31 May 2021

Covid-19: South Africa returns to stricter lockdown!

In an effort to counter the increase in the number of Covid-19 infections in South Africa, President Cyril Ramaphosa has announced that the country will be placed on Adjusted Alert Level 2 with effect from today (31 May 2021). The President announced in a national address on 30 May 2021, that the Ministerial Advisory Committee on Covid-19 has recommended that South Africa urgently implement further restrictions. The new restrictions include:

  • An evening curfew between 23:00 – 04:00
  • Non-essential establishments such as restaurants and bars must close at 22:00 to allow staff to travel before curfew
  • All gatherings are limited to 100 people indoors and 250 people outdoors
  • Where a venue is too small to accommodate these people, then no more than 50% of the venue capacity can be used
  • Funerals remain restricted to 100 people, while after-funeral gatherings remain prohibited.
  • Night vigils, after- funeral gatherings and ‘after-tears’ gatherings are not allowed.
  • It remains mandatory for every person to wear a face mask that covers their nose and mouth at all times when in public spaces. It is a criminal offence not to do so.

30 May 2021

Zambia: Proflight Zambia postpones the launch of its direct service between Livingstone <> Johannesburg!

Zambian regional carrier Proflight Zambia has announced that it will postpone its new service between Harry Mwanga Nkumbula International Airport (LVI) in Livingstone and OR Tambo International Airport (JNB) in Johannesburg until further notice. The new service was scheduled to commence on 01 June 2021. According to the airline, this is due to Zambia's new entry requirements that place South Africa on a High Risk list and the uncertainty surrounding the airport testing and quarantine procedures. All direct flights between Livingstone and Johannesburg have been closed for sale and passengers holding tickets for these flights will be rebooked via Lusaka. Proflight Zambia will continue to offer connections from Johannesburg to Livingstone via Lusaka on Tuesdays, Thursdays, Saturdays and from Livingstone to Johannesburg via Lusaka on Fridays and Sundays. The Lusaka <> Johannesburg schedule of 9 weekly flights will be maintained. We'll keep you posted!

online flight booking on TravelComments.com >>

28 May 2021

Covid-19: Antigen Rapid Diagnostic Tests will no longer be accepted for entry into Namibia! [update]

update (04 June 2021): According to International Air Transport Association's (IATA) Covid-19 Travel Regulations Map, which is powered by Timatic*, the following entry regulations are in place for travellers intending to visit Namibia (as of 03 June 2021):

  1. Passengers must have a negative Covid-19 PCR test taken at most 7 days before departure from the first embarkation point
    This does not apply to:
    - nationals and residents of Namibia
    - passengers who are 5 years or younger
  2. Passengers must present a completed Travel Health Questionnaire upon arrival. The form can be otained at https://namibiatourism.com.na/uploads/file_uploads/HEALTH%20QUESTIONNAIRE%20FOR%20TOURISM%20REVIVAL%20INITIATIVE%20TRAVELERS.pdf
  3. Travellers must have travel insurance to cover Covid-19 expenses
  4. Passengers are subject to medical screening
  5. Nationals and residents of Namibia could be subject to qurantine 

*Timatic is a database containing documentation requirements for passengers traveling internationally via air. It is managed by the International Air Transport Association (IATA).

Namibia's Minister of Health and Social Services, Dr. Kalumbi Shangula, announced on the occasion of the 28th Covid-19 briefing on the national response measures on 28 May 2021 that the mitigation measures to combat Covid-19 in Namibia remain in force. According to the Minister, the new amended public health measures will come into effect at 00:00 on 01 June 2021 and will lapse at midnight on 30 June 2021.
The most important change - at least from a traveller's point of view - is that Antigen Rapid Diagnostic Tests will no longer be accepted for entry into Namibia at any Port of Entry. All travellers entering Namibia are required to produce a SARS CoV-2 PCR negative test result, which is valid for 7 days from the date of speciment collection. Travellers coming from or transisting through hotspot regions such as India are required to repeat the SARS CoV-2 PCR test seven days after arrival in Namibia. Travellers returning to Namibia within seven days will not be required to present a negative SARS CoV-2 PCR test result from the country of departure.

Kruger National Park Calendar - July!

Weather:

  • warm to cool days
  • cold nights & chilly mornings
  • occasional winds
  • occasional patches of hot weather
  • almost no rain

Temperatures:

  • between 9°C - 26°C (Fahrenheit: e.g. 28°C = [(28x9)]/5 + 32 = 82.4°F)
  • visit our webcam page for live footage from Kruger National Park!

hippo, hippopotamus, wildlife, Kruger National Park, South Africa

Landscape:

  • water becomes scarce throughout the park
  • bush is very dry; almost no leaf cover
  • strange-smelling "potato bush" begins flowering

Animal Activity:

  • game increasingly concentrated around water
  • game spotting usually very good in the South of the park
  • north of the park dominated by elephants
  • resident raptors breeding
  • many weaker aninmals taken by predators

Kruger National Park tours >>
online car hire
>>

Kruger National Park: SANParks to set up security checkpoints in Kruger National Park!

