Thursday, 29 December 2011

Tourism in Egypt Makes Unexpected Record By 10 Million Tourists This Year

The volume of tourism revenue in Egypt reached $ 9 billion at the end of February and the number of tourists reached 10 million. This is a positive indicators which were not expected in this critical period of the nation.

30 Hotels in Rwanda to Get Star Rating

Rwanda Development Board (RDB) through the department of Tourism and Conservation, has completed its hotel classification exercise. A Hotel Star Awarding Ceremony has been organised to this effect and is slated to take place today at Kigali Serena Hotel where 30 accommodation establishments will be awarded stars.

According to RDB, the star system ceremony, the first of its kind in Rwanda, will elaborate the importance of classifying and awarding stars to the establishments. It will also indicate the importance of raising the quality of services and facilities for visitors, guiding consumers and suppliers in identifying facilities and services that meet their expectations and promoting the East African Community as a single tourist destination.

The classification exercise was conducted by a team of experts from Rwanda as well as the East African region who were trained and certified by the East African Community. Rwanda is now the second country in the East African region to classify accommodation establishments using the EAC Criteria, following Tanzania.

Tuesday, 27 December 2011

Kenya Tourism Booms Despite Travel Alerts

More than one million tourists visited Kenya this year despite numerous travel advisories, figures released by the Kenya Tourism Board (KTB) show. The industry weathered Al-Shabaab attacks and economic uncertainty to record an impressive 1,039,852 visitors by the end of October this year.

This is a 16 per cent increase from the same period last year when 896,228 visitors arrived. The industry's earnings were Sh81.9 billion compared to Sh56.7 billion last year. "This is a 44 per cent increase compared to the same period last year," KTB chairman Kitili Mbathi said in a press statement.

He attributed the good performance to the diversification of tourism products from the traditional beach and wildlife tourism to sports, culture, conference and eco-tourism. Increased flights from source markets also played a role.

The number of airlines flying to Mombasa International Airport, for instance, has grown to 35, compared to 29 last year. Europe remained the main regional source market in the quarter with a 47 per cent share. The United Kingdom maintained the top country in the continent with 15.8 per cent of all in-bound arrivals by air and sea. It is followed by the US (9.6 per cent), Italy (7.5 per cent), Germany (5.5 per cent) and India (4.7 per cent). India replaced France to become one of the top five source markets in the month of June 2011. Some markets in Eastern Europe, Asia and the Middle East have recorded growth of over 40 per cent. They include UAE (46.8 per cent), Poland (62.9 per cent), Russia (46.6 per cent), Czech Republic (51.6 per cent) and Hungary (42.1 per cent), Mr Mbathi said.

In Africa, Uganda is still the highest source of tourists, recording 36,030 visitors, a 36.5 per cent growth compared to the same period in 2010. South Africa was second with 31,355 arrivals followed by Tanzania at 28,435. In Asian markets, China led the pack with 33,468 tourists followed by 16,738 visitors from the United Arab Emirates. However, the once lucrative cruise ship tourism is on the verge of collapse if piracy is not stamped out. Since February, no cruise ship has docked in Kenya.

Kenya Hotels Risk Ruining Their Own Business
The Ministry of Tourism has set the ambitious goal of ensuring that one out of two beds in the industry is occupied by a domestic tourist by the end of next year.

This goal will prove elusive if the behaviour of hotels in key tourism destinations at Christmas and other peak times persists. Attention is often paid to the conduct of players in the matatu industry whenever Christmas or Easter comes around as fares suddenly treble compared to non-peak levels.

Much less notice is taken of the behaviour of major hotels especially those at the Coast when the festive season comes around. Prices regularly shoot through the roof at this time of the year with some hotels charging as much as four times their normal rates. This is a free market economy and it is well accepted that the laws of demand and supply often mean that when demand rises, so will the price of goods and services. The problem with the logic behind some of the charges being levied by the hotels at this time of the year is that in the long run it does not constitute smart business.

Charging rates that are far in excess of off-peak charges is not the best way to build customer loyalty. Considering that domestic tourists already account for a third of visitors to local hotels a better strategy to make this cadre regular visitors and to ensure they come not just during the peak season is to treat them with the courtesy of valued customers whether it is Christmas time or not.

This would go some way in helping to meet the ambitious targets set for the tourism industry under the Vision 2030 framework. Domestic tourists are more likely than foreign visitors to ignore activities that cause shocks to the industry such as terrorism attacks or post-election violence and to be a steady source of income for the industry.

If locals develop the perception that the industry is behaving like a usurer because of demand, they are more likely to take their money elsewhere such as the trip to the village which was the characteristic holiday destination of days past.

30 Tourists Escape Death By a Whisker in Kenya

Thirty tourists escaped death narrowly after the boat they were riding in capsized off the Kenyatta Public Beach in Mombasa on Christmas Day. Swift action by Kenya Wildlife Service rangers, Marine Police and fishermen saved them. According to KWS senior warden Arthur Tuda and Marine Police officers who were involved in the rescue operation, the boat that has a capacity of only 15 passengers was carrying 30 people at the time of the accident.

"The boat started capsizing about two nautical miles from the beach due to overloading. Many of the operators here flout marine regulations," Mr Tuda said. The boat had been hired by the tourists to be taken to Marine Park for a sea excursion.

He said the boat, MV Mullah, has now been banned from operating along the Kenyan coastline until it is issued with a clearance licence by the Kenya Maritime Authority.

"We combined forces with KWS officers and local fishermen who were sailing around here and rushed to the scene. "Fortunately, we managed to pull all of them out of water and brought them to the shore safely," a marine police officer said.

The incident caused panic among the sea goers who watched from a safe distance as the rescue mission which took about one hour from 1pm to 2pm went on.

Meanwhile, thousands of revellers jammed the Kenyatta Public Beach to enjoy a swim and make merry on Sunday. According to police, the crowd of more than 10,000 people was the biggest in several years. Security was tight and people praised the police for a job well done.

Threats of an attack

From about five kilometres to the Pirates junction to the beach along the Mombasa-Malindi highway, police kept vigil and directed vehicles to avoid traffic jam.

At the entrance, there were two road blocks and only a limited number of cars were allowed into the beach area. A marine police patrol boat, two rubber dinghies manned by police, uniformed and plain-clothes police officers on foot, community policing members and a police chopper kept vigil on the entire beach area.

