Category Archives: Destinations

Mango Flights from Johannesburg to George

Bookings are now open for Mango flights from Johannesburg to George, a newly launched route for the low cost subsidiary of SAA. The George flight route are also available on Kulula.com and South African Express, and given the limited number of carriers operating on this route, flights on the route have historically been relatively expensive compared to routes where there is more competition among airlines.

The introduction of a regular flight route to George on Mango, may help to push down prices.

Mango flights to George depart from OR Tambo International Airport, and there are currently no flights to George operating from Lanseria Airport. Bookings can be made for flights departing on any date from 18 November 2013, and the launch of the George route follows Mango’s recent addition of a route for flights from Johannesburg to Port Elizabeth and flights from Cape Town to Port Elizabeth which has proved a success for the airline.

Kitten Sneaks onto Flight from Athens to Zurich

A kitten was seen in the vicinity of a Swiss Air Airbus aircraft which was due to transport passengers on a flight from Athens to Zurich, and shortly thereafter, ground staff at Athens Airport feared that it had managed to board the airline.

As a result, the flight was delayed for a two hour period while officials attempted to search for and locate the animal.

When it could not be found, the pilot eventually decided that it was necessary for the flight to take off, and the flight took off for Zurich. Upon landing in Zurich, it was discovered that the animal had been hidden in the landing gear compartment of the aircraft.

The landing gear compartment contained limited oxygen and had very low temperatures during the flight, and the kitten was badly shaken upon arrival in Zurich, whereupon a veterinarian took it into his care.

It is becoming increasingly common for pets to be transported on international flights, but this is done with the knowledge of the airlines concerned, which generally charge a fee to transport the animals, without them sneaking into the plane surreptitiously and being discovered only upon arrival at the destination.

United Kingdom Visa Requirements for South Africans

The United Kingdom has imposed stringent United Kingdom visa requirements for South Africans, making it more difficult to travel to the UK. Previously, South Africans did not require visas to travel to the UK, and similarly, Britons did not require visas to travel to South Africa. However, in 2009, the requirement that South Africans must have a visa to travel to the UK was introduced, apparently as a result of corruption at the South African Department of Home Affairs.

The cost of a visa for the UK is around R1200, which is relatively expensive, making Britain a less attractive destination for travellers. The United Kingdom is currently the most popular tourist destination among South Africans, and is also a favorite destination among South African relocating overseas. As a result, many South Africans visit the UK every year to visit friends and family who have emigrated there.

The South African government insists that South African passports cannot be forged, and that such concerns are unfounded. It has been in talks with Britain regarding relaxing the visa requirements, but thus far, the authorities in Britain have not been budging.

The Department of Home Affairs is currently one of the most efficient government departments, following the introduction of a new computer system which has expedited the department’s processes and functions. It is not uncommon to be issued a new passport or identity document within one week of applying for it, whereas one would easily have waited upwards of one month prior to the introduction of the new system.

As a result of the UK’s refusal to relax its visa requirements for South Africans, the South African government is considering imposing stringent visa requirements on travellers from the United Kingdom to South Africa. If these changes are introduced, this is likely to result in a decrease of the influx of British tourists to the country, which would impact negatively on the local tourism industry.

Flights from Johannesburg to Swaziland

There are two airlines offering flights from Johannesburg to Swaziland, namely South African Airways and Airlink Swaziland.

Both airlines offer daily flights on the route, and both carriers offer four daily flights from Monday to Thursday, five daily flights on Friday and three daily flights over Saturdays and Sundays.

The flights on both routes depart from OR Tambo International Airport in Johannesburg, and fly to Matsapa International Airport in Manzini, the economic capital of Swaziland.

The distance between Johannesburg and Manzini is around 300 kilometers, and a flight between the two cities only takes approximately 55 minutes.

There are no low cost airlines which offer flights from Johannesburg to Swaziland, and as a result, SAA and Airlink Swaziland are able to charge a premium for their flights.

Car hire can easily be booked at Matsapa International Airport if required, and there is no need to do exchange currency at a foreign exchange bureaux if you are travelling with South African Rands, as they can be used as legal tender anywhere in Swaziland. The Rand’s exchange rate to the Emalangeni is 1:1, so travellers with Rands are not at a disadvantage when using Rands.

Cheap Flights to Amsterdam

Amsterdam is an ever-popular holiday destination in Europe, and travellers from South Africa are often able to book cheap flights to Amsterdam on airlines including SAA and KLM Royal Dutch Airlines.

Ticket prices often start from as little as R6 500.00 for a return journey, but it is advisable to book as early as possible in advance in order to take advantage of lower prices. As a general rule, airfares increase the closer one books to the desired date of departure.

Popular attractions in Amsterdam include the numerous museums, the colourful tulip gardens in spring, the annual Queen’s Day celebrations and, of course, the legalised activities that one cannot legally partake in elsewhere.

Travellers who are concerned about the language barrier need not worry, as most Dutch locals are fluent in English, and as a result, language will not prove a problem for Anglophone visitors.

One of the biggest challenges for South African travellers at the moment, is the exchange rate. Currently, the cost per Euro is at its highest level in years, which is prohibitive to many budget travellers.

However, with careful planning, even the tightest budget can be stretched to make for an enjoyable holiday in Amsterdam.

Madagascar Travel Guide

Flight Network’s travel correspondent, Adela I, brings you a series of exclusive insights from her recent trip to the African island of Madagascar.

Here is the first installment in her series of a-musings:

WARM Greetings, or as the people here say, “Mbuastara/Salaam!” from the sweltering island of Nossi Be, Madagascar. It is unbelievably hot and humid – makes me grateful for our comparatively mild South African climate. Last year I wrote an essay on heat stroke being one of the leading killers among natural causes. Although this weather is by no means at heat stroke level and really does not seem to bother the locals, I feel I have more insight into what heat stroke might really be! Dad has no mosquito bites, despite covering myself with toxic sprays and creams I already have around 20!

Madagascar is beautiful, it is the most green and lush place I have ever seen. I could not help but be reminded of a scene from Jurassic park as I looked out of the plane window during landing. Mangoes, coconuts and giant pineapples grow freely. There is a flower called ylangylang that scents the air. The locals coppice the trees to keep the flowers low for easy picking. This coppicing results in the tree branches inverting strangely giving them a creepy, spider-like look.

I am currently sitting at an internet cafe in Hell-ville (yes, that’s the actual name of the island’s capital, and is apt, given the heat levels). I have not yet seen many animals as we spent the first two days at the beach. We head off now to a park called Lemurland so that might all change.

This e-mail has taken me a really long time to type out because the French keyboard, like so much else about the place, was completely foreign to me.

Venice Gondoliers to be Breathalysed

It may become a requirement for every Venice gondolier to be breathalysed in order to take passengers on gondola rides, following complaints that many of them are drunk while taking tourists on gondola rides around the canals that the Italian city is famous for.

Many couples travel to Venice each year to experience a gondola ride around the city, a tradition which has developed over hundreds of years. Gondola rides are expensive given their novelty, easily priced at between R700 and R1200 for a short ride. As a result, the experience is one which certain travellers opt to miss out on, instead exploring the city on foot and by way of the less expensive water taxi’s.

However, gondola rides are undoubtedly romantic, and many a couple have gotten engaged while on a gondola floating through the narrow canals and under the bridges of the city of Venice.

There was recently a news report about a group of gondoliers who forced an aspiring gondola boatman to strip naked and swim through the canal before being considered as a gondolier, which sparked outrage and led to the call for breathalyser tests to be administered.