Keeping marine life safe and beaches clean


(Posted 01st October 2014)

The Watamu Marine Association has appealed for more votes for their ‘Bins for Beaches’ project with which they hope to attract funding to finance a major beach cleanup and the installation of bins along the Watamu beaches.

Watamu is part of Kenya’s first National Marine Park and a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve. It is rich in marine life with five species of endangered sea turtle, three of them nesting on Watamu Beaches. The area hosts resident and migratory populations of whales, dolphins, whale sharks and manta rays. Prevailing ocean currents, local poor waste management and lack of disposal facilities result in considerable amounts of waste washing up on shore or being dumped in the area, presenting threats to marine life, especially sea turtles. 100 waste bins will be provided along 7km of beach. Trained community ‘Blue Teams’ will sort and recycle the waste and all hotels, schools and community groups will receive some form of litter/recycling education and take part in beach cleans, ultimately with all plastic waste from businesses and residents being recycled for onward sale which will sustain operations and provide the Blue Teams with an income

Voting ends on Sunday. We just got the latest results in and we will need much more than 1,000 votes as all the projects competing are doing well.

Says the WMA on their website in regards of the existing threats to marine life and their plans and intentions to mitigate those and remove in particular plastic waste from the beaches:

Vote Now for a Clean Watamu and the WMA Blues Recycling Team “Bins for Beaches- Kenya”

See our Watamu Marine Association Facebook Page for more infomation about us.

The threat – Non-biodegradable waste in the form of marine debris is polluting our Marine Park beaches and threatening vulnerable marine life
Plastic bags and materials are ingested by endangered sea turtles who mistake them for jellyfish which are part of their natural diet. The turtles eventually die due to internal problems and starvation due to the gut being blocked. Plastics are also ingested by cetaceans (dolphins and whales). Whales, dolphins and whale sharks can all be found in Watamu waters. Plastics smother corals and other marine creatures living on the sea bed, inhibiting them from breathing and feeding and resulting in loss of health or death. The impact of solid waste is deteriorating our local environment resulting in threats to human health and welfare and potentially discouraging tourists from visiting the area. The latter is a serious concern as many coastal communities depend on tourism as their primary source of income and employment.

The Solution -In 2009 Watamu Marine Association took action and set up a Community Solid Waste Management Project supported by IUCN Netherlands and African Fund for Endangered Wildlife Kenya Ltd

Recycling machinery was purchased for crushing plastic waste and the Blue Team waste collectors and recyclers were formed, made up from impoverished members of local youth and women’s groups. The 25 Blue Team members carry out weekly beach cleanups and work to keep the village roadsides free of rubbish. They are mostly sponsored by local hotels and businesses which sustains their operations.

Taking Action -In Watamu we are making a difference by fighting back a tide of waste. Taking part in the Ocean Conservancy International Coastal Cleanup Day in September 2014 we collected 3,124kg of marine debris from our beaches which are important sea turtle nesting areas.

Other Supporters
In 2014 with support from Friends from Ireland, the first phase of construction was completed at the new plastic and glass Recycling Centre. The Centre aims to recycle all plastic and glass waste produced by hotels and the general community in Watamu.

The Recycling Centre and the Future
The Centre is generating income from the sale of recyclables. Besides selling crushed plastic to the recycling industries, our local community artists are making art and crafts from flip flops and plastic waste and selling them to tourist outlets. This is a unique initiative at the coast and is intended to raise public awareness to the problems related to waste and pollution and to demonstrate the potential of community solutions to waste management problems.

We plan to develop the Centre as a demo site for small environmental technologies and best practices. This will include glass blowing, composting, permaculture, bio-fuel briquette making as an alternative to charcoal, bio-gas production from manure and tree nurseries. The site will be open to the public and as a tourist attraction and will also invite government and educational institutions to use it as a case study and centre for learning.

Recycling Partners in Kenya
WMA also work with Ocean Sole in Nairobi which takes discarded flip-flops and other marine flotsam and recycles these into products ranging from accessories and jewellery to one-off sculptures.
We will be also working with Kitengela Glass. For more information on this inspiring project of international repute please see Eco Tower Watamu – Nani Croze

Steve Trott
email stevetrott

For votes, click on the link above and for additional support and donations, in cash or kinds, please contact Steve Trott for details. As only 1.000 more votes are needed to cross the critical threshold I do urge my readers to take a moment and help out, a rare request and appeal from me but one which just has to be made. After all a cleaner beach in Watamu will improve the guest experience and that in turn will through word of mouth, and the social media, perhaps attract more visitors to Watamu, which as long as it is kept clean is one of Kenya’s most spectacular beaches. Ball in your court, all needed in return for this free news service is your vote for this much deserved project.

Ol Pejeta READY, SET, GO! Race our Rangers!…from anywhere in the world

And for good measure some more information from the Ol Pejeta Conservancy

Ol Pejeta Conservancy The Star
READY, SET, GO! Race our Rangers!…from anywhere in the world

What if you could enjoy getting into shape AND help save rhinos at the same time? If you’re looking for a new fitness challenge, or just the inspiration to get off the couch – then look no further!

