31 March 2013

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

29 March 2013

Kenya Airways to launch flights to Abu Dhabi (UAE)

Kenya's flag carrier, Kenya Airways, will launch flights to Abu Dhabi, the capital of the United Arab Emirates. From 01 July 2013, the airline will operate a three weekly service between the two destinations on boad a Boeing 737-800 aircraft.
  • Nairobi (NBO) > Abu Dhabi (AUH) every Monday, Wednesday & Friday
  • Abu Dhabi (AUH) > Nairobi (NBO) every Tuesday, Thursday & Saturday

27 March 2013

South Africa: 188 rhinos killed by poachers so far in 2013

According to the latest statistics released by the Department of Environmental Affairs, South Africa has already lost 188 rhinos to illegal poaching since the beginning of 2013. Of the rhinos poached, 135 rhinos were killed in the Kruger National Park, 17 in North West, 16 in KwaZulu-Natal, 10 in Limpopo and 10 in Mpumalanga. A total of 63 poachers and individuals charged with the illegal trade in rhino horn have been arrested so far.

Latest rhino poaching figures (as of 27 March 2013):  
  • Kruger National Park (SANParks) - 135 rhinos poached
  • Mapungubwe National Park (SANParks) - 0 rhino poached
  • Gauteng - 0 rhino poached
  • Limpopo - 10 rhinos poached
  • Mpumalanga - 10 rhino poached
  • North-West Province - 17 rhinos poached
  • Eastern Cape - 0 rhino poached
  • Free State - 0 rhino poached
  • KwaZulu Natal - 16 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.

Video of the new City Sightseeing tour of Johannesburg

The operator of City Sightseeing, a global sightseeing bus brand, in South Africa is not only running city tours in Cape Town, but also, since January 2013, in Johannesburg. City Sightseeing's tour of Johannesburg follows a circular route around the city and stops 12 of the city's landmarks, including the Apartheid Museum, Gold Reef City and Constitution Hill. The entire tour takes approximately two hours and buses depart every 40min from each stop along the route. It is probably the easiest way to get a first glimpse (commentatory in 10 languages available) of Johannesburg and its sightseeing hotspots. Enjoy!

Stops along the Joburg Tour:

  1. Gautrain Station @ Park (safe secure parking)
  2. Ghandi Square
  3. Carlton Centre
  4. Santarama Miniland
  5. James Hall Transport Museum
  6. Gold Reef City (Tour Office, safe secure parking)
  7. Apartheid Museum
  8. Mining District Walk
  9. Newtown
  10. Origins Centre at Wits
  11. Braamfontein
  12. Constitution Hill
and back to Gautrain Station @ Park (safe secure parking)

Kenya Airways to increase flights to Guangzhou (China)

Kenya's flag carrier, Kenya Airways, will increase its flights between Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (NBO) in Nairobi and Guangzhou Baiyun International Airport (CAN) in Guangzhou (China) via Bangkok (Thailand). From 01 April 2013 the airline will operate daily flights instead of four weekly flights on the route.
Kenya Airways, a full member of the SkyTeam alliance since 2010, is currently flying to 59 destinations worldwide, including 48 destinations in Africa, and carries over three million passengers annually.

26 March 2013

South Africa: Extended border hours during the Easter period 2013

South Africa's land borders are getting ready for the Easter period as it is one of the busiest periods for border posts of the year, with exceptionally high numbers of travellers crossing in a relatively short space of time.
  • Beit Bridge border post (South Africa - Zimbabwe) will be operating 24hrs from 25 March to 14 April 2013
  • Lebombo border post (South Africa - Mozambique) will be operating 24hrs from 25 March to 14 April 2013
  • Oshoek border post (South Africa - Swaziland) will be operating 24hrs on 28 March 2013, otherwise it is open from 6am to midnight
  • Mahamba border post (South Africa - Swaziland) will operate from 7am to midnight on 28 March 2013, otherwise it will be open from 7am to 10pm
  • Mananga border post (South Africa - Swaziland) will operate from 7am to 8pm on 28 March 2013, otherwise it will be open 7am to 6pm
  • Qacha’s Nek border post (South Africa - Lesotho) will operate from 7am to midnight from 27 to 29 March 2013, otherwise it will be open between 7am to 8pm
  • Kopfontein border post (South Africa - Botswana) will operate from 6am to midnight on 28 and 31 March 2013 and 01 April 2013
  • Groblersbrug border post (South Africa - Botswana) will operate from 6am to midnight on 28 and 31 March 2013 and 01 April 2013
  • Maseru border post (South Africa - Lesotho) is a 24 hour post
  • Ficksburg border post (South Africa - Lesotho) is a 24 hour post

