31 March 2015

Kruger National Park Calendar - May

  • autumn
  • warm to hot days
  • warm to rather cold evenings
  • occasional rain only

  • the bush starts drying out
  • landscape changes from green to yellow, orange and brown
  • the waterholes in the mopaneveld are drying out first
  • the baobab trees are dropping their last pods
Animal Activity:
  • Elephants begin migration into northern Kruger
  • game seeking for warmer areas
  • impala rut continues
  • wild dog breeding season

Kruger National Park: Gate quotas in force during the Easter weekend!

South African National Parks (SANParks) will stictly enforce gate quotas in Kruger National Park between 02 - 06 April 2015 (Easter). Day visitors are therefore advised to either arrive at the gate very early in the morning ("first come first served") or pre-book their entrance with SANParks' central reservations office in order to ensure that they gain access to the park in terms of their own plan and are not sent back at the gate. Day visitors who pre-book their visit are expected to pay a non-refundable deposit of R36 per adult and R18 per child to secure the space so that they can be counted in the number that makes a daily quota at that particular gate (booking lapses at 1300!).

In case the the gate quota has been reached, day visitors who did not pre-book with SANParks have the option to make use of the park and ride scheme available at Numbi Gate, Phabeni Gate and Paul Kruger Gate. The duration of such drives is 4 hours. The morning drives start at 07:00 and end at 11:00, while the afternoon drives start at 14:00 and end at 18:00 from each gate.
Kruger National Park has ten entrance gates: Pafuri Gate, Punda Maria Gate, Phalaborwa Gate, Giriyondo Gate, Orpen Gate, Paul Kruger Gate, Phabeni Gate, Numbi Gate, Malelane Gate and Crocodile Bridge Gate.  

Rwanda: Entrance fees at all museums in Rwanda to increase!

The Institute of National Museums of Rwanda (INMR) has announced that admission fees and other service charges at all museums in Rwanda are set to increase. Effective 01 April 2015, citizens of the East African Community (EAC) and of the Economic Community of the Great Lakes Countries (ECGLC) will have to pay RWF3,000, while foreign residents in Rwanda will have to pay RWF5,000/US$10 and non-residents RWF6,000/US$12). Entrance fees for Rwandans will remain at RWF1,000. A visit to President Paul Kagame's bunker during the liberation struggle, located in the National Liberation Museum Park-Mulindi, will cost RWF10,000. For more info click here!
All of Rwanda's museums are open every day from 08:00 – 18:00. On "Umuganda-day" (community work day), which is the last Saturday of every month, all museums open at 11:00. All museums are closed on 07 April.

28 March 2015

South Africa: St Helena air services to be provided by Comair!

update (17 June 2015): The official IATA code for St Helena Airport on St. Helena has been confirmed. The International Air Transport Association (IATA) has formally assigned HLE to the airport. Passengers flying to and from St Helena Airport will find the code HLE on their documentation, such as boarding passes and baggage labels.

The Government of Saint Helena (SHG) and the Department for International Development (DFID) yesterday (27 March 2015) announced that South African aviation company Comair Limited has been appointed the provider of air services to Saint Helena. The weekly Saturday service will be operated using a brand new, state of the art Boeing 737-800 type aircraft in a two class configuration (Business Class and Economy Class) with the flight time from Johannesburg to Saint Helena being approximately five hours.
The agreement with Comair Limited is for an initial term of three years from the date of the first flight, with the potential for up to two extensions of two years each - a maximum term of seven years.
Bookings will open for sale later this year (2015) subject to the conclusion of the required Government and regulatory approvals and obtaining the specific consents and licences associated with the terms of Air Service Agreement between the Government of Saint Helena (SHG) and Comair Limited.

Comair Limited operates scheduled services on domestic and regional routes in Southern Africa as a British Airways franchisee and also as a low-cost carrier under its own kulula.com brand.
Saint Helena Airport, which is currently under construction, is expected to open in 2016. For more info, click here!

27 March 2015

Zimbabwe: Victoria Falls to rename streets!

