30 September 2022

KwaZulu-Natal: eThekwini Municipality re-opens four beaches in Durban!

The eThekwini Municipality, the local government body responsible for governing and managing Durban in KwaZulu-Natal, today (30 September 2022) announced that it has taken a decision to open some beaches following an improvement in water quality. According to a posting by the Municipality on Facebook, a team of experts recently tested water from the beaches and results confirmed that water is now at an acceptable standard. Beaches that are now open for swimming are Bay of Plenty Beach, North Beach, Wedge Beach and Ushaka Beach. In the south, Umgababa, Umkomaas, Brighton, and Treasure beaches remain open. However, other beaches remain closed until further notice.

KwaZulu-Natal: eThekwini Municipality closes eight of Durban's southern beaches due to water quality!

The eThekwini Municipality, the local government body responsible for governing and managing Durban in KwaZulu-Natal, on Thursday (29 September 2022) announced that following the latest round of testing it has taken a decision to close eight of Durban's southern beaches with immediate effect. The following beaches are closed: Isiphingo, Ansteys, Amanzimtoti Main, Warner, Gavies, Baggies, Reunion, and Winklespruit beaches. All water activities at these beaches are banned for health reasons. The water quality at Durban's central beaches has significantly improved, but they remain closed pending further monitoring. Beaches that remain open include Umgababa, Umkomaas, Brighton, and Treasure beaches.

29 September 2022

Four South African bars make it into the World's 50 Best Bars 2022 longlist!

Three bars from Cape Town and one bar from Johannesburg have been named among the top 100 bars of the world by a global academy of over 650 independent drinks experts, from renowned bartenders, educators and consultants to drinks writers and cocktail specialists. The four South African bars, alongside with Nairobi's Hero Bar, are the only five African bars on the longlist of The World's 50 Best Bars, announced on 27 September 2022 ahead of the 1-50 list being released next week. Cape Town's Cause Effect Cocktail Kitchen was ranked 53rd on the extended 51–100 list of the World's 50 Best Bars, while Art of Duplicity was voted 88th best bar and The House of Machines 92nd best bar in the world. Sin + Tax from Johannesburg was named 100th best bar in the ranking. Congratulations!

28 September 2022

South Africa/Namibia: Airlink invests in FlyNamibia!

South African airline Airlink is acquiring 40% strategic equity holding in privately-owned Namibian airline FlyNamibia at an undisclosed monetary sum. The investment is underpinned by a commercial franchise agreement under which FlyNamibia will adopt Airlink's "4Z" International Air Transport Association (IATA) designator for its ticket sales and scheduled flights, while retaining its corporate identity, brand and aircraft livery. It will also see FlyNamibia's inventory attaining higher visibility and being promoted on Airlink's computerised reservation system and on those of Airlink's international partner airlines. According to the press release, the changes will come into effect as soon as practicable, after which all existing bookings for FlyNamibia flights will be amended at no cost or inconvenience to customers. Airlink will also provide additional airline operations, technical and commercial skills training and development support for FlyNamibia. The two airlines will optimise their schedules to provide connections between their respective flights and with long-haul inter-continental flights provided by Airlink's other commercial partner airlines.

online flight booking on TravelComments.com >>

Botswana removes all remaining Covid-19 protocols!

Botswana's Ministry of Health earlier today (28 September 2022) announced that with immediate effect all remaining Covid-19 protocols in Botswana have been removed. This includes the requirement for vaccination or PCR tests at the country's ports of entry, as well as the wearing of face masks, which is no longer compulsary in Botswana. However, the Ministy of Health advises the public to use discretion and to still follow some protocols.

Air France resumes flights between Paris <> Cape Town!

The flag carrier of France, Air France, is set to resume direct operations to Cape Town in South Africa. The airline will commence seasonal flights between Charles de Gaulle Airport (CDG) in Paris and Cape Town International Airport (CPT) in Cape Town on 30 October 2022. Three weekly flights will be operated on board a Boeing 787-9. In addition to Cape Town, Air France operates seven weekly flights between Paris and OR Tambo International Airport (JNB) in Johannesburg. The airline suspended fligths to Cape Town, and Johannesburg, due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

online flight booking on TravelComments.com >>

27 September 2022

Emirates to expand its South Africa schedule!

