For those wishing to get away from the hassle and bustle of the Nairobi traffic, Tanzania mainland and Zanzibar are the places to visit.
Friendly people, sandy beaches, good communication and transport systems are just some of the things that make them a must visit. I
made a short visit to the two separated by the Indian Ocean early last month as part of the entourage for the Fifa World Cup Trophy tour sponsored by Coca-Cola.
The one-hour flight aboard Precision Air was one of the first pleasant parts of the trip.
The airline partly owned by Kenya Airways is efficient to the dot and arrives at the Julius Nyerere International Airport right on schedule.
After a smooth check out of the airport, our first stop is the Move and Pick Hotel, a five-star facility in up-market Dar-es-Saalam.
The hotel is an imposing red brick facility and one is soon hit with a welcoming aura as you get in through the revolving doors.
Helpful porters are at hand to usher you and your luggage into your room as soon as you are checked in. The rooms are marvelous with a view of the Indian Ocean not far off. They are fitted with air conditioners to help you cope with the humidity in the Coastal town.
A huge bed decked in fine linen is a tempting welcome after a long journey. The rooms are fitted with LCD television sets and for sports lovers there are all the Super Sport channels for your enjoyment.
For the busy executive who has to be in touch with their office, there is Internet in the room at an affordable cost. The hotel has several restaurants that serve both continental and other types of menus.
Those too tired to go to the restaurant can order room service.
A huge swimming pool is also available for those wishing to keep cool and relaxed.
After a couple of days in Dar-es Salaam, we headed to Zanzibar, a 15-minute flight away. The first thing that hits you as you disembark at the Zanzibar International Airport is the intense humidity.
Even when it has rained, the heat can still be unbearable. Considering the huge number of airplanes on the tarmac, it is easy to conclude that many tourists love to visit this beautiful coast.
Various air charter companies ferry tourists to Zanzibar in all manner of aircraft from the smallest that carry just four people to the largest accommodating more than 50 passengers. Zanzibar has many tourist attractions but one of the most famous sites is Forodhani Park. Situated just 10-minutes drive from the airport, the park recently upgraded by the Aga Khan Cultural Foundation at close to Sh210 million, borders the Indian Ocean. It offers a spectacular view of the blue waters with several vessels anchored. The breeze at the sandy beaches is a welcome relief from the tormenting heat. The whole of Zanzibar seems to congregate at Forodhani and this has been a venue for cultural and other events carried out in this Indian Ocean island.
According to Mr Ali Mirza who works with the Zanzibar Tourism Foundation, they have succeeded in marketing the country as a destination for sun, sand and sea.
He said tourism now contributes 10 per cent to the country’s economy following an aggressive marketing campaign undertaken by the company.
"The largest number of tourists comes from Italy due to the fact that we are near Malindi. We also have a lot of tourists visiting from Germany and England. We are also currently looking to attract tourists from the Far East and Russia," he said.
According to Mirza, the foundation is also working on how to attract other Africans to visit Zanzibar. He said they attend many promotions and tourism fairs _in different world capitals and that this has worked to attract many tourists. He admitted that this year’s _economic crisis also affected their tourism industry but aggressive marketing has reversed the situation.
Houses of wonders
"Tourism is an important part of our economy and employs 10,500 people directly and another 45,000 indirectly. We are looking to attract more than 500,000 tourists next year," he revealed.
Situated next to Forodhani Park are ‘two houses of wonders’. These were official residences of the Kings of Zanzibar. They are thought to be oldest buildings in East Africa, built more than 150 years ago. Serena Group is one of the international hotel chains with hotels in the island. Though tiny compared to its other hotels in the region, the Serena Zanzibar Hotel is a popular destination with foreign tourists frequenting it.
The Fairmont Zanzibar Luxury Hotel is another of the more famous hotels here on the North East Coast of Zanzibar, located along a stretch of white sand beach. On offer here includes a wide range of water sports from scuba diving to snorkeling and fishing.
