30 January 2015

Kruger National Park Calendar - March

  • end of summer...
  • still hot and humid during the day, but nights begin to get colder
  • last major rainfalls of the season

  • Water availability at its peak
  • river levels high
  • dense vegetation
  • grasslands in full seed
Animal Activity:
  • animal dispersal at its widest
  • animals rather relaxed - least competition for resources
  • water sources throughout the park are usually full
  • buffalo & kudu breeding peak
  • many migrant birds leaving

Jeffreys Bay: Dates announced for the JBay Winterfest 2015!

(update 29 July 2015): The World Surf League has released the official trailer of the 2015 J-Bay Open!

The organisers of the JBay Winterfest have announced that the 3rd edition of the event will take place from 08 - 19 July 2015 in Jeffreys Bay. Some of the world's top surfers will be back in the coastal town following the confirmation that the JBay Open of Surfing, which forms part of the JBay Winterfest, will once again be a World Championship Tour event.*

JBay Winterfest 2014 Highlights Package from Silver Bullet Productions on Vimeo.
Video credits: Silver Bullet Productions

At this stage it seems that all the events from 2014 will be taking place again in 2015, with the JBay Mountain Bike Open, the Core Sokkie Jol skate event and the Infood Blu Cold Water Swim Classic all confirmed for 2015. The organisers of the JBay Winterfest are currently also planning to add a junior surf contest to cater for the youngsters to the event schedule.

* The JBay Open of Surfing is event #6 on the 2015 Men's Samsung Galaxy Championship Tour!

29 January 2015

Cape Town set to rename Table Bay Boulevard after F.W. de Klerk!

Cape Town's city council has voted to rename Table Bay Boulevard after South Africa's last white head of state, Frederik Willem de Klerk. F.W. de Klerk was the seventh and last head of state of South Africa (September 1989 to May 1994) under the apartheid era. He won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1993 along with Nelson Mandela for his role in the ending of apartheid. The proposal to rename a 5km section of the Table Bay Boulevard after F.W. de Klerk was put forward by a group of 27 signatories, including DA leader Helen Zille and fellow Nobel peace laureate Archbishop Desmond Tutu.

Kenya Airways to become the first & only airline to link Vietnam directly to Africa!

Kenya's flag carrier, Kenya Airways, is set to launch a brandnew service between Nairobi's Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (NBO) and Noi Bai International Airport (HAN) Hanoi (Vietnam). Effective 30 March 2015, the airline will operate three weekly flights on board a Boeing 787 Dreamliner between the two destiantions. Kenya Airways will become the first and only airline to link Vietnam directly to Africa.

27 January 2015

Airlink to increase flights on two domestic routes; new schedule between Durban <> Maputo!

South African carrier Airlink has announced that it will increase flights between Johannesburg and Nelspruit and between Johannesburg and Pietermaritzburg from 16 February 2015. The airline will also introduce a new schedule between Durban and Maputo in Mozambique on the same date.

Johannesburg <> Nelspruit: new morning and late afternoon flights
Morning flights depart Nelspruit at 06:55 arriving in Johannesburg at 07:50, daily Monday to Friday. On Saturdays the first flight will now depart Nelspruit at 08:30 arriving in Johannesburg at 09:25. Evening flights depart Johannesburg for Nelspruit at 18:05 arriving in Nelspruit at 18:55, Sunday to Friday.

Johannesburg <> Pietermaritzburg: increased capacity and choice of flights
Airlink will introduce an additional afternoon flight utilizing 83 seater AvroRJ regional jet aircraft. Afternoon flights will now operate Monday to Friday departing Johannesburg at 15:30, 17:00 and 18:15. Flights from Pietermaritzburg to Johannesburg depart at 14:00, 17:00 and 18:25.

Durban <> Maputo: new schedule
Same day return flights will be offered on Tuesdays and Thursdays, whilst midmorning flights will operate on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. Fights on Tuesdays and Thursdays will depart Durban at 06:45 and 16:00. Flights from Maputo will depart at 08:30 and 17:35. Midmorning flights on Monday, Wednesday and Friday depart Durban at 10:10 and from Maputo at 11:45.