Our wildlife warriors are challenging you, wherever you are in the world, to race against them online for just $5 a month (hey, it’s cheaper than a gym, and all funds go towards Ol Pejeta Conservancy’s conservation efforts).

Here’s how it works: Our rangers record their daily activities with GPS units. Each month, they will set a new challenge, and from their GPS coordinates they will upload their results onto our Endomondo Run with Rangers page. You create a free Endomondo account, then pay $5 via M-Pesa or Paypal to get access to the challenge. You upload your results, and track the progress of your competitors! The winners of each challenge will receive an Ol Pejeta fleece, and the two runners-up get Ol Pejeta caps.


Addis Ababa set to get a Crowne Plaza


(Posted 01st October 2014)

News are emerging from Addis Ababa that the InterContinental Hotel Group, in short IHG, has signed a deal with developers in Ethiopia to build a 210 suites and rooms Crowne Plaza Hotel.

The site is reportedly located near key organizations like the African Union headquarters, the AU Convention Centre and other similar international bodies of equal standing.

The hotel will feature a range of facilities, from a business centre to meeting rooms the size of a ballroom or the size of a boardroom, on to restaurants and bars and of course a health club, Spa and swimming pool for guests to relax after a long day in meetings.

Mr. Pascal Gauvin, Chief Operating Officer for India, Middle East and Africa of the InterContinental Hotel Group in a media release said: ’Addis Ababa is evolving at pace, with infrastructure such as the Bole International Airport now serving almost 20 million passengers a year. We’re always on the lookout for the right partner to grow our brands in the right location. Now we’re bringing Crowne Plaza to a new country with Tsemex Hotels and Business Plc. Crowne Plaza Addis Ababa is a strong addition to the brand and with this being our first hotel in Ethiopia we will now have a presence in 13 countries across Africa’.

The nearest Crowne Plaza is located in Nairobi, operating under a franchise, and the move by IHG to Ethiopia now opens the door for other of the IHG brands to also enter this growing market.

In a related development though has work on the proposed site for an InterContinental Hotel in Kampala come to a standstill with no activity seen for many months, while the so called Hilton Kampala too remains in virtual limbo with no visible progress and certainly no opening date in sight, leave alone the uncertainty if at all it will become a Hilton on opening given years of very adverse publicity for the owners and the project, which has been moving at snails’ pace, if not slower, since 2006.

For breaking and regular hospitality news from Eastern Africa look no further but watch this space.

Demanding an end to slaughter of rhinos and elephants

News updates from the Conservation Action Trust

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Conservation Action Trust
Demanding an end to the slaughter of rhinos and elephants

Africa Geographic | 22 September, 2014 | Sharon van Wyk |

The Global March for Elephants and Rhinos (GMFER) is taking place in more than 120 cities across the world on October 4 this year. It will see the delivery of memoranda of demand and proposed changes to South Africa’s legislation delivered to key government representatives across the globe. Foreign offices of the infamous “Gang of … Full Story →

Malindi Fishing competition winner will represent Kenya at World Championship


(Posted 01st October 2014)

Fishermen, and of course fisherwomen will look forward to the Malindi Fishing Festival Weekend in October, when fishing skills are tested and trophies are up for grab between the 17th and the 19th of next month.

The deep sea fishing competition, now in its 55th year, yes, let me spell that out again, fifty fifth year, is organized by the Malindi Sea Fishing Club, and has the status of an IGFA qualifying event. The winner will secure a place in the upcoming Offshore World Championship in Costa Rica for Kenya.

The Churchill Trophy competition will take place on the 17th of October and contestants will have to use a light line which requires the ultimate skills to land a larger fish without having the line break.

The main event, a tag and release competition to protect the dwindling big game fish population, is then run over two days, fishing the waters off the Malindi coast line where already Ernest Hemingway came to fish repeatedly during his visits to East Africa.

Accommodation will be available across the price ranges in Malindi but real aficionados will try to get room and board at the Driftwood Club, now owned and managed by Roger Silvester, who has been a major supporter of local fishing competitions including this one of course.

Besides the fishing has Malindi of late risen to some global fame when Flavio Briattore of F1 fame, or infamy, added his Billionaire Resort to the Lion in the Sun, an award winning Spa resort, and other resorts and villa complexes too have sprung up including gated estates. It is there that expatriates are increasingly buying condos or villas which come with residency permits to make certain of being able to stay not just for an annual vacation but even move to Kenya upon retirement and enjoy the splendid climate of the Kenya coast.

For added information on the fishing expedition click on

Complete Refurbishment at Elephant Pepper Camp

And to end today’s news broadcast, here is good newsfrom Stefano & Liz Cheli who will tell you all about what has been happening
at their award winning Elephant Pepper Camp.