The Fairmont Group also manages several hotels in Kenya among them the Norfolk Hotel in Nairobi, Mt Kenya Safari Club at the foot of Mt Kenya and the Fairmont Mara Safari Club in the Masai Mara.
Article at: http://www.standardmedia.co.ke/travel/InsidePage.php?id=1144031471&cid=453&story=A%20tour%20of%20the%20famous%20Zanzibar%20Island
Roy Davis evacuated his home on Sept. 11, two days before Ike slammed into the Texas coast.
Davis, 57, said today that among the items scattered from his one-bedroom house were prized animal keepsakes from his years working at zoos.
"I probably had 30 pieces of modern-day elephants," he said. "They shed their teeth. They wear them down."
Two treasured elephant teeth have now been returned to Davis, after media reports about the discovery of what appeared to be an unusual fossil on the beach.
Davis says he lived a couple of doors down from Lamar University educator Dorothy Sisk, whose house in the Caplen community also was destroyed by Ike.
Sisk and a Lamar colleague, paleontologist Jim Westgate, went to the area a few days after the Sept. 13 hurricane to see what was left of her place.
They came upon a 6-pound tooth that Westgate recognized as a tooth from a mammoth common to North America until about 10,000 years ago. Eventually, the teeth made it back to Davis after media accounts surfaced about a fossil possibly washing ashore.
Davis, superintendent of Lake Houston Park, is making his interim home in a travel trailer since Ike.
He has had the mammoth's tooth since the mid-1980s, when it turned up at a construction site in Tyler. At the time, Davis was head elephant trainer at Caldwell Zoo.
The native of Moore, Okla., says the African elephant tooth came from when he was working at the Oklahoma City Zoo. An elephant named Timboo died in the 1970s.
"Since I was the only one that could handle the animal at the time, they gave it to me as a remembrance," he said.
As for the rest of his elephant items?
"They're still somewhere on the beach down there," Davis said. "None have shown up yet. They may. If they don't, they'll turn up 10-15 years from now."
Article at: http://www.chron.com/disp/story.mpl/front/6062328.html
Kunene River in KaokolandWith an areal of approximately 824.000 square km, Namibia is more than tripple the size of Great Britain. The north-to-south length of the country is 1500 km, while the east-to-west width is around 600 kilometres in the south and 1100 kilometres in the north. The population density is very low (1,8 million people), amounting to 2,2 inhabitants per sqkm. The main reason for this being the harsh desert and semi-desert conditions and the resultant scarcity of surface water. With the exception of the border rivers - Orange in the south and Kunene, Okavango and Zambesi in the north - there are only dry rivers in Namibia.They are called "Riviere" and only flow periodically during the rainy season, sometimes just for a few days or even hours.
Namibia can be divided into four major geographical segments. In the west stretches the Namib Desert with hardly any vegetation. It reaches from the north of South Africa up to Angola. The desert belt has a width of about 100 kms in the south and 1100 kms in the north, gets up to 600 metres high and is characterised by mighty expanses of sand dunes in its central part. In the north and the south it has predominantly gravel fields. Towards the inland, the desert belt is followed by the "Escarpment", a mountain wall of up to 2000 metres. Namibia's highest mountain is the Brandberg with a height of 2579 m.
The Escarpment changes into the Central Plateau which slowly descends towards the east. The heights of the central highland vary between 1100m and 1700m. The majority of the Namibian towns and villages lie on this plateau, like the capital of Windhoek at 1654 metres above sea-level. Further to the east lies the Kalahari Basin, also part of the plateau, which reaches heights of 1000m in places. It is characterised by wide sandy plains and long-dunes with scarce vegetation. Another distinct geographical area, is the north-east in the relatively rainy Kavango and Caprivi region. It is flat and covered with dense bushveld.
Simply put, average rainfall increases from the south-west to the north-east. The annual amounts vary between 50 mm in the Namib and 700 mm in the Caprivi. In years of drought, like 1991 to 1993, they can even be much lower than that.
