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Wednesday, July 17, 2013

The Flight Centre August 2013 Catalogue

The above rates are based on a package price per person sharing with a minimum of 2 persons and are subject to change due to airfare increases, currency exchange, fluctuations and any unforeseen circumstances, without prior notice. Rates are based on the cheapest departure & seat and dependent on availability at the time of booking. The packages are based on the rate of exchange on the day the advert was created, so these rates may fluctuate and it’s advisable to request an up-to-date quotation from one of our consultants. All prices are subject to change until full payment is received. Conditions apply. E&OE African Encounters.

10 environmentally friendly ways to spend your 67 minutes this Mandela Day

Posted By Paul Maughan-Brown On July 16, 2013 @ 12:41 pm Article printed from Getaway Travel Blog: http://blog.getaway.co.za


At a time when the world’s focus is honed in on the ailing health of Madiba, this week we all have the chance to celebrate and recognize his life. Thursday (18 July) will mark his 95th birthday, and also Nelson Mandela International Day [1] – a global initiative inspiring people to give 67 minutes out of their day toward a good cause, in recognition of the 67 years which Mandela gave to fighting for humanity. Many readers might be keen on volunteering for an environmental cause, but not have the time or money that many volunteer programmes require (read: 5 affordable wildlife volunteering options in the Western Cape [2]). If this is the case, you have the opportunity this week to give as little as 67 minutes to one of the following Mandela Day initiatives.


5 environmental initiatives to get involved in this Mandela Day


SANCCOB beach clean up – Milnerton

The Southern African Foundation for the Conservation of Coastal Birds [3] is holding a beach clean-up at Lagoon Beach in Milnerton. There will be a meet-and-greet with SANCCOB’s ambassador penguins, as well as an educational talk on the dangers that rubbish can cause to sea birds.

Where and when

Meet at the parking lot of Lagoon Beach on Thursday 18th July. The Clean up will happen between 10:00 and 11:30. For more information, visit the SANCCOB facebook page [4]


Rooi Els beach cleanup – Rooi Els

If you are at work or school or otherwise engaged on Thursday, but a beach clean-up sounds like your cup of tea, join the folks from Rooi Els on Saturday to clean up the rubbish [5] which has been blown onto their beaches from the Cape Town Metro area by North-Westerly winds. It may be further afield than Milnerton, but Rooi Els sits along the stunning coastal R44 and is part of the Kogelberg Biosphere Reserve – well worth a day trip from Cape Town.

Where and when

The beach clean up will happen at Rooi Els on Saturday 20th July. If you want to participate, be sure to contact the event organizer at keithmoir@vodamail.co.za [6] for more information.

67 Minutes of Hope – Fish Hoek


Join Living Hope [7] (a family of ministries working for the empowerment of under-privileged communities in the Southern – Cape Peninsula area) to clear a 19 acre plot of land of invasive alien plant species. Get your hands dirty [8] by pulling out, sawing down and chopping up alien plants which are harmful to indigenous species.

Where and when

Prospective alien-killers should report to Living Hope Head Office, Kommetjie Road, Fish Hoek between 10:00 and 15:00 on Thursday 18th July.
For more information please contact Mario on 073 279 9190 or events@livinghope.co.za [6]

River Clean-Up and planting on the Keysers river in Retreat – Cape Town


WESSA (the Wildlife and Environment Society of South Africa) is holding a drive to clean up the banks of the Keysers river in Retreat, after which it will be planting indigenous plants along the freshly-squeeky-clean banks. You are asked to take along gumboots and any gardening tools you might need for planting (spades, pitchforks, gloves etc).

Where and when

Participants will meet at the grassy patch on Military Road, next to Steenberg train station on Thursday 18th July. If you want to participate you should please contact the organisers at admin@wessa.co.za [6] who will inform you of a meeting time.

