Sunday, 29 July 2012

High Water Levels Affect Nakuru National Park

Bad news for Lake Nakuru national park, high numbers of flamingos have migrated to lakes in the western Rift Valley as result of an increase in Lake Nakuru’s water levels. They have settled in Lake Oloidien in Naivasha, Lake Bogoria as well as Elementaita. According to Joseph Dadacha who is the Deputy senior warden at Lake Nakuru National Park the water levels are as a result climate changes and the water has increased by about three meters.  The changes have let to an increase in the number of tourists who are visiting the area from within the country and from the rest of the parts of the world.  But they had never experienced this kind of water level, not even during El nino rains so said Dadacha.
The too much water that is flowing into the lake has diluted the salinity of the water which is needed to make algae which is food for the birds and therefore the birds have to go to some other salty lakes where they will get food and  perhaps will return to Nakuru when conditions improve. He also said since the flooding only about 10,000 lesser flamingoes out of 400,000 are in the lake.
Unfortunately, the number of cormorants and pelicans has increased and lots of acacia trees have dried up because of the water logging and animals like Columbus monkeys, Reed Bucks and Impalas will soon run to other places since they can not live in a water logged area. Dadacha added that the rains have made most roads at the park impassable therefore making so had for tourists to travel there. For instance in some parts, there roads have been washed away while in others they are filled with water, levels at the Lake have moved to a distance of 500 meters from the original lake shoreline. A lot of money, over 2 million has been spent on repairing the damaged road so said Dadacha.

KWS Rangers Arrested For Illegal Hunting

There are two Kenya Wildlife Service rangers who were arrested for supposedly illegally killing animals in the Tsavo National Park. David Mwiraria who is the chairperson board of KWS said it is so unfortunate that within themselves are people who are frustrating this fight against poaching in Kenya.

According to the Police and other KWS officials, these suspects were part of the huge gang that has been hunting down animals at the park in the recent past. Meanwhile the Tsavo Conservation Area Assistant Director Wilson Korir as well as Taita OCPD Nathaniel Aseneka have confirmed the arrests and mentioned that they are to be taken to the court after all the investigations  have been successfully done. Mr. Korir also added that these two have been sack from their services two weeks ago because what they did was against the code of conduct of service.
This has happened at a time when the Government is still struggling with this huge problem of poaching. During his speech at the conference for senior wardens and researchers in Voi town not so long ago, David Mwiraria said this was so disappointing. And according to some information from the research done by an intelligence body there some dishonest KWS officials who are working in gang with criminals to destroy what the body has already set on ground which is why the management  has got to work hard enough to stamp this vice out of the country for survival of the industry.

Mwiraria also said that their success to the operation called Okoa Ndovu will entirely depend on professionalism, interactive communication and strong adherence to the core values.  Meanwhile, there were two elephants which were killed by most likely poachers in Taita-Taveta. The elephants were killed at Kishushe location and their tusks removed.

Acting Taita DC Paul Rotich and acting Taita Administration Police Commandant Eric Kipkenei said that they carcasses were found by the public, one of the elephants was killed using a poisoned arrow while the other was shot with a bullet and both their tusks were gone. This happened even before a week has elapsed after a group of crooks attack Taita Ranch in Voi District, killed two elephants and took tusks too. Now, there are nine the number of elephants killed in the Tsavo Conservation Area in this year 2012 but Tsavo West Senior warden Collins Omondi said it was just one elephant  that had been killed and not two like they say. It is such bad news that they are losing elephants at such a high rate in local ranches.

Saturday, 28 July 2012

Sight Seeing Flights in Africa

Take weekend escapes and enjoy flying safaris and tours to all national parks of Uganda, enjoy the stunning views the landscape, crater lakes, lots of banana plantations and tea estates, the rift valley and the park, view the tectonic collapse of the earth that formed the Rift Valley and on clear days the peaks of Rwenzoris’ snow capped mountains of Uganda. The beautiful nature and scenery will offer incredible photographic opportunities
Senior travelers, Honeymooners, business trips can cut short the time spent on the road to National Parks and opt for a short flying safari. These flying safaris are available on a selection of our private itineraries.

Friday, 27 July 2012

Karamoja May Be Forgotten, but It's Still Beautiful and Captivating

Is it not absurd the phrase “we shall not wait for Karamoja to develop” though said half jokingly may actually be true. It looks like people in this region are left behind. The area could pass for another country altogether. But it is from the bad roads that it all begun there is a way but barely a road.

The scenery is amazing there are many plants and trees it is so green and the air is so fresh. You would want to put your head out of the car to breathe in all the fresh air. When we reached Kween District, the ride turned bumpy, we had to fasten our belts and hold tight on the handles on top of the car door. But even that did not stop us from bumping around in our seats as we travelled.

