of Clarens and Kestell, in the upper regions of the Little Caledon River. The National Park is situated 320km from Johannesburg, 330km from Bloemfontein and 350km from Pietermaritzburg. Accommodation in the National Park is available at the Golden Gate Highland Hotel, the Glen Reenen Rest Camp, the Highlands Mountain Retreat, the Basutho Cultural Village, the Noordt Brabant Guest House and the Wilgenhof Environmental Education Centre.

03 April 2020

South African National Parks (SANParks) has released a new destination video showcasing Bontebok National Park!

South African National Parks (SANParks) has released a new destination video showcasing Bontebok National Park in South Africa's Western Cape. Established in 1931 to ensure the preservation of the Bontebok, the smallest of South Africa's 19 National Parks is today home to about 200 Bonteboks and a variety of other indigenous species such as Grey Rhebok, Cape Grysbok, Duiker, Red Hartebeest and Cape Mountain Zebra, as well as Stanley's bustard, Secretary bird and the Blue crane.

Bontebok National Park is is situated 6 km south from the picturesque and historic town of Swellendam, in the foothills of the Langeberg Mountains. The National Park is easily accessible from the N2 that runs from Cape Town (approx. 240km) along the Garden Route to Port Elizabeth (approx. 540 km). Due to its small size of about 3 900 ha visitors can drive around the whole the National Park in a few hours. The present road network provides two major game drive loops that can be completed in 1-2 hours respectively, depending on game viewing stops. Lang Elsie's Kraal Rest Camp is the only rest camp in Bontebok National Park. It is the first rest camp in South African National Parks to be built according to a "Touching the Earth Lightly" design and provides accommodation in either self catering chalets or cottages. There are braai facilities and guests are able to picnic on the banks of the Breede River.

02 April 2020

Zambia has closed the gates to the Victoria Falls!

Zambia has closed the gates to the Victoria Falls, the world's largest waterfall, on 01 April 2020 until further notice as a measure to curb the spread of the coronavirus. The Victoria Falls, which is located on the border of Zambia and Zimbabwe on the Zambezi River, is one of Seven Wonders of the World and one of Zambia's most visited tourist destinations. Zimbabwe has also closed gates to the Falls in line with the 21-day lockdown in the country.

Western Cape: CapeNature to re-open its Nature Reserves on 24 April 2020!

All 25 Nature Reserves in South Africa's Western Cape managed by CapeNature are closed to the public since 25 March 2020. They will remain closed during the country-wide lockdown (26 March 2020 - 16 April 2020) and are set to re-open on 24 April 2020. Visitors who confirmed bookings with CapeNature for the period between 25 March 2020 and 24 April 2020 will have their bookings moved to a later date of their choice, outside of the closure period, or have the option to be reimbursed. Please contact CapeNature for further informations regarding bookings or booking amendments.

01 April 2020

South Africa: Follow live-streamed game drives through the African bush from your living room!

In light of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, travel bans, lockdowns and quarantines, luxury travel company &Beyond and wildlife broadcaster WildEarth have teamed up to broadcast two live-streamed personalised game drives through the African bush per day during the month of April 2020. Each excursion is around three hours and is getting streamed in real-time on Youtube and Facebook. The game drives are taking place in the &Beyond Ngala Private Game Reserve, which shares unfenced borders with the Kruger National Park, as well as in the Djuma Private Game Reserve, which forms part of the Sabi Sand Game Reserve. You can view the safaris between 06:00am – 09:00am CAT (sunrise dependent) and between 15:30pm – 18:30pm CAT (sunset dependent). Viewers can interact with the guides by asking questions on YouTube or using #wildearth on Twitter. Awesome! Kudos &Beyond & WildEarth!

South African Tourism: "Don’t Travel Now So You Can Travel Later"! (video)

South Africa's national tourism board, South African Tourism, has unveiled a the new campaign "Don’t Travel Now So You Can Travel Later" to promote social/physical distancing and self-isolation to help curb the spread of the coronavirus. The campaign's two 90-second videos are both showing beautiful scenes of empty tourist attractions, places and streets in South Africa combined with a touching message of positivity for the future. Kudos South African Tourism!
"We will travel again, and we will gather again. For us to all to travel tomorrow, we have to stay home today."

Zimbabwe: Victoria Falls National Park is temporarily closed!

