Tips To Find the Best Airfare to Africa

Africa has grown to be a very popular tourist destination for international vacationers as well as business travelers. Airline costs on the other hand, have nearly tripled in recent times in spite of the rising demand for airline tickets. However, there is no value in paying exorbitant rates for airline tickets, when the same ticket can be purchased for a much lesser price by making use of these simple tips to look for competitive deals and rates online.

Plan & Book Ahead of Time: This is one of the simplest and easiest ways to save on airfares. In case of business travel, this may not always be feasible as business trips come up all of a sudden and it is difficult to plan for. However, when you are planning a family vacation, you very well know when it is going to take place. It is important to book the airline tickets as soon as the intended date of travel is finalized. This way, you are in a better position to get low rates and good discounts on airfare prices. Give yourself at least six weeks time in advance to book flight tickets especially if you plan on traveling during holiday season such as Christmas.

Shop Around: The internet is a massive source of information that everybody has access to. Perform enough research and gather as much data as possible from various ticketing websites in order to get the best deal. This will enable you to compare prices of all the airlines and also narrow down your choice according to the date flexibility and number of stops. You may also check the airline websites to see if they are offering any seasonal discounts. All this will help in securing a good deal! If you are going to fly from the U.S check websites such as Bootsnall and Cheaptickets.com. From U.K, look into Flightcenter and from India you can check websites such as MakeMyTrip and Yatra.

Make Use Of Regional Hubs: If you are planning on flying to South Africa, look for direct flights that fly regionally to smaller countries such as Zambia, Namibia, Botswana or Madagascar. For East Africa, regional flights to Ethiopia and Kenya offer nice deals on package tours and also have extensive regional connections. If you are flying to West Africa, Delta and South African Airways have their regional hub in Senegal which enables them to give good deals. For flying to North Africa, local airlines for the route will be cheaper than flying direct from other countries such as the U.S.

Fly via Europe or Dubai: Flying via Europe will be an inexpensive option, especially during the off-seasons such as November to mid-December and January to March. Turkish Airlines might be a good option as it flies to over 17 destinations in Africa and layovers in Istanbul also work out cheaper than other layover destinations. Flying through Dubai on Emirates will enable you to get good deals to destinations such as Seychelles, Mauritius, Nairobi, Johannesburg etc. Qatar Airways too, has a commendable African network with shorter stopovers. All these airlines also offer great service with minimal layovers.

Avail the Services of an Experienced Travel Agent: Make sure to avail the services of an experienced travel agent who specializes in international travel. They are experts and can give good guidance on when to travel and enable you to get good deals. They have good networks with major airlines and hotel accommodation agencies and might be able to give you a good package deal. Always check with them for packages that include a Safari or other adventure tours along with the airfare. Many travel agencies offer such all inclusive deals that will help you to keep your overall cost of travel low.

By employing these simple tips, your trip to Africa can in fact prove to be a much less costlier affair than what you expected it to be!

Author Bio:

Keerthana Karthik is a blogger who writes on travel tips and destination guides. She, at present, blogs for emperortraveline, a reliable and authorized  travel agency that provides holiday packages, domestic and international cheap flight tickets booking, train tickets booking, Passport and Visa services.


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Car Rental in Angola


Angola is booming and car rental at the Luanda Airport provides a perfect means to see much of the city together with other attractions in Angola. There are several car rental companies operating out of the Luanda Airport including Avis, Sixt, Enterprise, EuropeCar, EasyTerra and much more. Apart from the Airport in Luanda, car hire in Angola is also available in the main Luanda city centre together with other cities in Angola such as Huambo, Benguela, Lobito, Lubango, Namibe, Kuito and Menongue. 

Avis Car Rental Luanda
Avis Rent a Car Angola branch is available at the Luanda International Airport in Luanda. In addition to the rental services for very quality cars of every model, Avis also provides additional frills such as Avis Preferred Services which comes with several special services and discounts. There is a range of rental cars available at the Avis Rent a Car Luanda Airport counter ranging from economy to luxury cars. Fuel  is relatively cheap retailing at $0.75 per liter. For information on whether the Avis cars can be driven across the order to Namibia, Botswana or Zambia, contact the local Avis Rent a Car offices in Angola. Avis Angola Contact: +244 222 321551 . The Avis counters at the Luanda International Airport are open from Mon to Sat from 0630 to 2030.
Avis Rent a Car Angola


EuropeCar Car Rental in Luanda
EuropeCar car hire in Angola services is available at six locations in the country. You can rent EuropeCar at the Luanda Hotel Alvalade, the Luanda Hotel Tropico, the International Airport, the Luanda Rianha Ginga, Polo Automovel Talatona Station, TDA Coquieros Workshop Station and Vauco Mayo Workshop Station. For information on EuropeCar Car Rental at the Luanda International Airport, check out the  website. You can make savings of up to 25% by booking online.

Hertz Car Rental in Angola
The world’s largest car hire company also provides car hire in Angola. The Hertz Car Rental Angola service is available at the Rua da Missao in Luanda.You can enjoy special discounts by booking Hertz Car Hire in Angola online.

Sixt Car Rental in Angola
Sixt provides car hire services in Angola. Sixt Car Hire Luanda services are available at two locations in the Angolan capital: the Luanda International Airport and the Luanda Hotel de Convencoes. Make a call or email Sixt. Additional information is also available on the Sixt website. The Sixt Express Card services are available here together with 24h services and after hours return.


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Travel Guide to Luanda in Angola


It is sometimes called the Future Monaco of Africa or the Future Dubai of Africa. The Angolans call it Africa’s Manhattan. These names reflect the fair degree of optimism that people have in the Angolan future as the petrodollars are quickly transforming the skyscrapers, the beaches, the real estate and pretty much everything that you can think of. While the security could still be an issue, the Angolan government takes security matters quite seriously. A few years ago, thousands of West Africans (mostly Nigerians) and Lebanese in Luanda were deported for engaging in petty crime. With so much to see in this booming economy, many might be interested in the Angolan Travel 101. So what you should you take note if you are planning to travel to Luanda?

VISA
This is the hard part. You must have an invitation from someone inside Angola. This could be a friend, your organization or company. Fortress Angola has the most stringent border policy in Africa and people don’t just walk into the country like in East African countries, West African countries or even South Africa. There are cases of people who have waited for months and have still been denied VISAs.  If you are a tourist, the luckiest you can get is a 5 day or 15 day transit VISA that allows to get into the country stay briefly. The Angolan government is enforcing this policy as it fears there will be an influx of immigrants from other countries who might take jobs away from the locals. The best place to get an Angolan Visa is at a nearest Angolan embassy or consulate in your country.

Airlines to Angola
The Angolan capital Luanda is served by numerous airlines including Kenya Airways, Ethiopian Airlines, TAAG Angola Airlines, South African Airways, British Airways, Emirates, Brussels Airlines, Lufthansa, TAP Portugal and Iberia. The Angolan Airline Sonair owned by the giant Angolan oil company Sonangol provides express services between Houston and Luanda mainly for oil executives while also serving various domestic routes.

Yellow Fever Certificate
This is mandatory. Without a yellow fever certificate, you will face a lot of difficulty getting past the immigration officials.

Getting Around Luanda
You can get around Luanda in public service vehicles (Candongueiros). There is a fleet of new buses that you can use to get around the city. You may also get around the city in personal cars or through car rental services (Next post on Angola will cover car rental services in the city). While the Angolan roads have undergone renovation in recent years, the traffic in Luanda can be painful. Parking can also be a problem in Luanda. This is a city that was planned for half a million people and now has some 5 million people or 25% of the Angolan population.