Tuesday, 13 December 2011

The most Intelligent Animals

Some animals considered the smartest and most intelligent others are just stupid: Here is a list of top 15 smartest animals on our planet
1.       Great Apes; 98% of the great apes genes are the same as ours, the smartest species is chimpanzee. They can recognise themselves in the mirror, they can make tools (e.g. stone to cut food), use tools (e.g. painting). Just like us, they can kiss, snuggle, tickle, laugh, can count very trainable and have their own language.
2.       Dolphin; They are the smartest aquatic animals, they can recognise themselves in the mirror. Very trainable and can hold and use different tools with their teeth for painting. They use whistling sound to communicate with best communication system among animals.
3.       Whale; They can find their relatives separated miles away in the sea, they have their own language to communicate, can call each other and have a strong friendships in a group. Whales can “sing” with their sound and can make many different “songs” in a pleasant tone.
4.       Monkey; They can imitate humans behaviour without training and if well-trained, they can behave like humans (e.g. drink from a bottle and ride  bicycle). Like humans, they have egoism, vain, pride and strong relationship. If two monkeys were fighting, the relatives of one monkey will threaten the relatives of the other monkey.
5.       Elephant; Elephants can recognise themselves in the mirror, very altruistic. Among other animals, they have they’re own “death ritual”. They use their trunk to take a bath, drink, get food, play, they even use tools (e.g. painting).  They can mimic sounds, few human words and can understand the meaning if they’re well-trained.
6.       Crow; They are the smartest among all birds, can count up to 3. Very creative because they can make and use tools without training (e.g. use branch to gather food). Sometimes they put nuts on the street and wait until a car or a pedestrian cracks the nuts, then they'll eat the nuts.
7.       Parrot; Parrot can mimic human words, understand the meanings, can remember many words and make sentences. Well-trained, can count up to 6 and can identify many objects. They can answer simple questions and can use tools with their beak (e.g.painting).
8.       Dog; The man’s best friend, very trainable, sociable to humans, can understand commands and obedience. Can identify and remember animal or human faces they’ve met, they can recognise radio, television, etc.  Dogs can be sensitive, jealous and they won’t forget someone hurting them in their entire life.
9.       Cat; Trainable, can recognize radio, television, they can even check traffic before crossing the street. They’re smart enough to get attention (meow, rub near ankle, follow you, sit on your lap, etc.). Cats can hear and recognise their owner’s footstep or stranger’s footstep.
10.   Pig; In fact, they’re one of the cleanest and odorless animals, they have emotions, sensitivity, hurt feelings and can easily get bored. Very sociable to humans, trainable. Some say they are more trainable than dogs. Some farmers in the UK constantly provide different activities so the pig will not be bored.
11.   Squirrel; They can remember their home by identifying trees, bushes, flowers, etc. Every fall, they bury a thousand of nuts in many places and they can remember where to find all nuts during winter. To fool their rival, they make some “fake nuts burial”.
12.   Octopus; Octopus are the smartest among all invertebrates because they can change color in less than a second, mimicking seaweed, crab, coral, etc. They can also use tools with their tentacles (e.g. open bottle).
13.   Rat; Once they’ve experienced rat trap, they wont get trap anymore! They have a strong social relationship, If their partner dies they can be so depressed and commit a suicide. Like dogs, can be trained to sniff out land mines and bombs.
14.   Pigeon; They have a great memory that can recognise themselves in the mirror, can remember hundreds of different photos and learn routes to their home from long distances.
15.   Sheep; If threatened, they make large groups and run away together from predators. Can remember and identify animal face (other sheep’s in the same group) can remember and identify human faces.

Monday, 12 December 2011


H.E Jakayi Kikwete the president of the republic of Tanzania yesterday officiated the grant ceremony of the official opening of the new national tourism college in Tanzania and the made it publically known to every one as a complete college with all the facilities that is needed in any college just after the country’s 50th independence anniversary celebration and therefore their golden jubilee from the rule of the British. This institute was constructed with the help of the French Government costing about 8 million Euros while the government Tanzanian contributed raw materials and other simple requirements which were worth almost 2 million Euros as part of the country’s contribution to the project.
The college has been set up to train students in tourism and hospitality education at degree level certificate as well as on diploma level, it comes along to work along side the Mweka Wildlife College located outside Moshi town and provide a number of tertiary and vocational education opportunities for all people who may want to create their own jobs  with in the tourism and wildlife industry to help conserve nature which is proving to be a very vital sector in the economical growth and development of Tanzania. There are now more than 300 students who have registered with this new college so far and about 1.000 students are expected to be joining this college at the beginning of this academic year that is yet to start however the intake levels are already at the anticipated capacity.
This new college comes third after the Kenya Utalii College which is the second main public tourism training institute in the whole of East Africa, this leaves Uganda to track its way to consciousness or else live to regret why they never welcomed the offer provided to them in 2003/4 to fund Hotel and Tourism Training Institute located in Jinja. France had in the first place offered to build this new college in Uganda but they turned the offer to Tanzania after Uganda seemed not to be interested in this project and also the fact that those that are already in place do not have enough land form the government for expansion something the greatly disappointed the HTTIs management and the board.   It is rather funny that one’s foolishness turns out to be another ones route to success which is why there is a good reason to celebrate the opening of the new National College of Tourism in Dar es Salaam and also wish them the best of luck.


The effort for the Seychelles Tourism Board to attend the Gate away fair held in Nairobi Kenya recently was considered as an achievement for Seychelles since a group islands have been recognized by the tourism trade and would therefore wish to create links with these island so that they can become business partners, although it is also true that different people come to such fairs to find out new places from where they can have their next holiday.


