31 January 2020

Kruger National Park Calendar - March!

  • end of summer...
  • still hot and humid during the day, but nights begin to get colder
  • last major rainfalls of the season

  • water availability at its peak
  • river levels high
  • dense vegetation
  • grasslands in full seed
Animal Activity:
  • animal dispersal at its widest
  • animals rather relaxed - least competition for resources
  • water sources throughout the park are usually full
  • buffalo & kudu breeding peak
  • many migrant birds leaving

Cape Town International Airport: Valet Parking makes way for airport expansion

Cape Town International Airport (CPT) has relocated the Valet Parking area from Ground Floor Parkade 2 to Level 1 in Parkade 1 in order to make way for new developments at the airport. The valet operation has outgrown the allocated space. The move makes provision for a larger area and should provide a better customer experience. Once the ground floor of Parkade 2 has been cleared, work will commence in the area to make way for a new Pick up and Go area. If all goes according to plan Pick up and Go will be relocated in March 2020. Cape Town International Airport (CPT) has invested R8 million on developing a new and improved valet area that was designed around customer centricity and the delivery of exceptional service levels. 
The relocation of the Valet Parking area forms part of the airport's broader expansion programme. The three main projects include a new International Terminal, a new Domestic Arrivals Terminal as well as a new runway.

30 January 2020

South African Airways to cancel several domestic, regional & international flights in February 2020!

South Africa's flag carrier, South African Airways (SAA), has announced that certain domestic, regional and internatonal fligths in the month of February 2020 will be canceled due to low demand based on current forward bookings. According to the SAA's Chief Commercial Officer, Philip Saunders, the financially embattled state-owned airline is committed to accommodating all affected customers on alternative flights, operated by South African Airlines and its Star Alliance partners. The following flights are affected:

Johannesburg (JNB) – Durban (DUR)

SA575 Depart 1900 - Arrive 2005 | Dates: 01, 05, 06, 08, 13 February
SA575 Depart 1830 - Arrive 1935 | Dates: 07 February
SA527 Depart 0630 - Arrive 0735 | Dates: 21 February

Durban (DUR) – Johannesburg (JNB)

SA528 Depart 0630 - Arrive 0735 | Dates: 02 , 06 , 07 , 09 , 14 , 21 February
SA580 Depart 2005 - Arrive 2110 | Dates: 07  February

Johannesburg (JNB) – Cape Town (CPT)
SA353 Depart 1600 - Arrive 1805 | Dates: 03 , 04 , 11 ,  17 , 24 February
SA313 Depart 0850 - Arrive 1055 | Dates: 04 , 11 , 25 February
SA303 Depart 0530 - Arrive 0735 | Dates: 05 , 13 , 17 , 26 February

Cape Town (CPT) – Johannesburg (JNB)

SA366 Depart 1850 - Arrive 2045 | Dates: 03 , 04 , 11 , 17 , 24 February
SA326 Depart 1135 - Arrive 1330 | Dates: 04 , 11 , 25 February
SA316 Depart 0820 - Arrive 1015 | Dates: 05 , 13 , 17 , 26 February

Johannesburg (JNB) – East London (ELS)
SA477 Depart 1855 - Arrive 2020 | Dates: 05 , 06 , 12 , 19 , 26 February

East London (ELS) – Johannesburg (JNB) 
SA472 Depart 0630 - Arrive 0755 | Dates: 06 , 07 , 13 , 20 , 27 February

Johannesburg (JNB) – Livingstone (LVI)
SA048 Depart 1040 - Arrive 1220 | Dates: 01 , 05 , 08 , 10 , 11 , 15 , 18 , 19 , 26 ,  27  February

Livingstone (LVI) – Johannesburg (JNB)
SA049 Depart 1300 - Arrive 1440 | Dates: 01 , 05 , 08 , 10 , 11 , 15 , 18 , 19 , 26 ,  27  February

Johannesburg (JNB) – Kinshasa (FIH)
SA050 Depart 1010 - Arrive 1255 | Dates: 03 February

Kinshasa (FIH) – Johannesburg (JNB)
SA051 Depart 1345 - Arrive 1830 | Dates: 03 February