Recipes from Southern Africa: Spicy pineapples (Durban)

Durban's Golden Mile is famous for the Indian Ocean, the beaches, the surf spots, uShaka Marine World, the promenade with its top-class accommodation, fleamarkets, restaurants as well as for one of Durban's most unique snacks: spicy pineapples. Usually sold by street vendors all over the beachfront, spicy pineapples are tangy fresh pineapple chunks doused in curry powder. Delicious!

Ein von Seb Hermanns (@travelcomments) gepostetes Foto am

  • one fresh pineapple
  • curry powder
  • salt
  • Mix two parts of curry powder with one part of salt
  • Cut the pineapple into bite-size chunks 
  • Douse the pineapple chunks with the curry mix 
  • Enjoy the sweet and hot pineapple chunks!

26 January 2015

South Africa Airways expands codeshare agreement with Etihad Airways!

According to aviation specialists airlineroute.net, South African Airways (SAA) is set to expand its codeshare agreement with Etihad Airways. South Africa's flag carrier will add its code "SA" to nine new routes operated by Etihad Airways from 01 Feb 2015 (7 routes) and from 06 Feb 2015 (2 routes). Earlier in January 2015 (21 Jan 2015), the SAA already started to display its code on Etihad Airways' flights between Abu Dhabi's Abu Dhabi International Airport and Incheon International Airport in Seoul, South Korea. 

from 01 Feb 2015:
from 06 Feb 2015:

23 January 2015

Namibia: 23 rhinos & 76 elephants got killed by poachers in 2014!

According to Namibia's Ministry of Environment and Tourism, poachers killed a total of 23 rhinos for their horns in the southwest African country in 2014. All of the 23 rhinos were killed in the remote north-eastern Kunene region and in the Etosha National Park. Namibia is home to about 1,750 black rhinos (out of a global population of 4,800) as well as to 469 white rhinos. Poachers also killed 76 elephants in Namibia's National Parks and Conservancies last year.

Rwandair to launch flights to Lusaka (Zambia)

update (13 Feb 2015): Rwandair's flights to Lusaka are tagged to the existing Johannesburg route; they are scheduled to be departing from Kigali to Lusaka then continue to Johannesburg on Monday, Wednesday and Friday ; and from Johannesburg via Lusaka back to Kigali on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday.

The flag carrier of Rwanda, Rwandair, just tweeted that it will launch a three-weekly service to Kenneth Kaunda International Airport in Lusaka, Zambia, on 29 March 2015. The route will be Kigali - Lusaka - Johannesburg - Lusaka - Kigali (traffic rights on all sectors). Rwandair will operate a Boeing 737 Next Generation on the route.

22 January 2015

South Africa: 49 rhinos killed by poachers so far in 2015

According to the latest statistics released by the Department of Environmental Affairs, South Africa has lost 49 rhinos to illegal poaching since the beginning of 2015. Of the rhinos poached, 29 rhinos were killed in the Kruger National Park, 12 in Limpopo, 6 in KwaZulu Natal and 2 in Mpumalanga.
A total of 17 people have been arrested for rhino poaching-related offences in South Africa since January this year. 

Latest rhino poaching figures (as of 22 Januar 2015):
  • Kruger National Park (SANParks) - 29 rhinos poached
  • MAP (SANParks) - 0 rhino poached 
  • MNP (SANParks) - 0 rhino poached
  • Gauteng -  0 rhino poached
  • Limpopo - 12 rhinos poached
  • Mpumalanga - 2 rhinos poached
  • North-West Province - 0 rhino poached
  • Eastern Cape - 0 rhino poached
  • Free State - 0 rhino poached
  • KwaZulu Natal - 6 rhinos poached
  • Western Cape - 0 rhino poached
  • Northern Cape - 0 rhino poached

The Department of Environmental Affairs (DEA) is urging members of the public to report incidents of rhino poaching or any tip-offs to the anonymous tip-off lines 0800 205 005, 08600 10111 or Crime-Line on 32211.

South Africa: National Heritage Council launches free magazine!

