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Visit the Kruger National Park via Phalaborwa.

The town of Phalaborwa offers a unique opportunity for both domestic and international tourists visiting the northern parts of the Kruger National Park. In the north, the Park boasts beautiful rest camps such as Satara, Olifants, Letaba, Mopani, Shingwedzi and Punda Maria as well as bush camps such as Roodewal and Balule near Olifants Camp, and Boulders, Shimuwini, Bataleur and Sirheni Bush Camps near Mopani Rest Camp.

Zebra near Satara, Kruger National Park, South Africa

The people of Phalaborwa are very friendly and welcoming to tourists. The town is virtually crime-free and is very safe both during the day and at night. Visitors can do their shopping at a number of national brands such as Pick n Pay, Checkers, Shoprite, Spar etc where you get a variety of food items as well as household goods. For those who would like to quickly get something to wear, you will not be disappointed as many top brands are represented in the two major shopping malls which are situated within walking distance from each other and while walking there, you will come across a number of other stores which sell a variety of goods that are a haven for shoppers.

A giant baobab tree near Phalaborwa, South Africa.

The prices are on a par with national standards and it is not unusual to find beautiful merchandise at reduced prices. For international tourists shopping in Phalaborwa is like heaven on earth as the exchange rate for many countries is skewed in favour of the international tourist. There are also street vendors selling unique products for someone who would like to take souvenirs back home.

Loxodonta africana (the african elephant) in the Kruger National Park near Phalaborwa South Africa.

However, domestic and international tourists agree that the town of Phalaborwa offers the best place to stay just before entering the Kruger National Park as it is situated a mere five minutes’ drive from the entrance to the Kruger National Park, the only town in the whole of South Africa that is situated so close to the world renowned wild life sanctuary.

Family rondavels at Letaba Rest Camp, Kruger National Park, near Phalaborwa, South Africa.

The people of Phalaborwa are well-known for their rich culture and rare ability to prepare unique dishes of food. At night, when you need to dine, Phalaborwa offers a variety of restaurants serving uniquely South African dishes as well as those dishes that will be familiar to international guests. To arrange for dinner, please enquire at your hotel or guest house reception for the best restaurant for the type of food that you need.

In this article we feature the Beverly Hills Guest Lodge in Phalaborwa.

The Beverly Hills Guest Lodge, Phalaborwa.

We spoke to the lodge manager, Violet, who agreed to share the following information with our readers:

Sleeps 36  Type: Lodge  Check-in: 2:00 PM  Check-out: 11:00 AM Location: Phalaborwa, 5 minutes’ drive from the Phalaborwa Gate to the Kruger National Park.

The Beverly Hills Guest Lodge is situated 1 km or 5 minutes away from the famous Kruger National Park. You can relax around a beautiful subtropical pool area, and enjoy the hospitality of the staff as they organize your game drives, hikes and tours to make your stay even more exciting.
In the evenings allow the lodge to pamper you to drinks in our cocktail bar followed by a delectable 3 course dinner.
Our 16 rooms, ranging from twins, queens and suites, all have shower en-suite with mini-bars, free wifi, satellite TV, tea and coffee making facilities.

Comfortable queen rooms sleeps two guests.


Our cocktail bar is open for your enjoyment. The swimming pool is for the exclusive use of guests. Our lounge, which overlooks an expanse of parkland, is open all day.
The Beverly Hills will be glad to assist you with arranging car rental, game drives, river safaris etc. It is just 1 minute away from the Phalaborwa Airport.
Packed picnic baskets are available by prior arrangement, to make your day in the park more enjoyable, for those guests who choose to use their own vehicles to tour the Park.

Game Drives into the Kruger National Park.

For your dinner after a long day, you may also book a bush braai, which is a uniquely South African experience at ZAR350.00 per person. Accommodation at the Beverly Hills is charged at ZAR495.00 per person sharing bed and breakfast. To book your accommodation, bush braai, game drives etc, please contact Violet at +27 63 288 3697 or +27 15 781 7391 or send an email to info@thebeverlyhills.co.za or book through Mananga Safaris to claim a 15% discount on your accommodation at thete-at@nix.co.za or +27 79 581 1841.