Johannesburg (JNB) – Dar Es Salaam (DAR)
SA188 Depart 1335 - Arrive 1755 | Dates: 03 , 10 , 17 February

Dar Es Salaam (DAR) – Johannesburg (JNB)

SA189 Depart 0600 - Arrive 0830 | Dates: 04 , 11 , 18 February

Johannesburg (JNB) – Nairobi (NBO)
SA180 Depart 1530 - Arrive 2030 | Dates: 01 , 08 , 22 February

Nairobi (NBO) - Johannesburg (JNB)
SA181 Depart 0835 - Arrive 1140 | Dates: 02 , 09 , 23 February

Johannesburg (JNB) – Windhoek (WDH)
SA074 Depart 0950 - Arrive 1145 | Dates: 06 February
SA076 Depart 1430 - Arrive 1625 | Dates:  05 , 12 , 19 , 26 February

Windhoek (WDH) – Johannesburg (JNB)
SA075 Depart 1235 - Arrive 1420 | Dates: 06 February
SA077 Depart 1715 - Arrive 1900 | Dates:  05 , 12 , 19 , 26 February

Johannesburg (JNB) – Accra (ACC) – Washington (IAD
SA209 Depart 1805 - Arrive 2205 - Depart 2320 - Arrive 0600 | Dates: 16 , 18 February

Washington (IAD) – Accra (ACC) – Johannesburg (JNB
SA210 Depart 1740 - Arrive 0835 - Depart 0935 - Arrive 1725 | Dates: 17 ,  19 February

Namibia: The facelift of Hosea Kutako International Airport (WDH) in Windhoek to be concluded in time! [update]

update (12 March 2020): According to media reports from Namibia, the upgrade of  Hosea Kutako International Airport (WDH) in Windhoek is still on track. Nevertheless Namibia Airports Company (NAC) now expects that the project will be completed by October 2020 and not September 2020 as initially planned. 

According to Namibian Airport Company's (NAC) board chairman, Dr Leake Hangala, the upgrade of Hosea Kutako International Airport (WDH) in Windhoek is expected to be concluded by September 2020. The project, which has a budget of N$260 million (N$155 million (Ministry of Works and Transport) + N$95 million (NAC)), commenced on 23 September 2019 and was planned from the beginning to be completed by the end of September 2020. The facelift is expected to alleviate the congestion challenges in the terminal building and apron of Hosea Kutako International Airport (WDH) and aimed at doubling the handling capacity of the airport to increased passenger movements up until 2030. The current upgrade includes:
  • Departure:
    • increase in check-in counters to a total of 18 counters
    • additional five self-service check-in kiosks
    • increase in the departure security screening points from three to five
    • increase in the departure immigration counters form the current three to seven counters 
    • expansion of the departure hall to accommodate the growing passenger movement at the airport
  • Arrivals:
    • the construction of a new departure hall, as an extension to the existing terminal 
    • 17 immigrations counters as compared to the current eigh
    • expansion of the baggage reclaim hall 
    • three modern baggage carousels

29 January 2020

Fastjet (Zimbabwe) to connect Victoria Falls with Kruger National Park! [update]

update (23 April 2020): Fastjet (Zimbabwe) postpones flights between Victoria Falls <> Kruger Mpumalanga until 2021 and between Bulawayo <> Victoria Falls until further notice.

Low-cost carrier Fastjet (Zimbabwe) has announced the introduction of a new regional route and a new domestic route. Effective 06 July 2020, the airline will initially operate four weekly direct flights between Victoria Falls International Airport (VFA) in Victoria Falls and Kruger Mpumalanga International Airport (MQP)* in Nelspruit, South Africa, as well as initially three weekly direct service between Joshua Mqabuko Nkomo International Airport (BUQ) in Bulawayo and Victoria Falls. This will increase Fastjet's (Zimbabwe) flight frequency to a total 138 flights per week. (via atcnews.org)

Victoria Falls, Victoria Falls Bridge, Zimbabwe, Zambia

*Kruger Mpumalanga International Airport (MQP) is located about 30km from Nelspruit and about 40hm from Kruger National Park's Numbi Gate.

online flight booking on TravelComments.com >>

28 January 2020

Namibia: FlyWestair to increase fligths on both local and regional routes!

