29 April 2011

Kruger National Park Calendar - June

  • days usually warm, sometimes hot
  • generally wind free
  • cold evenings
  • rarely rain falls
  • between 9°C - 26°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

  • most pans and vleis dry up
  • bush thins out
  • grasslands begin receding
  • umbrella acacia pods twirl out
Animal Activity:
  • large elephant populations in northern Kruger
  • animals concentrate around reliable water sources
  • predators very active around reliable water sources

Kumuka's Royal Celebration 25% OFF Sale (29 April - 01 May 2011)

Are you tired of the usual wedding souvenirs and memorabilia? Are cushion covers, coffee mugs and commemorative coins not your cup of tea?

To celebrate the Royal wedding Kumuka are offering a fantastic 25% discount on it's tours!

All you need to do to take advantage of this great offer is to book your tour in British Pounds. Book online at www.kumuka.com!

You simply need to:
  • Select GBP£ as your currency
  • Use the promotional code ROYAL when booking
  • Book between 29 Apr 2011 - 01 May 2011
Hurry - This offer ends 01 May 2011!

Terms & Conditions:
1. Tours must be booked and paid in full. 2. Offer ends 01 May April 2011 but can be withdrawn at any time at the discretion of Kumuka Worldwide - Book now to avoid disappointment. 3. Some tours are excluded. Check the individual tour page on www.kumuka.com or contact Kumuka or your Travel Agent for further details. 4. Kumuka guarantees no currency surcharges to the tour price once full payment of the tour price is received. 5. Offer applies to new bookings only. 6. Offer excludes tours booked using Kumuka Payment Plan. 7. Offer applies to prices displayed on the Kumuka website or in 2011-12 brochures only. Note: discounted price will show automatically next to departure date on www.kumuka.com if tour is eligible for offer. 8. Offer applies to bookings made in GBP only.

Tshwane to become largest city in South Africa

The City of Tshwane will become the largest metropolitan municipality in the country after the 18 May local government elections when it incorporates the Metsweding District Municipality.
This was confirmed by the city's Executive Mayor, Kgosientso Ramokgopa when presenting his first budget speech and the Medium-Term Revenue and Expenditure Framework (MTREF) for the 2011/12,2012/13 and 2013/14 financial years on Thursday.
"When Metsweding with its local municipalities, Nokeng tsa Taemane and Kungwini become part of the city, the new City of Tshwane will become the largest metropolitan municipality in South Africa, comprising of an area of 6 368km² and a population of just over 2.5 million."

He said this formed part of the proposed amendments of borders by the Gauteng Provincial Government, which will lead to the disestablishment of the Metsweding District Municipality.
This will also make the City of Tshwane the third largest city in the world in terms of land mass, after New York and Yokohama in Tokyo. The reconfigured Tshwane will also move from the current five regions and 76 wards to seven regions and 105 wards.
The mayor said the incorporation would also provide the city with new opportunities to diversify its revenue base. "The new areas will bring in valuable resources such as vast tracts of vacant, undeveloped, agricultural or farming communities, mining enterprises, eco-tourism, forestry and fishing."
The city will become the successor-in-law of all the Metsweding resources, assets, liabilities, rights, obligations and titles and all the administrative and other records.
In terms of the border amendments, the 2010/11 budget of Metsweding municipality remains in force until 30 June this year.
"The budget that we are presenting today is for the entire area of the new City of Tshwane," said the mayor. The total budget over the medium term is R66.3 billion, constituted by R19.06 billion for the 2011/12, R22.16 billion for the 2012/13 and R24.9 billion for 2013/14.
The total revenue increased by 16.3 percent against the 2010/11 adjustment budget and by 18.9 percent against the 2010/11 approved budget.
According to Ramokgopa the operating expenditure for the medium- term equates to R60.6 billion which will be a tool to consolidate service delivery and accelerate job creation. (via BuaNews)

Zimbabwe to introduce an extra user charge on all flights from 01 May 2011

update (09 May 2011): The Civil Aviation Authority of Zimbabwe (CAAZ) has postponed the introduction the proposed new levy for domestic and international travelers at the country’s airports citing logistical and administrative challenges.

The Civil Aviation Authority of Zimbabwe (CAAZ) is set to introduce an extra user charge for all flights in Zimbabwe from 01 May 2011. Passengers on domestic flights will be charged US$10 and international departing passengers will be charged US$30 per flight.
Passengers also pay US$35 and US$10 per head as a service fee for international and domestic routes respectively. These current passenger service fees are normal operating charges for services rendered to travellers from the time they enter the airport until they get into the aircraft.
According to CAAZ the new user charge is inevitable as the authority needs to raise at least US$400 million over the next 10 years for the redevelopment of the country’s airports.