Tanzania: Auric Air to add more flights to Zanzibar, Mafia to its domestic schedule

Private Tanzanian airline, Auric Air, recently announced plans to offer more flights within Tanzania, including Zanzibar and Mafia. From 01 June 2013, the airline will operate flights from Dar Es Salaam to Zanzibar, Mafia, Pemba and Tanga as well as from Mwanza to the Katavi National Park, the Ruaha National Park and the Mahale National Park.
Auric Air is based at Mwanza Airport (Mwanza), Julius Nyerere International Airport (Dar Es Salaam) and Arusha Airport (Arusha). The airline is offering daily scheduled services to 10 destinations in Tanzania and handles approximately 3000 passengers every month. Its fleet consists of seven Cessna 208B Caravans.

Owly Images

25 March 2013

Air Botswana to drop Maun <> Cape Town service

Botswana's flag carrier, Air Botswana, will from 31 March 2013 drop its four weekly direct service between Maun and Cape Town. The airline is instead planning to re-route ticket holders via Johannesburg through an agreement with British Airways (Comair) from 01 April 2013 onwards.
Air Botswana's main hub is the Sir Seretse Khama International Airport in Botswana's capital Gaborone. The airline is currently flying to 13 destinations in Southern Africa including Francistown, Maun, Kasane and Gaborone in Botswana, Nairobi in Kenya, Blantyre and Lilongwe in Malawi, Lusaka in Zambia, Harare and Victoria Falls in Zimbabwe and Johannesburg and Cape Town in South Africa.

South Africa: Great white shark breaks into divers' cage

A group of tourist on a shark cage diving trip in Gansbaai recently experienced what can probably only be described as the worst nightmare. They were in a shark cage in the water, when a great white shark managed to put its head into cage. According to cameraman Bryan Plummer, the shark ignored the bait that was used to attract it, and went straight for the cage. Luckily no one got injured! Kudos Bryan for sharing the video.

This is the first we have ever heard about such an incident. Have you ever heard about something similar it before? Let us know about it and share your experiences with us!

22 March 2013

Namibia: Daylight saving time ends on 07 April 2013

On 07 April 2012, Namibia will discontinue daylight saving time for about 5 month. Time will therefore change again from UTC+2 to UTC+1. The official time change will take place at 02:00am (from 02:00am to 01:00am). Daylight saving time in Namibia will resume again on the first Sunday in September 2013 (01 Sept 2013). The time will not change in the Caprivi in Namibia's north, as this area is not subject to summer and winter time changes. Only Mororcco and Namibia are currently using daylight saving time on the African continent.

  • 06 April 2013 - sunrise: 07:01 | sunset: 18:46
  • 07 April 2013 - sunrise: 06:02 | sunset: 17:45
Sunrise and sunset times may vary from place to place depending on latitude and longitude.

Cape Town renamed six streets

Travellers, update your Cape Town city maps. The city yesterday (21 March 2013, Human Rights Day) officially renamed six streets and one civic center after South African struggle icons and a South African poet.

View New street names in Cape Town in a larger map

21 March 2013

Study: Rwanda is the most welcoming country in East & Southern Africa

All tourism publications seem currently to be talking about Bolivia as the most unfriendly country for tourists in the world and Iceland as the most friendly country for tourists, so I had a look how the World Economic Forum (WEF) acutally assesed the friendliness towards foreign tourists in East and Southern Africa.
According to the Travel & Tourism Competitiveness Report 2013, in which the WEF compared the (un)friendliness of 140 countries, Rwanda has the best "Attitude [of population] towards foreign visitors" in East and Southern Africa. Zambia was ranked the second most friendly country in the region, followed by Uganda and South Africa.