The National Heritage Council (NHC) of South Africa, the statutory body responsible for the preservation of the country's heritage, has recently published the launch issue of "Discover Heritage". The first edition of the brandnew (and free) 82-page magazine covers stories about - just to name a few - the different ways South Africa remembers the late Nelson Mandela, the lost kingdoms of Thulamela and Mapungubwe, the Steve Biko Centre in King William's Town and the Liberation Heritage Route. Enjoy!

Poachers killed record number of rhinos in South Africa in 2014!

According to South Africa's Environmental Affairs Minister Edna Molewa, poachers killed a total of 1,215 rhinos for their horns in South Africa in 2014 - a 21% increase over the 1004 animals poached in 2013. A majority of the rhino, 827, were killed in Kruger National Park. A total of 386 alleged rhino poachers, couriers and poaching syndicate members have been arrested in 2014.

Minister Molewa also confirmed that South Africa has already lost 49 rhinos to illegal poaching since the beginning of 2015. The country is currently home to approximately 20,000 rhinos – more than 80% of the global population.

The Department of Environmental Affairs (DEA) is urging members of the public to report incidents of rhino poaching or any tip-offs to the anonymous tip-off lines 0800 205 005, 08600 10111 or Crime-Line on 32211.

21 January 2015

South Africa to get its first all-access Arrivals Lounge at OR Tambo International Airport in Johannesburg

OR Tambo International Airport in Johannesburg will soon be home to the first arrivals lounge in South Africa open to all travellers, regardless of airline or travel class. The Sesfikile Premium Arrivals Lounge, operated by Menzies Aviation, is set to open in April 2015. Visitors to the new lounge will have access to private bathrooms and showers, food and drinks and complimentary high-speed Wi-Fi. The Sesfikile Premium Arrivals Lounge will be situated adjacent to South African Airways' Arrivals Lounge and will be open to all arriving passengers as well as walk-in travellers for a fee of R350 per person.

20 January 2015

Malawi: New ferry launched on Lake Malawi!

The famous steel-riveted MV Ilala, which was in service on Lake Malawi since 1951, has been replaced by a brandnew ferry. The new vessel, named MV Chilembe, is 32 metres long and 7 metres wide, with two fixed-pitch propellers and two Caterpillar C32 TTA (WOSR) engines rating 2460 bkW (3300 bhp) power. It will carry 120 passengers and 20 tons of cargo, including food and medicines, at a maximum speed of 28 knots. The ferry's twice weekly schedule will call at the remote villages and islands in the north of Lake Malawi, and take only two hours to reach Likoma Island, a journey which previously took over seven hours. The MV Chilembe is operated by privately owned Malawi Shipping Company.

South Africa: CemAir to launch Johannesburg <> Bloemfontein flights!

Privately owned South African regional airline CemAir is set to launch scheduled services between its main hub at OR Tambo International Airport in Johannesburg and Bram Fischer Airport in Bloemfontein. From 23 February 2015 the airline will offer 11 return flights per week between the two destinations. Weekday flight times will suit the needs of mainly business travellers with a morning and evening return flight; an afternoon return flight will be offered on weekends. The route will be operated by a Bombardier CRJ aircraft and the flight time will be around 35 minutes. Flights will depart from and arrive at OR Tambo International Airport's Terminal B.

19 January 2015

Cape Town: Vanguard Drive renamed Jakes Gerwel Drive!

The City of Cape Town has renamed Vanguard Drive, a major arterial road passing through the Cape Flats, Jakes Gerwel Drive. Professor Jakes Gerwel (18 January 1946 – 28 November 2012) was a South African academic and anti-apartheid activist. He served as Director-General of the Presidency when Nelson Mandela was in office. Gerwel also chaired the Nelson Mandela Foundation and the Mandela Rhodes Foundation.

Free "Official Visitors Guide to the Kruger Lowveld 2015" out now!

