06 July 2020

Coronavirus pandemic: Namibia imposes a travel ban on Walvis Bay, Swakopmund and Arandis in the Erongo Region!

Namibia's President Hage Geingob today (06 July 2020) announced in a televised press conference that the current stage four measures in the country will be maintained for all 13 regions with exception of the Erongo Region, which remains under stage three until midnight on 03 August 2020. President Geingob said additional measures are necessary for the Walvis Bay Local Authorty area, the Swakopmund Local Authority area and the Arandis Local Authority area, which have been placed under a special dispensation. This is due to the exponential increase of cases of Covid-19 in the Walvis Bay Local Authorty area. The introduction of these measures is done with the sole objective of containing the spread of disease within and beyond these three towns.
The Government of
Namibia has imposed a travel ban with the exception of essential and critical goods and services on the Walvis Bay Local Authorty area, the Swakopmund Local Authority area and the Arandis Local Authority area. No travel into our out of these three Local Authority areas will be permited until midnight on 03 August 2020. Travel between other towns in the Erongo Region and to the rest of Namibia will be permited, with exception of the Walvis Bay Local Authorty area, the Swakopmund Local Authority area and the Arandis Local Authority area. Any person leaving the Walvis Bay Local Authorty area, the Swakopmund Local Authority area and the Arandis Local Authority area to any part of the country - apart from providers of critical goods and services - will be quarantined for a period of 14 days at own cost.
As of 06 July 2020, 485 Covid-19 cases have been confirmed in Namibia. Of the total number of cases confirmed nationally, 436 (or 90% ) are from the Erongo Region, with 391 of these cases specifically in the Walvis Bay Local Authorty area.

Kenya to resume domestic and international air travel!

Kenya's President Uhuru Kenyatta today (06 July 2020) announced during a televised press briefing that domestic flights in the country will resume on 15 July 2020. International air travel and operations at Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (NBO) in Nairobi are set to resume from 01 August 2020. All operations - both domestic and international - will be in strict conformity with all applicable guidelines and protocols from both Kenya's Ministry of Health and civil aviation authorities. 



Kenya's Government suspended all international flights in and out of the country in March 2020. In May 2020, the government then extended a ban on commercial flights, with the exception of fights arriving to evacuate foreign nationals. In addition to emergency flights, cargo flights were also exempted during the suspension.

Rwanda reopens its airports for scheduled commercial flights!

Rwanda's Ministry of Infrastructure on Saturday (04 July 2020) announced the reopening of the country's airports for scheduled commercial flights on 01 August 2020. All passengers, including those in transit, will be required to show proof of a Covid-19 PCR negative test from a certified laboratory, taken within 72 hours of arriving in Rwanda. For passengers entering Rwanda, a second Covid-19 PCR test will be conducted upon arrival, with results delivered within 24 hours during which time they will remain in designated hotels at own cost.Rwanda closed its airports to commercial flights on 20 March 2020. On 17 June 2020, the Rwanda Airports Company (RAC) opened up airports including the Kigali International Airport (KGL) in Kigali for private and chartered flights.
As of 05 July 2020,
Rwanda has 535 active cases of Covid-19 and three deaths. The cumulative number of confirmed cases is 1105; 567 patients have recovered and been discharged. (WHO)

04 July 2020

South Africa: National Parks still not open for overnight stays!

South African National Parks (SANParks) has reminded travellers that its National Parks in South Africa remain closed for overnight accommodation as per alert level three lockdown regulations on leisure and interprovincial travel. All overnight bookings for July 2020 have therefore been suspended; the public will be advised in due course when bookings open. SANParks advises those with overnight bookings to delay their travel and not cancel. The organization will announce the dates for the reopening of accommodation bookings in due course.

South Africa, Kruger National Park, rhinos, Open Safari Vehicle

Day self-drives in
South Africa's National Parks continue to be permissible for residents of the various provinces that the respective National Parks are located in.

02 July 2020

Kenya: Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) reduces entry fees to all game parks and reserves!

