Tuesday, June 5, 2018

INDABA - 2018 Recap


Nearly the entire Kusini Africa crew after dining at Chef Santi's

After Tad's epic Africa adventures (including an Imvelo Safari Lodges FAM) and Gretchen's Namibia safari it was time for Indaba. But you know it's never just Indaba! This year saw a slew of events including an ATTA Adventure Connect, a private gourmet dinner in Cape Town, an unforgettable day touring the Cape Peninsula with New Frontiers Escapes and more! Here's a high-level roundup of the latest industry news, straight from the amazing group of people who gathered in Durban just a few weeks back.

Flights
  • Kenya Airways (KQ) has announced an additional 26 weekly frequencies between its hub  Nairobi hub and destinations across Africa and Europe for the 2018 summer season, including 3 non-stop flights to Cape Town per week. The airline currently operates 7 weekly flights to Cape Town via Vic Falls and Livingstone. Other destinations that will have additional frequencies include Amsterdam, Paris, Mauritius, Johannesburg, Kinshasa, Brazzaville, Maputo and Entebbe.
  • Guests visiting Singita’s private concession in South Africa's Sabi Sand will have the option of a brand new private jet service operated in partnership with Federal Airlines. Travelers are met as they disembark their commercial flight at O.R. Tambo International Airport in Johannesburg. VIP fast-track passport control is followed by a transfer to the Federal Airlines terminal where guests board the jet for their direct, 35-minute flight. Onward flights to Singita Kruger NP are available, as are charters to Cape Town and Singita Pamushana Lodge.
  • RwandAir has introduced 4x weekly flights (M/W/F/Su) to and from Cape Town via Harare. Service to New York’s JFK International Airport is planned in 2019. 
Magashi Camp tent rendering

Rwanda & Uganda
  • Singita Kwitonda is scheduled to open August 5, 2019. Just 15-20 minutes' drive to park HQ, it is positioned to face the park with unobstructed views. Rates are available and bookings are open.
  • One & Only Gorilla's Nest is scheduled to open sometime in June or July of 2019. Rates are not yet available, and bookings are not yet open.
  • The reopening of One & Only Nyungwe House is scheduled for October 1st. Bookings are open.
  • Akagera NP will see a new camp from Wilderness Safaris opening this December. Magashi will have six tents and will overlook Lake Rwanyakazinga.
  • Bugesera International Airport is under construction with a tentative completion of phase 1 of construction by the end of 2018. The new airport will have capacity for 1.8m passengers, and when it is completed, Kigali International will become a domestic or regional airport.
  • Road improvements are underway between Kigali and Nyungwe in Rwanda, making the drive time approximately 4 hours.
  • Uganda's Masindi/ Fort Portal road is being sealed which will make for an easier drive from Murchison Falls NP to Kibale Forest.
Epic night skies on a River God Adventure

Southern Africa  
  • River God Adventures is the apple of some of Southern Africa's most experienced tourism eyes (think Sally Moon!). This once-in-a-lifetime experiences traverses the entire length of the lower Zambezi River to where Zimbabwe, Zambia and Mozambique meet. It's a great experience for families or close friends. The trip runs April to early November, but October is the best month of the year to make the run.
  • For those that can't manage the cost of a visit to Mana Pools, Chirundu Safari Lodge and Tamarind Tented Camp are just outside the park, and offer guests the chance to experience classic Mana activities (including boat cruises and canoeing) at a more manageable price point.
  • New Frontiers is excited about the new signature culinary experiences from Pure Africa. Their offerings include 'Pot and Spot' and 'Pot and Paddle' - a combination experience where guests are guided by chefs to prepare their own potjie dinner prior to enjoying a game drive or raft drift. After the drive, they enjoy a 3 course meal, including their potjie. They also offer a 'Popup Picnic' - guests enjoy a raft float down the Zambezi to Princess Elisabeth Island, where they can explore before enjoying an intimate picnic. The setup includes luxurious ground sofas, rugs and cushions, for total comfort when digging into a gourmet picnic feast. 
  • Singita Paumshana relaunched in May with a totally new look. Additionally, two new two-bedroom suites – located a short distance away from the main lodge and offering additional privacy and exclusivity – have been added, creating a total offering of eight suites and the private-use, five-bedroom villa.
  • Jock Safari Lodge in Kruger closed at the end of May. It will go through a total refurb and relaunch August 1 with an updated look, more little luxuries, and unexpectedly, an unchanged price point!
Kilimanjaro view from the new Polo Safari Club

East Africa
  • A new 2 night trek from Empakai to Natron promises stunning views, exhilarating hiking, insight into the changing lives of the Maasai and more. The adventure also includes two nights at Ngare Sero at Lake Natron where trekkers can enjoy activities such as seeing the flamingos, visiting hominid footprints, delving deep into the Ngare Sero gorge or even just relaxing in camp and enjoying the natural plunge pools. The very active can even add on a climb of  Oldonyo Lengai (extra cost, and noteably the hardest day trek in E Africa). 
  • The new Polo Safari Club outside of Arusha provides an idyllic location to relax and take in some of the most breathtaking views in Tanzania. Just 20 minutes from JRO, the Polo Safari Club provides the perfect stopover for guests on their way to or from the National Parks. 10 safari tents offer luxury accommodation. Guests can saddle up for leisurely horse rides through the club’s stunning grounds, take part in a thrilling game of polo or simply enjoy a leisurely place to unwind.
  • New scenic Kilimanjaro helicopter flights are available! Up to 4 travelers can hop on for a ride from Moshi Airport for the 90 minute flights, which also offers the chance to land at the summit (weather conditions permitting).

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