Accommodation in Luanda
Accommodation is another of Luanda’s pitfalls. Remember that this is the second most expensive city in the world after Tokyo. A decent hotel will likely set you back some $400 to $600 per night. It is important to make reservation in advance as the hotels are mostly fully booked by various visitors and executives.

Dining in Luanda
Another of Luanda’s main disadvantages is the cost of food. Angola imports almost everything. With such a consumer based economy, prices of common consumer items have skyrocketed. For example, a 500ml soda costs between $8 and $10. In Kenya, the same costs between $0.40 and $2 depending on the establishment. To illustrate further the costs of food in Luanda and  Angola in general, a regular lunch will cost you $30; in Kenya the same costs $7 on average. A great diner in Angola will set you back $70, something that costs $25 in Kenya on average.  To get by on a daily basis, you will need an average of $150 for meals.

Communicating
You need to learn some basic Portuguese if you are visiting Angola. The Portuguese influence in the country is quite extensive. Remember that Portugal had a presence in this country for almost 500 years. In restaurants, you will probably need a translator to make orders. The same applies to everything else. With some basic Portuguese, you can easily get by in Angola.

Sightseeing
There are lots of attractions in Luanda and Angola. Next posts will cover top attractions in Angola.



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Angola Boom sees Development of Africa’s Largest Airport


There is no doubt that Angola is experiencing an unprecedented economic boom that has seen the country build some of the most sophisticated infrastructure in Sub Saharan Africa. The South West African nation has partnered with the China International Fund based in Hong Kong and other global investors in the development of cutting edge infrastructure ranging from railways, airports, a magnificent seat of government, hotels and the soon to be unveiled multi-billion dollar Luanda International Airport which will be capable of handling some 13 million passengers.

Angola is intent on taking the sheen away from South Africa in order to become the top investment destination in Africa in the coming decades.  This ambition has seen the country embark on many ambitious projects aimed at positioning the nation globally and diversifying the economy to attract future FDI.

The Angolan Social Housing Project
Early in last week, the world got a glimpse into Angola’s ambition with what was reported by international media as a “ghost city” built by the Chinese. This “ghost city”, according to BBC, is actually a mega housing project that is still under construction and will house Angola’s burgeoning middle class.  But this is just the tip of the iceberg going by the various real estate development projects lined up in the country most of which are being developed by foreign companies in partnership with the Angolan Government.

Nova Cidade do Kilamba : Housing for the burgeoning Angolan middle class

Africa’s Largest Airport
According to the Angolan Government and the China International Fund, the Luanda International Airport is being constructed to cope with increased business traffic and logistical operations in the country as a result of the economic boom. Long term goals will involve positioning the airport is alternative to OR Tambo International Airport in Johannesburg for routing passengers to East, Central and West Africa. The New International Airport Luanda will be the largest in Africa with a capacity 13.152 million passengers per year.  The cargo terminal building will have an area of 6200 square metres with a capacity of 35,000 tonnes per year. The airport will be completed within the next two years.
The road to the New International Airport Luanda. The Airport will be the largest in Africa

The New Luanda International Airport
Angolan National Administration Complex
The seat of the Angolan Government will certainly rival that of Washington in terms of the scale and architectural splendor.  Following the reunification of Angola in 2002 after a 26 year civil war, this magnificent seat of power will be a symbol of the country’s renewal. Below is an impression of the future Angolan seat of power already under construction. This new complex is something that has no equal in Africa and will include the Angolan Presidential Place, Parliament House, the Angolan Supreme Courts, Ministerial offices, museums and conference facilities. From the architectural models, this will certainly be one of Luanda’s greatest attractions.
The Angolan National Administration Complex

The Luanda Bay Waterfront
This is probably the most beautiful waterfront in Africa. Construction began some three years ago and today, it is one of the touristiest locations in Luanda and a major attraction for locals and tourists alike.

Luanda Bay Waterfront

Angolan VISA
As many travelers have discovered, getting an Angolan VISA is more difficult than even the US VISA. You to apply 3 months or 6 months in advance and you need an invitation from someone or company inside Angola. This can include a friend or your employer. You can only get an Angolan VISA  inside your country although it is also possible to get one in neighboring countries like South Africa or DRC. However, the effort is worth it as Angola is one of the most beautiful and dynamic nations in Africa. With beautiful landscape, beautiful African culture influenced by 1000 year old Bakongo and Lunda Empires together with a 400 year old Portuguese imprint, Angola offers something that is certainly unique in Africa. Not even East Africa’s safari’s or South Africa’s great attraction will compare to the magnificent Angola with its beautiful Atlantic city now dubbed the future Dubai of Africa or the future Monaco of Africa.



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Korean Air Insulted Not Just Kenyans But Africans

Republished from WolfgangHThome Blog
Getting an invitation for an inaugural flight celebration is often something to be more than just a little happy about, as the access to the apron and the smell of jet fuel tends to bring out the best in me when writing about aviation developments. Months ago already when able to tell my readers about Korean Air planning to fly to Nairobi, I was almost excited about the prospect to fly over to Nairobi to see Korean Air touch down at JKIA but now I am no longer so sure that I will. The airline had launched the mother of all insults to us Africans when in a promotional clip the tried to entice travelers from Korea and connecting destinations to ‘Fly to Nairobi with Korean Air and enjoy grand African Savannah, Safari tour and indigenous people full of primitive energy’.

Translation error or Shameful Act?
I know from personal experience how easy it is to become a black sheep and be looked upon with both suspicion and pity for having made Africa my home, but here I am and ready to defend my turf alongside my fellow brethren and sisters I live amongst, interact with, visit and meet every day and no wonder my inboxes yesterday filled up fast when in particular Kenyans, but to no surprise East Africans and the rest of the continent’s contacts and sources I have voiced their opinions on this faux pas.

Whoever created this tag line, whoever is responsible for letting it slip through the inevitable reviews and edits and whoever within the airline and their advertising agency is responsible simply MUST BE SACKED for calling us primitive, as it is a reflection of how they view us and the racial prejudice this message brings to the forefront.

We might still need to develop, have challenges ahead of us which amount to Herculean tasks and are fighting climate change perpetrated on us by the developed world, including Korea by the way, but one thing we are not, and that is primitive. Africa can be proud of being a continent which has produced some of the finest poets, excels in arts and music, creates colourful fashion and is turning out professionals in demand around the world as expatriates, from pilots to engineers, from nurses to doctors in all fields of trade, commerce and industry.

The social media time lines are full of the insult and the reaction was as sharp as it was a few days ago when the embattled Spanish prime minister, in a private message, outed since then, to his finance minister, who was kowtowing before the European mega powers begging for a 100 billion Euro bailout, that ‘Spain is NOT Uganda’.

I am painfully aware of the many shortcomings we have, in Uganda in particular, Eastern Africa and the continent of Africa in general, but we walk with our heads held high, proud of what has been achieved in nearly 50 years of independence and aware of what still has to be accomplished in years ahead.
But still, to be so insulted, first by a Maskini, aka beggar wearing the robes of a prime minister and only days later by Korean Air, is a sign of only the tip of the iceberg of negative sentiments about Africa, of how the rest of the world eyes our mineral resources with great envy and greed but disrespects us as the people who own then.

While it is worth to mention that faced with a fire storm of biblical proportions from Kenya, Eastern Africa and much of the continent Korean Air moved swiftly to remove the offensive commercial message, we want to see heads roll too or else might think that the apologies now offered are neither genuine nor given under anything else but commercial duress, fearing that their flights will be shunned and they be deprived of loads.