According to Bulawayo24.com, the city council of Victoria Falls has decided to rename Livingstone Way to Robert Mugabe Way and Park Way to Joshua Nkomo Way. The news website cites Victoria Falls' town clerk Christopher Dube saying that the matter would be finalised at the next full council meeting next month [April 2015] and that the proposal would be implemented after the meeting.

Fastjet to launch flights between Kilimanjaro (Tanzania) <> Entebbe (Uganda)

Tanzania-based low cost-airline Fastjet is set to introduce scheduled flights between Kilimanjaro International Airport (JRO), which serves the Tanzanian cities of Arusha and Moshi, and the principal international airport of Uganda, Entebbe International Airport (EBB) in Entebbe. From 31 March 2015 the airline will operate three weekly flights on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays between the two destinations.

26 March 2015

Johannesburg: Sandton to be (almost) car-free in October 2015!

update (30 Sept 2015): Traveller24.com has created a very useful map showing all roads affected by the EcoMobility World Festival 2015 in Sandton's CBD

update (10 Sept 2015): What will be different during the duration of the EcoMobility World Festival 2015 in the Sandton CBD?
Transport Management Plan

update (03 Sept 2015): Plans to close off Maude Street (between Rivonia and Fifth), West Street (between Rivonia and Fredman), Alice Lane and Gwen Lane private vehicles during the EcoMobility World Festival and Exhibition in Sandton (Johannesburg) in October 2015 have been dismissed, following an extensive process of public consultation to understand the freight, delivery and construction requirements.
  •  only one street in Sandton – West Street (between Maude Street and Fredman Drive) – will be closed to private vehicles during the EcoMobility World Festival and Exhibition
  • about 100m of West Street will become a dedicated pedestrian zone for EcoMobility
  • private cars will only be permitted to enter West Street via Rivonia Road. 
  • cars will be prohibited from entering Maude Street (between West and Fifth) and Alice Lane from West Street. 
  • motorists will have to drive down to Rivonia Road and enter via Fifth Street.
    Rivonia, Fifth and Fredman will form a transport loop surrounding the Eco-Mobility precinct. 
  • within this loop, one lane will be designated for public transport only and the other will be available to private cars.
  • officers of the Johannesburg Metro Police Department (JMPD) will be located at entry points onto Alice Lane, Maude Street (both ends), corner Rivonia and West, corner West and Maude, corner Maude and Gwen and corner West and Fredman
  • JMPD officers will ask commuters if they are based on the road they are trying to enter. If they are not, they will be asked to turn around, re-join the transport loop and reach their destination via the appropriate entry points.
  • several park-and-ride facilities will also be introduced to facilitate travellers commuting to Sandton from other parts of Johannesburg, including Brightwater Commons, Montecasino, Waterfall, Nicolway, Randburg Square and Morningside Glen. 
Johannesburg will be hosting the second EcoMobility World Festival and Exhibition from 01-31 October 2015. During the event, large sections of the Sandton CBD will be turned into an "EcoMobile neighbourhood" with certain road closed off for most private cars and the hosting of a range of activities where the focus will on bicycles and pedestrian activity. The roads affected will include Maude Street, West Street, Rivonia Road, Fredman Drive, Alice Lane and Gwen Lane.
The following roads have been proposed to be closed to all cars during the EcoMobility World Festival and Exhibition (update 10 April 2015):
  • West Street between Rivonia Road and Fredman Drive
  • Alice Drive between Fifth and West Street
  • Gwen Lane between Fredman Drive and Maude Street
  • Stella Street from West Street to its dead end

Johannesburg's objectives during the month-long EcoMobility World Festival and Exhibition are to:*
  • encourage behavioural changed by showing that car-free methods of transport – walking, cycling and public transport – are achievable and have many positive impacts on commuters and the environment;
  • envisage the future by showing what the Sandton CBD and surrounding areas will look like once alternative transport infrastructure has been introduced;
  • contribute to making Johannesburg a cycling-friendly city through profiling dedicated cycling lanes and leisure events such as the Freedom Ride between Sandton and Alexandra;
  • create awareness about the positive contribution that sustainable transport can make to mitigate climate change and create a future for coming generations; and
  • showcase Johannesburg's initiatives to promote clean, sustainable transport and reduce harmful carbon emissions.
*via City of Johannesburg website (www.joburg.org.za)

The EcoMobility World Festival and Exhibition is a global event hosted in a major international city. The first festival was organised in partnership with Local Governments for Sustainability (ICLEI) and was held in Suwon (South Korea) in 2013.