Students Anti-Pollution Society’s Cleaning Campaign – Leherutshe, Zeerust, North West


The Motto of the Students Anti-Pollution Society is “A cleaner Environment is a Conducive Environment for Learning”. We couldn’t agree more, and although this event may be the geographical odd-one-out, it definitely deserved a mention. The Students Anti-Pollution Society “aim[s] at protecting and caring for the environment and sustainable livelihood of Zeerust and neighbouring cities such as Mafikeng” and is having its official launch on Mandela Day. As part of this launch the society will be staging a cleaning-up campaign on the outskirts of Leherutshe [9].

Where and when

The launch and cleaning campaign will take place of Thursday 18th July in Leherutshe. If you wish to participate, please contact the event organiser at elesanglf@gmail.com [6] for more specific information.
Main image by Albert Gonzalez Farran, UNAMID on Flickr [10]

6 other environmentally friendly ways to spend your 67 minutes this Mandela Day

You don’t need to be near any of these particular pre-organised events in order to do your bit for the environment this Mandela day. Here are six more ideas of ways in which you could spend 67 minutes for the greater environmental good, from wherever you are in the country.


Go completely electricity-free for 67 minutes

Turn off everything – your lights, your plug sockets, your geyser, in fact go to the switch-board in your home and trip the switch. We all know the heavy load which increasing electricity use is placing on the environment, and even if switching everything off for 67 minutes isn’t going to be much of a blip on the electricity-usage radar, hopefully you’ll spend the 67 minutes outside (after all, being inside without electricity is enough to drive you crazy) and re-kindle your love for some form of entertainment that doesn’t have to be plugged in.


Take 67 minutes to make a home-made compost bin / worm farm

We throw away so much bio-degradable goodness which for those of you with garden space could go back into the ground and nourish your flowers/grass/veggies. Making a home-made composter can be as easy as drilling a few holes in a drum to allow for air-flow, and for nutrient-filled juices to seep into the ground or a container beneath. There are many different models and ideas of how to make your own composting bin online [11], from the one already mentioned, to rustic wooden-slatted crates on the ground.
Visit www.howtocompost.org [12] for more information.


Spend 67 minutes doing some proper research on environmentally responsible living

Commit to spending just over an hour having a proper look at the ways in which you can change your day-to-day habits for the betterment of the environment. Part of the challenge of climate change is that it feels like such a massive, insurmountable obstacle to us and we feel powerless to help it. There are many websites out there dedicated to telling you exactly how you can make a change through simple adjustments to your everyday habits.
Visit www.wwf.org.za/act_now/green_living [13] for more information


Visit a game reserve (this might be a slightly indulgent one)

Many of the safe havens for the flora and fauna we love so much are funded by fees paid by visitors. Why not take some time this Thursday, or over the weekend, to visit one of the many game reserves across the country. If you live within 67minutes drive of a nature reserve, you really have no excuse! If this feels like too much of a holiday, you could always donate an extra R67 above the entrance fee to make yourself feel extra good about it, or even better, you could take someone with you who has never had the opportunity/means to visit a game reserve and see wild animals in their natural environment.
Visit www.kznparks.com [14], www.sanparks.co.za [15] and www.capenature.co.za [16] for more information.


Apply for a Nedbank Green Affinity Account

Banking and dealing with financial matters can often be tiresome. With the Nedbank Green Affinity Account at least you will know that every time you use your account, a contribution is made to conservation through The Green Trust, at no cost to you. Why not allocate 67 minutes on Thursday to visiting a Nedbank account and opening a Green Affinity Account (or at least finding out more information – we know how particular people can be about their banking).
Visit www.nedbankgreen.co.za [17] for more information

 Posted By Paul Maughan-Brown On July 16, 2013 @ 12:41 pm Article printed from Getaway Travel Blog: http://blog.getaway.co.za

Article printed from Getaway Travel Blog: http://blog.getaway.co.za
URL to article: http://blog.getaway.co.za/environment/volunteering/environmentally-friendly-ways-to-spend-mandela-day/

