28 February 2011

The Kruger National Park Calendar - April

  • seasonal shift towards autumn
  • drop in daytime temperatures with cool evenings
  • occasional late summer rains
  • between 13°C - 28°C (Fahrenheit: e.g. 28°C = [(28x9)]/5 + 32 = 82.4°F)
  • visit travelcomments.com/webcams_sa.htm and follow daily game drives via webcam to check the weather & how the landscape is changing during the year
  • Vegetation dense > thick tree canopies
  • many trees are bearing seeds/fruits
  • pods are out on mopaneveld
Animal Activity:
  • Game dispersed throughout the park
  • game spotting generally difficult
  • Warthog, Impala & Wildebeest rutting season
  • most migrant birds depart

South Africa: Augrabies Falls National Park - flood updates

Only the central section of the Augrabies Falls National Park is open for game drives. The western section is still closed due to the damaged roads caused by the floods. Daily drives can be taken up to the “Fonteintjie” (or the fly-over).

Augrabies Falls National Park Time Lapse from Wegvideo on Vimeo.

The day visitor/picnic area, including the braai and swimming pool facilities for day visitors are currently not available. The road into the scenic area, including the three lookout points overlooking the river namely Oranjekom, Ararat and Echo Corner, had to be closed due to damage to park roads. Boardwalks leading to only three of the six lookout decks are still open for visitors. (This includes the first deck downstream of the main falls.) Visitors should wear appropriate footwear as the rocks can be slippery when wet. [src. sanparks.org]

Kumuka late deals in Africa in March & April 2011

Looking for (overland) tours in Southern & Eastern Africa in March & April 2011? Check Kumuka's late deals for some great discounts...

AF1  African Drums
21 Days - Departs: 05 Mar 11, 12 Mar 11
Countries Visited: Kenya - Tanzania
WAS: €2,145 | NOW: €1,716 | SAVE: €429

AF41  Cape, Canyons & Dunes
9 Days - Departs: 20 Mar 11
Countries Visited: South Africa - Namibia
WAS: €535 | NOW: €428 | SAVE: €107

AF42  Desert, Delta & Falls
15 Days - Departs: 26 Mar 11
Countries Visited: Namibia - Botswana - Zimbabwe
WAS: €1,095 | NOW: €876 | SAVE: €219

AF10  Livingstone's Africa
28 Days - Departs: 13 Mar 11, 03 Apr 11, 17 Apr 11
Countries Visited: Kenya - Tanzania - Malawi - Zambia - Zimbabwe
WAS: €2,445 | NOW: €1,956 | SAVE: €489

AF9  Mozambique Islands and Wildlife
14 Days - Departs: 10 Apr 11
Countries Visited: Zimbabwe - Mozambique - South Africa
WAS: €1,020 | NOW: €816 | SAVE: €204

AF8R  Okavango Express
7 Days - Departs: 20 Mar 11, 10 Apr 11
Countries Visited: Botswana - Zimbabwe - South Africa
WAS: €625 | NOW: €500 | SAVE: €125

AF1808  Pride of Africa
49 Days - Departs: 20 Mar 11, 03 Apr 11, 24 Apr 11
Countries Visited: Kenya - Uganda - Tanzania - Malawi - Zambia - Zimbabwe - Botswana - South Africa
WAS: €3,960 | NOW: €3,168 | SAVE: €792

AF2  Rift Valley Wildlife
13 Days - Departs: 05 Mar 11, 12 Mar 11
Countries Visited: Kenya - Tanzania
WAS: €1,470 | NOW: €1,176 | SAVE: €294

AF3  Serengeti, Crater and Zanzibar
14 Days - Departs: 12 Mar 11, 19 Mar 11
Countries Visited: Kenya - Tanzania
WAS: €1,510 | NOW: €1,208 | SAVE: €302

AF11  The East Africa Express
22 Days - Departs: 10 Apr 11
Countries Visited: Zimbabwe - Zambia - Malawi - Tanzania - Kenya
WAS: €1,945 | NOW: €1,556 | SAVE: €389