According to Zimbabwean state-owned daily newspaper The Herald (online edition, 01 April 2020), the gates to the famous Victoria Falls have been closed to the public in line with the 21-day lockdown in Zimbabwe to curb the spread of the coronavirus. The Victoria Falls National Park, which includes the Victoria Falls Rainforest and the Victoria Falls, closed on 30 March 2020. Due to the coronavirus pandemic, the number of visitors to the Victoria Falls Rainforest drastically dropped to less than 10 per day from between 500 and 1 000 during the previous week.

31 March 2020

Coronavirus pandemic: Mozambique has declared a State of Emergency for 30 days!

The President of Mozambique, Filipe Nyusi, has declared the State of Emergency for 30 days from 01 April 2020 on midnight due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. During the period, the movement of individuals in Mozambique will be limited and all kinds of public and private meetings, such as sports, cultural activities and religious ceremonies, will be prohibited. The President also declared mandatory 14-day quarantine for all people who have travelled outside Mozambique during the past month. President Nyusi did not mention how e.g. the restrictions on people's movement will be enforced, but referred to the country's Cabinet, which will announce further details of Mozambique's measures to curb the spread the coronavirus during the State of Emergency.

Coronavirus pandemic: Botswana has declared a State of Emergency for 28 days!

The President of Botswana, Mokgweetsi Masisi, has declared a State of Emergency for 28 days starting from the 02 April 2020 at midnight due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. During this period, all individuals in Botswana will be expected to adhere to a more severe form of social distancing*. Movement out of the home is only restricted to those performing essential services and transporting essential goods. Those involved will be permitted to travel using the COVID-19 TRAVEL PERMIT that will be issued by Government. According to President Masisi, the measures are taken to limit the spread of the diseases that are transmitted among humans.

*By social distancing
Botswana's Government refers to any public measure taken to reduce interaction and contact between persons.

Namibia: National Parks are open to visitors!

Namibia's Ministry of Environment, Forestry and Tourism (MET) has confirmed that the country's National Parks are open for business for people who still want to visit despite the ongoing coronavirus pandemic and the presidential directive to all government workers and the private sector to temporarily operate from home. According to MET spokesperson, Romeo Muyunda, employees of the Ministry in the National Parks "are following all the measures that were put in place by the state – no gatherings of more than 10 people – in addition to all the other activities that were discouraged and other preventative measures". [src.]
The Park Rangers in
Namibia's National Parks are listed under "critical services" by the Government and are therefore continuing to fulfill their duties as usual, while MET office staff are attending to work from home.

Namibia, landscape, Namib

Namibia: New rhino and elephant poaching figures!

According to Namibia's Ministry of Environment, Forestry and Tourism, the country has lost nine rhinos and one elephant to poaching since the beginning of 2020. The poaching took place inside private owned farms and in Namibia's National Parks.
A total of 45 rhinos and 12 elephants got illegally killed by poachers in
Namibia in 2019, compared to 57 rhinos and 26 elephants that lost their lives to poaching activities during 2018. Namibia has the second largest population of white rhinos in the world after South Africa and, according to Save the Rhino, it holds one-third of the world’s remaining black rhinos.

Namibia, rhino, wildlife, Africa, safari

Kruger National Park Calendar - May!

  • autumn
  • warm to hot days
  • warm to rather cold evenings
  • occasional rain only
Kruger National Park, South Africa, safari, giraffe

  • the bush starts drying out
  • landscape changes from green to yellow, orange and brown
  • the waterholes in the mopaneveld are drying out first
  • the baobab trees are dropping their last pods
Animal Activity:
  • Elephants begin migration into northern Kruger
  • game seeking for warmer areas
  • impala rut continues
  • wild dog breeding season

30 March 2020

South Africa: Airlink to resume operations to key destinations from 20 April 2020!

South African regional carrier Airlink has announced that it is planning to provide a reduced flight schedule commencing on 20 April 2020 to key local (business) destinations in South Africa, Lesotho, eSwatini, Zimbabwe, St Helena Island, Zambia and Botswana. Whilst the current restrictions are intended to last for 21 days, the airline will take its cue from the Government of South Africa and update the schedule accordingly. Airlink's target date for recommencing operations will be determined by the evaluation, after lock-down, by the South African Government. Here are the key routes of the reduced flight schedule commencing on 20 April 2020:

Coronavirus pandemic: Zimbabwe begins country-wide lockdown!