Three South African & three Kenyan hotels in the Condé Nast Traveller Hot List 2011

The prestigious Condé Nast Traveller Hot List has listed six properties located in South Africa & Kenya for 2011.

South Africa:
POD Hotel Camps Bay, Cape Town
Delaire Graff Estate, Stellenbosch Cape Winelands
Babylonstoren, Cape Winelands

Solio Lodge, Laikipia, between the Aberdares & Mount Kenya
The Red Pepper House, Lamu
Sankara Hotel, Nairobi

Condé Nast Traveller Hot List 2011 comprises the 65 hottest new hotels as selected by more than 25,000 Condé Nast Traveler readers.

28 April 2011

South Africa: Sosholoza Meyl train service almost back to normal

What happend in August 2010? Due to a financial dispute and a dispute over certain maintenance certifications for the trains between the newly-established Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa (Prasa), which is now running South Africa's Shosholoza Meyl long-distance train service and Premier Classe, and Transnet, which used to operate the trains, all Shosholoza Meyl tourist & economy trains and all Premier Classe trains were cancelled untill further notice. Some trains were reinstated in September/October 2010, and a full but revised train service was reinstated from 1 December 2010 onwards.

Current situation in April 2011: A new permanent timetable for the Shosholoza-Meyl service was implemented from 01 Dec 2010 (also valid for 2011), but there have already been certain temporary changes. If you are looking for the current timetable, visit www.shosholoza-meyl.co.za. There you can find regulary updated timetables and additional info, including fares, booking etc., regarding the train service. The official website of the Shosholoza-Meyl service (old > Spoornet/Transnet) seems currently no to be kept updated very well or might even be offline.
The Premier Classe services Cape Town <> Johannesburg and Durban <> Johannesburg are running, all other services, such as Cape Town <> Port Elizabeth, Cape Town <> George, Port Elizabeth <> George and Johannesburg <> Hoedspruit, are currently discontinued. Up-to-date info on the service can be found on www.shosholoza-meyl.co.za.

Kumuka late deals in Africa in May & June 2011

Looking for (overland) tours in Southern & Eastern Africa in May & June 2011? Check Kumuka's late deals for some great discounts!

The East Africa Express
22 Days - Departs: 26 Jun 11
Countries Visited: Zimbabwe - Zambia - Malawi - Tanzania - Kenya
WAS €1,945 | NOW €1,556 | SAVE €389 (20%)

Desert, Delta & Falls
15 Days - Departs: 11 Jun 11
Countries Visited: Namibia - Botswana - Zimbabwe
WAS €1,095 | NOW €931 | SAVE €164 (15%)

Okavango Express
7 Days - Departs: 15 May 11
Countries Visited: Botswana - Zimbabwe - South Africa
WAS €625 | NOW €469 | SAVE €156 (25%)

The Southern Star
21 Days - Departs: 05 Jun 11
Countries Visited: South Africa - Namibia - Botswana - Zimbabwe
WAS €1,470 | NOW €1,250 | SAVE €220 (15%) 

Cape, Canyons & Dunes
9 Days - Departs: 05 Jun 11
Countries Visited: South Africa - Namibia
WAS €535 | NOW €455 | SAVE €80 (15%)

Video: Wild Botswana (10min)

The world's largest inland delta, the Okavango Delta in Botswana, is home to estimated 200,000 large mammal. But not all of them are year round residents - most of the mammal leave with the summer rains to find new fields of grass to graze on and trees to browse, then make their way back as winter approaches and the Delta fills up again.

The Okavango Delta is produced by seasonal flooding, which peaks during Botswana's dry winter months June and August. The delta then swells to about three times its permanent size, attracts animals from kilometres around and creates one of Africa’s greatest concentrations of wildlife. Kudos Peter Ribton for the video!

27 April 2011

Gap Adventures' last minute deals - Africa tours in June 2011

Are you travelling in the next 2 months and haven't yet booked? Great news - GAP Adventures have some great last minute deals currently offered at up to 25%. Please note these trips can change day to day without notice, so don't delay!

Kenya Lodge Safari - SAVE 10%
Country: Kenya    
Duration: 8 days
Departure: Sun Jun. 19, 2011
WAS: €2059 - NOW: €1854 EUR

South Africa Discoverer - SAVE 20%
Country: South Africa
Duration: 10 days
Departure: Tue Jun. 7, 2011
WAS: €839 - NOW: €672 EUR

Tanzania Wildlife Experience - SAVE 15%
Country: Tanzania
Duration: 7 days
Departure: Mon Jun. 6, 2011
WAS: €1409 - NOW: €1198 EUR

Bungee jumping off the Victoria Falls Railway Bridge

The bungee jump off the Victoria Falls Railway Bridge in the no-mans land between the borders of Zimbabwe and Zambia is probably one of the most popular jumps in the world. With the Victoria Falls as a backdrop it is a simply great place to test the boundaries of fear and experience the true sense of safe recklessness as one plummets 111m towards the Zambezi River.

