31 July 2012

Kruger National Park Calendar - September

  • it is spring time in the park
  • fresh mornings & warm to hot days
  • it can get pretty cold at night
  • occasional showers
  • pretty unpredictable weather patterns
  • between 12°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

  • first green shoots
  • spring flush depending on rain
  • new mopane growth with red-tinged leaves
  • good spring indicator: purple flowers of tree wisteria
Animal Activity:
  • Game still concentrated around watering holes etc.
  • migrant birds begin arriving
  • Elephants are coming south from their winter feeding grounds in the north

30 July 2012

South Africa: Amakhosi Safari Lodge reopens after renovations

The five star luxury Amakhosi Safari Lodge, located on the banks of the Mkuze River in the 12000 hectare Amazulu Private Game Reserve in KwaZulu Natal, was closed due to renovation work for two month and has now been reopened. During the 8 weeks, the rooms and the main lodge of the Amakhosi Safari Lodge got completely refurbished and its viewing deck got extended. The lodge also got an entire new road network. Ndlovu Gazi, the self-catering camp of the Amakhosi Safari Lodge, is now also open for bookings and will open its doors in October 2012.
The Amakhosi Safari Lodge, which can sleep a total of 28 guests, has six luxurious river suites and two honeymoon suites that feature high ceilings, glass walls and private viewing decks.  The lodge is home to the big five, as well as to over 15 species of antelope, hippo, crocodile and to over 400 bird species. Amakhosi Safari Lodge is about a 4.5 hour drive from Johannesburg, about a 3.5 hours drive from Durban and about a 2.5 hours drive from St Lucia, Sodwana Bay, Richard's Bay and Swaziland.

Turkish Airlines to adjust its East Africa schedule

Turkey's flag carrier, Turkish Airlines, has annouced certain operational and frequency changes to its East Africa Winter 2012/13 schedule. As of 28 Oct 2012, the airline will reduce its service between Istanbul and Dar Es Salaam (Tanzania) from daily flights to 5 weekly flights. Also starting on 28 Oct 2012, Turkish Airlines will operate the flight between Istanbul and Nairobi with a Boeing 737-900 instead of a Boeing 737-800.
Turkish Airlines will also increase the service on the Istanbul - Kigali - Entebbe route from currently 4 weekly flights to 5 weekly flights, effective 28 Oct 2012.

Video: With South African Airways from the U.S. to Malawi and back

If you are planning to visit Southern Africa and you are from the U.S., the following video will be of interest. David Hoffmann from Davidsbeenhere.com recently did a trip with South African Airways (SAA) from New York's John F. Kenedy International Airport to Lilongwe in Malawi via OR Tambo International Airport in Johannesburg (South Africa) and back. David filmed his entire trip starting at boarding the plane at JFK all the way through to arriving back in the U.S.. As the trip seems sponsored by SAA and the Malawi Tourism Consortium, David is not only providing you with info about all the features on his fligths with South Africa's flag carrier but also with video footage of the all the stops he did in Malawi, including Nyika National Park, Lake Malawi, Liwonde National Park, Zomba, Majete Wildlife Reserve and Blantyre. Enjoy and kudos David!

27 July 2012

South African Airways to increase flights to Nairobi (Kenya)

South Africa's flag carrier, South African Airways (SAA), has announced that it will increase the number of flights between Johannesburg and Nairobi in Kenya. From 13 Sept 2012, the airline will be operating 10 weekly flights instead of 7 flights per week between the two destinations.

26 July 2012

New South African 3D animation film "Zambezia" (2012)

The closing film the 33rd edition of the Durban International Film Festival, which runs until 29 July 2012, will be the South African 3D animation film "Zambezia". The film, produced by Cape Town-based Triggerfish Animation Studios, is featuring an all-star voice cast, including Abigail Breslin, Jeremy Suarez, Samuel L. Jackson and "Mr Spok" Leonard Nimoy.

