South African low cost airline FlySafair is set to launch a new service to Bloemfontein in the Free State. Effective 16 September 2022, the airline will operate two weekly flights on Fridays and Sundays between OR Tambo International Airport (JNB) in Johannesburg and Bram Fischer International Airport (BFN) in Bloemfontein. Flights will depart Johannesburg at 16:35 and arrive in Bloemfontein at 17:35, while the return flight will depart Bloemfontein at 18:10 and arrive in Johannesburg at 19:10.
Welcome to the official blog of TravelComments.com - travelling Southern Africa!
31 August 2022
South Africa: FlySafair to launch flights between Johannesburg <> Bloemfontein!
Kruger National Park Calendar - October!
- daytime temperatures soar
- first hard rains
- it can get extremely hot & humid if the rains are late
- between 16°C - 32°C (Fahrenheit: e.g. 28°C = [(28x9)]/5 + 32 = 82.4°F)
- visit our webcam page for live footage from Kruger National Park!
- grassland beginns turning green
- many trees in flower
- lush vegetation
- river levels start rising
- breeding season begins for many antelopes
- game begins dispersing through the Park
- most of the northern migrant raptors arrive
30 August 2022
KwaZulu-Natal: Temporary road closure in iSimangaliso Wetland Park!
The iSimangaliso Wetland Park Authority has announced that the road from the Main Beach (Jabula Beach) to Ingwe Beach in the iSimangaliso Wetland Park is temporally closed since 26 August 2022. This is due to floods that happened around April 2022 that resulted to potholes and other road damages. The estimated period for the road to be constructed is 2-3 weeks (approx. 09-16 September 2022). Alternatively, visitors to iSimangaliso Wetland Park are urged to use the road passing the Rochelle Lodge to access the beach. We'll keep you posted!
The iSimangaliso Wetland Park is situated on the east coast of KwaZulu-Natal. It is South Africa's third-largest protected area, spanning about 280 km of coastline, from the the border with Mozambique in the north to Mapelane south of the Lake St. Lucia estuary.
26 August 2022
South Africa: New name changes for towns in the Eastern Cape & KwaZulu-Natal!
South African Minister of Sport, Arts and Culture, Nathi Mthethwa, has officially announced name changes for two towns and two villages as well as the registration of new names of a village, a road section, two human settlements, a township and two suburbs. The Minister further approved the correction of spelling for a river. The changes, which were gazetted on 26 August 2022, impact the Amathole District Municipality (10) and the Chris Hani District Municipality (1) in the Eastern Cape as well as the uMzinyathi District Municipality (1) in KwaZulu-Natal. The name changes are officially approved in terms of Section 10 (2) of the South African Geographical Names Council Act (Act No 118 of 1998).
Town: Cradock > Nxuba (Eastern Cape)
Town: Morgan Bay > Gxarha (Eastern Cape)
Amalgamation of villages: Mooiplaas > Khwenxurha (Eastern Cape)
Click here (pdf) to download Government Gazette No. 46792 (26 August 2022), which includes the full list of name changes as approved by the Ministry of Sport, Arts and Culture.
This street in Cape Town is one of the 33 coolest streets in the world!
Global culture, entertainment and events magazine Time Out recently published the results of its annual Time Out Index. As part of the global survey, Time Out askeds ome 20,000 city-dwellers which specific streets they think are the coolest in the world. According to the findings of the survey, Kloof Street in Cape Town is one of the 33 coolest streets in the world. Gardens' main thoroughfare was voted 26th coolest street.
26. Kloof Street in Gardens, Cape Town
"Here you can explore local fashion, pop in to a swish art gallery, dive into secondhand furniture stores or just generally catch a bucketload of local buzz, all while taking in magical views of Table Mountain."
