22 March 2018

Survey: Durban is South Africa's most liveable city!

According to the 20th edition of Mercer's Quality of Living ranking, Durban is the most liveable city in South Africa, the second-most liveable city in Africa and the 89th most liveable city worldwide. Cape Town was placed second in South Africa, second in Africa and 94th in the world while Johannesburg was placed third in South Africa and Africa and 95th worldwide. Port Louis, the capital of Mauritius, is Mercer's most liveable city in Africa and the 83rd most liveable city on a global scale.

The 20th edition of the Quality of Living report provides a separate ranking on City Sanitation, which analyses cities' waste removal and sewage infrastructure, levels of infectious disease, air pollution, water availability and quality. According to the results of the ranking,
Durban has the best city sanitation in South Africa, the second-best in Africa and the 73rd best in the world.

By comparing the Quality of Living rankings since the very first report in 1998, Mercer found out that Maputo in Mozambique had the highest increase in quality of living over the last 20 years in Africa.

Mercer's 2018 Quality of Living Ranking from Mercer on Vimeo.

The top five cities in the 20th edition of Mercer's Quality of Living ranking are Vienna (Austria), Zurich (Switzerland), Auckland (New Zealand), Munich (Germany) and Vancouver (Canada).

Mercer's authoritative survey is one of the world's most comprehensive and is conducted annually to enable multinational companies and other organisations to compensate employees fairly when placing them on international assignments. In addition to valuable data on relative quality of living, Mercer's surveys provide hardship premium recommendations for more than 450 cities throughout the world; this year's ranking includes 231 of these cities.
Mercer is the world's largest human resources consulting firm with more than 20,500 employees in 40 countries. Headquartered in New York City, the company operates internationally in more than 130 countries

Cape Town International Airport named Best Airport in Africa!

Cape Town International Airport (CPT) in Cape Town  was named Best Airport in Africa at the 2018 SKYTRAX World Airport Awards™. Durban's King Shaka International Airport (DUR) came in second in the continental category, followed by OR Tambo International Airport (JNB) in Johannesburg. East London Airport (ELS) in East London was voted 6th best airport in Africa, Port Elizabeth International Airport (PLZ) in Port Elizabeth was named 8th and Bram Fischer International Airport (BFN) in Bloomfontein 9th best Airport in Africa.King Shaka International Airport (DUR) in Durban won the award for Best Regional Airport in Africa (3rd in global ranking!), followed by East London Airport (ELS), Port Elizabeth International Airport (PLZ) and Bram Fischer International Airport (BFN). Kigali International Airport (KGL) in Rwanda's capital Kigali was voted 5th Best Regional Airport in Africa and Windhoek's Hosea Kutako International Airport (WDH) was voted 6th best African regional airport.

Best Airports in Africa

  1. Cape Town International Airport (CPT) in Cape Town
  2. King Shaka International Airport (DUR) in Durban
  3. OR Tambo International Airport (JNB) in Johannesburg 
  4. Mauritius
  5. Marrakech 
  6. East London Airport (ELS) in East London 
  7. Seychelles 
  8. Port Elizabeth International Airport (PLZ) in Port Elizabeth  
  9. Bram Fischer International Airport (BFN) in Bloomfontein 
  10. Cairo
Best Regional Airports in Africa
  1. King Shaka International Airport (DUR) in Durban
  2. East London Airport (ELS) in East London  
  3. Port Elizabeth International Airport (PLZ) in Port Elizabeth   
  4. Bram Fischer International Airport (BFN) in Bloomfontein 
  5. Kigali International Airport (KGL) in Kigali 
  6. Hosea Kutako International Airport (WDH) in Windhoek 
  7. Tunis
  8. Dakar
  9. Luxor
  10. Abidjan
Best Airport Hotels in Africa
  1. InterContinental Johannesburg OR Tambo Airport, Johannesburg 
  2. Le Méridien Cairo Airport, Cairo 
  3. Novotel Cairo Airport, Cairo
  4. Radisson Blu Hotel Addis Ababa, Addis Ababa 
  5. Hotel Verde Cape Tow, Cape Town
The 2018 SKYTRAX World Airport Awards™ are based on 13.73 million airport survey questionnaires completed by over 100 different nationalities of airline customers during the survey period. The survey operated from August 2017 to February 2018, covering 550 airports worldwide and evaluating traveller experiences across different airport service and product key performance indicators - from check-in, arrivals, transfers, shopping, security and immigration through to departure at the gate.

21 March 2018

Swaziland: New public holiday on 20 April 2018!

The Government of Swaziland has declared 20 April 2018 a public holiday. The country celebrates both the 50th birthday of Swaziland's King Mswati III and 50 years since independence on 19 April 2018. National Flag Day, a public holiday usually celebrated on 25 April 2018, will be replaced by the new public holiday on 20 April 2018 and becomes a normal working day in the 2018 calendar.

