22 August 2017

South Africa: New increased tariffs at Mpumalanga's Nature Reserves!

The Mpumalanga Tourism and Parks Agency (MTPA) has announced that it will increase entry and accommodation fees at its various nature reserves in Mpumalanga from 01 November 2017. These include the Blyde River Canyon Nature Reserve, Manyeleti Nature Reserve, Ohrigstad Nature Reserve, Andover Nature Reserve, Sterkspruit Nature Reserve, Songimvelo Nature Reserve, Nooitgedacht Dam Nature Reserve, Verloren Vallei Nature Reserve, Loskop Nature Reserve, Mabusa Nature Reserve, Mdala Nature Reserve, SS Skosana Nature Reserve and Mkhombo Dam Nature Reserve. All tarifs will be adjusted upwards by a small margin and continue to be charged in South African Rand (ZAR).

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The Mpumalanga Tourism & Parks Agency (MTPA) has the mandate of positioning Mpumalanga as the world class tourism destination through providing an integrated tourism and biodiversity conservation management system in order to stimulate sustainable economic growth in the province.

21 August 2017

Port Elizabeth: The Campanile has been reopened to the public!

One of Port Elizabeth's most visible skyline and audible heritage landmarks, the Campanile in Strand Street, has been reopened to the public after a R20-million facelift. The upgrades and renovations included the installation of an interactive visual-technology array dubbed "Ghost Bells", a new harbour viewing window, a special computerised, purpose-built, electro-mechanical bell ringing system for the tower's 17 ton bell carillon as well as a new reception area that will act as an information desk and several exhibition areas within the Campanile.



The Campanile (Italian for "bell tower") was built in 1920 to mark the centenary of the arrival of the 1820 settlers who came from Britain to help populate the frontier of the Eastern Cape. The 53.5m high tower has a climb of 204 steps that takes one to the Observation Room, offering a magnificent view of the harbor and surroundings. A silver plaque on the 67th step up the Campanile represents the start of the Route 67 - a public art urban meander dedicated to Nelson Mandela.


The Campanile in Port Elizabeth is open for tours to all members of the public and visitors between Monday and Friday from 09:00 to 16:00, Saturdays from 09:00 to 15:00.

Namibia to celebrate the "Namibian Heritage Week" in September 2017!

Namibia is celebrating the "Namibian Heritage Week" from 18 - 24 September 2017 to encourage Namibians to keep culture alive and to pass on inherited traditions and knowledge to our descendants. During that time, the citizens of Namibia will have free access to various heritage sites in the country, including:
rock engravings, Twyfelfontein, Namibia

South Africa: Kruger National Park to implement new ID control access

South African National Parks (SANParks) is currently implementing additional gate access control systems at the entrance gates in the southern part of Kruger National Park. As from 01 September 2017, all visitors who are 18 years old and above must produce a positive identity document for scanning in order to gain access. For non-South African visitors, they must produce passports but a South African driver's licence will also be acceptable. Visitors will still be required to go through their normal check-in or check-out at the gate receptions before proceeding to the security scanning process. 

Wild Dog, Kruger National Park, safari, South Africa

The new system, which applies to everybody including SANParks staff members, suppliers and other residents of
Kruger National Park, will assist with monitoring of people's movement who enter and exit the Park and will ensure that information related to any persons entering the Kruger National Park is centrally recorded and monitored.

Fastjet launches new route between Harare <> Lusaka!

Low cost-carrier fastjet is set to introduce a new route between Harare International Airport (HRE) in Harare, Zimbabwe, and Kenneth Kaunda International Airport (LUN) in Lusaka, Zambia, on 13 November 2017. The airline will operate two weekly flights on Mondays and Thursdays (HRE > LUN) and on Tuedays and Saturdays (LUN > HRE). The additional route is the fifth route in Zimbabwe for fastjet as the airline celebrates its second anniversary in the country and fifth brand birthday this year.

10 August 2017

Namibia plans to prosecute people posting trophy hunting photos on social media!

According to the Xinhua News Agency, the official press agency of the People's Republic of China, Namibia will start to prosecute people posting trophy hunting photos on social media once the new Protection Areas and Wildlife Management Bill passes into law. The news agency quotes Namibia's Environment and Tourism Minister Pohamba Shifeta saying at a press conference on 09 August 2017 "that people who kill wildlife, whether with a permit or not, and post photos on social media and boast will face the wrath of the law [...]". We'll keep you posted!

Namibia, Etosha National Park, Gemsbok, Impala, Zebra

09 August 2017

Fastjet temporarily suspended flights between Johannesburg <> Dar es Salaam!