Stay: Kloof Street Hotel (360-degree views of Cape Town's skyline and mountains and its own restaurant, coffee shop and open-air swimming pool)
Eat: Kloof Street House (intimate, romantic setting with its stunning garden and old Victorian dining room)
Do: Ubuntu Wellness Centre (massages, natural healing treatments or hydrotherapy)
Time Out's 33 coolest streets in the world:
1. Rue Wellington, Montreal
2. Gertrude Street, Melbourne
3. Great Western Road, Glasgow
4. Yongkang Street, Taipei
5. Værnedamsvej, Copenhagen
6. Karangahape Road, Auckland
7. Tai Ping Shan Street, Hong Kong
8. Yaowarat Road, Bangkok
9. Oranienstrasse, Berlin
10. Hayes Street, San Francisco
11. Avenida Ámsterdam, Mexico City
12. Kolokotroni, Athens
13. Virgil Avenue, Los Angeles
14. Ossington Avenue, Toronto
15. Via Provenza, Medellín
16. Calle Ocho, Miami
17. Deptford High Street, London
18. Praça das Flores, Lisbon
19. Oxford Street, Accra
20. Wentworth Avenue, Chicago
21. Cutting Room Square, Manchester
22. Capel Street, Dublin
23. Jumeirah Beach Road, Dubai
24. Enmore Road, Sydney
25. Kagurazaka, Tokyo
26. Kloof Street, Cape Town
27. Süleyman Seba Caddesi, Istanbul
28. Calle Echegaray, Madrid
29. MacDougal Street, New York
30. Carrer del Comte Borrell, Barcelona
31. Newbury Street, Boston
32. Colaba Causeway, Mumbai
33. Everton Road, Singapore
Covid-19: Namibia eases entry requirements for foreign travellers! [update #3]
update (12 September 2022): Namibia no longer has COVID-19 restrictions on entry. Travellers no longer need to provide proof of vaccination or a COVID-19 test to enter the country.
update (01 September 2022): The Government of Namibia has so far not officially gazetted the new regulation, which is required for the implementation of the updated entry requirement. We'll keep you posted!
update (30 August 2022): It seems that the new regulation has already become effective.
The Namibian Minister of Health and Social Services, Dr Kalumbi Shangula, has announced that foreign travellers visiting Namibia will no longer be required to produce a Covid-19 vaccination certificate or a negative Covid-19 PCR test result at the ports of entry. According to the Minister, the current epidemiological situation in Namibia no longer supports the retention of this requirement. Dr Kalumbi Shangula unfortunately did not mention when the new regulation will become effective, but it is expected that it will be announced in the next few days. We'll keep you posted!
25 August 2022
South Africa: Free access to provincial nature reserves in the Eastern Cape in October 2022!
Eastern Cape Tourism has announced that day visitors will have free access to selected provincial nature reserves in the Eastern Cape from 01 - 09 October 2022. Day visitors will also be exempted from paying the conservation fees for the duration of this free access promotion. It should be noted that free access to the provincial nature reserves does not include free access to accommodation facilities and other tourist activities.
The following provincial nature reserves are taking part:
- Great Fish River Nature Reserve
- Thomas Baines Nature Reserve
- Waters Meeting Nature Reserve
- Tsolwana/Commando Drift Nature Reserve
- Mpofu/Fort Fordyce Nature Reserve
- Oviston Nature Reserve
- East London Coast Nature Reserve
- Ongeluksnek Nature Reserve
- Dwesa Nature Reserve
- Silaka Nature Reserve
- Mkhambathi Nature Reserve
- Hluleka Nature Reserve
24 August 2022
OR Tambo International Airport (JNB), Johannesburg: Relocation of public transport operators!
Airports Company South Africa (ACSA) has announced the relocation of public transport operators such as e-hailing, shuttles and meter taxis at OR Tambo International Airport (JNB) in Johannesburg to ease traffic congestion. These services are now available and accessible at the Central Pick up and Drop off, Parkade 2 - level 2. The designated area enables passengers to swiftly get into their preferred transport and effortlessly leave the airport as well as seamlessly be dropped off and access the terminal. Passengers that will be picked up and dropped off by their family and friends will still be able to do so on the roadway, quickly and hassle-free.
Access to Parkade 2 - level 2:
There are separate entrances to Parkade 2, depending on which direction one is coming from. As a passenger who needs to access e-hailing, meter-taxis of shuttles can use the following guidelines:
From Domestic Arrivals
- Proceed up the escalators to the food court level
- Take the exit opposite Wimpy in the food court, where the Police Kiosk is located
- Proceed through the glass doors over the bridge
- You are now at Parkade 2 - level 2
From International Arrivals (Option 1)
- Proceed through the arrivals doors leading onto the roadway
- Go across the road and enter the terminal using the glass door on the left
- Take the escalators to Parkade 2 – level 2
- Exit through the glass doors into the parkade (Parkade 2 – Level 2)
From International Arrivals (Option 2)
- Proceed up the escalators behind the information desk
- Make your way towards the centre passage above the arrivals atrium (follow Parkade 2 signage)
- Proceed down the passage to Parkade 2 level 2 and exit through the doors into the parkade.