Namibia's first private scheduled passenger airline, FlyWestair, is set to increase the number of weekly flights on both local and regional routes. Effective 17 February 2020, the airline will operate two additional weekday flights per week to Ondangwa, Oranjemund (Namibia) and Cape Town (South Africa). This will increase FlyWestair's flight frequency from 30 to 46 flights per week. According to the airline, these new flights are being added in response to market demand.
FlyWestair launched operations on 24 June 2019 with scheduled flights between Eros Airport (ERS) in Windhoek and Oranjemund Airport (OMD) in
Oranjemund in southern Namibia. Flights between Eros Airport (ERS) and Ondangwa Airport (OND) in Ondangwa were added in July 2019 and flights between Eros Airport (ERS) and Cape Town International Airport (CPT) in Cape Town in October 2019.

24 January 2020

South Africa to introduce a zero tolerance drink-driving limit! [update]

update (05 February 2020): According to businesstech.co.za, South Africa's Road Traffic Management Corporation (RMTC) "intends to push through on it plans to introduce harsher punishments for drunk driving. This will include a plan to push driving under the influence from a schedule 2 offence to a schedule 5 offence, placing drunk driving in the same ‘category’ as rape and murder crimes". [src.]

South Africa's Minister of Transport, Fikile Mbalula, has announced that the country's strict new driving laws will be introduced in June 2020. The new Administrative Adjudication of Road Traffic Offences (Aarto) Act will include a 0% legal blood-alcohol limit, meaning that drivers will not be allowed to drink alcohol and drive at all.
As of now, the blood alcohol content (BAC) in
South Africa must be less than 0.05 gram per 100 millilitres (0.05%) for normal drivers and less than 0.02 gram per 100 millilitres for professional drivers (0.02%).

23 January 2020

Eastern Cape: Baviaanskloof World Heritage Site is temporarily closed! [update]

update (18 February 2020): The Baviaanskloof World Heritage Site in South Africa's Eastern Cape has been re-opened!

Eastern Cape Tourism has just announced that the Baviaanskloof World Heritage Site in South Africa's Eastern Cape is temporarily closed due to flash floods in the area. No motorbikes, bicycles, 4x2's or 4x4's are allowed to enter the reserve till further notice.
The 270 000ha
Baviaanskloof World Heritage Site, located about 120 km west of Port Elizabeth, forms part of the Cape Floristic Region and is one or the Worlds 34 biodiversity hotspots. It was declared a World Heritage Site in 2004 and is one of the richest plant regions in the world - less that 0.5% of the surface area of Africa but home to nearly 20% of the continent's fauna and flora.

22 January 2020

Rwanda to suspend visa fees for citizens of member states of the Commonwealth, the Francophonie & the African Union!

The President of Rwanda, Paul Kagame, announced in a speech about Rwanda's transformation over the past 25 years at the International School for Government at King’s College in London, that the East African country is "soon considering exempting citizens of the Commonwealth, as well as the African Union and the Francophonie, from paying visa fees when entering Rwanda" [src.]. Rwanda is a member of the Commonwealth of Nations (53 member states) since 2009 and a member of the Organisation internationale de la Francophonie (54 full member states) since 1970. As a member of the United Nations since 1962, Rwanda is also a member of the African Union (55 member states) since it was founded in 2002. We'll keep you posted!

21 January 2020

Cape Town: The Table Mountain Aerial Cableway has announced the dates of the 2020 annual maintenance shutdown!

Cape Town's Table Mountain Aerial Cableway has announced the dates of the 2020 annual maintenance shutdown. The Cableway will be closed for three weeks from Tuesday, 08 July to Sunday, 26 July 2020. For continued compliance with Swiss Governing Body for Cableways (Bundesamt für Verkehr, BAV) standards in terms of machinery specifications, maintenance requirements and procedures, extraordinary maintenance tasks require a shutdown and cannot be fitted into the Cableway's regular operating schedule. The scope of work, in accordance with the BAV standards, for this years maintenance shutdown will include:
  • Inspection, testing and replacement of loadbearing components in the cabins where necessary
  • Maintenance of high-use items in the cabins, such as door mechanisms
  • Complete service of braking systems situated in the Lower Station machine room
  • Servicing of the main drive motor and gearbox
  • Major service of the hydraulic systems at the lower and upper stations
  • Maintenance of the docking guides and platforms
  • Preparation of certain elements on the track ropes for the 2021 shutdown
  • Upgrades to the interior of the Upper Station building
  • Maintenance to the exterior of the Lower Station building
Visitors can still hike up Table Mountain at their own risk during maintenance shutdown, but cable cars and all facilities, including the Cableway's restrooms, eateries and shops will not be open.