Namibia wants to attract over 1 Mio. foreign tourists in 2011

Namibia's Minister of Environment and Tourism, Netumbo Nandi-Ndaitwah told the media during her budget statement for the financial year 2011-12 that Namibia is expected to attract over one million international tourists in 2011. The tourists will, according to her, generate about N$5,5 billion for the tourism industry.
The direct contribution of travel and tourism to the gross domestic product (GDP) is expected to be N$3,8 billion in 2011 (about 4,7% of the GDP), while the total contribution of travel and tourism to the GDP is expected to be N$16,2 billion in 2011 (about 19,9% of the GDP).
The Minister furthermore said that the tourism industry is forecast to rise by 8,8%/year to N$37,9 billion by 2021 and that by the same year international tourist arrivals are forecast to be 1,7 million, representing an increase of 5,1%/year.

The reasons for her quite optimistic predictions are:
Good luck, Namibia!

26 April 2011

South African Airways applies to allow cell phones in "flight mode" during flights

South Africa's flag carrier South African Airways has applied to the country's Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) to lift the ban on cellphone use during flights. In case the CAA scraps the in-flight ban, passengers will be allowed to use their phones in "flight mode" or "airplane mode", but will not be allowed to make actual phone calls during the flight.
A CAA spokesperson was quoted saying that the CAA received the airline’s programme in early April 2011 and that the Authority is currently reviewing it. As soon as the review is complete, SAA will be able to start the testing phase to investigate which cellphone models can be used in-flight.
Comair, operator of British Airways and kulula.com flights in South Africa, will also apply for the same exemption, if South African Airways is successful.

South Africa: tourist arrival growth in January 2011

Statistics South Africa (Stats SA) has released the arrival statistics for January 2011 and, despite all rumours, the statistics are showing a growth in tourist arrivals in South Africa.
Total arrivals for the period grew by 9,3% from 729056 to 796526, with overseas arrivals accounting for 179493 of the total, a 7% increase from the January 2010 total of 167706.

The top 10 overseas source markets for January 2011:
  1. UK - 7,6% from 42246 to 39041
  2. Germany + 12,3% from 18987 to 21313
  3. US + 10,8% from 15963 to 17685
  4. The Netherlands - 4,4% from 10882 to 10400
  5. France + 6,2% from 8506 to 9036
  6. Australia + 32,1% from 6469 to 8544
  7. India + 62% from 3961 to 6415
  8. Sweden + 5,9% from 4997 to 5292
  9. China + 33,1% from 3733 to 4968
  10. Canada + 9,9% from 4103 to 4508

21 April 2011

Surfing New Pier, Durban, at a random day in April 2011

Durban became South Africa's surf centre over the years because of the great surf spots, the high density of surfers and, of course, the great year round climate. New Pier, located close to the famous Dairy Beach, is known to be one of the best surf spots in Durbs and is therefore pretty crowded and, as a matter of fact, very competative. Have a look yourself...

South Africa: One rhino killed per day so far in 2011

The latest figures from South African National Parks (SANParks) are showing that the country continues to lose rhino at a rate of around one per day. The latest figures show that just over 130 rhino were killed across South Africa in less than four months. During that time 72 suspects were arrested, 13 of whom were killed and six wounded.
The 130 killed rhino represent nearly 40 percent of the 333 rhino killed by poachers in 2010 in South Africa.

South Africa: Mpumalanga borders open 24hrs for Easter weekend

As of 20 April, the border posts between South Africa, Mozambique and Swaziland will operate 24 hours a day in a bid to ease traffic congestion ahead of the upcoming Easter weekend.

View  Mpumalanga borders open 24hrs for Easter weekend in a larger map

Extra hours and additional staff would be added at the Lebombo border post into Mozambique and the Oshoek border post into Swaziland until 4 May. All the other ports of entry will extend their operational hours which will be from their normal operational times and extend to close at 12 midnight from 21 April to 2 May.