South African National Parks (SANParks) is currently in the process of developing effective management strategies to protect the rhino population and more effectively manage wildlife crime and conservation in Kruger National Park in general. As part of this initiative, SANParks and the South African National Defence Force (SANDF)– Military Police will be setting up various security checkpoints in the Southern Section of Kruger National Park. These checkpoints aim to improve area integrity and will be conducted with minimum disturbance to the guests and visitors of Kruger National Park.

Rhino, rhinoceros, Kruger National Park, South Africa

27 May 2021

Covid-19: Zambia has introduced new entry restrictions! [update]

update (28 May 2021): According to International Air Transport Association's (IATA) Covid-19 Travel Regulations Map, which is powered by Timatic*, the following entry regulations are in place for travellers intending to visit Zambia (as of 26 May 2021):

  1. Passengers must have a negative Covid-19 PCR test taken at most 72 hours before departure from the first embarkation point. (This does not apply to passengers younger than 5 years.)
  2. A completed "Traveller Health Questionnaire" must be presented upon arrival.
  3. Passengers and airline crew are subject to medical screening upon arrival.
  4. Passengers could be subject to a Covid-19 test upon arrival at their own expense.
  5. Passengers could be subject to self-isolation for 14 days. (This does not apply to passengers with a Covid-19 vaccination certificate.)

*Timatic is a database containing documentation requirements for passengers traveling internationally via air. It is managed by the International Air Transport Association (IATA).

update (28 May 2021): The information is not confirmed yet, but the document ("Revised guidelines for strengthening surveillance at Points of Enty (PoE)", see below) might have been inadvertantly posted on Facebook and is in fact a draft set of proposals and had no official standing. We'll keep you posted!

The Government of Zambia has introduced new guidelines for all travellers visiting the country. The new travel restrictions became effective on 24 May 2021. All travelers entering Zambia must now produce evidence of a Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR)-based SARS-CoV-2 negative test conducted within 72 hours prior to departure from the country of origin. All travelers from countries that are deemed to be at high risk of Covid-19 by the Ministry of Health/Zambia National Public Health Institute (ZNPHI) [see below] are subjected to SARS CoV2 testing at the tarvellers cost at the Points of Entry - even if they have a negative PCR test certificate. Specimens are collected on arrival or within 48 hours of entry into Zambia. Mandatory self-isolation at home will be instituted for all travellers coming from countries classified as "high risk”  [see below] irrespective of SARS CoV2 PCR negative test results. Where the home environment is deemed unsuitable, self-quarantine will take place in a designated institution at the traveller's cost. All persons under self-isolation are expected to be compliant and will be monitored on a daily basis by health care workers, physically or remotely.


Travellers from the following countries are getting re-swabbed for SARS CoV2 on arrival at Zambian Points of Entry and have to undergo 14-day quarantine:

  1. India
  2. Iran
  3. Turkey
  4. France
  5. Germany
  6. Russia
  7. Brazil
  8. Argentina
  9. South Africa
  10. Egypt
  11. Tunisia
  12. Ethiopia
  13. Kenya
  14. Italy
  15. Tanzania

The list of “high risk” countries wiill be reviewed and updated regulary.

Zimbabwe: A new hop-on-hop-off bus service for Victoria Falls!

The town of Victoria Falls in Zimbabwe will soon get a hop-on-hop-off bus service. The Bamba Bus will provide an all day services around Victoria Falls covering key leisure areas from the mighty Victoria Falls themselves, to local shopping areas and curio markets, to restaurants and bars, to lodges in the suburbs. The all day ticket will initially cost USD10 for adults and USD5 for children. Tickets are sold on board the Bamba Bus


The Bamba Bus will offer two different routes - "The Daily Run" (07:00 - 18:00), which covers mainly lodges, shopping areas and curio markets and the Victoria Falls, as well as "The Restaurant Run" (18:00 to midnight), which covers mainly the restaurants in Victoria Falls.  

Eswatini: The Royal Eswatini National Airways Corporation is planning to launch regional operations!

The Royal Eswatini National Airways Corporation (RENAC) is planning to launch regional scheduled air services to globally connect the Kingdom of Eswatini. RENAC is expecting to operate commercial flights from November 2021. The corporation is currently awaiting certification and accreditation from the Eswatini Civil Aviation Authority (ESWACAA) as well as from the International Air Transport Association (IATA). According to news reports, RENAC is innitially planning to launch direct flights to four regional destinations. We'll keep you posted!

