31 August 2020

Air Namibia's flight operations remain suspended! [update]

update (16 September 2020): Air Namibia's domestic, regional and international services are still suspended.

Namibia's flag carrier, Air Namibia, has extended the suspension of domestic flights due to the travel restrictions, which prohibit exit and entry into the restricted City of Windhoek, Okahandja and Rehoboth Local Authority Areas. The suspension has been extended till such time when local travel will be allowed again. Additionally, the suspension of regional and international flights has been extended until further notice, depending on market demand and reopening of international borders of countries where the airline operates to. The airline has confirmed that it will continue to participate in Namibia's Tourism Revival Initiative. As an essential service provider Air Namibia remains available to offer charter flights worldwide.

Kruger National Park Calendar - October!

  • daytime temperatures soar
  • first hard rains
  • it can get extremely hot & humid if the rains are late
elephant, Kruger National Park, safari, South Africa

  • Grassland beginns turning green
  • many trees in flower
  • lush vegetation
  • river levels start rising
Animal Activity:
  • breeding season begins for many antelopes
  • game begins dispersing through the Park
  • most of the northern migrant raptors arrive

29 August 2020

Coronavirus pandemic: Namibia remains in stage three lockdown for another 14 days!

Namibia's President Hage Geingob has announced during a media briefing to update the nation on the latest COVID-19 situation in the country on 28 August 2020 that all 14 regions of Namibia will remain in stage three of the COVID-19 state of emergency for another 14 days (29 August 2020 - midnight on 12 September 2020). 

The following measures apply:
  • Khomas Region: Travel restrictions remain in force prohibiting exit and entry into the restricted City of Windhoek, Okahandja and Rehoboth Local Authority Areas.
  • Erongo Region: The exit and entry travel restriction of the Walvis Bay, Swakopmund and Arandis Local Authority Areas is lifted. Members of the public may now travel into and out of these areas to other parts of Namibia.
The following measures apply in addition to existing stage three regulations for all 14 regions of Namibia (travel and tourism related only):
  • The daily curfew from 20:00 to 05:00 is extended to countrywide curfew.
  • Public gatherings remain limited to a maximum of 10 persons countrywide. 
  • Hosea Kutako International Airport (WDH) in Windhoek will open from 01 September 2020 for the International Tourism Revival Initiative.
Namibia, desert, Namib, power pole, sundowner

Covid-19 in Namibia:
  • At present, Namibia has the highest rate of new infections per population on the continent,
  • Namibia has recorded 6,712 confirmed COVID-19 cases (as of 28 August 2020).
  • In terms of testing coverage, Namibia has tested 21 people per one thousand persons, as at 27 August 2020. This is among the highest testing coverage on the continent, surpassed only by South Africa and Rwanda.   
  • On 27 August 2020, Namibia recorded the 60th COVID-19-related death.

28 August 2020

Lesotho: Mohahlaula Airlines set to launch domestic flights!

The Government of Lesotho has relaxed the national Covid-19 control levels and now allows inter-district travel for work and leisure, so that the country's only scheduled airline, Mohahlaula Airlines, is finally able to launch scheduled domestic operations. Tickets will go on sale on 01 September 2020 and operations are set to start from 21 September 2020, although the airline has not yet released an exact schedule.
Mohahlaula Airlines' maiden flight was initially planned to take place on 03 April 2020, but due to the coronavirus pandemic the airline announced on 25 March 2020 the delaying of the launch date "until it is deemded safe to operate". As of March 2020, Mohahlaula Airlines planned to operate domestic flights between Maseru <> Mokhotlong,
Maseru <> Qacha's Nek and Maseru <> Semonkong on board a Cessna C208B Grand Caravan and a Beech King Air 200. We'll keep you updated!

Malawi reopens Kamuzu International Airport (LLW) in Lilongwe for international flights! [update]

update (04 September 2020): Malawi Tourism has published the announcement from the the country's Department of Civil Aviation regarding the reopening of Kamuzu International Airport (LLW) in Lilongwe.