What could have been a grand start of cooperation with Korean Air – they are Sky Team partners like Kenya Airways is – their start up now is sullied and stained. A regular source close to Kenya Airways, when asked overnight to comment, had this to say: ‘True, Korean is a Sky Team partner and those at Kenya Airways were looking forward to extend a partnership to have access to nonstop flights to Seoul and beyond with code shares and closer links. This advert however has created some real problems for them. Privately many of our colleagues are now looking at them, at their staff in particular, and wonder if that is how they see us. Are we some Stone Age dwellers in their eyes, maybe cannibals or barbarians? There is a great need to clear the air with more than a published apology to show Kenya that this is not symptomatic, generic of how they see us Africans and there is more to international relations than to seek exploit our mineral resources. In fact for some it is embarrassing now to be known as a partner through Sky Team but there is not one amongst our colleagues who would defend them but we all condemn that stupid portrayal of us being primitive. It also spoils the launch party of course and overshadows any celebrations of the inaugural flight because the word PRIMITIVE will be overshadowing it all.’

Barbs galore it is for Korean Air and only time will tell in fact if ever they get a review or mention here again – for sure not before they have done penance to the people of Africa they so insulted. We will not turn the other cheek and we will not be your friends until this mess is sorted out to the satisfaction of the continent and the people of Africa, yours’ truly included.


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Qatar Airways to Launch Mombasa and Maputo Flights

Qatar Airways is proceeding with its aggressive African Expansion with more flights planned for Maputo and Mombasa. Qatar's "African Adventure" will see it launch flights to Maputo on 3st October 2012 while the Mombasa flights will be launched on 15th August 2012.

Booming Mozambique is experiencing some economic boom and is one of the fastest growing economies in the world. Its economic prospects is attracting businesses and professionals from Africa and throughout the world, an opportunity Qatar Airways is keen to tap into.
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Finding Great Accommodation in the Midlands Meander


There is a lot to see and experience if you are planning a meander in the Kwa Zulu Natal’s Midlands Meander which stretches from the little town of Pietermaritzburg to the Mooi River. The route was established as a rural retreat by various artists and craftsmen where they could focus on building their trades away from the hustle and bustle of Durban. Today the Midlands Meander provides a perfect route for experiencing nature, beautiful scenery, various arts and crafts and great accommodation. If you are looking for an accommodation in the Midlands Meander during your foray into the Berg in KZN, there are several factors that you will need to consider for the perfect Midlands experience.
Location
The Midlands Meander is an 80km stretch of great landscapes and features and location should be an important factor when choosing you accommodation.  Some of the major landmarks along the Meander include the spectacular Drakensberg Mountains, the Mooi River, the Karkloof Valley, the Nkonkwane Stream, the Karkloof nature reserves and hundreds of other scenic natural and historic features. If you are looking for an accommodation in Midlands Meander close to any of these sites, then it is important to factor in the location of the establishment when making your bookings.

Luxury versus budget accommodation
A luxury accommodation in the Midlands Meander comes with all the trappings and comfort with great wine and food. You will be able to enjoy great sightseeing of the spectacular scenery and nature including the world famous Drakensberg Mountains, the historic Mooi River or the Karkloof Blue butterfly. Luxury accommodation will include great baths and showers, delectable three course meals, therapy massages, spas and much more.  You will also find plenty of budget accommodation in Midlands Meander where you can make huge savings and still enjoy relative comfort and spectacular scenery. Budget accommodation can include lodges, guest houses, private homes and farm houses. B&B budget accommodation also exist that offer sumptuous breakfasts.

Self Catering versus fully serviced accommodation
If you are considering an accommodation in Midlands Meander, you also have the option of choosing either self catering service or a fully serviced accommodation. Various establishments will offer either of these services exclusively or both giving you the flexibility to determine what you need. Self catering services will give you the freedom to engage in cooking your favorite food while on your holidays. On the other hand, you will be fully served like in a hotel atmosphere should you opt for fully catered accommodation. You can also find self catering accommodation in Midlands Meander that also offers meals. When booking your accommodation, it is important to carefully evaluate the kind of catering offered to ensure that your precise needs are met in your search for accommodation.

There are several other choices for accommodation in Midlands Meander that you can choose from including country houses, guest houses, hotels or farm houses where you can enjoy some choice cheese and great wine. Great options also exist for camping that are suited for backpackers.



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5 Tips to Consider when choosing the best Cape Town Holiday Apartment


The Mother City is the most popular holiday destination in South Africa, offering visitors a limitless availability of places to see and experience. From the Seal Island to the Table Mountains, Cape Town provides a comprehensive package of holiday treats to visitors. If you are planning to visit soon, one of the best ways to experience the magnificence of this city is by getting a Cape Town holiday apartment. Having such a home away from home provides you an opportunity to sample the best of Cape Town while living in a free and relaxing atmosphere that is not any different from your real home.  You must however do your homework in choosing the best accommodation for you, your family or your travel companions. The following factors must be put into consideration when looking for a great Cape Town holiday apartment.
Cape Town Holiday Apartment
Location
Location will play an important role during your stay in Cape Town.  If you will be frequenting particularly sites in the Mother City in the duration of your holiday, then it is important to choose a Cape Town holiday apartment with close proximity to your favorite sites. Location should therefore feature at the top of your check lists when reviewing the various available options.

Type of apartment
It is important to choose the right type of Cape Town holiday apartment that will fit your holiday accommodation needs. You can have the choice of various types of apartments including from a simple one room apartment to duplex apartments. You may also choose based on the furnishings offered in each of the holiday apartments. For example, you have the option of going with light furnishing to fully furnished homes.  You may also look at factors such as whether the apartment offers a balcony, terraces, a patio or backyard garden.

Number of Occupants
Depending on your requirements and the number of people in your holiday plans, you can have the choice of one bedroom, two bedrooms to seven bedroom apartments. By searching on the internet, you can find a Cape Town holiday apartment that will accommodate everyone in your travel group.

Evaluate the services and amenities
The types of services offered the Cape Town holiday apartment is also something that you must consider. While some apartments offer full catering services, there is also the option of self catering. It is important to plan ahead whether you will need these during your holiday in Cape Town. Some apartments might offer additional amenities such as dog parks, swimming pools, tennis courts amongst others. Factoring these earlier on in your holiday plans will allow you to enjoy your stay in Cape Town with much convenience.

Budgetary Considerations
The last but not least factor that you need to consider is the rates offered in the market. Once you have identified the kind of Cape Town holiday apartment that you will need, you can begin searching and comparing rates amongst various providers.
Choosing a great holiday apartment will play a big part in making your Cape Town holiday not just memorable but also quite enjoyable.


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The options available for accommodation on South Coast KZN

Located a few kilometers from Durban in Kwa Zulu Natal, the South Coast is a 200km stretch of beaches that includes a range of natural features, towns, rivers and gorges, with lots of fun and things to experience. Some of the activities available for visitors here include abseiling, surfing, rafting, mountain climbing, skiing, SCUBA diving, deep sea fishing amongst other attractions. It is no wonder that more and more tourists are converging here to experience the best that it has to offer.  Some of the options available for accommodation on South Coast KZN include B&B accommodation, guest houses, lodges, hotels, private homes, self catering services and camping facilities.



B&B Accommodation
B&B accommodation on South Coast KZN consists of an array of establishments with services that will meet every traveler’s needs. The South Coast offers countless B&B and accommodation that come kitted with several amenities including comfortable rooms, satellite TV, swimming pools, Wi-Fi and much more punctuated with very sumptuous breakfasts. You may opt for B&B accommodation overlooking the Indian Ocean or more intimate locations that offer privacy and peaceful ambiance. Additional services can be provided on request depending on the establishment. Some of the B&B in KZN also provide self catering services.