The Royal Eswatini National Airways Corporation (RENAC) was established in 1978 as Royal Swazi National Airlines. RENAC is wholly owned by the Government of Eswatini and offers air charter brokerage and airport ground-handling services, supplies jet fuel, and operates the Royal Eswatini Travel Agency (RETA).

 eSwatini: The Royal Eswatini National Airways Corporation & Royal Jet (Abu Dhabi) formed an air charter partnership! (June 2020) >>

26 May 2021

South Africa: Cemair to launch flights between Gqeberha <> East London & Bloemfontein!

South African regional carrier CemAir is set to launch two new routes from Gqeberha (Port Elizabeth). Effective 06 July 2021, the airline will introduce flights between Chief Dawid Stuurman International Airport (PLZ |  Port Elizabeth International Airport) in Gqeberha (Port Elizabeth) and King Phalo Airport (ELS | East London Airport) in East London. Cemair will operate two return flights per day on Tuesdays and Thursdays to East London. One day later, on 07 July 2021, the airline will launch a new three-weekly service on Wednesdays, Fridays and Sundays between Gqeberha (Port Elizabeth) and Bram Fischer International Airport (BFN) in Bloemfontein.

Malawi: Malawi Airlines to resume full network operations!

The flag carrier airline of Malawi, Malawi Airlines, has announced that it will resume full network operations from mid-June 2021. According to the Nyasa Times, a Malawian online newspaper, the airline's two stakeholders - Ethiopian Airlines (49%) and the Government of Malawi (51%) - agreed to recapitalise the technically insolvent airline. The (undisclosed) bailout allows Malawi Airlines to resume flights to destinations like Dar es Salaam (Tanzania), Nairobi (Kenya), Lusaka (Zambia) and Harare (Zimbabwe). Malawi Airlines currently only operates flights between Kamuzu International Airport (LLW) in Lilongwe and OR Tambo International Airport (JNB) in Johannesburg as well as between Chileka International Airport (BLZ) in Blantyre and Johannesburg. We'll keep you posted!

online flight booking on TravelComments.com >> 

25 May 2021

Lufthansa temporarily reduces flights between Frankfurt <> Cape Town!

Due to operational reasons, Lufthansa is temporarily changing its Frankfurt <> Cape Town schedule. According to a media release, the airline has reduced the number of flights between Frankfurt and Cape Town from three weekly flights to two weekly flights between 19 May 2021 and 30 June 2021. Flight LH576 departs Frankfurt Airport (FRA) in Frankfurt at 22:15 on Wednesdays and Fridays and arrives at Cape Town International Airport (CPT) in Cape Town at 10:00 the following day. The return flight LH577 departs Cape Town at 17:45 on Thursdays and Saturdays and arrives in Frankfurt at 05:40 the following day. 

 online flight booking on TravelComments.com >>

20 May 2021

Iziko Museums of South Africa: Free entry to select museums on Africa Day!

Iziko Museums of South Africa has announced that it will be offering free entry to select museums in Cape Town on Africa Day (25 May 2021). This includes the Iziko South African Museum, the Iziko South African National Gallery, the Iziko Slave Lodge, the Iziko Bo-Kaap Museum and the Maritime Centre at the Union Castle House (V&A Waterfront).  Please note that there are Covid-19 protocols in place to ensure the safety of both staff and visitors.


Iziko Museums of South Africa operates 11 national museums in Cape Town as well as collection-specific libraries, a world-class Social History Archive and the most advanced digital Planetarium and Digital Dome on the African Continent.

Ranking: Cape Town has Africa's bluest sky!

According to a study conducted by Australian money exchange service S Money, Cape Town in South Africa has Africa's bluest sky and the world's 13th bluest sky. Port Louis on the island of Mauritius follows in second place (global ranking 17th) and Malawi's capital Lilongwe in third place (global: 21st). Other destinations in Southern Africa in Africa's Top 20 include Windhoek in Namibia (5th, 44th), Lusaka in Zambia (8th, 48th)), Maseru in Lesotho (9th, 49th)), Gaborone in Botswana (11th, 65th), Luanda in Angola (12th, 66th), Maputo in Mozambique (13th, 67th) and Harare in Zimbabwe (19th, 113th).

Which African City has the bluest sky?
  1. Cape Town, South Africa
  2. Port Louis, Mauritius
  3. Lilongwe, Malawi
  4. Victoria, Seychelles
  5. Asmara, Eritrea
  6. Windhoek, Namibia
  7. Antananarivo, Madagascar
  8. Lusaka, Zambia
  9. Maseru, Lesotho
  10. Mogadishu, Somalia
  11. Gaborone, Botswana
  12. Luanda, Angola
  13. Maputo, Mozambique
  14. Niamey, Niger
  15. Tripoli, Libya
  16. Juba, South Sudan
  17. Yaounde, Cameroon
  18. Rabat, Morocco
  19. Harare, Zimbabwe
  20. Algiers, Algeria
S Money worked with a data scientist to analyse images of the sky from every nation’s capital (as well as the 25 most populous US cities). Ranking them according to the CIELAB colour scale, the S Money team then translated those colours into the hex colour code for each sky so the results could be accurately shown online.