Malawi, Lifting of Suspension of International Commercial Flights, aviation, Africa, airtravel, flights, Kamuzu International Airport, Lilongwe

The Government of Malawi will reopen Kamuzu International Airport (LLW) in Lilongwe for passenger planes and will allow foreign airlines to operate in the country again from 01 September 2020. The airport was closed since March 2020 due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. According to the official Facebook page of the Malawi High Commission to the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, Malawi's Department of Civil Aviation has set up the following requirements and protocols for (air) travellers in and out of Malawi:
  1. All passengers arriving in Malawi are required to have a negative SARS Cov-2 PCR Test certificate obtained within 10 days prior to arrival in Malawi. Failure to produce the certificate entry will be denied.
  2. All new arrivals will proceed on a self-quarantine for 14 days.
  3. All travellers going out of Malawi shall be required to hold negative SARS Cov-2 PCR Test certificate.
  4. Arriving passengers will be required to provide samples for Covid-19 testing. Results will be communicated within 48 hours.
  5. Any symptomatic passengers will be handled according to health protocols.
  6. All travellers and service providers shall observe infection control protocols such as social distancing, hand washing/sanitising and wearing of masks, as necessary. Body temperature will be checked at various strategic points.
  7. All arriving passengers shall fill and submit Travel Surveillance Forms available on board or the terminal building. These will be handed to designated health personnel.
  8. All masks and/or gloves used shall be disposed of in designated waste collection containers.
  9. Only travellers will be allowed in terminal buildings. All others should remain at car parks.
  10. Suspected Covid-19 cases can be reported in Malawi on mobile numbers – TNM- 929, AIRTEL- 54747 [src.]

Zambia: Emirates resumes flights between Dubai <> Lusaka!

The flag carrier airline of the United Arab Emirates, Emirates, is set to resume operations between Dubai International Airport (DXB) in Dubai and Kenneth Kaunda International Airport (LUN) in Lusaka. Effective 04 September 2020, the airline will operate two weekly return flights on board a Boeing 777-300ER to Zambia's capital. Emirates will serve Lusaka on Fridays and Sundays. Flight EK 713 will depart from Dubai at 08:20, arriving in Lusaka at 13:30. The return flight, EK 714, will depart Lusaka at 15:30, arriving in Dubai at 00:25 the next day.
Ensuring the safety of travellers, visitors, and the community, COVID-19 PCR tests are mandatory for all inbound and transit passengers arriving to
Dubai  (and the United Arab Emirates), including United Arab Emirates citizens, residents and tourists, irrespective of the country they are coming from.
Emirates has committed to cover COVID-19 related medical expenses, free of cost, should customers be diagnosed with COVID-19 during their travel while they are away from home. This cover is immediately effective for customers flying on Emirates until 31 October 2020 (first flight to be completed on or before 31 October 2020), and is valid for 31 days from the moment they fly the first sector of their journey.

26 August 2020

South Africa reopens four additional domestic airports!

South Africa's Minister of Transport, Fikile Mbalula, announced at a media briefing on 25 August 2020 on the new Covid-19 regulations related to the transport sector under alert level two, that in addition to the 14 airports already permitted to operate in South Africa four more airports have been given the green light to resume operations. The Minister named Mthatha Airport (UTT) in Mthatha in the Eastern Cape, Hoedspruit Airport (HDS) in Hoedspruit in Limpopo, Phalaborwa Airport/Hendrik Van Eck Airport (PHW) in Phalaborwa in Limpopo and Margate Airport (MGH) in Margate in KwaZulu-Natal as the new additions. Under alert level two, international air travel in South Africa remains prohibited.

The following 14 airports are currently operating in South Africa:

25 August 2020

Namibia to reopen for international tourism from 01 September 2020! [update]

update (15 September 2020): PCR Tests: The laboratory costs (NAD550pp - NAD850pp) must be paid by the traveller. Remaining costs are paid by the Namibian Government.
update (09 September 2020): Namibia: Travellers have to inform the Embassy before entering the country! [read more]
update (08 September 2020): Namibia to stop enforcing mandatory quarantine for tourists! We'll keep you posted! [read more]

update (07 September 2020): German budget carrier Eurowings, a wholly owned subsidiary of the Lufthansa Group, has announced the return to Namibia. [read more]

update (01 September 2020): The flag carrier of Ethiopia, Ethiopian Airlines, is set to return to Namibia. Effective... [read more]

update (01 September 2020): As of today, no international airlines are offering flights to Namibia.

update (27 August 2020): To retrieve the implementation protocols for Namibia's International Tourism Revival Initiative and more information, including the "Health Questionnaire for Travellers", click here.