Attitude of population towards foreign visitors (East & Southern Africa)
["How welcome are foreign visitors in your country?" | 1 = very unwelcome; 7 = very welcome]
  1. Rwanda - 6.6 (overall ranking #21)
  2. Zambia - 6.5 (overall ranking #34)
  3. Uganda - 6.4 (overall ranking #40)
  4. South Africa - 6.4 (overall ranking #42)
  5. Kenya - 6.4 (overall ranking #51)
  6. Burundi - 6.3 (overall ranking #63)
  7. Ethiopia - 6.3 (overall ranking #67)
  8. Swaziland - 6.2 (overall ranking #69)
  9. Namibia - 6.1 (overall ranking #85)
  10. Mozambique - 6.1 (overall ranking #91)
  11. Botswana - 5.9 (overall ranking #103)
  12. Madagascar - 5.9 (overall ranking #105)
  13. Zimbabwe - 5.9 (overall ranking #106)
  14. Tanzania - 5.8 (overall ranking #115)
  15. Lesotho - 5.7 (overall ranking #120)
  16. Malawi - 5.7 (overall ranking #121)

Air Tanzania to launch flights to Moroni (Comoros)

According to aviation specialists ch-aviation.ch, Air Tanzania will soon launch its first international service. From 25 March 2013, the airline will introduce a three weekly service between Julius Nyerere International Airport in Dar Es Salaam and Prince Said Ibrahim International Airport in Moroni on the Comoros. Air Tanzania will operate the flights on board its single Boeing 737 aircraft.
Air Tanzania is the national airline of Tanzania and is based at Julius Nyerere International Airport in Dar Es Salaam. The airline resumed operations in October 2012 after being grounded for nearly 1.5 years due to various, mainly financial, reasons.

20 March 2013

Tanzania: Google Street View adds Mount Kilimanjaro

Google has added a selection of the world's highest mountains to its Street View interactive library, including Aconcagua (Argentina), Mount Elbrus (Russia), the Everest Base Camp (Nepal) and, of course, Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania (Africa). Street View teams climbed all four mountains and took three shots while facing north, three south, three east and three west on each peak using the usual tripod-mounted digital cameras equipped with a fisheye view lens to capture 360-degree views. The pictures taken on top of Mount Kilimanjaro were taken from Uhuru Peak, the mountain's highest summit.

View Larger Map

Mount Kilimanjaro, actually a stratovolcano, is composed of three distinct volcanic cones - Kibo 5,895m, Mawenzi 5,149m and Shira 3,962 m. Uhuru Peak on Kibo's crater rim is the mountain's highest summit. Mawenzi and Shiba are already extinct while Kibo is still dormant and could erupt again. Mount Kilimanjaro is the highest mountain in Africa and fourth highest of the Seven Summits. It is the tallest freestanding mountain in the world, as well as the 4th most prominent mountain in the world.

19 March 2013

Cape Town: Chapman's Peak Drive to be closed every Wednesday for 8 weeks

Cape Town's famous Chapman's Peak Drive, one of the most spectacular marine drives in the world, will be closed every Wednesday between 09h00 – 16h00 for 8 weeks from 20 March 2013. South African National Parks (SANParks) needs to continue with the clearing of alien vegetation on the area above the Drive, which makes the road closure necessary.
The Chapman's Peak Drive is a scenic 9km route between Noordhoek and Hout Bay along the western flank of the Chapman's Peak, a mountain on the western side of the Cape Peninsula, located about 15 kilometres south of Cape Town.

Wildlife video: Lions vs. crocodile (South Luangwa National Park, Zambia)

Filmed right in front of one of the tents at the Zungulila Bushcamp in the South Luangwa National Park in Zambia, the video below shows two adult lionesses and five cups on their freshly killed impala as well as an uninvited visitor: a huge crocodile that got attracted by the smell... Enjoy!

Angola, Namibia and South Africa to protect the Benguela Current Large Marine Ecosystem (BCLME)

The Southern African countries of Angola, Namibia and South Africa have signed the Benguela Current Convention, through which the three governments seek to promote a coordinated regional approach to the conservation, protection, rehabilitation, enhancement and sustainable use of the Benguela Current Large Marine Ecosystem (BCLME). By signing the Benguela Current Convention, Angola, Namibia and South Africa agreed to manage the Benguela Current Large Marine Ecosystem (BCLME) in a cooperative and sustainable way for the benefit of coastal people who depend on the ecosystem for food, work and well-being.
The Benguela Current Large Marine Ecosystem (BCLME), regarded as one of the richest ecosystems on earth, is an area of ocean space stretching from Port Elizabeth in South Africa to the province of Cabinda in the north of Angola. Besides costal tourism, the most important industrial activities in the region include offshore oil and gas production, marine diamond mining, commercial fishing and shipping.
Let us hope it works out and the three countries will really manage to find a way to protect the fragile marine ecosystem while (sustainably) using the valuable resources settled in that environment.

