Thursday, 15 August 2013

Poachers Kill White Rhino in Nairobi Park

Poachers shot dead a white rhinoceros in Nairobi National Park last week in a brazen raid, AFP reported Tuesday (August 13th). Poachers hacked out the horn from its head and escaped, said Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) spokesman Paul Udoto.
"It is the first such poaching incident in the park in the last six years," Udoto said, adding that 35 rhinoceros have been killed this year, already more than the 29 killed in Kenya in the whole of 2012.
The park, which lies just seven kilometres from downtown Nairobi, is described by KWS as "a unique ecosystem by being the only protected area in the world close to a capital city".

Tourists Numbers in Amboseli National Park on the Rise as Chinese Visitors Increase

The number of foreign tourists to the Amboseli National Park has risen by more than 20 per cent to over 18, 560 visitors in the last three months, according to hoteliers. Visitors from China alone have taken up 80 per cent of the total bookings in the last three months. Over the last five months the Chinese visitors have outnumbered those from Europe, America and Canada. Amboseli has experienced the largest number of tourists in years and that all the seven lodges and hotels outside and three inside the park are fully booked.
In view of the upward trend the number of tourists between now and December could triple. The rising number of Chinese visiting the country could be linked to increased trade and contact between Kenya and the Asian giant. Chinese hoteliers have invested millions of shillings in Amboseli and recently acquired 60 acres of land and put up a Chinese lodge named the A-A.
A senior KWS warden in Amboseli, Julius Cheptei, attributed the influx of Chinese to the marketing of the Kenyan Wildlife products in the eastern bloc. Cheptei said Chinese investors have in the past one year been attracted to the Kenyan tourism sector with many buying land to put up hotels in the Amboseli. Recently, a Chinese actress visited Amboseli and Maasai Mara with a battery of news crews from her country.

Integrate Public Health in Wildlife

Veterinary experts have advised the Government of Uganda to incorporate public health in tourism programs to fight the outbreak of wildlife disease in National Parks.
Dr.Gladys Kalema Zikusoka, the founder of Conservation through Public Health (CTPH) said focusing on health in the tourism sector plays a vital role in curtailing the spread of disease. She said: "The country experiences outbreaks of disease especially in the National Parks. This is associated with the direct contact between human beings and wildlife. Many tourists and the local population do not know human diseases can be transmitted to wildlife."
Wildlife authorities should have strong mechanisms in place to integrate public health as a conservation tool to protect endangered species like the Gorillas. Kalema was speaking during the commemoration to mar 10 years in existence of CTPH. CTPH is a non-profit, non-government organisation founded in 2002. Its mission is to promote conservation and public health and improving primary health by improving public health care to people and animals in and around protected areas in Africa.
Kalema said addressing the issue of public health in communities surrounding National Parks where endangered species are found can reduce the outbreak of disease like tuberculosis, scabies and ebola among wildlife species. Some wildlife like the Mountain Gorillas have similar genes like human beings. the organization has managed to train local communities on early diagnosing of tuberculosis especially among students both in primary and secondary schools . Emphasis is on how to reduce TB prevalence in local communities in and around the Bwindi and Mgahinga conservation park.
"Under this model we have to strengthen primary and secondary prevention measures in wildlife by reducing threats of disease to wildlife through education on human and livestock transmission to and from wildlife. This has been achieved through training of the human and gorilla conflict resolution team and park staff in Bwindi, Mgahinga conservation area and Queen Elizabeth Park. We also sensitize tour operators on human and great ape disease transmission issues. In Uganda gorillas generate as much as $1,460,000 per year from tourism.
Dr. Andrew Seguya, the Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA) Executive Director told EABW, integrating conservation through public health is a working model. UWA intends to introduce the model in National Parks across the country He said: "In Western Uganda the approach has succeeded. We appeal to the Government to support UWA and other NGOs through programs such as Conservation through Public Health. These should be implemented countrywide in all National Parks."