Rain mostly comes from the north-east between December and February, when humid, unstable air masses approach from the tropical part of Africa and reach Botswana and Namibia, causing strong thunderstorms with torrential rains. Most of the rainwater evaporates immediately or is channelled away as sheet flow without being absorbed by the vegetation. However, due to water-impermeable layers of clay and stone, the groundwater is collected and is eventually used by the surrounding settlements and farms.
Part of the annual rainfall is collected in dams, the biggest of them being Hardap Dam near Mariental with a capacity of 300 million cubic metres. The water supply remains, on account of the growing population, a major problem for Namibia. There are, for example, plans to build a pipeline from the Okavango to Windhoek, but Botswana fears changes in the ecology of the Okavango Delta and opposes the project.
|ACCESS RWANDA SAFARIS Ltd||Contact person : Ossy KABBATENDE
P.O Box 6025
Telephone: (+ 250) 08524799
Telephone: (+ 250) 08744129
|African Jacana Tours and Travel||Avenue de la Paix
BP 3455 Kigali
Tel: 0250 571131 / 518017
Fax: 0250 82572
|Albertine Safaris||B.P 2755, Kigali, Rwanda
Tel: (250) 08461256 / 08484813
|International Tours and Travel Ltd||SORAS Building, Boulevard de la Revolution
B P 924 KIGALI
Tel: 0250 574057 /578831/2
Fax: 0250 575582
|Kiboko Tours & Travel||Avenue de la PAIX
Tel: 0250 501741 /520118 /520119
Fax: 0250 501741
|B.P 4152 KIGALI
Boulevard de la Revolution
Tel : + 250 575566 /575988
Fax : + 250 574452
|Primate Safaris||Avenue des Mille Collines
|Rwanda Eco-Tours||Aigle Blanc House, Offic No.13,
Boulevard de l Umuganda
P.O.Box 6292 Kigali
|Satguru Travel & Tours Service||Avenue du Commerce
BP 2111 Kigali
Tel: 0250 572643 / 573079
Fax: 0250 573853
|The Travel Company||P.O. BOX
3090 Kigali, Rwanda
Tel: 0250 505151
Fax: 0250 505251
|Thousand Hills Expeditions||BP 3090 Kigali- Rwanda
Tel: 0250 505151
Fax: 0250 505252
P.O BOX 1321, Kigali
|Wild Frontiers||P.O Box 844
Halfway House 1685
Tel: +27 11 7022935
Fax: +27 11 4681655
|World Wide Movers||BP
|Changa Travel Agency||BP 3246 Kigali
Tel: 0250 577564 / 577103
Fax: 0250 577669
|Concord Rwanda Sarl International Travel Bureau||BP 4152 Kigali
Boulevard de la Revolution
Tel: +250 575566 / 575988
Fax: + 250 574452
|International Tours Agency||BP 502 Kigali
Bd de la Revolution
Tel: 0250 572113
Fax: 0250 572113
|Rwanda Travel Bureau||BP 1395 Kigali
Tel: 0250 577777 / 578560
Fax: 0250 578565
|Travel Agency Services||BP 3859 Kigali
Tel: 0250 574990
Fax: 0250 571138
|Top Travel Tours||10 Bd de la Revolution
BP 10 Kigali
Tel.: 0250 578646 / 572552 /085 03606
Fax: 0250 573853
Rwanda is a landlocked republic in Equatorial Africa, situated on the eastern rim of the Albertine Rift, a western arm of the Great Rift Valley, on the watershed between Africa's two largest river systems: the Nile and the Congo. Much of the country's 26,338 km2 is impressively mountainous, the highest peak being Karisimbi (4,507m) in the volcanic Virunga chain protected by the Parc des Volcans. The largest body of water is Lake Kivu, but numerous other lakes are dotted around the country, notably Burera, Ruhondo, Muhazi and Mugesera, some of which have erratic shapes following the contours of the steep mountains that enclose them.
Primarily a subsistence agriculture economy, Rwanda nonetheless produces for export some of the finest tea and coffee in the world. Other industries include sugar, fishing and cut flowers for export.