Kenya’s way to fame started the day the international Association of the Golf Tour Operators named it as the most wonderful place for the Golf lovers and therefore has the untapped golf tourism sites for the year 2008. In order to promote the golf game, the Naivasha industrial area has been refurnished and plans to have a new golf resort.
Najib Balala who is the minister for tourism said during the Aberdare Hills Golf Resort official opening that they have already come up with a market structure indicating all the partners in this business and they include the ministry of tourism, the Kenya Tourist Board and the Kenya Golf Marketing Alliance. The Panda Development Company’s resort is sought as the first and leading in East Africa therefore pushing roughly aside the Vipingo Ridge situated at the coast which has been a great influence in the development of the sector.
David Jones who is a popular golf course designer, designed the Aberdare Hills golf resorts which is a 36 holes golf course and that the idea of doing real estate alongside tourism is a quick way of earning in the tourism sector, says Mr. Balala. It is not like many other golf Estates, it is suitably located to ensure comfort, health and a life lasting time in a peaceful and quiet place Dr. Pritam Singh Panesar who is the managing director of Panda Development Company added.
The real estate together with the hospitality have been growing tremendously for the past years along side the up market resorts in many parts of the country and many more are yet to be opened up.

More Water tanks for communities in Mgahinga

The Great Virunga Trans-boundary Core Secretariat (GVTCS) has revealed that it has set aside money to construct five more tanks neighboring sub-counties of Mgahinga to curb the water scarcity in the area. This was revealed by the Executive Secretary of GVTCS Mr. Sam Mwadha at the commissioning of four water tanks constructed in the sub- counties of Muramba and Nyarusiza in Kisoro district to reduce water scarcity in the villages adjacent to park. The tanks were launched by the Ag.Executive Director UWA Dr. Andrew Seguya on behalf of the secretariat.
GVTCS collaborates with the three countries of Uganda, Rwanda, Congo and brings their respective institutions that manage National parks together for conservation in development. The water tank initiative aims at promoting conservation of park resources through building lasting cooperation with the communities around the Mgahinga Gorilla National Park.
With the construction of five more tanks each serving about 60 families, the pressure to fetch water from the park by the neighboring households will greatly reduce. This will help conserve the forest habitant better and build improved community relation. For a selected village to be allocated a tank, it must be able to provide land where the water storage is constructed. The community members mostly contribute money as part of their initiative to solve the problem.
Kisoro is one of the worst hit districts with limited number of water access points. A community need assessment carried by GVTCS in Mgahinga recognized that water scarcity has contributed greatly on community trespass to park as people constantly sneak into the protected area in search for water. This has over time become a major conflict area between park management and the people neighboring it. In the past, women from villages could trek long distances in search for water which strained families. It became a centre of marital conflict because the husbands suspected their wives of dishonesty whenever they delayed while fetching water from far away points confessed the chairperson the water user committee, Hellen Kabinago.
One tank valued at Shs.30 million can serve 30 villages in the dry season. A tank has a capacity of 30,000 liters whose sole source of water collection is rain harvest. This water is only available for use in the dry season the time when the strong need often arise. The wet season is used for water harvest and storage. The water user committee instituted by the members of the village cells that benefit from the water tanks is responsible for proper management of the tank and water.
The launch activities had earlier in the day kick started with the inspection of the water tanks constructed in various sites of the villages of Kabonero, Chana, Bukazi and Ndego. Uplift the Rural Poor is the Community Based Organization under which money to fund the project is channeled. Apart from tank construction, URP also sensitizes communities in making a collective effort to get land for construction and its management thereafter for sustainable use through well trained water user committee that carry on with the task after handover.
The function was attended by the district officials from Kisoro who included the LCV chairperson, CAO, Chief Conservation Area manager Mr. Charles Tumwesigye and Ag. Conservation Area Manager - BMCA among others. The LCV chairman Mr. Bazanyi Milton argued the communities to maintain the good attitude they have always had towards development. He thanked the people to keep guarding resources from the park and report any illegal activities from those who trespass the park.
In his remarks the Dr. Seguya said that a resource sharing agreement will soon be signed with parishes of Gisozi, Rutongi and Gitendera to sustainably access resources in the park that will include bamboo, medecinal plants and wines for weaving. He challenged the communities to put to good use the money disbursed to them as revenue shared from the park. He also revealed that Shs.86 millions will soon be given to the district as revenue shared for the communities around Mgahinga park and encouraged them to begin the process of planning in preparation for these funds. Previously some of the revenue money has been used to construct water tanks to alleviate the water situation in the surrounding villages around the park.

Friday, 9 December 2011


Parents need to talk with children about safety before heading out to a busy shopping mall or boarding a plane, train, or bus this holiday season. Crowds are greater this time of year and children may easily become separated from their parents, causing confusion and fear. If that should happen, parents need a plan and children should know what to do. 
 “Unfortunately many adults and children don’t know what to do if they lose each other in a public place or are faced with other unsafe situations,”
  • Keep children with you at all times while shopping.
  • Accompany and supervise children in public facilities, including restrooms.
  • Have a plan in case you become separated, including a pre-designated spot to meet.
  • Teach children to look for people who can help, such as a uniformed security officer, salesperson or mother with children. 
  • Remind children to remain in the area where they become separated.
  • Dress children in clothing that displays their first or last names, prompting unwelcome attention from people looking for an opportunity to start a conversation with your child.
  • Leave children in toy stores or public facilities expecting supervision from store personnel.
  • Go shopping or attend a public event with a child if you feel you’re going to be distracted. Make other arrangements for child care ahead of time.
  • Allow younger children to shop on their own to purchase surprise gifts for friends or family members.
  • Drop off older children at a mall or public place without agreeing on a clear plan for picking them up, including: where, what time, and what to do in case of a change in plans.
  • If your child is flying or riding a train or bus alone this holiday season, NCMEC urges parents to remember the following travel safety tips:
  • When you make reservations for your child, specify that the child will be traveling alone. 
  • Whenever possible, book a non-stop flight or direct route.  Avoid booking the last flight of the day.
  • Plan to visit the airport, train or bus terminal prior to departure. Let your child know what to expect, so the experience will not be so intimidating.
  • In case of delay or cancellation, remain at the station or gate until the train, plane or bus departs.
  • Make sure children travel with proper identification and parents or guardian contact information.
  • Always have a back-up plan for the person or people meeting the plane at the destination, in case they are delayed.
  • Encourage children not to become too friendly with other passengers or to reveal any personal information. 