Kenya's Cabinet Secretary for Tourism, Najib Balala, has announced that entry fees to all Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) game parks and reserves have been reduced. This applies to all local (citzens and residents) and international tourists effective 01 July 2020, for one year. The discounted rates are aimed at bolstering Kenya's tourism sector and help it recover from the impact of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. The Cabinet Secretary further announced a one-year moratorium on rent for all lodges and camps in game parks and reserves mangaged by the KWS. Filmmakers have also been given a 50% discount on filming fees in KWS parks to help market Kenya both at local and international stage.



Coronavirus pandemic: Mozambique has extended the State of Emergency until 29 July 2020!

The Government of Mozambique has extended the countrywide State of Emergency in response to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic by another 30 days until 29 July 2020. According to the Mozambique's President, Filipe Nyusi, the country relaxes some measures to curb the spread of the coronavirus during the extended State of Emergency and allows certain sectors to resume activities. These sectors include education, business, culture and tourism. In terms of tourism, Mozambique plans to reopen for visitors and flights from selected countries. Restaurants are allowed to reopen, while bars remain close. As of 01 July 2020, Mozambique had 889 confirmed cases of COVID-19, including 232 in which the patients have recovered, and 6 deaths.

01 July 2020

Coronavirus pandemic: Rwanda is the first country in sub-Sahara Africa allowed to travel to the European Union again!

According to a press release by the Council of the European Union (EU), Rwanda is the only nation in sub-Saharan Africa that appears on a list of 14 countries that are allowed again to travel to the EU. As from today (01 July 2020), the member states of the EU start lifting the temprary travel restrictions at the external borders for residents of Rwanda. Rwandans have been banned from entering the EU since 17 March 2020 in line with an EU-wide travel restriction on all non-essential travel from third countries into the EU as a measure to curb the spread of the coronavirus.

As of 01 July 2020, citizens of the following third countries are allowed to travel to the European Union again:

  • Algeria
  • Australia
  • Canada
  • Georgia
  • Japan
  • Montenegro
  • Morocco
  • New Zealand
  • Rwanda
  • Serbia
  • South Korea
  • Thailand
  • Tunisia
  • Uruguay
  • China, subject to confirmation of reciprocity
This list is being reviewed and, as the case may be, updated every two weeks.

The countries were chosen based on certain criteria, such as the epidemiological situation and containment measures, including physical distancing, as well as economic and social considerations.
Regarding the epidemiological situation, third countries listed should meet the following criteria, in particular:

  • number of new COVID-19 cases over the last 14 days and per 100 000 inhabitants close to or below the EU average (as it stood on 15 June 2020)
  • stable or decreasing trend of new cases over this period in comparison to the previous 14 days
  • overall response to COVID-19 taking into account available information, including on aspects such as testing, surveillance, contact tracing, containment, treatment and reporting, as well as the reliability of the information and, if needed, the total average score for International Health Regulations (IHR). Information provided by EU delegations on these aspects should also be taken into account.
Reciprocity should also be taken into account regularly and on a case-by-case basis.

Coronavirus pandemic: Zimbabwe to partially reopen the tourism & hospitality sectors!

According to Zimbabwe's state-owned newspaper "The Herald" (online edition, 01 July 2020), the tourism and hospitality sectors are allowed to carefully and safely resume limited operations. Zimbabwe's National Parks and safari operations have the permission to reopen again, while restaurants are allowed to welcome sit in guests at 50% capacity .
International tourism is still banned in
Zimbabwe. The Government of the country is therefore putting a focus on the domestic tourism market to start the recovery of the country's tourism and hospitality industries. We'll keep you posted!

Photo by Jäger on Unsplash

30 June 2020

Kruger National Park Calendar - August!

Weather:
  • cool mornings and cold evenings
  • temperatures & humidity rise during the day
Temperatures:

Landscape:
  • bush extremely dry
  • landscape a yellow hue through flowering knobthorn, cassias and other
  • veld often overgrassed, especialy around watering holes etc.
Animal Activity:
  • game congrates around watering holes, rivers etc.
  • elephant numbers at their highest in northern Kruger
  • earliest summer migrant birds arrive
  • local raptors breeding
  • weakest animals die of thirst or from predators

South Africa: Airlink expands its domestic flight network for business and essential travel!