AF1307  The Southern Star
21 Days - Departs: 20 Mar 11
Countries Visited: South Africa - Namibia - Botswana - Zimbabwe
WAS: €1,470 | NOW: €1,176 | SAVE: €294

AF13R  Victoria Falls to The Cape
21 Days - Departs: 20 Mar 11
Countries Visited: Zimbabwe - Botswana - Namibia - South Africa
WAS: €1,470 | NOW: €1,176 | SAVE: €294

Victoria Falls: End of rafting season 2010/11

update (02 March 2011): The last day of rafting in Zambia will take place today (02 March 2011) due to seasonal rising waters in the Zambezi and in accordance with industry regulations.

The 2010/11 rafting season on the Zambezi at Victoria Falls has ended on 27 Feb 2011. Canoeing and raft floats will still take place on the upper part of the river.  As usual this has been necessitated by the increasing water level which renders the rafting trip unsafe for commercial rafting. The commercial rafting comps in Victoria Falls (and Livingstone) are however expecting to resume rafting mid June 2011 depending on the water levels.
Victoria Falls info guide, tour & accommodation booking >> 

Kenya is set to keep the fees for a tourist visa at US$25 per person

Kenya's Tourism Minister Najib Balala told the media back in September 2010 that the country will revert to charging visitors US$50 (about Sh4,000) for visas up from the reduced rate of US$25 beginning January 2011. Now, according to eturbonews.com, the Kenyan government is changing plans again and is set to keep the fees for a tourist visa at US$25 per person, and will only review this by July 2011.
Other East African countries except for Rwanda, where notably many nationalities are exempt from paying for a visa,  continue to charge US$50 for tourist visa.

25 February 2011

Gap Adventures: £50 off selected Kilimanjaro group treks!

With more than 1000 climbers a year, Gap Adventures is the world leader in climbing Kilimanjaro. Offering five routes, as well as a safari plus Kili climb option, we offer the best prices with a focus on safety and service. Reach the top of Africa on one of our Kilimanjaro trekking tours which have success rates as high as 96%! Unlike other tour operators, the price you see includes your climbing permit too!
Terms and Conditions: £50 Discount is valid for new bookings on Kilimanjaro Group Treks (DTKM, DTKR, DTM8, DTM9) only. £50 booking to be applied once per customer. Bookings must be made between 18 February - 18 April 2011 inclusive with travel completed by 31st August 2011. Discount code CLIMBKILI2011 must be used at the time of booking. The promotion cannot be combined with any other discount or promotion and does not apply to airfare, optional extras such as 'My Own Room' or applicable in-country fees. Gap Adventures reserve the right to withdraw this promotion at any time and without notice.

The (last) lion roars tonight...

Check this great video shot in Sabi Sands Reserve in the Kruger National Park. A dominat male wakes up, roars to establish his dominance in the area and only stops roaring as no other lion is roaring back. His roar has obviously to be the last one for the night... wildlife is simply awesome!

South Africa: Mdumbi Backpackers (Wildcoast) gets FTTSA certification

Mdumbi Backpackers, situated on the Wildcoast in South Africa's Eastern Cape, is the latest FTTSA-certified tourism business in South Africa. Fair Trade in Tourism South Africa (FTTSA), a non-profit organisation that promotes sustainable tourism development, certified Mdumbi Backpackers because of the "wholehearted commitment and concerted efforts to leverage tourism opportunities for the benefit of the local area are evident in every aspect of their operations." Congrats Mdumbi!

Fair Trade in Tourism South Africa (FTTSA) encourages and publicises fair and responsible business practice by South African tourism establishments. FTTSA is  offering a certification programme (and supporting activities) that endorses tourism establishments that meet stringent criteria. The FTTSA certification process examines social, economic and environmental best practice in tourism businesses. The certification is offered on a voluntary basis to providers of tourist accommodation, activities, attractions and volunteer programmes in South Africa. The cost-effective quality management system addresses no fewer than 13 operational areas in a tourism business.