Wednesday, 7 December 2011

Travelling with children to Africa can be safe and fun

During any holidaytrip wih children,the most important thing to bear in mind is their safety. Ensure your children are aware of any possible danger but don’t upset their fun-making.
As the festival season beckons, many parents would love to wear off the year’s stress with a visit to some place for a quite time with family. However, some parents loathe travelling with children; but the following will make the event safe and full of fun: Prepare your children in advance of the trip you will be taking. Show them on a map the trip you will be taking .Even young children enjoy having a clue of where they are going. Show them travel brochures and books on the places you will be visiting.
Discuss the security clearance process with your children when travelling by any means, so they will not be frightened or surprised. It is better not to travel with toys that could be mistaken for weapons. Pack food they like in a carry- on bag. Children tend to be a little fussy and you do not wish to be embarrassed.
It helps to purchase disposable items like bibs, anti-bacterial wipes and plastic eating utensils you will need during your trip. Remember to write down the name, address and telephone number of the place you are staying on a piece of paper (and an ‘I am lost please call my parents’, or something of the sort) and make sure you child carries it in his/ her pocket/ wallet.
Tell the child that if he or she gets lost, he/she should hand the piece of paper to a woman - (a woman could be safer) for help. You can also make identity cards for the children with their names and age, along with any other information you desire written at the back.
While at your travel destination;
Learn a few essential terms in the native language of the nation or place you are visiting , especially words for ‘Hello’, ‘Food’ ‘Water’ , ‘Police post’ etc.. Not only will the natives appreciate your effort, you trip will be more enjoyable and really helps you to get around the venue easily.
Be an ambassador: Attend at least one cultural event: a football game, concert, carnival, traditional dance performance, beach volleyball etc…
Eat and drink as the locals do:  Get off the beaten tourist path: take a bus or boda boda ride out of the city and visit the countryside or remote village. Travelling this way makes you much more than a tourist, hence an ambassador.
Money matters: Some countries consider credit cards s ‘live currency’ hence the need to mention them if asked by the custom officials. This helps you avoid trouble with issues to do with money importation. It is advisable to carry change money for public pay phones, vending machines, public toilets etc... It is better to have your money changed with banks or forex bureau to avoid counterfeits.
Keep an eye on your wallet. When shopping it is better to split your money into different pocket s and always put some inside a jacket pocket or next to your skin. You will always have some money in case you are pick pocketed. Besides, it is advisable to keep your wallet in a front rouser pocket because the thighs are very sensitive, it is difficult for a pickpocket to get at without you noticing.
Directions: When visiting any foreign place, carry a post card with the name and address of your hotel, that you can show to taxi drivers or when asking directions. This is particularly important in countries like Greece, where the alphabet is different.
Bottled water: At a hotel or a restaurant, ask for bottled water. At least every hotel or restaurant has bottle mineral water these days. It saves you from trouble that would arise if the kids fall sick courtesy of taking un boiled water
Play space: Keep you kids in eyesight while they are playing especially if surrounded by water bodies and sharp objects.
Emergency Services: Seek knowledge of the location of nearby clinics or hospitals in case you little ones develop unexpected illness. Having taken note of the above, you will have a wonder full time with the kids

Crocodiles on the Nile

Crocodiles first appeared about 55 million years ago. These large aquatic reptiles live throughout the tropics in Africa, Asia, the Americas and Australia. They tend to congregate in freshwater habitats like rivers, lakes, wetlands and sometimes in brackish water.
They feed mostly on vertebrates like fish, reptiles, and mammals, sometimes on invertebrates like molluscs and crustaceans, depending on species.
Crocodiles are among the more biologically complex reptiles despite their prehistoric look. Unlike other reptiles, they have a cerebral cortex; a four-chambered heart; and the functional equivalent of a diaphragm, by incorporating muscles used for aquatic locomotion.
Their external morphology on the other hand is a sign of their aquatic and predatory lifestyle. A crocodile’s physical traits allow it to be a successful predator. They have a streamlined body that enables them to swim swiftly. Crocodiles also tuck their feet to their sides while swimming, which makes them faster by decreasing water resistance. They have webbed feet which, although the water, allow it to make fast turns and sudden moves in the water or initiate swimming.

Monday, 5 December 2011

Human Rights Group Calls for Arrest of Bush During Africa Trip

The African nation of Zambia has rejected the call from an international rights group to arrest former President George W. Bush during his tour of Africa. The tour is part of Bush's campaign to raise awareness about health programs in Africa.
Bush arrived in Ethiopia Sunday with his wife Laura where they visited children at a hospital. It would mark the final leg of his trip. Bush is also pushing wealthy nations to provide resources to fight cancer and AIDS on the continent. He added that the American people must do their part to help the cause.

Arrest George W. Bush during Africa tour for ‘torture crimes’: Amnesty International

Amnesty International on Thursday continued its campaign urging nations around the world to arrest George W. Bush for allegedly violating international torture laws. This time they specifically targeted Ethiopia, Tanzania and Zambia where the former U.S. president was touring.
Bush began going through the countries on Monday to promote efforts to fight cervical and breast cancers, and Amnesty said the three nations have an obligation to arrest him under international law.
“All countries to which George W. Bush travels have an obligation to bring him to justice for his role in torture,” said Amnesty’s senior legal adviser Matt Pollard.


All tourists who love birding will be impressed by the latest improvement made in Queen Elizabeth where a number of grey pratincole birds have been seen in the park and that means the bird lovers will be amazed to see them when they visit the park, therefore there are about 600 bird species in just one place.
In the past few years, bird watching has been included on the list of Uganda’s tourist attraction and therefore tourists from all over the world make trips to one of Africa and the world at large’s place with variety of birds with about 1000 bird species or more which include those that live permanently in the park and those which just migrate from other places to the location. According to the records, these birds originate from the Western side of Africa and were first seen in Burundi sole national park Rusizi some decades ago.
Apart form all those many birds mentioned, there are more bird species expected to be found deep within the thick tropical rain forests of maramagambo which is an impenetrable forest but has not yet been opened to tourists’ access at a reasonable scale although it can be a good sight for those who wish to do forest walks, forest hikes an d canopy walks. The Queen Elizabeth’s number of birds has tremendously increased in the past few years resulting from the different species that migrate from Congo’s rain forest and enter into Uganda and find a home within Uganda’s forests.
Always check out for the best time to visit the national parks and all the other protected areas and always be sure you know or learn the dos and don’ts for Uganda.