Please note: ACSA also said that it is aware that its pick up and drop off
offering at OR Tambo International Airport (JNB) has not historically been the best but this initiative is to
tackle and alleviate those challenges.
23 August 2022
SANParks: Nationwide strike action on 24 August 2022 might affect Kruger National Park! [update #4]
update (25 August 2022): SANParks noted in comment on Facebook this morning that Kruger National Park's Paul Kruger Gate remains partially unaccessible for guests coming through Belfast Village, which has been on ongoing protests with road blockages. Phabeni Gate is currently taking an unusual amount of traffic while the protests continue.
update (24 August 2022): SANParks announced on Facebook that the Phabeni Gate and the Numbi Gate are both accessible and confirmed that in light of the planned protest action/national shutdown, the two gates remain unaffected. SANParks further still encourages travellers to avoid the road leading to Paul Kruger Gate, as protest actions and road closures still continue there.
update (24 August 2022): R536 to Hazyview: Protesters have blocked the road near Belfast, cutting off access to commuters in the region.
update (24 August 2022): According to local newspaper "The Lowvelder", Mbombela (formerly Nelspruit) and surrounds are still quiet this morning after the announcement of a national shutdown scheduled for today. Only one confirmed incident has been reported of tyres being burnt in Pienaar.
South African National Parks (SANParks) is advising visitors to Kruger National Park to consider that labour unions in South Africa have called for a nationwide strike on 24 August 2022 to protest against high cost of living. There have already been protests in the western boundary of the Kruger National Park, which at times affected normal operations of the Paul Kruger Gate, Numbi Gate and to a certain extent Phabeni Gate, so that the situation around Kruger National Park might escalate. Travellers intending to leave Kruger National Park are advised to take note of possible delays in their departure. Services might also be affected by the absence of staff who might be not be able to make the trip to work. We'll keep you posted!
Time Out Index 2022: Cape Town named 11th best city in the world!
Global culture, entertainment and events magazine Time Out recently published the results of its annual Time Out Index. According to the 2022 edition of the ranking, Cape Town in South Africa is the 11th best city in the world. The Mother City was rated for its good food, culture, mountains, beaches and nightlife. Top city of the year is Edinburgh in Scottland, followed by Chicago in the US, Medellin in Colombia and Glasgow, also in Scotland. Congratulations!
Time Out's top
10 11 best cities:
- Edinburgh, Scotland
- Chicago, USA
- Medellín, Colombia
- Glasgow, Scotland
- Amsterdam, Netherlands
- Prague, Czech Republic
- Marrakech, Morocco
- Berlin, Germany
- Montreal, Canada
- Copenhagen, Denmark
- Cape Town, South Africa
To compile the Index, Time Out has asked some 20,000 city-dwellers across the world as well as its network of global editors, to pinpoint what makes their hometown great. While things like community spirit and resilience were two of the most important factors last year, in 2022 Time Out added extra weight to the things that make cities great places to visit as well as to live.
KwaZulu-Natal: eThekwini closes 13 beaches due to high E.coli levels!
The eThekwini Municipality, the local government body responsible for governing and managing Durban in KwaZulu-Natal, has announced that it has taken the decision to close 13 beaches with immediate effect due to high levels of E-coli in the water. All water activities such as swimming, surfing, fishing, bathing, canoeing, and other activities taking place at these beaches are therefore prohibited. Beachgoers can still enjoy other activities along the closed beached that do not require them to come into contact with sea water. Lifeguards and law enforcement officers are on site to monitor the beaches to ensure the public adheres to the closures.
The following beaches are currently closed:
- uMhlanga Main
- eThekwini Beach
- Laguna Seasonal Beach
- Ansteys Beach
- Brighton Beach
- Isiphingo Beach
- Reunion Beach
- Warner Beach
- Amanzimtoti Main Beach
- Pipeline Beach
22 August 2022
UK: British Airways to relaunch flights between London Gatwick <> Cape Town!
The flag carrier airline of the United Kingdom, British Airways, is set to relaunch winter seasonal return flights from Gatwick Airport (LGW) in London to Cape Town International Airport (CPT) in Cape Town in South Africa. The route returns for the first time since Covid-19 on 13 December 2022 and will be operated three times a week on board a Boeing 777-200 until 25 March 2023. Flights depart Gatwick Airport on Tuesdays, Fridays and Sundays, with the return flights from Cape Town the following day. Furthermore, British Airway will add capacity on their daily Heathrow Airport (LHR) <> Cape Town route with the resumption of their second daily flight from 13 November 2022 until 25 March 2023 on board an Airbus 350-1000.