Set in the majestic Victoria Falls, "Zambezia" tells the story of Kai, an young falcon that is brought up by his strict father in an isolated outpost. Kai's life is gettig completely turned upside down when a strange bird crashes into his small and protected world and tells him of bird city of "Zambezia".
"Zambezia" premiered at the Annecy Animation Festival in France in June 2012 and was already released in Israel earlier in July. It will come to cinemas in Germany on 30 Aug 2012 and in the Netherlands on 02 Jan 2013. The South Africa release is supposed to be scheduled for 26 Dec 2012. According to Triggerfish Animation Studios, a distribution deal in English-speaking territories with Sony has also been sold.

Skateboarding film: A roadtrip to Maputo, Mozambique

Probably even better than the Cape Town at night video by adi three leaf is the 6 min video by Adriaan Louw and Sam Clark (also uploaded by adi three leaf) about a trip of the adidas South Africa skateboard team to Mozambique's capital Maputo. The film shows Maputo from the skater's perspective, which is creating a completely different portrait of the city than usual. Kudos Adriaan Louw and Sam Clark, as well as skaters Pieter Retief, Jansen van Staden and Khulu Dlamini!

btw - also check out: Skateboarding film: The City of Johannesburg

Video: Cape Town at night with the adidas South Africa skateboard team

Ever thought about rolling through the streets of Cape Town at night? Well, the adidas South Africa skateboard team did it, filmed it and published it on the net. so enjoy a tour through the Mother City with a group of South Africa's finest skaters!
Kudos Khulu Dlamini, Jansen van Standen and Pieter Retief as well as adi three leaf for uploading the video!

btw - also check outSkateboarding film: The City of Johannesburg

Ethiopian Airlines to launch flights to Sao Paulo (Brazil)

update (16 Oct 2012): Ethiopian delays Sao Paulo flights, citing bad slot timings [more]

Good news for all South Americans, and Brazilians in particular, who are planning a trip to Eastern and Southern Africa. Ethiopia's flag carrier, Ethiopian Airlines, has announced plans to establish a new three times weekly link between its main hub in Addis Ababa and Sao Paulo in Brazil in December 2012. The service will be the first regular flight to South America for the East African airline.
The Sao Paulo flight will be operated through Lome, Togo, on board of one of Ethiopian Airlines's brand-new Boeing 787 Dreamliners.
The airline will also start new flights to Toronto (Canada) in July 2012 and to the Namibian capital Windhoek in October/November 2012.
Ethiopian Airlines is currently operating international flights to more than 60 destinations in Africa, Europa, the Americas and Asia. The airline is a Star Alliance member since December 2011. The Star Alliance network is offering more than 21,555 daily flights to 1,356 airports in 193 countries.

25 July 2012

Air Mauritius has revised its Africa schedule

update (30 Aug 2012): The flag carrier of Mauritius, Air Mauritius, announced via twitter, that it will operate two weekly Durban night flights on Fridays & Sundays from 21 December 2012 to 13 January 201.

The the flag carrier of Mauritius, Air Mauritius, has revised its planned service increase to Africa starting 28 Oct 2012.

Mauritius (MRU) <> Cape Town (CPT)
The airline will, as previously planned, increase the number of weekly flights from 2 to 3.

Mauritius (MRU) <> Johannesburg (JNB)
Instead of the planned 14 weekly flights, Air Mauritius will increase the service from currently 5 weekly flights to 10 weekly flights.

Mauritius (MRU) <> Nairobi (NBO)
The airline will, as previously planned, increase the number of weekly flights from 2 to 3.

Mauritius (MRU) <> Antananarivo (TNR)
Instead of the planned 6 weekly flights, Air Mauritius will increase the service from currently 4 weekly flights to 5 weekly flights with operational aircraft changes.

Air Mauritius has currently codeshare agreements with Air France (Mauritius <> Paris, on several European routes radiating from Paris), Emirates (Mauritius <> Dubai), Malaysia Airlines (on some routes radiating from Kuala Lumpur) and with South African Airways (Mauritius <> Johannesburg).
Mauritius' international Airport Sir Seewoosagur Ramgoolam International Airport (known as SSR Airport), the main hub of Air Mauritius, is located at Plaine Magnien about 48km southeast of Port Louis, the capital of Mauritius.