update (25 August 2020): The full implementation protocols have been released. These are the most important requirements for travellers intending to visit Namibia after 01 September 2020. (also see the requirements listed below > "pertinent requirements")
  • Tourists must complete and epidemiological questioniaire to be submitted with the full travel itinerary to health staff on the gound at Hosea Kutako International Airport (WDH) in Windhoek. The form can be obtained from the Namibia Tourism Board (NTB).
  • All international passengers arriving into Namibia must undergo temperature screening.
  • Symptomatic travellers with body temperatures equal or above 38°C will be tested for Covid-19 at the airport. In addition to this temperature level, if a traveller is coughing, has shortness of breath, difficulty in breathing, sore throat and headache - they will be isolated in specific facilities by the Ministry of Health and Social Services (MoHSS) until their results are ready.
  • A traveller who provides on arrival a valid and negative PCR result in compliance with entry requirement will be allowed to proceed to the certified facility of booking for seven day seclusion.
  • All travellers who entered Namibia will be tested for Covid-19 on day five of seclusion at the first tourist facility of their stay. Test results will be provided by day seven after which tourist will be allowed to continue with itinerary if results are negative. If the result is positive, the tourist will be taken to an isolation facility. Testing will be conducted by health service providers at the tourist's place of stay.
  • Tourist may undertake and enjoy all tourist products and activities offered at their place of stay and may not leave the premise until after the seventh day.
  • Travellers entering Namibia should be aware of possible health risks posed by Covid-19 and should comply with any additional screening measures put in place at respective places of visit.
  • Breach of the seven-day seclusion protocols is a punishable offence in accordance with the laid down regulation of Namibia's State of Emergency.
  • To safeguard tourist's health and timely action in the event of Covid-19 detection, it is mandatory that tourists must acquire a local mobile number and be reachable at all times while in Namibia.
  • A traveller whose result of test after seven days comes out positive will be moved to Government isolation facilities for treatment at own cost and be managed according to the National Case Management Guidelines.
  • All travellers must adhere to the existing visa requirements applicable to their countries.
  • Travellers from visa-exempted countries can stay up to a maximum of 90 days in Namibia. Travellers overstaying their visa or permit can be arrested, detained and fined before being deported.
  • Travellers can also apply the visas at Namibian Embassies/High Commissions around the world.
  • Passport should be valid for minimum of 6 month from the date of visa application

Namibia's Minister of Environment, Forestry and Tourism, Pohamba Shifeta, has announced the implementation protocols for the country's international tourism revival initiative. The initiative, which targets leisure travellers, will come into effect on 01 September 2020. It will be reviewed bi-weekly and amended if neccessary as implementation proceeds. The full implementation protocols are still to be released, but the Minister announced a few of the "pertinent requirements" during his announcement:
  • Entry to Namibia will only be allowed via Hosea Kutako International Airport (WDH) in Windhoek, which will reopen for international flights on 01 September 2020
  • All travellers must present a negative PCR test result, not older than 72 hours before boarding the plane to be allowed to enter Namibia.
  • All travellers will be required to stay for seven days at their first tourist facility of booking, which must be duly registered with the Namibia Tourism Board (NTB) and certified by Namibia's Ministry of Health and Social Services (MoHSS). The tourists must proceed directly to their first accommodation from the airport. No overnight or stopovers are permitted.
  • All tourism establishments must observe the general health and sqfety protocols as stipulated by the Ministry of Health and Social Services (MoHSS).
  • Detailed Covid-19 protocols for all operations in the tourism sector have been put in place by the Namibia Tourism Board (NTB). All tourism and hospitality establishments, facilities and enterprises must prior to receiving guests obtain a health certification license/permit in compliance with the provision of the protocols for the international tourism revival initiative. Further information and application forms are available from the Namibia Tourism Board (NTB).
Namibia, Namib, Road, endless road

Namibia: The Cabinet has approved the new conservation fee structure for National Parks and Game Parks!

The Cabinet of Namibia has approved the request by the country's Ministry of Environment, Forestry and Tourism (MET) to introduce a conservation fee payable by visitors to Namibia's National Parks and Game Parks. The conservation fee is to be charged to all visitors in addition to existing park entry fee. The fee is intended to supplement the current costly exercise for the maintenance and upgrading of infrastructure in Namibia's National Parks and Game Parks catered for through the development budget of the MET.

Namibia, Namib, landscape

The fee structure for Etosha National Park, Namib Naukluft Park (Sesriem entrance), Waterberg Plateau Park, Ai-Ais Game Park, Skeleton Coast Park will range as follows: 
  • children under 16 - no charge
  • foreign adults - N$80.00
  • SADC-based adults - N$60.00
  • Namibian adults - N$30.00
Vehicle fees to the above categories are as follows:
  • 10 seats or less - N$10.00
  • 11 to 25 seats - N$40.00
  • 26 to 50 seats - N$300.00
  • 51 plus seats - N$500.00
All other National Parks and Game Parks:
  • children under 16 - no charge
  • foreign adults - N$40.00
  • SADC-based adults - N$30.00
  • Namibian adults - N$10.00
Vehicle fees to the above categories are as follows:
  • 10 seats or less - N$10.00
  • 11 to 25 seats - N$40.00
  • 26 to 50 seats - N$300.00
  • 51 plus seats - N$500.00
The conservations fees will be valid for a 24-hour period beginning at the time of entry, per person, for one National Parks or Game Parks. The conservation fees are payable for every day, for visitors and vehicles. The minimum amount payable is for 24 hours (one day) and thereafter in units of 24 hours (one day). In addition, the fees are non-refundable and not transferable. Both Namibia and SADC discount rates are available on production of valid identification. According to the initial plan by the MET, the new conservation fee will take effect from January 2021.