South Africa: Airlink to resume flights between Johannesburg <> Richards Bay!
South African privately-owned regional carrier Airlink is set to resume scheduled services between OR Tambo International Airport (JNB) in Johannesburg and Richards Bay Airport (RCB) in Richards Bay from 19 September 2022. The reinstatement of flights follows Richards Bay Airport’s securing of the necessary resources to accommodate scheduled airline services after an enforced 20-month hiatus. Airlink will initially operate two daily return flights (Mondays to Thursdays) and one daily return flight (Fridays & Saturdays) to Richards Bay. From 16 December 2022, flights on the route will be daily. Airlink will operate flights to Richards Bay on board a 29-seat Jetstream 41 turboprop airliner.
Angola: TAAG Angola Airlines network update!
The state-owned flag carrier of Angola, TAAG Angola Airlines, has announced that it will resume flights to Cuba. Effective 08 November 2022, the airline will operate two monthly flights between Quatro de Fevereiro International Airport (LAD) in Luanda and José Martí International Airport (HAV) in Havanna, Cuba. TAAG further announced that it will increase flights between Luanda and São Paulo/Guarulhos – Governor André Franco Montoro International Airport (GRU) in São Paulo, Brazil, from currently three weekly to four weekly flights from 05 November 2022. The airline is also increasing frequencies in Southern Africa. Effective 02 October 2022, TAAG will operate four weekly flights instead of the current three weekly flights between Luanda and Maputo International Airport (MPM) in Maputo, Mozambique, as well as five weekly flights instead of the current four weekly operations between Luanda and Hosea Kutako International Airport (WDH) in Windhoek, Namibia.
TAAG Angola Airlines has also increased its frequencies within Angola which will strengthen the existing connections in six provinces from north to south of the country, namely Catumbela, Lubango, Dundo, Luena, Ondjiva and Huambo.
19 August 2022
TAZARA: Resumption of cross-border passenger train operations between Tanzania and Zambia has been postponed again! [update #3]
update (15 September 2022): The Chambeshi Rail Bridge has been opened to traffic and freight operations have begun as the bridge parameters are observed. However, the Government Inspector of Railways In Zambia is yet to give TAZARA a green light for passenger services to begin. We'll keep you posted!
update (13 September 2022): According to a press release by Mdubi Mvula, public relations officer at the Zambian Ministry of Transport and Logistics, the physical testing of the Chambeshi Rail Bridge by running trains across is underway and the exercise is expected to be concluded by 14 September 2022, when full train operations will resume.
update (09 September 2022): TAZARA earlier today announced that the repair works on the damaged Chambeshi Rail Bridge have been completed. The contractor is currently doing final touches on the remaining works. TAZARA will next week commence testing of the repaired bridge by allowing trains with small loads to cross over the bridge and slowly allow heavy loads before resuming normal operations. We will keep you posted!
The Tanzania Zambia Railway Authority (TAZARA) has to postpone the resumption of cross-border passenger train operations between Tanzania and Zambia again. We just got confirmation from TAZARA's Public Relations Manager, Conrad Simuchile, that the repairs at the Chambeshi Rail Bridge are not yet complete "due to unforseen challenges faced in completing the works by the Engineering Contractor". TAZARA now expects that the works will be finished by 27 (30) August 2022 and that the bi-national railway will resume operations between Tanzania and Zambia from 15 September 2022. We'll keep you posted!
|Chambeshi Rail Bridge|
The Tanzania-Zambia Railway Authority (TAZARA) is a bi-national railway, jointly owned by the Government of Tanzania and the Government of Zambia on an equal share-holding basis. The 1,860 km-rail runs from Tanzania and East Africa’s major seaport of Dar es Salaam into the heart of Zambia's Central Province, terminating at New Kapiri-Mposhi, where it is further linked by road and rail to Zambia's capital city, Lusaka (about 200 km), Zambia's mining nerve centre, the Copperbelt province (about 100 km) and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).
18 August 2022
Southern Africa: The Lufthansa Group has announced its European winter flight plan for 2022/23!