The largest airline of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and the flag carrier of the Emirate of Dubai, Emirates, has announced that it will be expanding its schedule to and from South Africa with additional services to Johannesburg, Cape Town and Durban. Effective 01 March 2023, the airline will operate three daily flights between Dubai and Johannesburg. Cape Town will be served with double daily services starting from 01 February 2023. Emirates will also be adding two more flights between Dubai  and Durban, making it a daily operation from 01 December 2022. The reintroduction of the new flights to the airline’s three gateways in South Africa will enhance Emirates’ schedule to 42 weekly services. The additional services to Johannesburg, Cape Town and Durban will also benefit customers with more connecting choices to an array of domestic and regional cities across Southern Africa via Emirates’ codeshare and interline partners including South African Airways, Airlink, FlySafair and Cemair

online flight booking on TravelComments.com >>

26 September 2022

Angola: TAAG Angola to launch flights to Durban!

The state-owned flag carrier of Angola, TAAG Angola Airlines, is set to launch a new service to South Africa. Effective 17 November 2022, the airline will introduce a three-weekly service between Quatro de Fevereiro International Airport (LAD) in Luanda and King Shaka International Airport (DUR) in Durban in KwaZulu-Natal. Flights will be operated on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays on board a Boeing 737-700 aircraft. 

online flight booking on TravelComments.com >>

2022 Skytrax World Airline Awards: FlySafair named Best Low-Cost Airline in Africa

For the second year in a row, South African airline FlySafair has been named Best Low-Cost Airline in Africa in the 2022 Skytrax World Airline Awards. Fastjet (Zimbabwe) came in second in the ranking, followed by Jambojet, fly540 (both Kenya) and Lift, also from South Africa. FlySafair was also named eigth best airline in Africa, a category won by Ethiopian Airlines. South African Airways was awared third place in this ranking. Southern Africa’s largest independent airline measured by flight movements, Airlink, was named third best Regional Airline in Africa 2022, while the staff of South African Airways was voted second best in Africa 2022.

The Skytrax World Airline Awards 2022 are based on customer responses to an online survey which was operated from September 2021 to August 2022. Over 100 customer nationalities participated in the survey with 13.42 million eligible survey entries counted in the results. All survey entries were screened to identify IP and user information, with duplicate, suspect or ineligible entries deleted. Over 350 airlines are featured in the survey results.

online flight booking on TravelComments.com >>

Airlink & Air Belgium have signed a new commercial agreement!

Belgian charter airline Air Belgium and South African airline Airlink have signed a new commercial agreement. This new partnership means travellers can enjoy the simplicity of purchasing connecting flights on both airlines using a single reservation with seamless ticketing, check-in, boarding and baggage-check experience, during the entire journey.
Air Belgium recently launched two weekly scheduled direct flights between Brussels Airport (BRU) in Brussels and OR Tambo International Airport (JNB) in Johannesburg and two weekly scheduled flights between Brussels and Cape Town International Airport (CPT) in Cape Town. Airlink is Southern Africa’s largest independent airline measured by flight movements with over 50 commercial jetliners operating to more than 45 destinations in 13 African countries and to St Helena Island.

online flight booking on TravelComments.com >>

23 September 2022

TAZARA: Temporary suspension of passenger train services in Zambia!

The Tanzania Zambia Railway Authority (TAZARA) has announced the temporary suspension of passenger train services in Zambia due to a goods train accident in the Nakonde District. The accident took place on 22 September 2022 at 09:45 and involved a freight train (Train No. A779, Loco No.3009/3019) operated by African Inland Container Depot (AFICD), a Tanzanian based private railway operator with “open access” rights on the TAZARA infrastructure. The train, comprising two locomotives and 26 wagons, was transporting 1,414 metric tons of cargo from the Port of Dar es Salaam in Tanzania to Ndola, Zambia. 19 of the 26 wagens capsized in a curve between Msanza Station and Kapwila Station. 520 railway concrete sleepers and 52 rails were damagaed. There were no injuries to human life.
Consequently, therefore, the section between Msanza and Kapwila is temporarily closed for repairs and passenger train services between Kasama and Nakonde shall remain suspended until further notice. We'll keep you posted!