24 July 2012

South Africa: The Aerial Cableway at Hartbeespoort Dam has been reopened

The Aerial Cableway at Hartbeespoort Dam in the North West Province of South Africa has officially been reopened. The Cableway got closed about 7 years ago due to a lack of maintenance, but in 2010 a private initiative aiming at establishing Hartbeespoort Dam as a key tourism hub in South Africa, bought the cable way and started to renovate it.
The Aerial Cableway, which is offering visitors panoramic views of the beautiful Magaliesberg, the Hartbeespoort Dam and the surrounding areas, now has 14 new cable cars, each able to carry six passengers.
The new facilities at the upper station of the cableway include a walkway around the mountain, a shop, a lookout bar, a KidZone and a Pizza Shack, with a restaurant and curio shop at the bottom. 

Ticket sales for the Aerial Cableway open at 08:30, the first ride up is at 09:00, and the last ride down is at 16:30. Tickets are R120 for adults and R60 for children (4-13 years). Webtickets cost only R100 per adult, and R50 per child. Entrance is free for children under the age of four. 
The Hartbeespoort Dam is just a 45-minute drive from Johannesburg and lies 35 km west of Pretoria. Nestled in the undulating foothills of the Magaliesberg Mountains, it’s a great escape from city living. There is an amazing choice of places to stay ranging from upmarket waterfront golf estates, boutique hotels, guest houses, B&B’s, self-catering homes to camping sites – almost all have stunning views of the dam.

KLM to launch flights to Harare (Zimbabwe)

KLM Royal Dutch Airlines has announced that it will re-start operating flights to Harare in Zimbabwe from 29 Oct 2012. KLM used to serve Harare until late-Octoer 1999 with a biweekly Amsterdam <> Harare flight. The airline will operate the service from Amsterdam Airport Schiphol to Harare International Airport three times a week. The Zimbabwean capital will be served in combination with the new KLM destination Lusaka, Zambia, that started in May 2012.
KLM will operate the route on-board an Airbus A330-200 on Mondays, Thursdays and Saturdays, departing from Schiphol at 10.20 hrs and arriving in Harare on the same day at 21.25 hrs. The return leg of the circle trip will be leaving Harare at 22.30 hrs the same day, with an intermediate landing in Lusaka in Zambia. The flight arrives in Amsterdam the following morning at 10.20 hrs.
KLM will also offer eleven weekly services to Harare via Nairobi in cooperation with Kenya Airways.

South African Airways: More flights during summer season

South Africa's flag carrier, South African Airways, will increase the number of flights as well as additional capacity on popular holiday routes during the summer season.
From 03 October 2012, the airline will be offering non-stop daily flights to Mumbai in India. South African Airways will be operating an Airbus A320-200 with 36 business and 186 economy-class seats on the route.
Effective 13 Sept 2012, the airline will add three flights to its daily Johannesburg-Nairobi schedule, bringing flights to 10 a week.
Between 06 October 2012 and 13 March 2013, South Africa's flag carrier will increase the number of international flights between São Paulo in Brazil and Johannesburg from currently 10 flights per week to 11 flights per week.
Between mid-December 2012 and mid-January 2013 South African Airways will deploy a wide-body aircraft on the Johannesburg <> Mauritius route and the Johannesburg <> Cape Town route to cater for an increase in demand by holiday travellers.

Madikwe Game Reserve: 20 new Wild Dogs born

Great news from the Madikwe Game Reserve. Jaci's Lodges, two privately owed and managed luxury bush lodges based in the malaria-free Madikwe Game Reserve in South Africa's North West province, has announced the birth of of 20 Wild Dog pups.
Africa’s most endangered carnivores were introduced to Madikwe Game Reserve in 1994. Since then, the population of Wild Dogs has stabilised and through the translocation of new wild dogs from other reserves the the dogs’ gene pool even got strengthened.