24 February 2011

GAP Adventures: Season for Adventure - 15% or 20% off tours!

To celebrate their favourite fictitious season, GAP Adventures has thrown a bunch of our best tours together and had fun dropping their prices. These tours had certain lucky departures hit with a 15% or 20% drop! The surprise savings won't last forever though - this season for adventure ends 31 March 2011.The tours cannot be combined with any other promotion or discount. For new bookings only.

British Airways: Four weekly flights to Dar Es Salaam from May 2011

British flag carrier British Airways is expecting an increase in demand for flights in and out of Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. The airline is therefore adding an additional weekly service from May through to September 2011. The new schedule will bring the number of weekly flights to the Tanzanian capital up from three a week to four. An expected increase in inbound tourism, coupled with economic growth in East Africa has lead to the move.
British Airways' Commercial Manager for Tanzania, Saada Juma, was quoted saying that “Dar es Salaam is an important route for both British Airways and Tanzania. Dar is a vital east African gateway for visitors from the UK and beyond. In addition to trade, Tanzania is famed for its safaris, a combination of wildlife, the Serengeti, Selous and Zanzibar.

Southern African recipes: Cape Malay Bobotie

A Bobotie is defo one on my favourite South African dishes. I blogged a recipe some month ago already; now Justin Bonello* uploaded a mouthwatering video in which he is presenting another great Cape Malay Bobotie recipe. Yummy!

Ingredients: garlic, raisins, cardamon seeds, coriander seeds, cumin seeds, garamasala, tumeric, curry powder, lean mince, onions, butter, chutney, chilies, eggs, cream, salt & pepper

Bobotie from Cooked in Africa on Vimeo.

  1. heat oil
  2. seeds in first
  3. onions in next
  4. 2 teaspoons of curry powder
  5. add the mince
  6. add chutney
  7. add raisins
  8. press mince into an ovenproof dish
  9. pour over egg wash (eggs, cream, salt & pepper)
  10. bake in the oven for 15min at 200C
  • serve with sweet chili jam, sambals and mango atcha and Basmati rice
  • garnish with beetroot sprouts an pappadums
*Justin Bonello is a South African filmmaker, chef and television personality best known for starring in his own cooking and travel show, Cooked, since 2006.

23 February 2011

IATA: African carriers are 2% of global traffic, but 23% of global accidents

The International Air Transport Association (IATA), representing some 230 airlines comprising 93% of scheduled international air traffic, announced the aviation safety performance for 2010 showing that the year’s accident rate for Western-built jet aircraft as the lowest in aviation history.

The 2010 global accident rate (IATA is measuring the accident rate in "hull losses" per million flights. A hull loss is an accident in which the aircraft is destroyed or substantially damaged and is not subsequently repaired) was 0.61, equal to one accident for every 1.6 million flights; the 2009 rate (0.71 or one accident for 1.4 million flights) was significantly higher.
The 2010 rate was the lowest in aviation history, just below the 2006 rate of 0.65. In the ten years since 2011 the accident rate has been cut by 42%.

Africa had an accident rate of 7.41 in 2010, which was lower than the 2009 rate of 9.94. While showing improvement, Africa once again has the worst rate in the world. There were four accidents (the aircraft is destroyed or substantially damaged and is not subsequently repaired for whatever reason including a financial decision of the owner) with African carriers in 2010. African carriers are 2% of global traffic, but 23% of global accidents. The airlines involved in accidents in Africa were Compagnie Africaine d’Aviation - B727, Ethiopian Airlines - B737-800 (only accident with fatalities), Air Tanzania - B737-200, Mauritania Airways - B737-70.
The accident rate in 2010 of IOSA carriers (IOSA = IATA Operational Safety Audit) in Africa (for all aircraft types) was more than 50% better than non-IOSA airlines. Among IATA’s efforts in Africa, it established the IATA Program for Safe Operations in Africa (IPSOA). IPSOA ensured that flight data analysis tools are available to all IATA carriers in Africa, and as of the last quarter of 2010, all IATA carriers have this essential safety tool in place. IPSOA will provide IATA with the data needed to develop safety programs targeted at specific challenges in the region.