22 September 2022

South Africa: LIFT to launch flights to Durban! [update]

update (22 September 2022): Lift expects to announce flights between Cape Town and Durban in the coming weeks, with flights expected to operate from November 2022. We'll keep you posted!

South African airline Lift has announced that it will be adding flights to Durban in KwaZulu-Natal to its domestic network. The airline is set to launch a daily service between OR Tambo International Airport (JNB) in Johannesburg and King Shaka International Airport (DUR) in Durban on 26 October 2022. Flights will be operated on board an Airbus A320 configured in an all 162 seat layout (12 Premium & 150 Economy).

click to enlarge

Lift launched operations in South Africa on 10 December 2020. The airline is a joint venture between former Kulula.com CEO Gidon Novick, former Uber executive Jonathan Ayache, and aircraft leasing company Global Airways, a South African-based ACMI (Aircraft, Crew, Maintenance, and Insurance) specialist. 

online flight booking on TravelComments.com >>

21 September 2022

Africa: New rhino population estimates released!

According to a report to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) by the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s (IUCN) African and Asian Rhino Specialist Groups, the total rhino population worldwide was estimated to be 26,272 as of 31 December 2021. Africa conserved an estimated 22,137 rhinoceroses at the end of 2021*, which comprised 6,195 black and 15,942 white rhinoceroses. Namibia is home to 34.8% (2,156 out of 6,195) of the continental population of black rhino, followed by South Africa (33.2%; 2,056), Kenya (15.1%; 938) and Zimbabwe (9.9%; 616). For white rhinoceroses, South Africa is home to 81.3% (12,968 out of 15,942) of the continental population, followed by Namibia (7.7%; 1,234), Kenya (5.5%; 873) and Zimbabwe (2.6%; 417). However, the white rhinoceros’ population in South Africa declined from 15,625 at the end of 2017 to 12 968 at the end of 2021. Also worth noting is that rhinoceros’ populations of Botswana declined from 452 white and 50 black rhinoceroses respectively at the end of 2017 to 242 white and 23 black rhinoceroses at the end of 2021. Most black rhinoceroses (6,031) occur in wild (free) ranging conditions, and an estimated one-third of white rhinoceros (4,883) occur in intensive or semi-wild ranging conditions, mostly in South Africa.
In the period 2018 to 2021, 2,707 rhinoceros poaching incidents were recorded in Africa, of which 90% took place in South Africa.

* 218 black and 1,077 white rhinoceroses are in ex-situ collections, resulting in 23,432 African rhinoceroses worldwide at the end of 2021.

20 September 2022

Southern Africa: Rainfall season (October 2022 - March 2023) outlook!

According to the findings of the Twenty-Sixth Annual Southern Africa Regional Climate Outlook Forum (SARCOF-26), most member states of the Southern African Development Community (SADC)* are likely to receive normal to above-normal rainfall for the period from October to December 2022. However, the north-western part of Angola, bulk of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), United Republic of Tanzania, northern Zambia, northern Malawi, northern Mozambique, Comoros, Madagascar, Mauritius and Seychelles are likely to experience normal to below normal rains.

click to enlarge

During the period from January to March 2023 most of the SADC Region is expected to receive normal to above normal rains, except for northern Angola, bulk of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), northern half of United Republic of Tanzania and the bulk of Madagascar. Central Mozambique, southern Malawi, northern half of Zimbabwe, most of Zambia, southern Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), south-eastern half of Angola, bulk of Namibia, western half of Botswana, most of central and western parts of South Africa, and western parts of Lesotho are likely to receive normal to above-normal rainfall during the first three month of 2023. 

* Angola, Botswana, Comoros, Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Lesotho, Madagascar, Malawi, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, Seychelles, South Africa, Eswatini (Swaziland), Tanzania, Zambia and Zimbabwe

19 September 2022

Cape Town: Cases of bird flu detected in the Boulders Penguin Colony! [update #2]

update (05 October 2022): According to SANCCOB, at least 28 penguins in the colony have died from the disease since the middle of August 2022.

update (22 September 2022): According to Daily Maverick's "Our Burning Planet", as of 20 September 2022 more than 10 penguins have already died from the disease.