ORTPN - RWANDA TOURIST BOARD - Contact Details
Office Rwandaise du Tourisme et des Parcs Nationaux (ORTPN)
The Rwanda Tourism Board
Boulevard de la Révolution n° 1
PO Box 905
Tel (250) 576514 or 573396
Fax (250) 576515
All International flights arriving in Kigali are with SN Brussels, Kenya Airways Ethiopian Airlines, Air Burundi and Rwandair Express.
All international flights arrive at Kigali International Airport,10 Km from central Kigali. There are two flights a day from Nairobi, two per week direct from Brussels and two per week from Johannesburg.
For information on connections from Nairobi Entebbe and Johannesburg,
please contact RWANDA AIR EXPRESS
PASSPORT AND VISAS:
A valid passport is mandatory. Visas, required by all visitors except nationals of the USA, UK, Germany, Canada, Uganda, Tanzania, Kenya, Burundi, Democratic Republic of Congo, Sweden, Mauritius, South Africa and Hong Kong, cost USD 60 and can be bought upon arrival.
The unit of currency is the Rwanda franc. The US dollar is the hard currency of preference. It may be impossible to exchange travellers' cheques away from the capital. Credit cards are usually only accepted at the major hotels in Kigali.
In addition to the indigenous language of Kinyarwanda, French and English are official languages. French is widely spoken throughout the country. In the capital and other tourist centres, many people speak English.
Good Friday and Easter Monday, which fall on variable dates, are recognised in Rwanda. Other public holidays are :
1 January (New Year's Day);
1 February (National Heroes Day);
7 April (Genocide Memorial Day);
1 May (Labour Day);
1 July (Independence Day);
4 July (National Liberation Day);
15 August (Assumption Day);
1 October (Patriotism Day);
25 December (Christmas Day), and
26 December(Boxing Day).
WHEN TO VISIT:
Rwanda can be visited throughout the year. Gorilla tracking and other forest walks are less demanding during the drier months. The European winter is the best time for birds, as Palaearctic migrants supplement resident species.
WHAT TO WEAR:
Dress codes are informal. Daytime temperatures are generally warm, so bring lots of light clothing, supplemented by light sweaters for the cool evenings and heavier clothing for the Parc des Volcans and Nyungwe. When tracking gorillas, wear sturdier clothing to protect against stinging nettles, and solid walking shoes. A hat and sunglasses provide protection against the sun, and a waterproof jacket may come in handy in the moist mountains.
WHAT TO BRING:
Binoculars will greatly enhance game drives and forest walks, as will a good field guide to East African birds. Bring a camera and an adequate stock of film. Print film is available but transparency film is not. Toiletries and other essentials can be bought in the cities.
Rwanda has an excellent cell phone network covering almost the entire country.
International phone calls can be made easily. Appropriate SIM cards for the network are readily available everywhere, even in remote towns, and cell phones can be purchased or rented from major shops in Kigali. Most towns of any size will have several Internet cafes and computer centres.
Rwanda has possibly the best roads in East Africa. Most visitors who have booked through a tour company will be provided with good private vehicles, usually 4-wheel drive. All of the major centres are connected with local and luxury bus services. Air charter services are available anywhere in the country and well advertised.
HIKING AND BIKING:
The fine road network, with little traffic, offers wonderful opportunities for long bicycle trips across the verdant hills and valleys. Mountain biking and hiking can be enjoyed on the thousands of kilometres of fine rural trails linking remote villages, criss-crossing the entire country.
Gorilla Permits can be arranged by a travel operator, or can be purchased directly through the Office Rwandaise du Tourisme et des Parcs Nationaux (ORTPN) / The Rwanda Tourism Board, at the headquarters in Kigali, or at their office in Ruhengeri.
A certificate of yellow-fever vaccination is required. Much of Rwanda lies at too high an elevation for malaria to be a major concern, but the disease is present and prophylactic drugs are strongly recommended. It is advisable not to drink tap water. Bottled mineral water can be bought in all towns. Hospitals are located in all major towns.
