BLUE TRAIN DEPARTURE & ARRIVALS AMENDED
Due to the on-going rail network challenges including signal damage and power outages, The Blue Train has taken a decision to amend the departure and arrival times on its Pretoria to Cape Town (and vice versa) journeys, effective 1 April 2020. The railway line between Pretoria and Kaalfontein has been completely shutdown whilst the Passenger Rail Association of South Africa (PRASA) continue with repairs to this line. In an effort to alleviate the inconvenience and in order to ensure that guests’ itineraries are not further disrupted, The Blue Train’s departure and arrival times have been amended as follows:
• Pretoria – Cape Town: (Mondays and Wednesdays) Departure from Pretoria Station is at 2pm (check-in from 12pm). Arrival at Cape Town
Station is at 12pm.
• Cape Town – Pretoria: (Thursdays and Saturdays) Departure from Cape Town Station is at 2pm (check-in from 12pm). Arrival at Pretoria
Station is at 12pm.
Between now and April, departures from Pretoria will still be departing at 4pm and will be travelling via Sentrarand which will cause the train to arrive in Cape Town up to 5 hours later than the scheduled 10.30am. Trains departing from Cape Town between now and April will also still leave at 4pm but instead of travelling all the way to Pretoria guests will disembark at either Union Station or Kaalfontein. The train manager will arrange onward transfers to guests destination of choice within the Gauteng area.
GAUTENG: NEWLY REFURBISHED HOTEL RECEIVES NATIONAL MONUMENT STATUS
The newly refurbished Holiday Inn Johannesburg Sunnyside Park Hotel is the first Holiday Inn property in South Africa to be a recognised heritage site with national monument status. Originally built in 1895, the 152-room hotel features a fitness centre, an outdoor pool and a business centre. The property offers 2 eateries – Milner’s Restaurant, where guests can choose from the à la carte menu or the generous buffets, or The Pound & Penny, an English-style pub that offers hearty traditional dishes. The hotel is close to shopping centres, golf courses, the Johannesburg and Sandton CBDs, and is only a 25-minute drive from O.R. Tambo International Airport.
MPUMALANGA: SABI LODGE REFURB COMPLETED
Singita Castleton in the Sabi Sand Game Reserve has recently been refurbished and is ready to welcome guests. The interiors of the main homestead and 6 guest cottages have been refurbished and the private-use villa has a new yoga pavilion alongside the fully equipped fitness centre, which is accessible via a covered walkway through the gardens. Guests are now also able to choose between double and single massage treatment rooms. The wine cellar has been expanded and is now conveniently near the dining room and lounge.
MOZAMBIQUE: ONOMO HOTELS EXPANDS
Hospitality group ONOMO Hotels is continuing its expansion in southern Africa with the opening of a new hotel in Mozambique’s capital Maputo. The Mozambique hotel, which officially opened on 1 December, is nestled in the heart of downtown Maputo, the city’s business center, and boasts 165 rooms, making it one of the largest establishments in the capital. ONOMO Hotels acquired BON Hotels last year, acquiring a 60.1% controlling stake in BON Hotels.
NAMIBIA: NATURAL SELECTION UPDATE
Natural Selection is set to launch scheduled flying safaris in Namibia on 1 March 2020. The 6-night journeys will depart on Sundays from Windhoek and let guests experience the Namibian landscape from the skies followed by a stay at Natural Selection’s safari camps. The first 2 nights of the safari will be spent at Natural Selection’s newest property, Kwessi Dunes, where each room has its own stargazing bed, in the private NamibRand Nature Reserve. From there, guests are flown over Sossuvlei and Dead Vlei to the coast to Swakopmund, and then over the Skeleton Coast before stopping at Hoanib Valley Camp in Kaokoland. After 2 nights at Hoanib Valley Camp, guests set off for the Skeleton Coast to Shipwreck Lodge for the final 2 nights of the safari. For those with more time, 2 nights can be added at Safarihoek in Etosha Private Reserve.
ZIMBABWE: NEW BANK NOTES FOR ZIM
Zimbabwe will soon release new higher denomination Zimbabwe dollar bank notes to meet transactional demand for both locals and tourists. The new notes – $10, $20 and $50, would be in circulation within the next few months. The higher denominations are expected to ease the way people access goods and services while tourists will be able to access cash when they want to change their Forex. The Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe reintroduced the Zimbabwe dollar in June 2019, ending a decade of using the US dollar.
ZIMBABWE: VICTORIA FALLS AIRPORT UPDATE
Wilderness Air is set to open a private lounge at Victoria Falls International Airport this month, to accommodate Wilderness Safaris guests who will be connecting to lodges in Zimbabwe. The lounge will feature an indoor air-conditioned area with relaxing chairs and sofas, complimentary drinks and coffee as well as an information hub with educational videos. It will also feature a beautiful indigenous garden in the atrium with a small fountain and will be able to accommodate 15 guests comfortably. Wilderness Air services Wilderness Safaris camps in Hwange National Park and Mana Pools from Victoria Falls International Airport as well as Robert Gabriel Mugabe International Airport in Harare.
Click on the links for more information
Cape Town Cycle Tour on 8 March 2020
Klein Karoo National Arts Festival from 24 to 29 March 2020
Two Oceans Marathon on 11 April 2020
Calitzdorp Port & Wine Festival from 13 to 14 June 2020
Please note that our offices will be closed on the following Public Holidays:
Saturday, 21 March 2020 – Human Right’s Day
Friday, 10 April 2020 – Good Friday
Monday, 13 April 2020 – Family Day
Monday, 27 April 2020 – Freedom Day