20 April 2011

Air Namibia's ground personnel to strike from 21 April 2011

update (26 April 2011): John Kwedhi, general secretary of the Namibia Transport and Allied Workers Union (Natau), confirmed on Thursday (21 April 2011) that an agreement was reached with the airline shortly before 272 ground staff were set to stop work.

update II (21 April 2011): According to Tourbrief, the ground crew of Air Namibia at Windhoek's Hosea Kutako International Airport is not on strike. According to other reports, negotiations were still ongoing last night, and the Namibian Minister of Finance, Saara Kuugongelwa-Amadhila, was consulted during the negotiations. 

update (21 April 2011): The Air Namibia management and the Namibia Transport and Allied Workers Union (Natau) were engaged in last-minute negotiations to stave off a strike that was planned to begin last night. By yesterday (20 April 2011) afternoon it was not clear whether the strike would go ahead as planned or be called off if the parties reached an agreement. The general secretary of Natau could confirm, however, that an “overwhelming” majority of union members voted for a strike in order to force the airline’s hand. We'll keep you posted!

According to The Namibian, Air Namibia's ground personnel will down tools on 21 April 2011 following a wage negotiations stalemate. The strike action might start at 00:00. In return Air Namibia told the Namibia Transport and Allied Workers Union (Natau), acting on behalf of disgruntled Air Namibia staff, that it will approach the High Court for an urgent interdict.
Romeo Sinkala, Air Namibia's acting head of corporate communications, told the media that the airline is "unable to comment at the moment".
For more information on the status of flights, contact the Air Namibia's regional offices!

Video: The amazing night sky over the Kalahari desert

The music might be a little too 90ies, but the views in the video are simply amazing as it shows you the incredible night sky over the Kalahari desert in Namibia shot in May 2010.

The video was made at Tivoli Southern Sky Guest Farm, a guest farm specialised in "astro tourism". The farm is situated in a very flat environment about 180 km southeast of Windhoek and provides their guests with all kinds of astronomic equipment, such as telescopes from 80-500mm. It seems to be the perfect spot for all star-gazers...

19 April 2011

Table Mountain: Free Cableway rides for children between 01 May - 30 Oct 2011

Cape Town's Table Mountain Cableway is offering free tickets for (two) children under 18 years when accompanied by a full-paying adult (adult return ticket) on weekends, public holidays and during the school holidays. The offer is valid during the so-called Kidz Season, which kicks off on Sunday, 01 May 2011 and ends on Sunday, 30 Oct 2011.
All children will also be given a treasure hunt map and a Kidz Season armband on arrival. Kids can win fun prizes when using the treasure hunt map, and will also receive a 10% discount on specially marked items at The Shop at the Top when they show off their Kidz Season armband. 

The Cableway’s Kidz Season ticket price is R180 per adult return ticket and includes two children under 18 years travelling free (normal child rate R90) over weekends, public and school holidays. Valid on return fares only.

S.Pellegrino World’s Best Restaurant 2011 - Franschhoek’s Le Quartier Francais named the Best in Africa

Organised by Restaurant magazine, the S.Pellegrino World's 50 Best Restaurants list is an annual snapshot of the opinions and experiences of over 800 international restaurant industry experts.
Danish restaurant Noma is named as the S.Pellegrino World’s Best Restaurant 2011 in the annual list of the S.Pellegrino World's 50 Best Restaurants . For the second consecutive year Rene Redzepi’s restaurant topped the voting in the annual awards – widely considered to be the ‘Oscars’ of the restaurant world - reflecting the continued excitement around its unique treatment of local and regional ingredients.
For the second time, the Best Restaurant in Africa is named as Franschhoek’s Le Quartier Francais and is at number 36 on this year’s list. A regular name on the list for many years now, its head chef, Dutchwoman Margot Janse is well known for her use of local ingredients such as Wildebeest, Franschhoek Trout or Ganzvlei Vastrap Cheddar.
Rust en Vrede in Stellenbosch became 61th in the 2011 world wide ranking, while South Africa's third Top100 restaurant La Colombe in Cape Town became 82th.

18 April 2011

Daphne Sheldrick's Elephant Orphanage in Nairobi, Kenya

Daphne Sheldrick is a Kenyan author and conservationist. Daphne and her team have been raising and reintegrating orphaned elephants into the wild for over 30 years. Her Elephant Orphanage is located in the Nairobi Game Park in Nairobi, Kenya. It was originally started by Daphne's husband David Sheldrick, and the work was taken over by her after his death. The park itself is too small to sustain any adult elephants, but they take in orphaned baby elephants from all over Kenya. Having completed their two milk dependent years, these orphans, along with the human family of keepers who replace the lost elephant family, grow up in the Tsavo National Park, where they mingle freely and at will with the wild herds and eventually become fully integrated back into the wild community.

Kumuka: Win an Arctic Cruise

Kumuka are giving away 2 Arctic cruises! This is the trip of a lifetime. The lucky winners will explore the breathtaking landscapes of Spitsbergen (Norway) where they will have the chance to observe magnificent wildlife including polar bears, harp seals, walrus, reindeer, puffins and the elusive Arctic fox. Entries close 31 May 2011.