The Lufthansa Group has announced its plans for Southern Africa during the upcoming European winter 2022/23. Lufthansa will continue to operate daily flights between Frankfurt Airport (FRA) in Frankfurt and OR Tambo International Airport (JNB) in Johannesburg. SWISS is set to return to Johannesburg with daily flights from Zürich Airport (ZRH) in Zürich. Lufthansa will scale back the the flight capacity between Frankfurt and Cape Town International Airport (CPT) in Cape Town from the current five weekly flights to three weekly flights, but will reinstate its seasonal service between Munich Airport (MUC) in Munich and Cape Town with seven weekly flights (instead of five weekly flights). Edelweiss Air will also return to Cape Town with three weekly direct flights from Zürich. Eurowings Discover will commence direct year-round flights between Frankfurt and Kruger Mpumulanga International Airport (KMIA; MQP), which located 27 km north east of Mbombela (Nelspruit), the major stopover point for tourists traveling to Kruger National Park. The new route will be operated three times per week via Hosea Kutako International Airport (WDH) in Namibia's capital Windhoek. Eurowings Discover will discontinue its service between Windhoek and Victoria Falls Airport (VFA) in Victoria Falls,Zimbabwe, from 14 November 2022.
Ethiopian Airlines introduces flights to a third destination city in Zimbabwe!
The flag carrier of Ethiopia, Ethiopian Airlines, has announced on twitter that it is set to launch flights to third destination city in Zimbabwe next to Harare and Victoria Falls. Effective 30 October 2022, the airline will introduce scheduled flights between Addis Ababa Bole International Airport (ADD) in Addis Ababa and Joshua Mqabuko Nkomo International Airport (BUQ) in Bulawayo.
Bulawayo, Zimbabwe's second largest city, and the largest city in the country's Matabeleland is known as the gateway to Matobo National Park as well as Hwange National Park.
17 August 2022
Lesotho: Mohahlaula Airlines to launch a new regional airline within the next year! [update]
update (03 May 2023): According to Mohahlaula Airlines, regular scheduled operations between Moshoeshoe I International Airport (MSU) in Maseru and OR Tambo International Airport (JNB) in Johannesburg, South Africa, will be launched between end of Q3 and beginning of Q4. We'll keep you posted!
Mohahlaula Airlines, one of two Lesotho companies holding an airline operating certificate (AOC), has announced plans to launch a local Lesotho airline within the next year. The new airline will initially operate flights between Moshoeshoe I International Airport (MSU) in Maseru and OR Tambo International Airport (JNB) in Johannesburg, South Africa. Mohahlaula Airlines also has plans to extend its network to other destinations in South Africa once operations have been succesfully launched. At this stage it is planned that the airline will operate three Embraer ERJ145 aircraft (50 passengers). During the past two years, Mohahlaula Airlines has been operating a private charter and cargo flights in and out of Maseru. We'll keep you posted!
Covid-19: Zimbabwe ends mandatory wearing of facemasks in public places!
The Zimbabwean Minister of Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services, Senator Monica Mutsvangwa, announced in a post-Cabinet media briefing in Harare on 16 August 2022 that those who have recieved three doses of the World Health Organisation (WHO) recommended vaccines against Covid-19 are with immediate effect exempted from the mandatory wearing of face masks in outdoor public places in Zimbabwe, but should however wear masks in indoor public places and on public transport. Those fully vaccinated should carry their vaccination cards all the time.
16 August 2022
Namaqua National Park: Rather late than usual flower season 2022!
South African National Parks (SANParks) has announced that the flower season in the Namaqua National Park in South Africa's Northern Cape is about to begin. It is expected that the brightly coloured wildflowers will start to peak from middle August 2022 and hopefully until the end of September 2022 or even into October 2022 as all indications are there that it will be a rather later than usual flower season. The flowers can be viewed at different routes inside Namaqua National Park including the very popular Caracal route to Kookfontein, the coastal route in the direction of the Hondeklip Bay gate and the 4x4 Kurubees area.
Namaqua National Park is located approximately 500km north of Cape Town and 21km west of
Kamieskroon, which is 67km south of Springbok. The National Park covers an area of more than 1300 km². The Namaqua National Park is part of Namaqualand, an area covering 55,000 km² located within the semi-desert Succulent Karoo biome. This biome is a biodiversity hotspot with the largest concentration of succulent plants in the world.
Cape Town: The Iziko Planetarium and Digital Dome is temporarily closed!