Friday, 2 December 2011

The search for Lake Bunyonyi drowned Danish tourists

A team of UPDF and police marine divers on Thursday evening arrived at Lake Bunyonyi in Kabale to search for two Danish nationals who on Wednesday were feared drowned in one of the second deepest lake in Africa.
Mr Thomas Svith 21 and Mr Sabastaino Burtain 20 from Denmark drowned as they were swimming at around 12:30pm near Byoonamagara camp site. Col. Michael Nyarwa is commanding a team of three UPDF marine divers while Assistant Inspector of Police Mr Stephen Sanyu is commanding a team of three police marine team. The team spent the better part of yesterday searching for the bodies and were yet to find them by press time at 6pm.
Mr Samuel Habasa, a local leader around Lake Bunyonyi said that although an average of 2 people drown in this lake every month, the incident involving the foreigners was unprecedented. “These people must have died after losing energy as they were swimming for a long distance,” Mr Habasa said. The director of the camp site Mr Jason Gerber said that he saw one of them crying for help before he got drowned but it was not easy for him to save the lives as he was in distance away. The South-South Western Regional Police commander Ms Olivia Wawire said that they will continue searching until the bodies are recovered.

Thursday, 1 December 2011


Kenya’s TPS East Africa which is managing the Serena hotel in East Africa purchased the five star hotel situated in the Dar es Salaam the capital city of Tanzania and added it to the already existing Serena hotels in East Africa therefore setting up a new  Serena hotel in Tanzania which is one of the rapidly growing economies. TPS mentioned that they got this five star Royal Palm hotel which is composed of 230 rooms from Movenpick Hotels and Resort but did not say how much they had bought it.
TPS was also said on Wednesday that this hotel will now be called Dar es Salaam Serena hotel starting from next month December and it will be the leading luxury five-star hotel for the those who are willing to spend big while out on their trips like the on leisure travelers said the company. There are businesses in Uganda, Kenya, Zanzibar, Mozambique, Rwanda and a smaller business in northern part of Tanzania which are all under the management of TPS.
Serena hotels have tremendously expanded from the four units it had in the 1970s to 25 up market hotels, resorts, camps and safari lodges that have got now offering services to leisure traveler, the business people who are willing to spend big for the luxury services and comfort provided in these hotels.


NIKON’s bird Adventure which is an adventure television company in the United States of America said that it will promote Tanzania in the all states of America as the best tourists destination for all those who want to enjoy their tours and to be able to do so, this company will have a video shoot in Tanzania next year showing all the wonderful futures that the country has got to offer the tourism industry so as to attract tourists. This was announced by the Tanzania Tourism Board marketing Director Mrs. Devota Mdachi while in the UK where he had gone to attend the World Travel Market exhibition that took place between the 7th and the 10th  of November 2011.
She mentioned that Nikon said it is ready to promote Tanzania in America now that it has provided the necessary support to the British’s recently organized international tourism fairs and the ETM exhibitions. She also added that she had the opportunity to meet James Currie who is the owner and host of the Nikon Bird Adventure TV and they discussed way of how to market Tanzania and it was during this discussion that he told her about their intension of having a video coverage of the Kitulo Plateau National Park to show the US people and other people so that they can know the tourists attractions in Tanzania.
Currie say Tanzania is bound to handsomely profit from their trip to Tanzania since Nikon’s Bird adventure TV provides about 30 advertising slots in its famous weekly TV show a side from the fact that is a film producer. A side from making use of the Nikon Bird Adventure TV the only bird watching show in the US, Tanzania also broadcasts on the NBC sports which the most popular sports and outdoor TV network world wide and is a base for the tour de France and the summer Olympic, therefore Tanzania’s features will be accessed by 80 million house holds in a week.
The Nikon Company had decided to market Tanzania’s tourism features after they realizing that many families in the US do not know what East African countries have got and they chose Kitulo plateaus national park because it is considered ads the God’s Garden and the Serengeti flowers park is the very first park in the tropical region of Africa to be appreciated for its variety of flowers and so far has got 350 plant species that have been written on. Said Devotha.
Among the 350 species are the 45 species of orchids, 31 species are not common in Tanzania, 26 are common in Kitulo , many are can hardly be found in any parts of the world, about 3 are at the plateau and two can be got only on the plateau or in the forest close.
The plateau is also home to some important endangered species like the blue swallow, Denham’s bustard, mountain marsh widow, Njombe cisticola, and Kipengere seedeater plus some of the world’s rarest butterflies inhabit the area along with chameleon, lizard, frogs and a few hardy reedbuck and eland.


The Tanzania Tourism Board has opened up a Kilimanjaro Mountain climb campaign which was organized by the Kara Tour situated in Moshi and has therefore encouraged all Tanzania to join and support the campaign. According to the report got in Dar es Salaam from Tanzania Tourism Board on Sunday show that the registration fee which was 500,000 has been reduced to 350,000 so that more people can afford to register. This fee is for food, transport from Moshi to Marangu plus all the necessities that the climbers may need and the guest of honor will be the Mwalimu Julius Nyerere the father of the Nation‘s son Madaraka Nyerere. On this occasion Tanzania will celebrate its 50th year as an independent country.
This climbing journey has been organized by the TTB, Kara Tours and the Tanzania National parks Authority (TANAPA). Madaraka has asked Tanzanians to go in large numbers so that they can have a warm independence celebration, he also added that the climbing will start on the 4th of December and end on the 9th of December since it will take the climbers 6 days to get to the top of the mountain.
Madaraka mentioned that he was sure the climbers will make it to the top since he himself has climbed that mountain 2 times and each time made it to the top. This event is intended to publicize Tanzania’s Tourism features to the out side world said Geoffrey Meena who is the TTB’s marketing manager and also added that there are about 100 plus foreigners but living in Tanzania that have registered to join the occasion.