How to enter
  1. Play the movie below and listen to the 3 Arctic animal sounds
  2. Go to www.facebook.com/kumuka and like us (if you don't already)
  3. Tell us what you think the animals are and why you should win a tour to see them - It's easy!
Hint: The animals are mentioned on the Arctic tour webpages (links below). This should help narrow it down.

Good Luck! Play the movie below to hear the Arctic animal sounds.

The Prizes

North Spitsbergen
Duration: 8 Days
Start/Finish: Longyearbyen, Norway
What's Included: All Meals Throughout the Voyage, including Snacks, Tea and Coffee • All Shore Excursions and Activities Throughout the Voyage by Zodiac Landing Craft • Program of Lectures by Professional Naturalists • Leadership by Experienced Expedition Staff • All Miscellaneous Service Taxes and Port Charges

North or Around Spitsbergen

Duration: 10 Days
Start/Finish: Longyearbyen, Norway
What's Included: All Meals Throughout the Voyage, including Snacks, Tea and Coffee • All Shore Excursions and Activities Throughout the Voyage by Zodiac Landing Craft • Program of Lectures by Professional Naturalists • Leadership by Experienced Expedition Staff • All Miscellaneous Service Taxes and Port Charges

Gulf Air to launch services to Nairobi, Kenya

Gulf Air, the national carrier of the Kingdom of Bahrain today announced the launch of services to Nairobi, the capital of Kenya from 5th July with four flights per week.
Gulf Air will be operating an Airbus A320 in a two-class configuration of 16 seats in Falcon Gold and 120 in Economy, and has the capacity to carry 4 tons of freight to Nairobi. Flights to Nairobi are subject to the required clearances being obtained.

Gulf Air operates scheduled services to more than 40 destinations in 30 countries across Africa, Asia and Europe. Its main base is Bahrain International Airport. The airline is part of the Oneworld global airline alliance. It has extensive codeshare agreements with other airlines.

Video: Juggling around the world

You all probably remeber Dancing Matt, who became an internet celebrity some years ago for his videos that show him dancing in front of landmarks and street scenes in various locations around the World. Luke Burrage, a juggler and entertainer, does pretty much the same thing. He travels the world and he also films himself in various places around the world. But he is not dancing, he is juggling.

15 April 2011

Port Elizabeth named as new host of South Africa's HSBC Sevens World Series event

Port Elizabeth in South Africa's Eastern Cape province will host the South African leg of the HSBC Sevens World Series for the next five years, after coming out as clear winners in a competitive tendering process.
The announcement was made by the South African Rugby Union (SARU) in Cape Town on th 13 April 2011 after the recommendation of a tender committee was accepted by the SARU Executive Council.

The inaugural Port Elizabeth event will be hosted at the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium in early December this year. The International Rugby Board will confirm the dates of the Port Elizabeth event as well as of the rest of the HSBC Sevens World Series for 2011/12 in due course.
The Outeniqua Park in George played host to the popular event for the first time in 2002 and went on to stage the tournament for nine consecutive years
The HSBC Sevens World Series is a series of international rugby union sevens tournaments. The tournaments, run by the IRB, feature national sevens teams.
Teams compete for the Sevens World Series title by accumulating points based on their finishing position in each tournament. Each season's circuit currently consists of eight tournaments in seven countries, and visits five of the six populated continents. South Africa, Australia; New Zealand, United States, Hong Kong, The United Arab Emirates, England and Scotland each host one tournament.

14 April 2011

Win a trip to any 7 cities with HostelBookers

HostelBookers, the budget accommodation specialist, is celebrating its 7th birthday by giving customers the opportunity to win a trip for two to 7 cities of their choice plus £1,000 each to cover travel expenses.

The prize is seven 3-night stays for two people in any 7 cities in which HostelBookers has availability. The winner can choose to book consecutive nights away, or alternatively, plan a number of weekend breaks. To enter, participants need to answer a simple question about HostelBookers’ Awards for Excellence 2011 and submit their email address to be in with a chance of winning.

The competition will run from 13th April 2011 to 15th of May 2011. The lucky winner will be drawn at random by the judges on the 20th May 2011.

David Smith, COO at HostelBookers, states: ““We are proud of how far we have come in the last 7 years, and are determined in our aim to be the number one budget accommodation provider in the world. It is the perfect time to celebrate with such a big competition, as it allows us to thank our customers new and old who recognise that HostelBookers is the best website for cheaper accommodation.”

