Battlefield East Africa – another centenary event drawing close

COME CELEBRATE A HUNDRED YEARS OF FLIGHT IN KENYA

(Posted 05th August 2015)

Almost coinciding with this year’s Magical Kenya Travel Expo is the one hundredth anniversary of flight in Kenya, which will be celebrated on the 12th of October in the Taita Hills town of Maktau and the nearby Taita Hills Lodge.

Built to look like a German Fort is the lodge at the very centre of the commemorations of the First World War battles which were fought in this part of Kenya, as repeatedly reported here in the series ‘Battlefields East Africa’ and related articles.

In fact has Willie Mwadilo, General Manager of both Sarova Taita Hills and Sarova Salt Lick Lodges played a key role, alongside with the author of ‘Guerillas of Tsavo’ Mr. James Willson Esq. – himself a former General Manager of these two lodges when they were still owned and managed by Hilton Hotels. Willie, when James scouted the area for clues and sites of the skirmishes and battles fought here, was becoming an integral part of the team and has since then helped to train several guides conversant with locations and history to share with visitors keen on seeing the East African theatre where WWI was raging.

Willie in fact shared the following information and thanks go to him once more for making such valuable information available to the readers:

For those coming to Kenya for MKTE2015, which is taking place in Diani south of Mombasa, a mere 200 kilometres from the Taita area, this is a once in a lifetime opportunity to visit this part of the country and take in some history lessons of a distant past known today to but a few aficionados intent to keep the memory of events a hundred years ago alive.

Details about the Sarova Taita Hills Lodge can be accessed via http://www.sarovahotels.com/taitahills/index.aspx# and more historical information is available via https://www.facebook.com/GuerrillasOfTsavo?fref=ts

Lake Victoria storm claims more lives

BAD WEATHER ON LAKE VICTORIA LEADS TO ANOTHER TRAGEDY

(Posted 05th August 2015)

The storms sweeping across Lake Victoria right now have claimed yet more lives as reports are coming in of at least one, possibly two lake boats capsizing in the early hours of the night near Remba island close to the border line between Uganda and Kenya. It could not be reliably established if the accident happened in either Kenyan or Ugandan waters.

A rescue mission was therefore launched from both countries at daylight to prevent any possible survivors from drowning and to recover the bodies of those who died in the accident.

Large lake boats are for many island dwellers the only means of reaching the mainland and not all boats are equipped with life vests or flotation devices. At the same time are many boats regularly overloaded due to lack of monitoring capacity and at times due to bribery.

Some islands like Remba have been converted into massive fishing villages where fishermen literally work in shifts both day and night and their catch and supplies in return are regularly transported at night to mainland landing sites to reach the markets in the morning.

Initial reports speak of as many as 30 people dead but this figure could not be independently confirmed due to lack of feedback from the accident site. As and when available will updates be posted here.

Tourism Uganda set to launch national tourism excellence awards

UGANDA SET TO LAUNCH ‘EXCELLENCE IN TOURISM AWARDS

(Posted 05th August 2015)

At the closing night of the upcoming international tourism fair in Kampala, which is set to take place from the 17th to 21st of  November at the Kampala Serena Hotel & Conference Centre, ahead of the Pontiff’s visit to Uganda, is the Uganda Tourism Board now putting together a major new event with a working name of ‘Tourism Excellence Awards’.

The Pope’s visit, the third such in Uganda’s post-independence history, will also be used to make tourism attractions more visible in key source markets, portraying the Pearl of Africa as a safe and highly desirous destination for both adventure and mainstream visitors.

Awards, no criteria are available at present, are said to be lined up for Uganda’s leading hotels, resorts, tour and safari operators, tourism attractions, tourism media and tourism personalities and it is understood that the inaugural such event is aiming to have President Yoweri Museveni as Guest of Honour for the night.

Uganda, alongside other East African countries, has suffered last year and early this year from the Ebola hysteria peddled by sections of the global media which, being a ‘Hotbed of Errors’ portrayed Africa as a country and erroneously showed maps where the outbreak countries were literally next door to East Africa, in the process causing significant damage to the tourism sectors here.

Uganda is today recognized as a major adventure destination in Africa and besides primate tracking, for which the country is best known, also offers conventional safaris, mountain climbing, whitewater rafting and horseback safaris among many other vacation options. Watch this space for additional information, as and when available and meanwhile check out www.visituganda.com

Three Chinese behind Zurich ivory seizure

SWISS AIRPORT SECURITY NAB A QUARTER TON OF TANZANIAN BLOOD IVORY

(Posted 05th August 2015)

Reports are now emerging that Swiss customs and security personnel in Zurich had a month ago confiscated just over 250 kilograms of blood ivory coming from Dar es Salaam and labeled for a final destination in China. The street value of the contraband was given as being worth over 400.000 US Dollars. It was not immediately clear from the reports if the owners of the eight suitcases, said to be three Chinese citizens, were taken in to custody in Zurich.

This latest episode of blood ivory being smuggled out of Tanzania suggests that words and bribes in that country remain cheap. It exposes once again a glaring gap in airport security in Tanzania if several suitcases can be checked in and loaded on to an aircraft without detection, unless of course the suspected bribery was at work with airport and security staff conniving with the smugglers.