South African National Parks (SANParks) has announced an outbreak of the high pathogenicity avian influenza (bird flu) in the Boulders Penguin Colony in the Table Mountain National Park (TMNP) in Cape Town. The Western Cape Veterinary Services and the Southern African Foundation for the Conservation of Coastal Birds (SANCCOB) have confirmed that four new bird flu cases and seven suspected cases of bird flu have been detected. There a currently an estimated 3000 penguins in the breeding colony, so the affected numbers are still very low at this stage. SANParks, Western Cape Veterinary Services, City of Cape Town, SANCCOB and other seabird rehabilitation centres, are closely monitoring the situation and will assess the need for further action.
SANParks and its conservation partners are taking precautions to reduce the spread of the virus. This includes limiting access to the Boulders Penguin Colony, including researchers, and applying strict disinfection of footwear when staff leave the colony. Dead and sick birds will be removed and transferred to SANCCOB for assessment and possible testing.
SANParks decided that closing the Boulders Penguin Colony to visitors is not justified at this stage, but visitors must stay on designated boardwalks. SANParks is requesting visitors to look out for any suspected bird flu cases by reporting sick and/or dead birds to Table Mountain National Park (TMNP) park management on 021 786 2329/021 780 9100 or SANCCOB 021 557 6155.

Birds affected with bird flu are weak and may look tame, cannot fly, show signs of tremors or twitches and seizures or loss of balance, and one or both eyes may be droopy or cloudy. Please do not approach, touch or handle the birds. Visitors should shower, change and clean their shoes and clothes before visiting other seabird colonies or poultry farms to prevent contamination from one site to another.
Avian influenza virus is spread between birds by faeces and other body excretions and by people handling sick birds. Even though the virus is unlikely to infect humans, precautions should be taken. Gloves and masks should be worn if handling birds. Any equipment, including vehicles and protective clothing that could be contaminated, should be disinfected.

Karoo National Park: Bulkraal picnic site temporarily closed! [update]

update (07 October 2022): SANParks just announced that the Bulkraal picnic site and swimming pool in the Karoo National Park in South Africa's Western Cape have reopened after some much-needed maintenance.

South African National Parks (SANParks) has announced that the Bulkraal picnic site in the Karoo National Park in South Africa's Western Cape will be closed as form today (19 September 2022) for up to two weeks as major maintenance needs to be conducted on the swimming pool and the buildings get painted.
Situated off the Lammerjiesleegte loop in the eastern part of the Karoo National Park, Bulkraal is a lovely picnic spot that features numerous braai sites and a swimming pool. Ablution facilities are also provided.

18 September 2022

KwaZulu-Natal: eThekwini has closed 14 beaches in Durban due to water quality! [update]

update (29 September 2022): The 14 beaches in Durban that were closed on 16 September 2022 due to the water quality, are still not open to the public!

The eThekwini Municipality, the local government body responsible for governing and managing Durban in KwaZulu-Natal, on Friday (16 September 2022) announced that following the latest round of testing it has taken a decision to close 14 beaches with immediate effect as the water quality does not meet acceptable standards. The following beaches are closed: Brighton, Ansteys, Point, Ushaka, Addington, South, Wedge, North, Bay of Plenty, Battery, Country Club Thekwini, Laguna, Baggies and Reunion beaches. All water activities at these beaches are banned.
Due to previous health risk closures, uMhlanga Main, uMdloti, Westbrooke and Bronze beaches in the northern region remain closed. Beaches that are currently open include Toti, Pipeline, Warner, Winklespruit and Umgababa beaches.

16 September 2022

TAZARA resumes cross-border passenger train operations between Tanzania and Zambia!

The Tanzania Zambia Railway Authority (TAZARA) has announced that the Chambeshi Railway Bridge on the Chambeshi River in Zambia's Muchinga Province, which was closed to traffic on 13 October 2021, has been re-opened, following the completion of repair works by the Engineering Contractor. However, passage is currently limited to freight trains only at a restricted running speed, as readings are taken to gauge the bridge performance and suitability for full train operations in the next two weeks.