Low cost-carrier Fastjet has temporarily suspended its service between OR Tambo International Airport (JNB) in Johannesburg and Julius Nyerere International Airport (DAR) in Dar es Salaam. According to tweets on twitter, the airline suspended the route due to operational changes and can't give a specific date as to when the service will resume. Thx Dr. Wolfgang H Thome @whthome!

 

South Africa's most punctual domestic airlines in July 2017!

Airports Company South Africa (ACSA) has published the on-time performance results of domestic airlines’ flying out of OR Tambo International Airport (JNB) in Johannesburg, Cape Town International Airport (CPT) in Cape Town and Durban's King Shaka International Airport (DUR) in July 2017.
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 (JNB), Johannesburg - 15 Min on Time Performance July 2017 (airport target 87%)
  1. FlySafair - 93.59% (June 97.91%)
  2. CemAir - 90.30% (June 88.86%)
  3. British Airways Domestic - 88.41% (June 90.76%)
  4. Airlink - 86.40% (June 88.58%)
  5. Kulula.com - 85.15% (June 91.79%)
  6. South African Airways - 80.83% (June 90.43%)
  7. Mango - 79.87% (June 88.56%)
  8. SA Express - 54.29% (June 65.51%)
  9. Fly Blue Crane Aviation - --.-- (June --.--%)
Cape Town International Airport (CPT) - 15 Min on Time Performance July 2017 (airport target 90%)
  1. CemAir - 98.11% (June 93.48%)
  2. FlySafair - 93.42% (June 95.87%)
  3. British Airways Domestic - 87.92% (June 89.31%)
  4. Airlink - 87.73% (June 88.13%)
  5. Kulula.com - 81.55% (June 88.34%)
  6. Mango - 80.38% (June 90.00%) 
  7. South African Airways - 80.29% (June 90.44%) 
  8. SA Express - 71.12% (June 82.30% 
  9. Fly Blue Crane Aviation - --.-- (June --.--%)
King Shaka International Airport (DUR), Durban - 15 Min on Time Performance July 2017 (airport target 91%)
  1. FlySafair - 96.27% (June 99.24%) 
  2. Airlink - 93.75% (June 94.12%)
  3. Kulula.com - 87.61% (June 93.26%)
  4. Mango - 87.05% (June 94.26%) 
  5. British Airways Domestic - 86.16% (June 93.00%) 
  6. South African Airways - 84.26% (June 93.23%)
  7. SA Express - 69.40% (June 75.62%)

08 August 2017

Namibia abolishes the concept of "daylight saving time" during winter!

update (09 Aug 2017): Namibia's current time is UTC+1. The time will change back to summer time (UTC+2) on 3 September 2017.

According to the Namibian Broadcasting Corporation (NBC), the National Assembly of Namibia has passed the new Namibia Time Bill and repealed the 1994 Namibia Time Act. This results in the abolution of daylight saving time (winter time) in Namibia and introduction of a countrywide year-round single standard time (UTC+2; South African Standard Time (SAST)). Until now, Namibia (except for the Zambezi Region) switched from UTC+2 to UTC+1 on the first Sunday of April and back to UTC+2 on the first Sunday on September.


iSimangaliso Wetland Park: uMkhuze section to close during the annual iSimangaliso MTB 4 Day!

The uMkhuze section of the iSimangaliso Wetland Park in KwaZulu-Natal will be closed to the public from the evening of 16 August 2017 to the morning of 18 August 2017 due to the annual iSimangaliso MTB 4 Day mountain biking event that takes place in the Park as well as in the surrounding conservation and adjacent community areas from 17 August to the 20 August 2017. The ride starts in the Park's uMkhuze section on 17 August 2017 and then proceeds via the Phinda Private Game Reserve, the False Bay section of the iSimangaliso Wetland Park, several private reserves and community lands to reach the Park's Western Shores on 19 August 2017 and the Park's Eastern Shores on 20 August 2017. The end point of the iSimangaliso MTB 4 Day is at the Sugarloaf campsite in the seaside resort of St Lucia.

07 August 2017

Air Mauritius to suspend flights to Maputo!

The flag carrier airline of Mauritius, Air Mauritius, is set to suspend its service to Maputo. The airline currently operates flights to Mozambique's capital as part of its service between Sir Seewoosagur Ramgoolam International Airport (MRU) on Mauritius and Durban's King Shaka International Airport (DUR). Effective 09 August 2017, Air Mauritius will replace the Mauritius > Maputo > Durban > Mauritius route with a direct Mauritius <> Durban route.