19 May 2021

Namibia/Botswana: The Ngoma/Kasane Border Post has been re-opened to the public!

Namibia's Ministry of Home Affairs, Immigration, Safery and Security (MHAISS) has announced that the Ngoma/Kasane Border Post between Botswana and Namibia is now open for public use. The border post was closed due to the Covid-19 pandemic. The opeining times of the border post are daily from 07:30 to 16:30. The Ngoma/Kasane Border Post is located about 50 km west of Kasane in Botswana and about 70 km south-east of Katima Mulilo in Namibia.


18 May 2021

Namibia records a drastic drop in cases of illegal poaching!

The Chief Public Relations Officer at Namibia's Ministry of Enviroment and Tourism (MET), Romeo Muyunda, has announced that Namibia has recorded a drastic drop in cases of illegal poaching. The country has lost only two rhinos to poaching activities since the beginning of 2021 compared to 13 poaching cases recorded at the same period of time in 2020. According to Mr. Muyunda, Namibia's continued anti-poaching efforts have led to this drastic drop in poaching cases.
Namibia
is home to a third of the entire remaining population of back rhino on the planet and the second largest white rhino population in the world after South Africa. The country also has the largest population of black rhinos in protected areas and the largest free roaming black rhino population in the world. 

South Africa: Dates confirmed for Rugby World Cup Sevens 2022 in Cape Town!

World Rugby, the world governing body for the sport of rugby union, and SA Rugby, the governing body for rugby union in South Africa, have confirmed that the Rugby World Cup Sevens 2022 in Cape Town will take place next year from 09 - 11 September 2022. The eighth edition, which will be contested by 24 men's and 16 women's teams, is the first to be hosted in Africa. The three-day event will be held at the 57,654 capacity Cape Town Stadium in Green Point, Cape Town. Details of the ticket sales launch will be announced later this year. We'll keep you posted!


Cape Town: Table Mountain Aerial Cableway has launched private cable car offering!

Cape Town's Table Mountain Aerial Cableway Company (TMACC) has launched a private cable car service. This new offering is ideal for those wishing to have an extra level of social distancing and privacy when hosting their event, special occasion or private group on top of Table Mountain in Cape Town. The cost for the exclusive use of a cable car, which is available for a limited number of 25 visitors, is R10 000.00. The private cable car service will run as from the 03 May 2021 until the 30 September 2021. The tickets are valid for a period of seven weekdays, as from the selected date. Tickets are not available for purchase or use on weekends (Saturday and Sunday).

South Africa: Kruger National Park is anticipating a lot more fires this winter season!

South African National Parks (SANParks) is anticipating a lot more fires in Kruger National Park during this winter fire season which usually takes place between June and October. Fires are a common and natural occurrence in the National Park which is found within the Savanna biome (also referred to as Tropical Grasslands), and like the Fynbos biome (Cape Floristic Region), is dependent on fires to keep the ecosystem functioning in a healthy manner.

A prescribed burn which took place at Satara in Kruger National Park ©SANParks

Research has shown that regardless of the fire management strategy (namely active use of fire as veld management tool or active fire suppression), fires will burn in Kruger National Park as long as there is enough grass to burn. This is because fires are primarily driven by how much grass is available (also known as fuel load). Fuel load is dependent on how much rainfall fell in the preceding growing season. Kruger National Park has experienced an exceptionally wet growing season this past summer, and the veld has responded by producing high fuel loads. SANParks is therefore anticipating a lot more fires this winter. Usually, less than 10% of Kruger National Park burns every year but as a result of the very wet rainy season, it is expected that roughly 20% of the National Park will burn this year. According to Kruger National Park General Manager of Communications, Isaac Phaahla, a large proportion of this will be controlled burns conducted by SANParks Rangers; but it is likely that unscheduled fires will also take place during the course of the year and these will be managed as they occur. SANParks records, monitors and maps all fires which burn in Kruger National Park using advanced satellite technology.

Regrowth after a prescribed fire ©SANParks

The high fuel loads increase the risk of large wildfires burning late in the dry season between August and October. Therefore, SANParks has begun securing its firebreaks around Kruger National Park'a infrastructure such as camps, staff quarters, entry gates and other key assets, as well as burning and grading firebreaks along the National Park's boundary. Furthermore, Rangers and scientists are currently burning early season fires in Kruger National Park to help break up the fuel load in the veld and reduce the risk of wildfires burning over large areas of the National Park.

17 May 2021

Zimbabwe: Free entry to several museums on International Museum Day!