Only approximately 500 Wild Dogs are currently left in South Africa which makes a sighting of these incredible animals a high priority on the traveller's wildlife tick list.

23 July 2012

South Africa: Kulula receiving new Boeing 737-800s

South African low cost airline Kulula, a subsidiary of British Airways franchise Comair, received the first of seven new Boeing 737-800 passenger jets, and will receive another two later in 2012. The new Boeing 737-800s utilise 18% less fuel per seat than the aircraft the airline are replacing, thereby saving two million-litres of fuel per aircraft per year for the equivalent total seats.
By the end of 2012 the airline will operate eight aircraft, carrying about 2.8 million passengers. Kulula currently operates flights to Johannesburg, Lanseria (North Johannesburg), Durban, George, and Cape Town.
The airline has the youngest fleet in Southern Africa, with an average age of five years.

20 July 2012

CITES has released a new short version of "Rhinos under Thread" (16min)

The Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) has released a new and shorter version of short version (16 minutes) of the film "Rhinos under Threat" that was first screened during the UN Conference on Sustainable Development (UNCSD or Rio+20) on 18 June 2012. The full version (28 minutes) of the film is available here.

Please spread the word about the film, share it via facebook, pinterest and email, RT it and g+ it - the useless killings of rhinos has to stop!

19 July 2012

Uganda Wildlife Authority: Bwindi Impenetrable National Park safe for tourist

According to the Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA), the border national parks in western Uganda, such as Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, are safe despite ongoing fighting in neighbouring DR Congo.
To ensure the safety of visitors, the UWA is working with security agencies and the Uganda People’s Defence Force (UPDF) to maintain land, air and marine surveillance of the parks and borders
The popular Silverback Lodge in the Bwindi Impenetrable National Park and the Mweya Safari Lodge in the Queen Elizabeth National Park have not been affected by cancellation from tourists so far, but Ugandan newspaper "New Vision" is quoting UWA Public Relations Manager, Lillian Nsubuga, saying that other tourist lodges in similar areas bordering with the eastern part of the DR Congo had recently reported cancellations.

Qatar Airways changes planned Kilimanjaro schedule

update (14 Aug 2012): Qatar Airways has revealed a new launch date for its service between Doha (Qatar) - Dar Es Salaam (Tanzania) - Mombasa (Kenya). Click here for more!

update (30 July 2012): According to various sources, Qatar Airways has canceled its planned operations between Doha (Qatar) and Mombasa in Kenya. The service between the two destianations was due to start from 15 Aug 2012. No new launch date is given for the moment.

The state-owned flag carrier of Qatar, Qatar Airways, is adjusting the schedule for its planned flights between its main hub in Doha (Qatar) and Kilimanjaro International Airport (JRO) in Tanzania. Instead of flying to Kilimanjaro via Nairobi, as it was initially planned, the airline will now service the destination via Dar es Salaam, effective from 25 July 2012. Qatar Airways' service to Mombasa (Kenya), due to start on 15 Aug 2012, will also be operated via Dar es Salaam as previously planned.
  • 02:20 Doha (DOH) > 08:05 Dar Es Salaam (DAR) 09:05 > 10:05 Kilimanjaro International Airport (JRO)
  • 07:35 Doha (DOH) > 13:20 Dar Es Salaam (DAR) 14:20 > 15:20 Kilimanjaro International Airport (JRO)
  • 11:05 Kilimanjaro International Airport (JRO) > 12:05 Dar Es Salaam (DAR) 13:05 > 18:45 Doha (DOH)
  • 16:20 Kilimanjaro International Airport (JRO) > 17:20 Dar Es Salaam (DAR) 18:20 > 23:45 Doha (DOH)