Guest Houses
The guest houses offer ideal places for accommodation on South Coast KZN for both business and pleasure. The types of guest houses will depend on your preference but you are likely to find many built in the form of mansions with full catering, self catering or both. They are located close to the major amenities and recreational centres in the South Coast. Some guest houses located on the outskirts might provide free transport services but it is important to verify this information when booking your accommodation.

Backpacker’s Lodges
Kwa Zulu Natal is a favorite amongst backpackers globally with tens of thousands converging on the country every year to experience its famed outdoors. As a result, there is lots of backpackers’ lodges accommodation on South Coast KZN available. Based on your preference, it is possible to find characterful lodges with single or double rooms for your accommodation needs. For the budget travelers, the dormitory style lodges are also available. Like the other accommodation amenities, they are located very close to the major amenities and recreational centres in KZN.

Private Homes
Private home accommodation on South Coast KZN is an exciting new trend to experience the local culture while enjoying the comfort of a home-like ambiance. Many of the private holiday homes in KZN are fully equipped with kitchens and also fully furnished. They are located close to major shopping malls and other recreational centres. Many of them are self catering and provide you an opportunity to sample the local foods while avoiding the bustle of the hotel environment.

Hotels
Depending on your requirements and budget, you can choose from an array of available accommodation on South Coast KZN. Several hotels, spas and resorts are available along the entire 200km stretch of the South Coast.

Camping
Camping services and accommodation on the South Coast KZN are some of the major attractions in the region. Several caravan parks and secure camping sites are available with many located close to major parks, reserves and other major landmarks in the area.



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South Africa: Places where you can find great Accommodation on the Garden Route


The Garden Route stretches from the Western Cape to the Storm’s River and is revered as a choice tourist destination for a family outing and sightseeing. This 200km stretch is a nature lovers’ paradise with lots of vegetation, rivers, spectacular beaches, mountains and lagoons. Its name is derived from the rich variety of vegetation that grows along the route.  Apart from its mild and beautiful weather, the Garden is also loved for the lots of outdoor activities that you can engage in including surfing, diving, whale watching, rafting, paragliding, bungee jumping, kayaking, biking, mountain biking, snorkeling and much more that will give you real sense of adventure. Some of the places where you can find great accommodation on the Garden Route include Knysna, Oudtshoorn, Calitzdorop, Mossel Bay, George, Herold’s Bay, Plettenberg Bay, StormsRiver, Victoria Bay amongst others.

The Garden Route South Africa
 Knysna
Knysna is one of the major resorts for someone looking for accommodation on the Garden Route. The small town is famous for its oysters and the Knysna lagoon and there are lots of activities that you can engage in here. Accommodation offered is varied including B&B for overnight stays, guest houses, log cabins, boutique hotels, luxury private homes, apartments and much more. You can also opt for fully catered or self catering Knysna accommodation depending on your travel arrangements.

Oudtshoorn
Oudtshoorn is famous for its ostriches with over 400 ostrich farms located in its vicinity. You can enjoy the ostrich races and other activities including the hair rising crocodile cage diving. You can also undertake the highest bungee jumping experience in the world in this small town. For the adventure seeker, it provides one the most exciting places for an accommodation on the Garden Route. Some of the options available include B&B accommodation, Guest houses, lodges, private homes and hotels. Boutique and self catering services are also available.

Mossel Bay
This old coastal village paradise is a must visit if you are looking for a mild coastal holiday destination and accommodation on the Garden Route. It’s popular for its water sports and with an array of accommodation including B&B, guest houses, private homes, hotels. Many of the Mossel Bay accommodation establishments offer both self catering and fully catered services.

Plettenberg Bay
Plettenberg Bay is a popular destination for those looking for accommodation on the Garden Route and is one the main seaside towns on the Garden Route. Plettenberg is known as one of the best resort towns in South Africa. If you are looking for some of the finest accommodation facilities along the Garden Route, Plettenberg provides a great variety of choice luxury hotels for travelers. You may also opt for more affordable accommodation based on your budget and requirements including on guest houses, private homes, B&B, and much more. Some of the adventures that you can partake of in this beautiful seaside resort include kayaking, SCUBA diving, snorkeling, rafting, canoeing and much more.

George
George is a beautiful small city located at the centre of the Garden Route with a big city feel thanks to its numerous amenities. If you would like an accommodation on the Garden Route with a city environment, then George is the place for you. It is one of the oldest towns in South Africa with mild Mediterranean weather and beautiful architecture.

There are many other sites where you can have great accommodation on the Garden Route based on your budget and needs. Making a few inquiries before booking ensures you get what you are looking for to enjoy the best that this scenic stretch of coastline has to offer.


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Swedish Woman Reimbursed for Sitting Next to a Corpse on Kenya Airways Flight

Kenya Airways has reimbursed a Swedish woman, Lena Pettersson, $1400 for sitting next to a dead man on a 10 hour flight from Amsterdam to Nairobi. A sick passenger boarded the Kenya Airways Flight and died a few hours later. Efforts to resuscitate the passenger had been fruitless and the passenger was left on the seat after he passed on.

Since the flight was full, the Swedish passenger had no option but to sit next to the dead man for the rest of the flight. She apparently complained to the airline shortly afterwards and got the refund.

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Sixt Car Rental Expands African Presence with New Offices in Abidjan

German car rental company Sixt has expanded its African footprint by opening a new branch in Abidjan. This comes hot on the heels after the unveiling of its Kenyan branch offices. Sixt offers quality car rental services to travelers throughout the world with a wide choice of vehicles to choose from together with highly competitive car hire pricing. Travelers can choose from economy cars to luxury super cars for the tour of the Ivorian capital.

With its Abidjan office, Sixt now has presence in 14African markets including Egypt, Kenya, Libya, Madagascar, Mauritius, Morocco, Mozambique, Nigeria, South Africa, Sudan, Tanzania and Tunisia. In Cor d'Ivoire, Sixt has become the first major car rental company in Abidjan's International Airport offering consumers wider choices away from the uncertainty of taxi booking and the inflexibility and unreliability of the public transport system.

Sixt already has another branch in the Abidjan CBD and plans are underway to expand to the country's capital Yamoussoukro this year. Travelers flying on Ethiopian Airlines, South African Airways, EgyptAir and other Star Alliance Airline partners can also take advantage of Sixt's partnership with Miles and Points and earn extra FF Miles during their car rental in Abidjan.

6 Ways to enjoy an Extreme Adventure in South Africa

South Africa is relatively large country with over 3000km of coastline and thousands of inland natural features that will be a match for every thrill seekers’ wildest fantasies. Whether you are looking for a date with the sharks or overland tours in some of Africa’s most famous national parks and mountain ranges, there is so much on offer for an adventure seeker in South Africa that you cannot sample it all at a go. Planning is critical to getting the best of what South Africa has to offer. The various outdoors activities offered include water skiing, mountain climbing, nature walking, overland tours, mountain biking, kayaking, Bungee jumping plus hundreds more to experience. If you are looking for the adventure in South Africa, any of the following activities will definitely give you a good head start with experiences that range from the thrilling to dead scary:

An appointment with the Great White through shark cage diving
If you would like to test the patience of the ruthless Great White Shark or the other vicious relatives in the family that populate the Cape, then shark cage diving is definitely for you. You will SCUBA dive into the shark infested waters of the Atlantic, of course in a cage, and get the hair raising and adrenaline rush of coming face to face with these monsters of the seas. The beauty of this is that you do not need any diving experience to enjoy this adventure of lifetime. Shark cage diving is a popular adventure in South Africa for many thrill seekers.
Shark cage diving

Go Crocodile Diving in Oudtshoorn
Confront fear itself by diving into the crocodile infested waters in Oudtshoorn, Karoo. Crocodile diving, like Shark diving is another scary adventure in South Africa that is likely to test your nerves to the limits. Of course you will do this from the safety of your cage.