For more information about how to enter the competition and full terms and conditions please click here http://www.hostelbookers.com/7-cities

South Africa: Five star grapes in a no-star location

Cape Town's The Township Winery was founded by Kate Jambela, who is known as "wine's most radical entrepeneur". In the video Kate talks about her life, her passions, and how she hatched the idea to make one of South Africa's top Sauvignon Blancs in the heart of the Cape Town's Philippi Township.

What a great Initiative she started! And the good news is that, according to Virgin Wines, "this wine is great value for money and, on quality alone, is sure to become a proper icon of the Cape".

Kenya visa to return to $50/person from 01 July 2011

Kenya decreased visa costs for tourist from $50/person to $25/person back in in April 2009 as an incentive for more tourists to visit the country. It was originally planned to revert to charging visitors $50 by January 2011. The Kenyan government changed plans again in February 2011 and kept the fees for a tourist visa at US$25 per person.
Kenya will now finally return to the $50/person visa fee effective 01st July 2011.

13 April 2011

Botswana: Unions targeting border posts during strike over Easter holidays

update (17 June 2011): Botswana's government Wednesday threatened to fire public workers who failed to return to the job after their two-month strike was called off this week, but the director of public service management, Festinah Bakwena, could not say how many workers had failed to report for duty.
The government has already fired about 3,000 health workers who ignored a court order to return to the job. Unions have demanded their reinstatement, but government has agreed only to consider their applications if they apply for their job again.
update: GabzFM from Gaborone is reporting about various student protests in Kanye (Seepapitso Senior) and in Good Hope.
According to GabzFM's tweets, students of Seepapitso Senior in Kanye have clashed with the police after the school caught fire which is believed to have been started by the students.

update (16 June 2011): More than 200 workers protested on Monday (13 June 2011) in the capital Gaborone against their union's (Botswana Federation of Public Sector Union) decision to suspend the strike. A similar protest was reported in the second city of Francistown. Striking public service workers in Francistown have vehemently opposed their leadership to suspend the strike until a special congress decides otherwise. No protests were reported on Tuesday and public services appeared to have returned to normal.
Botswana's government on Wednesday (15 June 2011) threatened to fire public workers who failed to return to the job after their two-month strike was called off this week. Botswana's central bank Governor Linah Mohohlo told the media: "We do not want to talk about the effects of the strike as yet but definitely it will impact on the growth of the economy this year. This might reverse the gains of economic recovery recorded so far."

update (15 June 2011): Hundreds of public servants gathered at the Gaborone Secondary School (GSS) grounds on Monday, 13 June 2011, despite the Botswana Federation of Public Sector Union (BOFEPUSU) decision to suspend the public sector strike.
Gaborone police arrested 25 of them for allegedly gathering unlawfully after they had refused to disperse from the GSS grounds.

update (14 June 2011): The decision by the leadership of the Botswana Federation of Public Sector Union (BOFEPUSU) to suspend the strike has been received with mixed feelings by members. Many striking public service workers who were on Monday expected to end their eight-week strike failed to return to work and continued to protest. 

update (10 June 2011): Botswana's 90,000 Botswana public service workers will go back to work from Monday (13 June 2011) after suspending eight weeks of industrial action over pay. Reuters is qouting Botswana Federation of Public Sector Union spokesman Goretetse Kekgonegile saying that the unions had agreed to the suspend the action in order to "restrategise" after clashes between striking workers and police this week.

update (09 June 2011): Bloomberg is reporting that some striking state workers clashed with police and broke shop windows in Gaborone on 08 June 2011 and is quoting Goretetse Kekgonegile, spokesman for the Botswana Federation of Public Sector Union (BOFEPUSU), saying that Union leaders will travel around the country to try make sure the strike doesn’t become violent.

update (08 June 2011): Botswana will allow more than 1 400 health workers to re-apply for their jobs after they were sacked for ignoring a court order to end a strike, but won't give them a guarantee that they will be re-hired. [13:55 UTC+2] The Commissioner of the Botswana Police Service (BPS), Thebeyame Tsimako, has denied the shooting of three people and detention of children during the public service strike.

update (07 June 2011): A video named "Strike gone wild in Francistown Botswana" was uploaded to youtube earlier today. Does anyone know what is going on there? There is police in the streets chasing off protesters (?), you can hear what I believe might be gun shots. Anyone got any updates?
[13:50 UTC +2] Reports from F/town say striking workers have barricaded roads with burning tyres. via twitter @TerriBMap "Live from Francistown The strike is out of control, burning of tyres, stones on the roads, police all over & teargas" and "Ramatlabama border allegedly closed..watch Mochudi join in very soon"; via @Gabzfmnews  Lobatse border closed as protesters match on the Botswana side. [16:05] The video footage showing protesters in Francistown getting chased by the police has just been removed by the user...