Following the announcement by South Africa's Minister of Transport, Fikile Mbalula, that seven more airports in South Africa resume operations from 01 July 2020, South African regional carrier Airlink is set to introduce flights between OR Tambo Internaitonal Airport (JNB) in Johannesburg and Bram Fischer International Airport (BFN) in Bloemfontein, Kruger Mpumalanga International Airport (MQP) in Nelspruit, Upington Airport (UTN) in Upington and Pietermaritzburg Airport (PZB) in Pietermaritzburg as well as Cape Town International Airport (CPT) in Cape Town to Bloemfontein and Cape Town to Port Elizabeth International Airport (PLZ) in Port Elizabeth. All services will commence on 06 July 2020. In the next few weeks the airline is expecting additional airports to be approved and added to their operations, these include Kimberley, Mthatha, Polokwane, Richards Bay as well as Cape Town to George.
Domestic passenger air travel in
South Africa is currently not permitted for recreational, leisure or tourism purposes. All international passenger flights are prohibited except for those flights authorised by the Minister of Transport for the repatriation of South African Nationals from foreign countries and evacuation of foreign nationals from South Africa.

29 June 2020

Zambia has reopened its international airports to trigger the recovery of the tourism sector!

Zambia's President, Edgar Lungu, announced on 26 June 2020 the reopening of all international airports in Zambia, namely Kenneth Kaunda International Airport (LUN) in Lusaka, Harry Mwaanga Nkumbula International Airport (LVI) in Livingstone, Simon Mwansa Kapwepwe International Airport (NLA) in Ndola and Mfuwe International Airport (MFU) in Mfuwe/South Luangwa National Park. According to the President, the decision was to trigger the recovery of the tourism sector not only in Livingstone but the country at large. He further announced that the Minister of Communication and Transport, the Minister of Finance, the Minister of Home Affairs and the Minister of Tourism will get directed to work together in ensuring stringent health guidelines such as:
  • screening
  • testing passengers with symptoms
  • masking
  • social distancing
  • frequent washing of hands
  • follow-up on passengers who test positive and sending them into quarantine until they test negative
As of 26 June 2020, Zambia has registered 1,497 coronavirus cases and 18 deaths. 52,195 total coronavirus tests have conducted so far.


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South Africa reopens seven more airports!

South Africa's Minister of Transport, Fikile Mbalula, today (29 June 2020) announced that in addition to the original four airports that are currently allowed to operate in alert level three of the country's risk-adjusted strategy to manage the spread of COVID-19 - OR Tambo International Airport (JNB) in Johannesburg, King Shaka International Airport (DUR) in Durban, Cape Town International Airport (CPT) in Cape Town and Lanseria International Airport (HLA) in Johannesburg - the following domestic airports will reopen from 01 July 2020:
 

Mpumalanga: Graskop Gorge lift reopens!

The Graskop Gorge lift in Mpumalanga, a viewing lift that takes visitors 51 metres down the face of the Graskop Gorge and into the forest below, has announced that it will reopen on 03 July 2020. The lift was closed for more than three month as a result of the national coronavirus lockdown. The celebrate the reopening, the Graskop Gorge lift will reduce the prices for the viewing lift and forest experience. The lift experience special, valid for July 2020 only, is:
  • R140.00 for adults and pensioners
  • R90.00 for all school-going children
A R30 entrance fee applies to guests who want to enjoy the views and retail offerings but will not be buying lift or Big Swing tickets. The Lift Café will offer a limited takeaway menu.

The Graskop Gorge lift, which is operated by the Graskop Gorge Lift Company, is located just outside of Graskop on the R533 towards Hazyview along the famous Panorama Route (on the opposite side of the gorge to the Big Swing).

26 June 2020

eSwatini: The Royal Eswatini National Airways Corporation & Royal Jet (Abu Dhabi) formed an air charter partnership!