The Government of Zimbabwe has imposed a country-wide lockdown for 21 days from today (30 March 2020) to help curb the spread of the coronavirus. All non-essential services have to completely cease operations during the lockdown, while shops and food open markets operate under the supervision of health officials. In addition to food markets, industries producing food, water and sanitary products are permitted to remain open. All public transport in Zimbabwe is also grounded.

28 March 2020

Tanzania / Zambia: TAZARA suspends border crossing for passenger trains!

The Tanzania-Zambia Railway Authority (TAZARA) has announced that both the Mukuba Passenger Train and Kilimanjaro Passenger Train will no longer cross the border between Tanzania and Zambia with effect from 30 March 2020 until further notice due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. The trains will instead continue to run within the respective boundaries of the two countries. This adjustment in passenger train operations is inline with the measures taken by the Government of Tanzania and the Government of Zambia in the effort to control the spread of the virus. However, freight train operations are not affected by this change.

The new operational schedules for the two passenger trains will be as follows:

Mukuba Passenger Train:
  • The Mukuba Passenger Train will depart New Kapiri Mposhi as it normally does on Tuesday, but terminate and u-turn at Nakonde on Wednesday, arriving at New Kapiri Mposhi on Thursday. The train will run again on Friday from New Kapiri Mposhi to Nakonde, u-turning at Nakonde on Saturday and arriving in New Kapiri Mposhi on Sunday.
Kilimanjaro  Passenger Train:
  • The Kilimanjaro Passenger Train will depart Dar es Salaam as it normally does on Tuesday, but terminate and u-turn at Mbeya on Wednesday, arriving at Dar es Salaam on Friday, early in the morning. The train will run again on the same Friday from Dar es Salaam to Mbeya, u-turning at Mbeya on Saturday and arriving in Dar es Salaam in the early hours of Monday.
The TAZARA Railway, operated by the Tanzania-Zambia Railway Authority (TAZARA), is a railroad in East Africa linking the port of Dar es Salaam in Tanzania with the town of New Kapiri Mposhi in Zambia's Central Province.

27 March 2020

Coronavirus pandemic: Namibia to go into partial lockdown!

The Government of Namibia has announced that parts of the country will go into lockdown from midnight 27 March 2020 until midnight 16 April 2020 as a measure to stem the spread of the coronavirus. These parts include the Khomas region (including Windhoek), the Erongo region (including Swakopmund and Walvis Bay) as well as the towns of Okahandja and Rehoboth. Under the lockdown, people will not be allowed to leave their homes except for visits to pharmacies, food supply stores, courts, banks, for medical reasons and for physical exercise in groups of not more than three persons. All shops and businesses will get closed except those classified as essential or critical services.

Coronavirus pandemic: Lesotho to go into lockdown!

The Government of Lesotho has announced that the country will go into lockdown from midnight on 29 March 2020 to 21 April 2020 as a measure in the fights against the coronavirus pandemic. Only the following essential services will remain operational during the lockdown in Lesotho: health, security, special banking, grocery shops, pharmacies, water, power and fuel. Lesotho's borders with South Africa will be closed during the lockdown but those supplying goods will be allowed in at commercial borders.

Botswana: The Department of Wildlife and National Parks stops accepting all foreign currency as means of payment!

The Department of Wildlife and National Parks (DWNP) in Botswana's Ministry of Environment, Natural Resources Conservation and Tourism has announced that with effect from 01 April 2020 it will stop accepting all foreign currency as means of payment. Clients are advised to use local currency (Botswana Pula; BWP) and credit cards or debit cards where points of sale machines are available for payments. The public is advised to use bureau exchange service providers to facilitate foreign exchange services.

Botswana, watering hole, hippo

The Department of Wildlife and National Parks (DWNP) has the primary mandate to promote the conservation and management of Botswana's wildlife and fisheries resources including protected areas, wildlife management areas and several water bodies with fisheries resources.

src.: facebook/dwnp

Coronavirus pandemic: Proflight Zambia temporarily suspends operations!

