South Africa power outages and vacation?

Jan 30th, 2008, 06:18 PM
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South Africa power outages and vacation?

I'm set to go to South Africa in 6 weeks and am wondering if anyone has any idea how the power outages are effecting vacation travel (airports, hotels, game parks, etc.). Or is this mainly effecting industry and retail?

We're going to Cape Town, the Garden Route and reserves like Sabi Sabi, Phina and/or Kariega.

joelbra is offline  
Jan 30th, 2008, 07:04 PM
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They have generators..... Enjoy your trip!!!
HariS is offline  
Feb 4th, 2008, 02:09 AM
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Oh wow is me...sitting in the dark, soon we are going to have to start putting our 6 year old on a bicycle with sugar cane to generate power!

It is really not as bad as everyone is making out, during the power outages if during the day you can go for long interesting walks and if at night....well use your imagination!!

You will have a great holiday!
Doogle is offline  
Feb 4th, 2008, 09:51 AM
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You're obviously raising a spoiled brat, if they aren't already generating power at 6. Shame on you!
napamatt is offline  
Feb 4th, 2008, 10:06 AM
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Airlines and airports are not affected. There have been some outages on Table Mountain, which can mean longer times waiting to get onto the mountain, or longer than planned stays at the top. Check with the station what their expected down times are (although these change daily LOL).

Most restaurants, hotels etc, have contingency plans.

You'll have a lovely trip. Enjoy.
Binkieloo is offline  
Feb 4th, 2008, 11:23 AM
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Joelbra, you ask a good question. As others have indicated game lodges will have generators and there are other things to do in cities. However there are some areas of concern. Recently several hundred tourists were stranded on top of Table Mountain.

At the least, that could change your schedule, perhaps causing a missed flight. At the worst you might have to be prepared to walk down.

As this article indicates:

large sections of the city went dark again last Friday so if you were dining or shopping in a building with a generator you might be inconvenienced.

As far as I know, no delays at airports but that could happen.

No reason to change your plans but some things to keep in mind and prepare for. For example, if I were going I would keep a small flashlight with me at all times so I could safely exit a building.

tuckeg is offline  
Feb 4th, 2008, 10:53 PM
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Dear Napamatt

You are right spoilt is not the word for it, I am going to get him a larger bicycle and put him to work tonight so that on Thhursday when I am scheduled for the next outage I do not miss Private Practice, that is a very good point!!!
Doogle is offline  
Feb 7th, 2008, 09:17 AM
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It is very difficult from a far to get a sense of the scope of the outages.

Are there outage across Cape Town once a week, every day? An hour, 12 hours?

It actually won't make a difference to us in terms of coming to SA, but it would be good to plan accommodation based on back-up power if the outages are frequent and long.

Is it really true that the outages have not effected any of the airports at all. A power outage for air traffic controllers here at LAX a few years ago turned out to be a nightmare for anyone travelling during or even a day after the outage.
joelbra is offline  
Feb 7th, 2008, 11:27 AM
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I was in the Cape Region for a week. In the areas I visited there were scheduled outages of 2.5 hours in the morning and evening. Sometimes the outages took place on schedule and other times they did not happen at all. Some hotels have their own generators - other smaller places do not.
AlwaysOnTheRoad is offline  
Feb 7th, 2008, 07:06 PM
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One other comment, I would check to see if the hotel I was staying in had a back-up generator. If it did not, I would take the stairs if practical and avoid the elevator. Having been stuck in an elevator before, it's not an experience I would care to repeat.
tuckeg is offline  
Feb 9th, 2008, 06:25 AM
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I'm guessing that most hotels don't have full back-up generator systems. It's why it would be good to know just how frequently the outages are. Thanks.
joelbra is offline  
Feb 9th, 2008, 01:39 PM
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I'd like to hear from someone who has been in SA recently. How frequent are the outages and what suggestions for travel are there?

Hard to tell from the media reports. Looks like traffic jams delay travel significantly, 2 to 4 hours, which can really impact a tourist who'll only be in the country for a couple weeks. Initially the restaurants shown on tv were not prepared for the outages and were hard hit by the loss in sales during peak hours.

Are things getting any better? Are the outages more 'scheduled' than 'unexpected'?

This hasn't impacted air travel?
amdc is offline  
Feb 10th, 2008, 08:47 AM
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I haven't had an outage in Cape town for the last 2 weeks.

It tends to be unexpected - people are frustrated because it is hard to plan.

The cable car on table Mountain has backup power,the people were stranded because something got out of alignment as a result of a power cut, rather than because there was no power.

Hard to say what it will effect.
ctlocal is offline  
Feb 11th, 2008, 08:32 AM
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Has Eskom or the government given any reason for the problems? I know that South Africa used to export power -- what has happened to change things so dramatically?
Celia is offline  
Feb 11th, 2008, 09:47 AM
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One item is all the townships. Most if not all of them are "illegally" tapped into the power system. I use quotes because it is very blatant, but no one seems to mind enough to actually take action. Btw, I have no position on this, just stating a fact.

The issue with this is that because there's no meter on the power they are using, the power companies do not have a good idea of what the actual capacity and need are at any given time. Accordingly, it is very difficult to plan what power is needed, and apparently the power companies have underestimated very much over the last 10 years.
mistadobalina is offline  
Feb 11th, 2008, 01:20 PM
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That explanation makes sense. Thank you.

Celia is offline  
Feb 12th, 2008, 12:48 AM
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The reason for the outages is is simple: The demand is outstripping the supply. Period. It is a symptom of a rapidly expanding economy and typical of third world countries.

Sadly the government was warned 10 - 12 years ago that the then power supply facilities would not cope with the demand into the next decade, which is now. Nothing was done to upgrade or increase the generation of power causing the power to be shared, hence the outages as the load is "spread" around.

This can be overcome, but it will take some major infra structural development and is unlikely to be achieved in the short term.

mkhonzo is offline  
Feb 12th, 2008, 03:04 AM
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Unlike the probable perception of the general public reading the newspapers, it is not just recently that everyone has woken up to the need to increase electricity output. Eskom started work to re-commission mothballed power stations (and expand and build others) over two years ago. But still years too late.
ArthurSA is offline  
Feb 12th, 2008, 09:54 PM
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Thanks for the information. Any tips for travelers headed there shortly?
amdc is offline  
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