The Royal Eswatini National Airways Corporation (RENAC) and Royal Jet, an international luxury flight services provider headquartered in Abu Dhabi, have formed a joint venture to offer a charter flight service from King Mswati III International Airport (SHO) in Sikhuphe in eSwatini to desired destinations once international air travel restarts. 
This collaboration will see a Royal Jet luxury 28-seater Boeing 737 BBJ based at King Mswati III International Airport (SHO) for a duration of 12 month. The strategic partnership is mainly looking at the luxury travel market and is aimed at reviving the aviation industry in eSwatini and stimulating activity at King Mswati III International Airport (SHO).
RENAC will offer ground handling and cleaning services to Royal Jet at a fee. Royal Jet will be getting their aviation fuel from RENAC's fuel farms at the Matsapha Airport Airport (MTS) and King Mswati III International Airport (SHO). In addition, RENAC's sister company, Eswatini Civil Aviation Authority (ESWACAA), will provide Royal Jet landing and parking services.

Zimbabwe: National Railways of Zimbabwe (NRZ) is planning to resume passenger train operations "soon"!

Zimbabwe's Minister of Transport and Infrastructural Development, Joel Biggie Matiza, announced in a media briefing in Bulawayo on 25 June 2020 that National Railways of Zimbabwe (NRZ) is planning to resume passenger train operations in Zimbabwe soon. The Minister didn't name a specific date. Both NRZ's urban and long-distance trains were suspended in March 2020 in line with Zimbabwe's lockdown restrictions imposed to curb the spread of the coronavirus. Upon of the return, National Railways of Zimbabwe (NRZ) will introduce more routes in cities and between districts as well as provinces. According to the Mr. Matiza there is still a lot that needs to be done in terms of ensuring that the trains are safe and that issues such as social distancing are implemented in the trains. [src.] We'll keep you posted!

24 June 2020

South Africa: Mpumalanga Tourism and Parks Agency (MTPA) has reopened selected nature reserves in Mpumalanga!

In line with South Africa's alert level three regulations, the Mpumalanga Tourism and Parks Agency (MTPA) has with effect from 23 June 2020 opened selected nature reserves in Mpumalanga to the public for self-drives, hiking, fishing and hunting activities. The MTPA introduced strict health protocols to safeguard both our staff and guests and encourages those intending to visit the nature reserves to make the necessary bookings prior through MTPA's central reservations office. The braai facilities, picnic sites, swimming pools and camping sites in the reopened nature reserves remain closed for the public. Social distancing should be observed at all times and no groups will be permitted.

The following nature reserves
in Mpumalanga have been opened to the public with the following activities being offered:
  • Loskop Dam Nature Reserve - self drive
  • Barberton Nature Reserve - self drive
  • Songimvelo Nature Reserve - self drive, hunting and fishing
  • Manyeleti Nature Reserve - self drive
  • Blyde River Canyon - self guided walk and hiking trails
    (Belvedere day walk hiking trail available from 07:00 - 12:00)
  • Ohrigstad Dam Nature Reserve - fishing and hunting
  • Andover Nature Reserve - hunting

23 June 2020

Coronavirus pandemic: Namibia is getting ready to welcome international tourists from September 2020! [update]

update (24 June 2020): According to an infographic posted by the Embassy of the Republic of Namibia in Germany on facebook, Namibia enforces incoming travellers to submit to mandatory, supervised quarantine during stage five of the country's five-stage strategy to exit the coronavirus lockdown.

Namibia's Government has extended its four-stage strategy to exit the coronavirus lockdown by a fifth stage to address exclusively the opening of points of entry and the resumption of international air travel. The country is expected to migrate to stage five on 18 September 2020. In stage five, which is intended to last until there is a vaccine for the coronavirus, Namibia's points of entry will gradually open to targeted low risk countries and international air travel will resume with direct flights to and from low risk cities.

Namibia, Etosha National Park, sunrise, safari

During stage four (
30 June 2020 to 17 September 2020), Namibia will conduct a targeted international tourism revival initiative from 15 July 2020 to 15 August 2020 in collaboration with the tourism and hospitality sector. This initiative will look to accommodate a limited number of tourists, who will be determined in consultation with the private sector, from a carefully selected low risk market. This trial will inform and strengthen public sector preparations for the imminent reopening of Points of Entry under stage five. Detailed modalities for Namibia's targeted international tourism revival initiative will be announced in coming weeks.

Virgin Atlantic plans to resume flights between London <> Johannesburg!