In absolute numbers, 2010 saw the following results:

  • 2.4 billion people flew safely on 36.8 million flights (28.4 million jet, 8.4 million turboprop)
  • 17 hull loss accidents involving western-built jet aircraft compared to 19 in 2009
  • 94 accidents (all aircraft types, Eastern and Western built) compared to 90 in 2009
  • 23 fatal accidents (all aircraft types) compared to 18 in 2009
  • 786 fatalities compared to 685 in 2009

What's worse, eating a "cooked wildebeest's eyeball" or "the last foot of poop shoot of a warthog"?

Both travelling chefs Andrew Zimmern and Anthony Bourdain are well-known for their "at least I'll give it a try" kinda attitude towards food from around the world. Both have been to Namibia and both tried some local delicatessen... Would you rather go for a "cooked wildebeest's eyeball" or would you choose "the last foot of poop shoot of a warthog" instead? Check the videos...

Andrew Zimmern in Namibia

Anthony Bourdain talking about his "warthog experience". The full episode can be found on youtube... mind the copyright!

22 February 2011

7.3 million tourists visited South Africa 2010

South Africa's minister of tourism, Marthinus van Schalkwyk, mentioned some current statistics on South African tourism in his speech at the opening ceremony of Meetings Africa 2011, Africa's business tourism lekgotla (a consultative process between groups pursuing a common goal), at the Sandton Convention Centre, Johannesburg, South Africa
  • Over 7.3 million tourists visited South Africa between January and November 2010
  • Tourism contributed an estimated 7.7% to South Africa's Gross Domestic Product in 2010
  • South Africa has already secured almost 200 meetings and conferences in South Africa over the next five years, attracting more than 300,000 delegates to the country.
  • The potential economic impact of these confirmed meetings and conferences is more than R1.6 billion
  • In 2009, approximately 500,000 business tourists came to South Africa, about 4.7% of total tourist arrivals. 
  • This represents a total economic value of about R4 billion with business tourists spending an average of R5,300 during their stay in South Africa. 
  • The average length of stay business tourists also increased from 4.6 nights in 2009.
  • According to the International Congress and Convention Association (ICCA) South Africa is ranked 34th globally and first in Africa for 2009 in terms of the number of meetings hosted.
  • Africa hosted 3.8% of the meetings or 314 meetings with 90 held in South Africa
  • Cape Town was the leading city in Africa with 49 meetings, Johannesburg was ranked 5th, and Durban 10th, compared to other African cities.

St. Paddy's Day: Table Mountain will turn green

Cape Town's Table Mountain – a World Heritage Site and one of the city's most iconic landmarks and visitor attractions – will turn the floodlights to green on St Patrick’s Day on 17 March 2011.

The green floodlights will be on from 20h00 until 12 midnight. The energy beeing used to illuminate the Berg in green will be green renewable energy. Happy St. Paddy's Day Capetonians!

Namibia: Lodges, campsites, roads etc. closed due to rain/floods - daily updates! Pt. 4

updates (08 Mar 2011): The Tsondab River is no longer flowing and the C19 between Solitaire & Sesriem is open again.

updates (03 Mar 2011): Walvis Bay - NamWater has made significant progress in restoring the water supply inflow to 600m³/h. This positive development has enabled the Municipality to extend the water supply period up to 21:30 this evening. For the next few days the normal water supply will be opened from 06:00 to 21:30.
It has been reported that water from Angola has reached the Northern regions of Namibia, causing floods of the same magnitude as the past several years.