Tracking man’s cousins
Gorilla tracking remains one of the most mysterious and satisfying wildlife experiences on the wish list of Uganda’s tourists. While the adventure costs $500 (Shs1,425,000) per person including permits, tracking and gate fees, satisfaction if guaranteed after spending some time with mountain gorillas of Uganda at Bwindi Impenetrable Forest, one of the most beautiful rainforest you will ever see. Of the world’s estimated 740 mountain gorillas, 320 reside in Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park although the figures may be subject to change after findings of the the 2011 Bwindi gorilla census are released sometime next year.
at Ruhija there is tracking of the new Oruzogo gorilla family, one of the 10 families in the park, after a year of habituation (meaning that they are used to people and are not prone to attack). It comprises 28 members and is yet to officially unveiled. They include two sliver backs, eight juveniles, five infants, five black backs and eight adult families.
Set off for the forest at 8am. Bwindi is nicknamed the ‘impenetrable forest’, and I have got to say that it’s easy to see why; at times it was literally impossible to make your way through the vegetation, even with the trackers carving a path for us with their machetes.
Heavy rains and dying plants nourish this dense forest, but the gentleness of the morning and calm stirring grass and vines along the trails cunningly hide the never-ending dramas of the impenetrable forest. As you follow old trails and communicate with pre-trackers who follow the gorillas early in morning to avoid tourists getting lost, and moving long distances without finding the primates, you find over 300 bird species, as well as 120 mammal species and an amazing 1000 different plant species in this very small forest (about 33.7qkm).
Clad in a rain coat because of heavy rains with gumboots to stop black aunts from entering my clothing, we trek the forest down three steppe hills. With some people falling because of the muddy trails, we brave the long hectic journey to track primates believed to have 94.7 per cent DNA similarity with humans.
Meeting man’s ‘cousins’
After about three hours of pushing through this thick vegetation on steep terrain panting and cooling the body system with litres of drinking water, we seemed to be nowhere near any gorillas. But finally, we came to a valley in the jungle, about 7metres in diameter, where the pre-trackers were waiting for us. “Keep quiet, put your flash cameras off, maintain the 7-metre distance from the animals and drop your walking sticks like you were told during a de-brief because we have arrived, said Mr Benson Kanyonyi, a ranger guide at the park, whose experience spans 14 years. We all studied the area with a new interest and excitement. I noticed distinct impressions in the leaves – nests made by massive creatures.
Suddenly, I heard branches to my immediate right snap as if a tree was falling and a very big rumbling noise beyond anything I had ever experienced! And then there was this smell, like a pungent body odour worse than that of a human who hasn’t bathed in a month. It was then whispered that we were among the gorillas. I strained my eyes towards the shaking shrub and there was nothing to see, but the raspberry bushes.
Another look, and there appeared a couple of square inches of black fur. We got a glimpse of a female with a baby balanced on her back and a youthful gorilla feasting on berries on a tree. Finally, we went near the silverback seated immersed on bushes pluck-eating branches of berries. Suddenly, our luck dramatically changed, the silverback started moving further away, ignorantly exposing himself the more.
We kept following him but he on several occasions barked at us which the ranger guide said was a warning for having broken the 7metre distance away from the animal as we strived to get better shots on our cameras.
We then climb another hill right from the valley amid heavy rains where we found ‘Busungu’ named after his aggressiveness and he charged against us. With the great fatigue, we couldn’t dare him any more, so we took a tactful withdraw.
Irreplaceable experience
this was a lifetime experience. No matter how much you watch mountain gorillas on television or even try hard to imagine what meeting them might actually be like, nothing can quite prepare you for this direct encounter.
Then, all too soon, we were told it was time up (an hour being the limit for gorilla visits). We withdrew to make our way back. I was pretty contented and gathered more courage to climb back the three steppe hills out of the forest to Buhoma that was my next destination.

Wednesday, 30 November 2011


Cheli and Peacock which is among Kenya’s popular safari companies won four Eco Tourism awards that are given out every year to the companies that perform well with in the year and so this year, peacock and cheli provided the most amazing services to its clients and the country at large.  Aside from identifying it as the tour operator of the year, Elsas Kopje lodge also merged out as the best small lodge of the year and North Mara Conservancy was the best Private Conservancy of the year in the country. The fourth award was for the C&P for their sincere and at most cooperation with Kenya Wildlife Trust and this trophy was added to the so many trophies that they have got in their office display cabin.
It was established in 1985 that is in 26 years business. It was then a small company but has expanded into a powerful company with great influence in the Kenyan tourism sector due to its quality services provided to their visitors who use their strategically located camps while on their safaris and hence attract more visitors. They also have got well trained guides that they use to take the tourists around the different places that they may want to visit especially the foreign visitors. For more information about Cheli and Peacock especially about their accommodation facilities located in different parts of Kenya and about their trips to the most wonderful parks and reserves in the country.

Air Uganda to begin domestic flights

Air Uganda plans to start domestic flight services as the carrier marks four years of existence this month. Airline activity is picking up with the arrival of the major global players like Turkish, Delta and Qatar airlines at the Entebbe International Airport.
Kyle Haywood, the Air Uganda boss said plans were underway to acquire a new fleet of planes to explore the regional and national destinations in the next two years. He also revealed that the Aga Khan-owned airline has recorded a 17% increase in passenger traffic since its inception.
“Over the past four years, passengers have begun to get the right perception that we are here to stay. In order to reduce on fuel costs, cut wastage and increase efficiencies we are looking to get the right size and model of aircraft to operate in the East African region and nationally by 2013,” he told reporters at the Airlines Kampala head office.  
The Airline is largely recognized as the national carrier after the collapse of Uganda Airlines in May 2001. Previous carriers, Alliance Air, Air Memphis, Africa one, and Victoria International Airlines went under due to financial woes.    
Haywood explained that the airline is looking to improve its service to fliers along the Entebbe- Nairobi route and increase flight frequencies to Juba in south Sudan to consolidate its presence in the region.
“Currency depreciation and increases in inflation have reduced the disposable income of leisure fliers and increases in the costs of fuel have directly hit us, however, we are applying the lessons learnt from previous Airlines to steer forward,” he explained.
Haywood pointed out that that the arrival of large international airplanes will feed into the Airliners sales to boost the local economy through increased passenger traffic at Entebbe.

Two Danish nationals drown in Lake Bunyonyi

TWO Danish nationals have today drowned in Lake Bunyonyi (900m deep) at around midday as they tried to swim.
According to eyewitnesses, the two hired a canoe from Byoona Magara camp where they were staying and rowed to the middle the lake where they drowned as they tried to swim.
Elly Maate the south-south western Uganda regional police spokesman identified the two Danish nationals as Srith Thomas and Dustin Sebastian. 
By press time divers at the lake were still trying to trace the bodies of the Danes.
Locals however say that the chances of survival of the two are very slim because the lake is very deep (second deepest in Africa) and those who drown in it take long to appear.