Table Mountain, Cape Town, South Africa

The Table Mountain Aerial Cableway is one of Cape Town's most popular tourist attractions with more than a million visitors using it to visit the top of Table Mountain. The Cableway offers visitors a variety of experiences, including meals with a view at the Table Mountain Cafe, free WiFi at the WiFi Lounge and free thirty-minute guided walking tours.

Kruger National Park: Sable Sleepover Hide closed until further notice! [update]

update (07 February 2020): The Sable Sleepover Hide is still closed!

South African National Parks (SANParks) just announced on Twitter that the Sable Sleepover Hide, situated approximately 10km from of Phalaborwa Gate in Kruger National Park, will be temporarily closed for overnight and day visitors until further notice. The closure is due to maintenance work that has to be conducted in that hide after the recent heavy rains. (also see: Kruger National Park: Roads closed due to rainfall! [update])
The Sable Sleepover Hide is a unique accommodation facility which overlooks the Sable Dam. A bird hide by day, it transforms into a primitive overnight dwelling by night, where a select few can experience the
Kruger National Park nightlife first hand.

South African Airways temporarily cancels selected domestic flights & international service to Munich!

South Africa's flag carrier, South African Airways (SAA), has canceled selected domestic flights between Johannesburg (JNB) and Cape Town (CPT) as well as between Johannesburg (JNB) and Durban (DBN). In addition, the airline has also canceled selected services beween Johannesburg (JNB) and Munich (MUC) in Germany and will be reviewing further possible flight schedule amendments over the coming days. According to a media release by South African Airways (SAA), the cancellations are in line with SAA's usual policy of reviewing flights and consolidating services with low demand. Furthermore, during the current process of business rescue, these cancellations represent a responsible strategy to conserve cash and optimise the airline's position ahead of any further capital investment.

The following domestic flights operated by SAA have been cancelled:

Johannesburg (JNB) - Cape Town (CPT)
SA303 | Depart 0530 - Arrive 0735 | Dates: 20, 21 & 24 January 2020
SA307 | Depart 0700 - Arrive 0905 |Dates: 21 January 2020
Cape Town (CPT) -
Johannesburg (JNB) 
SA316 | Depart 0820 - Arrive 1015 | Dates: 20, 21 & 24 January 2020
SA322 | Depart 0950 - Arrive 1145 | Dates: 21 January 2020
Johannesburg (JNB) - Durban (DBN)
SA527 | Depart 0630 - Arrive 0735 | Dates: 20, 21, 22 & 23 January 2020
SA543 | Depart 0955 - Arrive 1100 | Dates: 20, 21, 22 & 23 January 2020
SA571 | Depart 1655 - Arrive 1800 | Dates: 20 & 21 January 2020 

Durban (DBN) - Johannesburg (JNB)
SA534 | Depart 0805 - Arrive 0910 | Dates: 20, 21, 22 & 23 January 2020
SA550 | Depart 1130 - Arrive 1235 | Dates: 20, 21, 22 & 23 January 2020
SA578 | Depart 1840 - Arrive 1945 | Dates: 20 & 21 January 2020

The following international flights have been cancelled:
Johannesburg (JNB)Munich (MUC)
SA264 | Depart 2115 - Arrive 0700 | Dates: 20, 21, 22, 23 & 24 January 2020

Munich (MUC) Johannesburg (JNB)
SA265 | Depart 2030 - Arrive 0820 | Dates: 20, 21, 22, 23 & 24 January 2020

South African Airways (SAA) is working closely with its sister airline Mango to re-accommodate passengers on alternative domestic services operated by both airlines to minimise disruption. Passengers booked on flights between
Johannesburg (JNB) and Munich (MUC) will get re-accommodated on SAA's services between Johannesburg (JNB) and Frankfurt (FRA) as well as London Heathrow (LHR). Some passengers travelling to Munich (MUC), and others travelling via Munich (MUC) to other destinations, will be re-accommodated for some of their journey on partner airlines in the Star Alliance to minimise delays.