24 August 2020

Cape Town: Lion's Head remains closed under alert level two!

South African National Parks (SANParks) has announced that the management of Table Mountain National Park (TMNP) has made the decision to keep the Lion's Head section of Table Mountain closed until further notice. Due to the nature of the trail, the inability of the visitors to maintain/practice safe social distancing and regular contact in the use of the chains and ladders, makes it a very high risk trail and unsafe to allow users to access the area.

Lion's Head, Lions Head, Table Mountain National Park, Cape Town, South Africa

Lion's Head is a mountain in Cape Town between Table Mountain and Signal Hill. Lion's Head, which peaks at 669 metres above sea level, is part of the Table Mountain National Park

21 August 2020

South Africa: Airlink re-introduces five domestic routes!

South African regional carrier Airlink is set to re-introduce five routes and increase frequency on two of the routes the airline is currently operating. This follows the easing of the travel restrictions to alert level two of South Africa's risk-adjusted strategy to manage the spread of COVID-19. Under the current restrictions, travellers are required to present their completed Traveller Health Questionnaire to a Port Health Official in the terminal building where temperature screening is still a requirement.

The following routes will be re-introduced:

  • Johannesburg <> Pietermaritzburg
    • the introduction of an early morning and late afternoon scheduled service providing travelers with same day return flights will commence on 07 September 2020, operating daily, except on Saturdays.
  • Johannesburg <> Mthatha
    • the introduction of a midday scheduled service on 07 September 2020, operating daily, except on Saturdays.
  • Johannesburg <> Hoedspruit
    • the introduction of a late morning scheduled service on 07 September 2020, will connect travelers to the region. Hoedspruit is the gateway to the enclave of private game reserves including; Timbavati, Thornybush, Klaserie and Manyeleti, as well as Phalaborwa and the Northern Kruger National Park which is accessible via the Phalaborwa Gate. The service will initially operate on Mondays, Thursdays, Fridays and Sundays.
  • Johannesburg <> Skukuza
    • the introduction of a lunch time flight will connect travelers to their safari and bush experience in the Sabi Sands Game Reserve collective of private game reserves, and Kruger National Park. Skukuza Airport is also accessible from Cape Town via Johannesburg on Airlink with a short airport transit connection of 75 mins onwards onto the direct Johannesburg <> Skukuza flight. The Johannesburg <> Skukuza scheduled flights will commence on 14 September 2020 operating on Mondays, Thursdays, Fridays and Sundays.
  • Cape Town <> Upington
    • the introduction of the mid-morning flight scheduled service on 07 September 2020, operating on Mondays and Fridays.
Airlink will enhance its flight services on the following routes:
  • Cape Town <> George
    • as from 07 September 2020 the re-instated early morning flight will depart Cape Town at 06:40 arriving in George at 07:35, and then depart George at 08:00 and arriving Cape Town at 09:00 on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. The existing afternoon flights departing Cape Town at 15:40 arriving in George at 16:35, currently on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, will as from 08 September 2020 also operate on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Sundays. These flights will depart George at 17:00 arriving in Cape Town at 18:00.
  • Cape Town <> Port Elizabeth

World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC): Cape Town receives globally recognised "Safe Travels Stamp"!

The City of Cape Town has received the globally recognised "Safe Travels Stamp" of approval from the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC). The "Safe Travels Stamp" is the first ever global safety and hygiene stamp, which allows travellers to recognise destinations and businesses around the world that have adopted health and hygiene global standardised protocols. These Safe Travels protocols were defined following the experience of WTTC members in dealing with the coronavirus and based on the best available medical evidence. It follows guidelines from the World Health Organisation (WHO) as well as the Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC, USA) and is also backed by the World Tourism Organisation (WTO).
The "Safe Travels Stamp" allows Cape Town Tourism, the official Destination Marketing and Management Organisation for the City of Cape Town, to assume the role of a Safe Travels ambassador to its members and other stakeholders, advocating the implementation of the Safe Travels protocols.

The World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) represents the global private sector of travel and tourism. It is known for being the only forum to represent the private sector in all parts of the industry worldwide. 