Tuesday, 29 November 2011

Living with the lions of Mara

Nobody knows the big cats of the Maasai Mara better than the internationally acclaimed wildlife photographers and writers Jonathan Scott, 62, and his wife Angela, 58. They introduced the world to the Marsh lions in BBC’s Big Cat Diary with Notch the black-manned lion who at 11 years “owns” half the Mara.
Then there’s the beautiful Shakira, the cheetah and Zawadi the leopard who at 16 is the oldest known-expectant mum and is still hanging around Leopard Gorge. These big cats are the new generation whose lives have been captured through the lens by the husband and wife team, including the trials and tribulations of their families since the 1970s. Scott jokes that he knows them better than most of his “human” friends and likes many of them better too.
Wildlife photographer
Growing up in England in the 1950s, Scott’s highlight as a child was the once-a-year visit to the London zoo where he recalls “standing in front of the leopard’s cage for hours waiting to catch a glimpse of the cat.” Needless to say, it’s a training that’s stood him good, for at 62 with his boyish looks, he still spends hours waiting for the cats for that perfect shot.
Studying zoology at university in Ireland, his professor asked the then young man what he was going to do in life. Scott’s answer was, “something to do with wildlife.” It did not impress the don who remarked that he better find a good job to fund his pastime.
He obviously never took the advice, but instead traveled overland 6,000 miles from London to Africa. “Leopards were my reason for coming to Africa,” he tells the audience at the National Museums of Kenya during a two-day photography workshop conducted by him and Angela, as the brand ambassadors for Canon the camera manufacturers who have relaunched business in Kenya.
Today, Jonathan and Angela Scott are household names having shot to fame with their first wildlife portrayal of the Marsh lions in the Maasai Mara Game Reserve, living mostly out of a tent to shoot the best stills they can in what Jonathan explains is the best wildlife park for its light, landscapes and big cat shooting.
Scott started photographing the cats as an “academician” to “identify” them for lions have whisker spots, leopards have spots below the eyes and cheetahs have spots that are as unique as the human finger print. He credits Angela for bringing in the artistry in the photos, which sets their images apart from the rest.
Next year will mark the 30th anniversary since the Scotts began “shooting” the Marsh Pride. Tourists flock to the Mara to see the big cats whose stories they have followed on the celluloid screens for close to three decades.
Following the success of the Marsh lions in BBC’s Big Cat Diary, was the book on leopards about Half Tail in 1977, a book that took six years to write because the cats live such “invisible lives” captured by the Scotts with their powerful lenses that gave them an insight of their secretive lives without disturbing the cats.
Many more colour coffee table books followed on the big cats and birds. The pictures and the books that the Scott’s presented were so mesmerising that they sold out in no time followed by reprints. No decent bookshop can afford not to have their signature copies.
BBC’s television series Big Cat Diary and Big Cat Week became super-marketing tools for Kenya. Not to be left behind, Disney Nature followed with African Cats which will premiere on November 27 in Nairobi courtesy of African Wildlife Foundation. The films are narrated by Jonathan.
Today, the Scotts are involved in shooting (photographs) and filming around the world – leopards in Sri Lanka, Emperor penguins in the Antarctica, Buddhist monks in Bhutan which is one of the most remotest countries on earth in the Himalayas where the country’s wealth is measured as the Gross National Happiness versus the Gross National Product.
The latest feather in their cap is the pair being chosen as brand ambassadors for Canon. As fate would have it, Canon was the first camera that Jonathan bought as a novice with “no money left for a lens,” never dreaming that one day he would be an award winning photojournalist, winning the coveted title of the International Photographer of the Year, which was later won by Angie.
Photographers par excellence
Photography is something that Scott learnt on the ground, but his passion and dedication have propelled him to be considered one of the finest today. During the photography workshop at the National Museums of Kenya in Nairobi, Scott remarked that he’s happy being a “fly on the wall” to get that engagingly powerful shot of the cats he’s so intrigued with. The duo have cars specially modified for wildlife shooting with the front doors replaced by an extension that allows them to shoot 360 degrees without the limitations of being stuck inside a car.
Wildlife photography has a special place for Jonathan. As the world hits the seventh billion human on the planet, “our wild places are evaporating fast,” he remarks. In a century, the figure will be double exponentially. Lion numbers in Africa have dwindled by more than 90 per cent in a mere two decades as have other wildlife populations. The Scotts’ pictures are powerfully arresting to want to save the last of the wild.

GIFTED BY NATURE: Saddle- billed stork

The Saddle-billed Stork is a large wading bird in the stork family. It is a widespread species which is a resident breeder in sub-saharan Africa from Uganda, Sudan, Ethiopia and Kenya south to South Africa and in The Gambia, Senegal, Côte d’ivoire and Chad in west Africa. It is a close relative of the widespread Asian Black-necked Stork.
They are silent except for bill-clattering at the nest. Like most storks, these fly with the neck outstretched, not retracted like a heron; in flight, the large heavy bill is kept drooping somewhat below belly height, giving these birds a very unusual appearance to those who see them for the first time.
The Saddle-billed Stork, like most of its relatives, feeds mainly on fish, frogs and crabs, but also on small birds and reptiles. They move in a deliberate and stately manner as they hunt, in a similar way to the larger herons.


The government of Tanzania has been asked to implement stronger laws and regulations to protect tourists while out on their tours since the ones in place are almost useless to them. Reports from the Tanzania Association of Tour Operators show that there are almost 99% of crimes committed like steal tourists properties, conning them, inappropriate handling of tourists and many other crimes that have been reported to the authority between 2008-2011 but they have not been looked into due to poor existing laws.
Mr. Mustapha Akunaay who is the Executive Secretary of TATO mentioned last Tuesday that TATO has already identified 15 tour companies which are offering ghost services via internet and steal lots of money from tourists thus the agent need to form tough laws to be able to stop this kind of act otherwise the country’s image will go down the drain and bring about serious economical consequences in a short run he added. He also said yesterday during the workshop organized to discuss the legal framework on the safety of tourists in Tanzania that it is very important for the tourism sector to ensure the safety of all tourists if the tourism industry is to grow and develop.
Tanzania will still be one of the top countries with the best tourist attractions like the wild life and therefore one of the amazing places to go for a tour after Brazil though the present laws do not in particular cater for the security of the tourist as mentioned before during the workshop by Mr. Adam Mambi who is a law consultant and then a lawyer from the Law Reform Commission also added that neglecting the safety of tourists and their properties is a criminal offence under general laws and also gave an example that the Tourism Act does not specifically show the responsibilities of the police and other forces like the park rangers as regards ensuring the safety of tourists.
Mambi said that the police should form special units just like Kenya did that are responsible for all offences related to safety of tourists in the country. Therefore the present laws should be checked and put up to the standards required to be able to handle to present demands. According to the records of the organizers of the one day workshop, different ministries sent representatives including the Immigration Department from Zanzibar but unfortunately, there was no single delegate from the Tanzania Police and yet other people were from the US Embassy, the British High Commission, Law Reform Commission and other bodies. They came up with solutions to the problem at the end of the workshop and send these ideas to the government to implement.