 
Crocodile Cage diving
Go Bungee Jumping
Once you are finished meeting with crocodiles in Oudtshoorn, how about scaring the life out of your body again by engaging in bungee jumping just a few minutes away? The Bloukrans Bridge in South Africa offers the world’s highest bungee jump with a height of 216m. If you are looking for a hair raising adventure in South Africa that will truly put your mind and daredevilry to test, then this is something that you should try.
Bungee Jumping in South Africa


Abseiling in the Table Mountains
Abseiling is simply descent down a steep incline using a rope as often done by rock climbers, and Table Mountain in South Africa provides the perfect setting for another a hair raising experience. Whether you are a professional in abseiling or a novice looking for an adventure in South Africa, this experience provides a real adrenaline rush. Novices will get help from professionals in their abseiling.



An appointment with the “Big Five”
The Kruger National Park is where your dreams and nightmares come true as you come up close with some of nature’s most majestic animals.  Kruger is one of the world’s best preserved parks and you can watch the nature’s killing machines at work hunting and eating their prey. It also has a great bird watching opportunity. If you are looking for a real wild adventure in South Africa, the Kruger experience is the stuff National Geographic is made of.

Hiking
Several hiking expeditions are available in various locations of South Africa including on mountains, the various hiking trails and nature trails. Whether you are interested in forests, mountain ranges or river gorges, the rich natural features means you are in a hiker’s paradise if you are looking for an adventure in South Africa.

For more information on accommodation options when you are looking for an adventure in South Africa, visit www.where2stay-southafrica.com

5 Top Attractions for an Exciting Durban Holiday

If you are after an enchanting and memorable respite in South Africa, then a Durban holiday definitely offers the sights and sounds that go with your mood. This multicultural Kwa Zulu Natal city combines its mix of cultures with awesome attractions that leaves many travelers looking for more. Some of the best attractions include various water slides, botanical gardens, open air markets and some of the best places to dine and wine in KZN. If you are looking for the perfect Durban holiday experience, the following five attractions will definitely give you the fun and exotic side to the city.

Ushaka Marine World
Built in a shipwreck theme and kitted with such amenities as a giant aquarium, an expansive dining complex and a water park, the Ushaka Marine World is a definite must see on a Durban holiday and frequently tops every visitor’s list of priorities. The park has dark alleyways where visitors can walk through and see the massive sharks. The park also has contains lots of cute dolphins. The dolphin shows are a definite must see.

Durban Botanical Gardens
The Durban Botanical Gardens are considered the oldest in Africa and offer a relaxing atmosphere rich in fauna. They are perfect for educational tours, giving you an opportunity to explore and learn about the various plants and herbs from Africa and the rest of the world during your Durban holiday. If you are looking for pure relaxation, the tea garden inside these botanical gardens provides an impressive atmosphere to unwind and marvel, while surrounded by a rich biodiversity.

Umhlanga Rocks
Located on the Kwa Zulu Natal coast, Umhlanga Rocks is a fully kitted and quiet coastal village where you can have a quiet Durban holiday away from the hustle bustle of the city. This upmarket village has several amenities for the holiday makers including holiday flats, shopping malls, restaurants, hotels, a skate park and other amenities that will make your holiday just worth it. Apart from the peaceful and quiet atmosphere, you might also enjoy attractions like watching the sea from the pier or the Umhlanga Lighthouse, an impressive monument built to raise awareness on HIV/AIDS. The village is located just 15km from Durban and is thus quite accessible.

Natal Shark Board
If you thought that only Cape Town offers a great shark spectacle with its famous sharks and seals, then think again. The Natal Shark Board was created to protect the public from shark attacks while also teaching them the value of conservation of the marine ecosystem. Guided educational tours and shows are available during your Durban holiday where you can learn more about the “sea monster”, the Great White Shark amongst other shark species. If you are lucky, you can witness the impressive spectacle of a shark being dissected. Lots of smaller sharks can also be seen here during educational tours.

The Victoria Street Market
The Victoria Street Market is one of the historic landmarks of Durban and an important part of the city’s cultural history. Established in 1910 by indentured laborers from India, the century old market gives you a glimpse into the city’s Indian flavor with assorted merchandise ranging from Indian spices to jewelry. This is the perfect place to interact with the local population or pick a souvenir during your Durban holiday.

To check out and book your preferred Durban holiday, visit www.where2stay-southafrica.com

Online Booking for Flights in Africa


Is online travel booking the next big thing in Africa?  Africa is fast becoming a major global travel destination as the continent offers lots of holiday and business prospects. While African airlines accounted for a mere 2% of global air traffic due to a market that is still regarded as underdeveloped, the continent is now on a good trajectory due to multiple factors. There is for example a fast growing African middle class together with the need to travel more within the continent as more African nations trade with each other. The last three years have also seen some tremendous investments in broadband infrastructure. This mean Africans are traveling more while at the same time they are logged on to their devices. This has as a result created a huge demand for online travel service on the continent.

Online Booking in Africa
Currently, online booking is still dominated by many airlines through their websites. Almost all of the major Africa carriers now offer travelers online booking service through the corporate website. These normally offer discounted flights to get customers off the queues and away from the travel agents in order to embrace the convenience of internet booking.  Additionally, there is an emerging trend of online travel agents that are now establishing operations in Africa. The most successful online travel agency so far in establishing Pan African operations is Travelstart that currently offers African travelers localized online travel booking platforms in the key markets of Nigeria, Kenya and South Africa.

Which markets dominate online booking?
Currently, South Africa offers the most vibrant online travel market in Africa with several players jostling for the millions of travelers who visit from abroad or travel within the country. Other major online travel market are Kenya, Egypt, Morocco and Nigeria. However, these countries do not have serious competition in the online travel niche.

Local versus global online travel agencies
As more local online travel solutions emerge, Africans will be faced with the choice on whether to book flights with local online travel agencies like Travelstart or opt for the old players like Expedia and Priceline. Local definitely has significant advantages in terms of excellent local customer support, flexible modes of payment and good and firsthand knowledge of the local market. It will be interesting watching how the competition unfolds as more Africans log on to the internet to catch the next flights or book hotel rooms.

Tourist Finance for Hassle Free Holidays

Travel is fun but it also costs money. Many families have seen their best laid holiday plans being shelved aside due to lack of adequate funding. But there are savvy travelers with average income who can afford to travel and see the world. How do they afford it? The secret is in tourist finance. Many financial institutions continue to design financial products to meet ever changing needs.

 One of those needs that was in the past largely ignored was tourist finance. Many holidays are often funded from savings.  Families with inadequate savings are forced to shelve aside holiday plans or look for cheaper travel destinations. If you are planning to visit Table Mountains in Cape Town or Victoria Falls, inadequate funding might force you to reconsider that option and settle for more affordable tourist spots. Tourist finance however enables you to apply for a loan for touring the world and at very attractive rates.

Getting Tourist Finance Is Easy
It is often fairly easy to qualify for tourist finance loans. Borrowers have to meet some minimum eligibility requirements and that’s just about it. Once these are met, you can get your loan application approved quite fast and you will be off to your idyllic sunny holidays.