update (06 June 2011): Botswana’s government agreed to resume talks with the Botswana Federation of Public Sector Union (BOFEPUSU) to end a strike by state employees that is in its eighth week. According to state-owned newspaper "Daily News", the agreement came after the Botswana Council of Churches called both sides to a church service on Sunday.

update (03 June 2011): The International Monetary Fund urged Botswana's government to cut its wage bill, as public workers are staging a seven-week strike to demand an increase.

update (01 June 2011): Botswana's government has ordered striking public service workers to return to the job, rejecting their demands to reinstate approx 1,400 fired employees and scrap a "no work no pay" policy, Festinah Bakwena, head of the public service directorate, said earlier today.
"We will only go back to work with those that we started with, so they must re-instate our comrades and do away with their policy of no work no pay," said Goretetse Kekgonegile, spokesman for the Botswana Federation of Public Sector Union (BOFEPUSU). 

update (30 May 2011): The Botswana Federation of Public Sector Union (BOFEPUSU) has accepted a 3% pay rise and called of the country-wide strike in case the government agrees on certain conditions. Botswana's civil workers will return to work if:
  • all sacked employees are reinstated
  • the pay rise will get divided using a pyramid structure > priority given to lower income earners
  • "no work no pay" rule gets suspended
A date for the increase has not yet been set.

update (26 May 2011): According to several media reports, the Botswana Confederation of Commerce, Industry and Manpower (BOCCIM), which represents businesses Botswana, is now mediating in the six-week dispute between the government and state workers.

update (25 May 2011): Patients and schoolchildren are emerging as the biggest losers from a strike by public service workers in Botswana which is entering its sixth week. The rich and middle classes were less affected because they were not dependent on government handouts and mostly used private schools and doctors.
The Botswana Centre for Human Rights (Ditshwanelo) released a statement noting that the stalemate between government officials and union leaders had already led to the loss of lives due to the absence of adequate medical staff at health facilities.
The Botswana Confederation of Commerce, Industry and Manpower (BOCCIM) said the protracted strike had also had a negative impact on the economy, causing serious cash flow problems for many companies that relied on government orders for goods and services.
Botswana Federation of Public Sector Union (BOFEPUSU) publicity secretary, Goretetse Kekgonegile, says the Federation is in the process of setting up a Trust Fund to help its members to overcome the effects of the strike.
In the meantime Botswana's government has pulled out of wage talks with 90,000 striking civil servants, raising the stakes in an unprecedented bout of industrial action that has shaken the ruling party's 45-year grip on power. 

update (24 May 2011): As over 50,000 public workers go without a month's salary for the first time in Botswana's history, it has emerged that the public sector unions had not put in place measures to immediately pay the workers in the event of such an eventuality.

update (23 May 2011): Botswana's President Ian Khama has reiterated Botswana government's position that it cannot afford public-sector salary increase now as it is grappling with a budget deficit. Public servants in Botswana are on an indefinite industrial strike in support of their demand for a 16% pay rise. The strike has a had negative effect on public services and this has hampered private sector businesses that rely on those services.

update (20 May 2011): Most of Botswana's clinics have closed and the main hospital in the capital, Gaborone, is barely functioning due to a civil service strike over salaries.
The sackings of doctors, nurses, pharmacists and cleaners who had joined the five-week strike in defiance of a court order, have prompted nurses and doctors who had remained at work to join the industrial action.

update (17 May 2011): Botswana's government closed all primary and secondary schools on Monday after violent clashes between police and students angry over a strike by teachers and other public workers. The government of Botswana has fired all "essential" health workers who defied a court order to join an indefinite strike by public-sector employees, an official said today (17 May 2011).
Tipp: The impact of the strike on ordinary Batswana

update (10 May 2011): The Department of Wildlife and National Parks, whose efforts to control the movement of wild animals (which often stray into nearby villages) and fight poaching in the national parks, and to collect revenue from foreign tourists, have been seriously disrupted or are bound to be disrupted if the strike does not end quickly.
With the Chobe River overflowing and the risk of flooding in Satau and Parakarungu, one can only imagine what would happen if the Water Affairs employees, monitoring the water levels everyday, joined the strike.
Chobe District - the Immigration staff members are still at their posts. Kasane is located at the confluence of Zimbabwe-Botswana, Zambia-Botswana and Namibia-Botswana borders. 