The Zimbabwe Tourism Authority (ZTA) has announced that National Museums and Monuments of Zimbabwe (NMMZ) is set to join the international museums community in commemorating the International Museums Day (IMD) 2021. Several museums in Zimbabwe, including the Natural History Museum of Zimbabwe in Bulawayo, Zimbabwe Museum of Human Sciences in Harare, the Military Museum in Gweru, the Mutare Museum in Mutare and the Kwekwe Museum in Kwekwe, will therefore be free of charge on 18 May 2021. Due to the current Covid-19 situation, only a limited number of visitors will be allowed in the participating museums.

Iziko Museums of South Africa: Free entry to select museums on International Museum Day!

On Tuesday, 18 May 2021, Iziko Museums of South Africa will be joining the International Museum community in celebrating International Museum Day (IMD), with free entry to selected Iziko museums sites in Cape Town and half-price entry to the Iziko Planetarium and Digital Dome. The International Museum Day (IMD) is celebrated by museums worldwide on 18 May. Instituted by the International Council of Museums (ICOM) in 1977, IMD provides museums with the opportunity to showcase the importance, value and significance of museums in society. 

Iziko Museums of South Africa operates 11 national museums in Cape Town as well as collection-specific libraries, a world-class Social History Archive and the most advanced digital Planetarium and Digital Dome on the African Continent.

14 May 2021

Rugby: SA Rugby and British & Irish Lions confirm revised tour schedule! [update]

update (21 July 2021): SA Rugby and the British & Irish Lions confirmed on 20 July 2021 that agreement had been reached to conclude the Castle Lager Lions Series in Cape Town. The Series was scheduled to return to Johannesburg following the first Test in Cape Town on Saturday. All three test matches will now take place at the Cape Town Stadium (24 July 2021, 31 July 2021 and 07 August 2021). According to SA Rugby, the decision to remain in Cape Town was made following extensive consultation with medical experts on the risks associated with the delta variant of Covid-19.

update (01 July 2021): The kick-off in the Castle Lager Lions Series match between the Cell C Sharks and the British & Irish Lions at Emirates Arline Park in Johannesburg on 07 July 2021 has been brought forward by an hour to 19:00 (18:00 BST).

The South African Rugby Union (also known as SA Rugby) and the British & Irish Lions have confirmed a revised Castle Lager Lions Series fixture list and venues. In order to minimise the risks of disruption that could be caused by the Covid-19 pandemic, all eight matches of the tour in South Africa will be played in Johannesburg, Pretoria and Cape Town. The schedule accommodates stable team bases and training venues and significantly reduces travel.
The British & Irish Lions Tour of South Africa 2021 ("Castle Lager Lions Series") will now kick off in Gauteng with three matches against provincial opposition in Johannesburg and Pretoria before moving to Cape Town for two more warm-up matches before the first test at Cape Town Stadium on 24 July 2021. The Castle Lager Lions Series then returns to Johannesburg for the second and third tests at the FNB Stadium. There is one team change in the revised schedule with the Emirates Lions replacing the South Africa Invitational team. The adjustment was made to reduce the risks associated with drawing a squad from around the country.  

Photo by Alberto Di Maria on Unsplash

SA Rugby
is organising all games in the schedule to comply with the regulations on attendance as will apply at the time of play. All ticket holders for the original schedule will receive a full refund. SA Rugby also confirmed that South African resident ticket holders would have first right to purchase tickets for the revised schedule if restrictions on attendance at sports events were lifted.

The full Castle Lager Lions Series 2021 is:

  • 03 July 2021: Emirates Lions v The British & Irish Lions (Emirates Airline Park, Johannesburg) kick off 18:00 (SAT) / 17:00 (BST)
  • 07 July 2021: Cell C Sharks v The British & Irish Lions (Emirates Airline Park, Johannesburg) kick off 20:00 (SAT) / 19:00 (BST) 19:00 (SAT) / 18:00 (BST)
  • 10 July 2021: Vodacom Bulls v The British & Irish Lions (Loftus Versfeld, Pretoria) kick off 18:00 (SAT) / 17:00 (BST)
  • 14 July 2021: South Africa ‘A’ v The British & Irish Lions (Cape Town Stadium, Cape Town) kick off 20:00 (SAT) / 19:00 (BST)
  • 17 July 2021: DHL Stormers v The British & Irish Lions (Cape Town Stadium, Cape Town) kick off 18:00 (SAT) / 17:00 (BST)
  • 24 July 2021: Springboks v The British & Irish Lions (1st test, Cape Town Stadium, Cape Town) kick off 18:00 (SAT) / 17:00 (BST)
  • 31 July 2021: Springboks v The British & Irish Lions (2nd test, FNB Stadium, Johannesburg) kick off 18:00 (SAT) / 17:00 (BST)
  • 07 August 2021: Springboks v The British & Irish Lions (3rd test, FNB Stadium, Johannesburg) kick off 18:00 (SAT) / 17:00 (BST)

Zimbabwe: Gonarezhou National Park to reintroduce black rhinos in 2021!