As with every product and service offered online, shopping around for the best tourist finance service providers is crucial. Many of them provide additional frills and advice to differentiate themselves from competition, including offering travelers tips on cheap flights, affordable holiday destinations and accommodation, best times to traveler and more. A tourist financier is simply a lender that has specialized in offering travelers financing and one advantage that you will have is the first hand knowledge you get from them regarding your travel and money management during your holidays. It is also important to evaluate interest rates across multiple lenders when looking for tourist finance as these tend to vary based on the service provider that you are dealing with.

A good travel financing partner will allow you to enjoy your holiday without worrying about your dwindling finances or whether your interest rate will shoot over the roof!

Travelstart Launched in Nigeria


Online travel agency Travelstart has expanded its African footprint further by launching Travelstart Nigeria. Travelstart was founded in Sweden in 1999 but has since expanded its global operations to include the key travel and internet markets of Africa. Today, the Travel portal includes a South African outfit, Travelstart South Africa and a Kenyan outfit Travelstart Kenya that was launched early this year. Travelstart has launched its Nigerian operations in partnership with GHI Assets Limited, a Nigeria local player and one of the most successful travel agents in that country.

The launch of Travelstart Nigeria not only marks its entry into one of Africa’s key internet markets but also Africa’s largest travelling population. With the African travel market growing at very high rate due to a high economic growth, intra-African business and trade and a growing a middle class, there has also been a significant growth in Africa’s internet population with over 120 million Africans now logged in. The growth of the internet population has coincided with the continent’s massive investments in its data infrastructure.

The growth of travel and the internet can only mean one thing-the growth of online travel market in Africa. In this Travelstart has been trailblazer, pioneering the concept in some of the African markets. Other emerging markets like Brazil, India, China and Russia do have giant local online travel players and Travelstart will be well poised to be Africa’s “local” player like India’s MakeMyTrip, China’s CTrip, Brazil’s Despegar, and Russia’s Ostrovok.

Email us at contact@flight-africa.com if you want your travel website reviewed on this blog.

Booking Cheap Flights to Nigeria: Options Available


Nigeria is a major African business and trade hub with billions of dollars invested in the nation’s oil, banking and telecommunications sector. Most travelers fly to Nigeria mainly for business although other sectors have seen some growth in the recent years. However the aviation sector has seen some problems and the country’s national airline Nigeria Airways collapsed a few years back. While some private carriers like Arik have emerged and are quickly building route networks, your flight to Nigeria is most likely to involve flying international carriers like Ethiopian Airlines, Delta, British Airways, Emirates, Qatar Airways, Lufthansa , Kenya  Airways, South African Airways amongst other international airlines.  Cheap flights within Nigeria can be booked with local travel agencies but it is important to make multiple calls in order to arrive at the best deals. When looking for cheap flights to Nigeria, the following factors ought to be considered to ensure you get the best deals on your flights.

Look for direct flights to your destination city
Whether you are flying to Lagos, Abuja, Port Harcout or Kano, it is possible to find direct flights to some of these cities which allow for ease of travel instead of connecting domestic flights to your destination. Nigeria is not particularly a huge country in terms of size but travelling by road might not necessarily fit your schedule.

Bargain hunting
It is important to evaluate fares offers from the various airlines. It is likely that many of your flights might involve stopovers in third countries. For intra African travel, Kenya Airways and Ethiopian Airlines will offer you the best option though they might not necessarily be cheap. Travel to Asia is great with Emirates and Qatar Airways which normally have stopovers in Dubai and Doha respectively. There also exist lots of options for your travel in Europe including British Airways, Virgin Atlantic, KLM, Arik Air amongst other carriers.

Book Early
Plan your itinerary and book your flight early on to enjoy the best fare offers. Booking your flight 21, 14 or even 7 days in advance will allow you to make some healthy savings when booking cheap flights to Nigeria.

Looking for a review on your travel website? Drop us an email at contact@flight-africa.com

Finding the Cheapest Flights to South Africa


Cheap flights always add value to your destination allowing you to lock in the savings and spend the extra savings on a richer travel experience. The first thing that we are likely to put into consideration after deciding on our travel destination is whether we can afford flights to those destinations. South Africa is one of the most popular travel destinations in Africa thanks to its varied attractions and securing cheap travel to this African paradise can be difficult if you are not familiar with the intricacies of online travel.

The era of travel agencies is definitely coming to an end although a good number still offer a time tested quality service with a deep understanding of the travel markets and the details of airline travel. The majority flights are now booked online with online travel agencies(OTAs). But like the travel agencies of the years gone by, online travel booking may not necessarily offer you certainty of fares due to many factors that regulate the airline fares. If you are looking for cheapest flights to South Africa, this can be a problem with many airlines now serving the major cities in the country. The fare offer on Emirates, Qatar Airways, South African Airways or Air France may not necessarily be the cheapest. What we hate most is leaving a deal on the table. For example paying $1000 for your flight if you could have paid $750 for the same flight in the same cabin on the same date is definitely not funny! So how do you ensure that you score the cheapest flights to South Africa and make adequate savings to enjoy the rest of the attractions of the Rainbow Nation?

Book Early
Unknown to many, this is the easiest way to secure the cheapest flights to virtually anywhere. Airlines usually update their fares after every few weeks but booking your flight one month, two months or three months before your flight will score you dirt cheap fares.  As the travel date approaches, the fares normally rise very fast and the last minute fare offers are usually the most expensive. Booking early for the low fares however come with price and you might not have a few privileges.

Book very late just before your departure date
This might sound contradictory but the fares are normally most expensive in between: between early and late. Very late is a game of chance but allows you to score last minute cheap flight deals and pay low fares. The disadvantage with last minute flights is that a lot of factors are not in your control for example you must travel at the scheduled time and date, you may not be lucky enough to secure multiple tickets if you are travelling with a companion or family amongst other inconveniences.

Contact your travel agency
Instead of going it alone to secure the lowest air fares to South Africa, you can get in touch with your travel agent to help you secure the best deals. The business of a travel agent is travel and they will offer you not just the lowest fares but a couple of fare recommendations and travel times from various airlines to suit your schedule. Visit Fly.co.za for inquiries on the cheapest flights to South Africa.

Book Cheap Flights to South Africa with fly.co.za

Book Cheap Flights to South Africa


South Africa is a land of many possibilities with lots to see and experience. From the wineries of the Stellenbosch to the seal Island in Cape Town, South Africa offers the perfect holiday for the traveler. Whether you are planning to travel within South Africa itself, to South Africa or from South Africa to the rest of the world, finding cheap flights can be a tough affair.

With so many options for travel in South Africa, consumers might not be sure which airlines offer the best travel deals. There are numerous airlines servicing domestic, regional and international routes that travelers can choose from including FlyMango, Kulula , South Africa Airways amongst others. The dynamics of air fare variations mean that you cannot be sure what to expect from an airline and at what time. The cheapest flights today might not necessarily be the cheapest ones in the following week. Hunting for travel bargains is always a time consuming affair requiring a traveler to search through multiple websites. But the smartest travelers always pay the cheapest fares. One website that can help you make some sense out of all these chaos is fly.co.za which will allow you to determine and book the lowest fares in a relatively short time.

Fly.co.za is a South African online portal that aggregates fares from various airlines and presents to travelers on a single page, allowing you to find the cheapest fares in a matter of seconds and book in a matter of minutes.  Travelers looking for cheap flights can simple enter their departure and destination airports and they will be able to make quick comparison on the options that offer them the best value.