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Are the Trump Administration’s Immigration Policies Hurting Farmers in the US?

It is harvest time across the US. Fruits and vegetables are ripe on the fields ready for picking, packaging and distribution throughout the length and breadth of the land. And some destined for the export market. The agricultural industry in the US accounts for approximately $170 billion to the gross domestic product per annum. However, that contribution to the GDP may be under threat as US immigration laws are tightened under the Trump administration.

US farmers depend on migrants, for a large percentage of their 2.4 million farm labor force, particularly, migrant workers from Mexico. It is estimated that up to 50% of these workers are undocumented and cannot work legally in the US. That is what the Trump administration is trying to stamp out. It is clamping down on illegal immigrants. The stated purpose is to preserve US jobs for US citizens. However, few US citizens are prepared to do the back breaking jobs required on the farms. They have many other easier options available to them.

The number of farm workers has been gradually declining in recent years. States like California, Arizona, New Mexico,Texas and Alabama have been the hardest hit. In the past five years 40% of farmers have not been able to get all their labor requirements for the year in California. The situation is not better in the other states. Farmers in the citrus, grape, berries, sweet potato and other products are on the receiving end of this labor shortage. Wages in the agricultural sector have also improved in recent years. As a result of these farmers are resorting more and more to machinisation to try and alleviate the labor shortage problem.

Many immigrant farm workers are now returning to their countries of origin as they find US immigration laws to be difficult to contend with particularly as border patrols are strengthened and in some cases resulting in separation of families. The H-2A visa introduced by the Immigration and Nationality Act of 1952 is intended to allow farmers to apply for a specific number of temporary or seasonal workers to supplement their seasonal labor requirements throughout the year and may be granted up to a full year. Farmers are feeling the pinch of increased border patrols as the number of migrant workers decline and their crops are left unharvested and rotting on the fields resulting in huge losses. It is predicted that if the trend continues, the US might increasingly be forced to supplement its food requirements via imports, despite the fact that agricultural land is availlable but cannot produce enough due to shortage of labor.

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Is this a freak accident? The bus is reversing on its own. The oncoming traffic has no way of avoiding a crash. See the pictures on the link.

This is definitely what you would call gross negligence. Look at the damage caused. Proper training with regards to safety rules is essential to avoid these kind of accidents. Thanks City of Johannesburg for sharing this.

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Horrific Mass Shootings in El Paso and Dayton Exposes Loopholes in US Gun Control Laws.

We the People – Constitution of the United States of America

In the wake of the latest mass shooting in El Paso, Texas and Dayton, Ohio, in which 22 and 10 people respectively, were killed, the question arises whether gun control laws in the US are adequate to prevent persons who are unfit to possess firearms from being in possession of such arms. Statistics have shown that 8 in every 10 Americans are in lawful possession of a firearm. This is a very high number when you compare it to what the position is in other countries. This high number of firearms in the hands of citizens would not be an issue if there were no incidents such as the ones in El Paso and Dayton. If citizens were handling their firearms in a responsible manner, then no problem. However, that is not the case in the US today. The frequency of mass shootings has gone out of proportion. The people rely on the Second Amendment to the US Constitution and was ratified by Congress on December 15, 1791 as part of the Bill of Rights. This provision in the Bill of Rights was influenced by the English Bill of Rights of 1689. The amendment was ratified by the States and authenticated by the Secretary of State, Thomas Jefferson, and reads as follows:

A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.”

The English settlers at the time viewed the right to bear arms or raise militias as important for one or mire of the following reasons, namely:

  • to enable the people to organise a militia,
  • the right to self defence,
  • to repel an external invasion,
  • as security against a tyranical government,
  • to enable the citizens to participate in law enforcement,
  • to suppress insurrection including slave revolts.

Today, the United States, with almost 330 000 000 million people, and one of the best trained and equipped army and police force in the world, those concerns raised by the founding fathers appear to have lost their validity and yet the country has held onto the provisions to its own peril. In Dist of Columbia v Heller (2008), the Supreme Court affirmed that the the right belongs to the individual, exclusively for self defense in the home and that the right is not unlimited and does not preclude the the existence of certain prohibitions such as those forbidding the possession of firearms by felons and mentally ill persons. Although there is a certain measure of screening and checks and balances when people apply for permission to purchase a firearm through a licensed weapons’ dealer there are loopholes in the system to such an extent that 1 in 5 firearms transactions are finalized without necessarily going through the screening process.