20 January 2020

South African Airways continues operations as normal!

South Africa's flag carrier, South African Airways (SAA), has released a media release to assure its customers and stakeholders that flight operations to all its destinations continue as normal. This comes after various media outlets reported that the airline will cease operations.
The airline is aware of media reports suggesting that it will cease operations. SAA is always committed to transparently communicate with all stakeholders, including customers, about any material or significant operational changes that may have an impact on flight schedules.
South African Airways (SAA) is officially in business rescue. The notice of commencement of business rescue proceedings was filed with the Companies and Intellectual Property Commission (CIPC) on 05 December 2019, as per Chapter 6 of the Companies Act 2008 (Act 71 of 2008). The CIPC has processed the appointment of the business rescue practitioner, Mr Les Matuson from Matuson Associates in South African Airways' voluntary business rescue process. 

17 January 2020

South Africa: Airlink to operate flights under own flight code! [update]

update (26 March 2020): Airlink announced today that it will bring the introduction of its own unique flight code "4Z" forward. The airline will operate using the new flight code from 20 April 2020 and not from 11 June 2020 as initially planned. As of now, Airlink is planning to resume services on 20 April 2020 after the countrywide lockdown in South Africa.

South African regional carrier Airlink, Africa's largest privately-owned airline, and South Africa's flag carrier South African Airways have redefined their partnership by replacing their franchise agreement with a new commercial arrangement. Under the new arrangement, which will come into effect on 11 June 2020, Airlink will operate all flights using its unique "4Z" code. The new designator replaces South African Airways' "SA8" code, which was used in terms of the franchise agreement with South African Airways.
Selling seats on flights under the "4Z" flight code will enable Airlink to develop more routes and frequencies on an independent basis, as well as extend opportunities to establish new agreements with leading international airlines.
Tickets already in issue for travel on flights with "SA8" flight codes (or and "083" ticketing codes) will remain valid for travel subject to being re-accommodated. Customers holding "SAA 083" tickets for flights after 10 June 2020 (Airlink will continue to sell tickets for flights operated on the "SAA8" code up to 10 June 2020), who prefer not to be re-accommodated, may seek a refund through South African Airways, which will manage it in line with its business rescue policies. Depending on how customers purchased their ticket, they may also be able to pursue other available refund avenues e.g. credit card companies or insurance.

16 January 2020

Zimbabwe: Rhodes Camp in Nyanga Natonal Park temporarily closed!

The Zimbabwe Parks and Wildlife Management Authority (Zimparks) has announced that Rhodes Camp, a self catering facility in in Zimbabwe's Nyanga National Park, is closed for renovations with immediate effect. Zimparks is expecting the work to be finished in May 2020. The National Park's other two rest camps, Udu Camp and Mare Camp, will continue operating as usual during the closure of Rhodes Camp.
Nyanga National Park is located in the north of
Zimbabwe's Eastern Highlands. It covers an area of 472 km² and is home to variety a of animals including  waterbuck, wildebeest, kudu, zebra, impala, sables, eland to mention but a few.

Namibia released rhino & elephant poaching statistics for 2019!

Namibia's Ministry of Environment and Tourism (MET) has released the rhino and elephant poaching numbers for 2019. According to the MET, a total of (at least) 45 rhinos and 12 elephants got illegally killed by poachers in Namibia in 2019. In 2018, a total of 57 rhinos and 26 elephants were poached, while 120 suspected poachers were arrested.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.

rhino, wildlife, africa,

15 January 2020

Table Mountain National Park: Slangkop Tented Camp temporarily closed!

South African National Parks (SANParks) has released a media release regarding the temporary closure of Slangkop Tented Camp in Cape Town's Table Mountain National Park. The popular camp, which is situated no more than 100m from the sea at the edge of the quaint village of Kommetjie, will be closed from today (15 January 2020) until end of February 2020 due to a spate of crime incidents that have occurred over the past few months. During that time, SANParks investigates if additional crime mitigation measures would improve the security on site. We'll keep you posted!