Fly.co.za: Local Knowledge Combined with Cheap Flights!
Travel is very much integrated into the internet age. It has been for the last decade or so with the launch of the giants like  Expedia and Opodo. But if you are looking for cheap flights to South Africa, it might make sense to book with an online agency with a local knowledge of the market that will offer you cheap flights with best local customer care service to enable you get the best option each time you fly.

Book your cheap flights to South Africa today with fly.co.za and enjoy the best in air fares to South Africa!

Book Cheap Flights and accommodation in Kenya with Fly.co.ke

Cheapest Flights from Kenya


As a major commercial, services and tourist hub in East Africa, Kenya has been a traveler’s favorite, attracting both leisure travelers and business travelers. The country has some diverse tourist destinations where travelers can visit and have a great time. But the hard part in travel often involves planning your travel in order to ensure everything will go smoothly as possible. From the cheapest flights to the best hotels and reliable car hire. The last things you want are some sad memories of your trip.

One online travel agency that is offering you both the option to book cheap flights to Nairobi and other Kenyan cities and towns including Mombasa, Kisumu, Eldoret, Malindi and Lamu and tips on Kenyan travel is Fly.co.ke. The Kenyan online travel agency also offers support services for travelers looking for cheap travel options and information regarding travel to Kenya, and from Kenya to other global destinations.

Travelling to a new country is exciting but at times fraught with difficulties especially for a first time traveler.  There are things that travel journals won’t just tell you. Things like which Taxi to take from the airport, the reasonable rates to pay for your taxi, how to get broadband connection with ease and many other nitty gritty when it comes to travel. This is where Fly.co.ke comes in to fill the gaps in your travel. By relying on local knowledge of the Kenya travel market, Fly.co.ke offers travelers not just the opportunity to book the cheapest flights to any destination within Kenya and from Kenya to other global destinations but also timely travel tips such as the best honeymoon locations in Nairobi.

Cheap Air Fares in Nairobi in a Flash

Whether you are looking for the cheapest flights from Nairobi to Dubai or the cheapest air fares from Nairobi to Entebbe, you can rely on Fly.co.ke’s ultra fast metasearch to deliver the lowest fares and fare recommendations in a matter of seconds or in fewer than 2 minutes even in places where there is poor bandwidth. One thing that you will like about this online travel website for Kenya is that all the cheapest fares to/from Nairobi on any particular day are displayed for you on a single page allowing you to save much time in booking your flights without leaving the page or browsing through layers and layers of links. The average online travel typically goes through four websites or more hunting for cheapest flights. When you are booking your Kenyan flights, you just need to visit a single page on the Fly.co.ke online travel agency to access all your flights, hotel and car hire bookings.

Flexibility in the booking of your flights
This online travel agency affords you the privilege of booking your cheap flights to Kenya with ease from the comfort of your laptop or iPad and choosing varied payment methods that include credit card, debit card, cash deposit and even MPESA mobile payments.

Excellent Customer service
Need help with your online booking for cheapest flights to Kenya or out of Kenya? Fly.co.ke provides you with prompt information on the various airlines and the fare options available for your travel. If you are travelling to Kenya for the first time, you can rely on the online portal’s extensive knowledge of the industry to deliver the best information to you and point you to the best resources for your travel needs.
Travelling is unpredictable and fraught with many risks but with a travel partner that caters to your individual travel needs and with great care and consideration, your travel can be more enjoyable. Visit Fly.co.ke website and make your travel inquiries or book the cheapest flights from Nairobi to just about anywhere!

Reasons Aviation is a Great Career Field

For those just starting out, or for individuals considering switching careers, aviation can be a great option. Commercial pilots and air traffic control professionals enjoy important career responsibilities, good pay and opportunities for advancement throughout their working lives.
  • Responsibilities If you are looking for a career in which you can exercise your skills and critical thinking abilities, aviation fits the bill. Both pilots and air traffic controllers undergo rigorous training and are responsible for the lives of hundreds of people every day on the job. Pilots are in charge of checking the aircraft’s weight and balance, interfacing with tower controllers, monitoring the aircraft, and navigating the aircraft during flight. Air traffic controllers guide airplanes and converse with pilots. They monitor the airspace and routes to ensure that all aircrafts are safe in their trajectory. Anyone interested in the detailed training requirements of air traffic controllers can browse the resources at air traffic controller training.
  • Job Outlook According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, commercial airline pilots can expect an 11 percent increase in jobs in the coming years, which is on par with the national average rate of growth in the United States. Many pilots are predicted to retire in the next decade and new pilots will be hired to replace them. Air traffic controllers will face more difficult job prospects as a 3 percent decline in positions is predicted during the 2008-2018 period.
  • Career Advancement When researching a career, it’s also important to consider the advancement opportunities one can expect. Both commercial pilots and air traffic controllers have opportunities to grow in their profession as they gain experience. After 1-to-5 years of experience, flight engineers can advance to flight officer standing; 5-to-15 years is required to advance to the position of flight captain. Air traffic controllers have the opportunity to move into supervisory roles as they gain experience.
  • Great Pay Both air traffic controllers and commercial pilots have earnings that are well above the median U.S. income. The average wages for airline pilots, copilots, and flight engineers is around $103,000 a year. Wages vary by the pilot’s experience and position. Most pilots begin their careers earning $20,000 a year and earn more as they advance. The average wages for air traffic controllers is $108,000 a year. Those just starting out earn around $37,000 a year; pay increases as the controller completes training phases.
  • More Information If you’re inspired to learn more about getting into an aviation career, check out online resources for information on available aviation degree programs.
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Morocco's Aerospace Industry Takes Off

Nassima Boukhriss has never set foot on an airplane, but soon she will be helping wire up some of the world's most advanced jetliners.

The 22-year-old vocational student is participating in one of North Africa's most ambitious economic-development efforts: starting an aerospace industry.

Across Morocco, millions of people lack jobs, basic education and even running water. Manufacturing remains a small part of the economy compared with agriculture and tourism. Low-skilled textile work is one of the biggest sectors.

At a school near Casablanca, students are learning skills that they hope will win them high-paying jobs in Morocco's growing aerospace industry. Video and reporting by WSJ's Daniel Michaels.

Yet over the past decade, Boeing Co., Safran SA of France and other leading aviation companies have built increasingly sophisticated factories in this kingdom.

As revolutions swept neighboring countries last year, aerospace giants United Technologies Corp. and Bombardier Inc. BBD.B.T unveiled investments of more than $200 million in new Moroccan factories.

To ensure they have qualified staff, the government and an industry group in May opened the Moroccan Aerospace Institute, or IMA, the vocational school Ms. Boukhriss attends.

The result is that the aviation industry now employs almost 10,000 Moroccans who earn about 15% above the country's average monthly wage of roughly $320.

Moroccan officials are betting that by leapfrogging into advanced manufacturing like aerospace and electronics, the country can attract more basic industries in their wake.

Morocco's Aerospace Gambit

Over the past decade, leading aviation companies have built increasingly sophisticated factories in Morocco, as local officials hope this push into advanced manufacturing can attract more basic industries in its wake.

"When you succeed in aerospace, you can succeed in other industries," said Hamid Benbrahim El-Andaloussi, president of Morocco's aerospace trade group, Gimas.

That hasn't happened yet. Manufacturing's share of Morocco's economy has shrunk over the past decade. The country has joblessness of roughly 30% among both young and well-educated people—the same groups that helped lead revolts in Egypt and Tunisia.