Turkish Airlines to increase flights to Dar Es Salaam (Tanzania)

While British Airways decided to leave Dar Es Salaam at the end of March 2013, Turkish flag carrier, Turkish Airlines, will increase its service to the largest city in Tanzania. From 30 May 2013 the airline will add two more weekly flights to its current five weekly frequencies between Istanbul and Julius Nyerere International Airport in Dar Es Salaam. Turkish Airlines will operate the flights on board a Boeing 737-900ER.
Turkish Airlines, a Star Alliance member since 01 April 2008, is currently operating scheduled services to 184 international and 37 domestic airports, serving a total of 221 airports, in Europe, Asia, Africa, and the Americas.

18 March 2013

Documentary: "Bouncing Cats" - b-boy culture and breakdance in Uganda

Back in June 2011 we blogged about the award winning documentary "Bouncing Cats", which tells the inspiring story of Ugandan b-boy Abraham "Abramz" Tekya and his attempts to create a better life for the children of Uganda using the unlikely tool of hip-hop with a focus on b-boy culture and breakdance. Now, about two years later, the film got already aired on television in the US, was screened at various festivals and events worldwide and is now also available online. Enjoy!

BOUNCING CATS from nabil elderkin on Vimeo.

Kudos to Australian filmmaker, photographer and director of the documentary, Nabil Elderkin, for making the film available online, as well as to Crazy Legs of the Rock Steady Crew and, of course, to Abramz, the founder of Breakdance Project Uganda (BPU), and all the international guests appearing in "Bouncing Cats".

Kruger National Park: Gate quotas from 20 March - 07 April 2013

Kruger National Park will implement gate quotas during the coming school holidays which start on Wednesday, 20 March until Sunday, 07 April 2013. Day visitors are advised to either arrive at one of Kruger's ten gates very early in the morning because the service is on "first come first serve" basis or pre-book their entrance with central reservations office.
Pre-booking comes with a non-refundable deposit of R30 per adult and R15 per child entering Kruger National Park; which must be paid in advance and is meant to ensure their space because they would have been counted in the number that made the daily quota.
Day visitors with advanced bookings are expected to arrive at the booked gate by no later than 13:00 on the date of the booking, after which the booking lapses.

15 March 2013

Video: "10 reasons why Cape Town is the Best City in the World"

Cape Town local Andrew Brauteseth created the awesome short film "10 reasons why Cape Town is the Best City in the World" as his entry into Mydestination.com's "Biggest Baddest Bucket List" travel competition. If Cape Town is currently not on your personal bucket list, watch the video and we are damn sure that the city will immidiately find a top spot on it. Kudos Andrew and good luck for the travel competition!

British Airways to increase flights London <> Nairobi (Kenya)

The flag carrier airline of the United Kingdom, British Airways, will increase the number of flights between London (Heathrow) and Nairobi in Kenya from currently seven flights per week to eight flights per week, effective from 12 May 2013.
British Airways will operate the additional flight on board a Boeing 777-200 in a four-cabin configuration. The flight will depart London at 20:20 on Sunday evenings (arrival in Nairobi: 04:55 the next morning) while the return service from Nairobi will depart at 22:45pm on Monday evenings (arrival in London: 08:25 the next morning).

14 March 2013

St. Patrick's day: Cape Town's Table Mountain will be illuminated in Irish green!

Every year on 17 March, Ireland celebrates St. Patrick’s Day, a cultural and religious holiday named after Saint Patrick (c. AD 385–461), the patron saint of Ireland. But it is not only the Irish in Ireland celebrating the day, it got globally adopted and St. Patrick's Day partys and events are held all over world, including, of course, South Africa. There will be partys in almost every Irish Pub in the country, but one of the most spectacular events will take place in Cape Town. As part of Tourism Ireland's "Global Greening" campaign, the iconic Table Mountain will, for the third consecutive year, be illuminated in Irish green from 20hrs00 until midnight on 17 March 2013. If you are in Cape Town on St. Patrick's day, make sure that you don't miss it out! Enjoy!

KLM secures traffic rights for Harare <> Lusaka

The national airline of the Netherlands, KLM Royal Dutch Airlines, is currenly operating three weekly flights between Amsterdam - Harare - Lusaka - Amsterdam on board an Airbus A330-200 aircraft, but had so far no regional traffic rights to offer flights to travellers on the Harare <> Lusaka leg only. This is changing now as the airline, according to Airline Route, secured such traffic rights and is now enabled to pick up passengers travelling between Zambia and Zimbabwe. Tickets are on sale from 14 March 2013.