Iziko Museums of South Africa has announced that the Iziko Planetarium and Digital Dome, the most advanced digital planetarium on the African continent, is currently not functional and will be closed temporarily until further notice. We'll keep you posted!
The Iziko Planetarium and Digital Dome, located side-by-side with the Iziko South African Museum overlooking the Company’s Gardens in Cape Town, is a world-class, multifunctional planetarium that makes virtual voyages of the universe possible, providing an unparalleled experience of animation and 360° cinema.
15 August 2022
eSwatini: The dates of the Reed Dance 2022 have been announced!
eSwatini Tourism has confirmed the dates of the 2022 Umhlanga Reed Dance. The biggest cultural event in eSwatini is set to start on 30 August 2022, with the main day (Day 7) set to take place on 05 September 2022. It will be on this day when the main ceremony occurs, with the dancing attended by King Mswati III. 05 September 2022 will be a public holiday in eSwatini.
Tourists visiting the annual Reed Dance are allowed to take photographs on Days 6 and 7 (main day) – as the maidens walk to deliver the reeds to the Ludzidzini Royal Residence in Lobamba, and then as they dance in the main arena.
The Reed Dance ceremony, also known as "umhlanga", is a centuries old tradition where the eSwatini's unmarried and childless females present their newly cut reed to the Queen Mother to protect her residence. The highlight of the event is the reed-giving ceremony. Tens of thousands of maidens from eSwatini, led by Swazi princesses, gather at the Queen Mother's royal village, the Ludzidzini Royal Residence in Lobamba, dressed in traditional attire; bright short beaded skirts with colourful sashes revealing their bare breasts to dance and sing and celebrate the unification of the Kingdom’s women. King Mswati lll, who sometimes makes use of the occasion to publicly court a prospective fiancée, joins the celebrations to pay tribute to the maidens.
Blyde River Canyon Nature Reserve: Entry gates to the Swadini Resort to temporarily close!
The Mpumalanga Tourism and Parks Agency (MTPA) has announced that the entry gates to the Swadini Resort, which is landlocked by the Blyde River Canyon Nature Reserve and the Drakensberg Peaks, will be closed for three weekly due to filming that will be taking place. The gates will be closed between 01 - 22 September 2022. Other tourist attractions on the Panorama Route like God's Window, Bourke's Luck Potholes, Three Rondavels, Pinnacle, will not be affected by this closure. Boat operators and those that wish to access the Blyde Dam will be allowed on specific days as per prior arrangement with the Blyde Adventure Centre.
12 August 2022
South Africa: Kruger National Park prepares for the fire season (June - October)!
South African National Parks (SANParks) has announced its management plans for the current fire season in Kruger National Park which usually takes place between June and October. Proactive use of fire in a fire-driven landscape such as Kruger National Park is important in order to limit the risk of large, unwanted wildfires later in the dry season. As such, SANParks has already begun burning early-season fires to break up the grass layer as well as burning and grading firebreaks around key infrastructure such as camps, staff facilities and the National Park's border in order to reduce the risk of unwanted fires.
"Last year, nearly 20% of the Park burnt due to very high amounts of grass which accumulated as a result of the high rainfall experienced during the 2020/21 summer months. For the last few years, less than 10% of the Park would burn on average. Following another year of substantial rainfall in Kruger National Park, we are anticipating another year where approximately 15% or 300 000 ha of the park may burn. The majority of these burns will be part of our controlled burning programme conducted by our Rangers for ecological reasons. However, we do also anticipate the likelihood of unplanned fires in the coming months but these will be managed as and when they occur by our trained and equipped personnel," explained Kruger National Park's Abiotic Scientist, Tercia Strydom.
11 August 2022
Two new UNESCO biosphere reserves in Zambia and Zimbabwe!
The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization's (UNESCO) has approved the designation of 11 new biosphere reserves in 9 countries, including the Kafue Flats Biosphere Reserve in central and southern Zambia and the Chimanimani Biosphere Reserve in eastern Zimbabwe. With the new designations, the World Network of Biosphere Reserves totals 738 biosphere reserves in 134 countries, including 22 transboundary sites (90 sites in 33 countries in Africa). These additions were decided by the 34th session of the International Co-ordinating Council, the governing body UNESCO’s Man and the Biosphere (MAB) programme, which is composed of 34 representatives of UNESCO Member States. The Council was meeting from 13 to 17 June 2022 at UNESCO’s Headquarters in Paris.