After 14 years of discussions, planning, multiple feasibility studies, field preparations and work between the founders and partners of the Gonarezhou Conservation Trust (GCT), Zimbabwe Parks and Wildlife Management Authority (ZPWMA) and Frankfurt Zoological Society (FZS), 2021 is planned to be the year that Black Rhino return to Gonarezhou National Park in Zimbabwe after being absent for the last 27 years. The re-introduction of the highly endangered species represents an immense opportunity to not only return an important megaherbivore to the Gonarezhou ecosystem but to establish a new, viable metapopulation of critically endangered Black Rhino in a National Park in Zimbabwe. The rhinos will be released into Gonarezhou’s 130 000 acres Intensive Protection Zone (IPZ).


Gonarezhou National Park, Zimbabwe's second largest National Park, is located in the south-eastern part of the country and is managed by the Gonarezhou Conservation Trust (GTC), an innovative new model for protected area management drawn up between the Zimbabwe Parks and Wildlife Management Authority (ZPWMA) and the Frankfurt Zoological Society (FZS).

10 May 2021

Pretoria (Tshwane): The Pretoria National Botanical Garden is going cashless!

The Pretoria National Botanical Garden, located in the eastern suburbs of Pretoria, has announced that it is migrating to a card only payment system, phasing out cash payments. Cash will still be accepted, but the management of the National Botanical Gardens encourages visitors to make the switch to cashless as card payments are considered safer for visitors and staff.

The Pretoria National Botanical Garden in Pretoria is one of South Africa's thirteen National Botanical and Zoological Gardens managed by the the South African National Biodiversity Institute (SANBI). The Pretoria National Botanical Garden is situated in 2 Cussonia Ave, Brummeria, Pretoria. It has a total size of 76 hectares, of which 50 hectares are devoted to developed garden, using almost exclusively South African plants. All the flowering plant species to be seen, including 50% of the country’s tree species, make this garden a botanical tapestry.
Pretoria National Botanical Garden's operational hours are daily from 09:00 to 18:00 with no entry after 17:00. The entrance fees are R45/adult, R30/student and R15/scholar. Free entry is provided for children under the age of 6 years and for senior citizens (60 years +, Tuesdays only).

Covid-19: Namibia clarifies entry requirements!

Namibia's Ministry of Health and Social Services (MHSS) has released a circular letter adressed to all regional directors to clarify requirements related to entry into Namibia. According to the MHSS, this is due to varying interpretation of entry requirements, which resuluted in travellers being stranded at the country's ports of entry.
  • Persons who depart from Namibia with a negative Antigen Rapid Diagnostic Test result or a SARS-CoV-2 PCR test result and re-enter Namibia within seven days from the date the sample was taken for testing are not subject to Antigen Rapid Diagnostic Test or a SARS-CoV-2 PCR test on re-entry into Namibia.
  • Persons permitted entry into Namibia do not need to inform the relevant Namibia diplomat representative in the country of intended departure of the intention to enter Namibia.
  • All persons entering Namibia with negative Antigen Rapid Diagnostic Test result or a SARS-CoV-2 PCR test result within seven days from the date the sample was taken are not subject to quarantine.


 

Airlink and Kenya Airways have signed an interline agreement!

South African privately-owned regional carrier Airlink and the flag carrier airline of Kenya, Kenya Airways, have signed an interline agreement. Through the agreement Airlink customers are able to book a through ticket to Nairobi and enjoy connections to the rest of Kenya Airways destinations within Africa (e.g. Entebbe, Kigali, Dar es Salaam, Bujumbura, Kinshasa and more), while Kenya Airways passengers flying to South Africa will be able to connect with Airlink operated flights to various destinations in Southern Africa such as Windhoek, Durban, Gaborone, Maseru, Pemba, Maputo, Port Elizabeth, among others.

An Interline agreement between airlines allows passengers to change from one flight on one airline to another flight on another airline without having to gather their bags or check-in again.

online flight booking on TravelComments.com >>

07 May 2021

Ingula Nature Reserve designated as South Africa’s 27th Ramsar Site!

The Ingula Nature Reserve in South Africa has been declared a Wetland of International Importance ("Ramsar Site") by the Convention on Wetlands of International Importance, also known as the Ramsar Convention. This addition brings the number of South Africa's Ramsar Sites to 27 covering a surface area of 571,089 hectares.
The Ingula Nature Reserve sits along the northernmost part of the Drakensberg mountain range, between Free State and KwaZulu-Natal. It lies between 1,260 and 1,900 metres above sea level, and mainly consists of dry grassy plains – which are partly cultivated and irrigated – interspersed with extensive wetlands. The Ingula Nature Reserve is home to over 300 bird species, of which 24 are threatened, 34 mammal species, including 11 carnivores and 10 antelope species, as well as 69 butterflies and 29 reptiles.
The Convention on Wetlands/Ramsar Convention is an intergovernmental treaty that embodies the commitments of its member countries to maintain the ecological character of their Wetlands of International Importance and to plan for the "wise use", or sustainable use, of all of the wetlands in their territories. 