updates (02 Mar 2011): Hakusembe River Lodge - the lodge is operating as normal; Impalila Island Lodge - the lodge is operating as normal; Lianshulu Lodge - the lodge is operating as normal; Namushasha Country Lodge - the lodge is operating as normal. Follow the clearly marked detour signs; Ndhovu Safari Lodge - the lodge is operating as normal, but is offering free seasonal boat transfers from the parking area to the lodge. The campsite is closed; Ntwala Island Lodge - the lodge is operating as normal
Susuwe Island Lodge - the lodge is operating as normal 

updates (01 Mar 2011): Storm-water drainage in Oshakati was unable to cope with heavy rain on Sunday afternoon, causing small local floods in a number of informal settlements.
The Angolan Department of Water Affairs at Ondjiva reported that much rain had been received in southern Angola.
A new flood wave in Kavango River has swamped Nkurenkuru west of Rundu. Water levels at Rundu are steadily rising and are expected to rise up rapidly in the coming days.
Nasa Satellite images showed heavy rains for the central Oshana, eastern Ohangwena, Central Caprivi and very heavy rains for the eastern Kavango Regions on Sunday.
The flow in the main Kuiseb River was down to 0.74 meters at Schlesien at Kuiseb Pass Bridge yesterday. 

updates (28 Feb 2011): Walvis Bay - Water wil be re-opened between 18h00 and 21h30 this evening and from 06:00 to 11:30 tomorrow morning. During the water closure periods, businesses and residents can still obtain water from the water points along 5th road, at the Municipal Building and Mautamenene Fire Station in Kuisebmond and along Sam Nujoma Avenue near Kruis Street in Narraville.
The water problem could be worse tomorrow because of another flood.

updates (24 Feb 2011): Water levels at Katima Mulilo have increased to 6.14m as at 22 Feb 2011. This is the level (6m-7m) at which the higher ground to which communities moved earlier in the rainfall season starts becoming inundated.
The Cuvelai Basin, in particular the Oshakati area, should be on alert for possible flooding from the north in the coming week. 

updates (22 Feb 2011): A new flood wave of more than 3.0 m arrived at the Kuiseb Pass Bridge on 16 February 2011. The Namibia Hydrological Services have teams in the area to monitor the situation and provide early warning to communities downstream.
As at 15 February 2011, the Zambezi River at Katima Mulilo stood at 5.4 m and is rising as expected, having increased by 82 cm since 08 February 2011. The forecast is still that water levels will stabilize around 6 m in the next 7-10 days. Inundation of the Caprivi region usually starts when the Zambezi River reaches about 3.5 m to 4 m at Katima Mulilo. Such levels (3.5 m - 4 m) are an annual occurrence and communities living in these areas are used to this pattern and move to higher ground that is often isolated. Flooding of the higher ground can only occur when the levels exceed 6 m to 7 m, which could potentially lead to a humanitarian situation. [src.]

View Larger Map

According to the Meteorological Services Division in the Ministry of Works and Transport there is a slightly more enhanced likelihood for above normal-to-normal rainfall in the regions of Caprivi, Kavango, Oshikoto, Ohangwena, Oshana, Otjozondjupa, Omaheke, Hardap and Khomas. For the Kunene, Erongo and Karas regions, normal to above-normal rainfall is still expected.
Rivers: Flows in westerly direction towards Lake Liambezi are increasing at Ngoma Gate. Flows in the same direction are also passing the Bukalo Bridge in the Bukalo Channel, while water levels in the Kwando River at Kongola have remained stable. The flows in the Kavango River remain high. A flood has been reported at Shanalumono in the main channel of the Cuvelai system, but the flows must still reach Oshakati. There have been no reports or indications of flood development in the main Cuvelai River north of Ondjiva in Angola, but heavy rains that fell on Saturday may start a flood. The Kunene River is flowing high while flows in the Fish River are slowly subsiding. [src.]

Big kudos to Namibian tourism info source tourbrief (and other online resources) for keeping us updated regarding the current rain/flood situation in Namibia! Thx!

21 February 2011

Kenya: The Sailing Doctors of the Lamu archipelago (video)

The archipelago of Lamu, Kenya is made up of a series of remote island communities. A great number of whom have little or no access to medical care and have to travel for days over land and sea in order to reach their nearest dispensary. In many cases, there is no choice other than to stay at home and die.

In this short film a team from Butterfly Films follows the Anne Spoerry Sailing Doctors team as they brave the challenging journey to these remote islanders, bringing them not only the medical care that they so desperately need, but also, and perhaps more importantly, a sense that they have not been forgotten by all. Kudos!