Ethiopian Airlines first Dreamliner to be delivered in August

Ethiopian Airlines, the fastest growing airline in Africa, just announced that its first Boeing 787 Dreamliner is in the final stages of preparation for delivery. The airline will be the first African carrier to fly this much awaited, state-of-the-art aircraft. Initially, Ethiopian Airlines will use the aircraft for flights to Johannesburg, South Africa.
The Boeing 787 Dreamliner is a long-range, mid-size wide-body, twin-engine jet airliner, which seats 210 to 290 passengers, depending on the variant. According to Boeing, the Dreamliner is the company's most fuel-efficient airliner and the world's first major aircraft to use composite materials for most of its construction. The Boeing 787 Dreamliner entered commercial service on 26 October 2011 (All Nippon Airways).
Passengers on this aircraft enjoy enhanced in-flight facilities such as an interior environment with higher humidity which increases comfort and convenience. The Dreamliner also have the largest passenger windows in the sky and, due to the high ceilings and unique lighting, passengers experience tranquility and reduce fatigue.
Ethiopian Airlines is currently operating international flights to more than 60 destinations in Africa, Europa, the Americas and Asia. The airline is a Star Alliance member since December 2011. The Star Alliance network is offering more than 21,555 daily flights to 1,356 airports in 193 countries.

Intrepid Travel: 4 new overland trips in Eastern & Southern Africa

Tour operator Intrepid Travel launched four new organised tours in Eastern and Southern Africa. To introduce the tours, Intrepid Travel is offering a 20% discount on all four tours. Please quote promo number 9235 at time of booking to receive your 20% discount. The discount applies to bookings made between 10 July 2012 and 31 August 2012 for travel up to 31 December 2013.

Gorillas to Vic Falls In Depth
Duration: 48 days (Nairobi to Victoria Falls)
Highlights: Soak up the atmosphere in Nairobi city, Visit the Kariandusi School Trust project, Explore Lake Nakuru National Park, Spot the Big Five in Queen Elizabeth National Park, Take a trip to a Rhino Sanctuary, Meet chimpanzees at Budongo Forest Reserve, Discover the wilderness of Lake Mburo National Park.

Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe

Gorillas to Zanzibar In Depth
Duration: 34 days  Nairobi to Dar Es Salaam)
Highlights: Soak up the atmosphere in Nairobi city, Visit the Kariandusi School Trust project, Explore Lake Nakuru National Park, Spot the Big Five in Queen Elizabeth National Park, Take a trip to a Rhino Sanctuary, Meet chimpanzees at Budongo Forest Reserve, Discover the wilderness of Lake Mburo National Park.

Gorillas & Rhinos In Depth
Duration: 21 days (ex Nairobi)
Highlights: Search for gorillas near the border of Rwanda, Learn a dark history at the Genocide Museum, Taste traditional African cuisine, Spot wildlife in Nakuru National Park, Trek through the dense Ugandan rainforest, Find rhinos in the Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary.

Nairobi to Zanzibar Overland
Duration: 14 days (ex Nairobi/Masai Mara to Dar Es Salaam)
Highlights: Get a taste of the African seaside culture at Dar es Salaam, Explore the fragrant spice plantations of Zanzibar, Camp in the heart of the wild Serengeti National Park, Search for Africa's Big Five on game drives, Safari through the amazing natural landscape of the Ngorongoro Crater, Stay on the slopes of Mt Kilimanjaro and take in breathtaking views.

Please note many trips require a trip kitty to be paid on Day 1 of the trip. The discount does not apply to the kitty, only the trip/land price. Terms & Conditions apply.

18 July 2012

Apartheid Museum: Viral video campaign "A history forgotten - A future lost"

About two years ago the Apartheid Museum, located in Johannesburg, initiated the viral video campaign "A history forgotten - A future lost" (produced by tbwa) to display what average young South Africans nowadays know about their history and the oppression that was experienced under apartheid. The guys behind the cam interviewed various young people asking them to identify a series of famous people. First popular culture icons and lastly a famous anti-apartheid leader. Watch the six short videos to see what their answers were.

The Apartheid Museum, which opened in 2001, is a museum complex in Johannesburg, dedicated to illustrating the rise and fall of apartheid and the 20th century history of South Africa. Open from 9am-5pm, the Museum is closed Mondays, Good Friday and Christmas Day.