Kruger Lowveld Tourism has published the annual "Official Visitors Guide to the Kruger Lowveld" for 2015. The region is located in the Mpumalanga Province and is bordered by the towns of Komatipoort in the east, Lydenburg/Mashishing in the west, Barberton in the south and Hoedspruit in the north. Other well-known towns and places of interest in the Kruger Lowveld include Sabie, Graskop, Pilgrim's Rest, Hazyview, Nelspruit/Mbombela, as well as the Kruger National Park, the Panorama Route and the Barberton Makhonjwa Geotrail. Enjoy!

16 January 2015

Kenya Airways to increase its Dreamliner operations between Nairobi <> Mumbai!

Kenya's flag carrier, Kenya Airways, is set to increase its Boeing 787-8 operations between Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (NBO) in Nairobi, Kenya, and Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport (BOM) in Mumbai, India. As from 15 August 2015, the airline will operate 11 weekly flights instead of 7 weekly flighs on board the Dreamliner between the two destinations.

South Africa: ACSA to enforce hand luggage regulations!

update (30 Jan 2015): Although other airline customers may take only 7kg on board as hand luggage, South Afircan Airways (SAA) has an exemption from South African Civil Aviation Authority (SACAA) which allows SAA customers to take cabin baggage weighing up to 8kg.

Airports Company South Africa (ACSA) will roll out a campaign from 02 Feb 2015 at all of its nine airports in South Africa to enforce hand luggage regulations. According to ACSA, the campaign will inform and educate passengers about the prescribed restrictions and the impact on travellers. The enforcement of this programme will be led by airlines operating at ACSA airports and supported by the airport authority.

The current allowance is:
  • One (1) bag plus one slimline laptop bag per economy class passenger
  • Two (2) bags plus slimline laptop bag per business/first class passenger
  • No bag should exceed these dimensions: 56cm + 36cm + 23cm (total dimensions of 115cm)
  • Weight limit per bag: 7kg
  • Passengers who exceed the hand baggage limits will be subject to the specific airline’s excess baggage rules
Note: The reference to a slimline laptop bag above refers to the bag size and thickness specifically designed to carry a laptop and charger, and does not include bags capable of carrying other items such as documents and clothes.

TAZARA: Train operations back to normal!

Following a ruling by the High Court of Tanzania, Labour Division, declaring the strike by the unionized workers of the Tanzania-Zambia Railway Authority in Tanzania as unlawful, the suspension of TAZARA's operations has been uplifted. All train operations have therefore resumed with immediate effect. The Court also ordered that the employees are permanently restrained from conducting illegal strikes in future.
In the meantime, TAZARA also managed to source funds to pay all the employees their salary arrears, which were a subject of the strike both in Zambia and in Tanzania. Workers in both countries have resumed work immediately.

15 January 2015

South Africa's most punctual domestic airlines in December 2014

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 December 2014.
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 December 2014 (airport target 87%)
  1. Airlink - 90.42% (November 85.34%) 
  2. British Airways Domestic - 87.93% (November 84.73%)
  3. South African Airways - 85.25% (November 85.11%) 
  4. FlySafair - 84.68% (November 84.68%)
  5. Kulula.com - 79.00% (November 77.40%)
  6. Mango - 77.32% (November 83.70%)
  7. SA Express - 72.87% (November 75.85%)
Cape Town International Airport - 15 Min on Time Performance December 2014 (airport target 90%)
  1. Airlink - 94.64% (November 94.64%) 
  2. SA Express - 92.87% (November 93.96%) 
  3. British Airways Domestic - 92.01% (November 89.56%) 
  4. South African Airways - 89.55% (November 86.73%)  
  5. Mango - 88.80% (November 90.71%) 
  6. FlySafair - 85.91% (November 85.91%)
  7. Kulula.com - 84.94% (November 86.08%)
King Shaka International Airport, Durban - 15 Min on Time Performance December 2014 (airport target 91%)
  1. SA Express - 89.92% (November 92.25%)
  2. South African Airways - 89.67% (November 88.81%) 
  3. Airlink - 84.10% (November 87.93%)
  4. Mango - 83.53% (November 87.71%) 
  5. British Airways Domestic - 82.99% (November 86.78%) 
  6. Kulula.com - 79.91% (November 81.11%)