Saturday, 29 December 2012

Hippos at Lake George

Table Mountain Inaugurated As New Seven Wonder of Nature

The Table Mountain National Park (TMNP) was officially inaugurated as a New 7 Wonder of Nature in Pretoria on 3 December. Dr. David Mabunda, SANParks CEO said this initiative has touched the lives of South Africans and is a symbol of hope, unity and transformation, bringing South Africans together for a common goal.
Table Mountain was named an official New 7 Wonder of Nature in May, 2012 and rightfully won the opportunity to take its place in the history books of the world for the true wonder that it is. "We are elated to be part of this gallery of icons and are looking forward to capitalising on the status," said Dr. Mabunda.
SANParks took over the management of TMNP in 1998. "Since we took over we have improved its biodiversity so much so that it gained the world renowned natural heritage status as part of the Cape Floristic Kingdom World Heritage Site and is now a New 7 Wonder of the World."

Diverse Floral Kingdom
This natural world heritage site is a haven of magnificent mountains plunging into crystal seas fringed with bleached white sands of the Cape Peninsula. The mountain chain stretches from Signal Hill in the north, to Cape Point in the south and is also home to the world's smallest, yet most diverse floral kingdom, the Cape Floristic Region.
TMNP also won the Best Park award at the prestigious South African National Parks (SANParks) Kudu Awards held at Gallagher Estate on 30 November 2012. The awards reward SANParks staff members and parks for their exceptional work performance and efforts on customer service.
The African icon is the sixth site to host its inauguration ceremony following the Puerto Princesa Underground River, the Amazon, Jeju Island, Halong Bay and Iguazu Falls. The seventh site, Komodo Island, will host its inauguration ceremony in 2013.

Thursday, 27 December 2012

South Korean Tourists Look to East Africa

Tourists from South Korea are optimistic about visiting Uganda and the rest of East Africa now that direct flights are possible. Speaking during Uganda's National Day at Expo 2012 held in the South western city of Yeosu Korea, Ambassodor Julius Onen welcomed South Koreans to visit Uganda.
"Uganda has one of the highest tourism potentials in the world, with fantastic natural scenery and is home to half of the world's remaining mountain gorilla population," He added that the country also has the highest mountain range in Africa, the Rwenzori Mountains and one of the most powerful waterfalls in the world, Murchison Falls and home to more bird species per square kilometer than any other country in Africa", Onen stated.
Hope comes after Kenya Airways started a direct flight from Inchon International Airport in Seoul, Korea to Nairobi, Kenya. "This a clear example of how regional tourism circuits should be enhanced as opposed to one country tourism stops. Tour and Travel agents and Safari companies in the region should network and communicate more in fostering regional circuit trips by tourists from Korea and Asia."
This will bring out the true meaning of the East African Community to all parties in the tourism value chain, from the handicraft producer in the village to the 4 star hotels in the city. Annually, 8.5million South Koreans are outbound for destinations outside their country. South Koreans are the second largest coffee drinkers in Asia after Japan and coffee exports will grow with increased tourist arrivals from the East.
He informed the Korean audience that attended Uganda's National Day cultural event that the people of Uganda have a rich historical and cultural heritage which has enabled her interact with the people of different nations across the two hemispheres. Eco-tourism has enabled the fusion of nature and culture in protecting and preserving the countries unique habitats.

Natron Flamingos for Population Boom

It is estimated that more than 2.5 million flamingos live in Eastern Africa. All of them were hatched at Tanzania's Lake Natron.  Tanzania will, this year, experience the most significant breeding of flamingos in more than five years, according to scientists.
Up to one million flamingos migrate to Lake Natron in the Enkaresero Ward of Ngorongoro District in Arusha region where they lay their eggs each year. "If this year's breeding is successful it will be a good boost for the flamingo population. But with so many hurdles to overcome we will have to wait and hope for good conditions," said Dr Sarah Ward from the University of Southampton (United Kingdom), who is currently studying the pink birds.
"Large breeding events involving over one million lesser flamingos are not unusual if conditions at Lake Natron are suitable and if the flamingos are in good health," explained Ms Ward. Dr Ward is a PhD research student studying the relationship between East African lakes and lesser flamingo populations at the university's Institute of Complex Systems Simulation (ICSS) and geography departments.
Lake Natron is, however, not gazetted yet as an official tourism site and recently it became an epicentre of controversy due to the proposed soda-ash extracting factory planned for its Longido shores. It is estimated that more than three-quarters of the world population of lesser flamingos lives in East Africa and uses the Northern-Tanzania's shallow lake as its nesting site.
It is estimated that more than 2.5 million lesser flamingos are currently living in Eastern Africa, from Djibouti down through Tanzania to Malawi. All of them were hatched at Lake Natron. The lake has islands where the birds raise their young away from predators like hyenas but if the water level is too low the birds usually abandon their nests. Lesser flamingos are the smallest, but most common, species of flamingo.
The birds fly in huge migratory groups from other parts of the African continent to Lake Natron. Dry weather caused drought in recent years which meant the birds did not have very successful breeding seasons but with ongoing rains, this year, conditions look better.
On the other hand, the other flamingo habitat Lake Manyara which lies within the National Park of the same name, is back to its usual form following recent rains that have rescued the water body which was reported diminishing two months ago.