URLs in this post:
[1] Nelson Mandela International Day: http://www.mandeladay.com/
[2] 5 affordable wildlife volunteering options in the Western Cape: http://blog.getaway.co.za/environment/volunteering/affordable-wildlife-volunteering-western-cape/
[3] Southern African Foundation for the Conservation of Coastal Birds: http://www.sanccob.co.za/home/157-sanccob-mandela-day-18-july-2013.html
[6] keithmoir@vodamail.co.za: http://blog.getaway.co.zajavascript:DeCryptX(
[9] cleaning-up campaign on the outskirts of Leherutshe: http://www.mandeladay.com/calendar/event/cleaning-campaign1
[12] www.howtocompost.org: http://www.howtocompost.org/
[13] www.wwf.org.za/act_now/green_living: http://www.wwf.org.za/act_now/green_living/
[14] www.kznparks.com: http://www.kznparks.com
[15] www.sanparks.co.za: http://www.sanparks.co.za
[16] www.capenature.co.za: http://www.capenature.co.za

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Why Some Countries Drive on the Right and Some Countries Drive on the Left

Driving Map

Today I found out why some countries drive on the right and some countries drive on the left.
The origin of this varies based on the time period and country, but primarily throughout history people used the “keep-left” rule.  It has only been very recently that the world has predominately switched to the “keep-right” rule.

The first real archaeological evidence of a keep-left or keep-right type rule for a road, originates in the Roman Empire, which shouldn’t be surprising as they built a lot of massive, well trafficked roads spanning Europe and thus would have needed to establish certain rules governing how people were to interact on the roads.   So which side did the Romans use?  Archaeological evidence suggests it was common for the Romans to drive on the left side of the road.  This was first discovered in 1998 where a Roman quarry in Swindon, England had grooves in the road going away from the quarry on the left side that were significantly deeper than those on the right, due to the added weight of the stone.   It is not precisely known why they would have chosen this side, but it is probably similar to one of the main reasons this practice continued into the middle ages.

During the middle ages the roads weren’t always very safe for travelers; meeting people coming the other way on the road was something best done defensively.  Historians then believe the keep-left rule was adopted because, on a horse, if you were right handed and you met some unsavory company on the road, you could draw your weapon, typically attached to your left side, with your right hand and bring it to bear quickly against the person who is going the opposite way of you on your right; all the while, controlling the reigns with your left hand.  Then of course, if you happened to meet a friend on the road, you could more easily offer your right hand in greeting without needing to reach across your body when on horseback.  People on horseback then also typically ruled the road, so everybody else followed suit.

This keep-left rule was so common that, in 1300 AD, Pope Boniface VIII decreed that all pilgrims headed to Rome from wherever they were coming from should abide by the keep-left rule of the road along their journey.  This then held across most of the Western World until the late 1700s.

What ended up happening to force the switch in the 18th century were teamsters in the United States, who would drive large wagons with a team of horses, as the name implies.  These wagons tended to dominate the road and force everybody else to abide by the rule of the road they were using.  Very importantly, in many of those old, large American wagons, they did not include a seat on the wagon for the driver.  Rather, the driver would typically sit on the rear left most horse, when the driver was right handed.  This allowed them to easily drive a whole team of horses with a lash in their right hand.
This then forced the issue of having oncoming traffic on your left as the drivers would want to make sure any part of their team or wagon didn’t collide with oncoming traffic.  When sitting on the rear left most horse, this was much easier to do when using a keep-right rule of the road.  Just as important, if you wanted to pass a wagon in front of you, or at least see further down the road when you are sitting on the left side, it is much easier done if you are using the keep-right rule; this would give you much greater visibility of oncoming traffic when sitting on the left of your wagon.  Gradually, this system spread so that by the late 18th century, the first laws in the United States were passed, starting in 1792 in Pennsylvania, where the rule of the road was now officially a keep-right rule.  This quickly spread throughout the United States and Canada.
So how did this spread through Europe?  It started with France.  The reasons why the French switched to a keep-right rule instead of the traditional keep-left rule aren’t completely clear.  Some say it is because the French Revolutionists didn’t want anything to do with anything that had ever been Pope decreed.  Others say it was because they didn’t want to use the same rule of the road the English used.  Still others say it was entirely Napoleon’s doing.  The reasons why he may have done this, if that is the case, are even murkier ground.  Whatever the case, France switched to the keep-right system.  Napoleon then spread this system throughout the countries he conquered.  Even after he was defeated, most of the countries he had conquered chose to continue with the keep-right system.  The most important of these countries, as far as eventually further spreading the keep right system, was Germany.  Fast forward to the 20th century and, as Germany conquered countries in Europe, they forced their keep-right system onto those countries.