Saturday, 6 April 2013

Places to Visit in Kigali City

Ishyo Art Centre and Goethe Institut, Kacyiru:
This is a platform for all artists, arts lovers, culture professionals, activists, critics, entrepreneurs and everyone else who is passionate or just curious about traditional and/or contemporary modes of artistic expression. Ishyo also hosts different events related to fashion, plays, music and different other aspects of culture. It usually hosts experts from different countries to train and work with Rwanda artists, encouraging cultural diversity and improving skills. It is also home to the Goethe Institut - well known for its movie night every Tuesday evening. You will find a lot more than movies as it also organises brainstorm debates every last Thursday of the month.
Kigali City Tower:
Kigali City Tower is located in the city centre. This blue, curvy building with a protruding stick like part of it at the top can't be missed as it is our only real sky scraper. It is the tallest building in the country with 18 storeys of well designed architect and beauty. From the outer look it may not look that big but when you enter, it might take you all day just to see everything in it, ranging from supermarkets, offices, restaurants, boutiques, gadget shops, radio stations and do you know what else? Rwanda's new 5D cinema is also there.
Mamba Club, Rwanda's only bowling alley:
There is no way you can classify Kigali City treasures and not mention Mamba Club. It's located in Kimihurura in front of Top Security headquarters. It is a bar and restaurant and even has several health fitness facilities ranging from a swimming pool, a hot yoga facility and it is Rwanda's only bowling alley. Besides the bowling alley and comfortable lounge, there is an area with sand to play beach volleyball. In other words you don't need to go to Gisenyi to enjoy beach volleyball. Bowling is an American game that is enjoyed by both children and adults. It's relaxing and fun especially if there are two teams competing. It is a wonderful place for people of all age groups. For example during birthday parties for children, bouncing castles are set up for the children to have fun.
Kigali Public Library:
Like a diamond that has many facets, Kigali, the capital city of Rwanda has many faces. For those who prefer the literary one, I am sure you cannot leave without visiting the Kigali Public Library. Located in Kacyiru opposite the American Embassy, the standard fare from everywhere is 200 Rwandan Francs, except of course for those who live in Kacyiru. The building stands proud and majestic facing the sun and proving the UNICEF report that almost seventy five percent of Rwandans are literate. The library has several sections including children and teenagers and adult sections which all have several collections and reading areas. The building also has an African section that includes history and literature, an internet café which enables the readers to have access to the Library and a reference section.
Genocide Memorial Gisozi
Most people around the world know our small country as the home of one of the most atrocious massacres that have ever been carried out between brother tribes. The 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi left over a million dead and many others wounded. With this background, one cannot expect to come to Kigali and leave without visiting the Kigali Genocide Memorial. Located on one of Kigali's hills, the memorial tells the story of what happened in very few words but many pictures and videos Beautifully decorated, the centre stands on the site of 250,000 mass graves. The centre is a must visit if one is to learn the root of Rwandan persistence and optimism.
Kandt House:
The museum is dedicated to Dr. Richard Kandt, a German doctor and explorer who embarked on the exploration of Rwanda in 1897, searching for the source of the Nile River. The Nature History Museum aims at examining the richness of Rwandan nature. This museum showcases many specimen and replicas of natural wonders of the country. As the only national museum in Kigali, do not dare attempt to leave Kigali without visiting it at least once.
kLab: Where ICT came to life:
For a country that is striking a fine balance between technology, business, innovation and preparing the next generation of IT leaders in Africa is what kLab does. kLab, a community of technology wizards and entrepreneurs is one of the spaces that play an important role in growing and supporting the Rwandan ICT entrepreneurs community. By transiting at kLab, techpreneurs are coming up with viable ICT solutions, being able to sell them and earn a living out of it. But this space isn't only for experts, it also has different programs of mentorship, capacity building, networking events and inspirational talks. So let your inner nerd come out!