The Anne Spoerry Sailing Doctors is a Community Based Organization in Lamu, Kenya. It was founded in July 2009 for the purpose of providing regular basic health services to the remote areas of the Lamu District. The Sailing Doctors project was founded by Bernard Spoerry, Daniela Blattler, Nikolai Barnwell, Ali Gabow and Chloe Spoerry. Its mission was greatly inspired by the work of the late Dr Anne Spoerry who worked with AMREF’s Flying Doctors services since 1964.

Namibia: Gross Barmen resort to be redeveloped

Namibia Wildlife Resorts (NWR) is currently redeveloping "Gross Barmen". The resort, known for its thermal spring, will get a day visitors area, campsite, upmarket villas, and of course, a hot spring spa.

View Larger Map

The overnight guests will be located within the same ground but 3km from the day visitors area. Both areas will also be completely segregated.
The new facilities at Gross Barmen will include rejuvenated indoor and outdoor swimming pools, healing and health-centre for integrated medical post surgery rehabilitation services; active-lifestyle centre with squash courts, and a beauty treatment centre.  It will also encompass a healthy-lifestyle retail section, a lifestyle village and a mini hotel.

Gross Barmen has been closed since 01 November 2010. The total redevelopmentof the camp will take around 30 months.

18 February 2011

Kumuka Worldwide: Top 5 tours in Africa

Established since 1983, Kumuka Worldwide, whose name originates from Africa, and translates in to "the start of a journey", has taken travellers to many parts of the globe, offering an extraordinary range of trips.
Beginning with one expedition vehicle and a Trans Africa tour, they have steadily extended and broadened our operations, which now include tours to Africa, Asia, Australasia & The Pacific Islands, Antarctica, Central America, South America, North America, Europe and The Middle East.

Kumuka's Top 5 tours in Africa are:
  1. Serengeti, Crater and Zanzibar
    14 Day overland tour to Kenya and Tanzania
    start/finish: Nairobi
  2. Africa in Focus
    29 Day overland tour of East and Southern Africa including South Africa, Botswana & Malawi
    start: Johannesburg finish: Nairobi
  3. Gorilla Express
    4 Day overland tour to Kenya & Uganda featuring a trek to the Mountain Gorillas
    start/finish: Nairobi
  4. Southern Highlights
    21 Day overland tour of East and Southern Africa including Botswana and Mozambique
    start/finish: Johannesburg
  5. Kilimanjaro Climb
    day trek via the Marangu route to the highest point in Africa
    start/finish: Nairobi 

Airports Council International: Cape Town International Airport is Africa's best aiport 2010

The Airports Council International (ACI) has announced the recipients of the annual Airport Service Quality (ASQ) awards for 2010, which recognize the commitment of airports worldwide to performance excellence.  

Best airports worldwide:
  1. Seoul Incheon (ICN)
  2. Singapore (SIN)
  3. Hong Kong (HKG)       
  4. Beijing (PEK)       
  5. Shanghai Pudong (PVG)
Best airports in Africa:
  1. Cape Town (CPT)
  2. Cairo (CAI)
  3. Johannesburg (JNB)
  4. Durban (DUR)
  5. Nairobi (NBO)
Best airport fewer than 2 million passengers by region
Best improvement award by region
The ASQ passenger survey measures customer feedback on a range of service delivery parameters that track the customer experience at an airport from the moment of arrival to the departure gate. Analysis of this “real-time” data, recorded on the day of travel, serves as a guide for aligning service provision with customer expectations. By benchmarking the airport with other similar airports, ASQ enables airports to see where they stand relative to their peers and competitors. This helps airports prioritize improvement projects and validate their investments in new facilities and services.

17 February 2011

Video: Viper strike in slow motion

Vipers are among the most dangerous snakes in the world and can be located on all continents except Antarctica and Australia.The snake in the video is a Russell's Viper, one of the most dangerous snakes in Asia. It is one of the snake species responsible for causing the most snakebite cases and deaths in the world. Once bitten, people experience a wide variety of symptoms including pain, swelling, vomiting, dizziness, blood incoagubility and kidney failure.