Airlink to increase flights to Pemba (Mozambique)

Privately owened South African airline Airlink will increase the frequency of its service between Johannesburg and Pemba in Northern Mozambique. From 27 Aug 2012, the airline will also operate flights between the two destinations on Mondays and Fridays.
  • Johannesburg (JNB) 11:10 > 14:00 Pemba (POL)
  • Pemba (POL) 14:30 > 17:25 Johannesburg (JNB)
The additional flights, which compliment Airlink’s current schedule which operates on Wednesdays and Saturdays, will also use one of the airline’s 11 Embraer ERJ135 37 seat regional jets.

17 July 2012

South Africa: 281 rhinos killed by poachers so far in 2012

According to the latest statistics released by South African National Parks (SANParks), South Africa has lost 281 rhinos to illegal poaching since the beginning of 2012.
Kruger National Park remains the hardest hit by poachers, having lost 164 rhinos since the beginning of this year. Limpopo has lost 40 rhinos to illegal poaching; KwaZulu-Natal has lost 30 and the North West province 26 rhinos.
Of the 176 arrests made so far in 2012, 153 of the arrested were poachers, 10 were receivers or couriers, six couriers or buyers and seven were exporters.

Rock art in the Matobo Hill National Park, Zimbabwe
Latest rhino poaching figures (as of 12 June 2012)
  • Kruger National Park (SANParks) - 164 rhinos poached
  • Mapungubwe National Park (SANParks) - 3 rhinos poached
  • Gauteng - 0 rhinos poached
  • Limpopo - 40 rhinos poached
  • Mpumalanga - 14 rhinos poached
  • North-West Province - 26 rhinos poached
  • Eastern Cape - 3 rhinos poached
  • Free State - 0 rhinos poached
  • KwaZulu Natal - 30 rhinos poached
  • Western Cape - 1 rhinos poached
  • Northern Cap - 0 rhinos poached

16 July 2012

South Africa's most punctual domestic airlines in June 2012

Airports Company South Africa (ACSA) has published the on-time performance results of domestic airlines’ flying out of OR Tambo in Johannesburg, Cape Town International Airport, and Durban's King Shaka International Airport in June 2012.
On-Time Performance is measured by comparing the actual off-block time (when aircraft pushes back) against the airline schedule time for a departing flight. The measurement is done in accordance with the IATA (International Airlines Transport Association) universal standard benchmark with considers a 15 minute deviation from the scheduled time as an on-time departure.

OR Tambo International Airport, Johannesburg - 15 Min on Time Performance June 2012 (airport target 85%)
  1. 1time - 92.51% (May 94.86%)
  2. Mango - 92.49% (May 95.02%)  
  3. Airlink - 92.42% (May 91.80%) 
  4. British Airways Domestic - 88.41% (May 90.43%) 
  5. South African Airways - 86.19% (May 91.37%)
  6. SA Express - 85.38% (May 88.44%)
  7. Kulula.com - 76.85% (May 88.01%)
Cape Town International Airport - 15 Min on Time Performance June 2012 (airport target 87%)
  1. Airlink - 96.82% (May 98.50%)
  2. SA Express - 92.33% (May 93.98%)
  3. South African Airways - 90.79% (May 93.49%)
  4. 1time - 89.96% (May 96.04%)    
  5. British Airways Domestic - 89.59% (May 91.39%) 
  6. Mango - 89.09% (May 93.88%)
  7. Kulula.com - 82.54% (May 87.61%)
King Shaka International Airport, Durban - 15 Min on Time Performance June 2012 (airport target 89%)
  1. South African Airways - 95.28% (May 96.30%)   
  2. Mango - 94.09% (May 95.05%) 
  3. 1time - 92.74% (May 97.37%)
  4. Airlink - 92.10% (May 91.96%)   
  5. SA Express - 91.65% (May 92.17%)  
  6. British Airways Domestic - 89.96% (May 88.26%)
  7. Kulula.com - 82.54% (May 87.37%)