SEASONS AND CLIMATE:
A combination of tropical location and high altitude ensures that most of Rwanda has a temperate year-round climate. Temperatures rarely stray above 30 degrees Celsius by day or below 15 degrees Celsius at night throughout the year. The exceptions are the chilly upper slopes of the Virunga Mountains, and the hot low-lying Tanzania border area protected in Akagera National Park. Throughout the country, seasonal variations in temperature are relatively insignificant. Most parts of the country receive in excess of 1,000mm of precipitation annually, with the driest months being July to September and the wettest February to May.
The charity is led by world-renowned chef, David Nicholls, whose family encounter with spinal injury has driven this opportunity for funding research to enable patients with spinal injury to walk again.
David is the Executive Chef and Director of Food and Beverage at the Mandarin Oriental Hyde Park. He is a world-renowned chef and has enjoyed a successful and varied career, being the youngest ever recipient of a Michelin star at the age of twenty-two.
In 2003, David's 19 year old son was enjoying a gap year in Australia when a freak swimming accident led to him being paralysed from the arms down. With little movement in his hands, he is termed tetraplegic and has received significant care at Stoke Mandeville hospital.
The Foundation is dedicated to raising funds to further 3 primary objectives. Its unambiguous remit is to fund a chosen few substantial medical projects which promise significant advance in these areas.
Regrettably, the Foundation cannot support grant applications for individuals.
The Foundation is run by a small group of committed, hands-on trustees who devote their personal time to managing and administering the Foundation's activities.
It buys in a limited level of professional administrative and fundraising support and has no office base, operating instead from Trustees' and staff's personal office bases to help minimise administrative costs.
The Nicholls Spinal Injury Foundation
Arch Villa, 23 High Street, Bozeat, Northants. NN29 7NF.
Telephone: 01933 664437
(The Nicholls Spinal Injury Foundation is a registered charity, number 1107671)
AWF Responds to Concerns About Water Harvesting Project
Concerns have recently been raised about a water harvesting project in Ol Tukai village in northern Tanzania after reports that three zebra died after falling into water trenches. AWF would like to provide the following information regarding this project.
Ol Tukai village is one of the two villages neighboring Manyara Ranch and specifically mentioned as beneficiaries in the title for the Tanzania Land Conservation Trust (TLCT).
A serious problem facing these pastoral villages is the availability of both ground and surface water after many years of drought. When rains do come, the ground is largely bare and so compacted that most of water runs off quickly and is lost.
One of the roles of the TLCT is to pilot the use of technologies and methods that may assist in the sustainable management of rangelands in East Africa, such as those around Manyara Ranch. The project in Ol Tukai was designed with technical assistance from the Westerveld Conservation Trust (WCT) in the Netherlands which specializes in innovative water harvesting techniques. A series of water trenches of varying sizes in a specific formation is used to capture and slow the run off from seasonal rains, allowing them to percolate slowly into surrounding land, restoring the water table, and re-hydrating the soils, and eventually improving surrounding vegetation. The project to pilot this approach in Ol Tukai was approved by village officials and was also endorsed by the Board of Trustees of the TLCT, chaired by Tanzania’s Prime Minister.
The recent death of three zebra in one of the larger water harvesting trenches is truly regrettable. At the same time, however, AWF and the TLCT are confident that the net benefit to zebras and other wildlife from the complete package of conservation projects being implemented in the area far outweighs this unfortunate accident. Hundreds of migratory mammals in northern Tanzania lose their lives crossing water ways each year in the natural course of events.
Following these zebra deaths, TLCT staff have consulted with Ol Tukai village members who were emphatic that they want to proceed with the water harvesting project and do not want the trenches filled in. As a mitigation effort to try to avoid further deaths, the villagers and the TLCT have agreed to construct a thorn barrier around the deepest water trenches. This barrier will be made using a thorny plant that has been invading the ranch, thus addressing an additional conservation issue.
For further information on this project or other AWF activities in the Maasai Steppe, please contact Dr. James Kahurananga at JKahurananga@awf-tz.org.