Using slow-motion photography snake expert Romulus Whitaker shows in the video what happens if someone accidentically steps on a Russell's Viper.

HostelBookers unveils travel behaviour trends

Back in September 2010, HostelBookers, the budget accommodation specialist, launched its biggest ever travel survey. It was a great opportunity for customers not only to share their travel experiences but also to be questioned about their preferred mode of transport and their attitude to love and sex while abroad.

The results are in and reveal the travel trends from over 15,000 respondents: ‘Sightseeing and culture’ (80.7%) is the main reason customers choose to travel followed by ‘city break’ (47.0%) and ‘visiting friends and family’ (44.6%). Travellers have upped their accommodation budget: In 2009, 28% of them spent over $/£/€30 compared to 40% spending the same in 2010, but it also appeared people are feeling the pinch as the number of them taking ‘no trips’ increased from 2.4% in 2009 to 5.4% in 2010.
It also emerged that the internet remains the number one resource for our customers, whether booking hostels online or keeping in touch with friends and family. Over 86% of those surveyed check the internet at least twice a week on holiday. To respond to this demand for web access, many of our hostels now supply guests with Wi-Fi and internet kiosks.
The survey results show that the English (8.3%) followed by Australian (8.2%) and Italians (7.8%) make the best lovers. Bottom of the list for the second year in a row are the Irish.
More travellers are enjoying nookie in dorms, 16% in 2010 up from 14% in 2009. The results also show an increase in the number of people taking precautions and having protected sex on their travels: 92% practiced safe sex on holiday in 2009 but last year this figure rose to 94%.
David Smith, COO at HostelBookers, said: “Last year we carried out the biggest ever travel survey to find out more about our customers and their needs in order to maintain the great service we deliver. It is interesting to see that people consider hostels the best choice for atmosphere, unbeatable prices and that they offer better city centre locations than many hotels.” For further information please go to http://www.hostelbookers.com/survey-results-2011/

Kenya: Endangered Rothschild giraffes return home to Lake Baringo area

Eight Rothschild giraffes have returned home to the eastern shores of Lake Baringo after at least 40 years of disappearance. They were taken back to their native area in ferry ride across Kenya’s Lake Baringo. The Rothschild giraffe is one of the most endangered sub-species of giraffe in the world, with a population numbering only a few hundred. The giraffes, moved in two groups for their 90-minute journey to Ruko Community Wildlife Conservancy, were loaded onto the barges at Soysambu Conservancy in the Great Rift Valley.

The Ruko Community Wildlife Conservancy is situated on 77km² on the eastern shore of Lake Baringo, an area of semi-desert in the northern Rift Valley. The freshwater lake is an oasis the arid landscape and is home to large populations of hippo, crocodile and over 400 species of bird.

16 February 2011

AA & AA Travel Guides are developing standards for camping and caravanning sites in South Africa

South Africa's Automobile Association (AA), in cooperation with AA Travel Guides, is currently developing certain standards to assess camping and caravanning sites in South Africa and will then rate them according to the (adjusted) AA Quality Assured (AAQA) standards. The AA Quality Assured (AAQA) standards are currently only used to categorise hotels, lodges, self-catering and B&Bs.
According to Tourism Update the camping and caravan sites will get rated using criterias such as "whether they are a resort with a multitude of facilities; a standard caravan park with minimal facilities; located in the bush, a game or nature reserve; or whether they are suitable for 4x4 or overnight stops."

The AA Quality Assured (AAQA) standards are categorising establishments as follows:
  • AA Recommended > properties satisfy AA stringent minimum requirements.
  • AA Highly Recommended > properties present a product which offers high levels of professionalism and attention to detail in the decor, quality of furnishings and service.
  • AA Superior > properties are pristine and present the traveller with decor and furnishings of exceptional quality together with remarkable levels of professionalism and hospitality.