The main crossing between Mozambique & South Africa will be operational 24hrs a day from April 2018!

The goverments of Mozambique and South Africa have announced that the Ressano Garcia border post (Mozambique) and the Lebombo border post (South Africa) between the two countries will be operational 24 hours a day from 01 April 2018. The Ressano Garcia border post is located in the town of Ressano Garcia along the EN4; the Lebombo border post is located about 7km from Komatipoort along the N4

Mozambique <> South Africa border posts:
  • Parfuri/Parfuri border post - opening hours: 08:00 - 16:00
  • Giriyondo/Giriyondo border post - opening hours: 08:00 - 16:00 (October - March); 08:00 - 15:00 (April - September)
  • Ressano Garcia/Lebombo border post - opening hours: 06:00 - 24:00; 24hrs from 01 April 2018
  • Ponta do Ouro/Kosi Bay - opening hours: 08:00 - 16:00

20 March 2018

Table Mountain National Park: Bird flu outbreak at Boulders Penguin Colony!

Due to an outbreak of bird flu (H5N8 strain) in the penguin colony at Boulders Beach in Cape Town's Table Mountain National Park, South African National Parks (SANParks) has implemented the following precautions:
  • With the exception of visitors on Boulders Beach boardwalk, nobody may access the main breeding colony.
  • In instances where staff need to go off boardwalks to collect injured birds or hats, camera lens, caps etc dropped by visitors they will limit their access to essential work and then sterilise their boots afterwards - gum boots have been issued and are easier to clean than the normal boot.
  • Monitoring routes used for moult/nest counts have been reviewed to ensure that staff and Penguin monitors do not walk through the main breeding colony.
Western Cape Veterinary Services, CapeNature, SANParks, South Africa's Department of Environmental Affairs, City of Cape Town, SANCCOB and other seabird rehabilitation centres and private veterinarians are working in close cooperation to monitor the situation and perform further testing. While the virus is highly pathogenic to chickens and other poultry, the impact on wild seabirds is not that well understood (so far 1 tern and 2 penguins from Boulders have come back positive for H5N8). Closing the colony to visitors is not justified at this stage.
Even though the virus is unlikely to infect humans, precautions should nevertheless be taken.

Tips for visitors:

  • Visitors must stay on designated board walks
  • Visitors should change shoes and clothes if visiting other seabird colonies or poultry farms to prevent contamination from one site to another

19 March 2018

Constitution Hill (Johannesburg): Free entry & tours on Human's Right Day!

Johannesburg's Constitution Hill is a living museum that tells the story of South Africa's journey to democracy. The site is a former prison and military fort and is, today, home to the country's Constitutional Court. Constitution Hill will offer free admission and tours on Human Rights Day (21 March 2018). Visitors will be able to join a guided tour through the museum, explore the museum on their own, walk through the Number 4 prison, the Old Fort prison and the Women's Gaol, and view, or example, the Nelson Mandela "Prisoner in a Garden" exhibition or the Mahatma Gandhi exhibition.

The Constitution Hill precinct is located at 11 Kotze Street in Braamfontein, Johannesburg near the western end of the suburb of Hillbrow. The opening hours are daily from 09:00 to 17:00, with the final tour departing from the Visitor Centre at 16:00. Tickets for adults cost between R65 (1hrs highlights tour) and R350 (3hrs time travel tour). If you are visiting Constitution Hill as part of your City Sightseeing red bus tour, your red bus ticket entitles you to a 25% discount off your Constitution Hill ticket price on the day of your red bus trip.

Constitution Hill provides free entry on the following days:
  • Human Rights Day: 21 March
  • Freedom Day: 27 April
  • Youth Day: 16 June
  • Women's Day: 9 August
  • Heritage Day: 24 September
  • World Tourism Day: 27 September
  • Day of Reconciliation: 16 December

Air Namibia: Operations to continue unhindered!

Namibia's flag carrier Air Namibia has released a public announcement to respond to recent media articles speculating that the airline's operations will cease.
According to the statement, Air Namibia continues to operate as per its mandate, transporting passengers and cargo between domestic destinations in Namibia, the rest of southern Africa and Europe, via Frankfurt Airport (FRA) in Frankfurt, Germany. The airline also reassures its clients and all stakeholders that flights continue to operate according to their published flight schedule. The statement also highlights that the Government of the Republic of
Namibia (GRN), which is the sole shareholder of Air Namibia, has confirmed their continued support, amongst others through the targeted subsidy allocations as announced by Calle Schlettwein, Minister of Finance, in the National Assembly as follows:
  • N$740 million for 2018/19
  • N$676 million for 2019/20
  • N$698 million for 2020/21