Monday, 28 November 2011


There are rhinos and lions are expected to be bought by the Rwanda Development Board (RDB) next year from South Africa for Akagera national park in an effort to increase on the number of wild animals in that park thus increase on the number of tourist attractions which will eventually lead to an increment in the number of tourists visiting the park. The decrease in the number of wild animal in Akagera is as a result of the high levels of poaching more so in the 1980s and the 1990s.
Rica Rwigamba who is the head of department responsible for tourism at the Rwanda Development Board while addressing the New Times yesterday, she said they have plans of having Akagera national park stocked with more animal but specifically with rhinos and lions so that they can improve on the Rwanda’s tourism potentials and so be able to compete variably with the rest of the countries in East Africa. She however could not reveal all the details of their programme to the press butt was very confident to say that for now they do not have  clear information as regards the terms of financial support that they may need especially given the fact that they will be starting the restocking before next year comes to an end.
There is just one rhino in Akagera national park at the moment which has is under great protection and care, with all its movements monitored with the help of a tracking device just to keep it safe from harm. Akagera is the most common animal sanctuary in Rwanda’s savanna regions and it has got animals like the hippos, the antelopes, the buffaloes, elephants and so many others that are common in the East African region.
News coming in from the Seychelles Island show that the construction of the Praslin heritage route is so far so good and at the same time a member from the Islands of Vanilla, mentioned that they will soon be working hard towards the promotion of their valuable things so as to increase on the number of tourists attractions and hence increase the number of tourists in the long run. The Mauritius Tourism Promotion Authority (MTPA) at the beginning of this week signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Mauritius Council of Religions so that the two parties can start up a place where the visitors can have their prayers from while in the country for their safaris and also check out the ethical code of the tourism industry together. The code of ethics  aims at improving on the dress code of tourists before they enter the places of worship and other holly places and this means that they have to be dressed decently and in shoes as well but more issues will be handled  than what is mentioned above.
Mauritius has started receiving guest from various parts of the world who are interested in mainly attending its religious celebrations and this kind of tourism attraction will be promoted through the introduction of new attractions and strategies so that the Mauritius can get the best out of the spiritual heritages.
Just like Seychelles, when you check out Mauritius’ calendar of events for the year it is in state of balance and stillness in regards to the religious and other ethical public celebrations. There are websites and printed documents with all the information that the guests may need to know about these celebrations so that they can have a clue of what to see once they get to the Island so that they can enjoy their trip. There will be a competition next month between the citizens exhibiting their potentials in tourism which will all be according to the code of ethics and hence a way of attracting the attention and support of the local people so that in the due course the government does not cause pain and suffering to its citizens by inconveniencing them in the name of spiritual importance especially incase the number places chosen as places of increases to about 400 places on the Island.


Kilimanjaro’s failure to be among the top seven natural wonders of the world was mainly attributed to the poor internet service in most parts of Tanzania which made impossible for most people who would have voted for the feature to vote.  This was mentioned yesterday by Mr.Maige Ezekiel Tanzania minister of Tourism and the natural resources and he also added that right from the beginning of the campaign, the number of Tanzanians participating was very small due to the fact that the network coverage was very bad in most areas.
He is quoted to have said that the limited internet service provision in most rural parts of the country made it impossible for those in the villages to vote leaving only those living only the urban center to vote for Kilimanjaro and yet in other countries, almost all the people have got access to internet and therefore were able to vote in large numbers using the internet. He also added that although the government had come to an agreement with the mobile network companies so that the citizen could send short voting messages for free, it was already too late and therefore useless. There were only two features suggested from Africa to join the competition and  they included the Mt. Kilimanjaro and the Table Mountain of South Africa but it so unfortunate that none of these two got enough votes to be on the list of the 28 competitors in the whole world though the ministry of Tourism together with the Tanzanian Tourism Board (TTB) had carried out a campaign for Kilimanjaro within and outside Tanzania which in the short run led to its publicity in different countries in the world through the website that was designed, Maige said sadly.
The minister said all this while he was answering Ali Juma Haji (CCM) the Chaani law maker who was wondering why Mt. Kilimanjaro was not on the list of the new natural wonders in spite of the fact that the government had tried its level best to support the campaign. In Juma’s main question, he wanted Tanzania’s government to explain clearly whether Mt. Kilimanjaro is situated in Kenya and therefore Kenya’s or it’s in Tanzania because the Kenyan government was also casting adverts for it as its own and located in Kenya. He also demanded to know what the government intends to do about the current confusion so that foreign tourists who may wish to visit the mountain can go directly to Tanzania than going through Kenya like the case has been.
In response to the above questions, Maige mentioned that Tanzania is an independent country with Mt.Kilimanjaro on its boarder and Kenya’s. He also made it clear that Kenya has never claimed Mt. Kilimanjaro to be theirs but has always mentioned in its adverts that one can clearly see it while in Kenya than while in Tanzania. He also said that it was not possible for the tourists to climb Mt. Kilimanjaro from Kenya because all the routes leading to the peak of the mountain which include the Rongai, the Mweka, the Londrosi, the Umbwe, the Marangu and the Machame are all in Tanzania. He also mentioned that for any tourists to climb the Kilimanjaro mountain, they have got to go through Tanzania and the Kenyans know so too and that the Tanzanian government is doing its level best to advertise to different countries outside Tanzania as possible as well as in the public buses in the UK, in flights using posters and there are also plans of organizing trips for the news reporters/ journalists from various countries to visit the mountain.