The Kafue Flats Biosphere Reserve in central and southern Zambia has a size of more than 2,600,000 ha and cuts across various districts that are of archaeological and historical significance, as well as a Ramsar site and an Important Bird Area. The biosphere reserve is home to over 400 bird species and several mammal species, such as zebra, buffalo, hippopotamus and the endemic Kafue lechwe.
The Chimanimani Biosphere Reserve in eastern Zimbabwe comprises a mosaic of mountains, forests, grasslands and shrubs, along with freshwater ecosystems. The landscape extends into Mozambique, forming part of a proposed transboundary biosphere reserve that would extend into the East African montane ecosystem, which is a global biodiversity hotspot
06 August 2022
Covid-19: Namibia re-opens six border posts with South Africa and Botswana!
The Namibian Ministry of Home Affairs, Immigration, Safety and Security has informed the public that four border post between Namibia and South Africa, which have been closed since 2020 due to the Covid-19 pandemic, will re-open. The four border posts are Welverdiend/Mata Mata, Vellorsdrift/Onseepkans, Sendelingsdrift and Klein Manasse/Rietfontein. The Ministry further announced that the Dobe border post and the Kasika border post, which are bordering Namibia and Botswana, are re-opening today (06 August 2022).
05 August 2022
Namibia: New rhino and elephant poaching figures!
Namibia has recorded 33 cases of rhino poaching, of which 24 are black rhinos and nine are white rhinos, and two cases of elephant poaching since the beginning of 2022. According to the spokesperson of the Namibian Ministry of Environment, Forestry and Tourism (MEFT), Romeo Muyunda, this year’s poaching cases include nine black rhinos poached on custodianship farms, 15 black rhinos in the Etosha National Park, and another nine white rhinos on private farms.
Namibia recorded 44 rhinos poached in 2021, 42 in 2020, 57 in 2019, 83 in 2018, and 55 in 2017 as well as eight elephants poached in 2021, 12 in 2020, 13 in 2019, 27 in 2018 and 50 in 2017.
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 free-roaming black rhinos as well as the largest population of black rhinos in protected areas.
03 August 2022
Covid-19: eSwatini and South Africa have re-opened the six remaining border posts!
The Government of eSwatini and the Government of South Africa have agreed to re-open the six border posts between the two countries that were still closed due to Covid-19 on 01 August 2022. Travellers intending to visit eSwatini and returning residents of eSwatini are required to be fully vaccinated against Covid-19. Fully vaccinated persons entering eSwatini do not require a negative PCR-test result, while persons not fully vaccinated against Covid-19 are required to present a negative PCR test issued at most 72 hours before arrival at the port of entry.
The following six border posts between eSwatini and South Africa, which had been closed since 01 January 2022, have been re-opened on 01 August 2022:
- Sicunusa/Emahlathini - 08:00 to 18:00
- Gege/Bothashoop - 08:00 to 16:00
- Bulembu/Josefsdal - 08:00 to 16:00
- Sandlane/Nerston - 08:00 to 16:00
- Nsalitje/Onverwacht - 08:00 to 18:00
- Lundzi/Waverley - 08:00 to 16:00
West Coast National Park: Annual flower season kicks off!
South African National Parks (SANParks) has announced that the annual West Coast National Park (WCNP) flower season has kicked off. SANParks recommends to select sunny days to visit the national park. If at all possible, it is advisable to plan the visit on a week day. Weekend days are often very busy with queues developing at the gate, and congestion in the flower viewing areas within West Coast National Park . Please note the following information:
- The Geelbek Restaurant is operational within the park
- Gate times for Postberg are as follows:
- 09:00 to 17:00 with last entry at 16:30
- Gate times for the general park area are as follows:
- August: 07:00 to 18:00 with last entry at 17:30
- September: 07:00 to 19:00 with last entry at 18:30
- Conservation fees for August and September are as follows (child < 12 years old):
- South African adults (with ID) – R100 per person
- South African children – R50 per person
- Southern African Development Community (SADC) National adults (with passport) – R150 per person
- Southern African Development Community (SADC) National children – R75 per person
- Standard Conservation Fee/International Visitors for adults – R220 per person
- Standard Conservation Fee/International Visitors for children – R110 per person
- Kindly note that the Geelbek Resturant will be opened for lunch during this time.