Chambeshi Railway Bridge

As test runs are going on, TAZARA is mobilizing and preparing the coaches for the Kilimanjaro and Mukuba passenger trains in readiness for the resumption of cross-border passenger services between Dar es Salaam, in Tanzania, and New Kapiri-Mposhi, in Zambia, which were suspended in March 2020 following the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic. The Mukuba and Kilimanjaro passenger trains are both set to resume their journeys from New Kapiri-Mposhi and Dar es Salaam, respectively, on 04 October 2022. We'll keep you posted!

15 September 2022

Cape Town: Free entry to selected Iziko museums on Heritage Day 2022!

Iziko Museums of South Africa will be celebrating South Africa's diverse heritage with the in_herit Festival 2022, a dynamic, cultural programme and exciting discussion series running from 19 - 25 September 2022. As part of the festival, Iziko Museums will be offering free entry to selected Iziko Museums in Cape Town on Heritage Day (24 September 2022). This includes the Iziko South African Museum, Slave Lodge, Bo-Kaap Museum, Castle of Good Hope and Groot Constantia Manor House. 

The Iziko South African National Gallery (ISANG), housed in the Company’s Garden in Cape Town, will re-open on Heritage Day.

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.

KwaZulu-Natal: eThekwini has re-opened 13 beaches in Durban, while 6 remain closed due to water quality!

The eThekwini Municipality, the local government body responsible for governing and managing Durban in KwaZulu-Natal, has re-opened thirteen beaches in Durban after high levels of e-coli were found. Following extensive water testing the Municipality has reopened Bay Beach, North & South Beach, Wedge Beach, Addington, uShaka Beach, Point Beach (Vetchies), Brighton Beach, Amanzimtoti Main Beach, Pipeline Beach, Warner Beach, Winklespruit Beach, and Umgababa Beach. The beaches will remain open until results from eThekwini Municipality's accredited laboratory indicate that a different decision needs to be taken.
eThekwini Beach, Laguna Seasonal Beach, Ansteys Beach, Reunion Beach, and Baggies Beach remain closed.  The Municipality continues to monitor the water quality and so far the results from the beaches that are closed indicate that they should remain closed in the interests of public safety.
Umhlanga Beach, which was impacted by a blockage at Macausland pump station, also remains closed. The blockage has since been removed but water quality is still not at acceptable levels.
All water activities such as swimming, surfing, fishing, bathing, canoeing, and other activities taking place at the closed beaches are 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.  

12 September 2022

USA: Delta Air Lines to launch its South Africa triangle route in December 2022!

Major US airline Delta Air Lines has announced the launch date of its seasonal triangular route between Hartsfield–Jackson Atlanta International Airport (ATL) in Atlanta in Georgia and Cape Town International Airport (CPT) in Cape Town via OR Tambo International Airport (JNB) in Johannesburg. The airline will introduce the new four-weekly service from 02 December 2022. The route will offer international travel only – customers will not be able to travel domestically from Johannesburg to Cape Town.

The seasonal “triangle” route will operate as follows:

Delta Air Lines' new seasonal triangular route will complement the airline's nonstop service from both Cape Town and Johannesburg to Atlanta and will mean both cities will have daily operations to the US by the end of this year. The Cape Town <> Atlanta, non-stop, thrice-weekly route will commence on 17 December 2022.

online flight booking on TravelComments.com >>

South Africa: Seasonal rainfall & temperature outlook (August - December 2022)!

The South African Weather Service (SAWS) has released the Seasonal Climate Watch for the period August 2022 to December 2022. According to the multi-model rainfall forecast, below-normal rainfall is expected for the south-western parts of South Africa during early- and mid-spring (August 2022 to November 2022), with above-normal rainfall expected elsewhere. Late-spring is expected to have above-normal rainfall countrywide, with significant rainfall expected over the north-eastern parts of South Africa as we move to the summer months. Maximum and minimum temperatures are expected to be above-normal for most of the country.

