In order to get between most camps in South Africa, you either have to fly on scheduled Charters, drive for an unGodly amount of hours over horrible terrain, or take a Helicopter. When it was time to transit between Dulini and Khaya Ndlovu, we decided to hire a Helicopter through Wild Skies Aviation out of Hoedspruit so that we can take in one of South Africa’s most beautiful natural wonders, the Blyde River Canyon. The canyon is set apart from other canyons as it is the only ‘living’ canyon in the world, meaning that vegetation is found in abundance at the bottom of the canyon.
These photos will explain exactly what I mean! 🙂
However, the photos don’t quite do it justice!
As you’ll see in the video (taken with a GoPro mounted on the belly of the chopper), departing from Dulini and heading towards Bushbuckridge and Hoedspruit is fairly uneventful. However as you approach the lush borders that surround the canyon, the world below is transformed into something magical. Pay attention at the 30 minute mark and beyond since it is at that point that we enter the canyon and then weave through the canyon walls following the Blyde River out of the canyon and over a series of citrus orchards as we headed to Khaya Ndlovu.
Rather than transpose the text released by the agency, I’ve copied their summary below.
It’s fairly straight forward. 280 airports in 105 countries will subject passengers to additional scrutiny including extra screening of electronics.
Their release did not indicate which airports would be subject to the extra security. This comes as great relief to many of us who feared the worst as far as not being able to bring electronics aboard certain flights.
From Homeland Security:
Change to Global Aviation Security Requirements
In light of evaluated intelligence, Secretary of Homeland Security John Kelly has determined it is necessary to implement enhanced security measures for all commercial flights to the United States. These measures, both seen and unseen, include enhanced screening of passengers and electronic devices as well as heightened security standards for aircraft and airports.
Airports: 280 (approximate number as it will vary based on seasonal airports)
Total airlines: 180
Average daily flights: 2,100
Passengers: 325,000 average daily passengers
Enhanced Security Measures and Timeline
The enhanced security measures include but are not limited to:
Enhancing overall passenger screening;
Conducting heightened screening of personal electronic devices;
Increasing security protocols around aircraft and in passenger areas; and
Over the course of the next several weeks and months, DHS/TSA will work with aviation stakeholders to ensure these enhanced security measures are fully implemented. Those stakeholders who fail to adopt these requirements with certain timeframes run the risk of additional security restrictions being imposed.
International Flights Bound for the United States
These enhanced security measures will help to secure all commercial flights departing from 280 airports that serve as last points of departure to the United States.
Ahead of an announcement from Washington tomorrow, details are starting to emerge regarding the policy as it relates to American citizens traveling to Cuba. The reversal of the policy first came to light a few weeks ago.
Under current rules, it became fairly easy for American citizens to qualify under 1 of 12 ‘reasons’ for traveling to Cuba, including humanitarian, religious, education, and healthcare provider categories.
With the new rules set to be unveiled tomorrow, Americans would no longer be allowed to travel to Cuba individually, but rather would need to be part of a group and have a very specific reason for going to Cuba. Tourism would not be one of those reasons. In addition, applications for travel to Cuba would be scrutinized severely as compared to the relatively lax process currently in place.
There was no indication if the announcement will include closing the US Embassy that was opened in Havana in 2015.
What if you have a ticket to Cuba for travel next week?
Don’t worry. People currently with plans to go Cuba can continue with their trip as scheduled. Tomorrow’s announcement will simply put in motion the process to change the policy and no dates have been announced as far as when the new rules would take effect. What will happen tomorrow is that the announcement will request that appropriate government agencies start working on new travel policies within 30 days in alignment with Trump’s directive, but not necessarily have anything in force until sometime after the 30 day window expires.
So go and enjoy your Cohiba Robustos and drams of Havana Club 15…….but hurry!