Annotated List of Wetlands of International Importance/Ramsar Sites in South Africa:

  1. Barberspan
  2. Blesbokspruit
  3. Bot - Kleinmond Estuarine System
  4. Dassen Island Nature Reserve
  5. De Hoop Vlei
  6. De Mond
  7. Dyer Island Provincial Nature Reserve and Geyser Island Provincial Nature Reserve
  8. False Bay Nature Reserve
  9. Ingula Nature Reserve
  10. Kgaswane Mountain Reserve
  11. Kosi Bay
  12. Lake Sibaya
  13. Langebaan
  14. Makuleke Wetlands
  15. Natal Drakensberg Park
  16. Ndumo Game Reserve
  17. Ntsikeni Nature Reserve
  18. Nylsvley Nature Reserve
  19. Orange River Mouth
  20. Prince Edward Islands
  21. Seekoeivlei Nature Reserve
  22. St. Lucia System
  23. Turtle Beaches/Coral Reefs of Tongaland
  24. uMgeni Vlei Nature Reserve
  25. Verloren Valei Nature Reserve
  26. Verlorenvlei
  27. Wilderness Lakes

Airlink to launch direct flights between Cape Town <> Skukuza in Kruger National Park!

South African privately-owned regional carrier Airlink is set to launch direct flights between Cape Town International Airport (CPT) in Cape Town and Skukuza Airport (SZK), the only commercial airport in Kruger National Park. Effective 04 June 2021, the airline will operate three weekly flights on Tuesdays, Fridays and Sundays (CPT > SKZ) and on Mondays, Thursdays and Saturdays (SKZ > CPT).
Skukuza Airport (SZK) is located in close proximity to the Skukuza Rest Camp. Kruger National Park's largest rest camp and administrative headquarters is situated on the southern banks of the Sabie River in the southern part of Kruger National Park

online flight booking on TravelComments.com >>

Mozambique: Ethiopian Mozambique Airlines has ceased operations!

Ethiopian Mozambique Airlines, a domestic airline in Mozambique, has ceased operations on 06 May 2021. According to the airline, the reason behind the suspension of services is the decline in demand among travellers due to restrictions imposed by the Covid-19 pandemic. This resulted in severe economic challenges that made continuity impossible.
Ethiopian Mozambique Airlines, a subsidiary of Ethiopian Airlines, launched operations in Mozambique in December 2018. The airline operated domestic flights to eight destinations across the country, including Maputo, Lichinga, Chimoio, Quelimane, Tete, Inhambane, Beira and Nampula.

06 May 2021

Covid-19: Lesotho has reopened borders!

The Government of Lesotho has eased the Covid-19 restrictions last week. The country is now open for regular travel, including tourism, through all border crossings and Moshoeshoe I International Airport (MSU), which is located about 15 km southeast of Maseru. Travellers intending to visit Lesotho need to present a negative Covid-19 test result not older than 72 hours from time of departure when entering the country. There are no restrictions on intercity or interstate travel within Lesotho. Covid-19 health and safety protocols must be followed at all times, including observance of guidelines for social distancing, sanitation and hygiene, and the use of appropriate personal protective equipment, like cloth face masks. Supermarkets, pharmacies and most businesses can operate in line with safety protocols. Accomodation facilities in Lesotho are allowed to open with 100% occupancy. Public recreational areas (such as parks) are permitted to operate, while nightclubs remain closed. Liquor stores are allowed to operate from Mondays to Sundays (08:00 - 20:00). The daily curfew starts at 22:00 and ends at 04:00. Public transport is allowed to operate at 100% capacity.


04 May 2021

Rwandair resumes flights to South Africa, Zambia & Zimbabwe! [update]

update (06 May 2021): Rwandair operates one weekly direct flight between Kigali and Johannesburg and the other two weekly flights via Lusaka. Flights between Kigali and Cape Town will all be operated via Harare.

Rwanda's flag carrier, Rwandair, has announced the resumption of flights to South Africa. The airline suspended flights to Cape Town and Johannesburg on 08 February 2021 due to to the global concerns on covid variants throughout southern Africa. Rwandair will resume flights between Kigali International Airport (KGL) in Kigali and OR Tambo International Airport (JNB) in Johannesburg on 07 May 2021 with three weekly frequencies on Wednesdays, Fridays and Sundays. According to Rwandair's facebook page, flights between Kigali and Cape Town International Airport (CPT) in Cape Town are set to resume on 14 May 2021. Flights to Lusaka in Zambia (07 May 2021) and Harare in Zimbabwe (14 May 2021) will also be re-introduced. 

online flight booking on TravelComments.com >>

Covid-19: El Al cancels plans to resume flights to South Africa!