Tuesday, 12 February 2013

VistaJet International Enters Uganda’s Market

VistaJet International, the world's luxury private aviation company for the first time landed one of its global aircrafts at Entebbe airport in Uganda and launched its operations in the country.
Revealing the arrival of the three weeks old jet in Entebbe recently, Thomas Flohr the founder and Chairman of VistaJet said the company is set to offer dedicated aircraft flying Ugandans to all corners of the globe. "Such booming markets deserve brand new state of the art aircraft rather than the ageing pre-owned aircraft they have been accustomed and this is what VistaJet is here to provide in Uganda," Flohr noted.
The company targets business men and government leaders who want to be flown directly into the destination they deserve to and at that particular time when they want to depart which is not the case with other commercial flights.
"The most important thing is the time the passenger wants to arrive at the given destination and so those who will use VistaJet will save time on delays due to connecting to airports," explained Flohr adding that the concept of private jets has been so much out of Africa but now is the time for the continent to go global.Ugandan business mogul, Charles Mbire said the world today is about price, cost and time while business is about efficiency and therefore competing globally in terms of business requires such avenues.
"The people targeted here are the ones who think and spend therefore the notion of African time and arriving late at business meetings on the side of Africans is phased out with the arrival of VistaJet," said Mbire.
In the year 2012, VistaJet carried 25,000 passengers on 10,000 single international flights. All transactions will be tabled between the client and the aircraft considering those with expected travels of between 100 and 600 flights per year. "We charge only for the time spent on the aircraft a concept termed as 'legs up and legs down' in aircraft business and when the passenger is done with conducting business.

Lamai Camp is Africa's Best New Safari Property

TANZANIA'S tourism industry continues to record best achievements globally with the latest recognition going to Serengeti's Lamai camp which won the 2013 award of 'Best new Safari Property' in Africa.
This comes shortly after the Serengeti National Park topped all global tourism destinations and named the 2013 global winner of International Award in Tourism, Hotel and Catering Industry. Lamai-Serengeti operates under the Arusha-based 'Nomad Tanzania,' and is tucked amongst the rocks of the endless Kogakuria Kopje plains, just a few miles from Mara River. "This is a prestigious award for us and further proof that Tanzania is one of the very best Safari destinations in the world," stated Mr John Corse, the Managing Director of Nomad Tanzania. With the additional global award for the park, he said Serengeti should emerge as the best area for tourism this year.
Serengeti National Park gets 350,000 tourists a year, earning the country more than 42bn/- and therefore becoming the third highest earner of tourism revenue after Mount Kilimanjaro and the Ngorongoro Crater. The Singita Faru-Faru Lodge in the Singita game reserve also topped in another category, 'Best property in East Africa,' in which other Tanzanian lodges like Nomad's Greystoke Mahale of Kigoma, Beho-Beho and Sayari camp also got listed in the top five.
Overall it was windfall for Nomad Tanzania because it was also listed in the 'Best Mobile Safari Operator' category and the 'Best Safari Guiding Team,' in Africa while the Singita game reserve produced other outstanding properties such as Singita Sabora camp, Singita Explore camp, Singita Castleton and Singita Grumeti Reserves and Riding Safaris. The official best safari operators, lodges, camps, guides and conservationists in Africa were recently announced in London at the 2013 Safari Awards said to be the 'Oscars of Safari,' which now runs in their fifth year.
The 'Oscars of Safaris' as they have become known, are very established with 90 finalists in 18 categories selected by a panel of eighteen of the most experienced and trusted independent safari specialist tour operators, based on over one thousand eight hundred votes from travel agents and tour operators globally.
The 2013 Safari Awards are not only about honouring the most expensive lodges, or most luxurious spa, but also features categories that range from 'Best Ecological Lodge or Camp' to 'Best Personal Contribution to Wildlife Conservation' and contribution to community and society development.