Kenya: Jambojet to introduce flights to Lamu, Malindi & Ukunda!

Kenyan low cost carrier Jambojet, a subsidiary of Kenya Airways, is set to introduce flights from Nairobi's Jomo Kenyatta International Airport to three new destinations in the country’s coastal region, namely Lamu, Malindi and Ukunda, on 28 March 2015. The airline has chartered one Bombardier Q400 turboprop aircraft from DAC Aviation to service the new routes. This type of aircraft is capable of operating at shorter runways and is behaving like a jet aircraft in terms of speed and comfort.

25 March 2015

Rwanda: Rwandair to resume flights to Kamembe International Airport in July 2015!

update (02 June 2015): According to the Rwanda News Agency, Rwandair will resume flights to Kamembe International Airport (KME) on 15 June 2015. Rehabilitation works on the runway have been completed; all that is remaining are the markings. The flights will be operated by a dual class Bombardier Q400NextGen aircraft from Monday to Saturday departing at 13:20 from Kigali International Airport (KGL) in Kigali and returning 15:00 from Kamembe International Airport (KME).

update (08 May 2015)
: So far, 50% of the work at the runway of the Kamembe International Airport (KME) has been done with the rest of the project expected to be completed by the end of July 2015.

The flag carrier airline of Rwanda, Rwandair, has announced that its daily flights to and from Kamembe International Airport (KME) will resume in early July 2015. According to the Rwanda Civil Aviation Authority (RCAA), the extension and re-surfacing of the airport's runway is expected to be completed on schedule by the end of June 2015.
Kamembe International Airport (KME) is located near Cyangugu in Western Rwanda. The airport is a popular gateway for travellers intending to visit the Nyungwe Forest National Park, as well as for all hikers planing to hike along the famous Congo Nile Trail.

Free poster download: "The Dangerous Snakes of the Lowveld"!

Herpetologist Johan Marais, author of "A Complete Guide to Snakes of Southern Africa" (available in South Africa via kalahari.net), has published a new poster about the dangerous snakes of the Lowveld. The poster is available as a free download in high resolution and is designed to be printed in A3 (or A4). To download the poster click here (pdf, 6mb) or here (jpg, 98kb)! Kudos & many thanks, Johan!

via africansnakebiteinstitute.com. KUDOS!

The Lowveld is located in South Africa's 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.

23 March 2015

Qatar Airways to launch flights to Zanzibar (Tanzania)!

The flag carrier of Qatar, Qatar Airways, has announced that it will launch flights to the island of Zanzibar in Tanzania on 01 July 2015. The new five-times-a-week flight will be operated via Kilimanjaro International Airport (JRO), which serves the cities of Arusha and Moshi in northern Tanzania. The current Kilimanjaro flights, which are currently served by Qatar Airways via Julius Nyerere International Airport (DAR) in Dar Es Salaam, will be made non-stop from Hamad International Airport (DOH) in Doha to Kilimanjaro commencing 01 July 2015, with return flights from Kilimanjaro to Doha served via Zanzibar's Abeid Amani Karume International Airport (ZNZ).
Zanzibar will be Qatar Airways' third gateway in Tanzania after Dar Es Salaam and Kilimanjaro.

20 March 2015

Proflight Zambia and Rwandair sign codeshare agreement!