“We are excited about this year’s flower season. Although we had a substantial decrease in rainfall during the winter season, the flowers should be in full bloom within the next two to three weeks. During the August and September months, visitors to the park will see a wide variety of flowers on display, from daisies, to bulbs etc. Large areas of flowers can also be seen in the Seeberg\Mooimaak section of the park,” says Patricia Bopape - West Coast National Park (WCNP) Park Manager.
02 August 2022
South African National Parks (SANParks) announced the dates for the South African National Parks Week 2022! [update]
update (30 August 2022): SANParks has confirmed that, like in the prevoius years, only South African citizens will be granted free access to the national parks during the South African National Parks Week. All South Africans who enter over the age of 18 years must produce an South African ID or South African driver's license to enter the participating national parks. SANParks does accept electronic copies of ID too. The Bontebok, Table Mountain, Tankwa Karoo, and West Coast National Parks in South Africa's Cape Region will be extending the SA National Parks Week until Sunday, 18 September 2022. Agulhas National Park will host SA National Parks Week until Friday, 16 September 2022.
South African National Parks (SANParks), the body responsible for managing South Africa's national parks, has announced the dates of the SA National Parks Week 2022. The 17th edition of the annual event will take place from 11 to 16 September 2022. The week grants free access to most of the 22 (19?) national parks for day visitors, especially people from the local communities. It should be noted that free access to the national parks does not include free access to accommodation facilities and other tourist activities. Some of the parks will be extending the week to include the weekend.
Since its inception in 2006, the SA National Parks Week has seen an influx of over 619 252 day visitors in all participating national parks in South Africa.
P.S.: In the previous years, when the SA National Parks Week took place in September, 18 national parks took part and only the Namaqua National Park (annual natural flower show will be in full bloom in September) and the Boulders Penguin Colony area in the Table Mountain National Park were excluded from the event.
Covid-19: Botswana eases regulations on entry and mask-wearing!
Travellers unvaccinated against Covid-19 or travellers partially vaccinated against Covid-19 intending to visit Botswana are no longer required to undergo immediate Covid-19 testing at the country's ports of entry. This means that unvaccinated or partially vaccinated travellers now only require a 72 hour negative PCR test result to be allowed entry into Botswana. However, anyone presenting themselves at a port of entry into Botswana, without the requisite documents (Covid-19 vaccindation card or 72 hour negative PCR test result), is getting tested on arrival, at own cost and if positive, isolated for five days within the district of the port of entry. The new regulation becomes effective today (02 August 2022). Also from today (02 August 2022), wearing of marks in outdoor areas in Botswana is no longer mandatory. It has also been decided that from today (02 August 2022) there will no longer be isolation of positive cases, unless if such isolation has been prescribed by a physician or medical doctor. [src.]
01 August 2022
USA: Delta Air Lines to introduce flights between Atlanta <> Cape Town!
Major US-American airline Delta Air Lines is set to launch new route to Cape Town in South Africa. The airline will operate a three weekly nonstop service on board an Airbus A350-900 between Hartsfield–Jackson Atlanta International Airport (ATL) in Atlanta and Cape Town International Airport (CPT) in Cape Town. Delta Air Lines is planning to commence operations on 17 December 2022. Operation of this route is subject to final government approval.
With the addition of service to Cape Town from Atlanta, Delta Air Lies will expand on its leading position serving Africa, providing 10 times weekly service to South Africa specifically, via Cape Town and OR Tambo International Airport (JNB) in Johannesburg.
- Atlanta 20:50 > 18:15+1 Cape Town on Mondays, Thursdays and Saturdays
- Cape Town 22:50 > 08:00+1 Atlanta on Mondays, Thursdays and Saturdays
South Africa: New rhino poaching figures!
South Africa's Department of Environment, Forestry and Fisheries has released the rhino poaching figures for the first six month of 2022. A total of 259 rhino have been poached for their horn in South Africa between January and June 2022. The number of rhino poached during this period is 10 more than the 249 poached countrywide in the first six months of 2021. From January to end of June 2022, 82 rhino were poached for their horns in the Kruger National Park.
The current poaching numbers show a loss of 210 rhino on state properties and 49 in privately-owned parks. Hardest hit during this period is KwaZulu-Natal which recorded a loss of 133 rhino. This is more than triple the 33 rhino killed in the first six months of 2021.
Between January and June 2022, 69 people were arrested in connection with rhino poaching and rhino horn trafficking. Of these, 13 alleged poachers were arrested in the Kruger National Park.