Zambian carrier Proflight Zambia has suspended operations for 30 days due to the coronavirus pandemic. The airline will cease international flights effective from today, 27 March 2020, and domestic flights will not operate between 01 April 2020 and 30 April 2020. The airline plans to resume international and domestic flights from 01 May 2020 to Lusaka, Ndola, Mfuwe, Solwezi, Livingstone and Johannesburg on a very limited schedule.
"We hope to resume normal operations by 01 July 2020 but we do not know yet whether this will be possible. When normal operations do resume it is likely to be with very reduced frequency especially on tourism routes", said Proflight Zambia's Corporate Director Chitalu Kabalika.
Passengers holding an unused ticket will be able to use the full value of the same ticket to travel within 18 months of ticket date and all change fees and re-route fees will be waived. Those who no longer wish to travel will be allowed name changes on unused ticketed. Names changes will not be permitted on partially used tickets.

Proflight Zambia
Proflight Zambia: temporarily suspending operations.

South African Airways' Business Rescue Plan release extended to end of May 2020!

South African Airways' (SAA) Business Rescue Practitioners (BRPs) Siviwe Dongwana and Les Matuson have received another extension from lenders and creditors to publish their long-awaited business rescue plan to save South Africa's embattled flag carrier from liquidation. A majority of lenders and creditors agreed to the extension. In the request for a postponement, the Business Rescue Practitioners (BRPs) pointed out that the uncertainty of the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on South African Airways (SAA) and the global aviation industry as well as the need for lengthy redundancy talks with labour unions makes an extension inevitable. The new deadline for the business rescue plan is the 29 May 2020.

Coronavirus pandemic: Air Zimbabwe has temporarily suspended all operations!

Zimbabwe's flag carrier, Air Zimbabwe, has temporarily suspended all domestic and regional flight operations with effect from 26 March 2020 until further notice due to travel restrictions imposed by Zimbabwe's Government in response to the coronavirus pandemic. The airline will operate a last return flight to Dar es Salaam in Tanzania on 28 March 2020 "to assist returning residents".

26 March 2020

Namibia: Namibia Wildlife Resorts offers Hardap Resort as quarantine and treatment facility for corona patients!

Namibia Wildlife Resorts (NWR), the state-owned enterprise mandated to run the tourism facilities within the protected areas of Namibia, has announced that it will offer its Hardap Resort as a temporary station to care for and treat people infected with COVID-19. The resort is located close to the town of Mariental and the Mariental State Hospital. According to Dr Matthias Ngwangwama, NWR Acting Managing Director, Hardap Resort has 54 rooms, with 220 beds, ranging from dormitory rooms to family chalets with self-catering facilities and provides the necessary isolation environment needed.
"After the virus has been brought under control, NWR will thoroughly sanitise the facility and acquire approval from the Ministry of Health and Social Services before it is re-opened to the public" says Mufaro Nesongano, NWR Corporate Communications, Online Media and Sponsorships Manager.

Coronavirus pandemic: Fastjet (Zimbabwe) suspends all operations!

Zimbabwean regional carrier Fastjet (Zimbabwe) has announced the suspension of all services from 27 March 2020 until 16 April 2020 (both days fully inclusive) as a result of the latest measures introduced in Zimbabwe and South Africa to control the spread of the coronavirus. The airline offers all customers holding existing bookings within these date periods rebooking assistance with additional fees or fare differences. We advise to contact Fastjet for further information.

Corona pandemic: Air Botswana temporarily suspends operations!

The flag carrier of Botswana, Air Botswana, temporarily suspends all its scheduled domestic and regional flight operations between 27 March 2020 and 31 May 2020 due to the ongoing corona pandemic. The suspension period will be subject to regular review. The airline will maintain a core team to support customer enquiries and provide assistance with rebooking and the processing of refund applications. Air Botswana will operate its last flights before suspension of services to Francistown, Maun and Kasane to offer passengers an opportunity to get back to their intended destinations.

25 March 2020

Namibia: Air Namibia and FlyWestair temporarily suspend all operations!

Namibia's flag carrier, Air Namibia, has announced the temporary suspension of all passenger flights effective 27 March 2020. Domestic and regional fligths will remain suspended until 20 April 2020, while the airline's international operations, which are already suspended sice 14 March 2020, remain canceled until further notice. The temporary suspension of operations is in alignment with Namibia's latest travel restrictions aimed at curbing the further spread of the corona virus. Air Namibia has introduced rebooking options for travellers who need to change their travel dates due to the suspension. The airline offers all customers holding a ticket purchased to travel before 30 April 2020 one free change to a new travel date until 31 December 2020. For more information, please contact Air Namibia.
Namibia's first private scheduled passenger airline, FlyWestair, also announced the suspension of all domestic passenger flights effective 26 March 2020 until further notice. The airline's only regional service between Windhoek (Eros) and Cape Town via Oranjemund has already been suspended since 23 March 2020 and will remain so until further notice.