EPC - Honeymoon Suite / Family Tent
Extensive refurbishments were carried out at Elephant Pepper Camp early this year, and the results are impressive – if we may say so.
The new-look Elephant Pepper Camp is already so popular that for 2015 we have brought forward our summer opening date by 10 days, from 15th June to 5th June, to accommodate demand for bookings.

Brand New Tents

All the bedroom tents have been completely replaced and the new ones are larger, tan in colour and have more spacious bathroom areas.

Last year, we added new tent furniture in the style of Indian Raj campaign, with lots of wood and brass, and altogether, the tents now have a classic, very elegant feel.

EPC - Luxury Safari Tent

We are happy to announce that we have installed running water throughout the camp, including the showers – providing more comfort for your clients!

EPC - bathroom
New second Honeymoon / Family Suite

We have extended the camp with the addition of a second Honeymoon / Family Suite – and the two Suites have a new layout – spacious, two-room units that can easily fit 2 extra beds for children, and with 1 en-suite bathroom.

With a total of 10 tents, the room configuration at Elephant Pepper Camp is now 8 Luxury Safari Tents and 2 Honeymoon / Family Suites.

EPC - Honeymoon Suite / Family Tent
New Library / Private Dining Tent
The main area has been expanded with the addition of a charming library and lounge tent that looks out to the open plains where game frequently ambles by. The library is already popular for private dining!
EPC - New Library / Private Dining Tent
Elephant Pepper Camp is not only in the best wildlife location, it is now the most elegant tented camp in the Masai Mara. It always had, and still has, the best food!

We look forward to having you stay.

Best wishes,

Stefano & Liz Cheli

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Cheli & Peacock Safaris | P.O. Box 743 Uhuru Gardens | Nairobi | 00517 | Kenya

Reunion, special in every way


(Posted 30th September 2014)

Last Friday did fourty two hotels, resorts and service providers receive Reunion’s coveted quality label QTIR, which was developed and enhanced over the years to give qualified businesses in the tourism industry a seal of approval visible for tourist visitors.

Strengthening quality is at the very core of Reunion Tourism’s endeavours to position the island as one of the world’s great exotic destinations, to raise demand and to ensure that visitors leave in the knowledge they have received value for money and are happy with their vacation time.

The quality label, established in 1996, some 18 years ago, was back then created as Reunion Quality Tourism, RQT a tailormade solution to award best practice and services, and by doing so encourage others to emulate the market leaders. This made way last year when the scheme rebranded to QTIR and overall are now 113 hotels, resorts, restaurants and businesses providing essential services for the tourism industry recognized to belong to this elite group. ‘Members’ are subject to renewal audits at regular intervals to be re-certified while new companies, meeting the extensive criteria, are admitted to the scheme at intervals.

Last Friday it was IRT’s President Patrick Serveaux who presided over the award ceremony, held at Lodge Roche Tamarin and handing over the certificates and plaques for display to those who made the cut.

The full list of QTIR members can be accessed via the island’s main portal

Meanwhile will Reunion join the rest of the maritime world when across the island the ‘World Maritime Day’ is being observed. As the whale watching season draws to a close this year has Reunion Tourism emphasized the responsible practices in use for ocean excursions by boat, an activity most visitors to the island favour, to see whales and dolphins, often in close vicinity of each other. In line with the guidelines of the International Maritime Organization’s recommendations are regulations in place to ensure that whales and dolphins, both mammals and not fish, are safe and suffer minimal disturbance when they are being observed.

Among these guidelines are requirements which must be met, such as that

· the launch of swimmers with marine mammals in the presence of more than three boats, is tantamount to deliberate disturbance;

· speed boats must be adapted to the approach and departure when in an area where marine mammals are seen

The regulations, or charter in place, goes as far as certifying companies and guides, as reported here before, which meet all the various criteria vis a vis responsible ocean activities when near whales and dolphins.

Along the principles of this charter did Reunion add the Label Observation Certified Manager of Cetaceans in Reunion (O²CR). The aim of the label is to provide a sustainable framework of this activity, which does not affect cetaceans. The label also aims to help educate the general public about the safeguards taken for the marine environment.

Reunion Island is part of the thirty-four hot spots of global biodiversity.

Created in 2007, the Marine Nature Reserve of Reunion seeks to reconcile human activities, over seventy uses in total, and the preservation of coral reefs, to preserve the remarkable biodiversity as truly natural heritage of which the island can be proud of. The reserve extends over 40 km of coastline, including 20 km of coral reef, from Cap La Houssaye in Saint Paul to the Roche aux Oiseaux at Etang-Salé. This protected ecosystem is home to some of the most biologically rich waters around the island, an eco diversity hotspot of global importance, with more than 3,500 species on record..

Plans are underway to create a whale watching route and an eco-tourism circuit between the Indian Ocean Vanilla Islands, which when coming to fruition are expected to boost whale watching and disseminate good practice of responsible tourism in the Indian Ocean.


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