Rhino and Lion Nature Reserve
The Rhino and Lion Nature Reserve in the Cradle of Humankind, South Africa, will no longer be offering cub petting to the public, with immediate effect.
Under the new ownership of the Bothongo Group, the reserve is refocusing its efforts on animal welfare.
Chief operations officer of the reserve, Mike Fynn, said: “Breeding and rearing animals for the purpose of cub petting and interaction is not only undesirable from an animal welfare perspective, it’s also not a sustainable business model. From now on, we will focus on educating the public about wildlife and the importance of conservation. This is why, with immediate effect, we choose to put a stop to cub petting at the Rhino and Lion Nature Reserve and sincerely hope that other facilities will responsibly follow suit.”
Over the past few months, while under new stewardship, the reserve has initiated a three-year plan to upgrade all of its public facilities, habitats and wildlife enclosures, which will be remodeled around the welfare and wellbeing of its animals.
According to Mike, the reserve team will dedicate themselves to a new internal mantra of being a ‘nurture reserve’. In addition, he says they will commit to the following:
Strive to maintain a healthy, genetically diverse and contented animal collection, working with local and international institutions and bodies ensuring that it plays its part in managing the long-term survival of endangered and threatened species.
Pledge not to sell or exchange any of its animal family, especially its lions, unless it is to a reputable accredited facility and/or licensed wildlife institution.
Breed animals only if this serves a conservation purpose
Names changes are not possible once the ticket has been issued - please provide us with a copy of your passport when making a booking
Turkish Airlines will now assess baggage by number of pieces rather than their weight, although weight restrictions do apply. Speak to us for further details
Due to technical issues there have been slight delays in the visa processing for South African passport holders travelling to France. Processing time is currently 5-7 working days.
Due to a backlog, there have been slight delays in the processing of visa applications for Canada. The processing time for business visas is roughly 13 working days and tourist visas can take up to 30 working days depending on the checks that are required by the embassy. Please do not confirm any tickets until your visa has been received.
UK VISA ENQUIRIES
The UK High Commission has announced that all e-mail enquiries will now carry a fee of approximately R90. Fees may fluctuate slightly due to exchange rates.
The Australian High Commission has advised that they currently have a backlog and this is resulting in delays in the processing times of visa applications. This has had the greatest effect on tourist visa applications and the current processing time is 36 days.
As of 17 July 2017 it will be required for all South African passport holders to have their biometric data captured when applying for a visa. We will arrange an appointment for the applicant and will arrange for one of our representatives to meet the applicant on the day of the appointment to assist with lodgement. Applicants applying for e-visas will have their biometric data captured on arrival in India.
South Africa: Ratanga Junction
Ratanga Junction to shut down next year
Cape Town’s famous theme park Ratanga Junction will close down in April next year, News24 claims.
After nearly 20 years of operating, the park will finally shut down on April 30, 2018.
It will be demolished and replaced with flats, shops and office space.
Please be advised that effective 25 March 2019, new rules for checked baggage have been applied at OR Tambo International Airport in Johannesburg.
The rules are as follows:
Only regular-shaped bags will be allowed to be checked in. This means that the bags must have at least one flat surface to be accepted
Round or irregular-shaped bags will not be allowed
Bags with longs straps will not be allowed
This move is aimed at preventing blockages and breakdowns in the baggage-handling system caused by bags that do not have any flat surfaces or that have long straps or grips, as per IATA guidelines. These are the largest source of jams, and can shut down sections of the baggage-handling system thus delaying baggage delivery to aircraft and inconveniencing passengers and airlines.
Passengers who try to check in bags that do not conform to these rules will, however, have the option of having their baggage wrapped with one flat side at airport-approved baggage wrapping stations.
Effective immediately, the electronics ban has been lifted for Emirates' flights from Dubai International Airport to the U.S.A.
All passengers can now carry all laptops, tablets and other electronic devices onto the aircraft, subject to enhanced security measures.
Emirates has been working hard in coordination with various aviation stakeholders and the local authorities to implement heightened security measures, and protocols that meet the requirements of the US department of Homeland Security's new security guidelines for all US bound flights.
New Regulations - Minors Travelling
New South African passports for minors under the age of 18 are being issued containing the details of the parents as a standard feature. Children travelling on these new passports do not require any additional documentation when travelling abroad if accompanied by both parents.
South African children not travelling with both parents will still be required to produce additional documentation including consent letters, adoption orders, custody or guardianship papers and death certificates as applicable. Consent letters no longer have to be on a Department of Home Affairs template or be certified.
Children travelling on passports that do not contain the parents details will still be required to carry an unabridged birth certificate.
South Africa: Kruger Park
Kruger Park upgrades gate access systems
The Kruger National Park is implementing additional gate access control systems at its entrance gates in the southern part of the park, effective from September 1.
The new system will require all visitors who are 18 and older to produce a positive identity document for scanning to gain access. Non-South African visitors must produce passports. An SA driver’s licence will also be acceptable.
The system will assist with the monitoring of people’s movements who enter and exit the park, and ensure that information related to anyone entering the park is centrally recorded and monitored.
The system will apply to everybody including SANParks staff members, suppliers and other residents of the park.
Visitors will still have to go through their normal check-in and check-out at the gate reception before proceeding to the security scanning process.
Training for the security personnel on the upgraded system is under way to minimise the possible delays as soon as the new operation comes into play.