The upheaval of the Arab Spring has put new urgency on showing Morocco's aerospace gambit can deliver. King Mohammed VI last March neutralized protests by offering a more democratic constitution and fresh elections, which proceeded peacefully in November. But for Morocco to remain calm, analysts say, it must create jobs.

"High unemployment is at the center of what's going on in the region," says Karim Belayachi, a private-sector development specialist at the World Bank.

Morocco's push into commercial aeronautics is unusual among developing economies. Brazil, Indonesia and South Africa in the last century developed military aerospace companies, but only Brazil's privatized Empresa Brasileira de Aeronáutica SA successfully shifted to building passenger planes. Today, it is a national bellwether. Mexico has recently drawn aerospace component producers, but they remain a small part of its economy.

Many more countries have expanded with technology and automotive investments, as Morocco is also attempting. Taiwan, South Korea and Slovakia relied on foreign or state-supported investments, mixed with entrepreneurialism, for economic growth. But those countries fostered regulatory climates more friendly to start-ups than Morocco has achieved and could tap skilled work forces. Education in Morocco lags behind its economic peers, according to the World Bank.


Morocco's aerospace development started in 1999 with a nudge from Mr. Benbrahim at Gimas, who was then a senior executive at Boeing's longtime customer Royal Air Maroc. He and other officials at the national carrier urged the U.S. giant to invest in Morocco as a sign of good faith.

"There was push-back within Boeing," among executives who deemed an investment unnecessary, recalls Seddik Belyamani, who was then Boeing's top airplane salesman and was born in Morocco.

But the Moroccan links and a desire to fend off rival Airbus prevailed. Boeing, the airline and French electrical-wiring company Labinal SA in 2001 opened a small operation preparing cables for Boeing 737 jetliners, named Matis. Staff painstakingly prepared wire bundles and shipped them to Boeing plants in the U.S. for installation.

The labor-intensive work entailed no technical background, yet Boeing managers still initially expected to achieve efficiency of only 30% of industry norms. To their surprise, staff hit 70% efficiency within two years, recalls Mr. Belyamani, who retired from Boeing in 2002 and recently was appointed chairman of Matis.

The results impressed executives at Labinal, which in 2000 had been acquired by the French aerospace group now called Safran. Managers saw that as Matis grew, job openings attracted floods of highly educated applicants. More than 80% are women, who have limited job opportunities in traditional industries.

The only foreigner among 700 Matis staff today is the French general manager, Sébastien Jaulerry, who previously worked for Labinal in the U.S. and France. Walking through the spotless plant recently, he said employees achieve "exactly the same standard" of quality as at his previous plants.

Around him, Matis staff prepared wires not just for Boeing but also for General Electric Co. GE -0.69% engines, Dassault Aviation SA AM.FR -0.42% business jets and even Airbus jetliners. The most visible difference from more established aviation shops was the large number of women in head scarves.

Safran, encouraged by results at Matis, expanded into more advanced manufacturing. In 2006, its Aircelle division opened a plant making jet-engine housings. The work, which includes machining advanced plastic composites and assembling safety-critical structures, mirrors operations at Aircelle plants in France and Britain. Product quality is also comparable, say Aircelle executives.

Today, Moroccan officials highlight aerospace as a success within the country's larger economic modernization drive, dubbed "Emergence." Other projects include a giant Mediterranean port complex and tax-free zone at Tangiers, where French car giant Renault SA recently opened a big factory.

Yet despite Morocco's big push to create export-oriented jobs, manufacturing's share of the economy is shrinking, says Lahcen Achy, an economist with the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, in Morocco's capital, Rabat. He calculates manufacturing now stands at roughly 15.6% of gross domestic product. The World Bank pegged it at 19% of GDP in 1995.

Moroccan manufacturing growth hasn't kept pace with tourism and other service businesses. A major reason, economists say, is the headaches that domestic entrepreneurs face. Mr. Belayachi at the World Bank notes that Morocco's judicial system reports to the royal palace and isn't an independent arm of government, which undermines its reliability. "Enforcing a contract is lengthy and difficult, which has a big impact" on small businesses, he said.

Moroccan officials say they have made other efforts to help business, including recent anticorruption legislation and the creation in 2009 of a Central Authority for Corruption Prevention.

Analysts say that as a result of impediments to business, local entrepreneurs haven't piggybacked foreign investors as extensively as domestic producers in developing countries of Asia and Eastern Europe.

Ahmed Chami, a member of parliament who served as Morocco's minister of industry until recently, said foreign investments are starting to bear fruit and "spillover will happen." The lack of local aerospace businesses is "the weakness in the picture today and should be the next focus," he conceded.

Boosters of Moroccan aerospace say the growing number of foreign suppliers indicates the sector will go local. One of the first contractors to arrive was Le Piston Français, an aerospace component producer based in Toulouse, France, near the Airbus unit of European Aeronautic Defence & Space Co. EAD Director Vincent Fontaine says the company was drawn to Casablanca in 1999 by sales opportunities and government incentives, such as tax breaks.

The plant has grown to 110 employees from about 25 and is adding new customers, such as Bombardier, Mr. Fontaine said. Aerospace materials, like advanced alloys, are also getting easier to buy locally, marking "a big step for industrial development," he said.

But other investors have faced a bumpier ride. Baccarat Precision, a French family-owned aerospace contractor, started making pistons for jetliner brakes near Casablanca in 2007. Soon after, it landed a giant order for explosive devices that blow open airplane doors in emergency evacuations. The complex cylinders, made of 40 precisely machined elements, must be assembled in a clean room to keep pressurized nitrogen from escaping.

When production began in 2008, managers rejected every second cylinder due to production flaws. "Machinists in Morocco have never seen pieces like this," said local manager Giancarlo Zanfonato, holding one of the hand-size metal devices. He eventually realized that compared with seasoned French workers, his Moroccan staff needed twice the documentation, including pictures detailing every production step.

After intense efforts to educate machinists, the rejection rate has shrunk below 10%, yet remains far above the target of 2%, Mr. Zanfonato said. The project, which was expected to break even within one year, remains unprofitable. "We are a small company and this project was much too ambitious for us," he said.

Mr. Zanfonato sees a hopeful sign in the creation of IMA, the vocational school, which will graduate several hundred students annually. The center is a partnership between the government, which contributed the land and buildings, and the industry group, Gimas. Its members organize and sponsor training, modeled on French standards, for their new hires. Students spend up to 10 months alternating two-week stints at IMA, where many live in dormitories, and on their new jobs.

Demand for graduates is so strong that companies are pressing for two shifts of classes, said IMA Director Annie Lagrandeur recently, as students practiced wiring and machining in the school's shop. Nearby, others attended lectures given by veteran aerospace workers whom IMA hired from local plants for their expertise.

Before IMA, foreign aerospace investors were paranoid about rivals poaching their few skilled employees, Ms. Lagrandeur recalled. Some companies even forbade their local staff from riding together on shuttle buses out of fear they might try to recruit each other.

IMA and similar industry-led vocational schools that Morocco has established in the automotive and other industries are "leading-edge in the region," says Anthony O'Sullivan, head of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development's private sector development division in Paris. Morocco's overall educational development lags many of its neighbors, and he says "one of the best ways to fill the gap is to have companies involved in training."

Within three months of IMA's opening in May, roughly 1,200 aspiring students had delivered resumes to the front gate, and more sent in applications, said Ms. Lagrandeur.

"It's a great opportunity because we learn very technical skills in electronics," said Ms. Boukhriss, the student. Classmate Said Ouchen added he is proud Morocco is developing an aerospace sector and has remained stable over the past year. "Morocco is an example," he said. 

Source: Wall Street Journal

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