04 August 2017

Video: South Africa's West Coast National Park in 4K!

After watching this great film (in 4K!) about the West Coast National Park in South Africa's Western Cape by South African wildlife documentary film maker Robert Wedderburn, you will most definitely put the National Park on your ultimate bucket list of places to visit. West Coast National Park, located only 120km north of Cape Town and just inland from the secluded harbour of Saldanha, is best known for the colourful flower season annually between August and September and for its abundant bird life. Kudos Robert!

Kulula: New check-in times for local flights!

South African low-cost carrier Kulula has changed its check-in times. The flight check-in now closes 45 minutes (!) prior to departure. The airline recommends to make use of the online check-in on Kulula.com or the self-service kiosks at the airport and to hand bags in at the drop-off counters.
  • Check-in opens 90 mins before your flight and closes 45 minutes before take-off for local flights. For British Airways (operated by Comair) local and international flights, check-in closes 45 minutes prior to departure.
  • For international flights check-in opens 3 hours prior to your scheduled departure and closes 60 minutes before take-off. For British Airways (operated by Comair) flights, check-in closes 45 minutes prior to departure.

03 August 2017

Cape Town: The Flying Dutchman Funicular at Cape Point to close for upgrades!

update (21 Aug 2017): The Flying Dutchman Funicular will only be operational from Tuesday 22 August 2017.

The Flying Dutchman Funicular, located at Cape Point near the Cape of Good Hope, will be closed for upgrades from 07 - 20 August 2017. During this time, a shuttle will take visitors to and from the top station if they prefer not to hike. The Cape Point Winter special* is suspended during this time.

Shuttle rates are:

  • R50 for adult return tickets
  • R40 for adult single tickets
  • R20 each for scholar/pensioner return tickets
  • R15 for scholar/pensioner single tickets



*Two children ride free on the funicular with every adult return ticket purchased for R65. One child eats free at the Two Oceans Restaurant with every adult main meal ordered.

South Africa: SANParks staff back at work!

South African National Parks (SANParks) management has confirmed that all their employees who were on strike and are members of Health and Other Service Personnel Trade Union of South Africa (HOSPERSA) are back at their posts. HOSPERSA sent official correspondence to SANParks formally announcing the unconditional end of strike action by their members on Monday night (01 Aug 2017). 

South Africa, Kruger National Park, safari, Safari Open Vehicle, Kruger traffic

02 August 2017

Air Namibia & Ethiopian Airlines expanded their codeshare agreement!

According to aviation specialist Routes Online, Namibia's flag carrier, Air Namibia, and the flag carrier of Ethiopia, Ethiopian Airlines, have expanded their codeshare agreement. Since late-July 2017 (31 July 2017?) Ethiopan Airlines places its "ET"-code on the following routes operated by Air Namibia:

Airlink to increase flights between Cape Town <> Pretoria!

South African carrier Airlink will add new early morning and late afternoon flights to its daily Cape Town <> Pretoria service. The new flights will depart Mondays to Fridays from Cape Town International Airport (CPT) in Cape Town at 06:45 and will arrive at Wonderboom Airport (PRY) in Pretoria at 09:00. The afternoon return flight will depart from Pretoria at 17:30 and arrive in Cape Town at 20:00.
Pretoria's Wonderboom Airport, situated in the northern Pretoria area, is only 15km from the Pretoria CBD and Arcadia, and 22km from Hatfield.

01 August 2017

Maun: Nhabe Museum to reopen!

The Nhabe Museum in Maun, Botswana, is set to reopen in August 2017. The upgrade of the community museum was funded by a much-needed 1-million pula cash injection from the European Union and included the construction of a new auditorium, new office(s) as well as five studios for locals artists. The Nhabe Museum is located on Sir Seretse Khama Street close to Maun International Airport.

Namibia: Oranjemund opens to the public!

The Namibian town of Oranjemund, located on the northern bank of the Orange River mouth at the border to South Africa, is set to become a "normal" open town. According to the town council, which was only proclaimed in 2011, the public will be able to visit the town of Oranjemund without acquiring an access permit to enter from 14 October 2017. As of now, access to and settlement in the town is restricted to employees of Namdeb and their relatives. 



Oranjemund has been a closed privately owned town since it was established in 1936 by the then Consolidated Diamond Mines (CDM). The successor of CDM, Namdeb, owns almost all the infrastructure and property in the town and residents have been provided with free housing, water and electricity from the beginning till to date. This is going to change next month. Effective September 2017, residents of Oranjemund will have to pay for municipal services to support council development plans, as well as to normalise the operation of the town.