update (06 May 2011): Botswana’s state worker unions have agreed to extend a strike for another five days after failing to agree on a pay deal with the government. The unions also agreed to engage in a ‘go-slow’ after returning to work at the end of the strike. The unions are now on their last two days of total withdrawal of labour with a go- slow pencilled from next week. The treasurer of the Botswana Federation of Public Sector Unions was quoted saying: "We will only go back to work and stop the strike when we have been given something. If we abandon and go back to work what would have been the purpose of downing tools in the first place?"

update (29 April 2011): Botswana's trade unions claim that about 80% of the civil service has joined in the strike. > The state is Botswana's largest employer.
Unionists said the government has redeployed members of the Botswana Defence Force, the Botswana Police and volunteers to keep services running. The Botswana Red Cross Society has also been roped in to assist in clinics and hospitals.

update (28 April 2011): Botswana doctors, nurses and other essential workers who last week joined an ongoing public service strike returned to work Wednesday in obedience to a court order.

update (27 April 2011):  The dispute over the strike-related replacement of labour between the Botswana Federation of Public Sector Unions (BOFEPUSU) and the government over the replacement of striking workers reached the Industrial Court over the Easter holidays. Industrial Court Judge Tebogo Maruping made an interim order that stopped government from further replacing labour.

update (26 April 2011): Commenting on an incident in which Union marshals rescued a security agent from the Criminal Investigating Department from an angry crowd of union members, the regional secretary of the Botswana Federation of Public Sector Unions (BOFEPUSU), Tshekatsheko Lekang, accused the government of breaking the strike agreement not to intimidate union members and alleged that the government was trying to break the strike.
Botswana's "Daily News", "BTV" and "Radio Botswana" have been accused of providing a forum for top government to spread propaganda while snubbing union leaders and denying them the opportunity to present their side of the story.
The current strike is expected to last until 29 April 2011.

update (21 April 2011): Botswana's government is going to court, because workers are violating an agreement to ensure essential medical and other services through their strike for higher wages.

update (20 April 2011): The impact of the public service strike that started on Monday is threatening to paralyse government.
According to The Gazette, on Monday soldiers were deployed at most border posts to replace immigration and Botswana Unified Revenue Service (BURS) officials who had gone on strike. It is reported that at the Ramokgwebana border post soldiers were seen stamping the passports of people who were entering or leaving Botswana. 

update (19 April 2011): The borders with South Africa, Zimbabwe and Namibia are expected to be severely affected during the current 10-day strike, with only one border official at each entry point. Most hospitals, clinics and immigration offices are also manned by skeleton staff only. (30% of essential services personnel (countrywide) shall remain working. This means that for every 10 employees, three shall remain to provide services.)

update II (18 April 2011): More than 90,000 public servants in Botswana including nurses, teachers and customs and immigration officials began a 10-day strike on the 18 April 2010 in a dispute over pay. Assistant Commissioner Christopher Mbulawa, Public Relations Officer of the Botswana Police Services  has confirmed to The Gazette that the police will not use force against the striking public servants.

update (18 April 2011): via Bloomberg.com - Botswana’s government won’t pay state employees who begin a strike over pay today, Festinah Bakwena, director of the Department of Public Service Management, said on state television onm 17 April 2011. About 90,000 people are expected to join the strike (teachers, nurses and other state workers).
Interesting article on mmegi.bw - How the strike will affect the country

update II (15 April 2011): via Bloomberg.com - State workers in Botswana will start a 10-day strike on April 18 in support of demands for increased pay, the Botswana Federation of Public Sector Unions said. “The negotiations broke down and the parties declared a deadlock,” Andrew Motsamai, secretary general of the government workers federation, told a meeting in the capital, Gaborone, late yesterday.

update (15 April 2011): The Directorate of Public Service Management director has appealed to public service employees to be patient with government and "see what happens by September". DPSM director Festina Bakwena made the appeal in a bid to halt the planned April 18-29 nationwide strike by members of the Botswana Federation of Public Sector Unions (BOFEPUSU) over lack of salary increment over the past three years. No reaction from the Unions have been reported so far.

Several news resources are reporting that the Botswana Federation of Public Sector Unions (BOFEPUSU) have threatened to embark on a 10-day strike in Botswana starting on Monday 18 April to 29 April 2011. BOFEPUSU is made up of various public sector unions, such as the Botswana Land Boards, Local Authorities and Health Workers Union (BLLAHWU).

View Botswana border post strike 2011 in a larger map

Goretetse Kekgonegile, Publicity Secretary of BOFEPUSU, told the media that Botswana's border posts Ramokgwebana, Ramatlabama, Tlokweng and Martin’s Drift will be targeted in the public sector strike. He furthermore said: "We want to withdraw labour from all the border posts. This will impact negatively on the government as there will be no people arriving or leaving the country." The strike will paralyze services at the border posts especially during the Easter holidays.