The operator of the largest fleet of aircraft in Zambia, Proflight Zambia, and Rwanda's flag carrier, Rwandair, have signed a codeshare agreement on the Lusaka <> Johannesburg route. Under the agreement, which will start on 27 March 2015, Rwandair will be the operating carrier while Proflight Zambia will handle the marketing part.
The flights between Lusaka and Johannesburg will be operated on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, departing Lusaka at 21:50 and arriving in Johannesburg at 23:50. Returning flights from Johannesburg will be at 07:15 and arriving in Lusaka at 09:15. Rwandair will operate a Boeing 737-800 Next Generation dual class aircraft on the route.

South Africa: SA Express to launch Pilanesberg services!

South African carrier SA Express is set to introduce scheduled services between OR Tambo International Airport (JNB) in Johannesburg and Pilanesberg International Airport (NTY), located adjacent to the Pilanesberg Game Reserve, as well as between Cape Town International Airport (CPT) in Cape Town and Pilanesberg. From 01 April 2015 the airline will operate three weekly flights on board a 50-seater CRJ 200 between Johannesburg and Pilanesberg and two weekly flights per week between Cape Town and Pilanesberg.

FlyAfrica to introduce second daily flight Johannesburg <> Harare!

Low-cost carrier FlyAfrica.com is set to introduce a second daily service between OR Tambo International Airport (JNB) in Johannesburg, and Harare International Airport (HRE) in Harare, Zimbabwe, on 30 March 2015. The new flight will depart Johannesburg at 16:00 daily, arriving in Harare at 17:35. The return flight departs Harare daily at 18:05 and arrives in Johannesburg at 19:40.

17 March 2015

Comair Limited appointed preferred bidder for the provision of air services to Saint Helena!

update (28 March 2015): South Africa: St Helena air services to be provided by Comair! [more]

The Government of Saint Helena has announced that South African aviation company Comair Limited has been appointed the preferred bidder for the provision of air services to Saint Helena. The airline is proposing a weekly flight between OR Tambo International Airport in Johannesburg and Saint Helena using a Boeing 737-800 aircraft. The flight time from between the two destinations will be about four and a half hours.
Comair Limited operates scheduled services on domestic and regional routes in Southern Africa as a British Airways franchisee and also as a low-cost carrier under its own kulula.com brand.
The Government of Saint Helena (SHG) and the Department for International Development (DFID) will be holding detailed discussions with Comair Limited over the next few weeks and will make a formal and more detailed announcement once these have been concluded. We'll keep you posted!

Saint Helena Airport, which is currently under construction, is expected to open in late 2015. For more info, click here!

16 March 2015

Flyafrica postpones flights to Namibia and Zambia!

Low cost carrier FlyAfrica.com has announced that it is still awaiting final government approval for flights to Namibia and Zambia. The airline has therefore cancelled all flights to Windhoek for six weeks from now. FlyAfrica.com offers passengers affected by the cancelation either a full refund or to issue a travel voucher for future flight on FlyAfrica.com at twice the base air fare value paid.
FlyAfrica.com also planned to launch flights between Johannesburg and Lusaka im Zambia, using fifth freedom rights between South Africa and Namibia. This process will also now be affected.

Kirstenbosch: Centenary Tree Canopy Walkway voted "Most Beautiful Object in South Africa"!

The Centenary Tree Canopy Walkway at Kirstenbosch National Botanical Gardens in Cape Town has been voted the Most Beautiful Object in South Africa (MBOISA) at Design Indaba Expo 2015. The walkway, designed by Mark Thomas and Henry Fagan, was the public's choice among the 12 nominated works in this year's competition.
The 130 m long walkway is commonly known as the Boomslang. It takes the visitor from the forest floor into and through the trees and bursts out above the canopy, giving spectacular panoramic vistas of the surrounding mountains, the Kirstenbosch National Botanical Gardens and Cape Flats. There is no additional fee to walk on the Boomslang, other than the normal Garden entry fee.

The Centenary Tree Canopy Walkway was built in 2013-14 to celebrate the centenary of the Kirstenbosch National Botanical Gardens in 2013, and opened to the public on 17 May 2014.