Getting there
The first 30km or so of the murram road after Mbale were fairly passable. It is after we went past Chepsikunya that our troubles begun. There were gutters so deep that the car tyres sunk into them yet it was a fairly big car. At one point, the driver almost failed to control the car as it kept on sliding in the mud. Somehow we managed to get out of it. Then we got stuck at another point and after one hour, the only taxi that operates between Mbale and Karamoja passed by and helped pull us out. As we moved on, the car slid and we knocked a truck that was stuck in the mud. A window got shattered but thankfully no one was hurt. Later, we were pulled out of that ditch too only to get stuck in another. Then, the four wheel drive system got faulty, we could neither reverse nor move forward. It was 7pm and we were close to Amuru but those coming from there told us there were more such ditches ahead. We decided not to move any further. It was a scary idea, we were in a game reserve. Thankfully, we had company; there were 20 trucks and about 10 smaller cars.

A night in the cold
One of the trucks belonged to a trader dealing in merchandise. When it dawned on him that he would have to spend the night there. He decided to turn his truck into a kiosk. Before long, there were drinks, both hard and soft, on sale as well as snacks. Being close to Mountain Napak, it was so chilly in the night. As we headed to the car to sleep, one of the traders advised us to be careful if we decided to make use of the bush to ease ourselves. He said leopards usually came out of the bush at night. I remembered an earlier conversation where some of the traders mentioned that they sometimes spend a week on the road because of the bad roads. They knew the place better than us. We had to believe them. They also said when it rains, it floods. As we slept, our only prayer was that it would shine bright at dawn. And it did.
We woke up to see the sun rising behind the mountain. In a way, that sight made sleeping in the car worthwhile. At 1pm, we managed to leave the game reserve and we were in Nakapiripirit two hours later. Nonetheless, Karamoja is a beautiful place especially because of the landscape and the people. The females are mostly tall, slender and shapely. Apart from the Pokot who are majorly of a light skin complex, the rest are dark skinned. They have longish small faces with precise facial features. But the Karimajong are not at the centre of life in the region’s towns; instead it is the Bagisu, who are fluent in Luganda. In Amuro, Nakapiripirit and Amudat towns that I visited, most of the business people were Bagisu. So, even the few income-generating activities that the Karimajong would engage in have been occupied. A few of the women trade in vegetables at a small scale.
Karamoja relies heavily on Mbale for most of the commodities they use. There was no fuel at a petrol station in Nakapiripirit because the truck transporting it from Mbale was stuck in the same area we had been. In one restaurant, our tea could not be served with ginger because it had not arrived from Mbale. Those in Amudat district get their commodities from Kenya as they are closer to the border between Kenya and Uganda. Public transport is poor. Boda bodas are few and there is only one taxi that travels from Karamoja to Mbale and back. The number of routes made depend on how bad the roads are.
The night the driver helped us, one of the passengers said bus companies that used to travel there stopped because they spend a lot on transport. She said everyone has abandoned them and even take from them the only treasure they seem to have stones that are ferried to Tororo as raw material for cement.
Bright colours
The telecommunications network coverage is very poor. Newspapers are delivered two or three days late, in rainy seasons they are delivered after a week. But the security is better now though there is still the fear of travelling after it is dark.
The women dress in brightly coloured clothes especially skirts with pleats. Perhaps, it is these brightly coloured clothes that bring life to the area that is generally poverty stricken. The people living in towns and trading centers are more friendly than those in the villages who are also not as friendly. But the towns are still graced by huts mainly built in the manyatta style.

Tuesday, 24 July 2012

Uganda: Government Urged to Revive National Airline

Uganda Government has been urged to revive a national carrier if it is to fully harness the opportunities that the tourism sector provides.
This was said by Mr. David Mpango Kakuba, the Deputy Managing Director of Uganda's Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) last week during a press briefing to announce the 2012 Routes Africa Airport Marketing Award for Excellence in Airport Marketing that Entebbe Airport scooped. Entebbe International Airport won the 2012 marketing accolade in recognition for attracting the highest number of new reputable airline operators in 2011 including Qatar Airways, Turkish Airlines, NasAir and Gulf Air.
He said that having a national carrier would enable the country get a hub and an avenue to advertise her tourism potential.
"You cannot expect carriers like Kenya Airways, Emirates to place documentaries about Uganda's tourism potential on their flights. Everybody will be marketing their own potential. So we shall whether Uganda starts humbly, but to get a national airline which will market the tourism," he said. He added, "We have impressed upon government to have a national airline. We have advised them that you cannot effectively market tourism unless you have a national airline. So we have put our case before cabinet and they are seriously thinking of establishing a national airline."
He said that much as Uganda has some of the best tourist attractions in the region, her major undoing was the lack of a national airline that would enable her to attract and retain tourists.
"You will find that the tourists who visit Nairobi and opt to visit the 'Mountains of the Moon' (Rwenzori), the documentaries given to them will read, 'Come to Nairobi, we shall take you 500 miles East to see the 'Mountains of the Moon'. When they come here, they are taken back immediately so that all the money is spent in (Nairobi).
"These are some of the things we are trying to do to ensure that we are independent and have the tourists to fly in directly into the country. But all this is long term and will depend on how government takes on the need to re-establish a national airline," he said.
He also disclosed that the air passenger traffic at Entebbe is steadily growing, currently at 1.2 million per year compared to three years ago when it was 500,000 passengers.
He however said that the there was increased international traffic while local air traffic was declining.