Cape Town: The Table Mountain Cableway is set to reopen!

Cape Town's Table Mountain Aerial Cableway Company (TMACC) is set to resume operations on 01 September 2020. The cable car will be running from 08:00 until 15:00 seven days a week. Strict health and safety protocols have been put in place. Visitors are to please abide by TMACC's rules and regulations and wear a mask at all times. Sanitising stations are placed at the entrance and exits of the upper and lower cable car stations and are also provided inside the cable car. A maximum of 26 passengers (instead of the normal carrying capacity of 65 passengers) plus the cabin master is allowed per ride in the cable car to allow enough space for physical distancing. The floors of the cable car have been demarcated to provide for safe distancing. To ensure correct ventilation, the TMACC operates the cable car with the windows removed. The handrails of the cable car will be sanitised between each trip and a deep clean of the cable car will be conducted daily. TMACC's health and safety representatives are on site to test the temperature of any passengers showing symptoms of COVID-19. Should someone have a high temperature, their physical contact with staff and visitors will be contained. For those who celebrated their birthdays during the national lockdown, it is possible for visitors to claim their free ticket. Claims can be made up to two weeks after the re-opening to local visitors.

Cape Town, Table Mountain, South Africa

20 August 2020

Cape Town: Two Oceans Aquarium is set to reopen!

The Two Oceans Aquarium in Cape Town has announced that it will reopen to the public on 01 September 2020. It will be open daily between 09:30 and 18:00 on weekdays, and from 09:00 to 18:00 on weekends and public holidays. Annual members of the Two Oceans Aquarium will be able to enjoy early access from 28 August 2020 to 31 August 2020 to have the Aquarium all to themselves. The onsite restaurant, Bootlegger Coffee Company, will also be reopening and the Aquarium Shop with its marine-themed merchandise will welcome visitors back too. Two Oceans Aquarium's conference facilities have also reopened with a maximum capacity of 50 delegates per venue.

The Two Oceans Aquarium has introduced a range of health and safety measures in line with the latest Government regulations and a Covid-19 workplace-ready plan has been compiled and implemented. It will adhere to these measures as well as any others gazetted by Government so that the Two Oceans Aquarium can operate in a safe and responsible manner and in so doing protect its visitors and staff to the best of its ability.

Please note: Memberships and prepaid tickets that were purchased during the lockdown period must be activated and redeemed within 90 days of the Two Oceans Aquarium's reopening.

19 August 2020

South Africa: Regulations for tourism-related activities & directions for the tourism sector under alert level two!

South Africa's Minister of Tourism, Mmamoloko Kubayi-Ngubane, hosted a virtual media briefing to outline tourism-related activities and directions for the tourism sector under alert level two of South Africa's risk-adjusted strategy to manage the spread of COVID-19 on 19 August 2020. According to the Minister, the Department of Tourism has developed the followig directions for the tourism sector in South Africa which provide further clarity on the existing regulations.

cape town, South Africa, table mountain
  • Accommodation:
    • The requirement announced under alert level three remain and addition to the direction is to allow accommodation for inter-provincial leisure travellers.
    • Accommodation facilities are expected to ensure that their breakfast and reception area keep to 50% of occupancy space.
  • Restaurants:
    • The requirement announced under alert level three remain and addition to the direction to allow onsite consumption of alcohol is permitted at licensed restaurants, bars every day and incompliance with the curfew time that starts at 22:00.
  • Places of Attactions:
    • Places of attractions are allowed to open. These include theme parks, amusement parks, water parks, family entertainment centres, zoos, aquariums, science centres, nature and game reserves, national parks and other entertainment and cultural attractions.
    • Tourism attractions must ensure social distancing and marking floors where tourists must stand. The Department of Tourism further encourages online bookings were possible, to allow managing of the numbers.
    • Tourism attractions must ensure that tourists and tourist guides wear their masks and sanitise regularly
    • Tourism attractions must provide sanitisation, where attractions have touch screens and touch buttons
    • For all activities such water, quad bikes, hot air balloon etc, tourism attractions must ensure proper sanitisation after every use.
  • Self Drives at Game Farms
    • Directions under alert level three remain in place.
  • Guided Tours:
    • Tourist Guides must ensure social distancing (e.g. marking seat or standing areas), sanitise, and wear masks at all times during the tours.
    • Tourist guides must keep records of their group tours and make them available when required by relevant authorities.
  • Venues for Weddings and Functions:
    • The wedding host or function venue must ensure that they comply with requirement of a maximum of 50 people.
    • The wedding host or function venue must further ensure compliance to social distancing, sanitising and wearing of masks.