England never adopted this method primarily because massive wagons, as became common in the United States, didn’t work well on narrow streets which were common in London and other English cities.  England was also never conquered by Napoleon or later Germany.  Thus, they kept the classical keep-left rule of the road that had endured for hundreds of years before.   By 1756, this was actually made an official law in Britain.  As the British Empire expanded, this keep-left rule, as a law, spread throughout the world.  This hasn’t endured in most of the former British ruled countries, primarily thanks to Germany and the growing popularity of the keep-right system.  There are still a few though, probably the largest of which is India.

Bonus Facts:
  • International regulations for preventing collisions at sea decree that all water traffic should keep to the right when two sea craft pass one another going opposite directions.  The reason for this was that historically the steering oar for ships was on the right hand side of the boat.  Thus, by passing each other port to port (keep-right), they would protect the steering oars from colliding as would have been possible had they adopted a keep-left rule.
  • In aircraft, the “rule of the road” is keep-right when passing oncoming air traffic.   Interestingly, in dual-control airplanes, the captain always sits on the left side of the plane as you might expect, but in helicopters, the captain sits on the right hand side.
  • Many early cars had the driver’s seat in the center of the car rather than on one side or the other.  Gradually, car manufactures began putting the seat on one side or the other.  Some chose to put it on the side closest to the curb so that people could more easily avoid scraping buildings, curbs, etc.  Other car manufactures would put it on the opposing traffic side to help reduce car to car collisions, which would tend to be more deadly.
  • Many early American motorized vehicles actually placed the steering wheel on the right hand side of the car, even though America used the keep-right rule.  This practiced finally was put to an end largely due to Henry Ford; he preferred the left side steering wheel.  Ford cars thus adopt the left hand side steering wheel.  Due to their popularity, this effectively squashed the right hand steering wheel cars in America.
  • According to research done in 1969 by J.J. Leeming, keep-left countries have a much lower collision rate than keep-right countries.  It is thought the reason behind this is that most people’s right eye is their dominant eye.  Thus, the right eye in keep-left traffic is the one closest to oncoming traffic and so should reduce collisions.   Another theory as to why this might be is that most people are right handed, so when driving a manual transmission car in a keep-left country, most people’s dominant hand is on the steering wheel; this could help in a person’s ability to maneuver accurately.
  • The people of Timor drive on the right in East Timor and the left in West Timor…  Ambidextrous drivers. 
  • Most horse riders and cyclists will naturally mount the horse or bike from the left hand side.  In the cyclist’s case, this is why most bike chains and gears are on the right side of the bike so that the rider can walk along on the left side of the bike and not worry about getting pants or shoe laces caught in the gearing while walking beside the bike.
Taken from: http://www.todayifoundout.com/http://goo.gl/bsw8l [16.07.2013]

Monday, July 15, 2013

Stars on Kilimanjaro

Zanzibar & the Wildebeest Migration without visas!: Tanzania is now visa-free

South African passport holders no longer require a visa to enter Tanzania for a period of 90 days per calendar year, effective July 1.

The visa waiver applies to:

  • Visits for holidays
  • Private and official business visits and,
  • Transit purposes
However, all business travellers will be required to pay US$200 (R1 987) at the port of entry in Tanzania.

Friday, July 12, 2013

5 reasons to visit Malawi

The ‘warm heart of Africa’ is one of our continent’s best kept secrets. Here are 5 reasons to visit the landlocked nation.