Monday, 23 July 2012

Elephant Poaching Still Rampant in Kenya

The Kenya wildlife service has encountered another lose after they lost two elephants this week. These were Ezra and Bronow sky and they were both mature bulls which were very much loved by researchers but unfortunately were speared to death by the poachers cutting their life short.  For most of the week Kenya’s Amboseli ecosystem which includes the national park has been under cordon, not from poachers but from a group of angry Maasai warriors.

Reports from the Big Life Foundation’s website reveal that the Maasai have accepted to stop spearing but on condition that Julius Kipng’etich who is the director of the Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) meets with them on August 6 this year 2012. This Amboseli’s human-wildlife conflict is not something news, it is a controversy that is motivated by money and politics, the last incident started one week ago after a Maasai boy was killed by a buffalo. And because there was misinformation of what had happened, a group of warriors went on killing elephants, lions or buffaloes that the found wondering around the Masai Mara game reserve.
This is was also as a result of the fact that the KWS director failed to honor their meeting that they had scheduled with Maasai to discuss the rising situation, chaos arose resulting into  the elephant deaths. When senseless killings occur in Kenya, or Colorado or anywhere else, then perhaps it’s time to pause and reflect what is happening to this world we inhabit. But all this has got to stop immediately.

Saturday, 21 July 2012

Nairobi among Top Destinations in Africa

Nairobi is set to become the fourth most visited destination city in Africa this year, according to the 2012 MasterCard Global Destination Cities Index. The index has revealed that a projected 1.8 million visitors are expected to visit Nairobi this year, injecting an estimated Sh126 billion ($1.5 billion) into the city's economy. These figures translate to a 10 percent growth in visitor numbers and a 16.7 percent growth in visitor spending over the 2011 Index results. The three cities where most visitors to Nairobi are forecast to originate from are London (203,000 people), Amsterdam (149,000 people), and Johannesburg (138,000 people).
Londoners are expected to spend Sh28.4 billion ($339 million) during 2012 (a growth of 8.1 percent from 2011); those from Amsterdam are expected to spend Sh9.9 billion ($118 million; 6.7 percent growth from the 2011) while Johannesburg visitors are expected to spend Sh11.6 billion ($138 million; 10.2 percent growth from 2011). "A key finding of the Index is that Nairobi ranks fourth out of 13 cities surveyed in Africa - both in terms of visitor numbers and visitor spend - highlighting its status as the financial heart of the East African region and a significant African economic hub," Charlton Gordema, Vice President, Market Manager, East Africa and Indian Ocean Islands for MasterCard Worldwide said.
Nairobi also ranked 13th out of the world's top 20 fastest growing destination cities by visitor numbers and 10th out of the 20 fastest growing destination cities by visitor cross-border spending. "The Kenyan government's identification of air transport capacity being vital to the continued growth of the country's economy and the resulting investment in upgrading Jomo Kenyatta International Airport is now yielding results, as can be seen in the Index," Gordema added.
Kenya Airways is also preparing itself for growth in visitor numbers with its 2013 target of becoming the leading carrier on the continent - interlinking every African capital city and connecting the rest of Africa to the world via its Nairobi hub. In addition, Kenya Airways has secured an open skies agreement, a move that will get the airline a step closer to entering the American market with direct flights from Nairobi.
The Index ranks 132 global cities by their total international visitor arrivals and the cross-border spending by these visitors in the destination cities, and gives visitor and passenger growth forecasts for 2012. The 13 African cities surveyed apart from Nairobi included: Accra, Cairo, Johannesburg, Casablanca, Beira, Cape Town, Dakar, Durban, Kampala, Lagos, Maputo, and Tunis.
The leading African cities in terms of visitor numbers were Cairo, with an anticipated 3.3 million visitors; Johannesburg with an expected 2.5 million visitors; and Casablanca with an estimated 2.1 million visitors.