Coronavirus pandemic: Zambia redirects all international flights to Kenneth Kaunda International Airport (LUN) in Lusaka!

In light of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, Zambia's Government has made the decision to suspend all international flights to Harry Mwanga Nkumbula International Airport (LVI) in Livingstone, Simon Mwansa Kapwepwe International Airport (NLA) in Ndola and Mfuwe Airport (MFU) in Mfuwe from midnight on 26 March 2020 for a period of 14 days. Instead, all international flights have to land and depart from Kenneth Kaunda International Airport (LUN) in Lusaka. Through this measure, the Zambian Government aims to ensure an efficient and effective screening of all travellers as well as following them up by the country's health officials. Travellers, who are showing symptoms of Covid-19 upon screening will be quarantined in a medical facility for treatment. All other travellers, who are not showing any symptoms, will be quarantined for at leat 14 days at their own cost.Zambia's Government also obliges its missions abroad and the Department of Immigration to be alert to review the issuance of visa for people wanting to travel to Zambia, as well as at all its ports of entry for all travellers from countries affected by the coronavirus.

South Africa: These regional and domestic carriers suspend operations during the countrywide lockdown!

Following President Cyril Ramaphosa's announcement of a countrywide lockdown in South Africa from 26 March 2020, South African passenger airlines have decided to suspend operations for the time being to slow and contain the spread of the coronavirus. South Africa's flag carrier, South African Airways (SAA), suspends all its domestic flights between 27 March 2020 and 16 April 2020. Airlink suspends all operations from midnight on 26 March 2020 and targets to resume operations on 20 April 2020. Mango has announced that it will halt operations from 25 March 2020 until further notice, while Flysafair also suspends all flights from 25 March 2020 and aims to resume operations in the morning of 20 April 2020. Comair, which operates scheduled services on domestic routes as a British Airways franchisee and also operates as a low-cost carrier under its own kulula.com brand, has announced that it will not be operating flights between 26 March 2020 and 19 April 2020. Cemair has so far not made an offical announcement regarding the suspension of services during the countrywide lockdown. The airline only announded plans to operate two additional Johannesburg <> Cape Town return flights and one Johannesburg <> George return flight on 26 March 2020 to "get you home befor the big lockdown". We'll keep you posted!

South African Airways suspends all domestic flights during South Africa's nation-wide lockdown!

South Africa's flag carrier, South African Airways (SAA), will suspend all its domestic flights from 27 March 2020 until 16 April 2020 and will resume its domestic flights on 17 April 2020. The decision came after South Africa's Government announced a nation-wide lockdown for 21 days aimed at combatting the spread of the coronavirus pandemic. SAA will provide support to passengers who intend to change their travel plans and commence their journeys before the implementation of the nation-wide lockdown and will assist customers whose itinerary must change as a result of the lockdown. South African Airways offers one free travel change for travel between 24 March 2020 and 26 March 2020. Re-accommodation of the customers for this purpose will happen on a first-come-first-served basis. During (!) the national lockdown, SAA's call centers will not operate. Customers are requested to contact the airline via email. For all regarding informations, please visit the website of South African Airways.

Coronavirus pandemic: eSwatini to close its ports of entry for travel!

The Kingdom of eSwatini is set to introduce a 20-day partial lockdown to curb the spread of the coronavirus pandemic. Effective 27 March 2020, people in eSwatini will not be allowed to leave their homes except to buy food, medical supplies, make use of banking services or seek medical attention. Non-essential travel between towns, cities and regions in eSwatini is also not permitted, except for medical reasons or to provide or acquire essential services. The army and the police will be deployed to ensure compliance with all these measures. Chiefs and traditional authorities will take a leading role in enforcing these measures in their communities.
Following the announcement by the South African Government of a lockdown, only goods and cargo as well as returning citizens and legal residents will be allowed to enter eSwatini through the country's border crossing points. Returning citizens and residents of eSwatini will be subjected to a mandatory 14 days quarantine at designated locations except for those who are able to self-isolate. Foreign nationals coming from "high-risk countries are already restricted from entering eSwatini until further notice since eSwatini declared National Emergency in response to the coronavirus panedemic on 17 March 2020.