British airline Virgin Atlantic is planning to resume operations between Heathrow Airport (LHR) in London and OR Tambo International Airport (JNB) in Johannesburg. Effective 15 September 2020, the airline plans to gradually reintroduce flights. This date is dependent on the relevant government approval. Virgin Atlantic will initially offer three weekly return flights on board a brand-new Airbus A350-1000 aircraft to Johannesburg with the same overnight schedule that was operated prior to lockdown. Subject to demand, the airline will slowly ramp the service back up to a daily schedule. We'll keep you posted!

22 June 2020

Coronavirus pandemic: Namibia to launch a "targeted international tourism revival initiative" during stage four of its five-stage strategy to exit the coronavirus lockdown! [update]

update (22 June 2020): Namibia has added an additional stage five, estimated from 18 September 2020, to address exclusively the opening of Points of Entry and the resumption of Air Travel. 

Namibia's President Dr. Hage G. Geingob (22 June 2020) announced that 13 of the 14 regions of Namibia will migrate from stage three to stage four of the country's four five-stage strategy to exit the coronavirus lockdown at midnight on 29 June 2020. The Erongo Region, which is currently in stage one lockdown, will migrate to stage three at midnight tonight, Monday 22 June 2020. 
As of today, Namibia has a total of 63 confirmed cases of covid-19, with 28 new cases reported during the past 7-day period. Twenty-four out of the 28 newly reported cases originate from the Erongo Region.

The following measures will apply to all residents across Namibia, except for the Erongo Region:

  1. Namibia will migrate from stage three to stage four with Relaxed Precautions on 30 June to 17 September 2020 for an extended 10-week period.
  2. Points of entry will remain closed except for the transportation of imported goods. Government in collaboration with the Tourism and Hospitality sector will conduct a targeted International Tourism revival initiative between 15 July to 15 August 2020. This initiative will look to accommodate a limited number of tourists, who will be determined in consultation with the private sector, from a carefully selected low risk market that has potential to contribute towards Namibia's tourism sector that employs over 100,000 Namibians. Modalities for this initiative will be announced in coming weeks and this trial will inform and strengthen public sector preparations for the imminent reopening of Points of Entry under stage five.
  3. Travel related quarantine: As from 30 June 2020, all Namibians & Non-Namibians entering the country must submit to a COVID19 PCR test on arrival and mandatory, Government supervised Quarantine, at own cost. Only citizens who cannot afford to quarantine at own cost (as will be defined in the Directives) can apply to be quarantined at cost to Government.
  4. The size of public gatherings will increase to 250 people for social gatherings including weddings, funerals and religious gatherings. Members of the public must strictly adhere to the Health & Hygiene protocols.
  5. Education: The resumption of Pre-Primary (Grades Zero to 3) is hereby deferred for a period of two-weeks across all 14 regions, until Monday 06 July 2020. The Ministry of Education will provide an updated schedule to the public.
  6. Government will continue to strengthen public health response measures through Surveillance, Testing, Contact Tracing and Isolation of confirmed cases, and by intensifying public education. [src.]
The following measures will apply to all residents of the Erongo Region:
  1. The Erongo region will migrate from stage one to stage three at midnight tonight, Monday 22 June 2020 until midnight on Monday 06 July 2020, for an initial period of 14 days or one-incubation cycle.
  2. Travel between towns in the Erongo region and to the rest of the country, will be permitted, with exception of the Walvis Bay, Swakopmund and Arandis Local Authority Areas.
    Considering the linkages and movement of labour between the towns of Walvis Bay, Swakopmund and Arandis, travel between these Local Authority Areas will be permitted. However travel into and out of these Local Authority Areas to the rest of the country is highly discouraged and will be restricted to emergency situations only, as defined in the Regulations. Bearing in mind that the disease does not move by itself but through human carriers, all residents are strongly urged to avoid unnecessary travel during this period, and allow authorities to conduct the active case search at these towns, in an effort to determine the extent of spread of disease into the community.
  3. Essential service providers as defined in the Regulations and truck drivers will be permitted to travel into and out of the region on the basis of an authorized permit. To avoid local truck drivers mixing with cross-border truck drivers, the Ministry of Urban and Rural Development in conjunction with the Ministry of Health and Social Services are directed to identify separate Truck Ports and parking areas at Walvis Bay, Swakopmund and Arandis Local Authority Areas. Local truck drivers are to be escorted by law enforcement officials to and from their respective delivery destinations.
  4. Public gatherings at Erongo region will be restricted to 50 persons with exception of Walvis Bay, Swakopmund & Arandis Local Authority Areas, which will be restricted to gatherings of 10 persons. 4
  5. Education: Schools across the Erongo region that meet the ‘COVID-19 Compliance Standards’ may resume face-to-face instruction for Grade 11 and 12.
    For Walvis Bay, Swakopmund and Arandis Local Authority Areas, the resumption of Grades 11, 12, and Pre-Primary (Grades Zero to 3) remains suspended for the next 14 days. Face-to-face instruction will be determined pending observation of the unfolding situation in those towns.
  6. Vulnerable persons, in categories as defined, will be permitted to work from home at Erongo region subject to authorization issued by the Employer and upon presentation of a valid Medical Certificate. Old Age Homes should remain under isolation and caregivers should strictly adhere to the Health & Hygiene Protocols.
    [src.]