The Lake

No description of Malawi is complete without mentioning the lake that spans the entirety of this small African country.

Lake Malawi or Lago Niaasa as it’s known in Mozambique is the third largest and second deepest lake in Africa and is home to more species of fish than any other body of fresh water in the world.

It is a vital part of Malawian life, providing food and jobs to many of its people and the beauty of the lake is unrivalled; her turquoise waters driving most of the country's tourism each year.

After spending 4 nights on the banks of Cape Maclear in the Mangochi District of Malawi's Southern Region, I can understand why people so fondly refer to it as ‘the black hole’ of Africa.

The people


The local people of Malawi have a reputation of being some of the friendliest in Africa.

They are not only some of the happiest people I have met, but are friendly, kind and helpful, desperate to share the beauty of their country with their visitors.

When I was there, two men stopped what they were doing to spend almost an hour patiently teaching me how to play their local game Malawi Bao and another took me through his town, giving me a guided tour to make sure I experienced all sides of his home country.

It's cheap

Although petrol is incredibly expensive and, at times, difficult to come by, once you've arrived at your destination you can put down your calculator and forget about the budget. Food and accommodation are reasonably priced and activities on the lake are also great value for money.

Make sure you take a boat trip out on the Lake where you can spend your day swimming, snorkelling, kayaking and watching fish eagles swoop down to scoop fish straight out of the water.

The food


Although over-fishing is becoming more and more of a problem, buying fish ethically and responsibly is possible and will allow you to sample some of the most delicious and unique fish available.

Be sure to sample Chambo, the favourite of every visitor to Malawi or the large Kampango which is also widely enjoyed throughout the country.

The adventure

Malawi is a desperately poor nation still largely untouched by Western development. Her unspoiled wilderness gives you the chance to have a proper African experience making this little landlocked country a true adventure.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

What about Morocco?

Soon we will start up Morocco as one of our destinations. Why Morocco? Well have a look at the following two videos:

Friday, July 5, 2013

How to write a complaint letter By Richard Branson

complaint letter 

Having once received what many regard as the world’s best complaint letter, I was tickled to see another brilliant note to a different airline.

I phoned the customer who wrote the above note to apologise and thank him for his letter after he experienced a less than perfect culinary experience on board one of our planes. It is important to take customer feedback on board in order to improve – and also to be able to laugh at yourself.

With that in mind, here is an open letter to Caribbean airline LIAT, written by Arthur Hicks, who also happens to be a great tennis pro.

Dear LIAT,

May I say how considerate it is of you to enable your passengers such an in-depth and thorough tour of the Caribbean.

Most other airlines I have travelled on would simply wish to take me from point A to B in rather a hurry. I was intrigued that we were allowed to stop at not a lowly one or two but a magnificent six airports yesterday. And who wants to fly on the same airplane the entire time? We got to change and refuel every step of the way!

I particularly enjoyed sampling the security scanners at each and every airport. I find it preposterous that people imagine them all to be the same. And as for being patted down by a variety of islanders, well, I feel as if I’ve been hugged by most of the Caribbean already.

I also found it unique that this was all done on “island time,” because I do like to have time to absorb the atmosphere of the various departure lounges. As for our arrival, well, who wants to have to take a ferry at the end of all that flying anyway? I’m glad the boat was long gone by the time we arrived into Tortola last night — and that all those noisy bars and restaurants were closed.

So thank you, LIAT. I now truly understand why you are “The Caribbean Airline.”

P.S. Keep the bag. I never liked it anyway.

As a colleague said: “I guess this is why LIAT is reputed to stand for Languishing In Airport Terminals!”

But seriously, making customer service key to your company will keep your employees motivated and your customers happy. This in turn ensures enduring loyalty, business success and a better experience for everyone.

By . Founder of Virgin Group

Taken from Richard's Blog on the www.virgin.com websitehttp://www.virgin.com/richard-branson/how-to-write-a-complaint-letter [05.07.2013]