The Government of Israel on 03 May 2021 banned travelling to seven countries, including South Africa, over fears of importing Covid-19 variants. The new measures forces the country's flag carrier, El Al, to cancel its plans to resume flights to Johannesburg in South Africa until further notice. The airline planned to re-introduce scheduled services between Ben Gurion Airport (TLV) in Tel Aviv and OR Tambo International Airport (JNB) in Johannesburg from 06 May 2021. According to El Al's website, the airline will now only offer one flight between Tel Aviv and Johannesburg on 06 May 2021 and a return service from Johannesburg to Tel Aviv on 08 May 2021. We'll keep you posted!

online flight booking on TravelComments.com >>

03 May 2021

South Africa: Airlink resumes its "Lodge Link Service"!

South African privately-owned regional carrier Airlink has announced the resumption of its "Lodge Link Service". Effective 01 July 2021, the airline's safari lodge air transfer service will provide direct connectivity beyond Skukuza Airport (SZK) in Kruger National Park and Kruger Mpumalanga International Airport (MQP) near Nelspruit to three of the popular safari lodge airstrips located at Arathusa, Londolozi and Phinda Private Game Reserve. The "Lodge Link" flights are operated with Airlink’s twin pilot modern Cessna Caravan 12 seater turboprop aircraft.
The Arathusa airstrip will provide access to the neighboring lodges such as Chitwa Chitwa, Cheetah Plains, Elephant Plains, Simbambili, Nkorho, Djuma, Jaci’s Sabi House and Silvan Safaris.
The Phinda airstrip provides access to a number of lodges in the area, Thanda Private Game Reserve and Rhino Ridge.

Airlink Lodge Link Flight Schedule:

  • Mornings: Arathusa – Londolozi – Skukuza Airport (SZK) – Kruger Mpumalanga International Airport (MQP)
  • Afternoons: Kruger Mpumalanga International Airport (MQP) – Londolozi – Arathusa
  • Mornings: Phinda – Kruger Mpumalanga International Airport (MQP)
  • Afternoons: Kruger Mpumalanga International Airport (MQP) – Phinda

Airlink launched the "Lodge Link System" in May 2015 to complement its popular scheduled services from Cape Town International Airport (CPT) in Cape Town and OR Tambo International Airport (JNB) in Johannesburg to Skukuza Airport (SZK) in Kruger National Park and Kruger Mpumalanga International Airport (MQP) near Nelspruit.

Lufthansa Group: Flights between Frankfurt <> Windhoek to be operated by the new "Eurowings Discover! [update]

update (19 June 2021): Effective 20 Jun 2021, the German Government will officially downgrade Namibia as a virus variant area. Lufthansa Group's flight schedule will operate as per normal with the following conditions highlight below:

  1. Only German nationals and holders of a German resident permit are allowed to enter Germany.
  2. Transit via Germany to any Schengen destination is only permitted for German nationals and holders of a German resident permit.
  3. All passengers mentioned in point 1 and 2 must hold a negative COVID-19 test result at time of departure, not older than 72 hours from the planned arrival in Germany, (exception Antigen-tests: 24 hours) and must register online under following link: https://www.einreiseanmeldung.de/
  4. Transit to any Non-Schengen destination (exception China) is permitted for all nationalities.
  5. All passengers must observe local quarantine regulations. Detailed information can be found under following links: https://lufthansa.travel-regulations.com/?language=en and www.lufthansa.com/de/en/flight-information

The Lufthansa Group has announced that it will continue to operate five weekly flights to and from Windhoek throughout 2021 and that it will move its flight operations between Germany and Namibia from Eurowings to the new leisure brand Eurowings Discover from the beginning of August 2021. Until the end of May 2021, Eurowing's existing flight schedule to and from Windhoek shall remain unchanged. From the beginning of June 2021 until the end of July 2021, flights between Frankfurt and Windhoek will be serviced by Lufthansa. During these two month, flights between Windhoek and Frankfurt will be operated during the night. Thereafter, from August 2021, the Lufthansa Group will move all fight operations to and from Windhoek under its new Eurowings Discover brand and will continue operating five weekly flights between Windhoek and Frankfurt with an evening departure from Namibia's capital.

 online flight booking on TravelComments.com >>

Uganda Airlines to launch flights between Entebbe <> Johannesburg!

The flag carrier airline of Uganda, Uganda Airlines, is set to launch flights to Johannesburg in South Africa. Effective 31 May 2021, the airline will operate four weekly direct flights between Entebbe International Airport (EBB) in Entebbe and OR Tambo International Airport (JNB) in Johannesburg. Flights to Johannesburg will be on Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays, while the return flights to Entebbe will be on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays. 

online flight booking on TravelComments.com >>