Botswana dehorns all rhinos in the Okavango Delta!

Botswana's Department of Wildlife and National Parks has undertaken an operation to dehorn all black rhinos and white rhinos in the Okavango Delta, home to the majority of the country's wild rhino population. This operation was necessitated by the rise in rhino poaching over the past few years. Especially the Okavango Delta rhino population has been hard hit by the recent poaching surge with 56 animals reported poached as of 04 May 2020. The dehorning of all rhinos is accompanied by the intensification of surveillance and monitoring of rhinos in Botswana as well as the relocation of highly endangered black rhinos from the Okavango Delta to a secret location.


USA: Delta Airlines to launch a new service between Atlanta <> Cape Town!

Major US airline Delta Airlines is planning to start a new year-round non-stop service between Hartsfield–Jackson Atlanta International Airport (ATL) in Atlanta in Georgia, USA, and Cape Town International Airport (CPT) in Cape Town. On the USA > South Africa leg, the flight will stop at OR Tambo International Airport (JNB) in Johannesburg before continuing to Cape Town. The new route is subject to government approvals, but the airlines hopes to launch flights from 24 October 2020. Delta Airlines will use its flagship Airbus A350-900 on the route, one of the newest and most fuel-efficient aircraft in its fleet. The new routing to Cape Town via Johannesburg replaces Delta's direct service between Atlanta and Johannesburg.
Under alert level three of South Africa's risk-adjusted strategy to manage the spread of COVID-19, only limited domestic flights for business travel have been allowed. International air travel is currently not permitted. While South Africa's Government currently foresees that international commercial flights will only be able to resume in early 2021, the local aviation industry and the tourism industry have been lobbying for flight restrictions to be eased earlier. 

Cape Town, South Africa

20 June 2020

Namibia: National Heritage Sites have been reopened! [update]

update (24 June 2020): The Brandberg Mountain National Heritage Site will reopen to the public on 29 June 2020.

The National Heritage Council of Namibia (NHC), the national administrative body responsible for the protection of Namibia's natural and cultural heritage, has announced the reopening of the Heritage Sites under its direct management. Only the Brandberg Mountain Heritage Site remains closed due to the lockdown restrictions in the Erongo Region. As the State of Emergency continues with eased restrictive measures, coronavirus regulations will be observed at the Heritage Site therefore the wearing of face masks is mandatory when visiting the sites. As part of the measures, the Heritage Sites will only be open from Monday - Friday. Weekend visitation is allowed solely on bookings. 

Namibia, Twyfelfontein,

The reopened heritage sites in Namibia are the following:
  • Twyfelfontein World Heritage Site
  • Petrified Forest National Heritage Site
  • Hoba Meteorite National Heritage Site
  • Heroes Acre National Heritage Site
  • Burnt Mountain National Heritage Site
  • Zieben Platten National Heritage Site
  • Brandberg Mountain National Heritage Site (still closed due to the lockdown restrictions in the Erongo Region)
  • Lake Otjikoto National Heritage Site
  • Eenhana Shire National Heritage Site
  • Ondeshifilwa National Heritage Site
  • Organ Pipes National Heritage Site
  • Omugulugwoombashe National Heritage Site