South Africa: Cape Town
Cape Town hotels respond to increased water restrictions
Cape Town hotels have taken measures to respond to increased water restrictions amid severe drought, Tourism Update reports.
From September 3, the City of Cape Town has implemented level 5 water restrictions as not enough water is being saved.
Garry Reed, General Manager, speaking in Cape Town, said a range of initiatives had been introduced to reduce water usage at all hotels in the city, while plans for desalitation plants for three hotels, including Southern Sun Waterfront and the Cullinan, were in the pipeline.
Signage at the entrance and reception desks of all the hotels inform guests of the crisis in the Western Cape while every guest is also issued with a water saving card with ideas of how to save water while staying in the hotel.
They have also introduced paper napkins in all their restaurants and removed all tablecloths, while the washing of bedlinen and towels is now only done on request of a guest during their stay and not daily as was the norm.
With dam levels at less than 35% and the winter rains just about over, serious concern exists over water levels, with the tourism and events high season just around the corner.
Pattaya bans booze on the beach
Pattaya is banning alcohol on its beaches, according to TravelMole.
From October 1, drinking alcohol on the beach is off limits.
Pattaya sanitation chief Wasinpat Chimtin has informed all beach vendors that they are no longer permitted to sell alcohol.
Thai Government and city officials are determined to clean up the resort's image and cultivate a more family-friendly atmosphere.
Vendors have been ordered to start selling Thai snacks and soft drinks instead and must wear special aprons which mark them out as officially licensed vendors.
Robben Island introduces new visitor requirements
Robben Island has implemented new requirements for those wishing to visit the island, according to Tourism Update.
All visitors must now provide relevant identification when purchasing a ticket.
This could be a passport, identity document, birth certificate, or driver’s licence.
Robben Island Museum said the move was part of an ongoing effort to provide guests with the best possible service.
Those visiting the island must ensure that they also have their tickets and identification on hand at all times to be checked before and after boarding the ferry.
Paris gets nudist park
Paris will trial a dedicated nudist park over the next few weeks, according to Easy travel Report.
The creation of an area in the Bois de Vincennes park will allow nudists to roam free from today, August 31, until October 15, between 08h00 and 19h30 daily.
Signs will inform park users of what is occurring in the clearing near the park's bird reserve, spread over 7 300sqm.
Officials vow that no voyeurism or exhibitionism will be tolerated in order to assure the respect for those making the most of their natural state.
REMINDER: Domestic flight closure times OR Tambo
Kindly take note of the below Domestic flight closure times at O.R. Tambo International Airport.
Effective 01 April 2016:
FLIGHT CLOSURE TIMES:
Flights departing from Johannesburg to Cape Town, Durban, Port Elizabeth and East London close 40 minutes prior to departure.
All other domestic airports flights close 30 minutes prior to departure.
Regional and International flights departing from Johannesburg close 50 minutes prior to departure for all classes of travel.
Flights departing from Johannesburg to Luanda, Lagos, Kinshasa, and Sao Paulo close 1 hour prior to departure.
Flights departing from Lagos close 2 hours prior to departure.
NB: Please reserve enough time for baggage check-in, security control and boarding. If you do not respect the time limit you may be offloaded from the flight.
Phuket beaches to ban smoking
Smoking will soon be banned on 20 popular Phuket beaches found to be constantly littered with large numbers of discarded cigarette butts, according to Travel Wire News.
Smoking will banned at the beaches from next month.
These beaches are among the best-known and include Mae Phim in Rayong; Laem Sing in Chanthaburi; Bang Saen, Pattaya and Tham Pang on Koh Si Chang in Chon Buri; Cha-am in Phetchaburi; Hua Hin and Khao Takiap in Prachuap Khiri Khan; Patong in Phuket; Bo Phut on Koh Samui in Surat Thani; Sai Ri in Chumphon; Chalatas in Songkhla; Tha Wa Sukri in Pattani; Koh Khai Nok, Koh Khai Nai on Koh Yao in Phangnga; and Phra Ae and Khlong Dao on Koh Lanta in Krabi.
All other beaches were expected to be included into this ban in the future.
Those found flouting the ban could face a maximum penalty of a year in prison and/or a fine of 100,000 baht.
No more boarding calls at O R Tambo International Airport (ORTIA) for domestic flights
Airports Company South Africa (ACSA) will no longer make announcements when customers are flying on domestic routes. Passengers will have to check their boarding passes and flight information display boards for boarding times.
Announcements will only be made about irregular operations, such as gate changes, flight time changes, systems failures and customer services issues such as lost minors.
Five (5) minutes prior to the commencement of boarding, the Flight Information Display Screens (FIDS) will display a message stating “Go to gate”. This will prompt customers to go directly to the gate as boarding will start soon.
United Arab Emirates
Smoking e-cigarettes in public not allowed
Travellers should be made aware that smoking e-cigarettes at entrances of shopping malls in Dubai is illegal, Khaleej Times claims.
Shopping centres and malls in Dubai have been directed to encourage their security personnel to report people caught smoking in banned areas to the police.
The Dubai Municipality has stressed its seriousness in implementing the ban on electronic cigarette smoking in public places and shopping malls.
Some shopping centres have been allowing electronic cigarette smoking at their entrances and this is considered illegal.
A decision in 2009 to ban smoking in public places also includes electronic cigarettes.
According to the federal anti-smoking law, any person found smoking in prohibited places can be fined up to Dh1,000.