According to the ATF (Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives), anyone can sell a gun without an FFL (Federal Firearms License) from their home, online, at a flea market or at a gun show as long as he or she is not conducting the sale as part of regular business activity. One example would be someone who sells a firearm from his or her personal collection. Others who are exempt include those giving guns as gifts. Only individuals whose “principal motive” is to make a profit via sale must obtain an FFL. 

Commonly referred to as the “gunshow loophole,” this ambiguity also explains how a purchase can occur without a background check — and without breaking the law. A 2017 survey by Harvard and Northeastern universities estimates that roughly one in five transactions occur without a background check.

Scene of a mass shooting

Perhaps the United States can learn something from those countries with very strict gun control legislation. In South Africa, for example, licenses to possess a firearm are controlled by a single central registrar within the police department and only one licence to possess a firearm for self defense purposes can be issued . No licence for an automatic or semi-automatic weapon can be issued for self defense purposes. As a result there are very few legal firearms in private hands. Penalties for illegal possession of a firearm are very stiff . Although criminals do acquire illegal firearms and use them in the commission of crimes, they know that if they are caught, they will have to answer for both the crime committed and the possession of the illegal firearm and ammunition. This serves as a deterrent as people know that the punishment for the unlawful possession of a firearm is harsh. On the other hand, in the United States, there has been several mass shootings in several states where a number of people lost their lives or were injured leaving them with both physical and emotional scars. The reasons appear to be disillusioned youth, mental illness, workplace conflicts, as well as family disputes. President Trump has vowed to bring an end to the scourge of violence in the USA. We hope that this happens sooner before another mass shooting happens.

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Watch “Phalaborwa, Kruger National Park Kids Show No Fear for Lions.” on YouTube

The story about the 14 lions that were spotted in the area around Foskor Mine in Phalaborwa, South Africa, has been widely publicised. On our recent tour of the town, we found that people were not at all concerned about the lions.

The town of Phalaborwa is the only town in South Africa which directly shares its border with the world renowned Kruger National Park. So sightings of wild animals in this town is not an unusual occurrence. Some of the locals told us that they are living in harmony with the wild life. Elephants can be seen foraging for plants and reeds on the banks of the Selati river which is just within walking distance from the town. At night, hippos can be spotted crossing the streets in town and drivers have to be careful when they drive around town at night as the hippos are not clearly visible at night due to their dark brown colour. Other than that, and for time immemorial, there has never been any incident of wild animals attacking humans in this town. A local tour guide told us that other than the crocodile, no other wild animal, including lions and leopards, will actively hunt for humans. They prefer to keep a safe distance from humans and will only attack humans if threatened.

However, recently, and ironically at the same time as the 14 lions were spotted near the town, an elephant trampled a security guard, contracted to Foskor Mine, to death. The circumstances under which the incident occurred are not known as the guard was alone on night duty at one of the mine’s work sites at the time of the the incident.

Despite this, the locals insist that their town is very safe and they appeal to both domestic and international tourists to visit their unique town in order to experience nature first hand.

Nature enthusiasts are streaming from as far afield as Germany, the Netherlands , France, Italy, Brazil, Argentina, Mexico, Britain, the USA, Canada etc to come and enjoy the hospitality of this town. South Africans are also not to be outdone in this gold rush.

There are many local lodges, hotels and guest houses specifically designed to cater for these international and domestic tourists. The local Phalaborwa Accommodation Association has registered in excess of thirty establishments ready to serve the needs of these tourists. For anyone travelling to Phalaborwa and looking for the best accommodation, TT can be contacted at thete-at@nix.co.za or +2779 581 1841 to get in touch with any of the establishments. The tourism association has said that Phalaborwa is referred to as the town with two summers as there is hardly any winter here with the lowest average temperature being 15 degrees Celsius.