• Charles Odeny


The world's greatest animal spectacle in the legendary Masai Mara Game reserve gears up as herds are seen approaching from southern Serengeti.

Kenya Airways Launches Non-Stop Flights to Cape Town

Kenya Airways has introduced three non-stop flights from its hub at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA) to Cape Town, South Africa.

The launch of the non-stop flights to the second-most populous urban city in South Africa is in line with the airline’s broader strategy to assert its presence and expand connectivity across Africa and open up opportunities for tourism, trade and investment.

The non-stop flights to Cape Town will depart Nairobi every Wednesday, Friday and Sunday at 3:30pm.

“We are indeed very proud to increase our frequencies to South Africa to cater for the growing number of our customers who travel between Nairobi and Cape Town. In addition to enhancing Africa integration, this new route will be beneficial to the tourism industry as it establishes vital links with our global network,” Kenya Airways Chief Commercial Officer, Vincent Coste said.

Currently, the airline operates seven weekly flights to Cape Town. Four flights via Livingstone, Zambia, departing Nairobi every Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday and Sunday and three weekly flights via the resort town of Victoria Falls Falls on Monday, Thursday and Saturday.

This brings to a total of 10 weekly flights to Cape Town from Nairobi.

Kenya and South Africa are important trading partners. A number of South African firms have expanded into Kenya while thousands of Kenyans are frequent travelers to South Africa.

Tanzania Introduces VAT on Balloon Safaris

Ballooon floating in the Serengeti over a herd of wildebeests

Late last month, our balloon Safaris partners were issued with compulsory VAT Registration by the Tanzania Revenue Authority, effective immediately.  This was unexpected and we maintain our position that our service is covered under section 17 of the schedule to the VAT Act so we are considering an appeal.  In the mean time, we must comply.

In order to minimise the negative effect on you and our customers, we will take the following approach:

1.           For confirmed bookings for flights on or after 1st July 2018, for which we have already received payment, there will be no change and no VAT applied, this is compliant with TRA guidelines. 2.           For bookings confirmed up to today, for flights up to and including 31st July 2018, that have not yet been paid, the gross amount charged will be the same, we will absorb the VAT and issue VAT receipts.  3.           For new bookings and all confirmed bookings for flights from the 1st August 2018 onwards, we will re-quote at a rate lower than your existing contract rate but subject to VAT. This will be based on a Rack Rate of $600 for Serengeti and $600 for Ruaha, inclusive of VAT and Concession Fees. We will rewrite contracts and distribute over the next few days.

We understand that this may have an impact on our trade partners and customers, however we cannot afford to fully absorb the VAT as very few of our input costs contain recoverable VAT.

This is highly regrettable and we apologise for the upset that this may cause. We appreciate your ongoing support whilst we comply with this compulsory registration and charge VAT on our services.

Barberton Mountains declared a World Heritage Site.

Tourism to get a boost with the inscription of the Barberton Makhonjwa Mountains as a World Heritage Site. Credits: bmmlworldheritage.org.

The Barberton Makhonjwa Mountains in Mpumalanga have officially been declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site (WHS) after being on the tentative list for a number of years. 

The World Heritage Committee inscribed the naturally significant Barberton Makhonjwa Mountains on Monday (July 2), after the decision was taken at the 42nd session of the World Heritage Committee of UNESCO, which took place in Manama, Bahrain, from June 29-30, where Arts and Culture Minister, Nathi Mthethwa represented South Africa.

This marks the tenth site in South Africa to be inscribed by the world heritage body since the country became a member in 1997.

The mountain range lies within the sub-tropical lowland region in the north-east of South Africa, containing some the world’s best preserved, oldest and diverse sequence of volcanic and sedimentary rock, dating back 3.5 billion years.

The project was initiated back in 2007 and put forward for nomination two years later as part of the efforts to conserve the natural inheritance and to boost tourism in the province, according to the Department of Economic Development and Tourism for Mpumalanga.

The MEC for Finance, Economic Development and Tourism for the region, Sikhumbuzo Kholwane, said the government would continue to provide resources to maintain the status of this unparalleled mountain range in order to boost tourism.

“The human resource structure of the Management Authority has been expanded to include a new unit led by a senior geologist and a complement of support staff, totalling eight persons. The Government has also committed to support the new unit with an additional US$1 million per year, to fund the Management Authority staff and operations”, said Kholwane.

According to Tony Ferrar, Wildlife Ecologist and Park Planner, it has been 30 years since geo professionals first stated that the mountains deserved WHS status.

Ferrar said being part of the WHS branding would be good for tourism, attracting both state and private-sector investment.

“The additional challenge of developing geological tourism will make it even more interesting, as it is quite a specialised field,” added Ferrar.

Tiffany Briggs, Head of Marketing for Mfafa Safaris said: “We have been looking forward to this declaration for a while now, and Barberton Tourism has been pushing hard for it. They have already put up information boards in the area, and it is really quite something to behold.”

“It is an exciting new element to add to travel in the Kruger Lowveld region – it is also an exciting alternative to the usual Panorama Route, giving people another reason to come back again and hopefully spend money in new areas that are in dire need of it.”

Kholwane said the inscription of the Barberton Makhonjwa Mountains would be a constant reminder of the value of nature and its connection to the people. “We have been afforded a single most compelling reason to preserve all natural endowments so that future generations can also experience the connection that we have with our mountains, our wetland and many other unique geological inheritances found in the province.”