Cape Town

07 September 2022

North West Parks Board (NWPB) has announced the dates for the "Park Mahala Week 2022"! [update]

update (08 September 2022): The has announced that not all (!) Parks and Reserves will be offering free entry during the "Park Mahala Week", but the following:

  • Pilanesberg Nature Reserve
  • Kgaswane Mountain Reserve
  • Borakalalo
  • Boskop Dam
  • Wolwerspruit
  • Bloemhof Dam
  • Barberspan Bird Sanctuary
  • Mafikeng Game Reserve
  • Molemane Eye
  • Lichtenburg
  • Molopo Oog
  • Botsalano
  • Molopo Nature Reserve

The North West Parks Board (NWPB), the governmental organisation responsible for the management of protected areas and public nature reserves in South Africa's North West Province, has announced the dates for this year's "Park Mahala Week". From 16 October 2021 until 23 October 2022 the NWPB is offering free access to all (!) its Parks and Reserves in the North West Province. In the previous years, e.g. Madikwe Game Reserve was excluded from the "Park Mahala Week". In order to be allowed free access, visitors will be required to present a valid South African ID or passport.


06 September 2022

Western Cape: CapeNature has announced the dates for the annual "CapeNature Access Week"!

CapeNature, the public institution with the responsibility for biodiversity conservation in South Africa's Western Cape, has announced the dates for the annual "CapeNature Access Week". Entrance will be waived for visitors to selected CapeNature reserves between 20 - 27 September 2022. Free access will pertain to general access (conservation fee) and hiking and mountain biking. The waiver will not apply to the Whale Trail, partners or concessions (including canopy tours, bouldering, horse riding etc.). To ensure that all access numbers and activity numbers are recorded, zero rated permission will need to be given to everyone accessing CapeNature reserves during the "CapeNature Access Week". No pre-bookings will be required. The daily reserve maximum capacity availability will apply to visitor walk-ins. Access to protected areas during the "CapeNature Access Week" will be conducted during regular reserve hours and will apply to entries at CapeNature reserve gates.

The following nature reserves are participating in the "CapeNature Access Week 2022":

  • West Coast
    • Groot Winterhoek
    • Cederberg (Algeria + Kliphuis)
    • Matjiesrivier
    • Rocherpan
  • Winelands
    • Limietberg
    • Jonkershoek
    • Assegaaibosch
    • Hottentots Holland
    • Vrolijkheid
  • Overberg
    • Kogelberg
    • De Mond
    • De Hoop
    • Marloth
    • Grootvadersbosch
    • Walker Bay
    • Stony Point
  • Garden Route
    • Robberg
    • Keurbooms River
    • Goukamma
    • Klein Karoo
    • Gamkaberg
    • Swartberg
    • Anysberg

Rugby World Cup Sevens 2022: Cape Town activates the Fan Walk as well as a free MyCiti shuttle service for ticket holders!

Cape Town is hosting Africa’s first ever Rugby World Cup Sevens from 09 September to 11 September 2022.  The eighth edition of the event, which will be contested by 24 men's and 16 women's teams, will take place at the DHL Stadium in Green Point. The City of Cape Town has announced that in an effort to minimise traffic congestion in the Green Point precinct, a free MyCiTi shuttle service for ticket holders to travel to the DHL Stadium will be introduced. Buses will depart from the Civic Centre and Thibault Square MyCiTi stations from 08:00 on Friday, Saturday and Sunday. They will leave every 15 minutes or when full. Alternatively, rugby supporters can walk to the DHL Stadium via the Fan Walk which will be activated before the stadium gates open at 08:00. The Fan Walk extends from the City Centre along Waterkant Street, over the pedestrian bridge at Buitengracht and along Somerset Road, through the underpass at Green Point Circle to the stadium gates. 

Paid parking is also available at the Cape Town International Convention Centre (limited), Ryk Tulbagh Square, Picbel Parkade (Strand Street), Plein Park (Corporation Street) and the V&A Waterfront (limited parking). Additionally, a dedicated E-hailing service hub will be set up on Green Point Main Road between York and Wigtown roads.

02 September 2022