Garden Route: The world's longest over-ocean zipline set to open in Mossel Bay! [update]

update (24 January 2020): The Mossel Bay Zipline in Mossel Bay has started operations today!

The town Mossel Bay on South Africa's famous Garden Route is set to become home of the longest over-ocean zipline in the world. Opening in Februray 2020, the Mossel Bay Zipline will stretch about 1.1km from the St Blaize trail to the deck of The Shark Lab aquarium at the Point in Mossel Bay. According to Mossel Bay Zipline, adventurers will be able to glide "over the ocean at speeds of up to 80km/h" and will enjoy an uninterrupted views of Mossel Bay, the famous lighthouse, the cliffs, the ocean and even possibly some marine life. A ride on the zipline will initially cost R450 per person. No children under 6 years old are allowed to ride the zipline, nor are pregnant women or people heavier than the weight restriction of 120kg.

10 January 2020

Botswana: Botswana Railways (BR) suspends all BR Express passenger night trains until further notice! [update]

update (13 January 2020): The trains are back in operation!

Botswana Railways (BR), the national railway of Botswana, has announced that
as a result of heavy rainfall in most parts of
Botswana's Central Region, all BR Express passenger night trains (as well as all goods trains) have been suspended until further notice. BR runs two overnight services, one from Lobatse to Francistown, and the other from Francistown to Lobatse, with stops in Gaborone, Mahalapye, Palapye, and Serule and Tonota Halt. We'll keep you posted!

South Africa's most punctual domestic airlines in December 2019!

Airports Company South Africa (ACSA) has published the on-time performance results of domestic airlines’ flying out of OR Tambo International Airport (JNB) in Johannesburg, Cape Town International Airport (CPT) in Cape Town, Durban's King Shaka International Airport (DUR) and Port Elizabeth International Airport (PLZ) in Port Elizabeth in December 2019.
On-Time Performance is measured by comparing the actual off-block time (when aircraft pushes back) against the airline schedule time for a departing flight. The measurement is done in accordance with the IATA (International Airlines Transport Association) universal standard benchmark with considers a 15 minute deviation from the scheduled time as an on-time departure.

OR Tambo International Airport (JNB), Johannesburg - 15 Min on Time Performance December 2019
  • FlySafair - 91.46% (November 91.65%)
  • Airlink - 90.96% (November 89.77%)
  • South African Airways - 78.25% (November 85.06%)
  • British Airways Domestic - 75.07% (November 79.92%)
  • CemAir - 71.31% (November 60.00%)
  • Mango - 62.59% (November 70.08%)
  • Kulula.com - 56.33% (November 69.64%) 
  • SA Express - 50.43% (November 65.14%) 
Cape Town International Airport (CPT), Cape Town - 15 Min on Time Performance December 2019
  • Airlink - 93.57% (November 96.98%)
  • FlySafair - 91.83% (November 95.57%)
  • South African Airways - 80.58% (November 86.77%)
  • CemAir - 74.14% (November 50.00%)
  • British Airways Domestic - 72.88% (November 76.49%)
  • Mango - 67.47% (November 79.20%)
  • Kulula.com - 64.13% (November 68.65%)
  • SA Express - 47.26% (November 63.83%) 
King Shaka International Airport (DUR), Durban - 15 Min on Time Performance December 2019
  • FlySafair - 93.60% (November 89.46%)
  • Airlink - 89.42% (November 99.36%)
  • South African Airways - 84.62% (November 89.75%)
  • British Airways Domestic - 78.49% (November 79.62%)
  • Mango - 69.72% (November 79.70%)
  • Kulula.com - 60.12% (November 65.00%
  • SA Express - 55.38% (November 54.17%)
Port Elizabeth International Airport (PLZ), Port Elizabeth - 15 Min on Time Performance December 2019
  • Airlink - 95.04% (November 99.30%)
  • Flysafair - 92.20% (November 90.65%)
  • Mango - 83.47% (November 82.50%)
  • British Airways Domestic - 81.17% (November 86.36%)
  • South African Airways - 69.83% (November 80.00%)
  • SA Express - 41.18% (November 47.30%)
  • CemAir - --.--% (November --.--%)