Tanzania has, the country is now in election mode, in the more recent past made a number of declarations and gave assurances over the halt of poaching and yet does the flow of blood ivory just not seem to stop, as this latest revelation confirms. The outgoing regime of President Kikwete has presided over the worst elephant slaughter in history and for many years done absolutely nothing to bring the killer gangs to justice, to the contrary, as Kikwete binned a list of 300 individuals named by former tourism minister Amb. Khamis Kagesheki and instead sent him packing from cabinet. Kagesheki just secured with a very large majority the nomination as candidate of the ruling party CCM in his home constituency, a sign that his voters at home were not duped into believing he was not fit for the job and it is hoped that he will sooner or later be able to publish the names on the list and have them investigated and, where evidence supports it charged in courts of law. This would be a step in the right direction rather than the hot air presently circulating from government officials about ivory seizures and arrests, all by and large of poaching underlings whereas the kingpins remain free to enjoy their loot.

JKIA is ready to receive China Southern’s maiden flight

CHINA SOUTHERN’S MAIDEN FLIGHT LANDS IN NAIROBI

(Posted 05th August 2015)

China Southern will arrive in Nairobi in a few hours on their maiden flight from Guangzhou, adding initially three weekly flights under a codeshare agreement with Kenya Airways. They join Skyteam partner Kenya Airways on the route which currently flies daily from Nairobi to Guangzhou with four of the seven services routing via Bangkok.

China Southern will fly nonstop into Nairobi every Monday, Wednesday and Friday operating an Airbus A330-200 aircraft. Their passengers destined for other African countries will use Kenya Airways’ onward flights to a range of African destinations beyond Nairobi. In turn do Kenya Airways passengers already have the option to fly to other Chinese and Far Eastern destinations on flights operated by China Southern but on the same ticket issued by KQ.

All passenger handling will take place at Kenya Airways’ new home Terminal 1A while premium passengers will use the Pride and Simba lounges of Kenya Airways.

Kenya’ business and tourism sectors have welcomed the additional three flights from China which has in recent years become a growing tourism source market as well as a major trading partner for Kenya and other East African countries.

The management of China Southern will celebrate the inaugural flight with a number of activities both at the airport and in the city of Nairobi where they intend to meet with tourism and business leaders.

Both Kenya Airways and China Southern have gone to some lengths to dispel unfounded media reports in sections of the Kenyan press that the flights will bring about a fierce business clash but emphasized that the additional three services are all operated under an expanded codeshare arrangement which will benefit both Skyteam partner airlines.

UAE arrivals to Kenya rise during first half of 2015

KENYA DOUBLES TOURIST ARRIVALS FROM THE UAE

(Posted 05th August 2015)

Arrivals to Kenya over the first six months of 2015 have almost doubled compared to 2014, according to data received from a regular source based in Nairobi. During the first six months of this year did some 24.462 visitors from the UAE come to Kenya, up from 13.782 a year ago.

The source attributed that to growing demand in the UAE market for both safaris and beach vacations as well as growing trade ties between the two countries.

When Kenya missed attending the Arabian Travel Market last year with an official stand did Houston Marketing swiftly step in and offered Kenyan tourism companies space, paving the way for an official return of Kenya this year and clearly resulting in growing visitor numbers.

Kenya is connected to the UAE with multiple daily flights from three UAE airports. Kenya Airways serves Dubai daily while Emirates flies twice a day to Nairobi. Etihad offers seven flights a week from Abu Dhabi under a codeshare arrangement with Kenya Airways and Air Arabia too has a daily service from Sharjah to Nairobi. None of the Gulf airlines however serves Mombasa, a matter of hot argument at present within the Kenyan tourism fraternity which demands from their government the opening up of landing rights to boost visitor numbers to the coast.

The UAE’s overall standing in arrivals to Kenya for the first six months of 2015 in percentage terms has risen even further, from 3.2 percent over the same period last year to 7 percent this year.

‘flydubai’ East Africa flights remain at DXB – for now

FLYDUBAI’S SHIFT OF 70 FLIGHTS TO DWC WILL NOT AFFECT EAST AFRICA

(Posted 05th August 2015)

When ‘flydubai’ at the end of October shifts up to 70 flights a week to over a dozen destinations to Dubai World Central will travelers to and from the airline’s East Africa destinations not be affected, for now.

The Dubai based low cost airline currently serves Entebbe, Bujumbura, Kigali, Kilimanjaro, Dar es Salaam and Zanzibar and all these flights will continue to operate in and out of Dubai International Airport, in short DXB.

However, regular Gulf based sources have suggested that the move of flights from DXB to DWC may be the start of a gradual shift to the Jebel Ali based airport, as capacity for expansion at Dubai’s main airport gets ever more constricted while ‘flydubai’ in turn continues to expand their fleet by at least eight aircraft every year.

Destinations to be additionally served from DWC will be mainly regional and near distance international departures to such airports like Muscat, Kuwait, Doha, Amman, Beirut but also Kathmandu and Chittagong while flights to all these destinations also continue from DXB.

Emirates, the award winning national airline of Dubai, has already given some indication that by 2025 they will shift the bulk if not all of their flights from DXB to DWC and ‘flydubai’ is expected to have completed their move to what will become the world’s largest airport, by then. Presently is the passenger capacity at DWC only estimated to be sufficient for 7 million passengers a year, rising to over 25 million in 2018. When all development stages are complete will DWC be able to handle 150 million passengers a year at which time it will become Dubai’s primary international passenger and cargo airport.

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