Swahili Time

Travel Africa Extra Magazine

Dear ATC News Readers,

Welcome to the next issue of Travel Africa Extra, our monthly compendium of information, stories, interviews and advice for readers of Travel Africa magazine, delivered to you by email at the end of each month.
Please feel free to share this mini-mag with family, friends and colleagues who’d enjoy reading more about Africa – the more readers we have, the more we’re all sharing our love of Africa!

Luangwa in pictures

David Rogers has been visiting and photographing this region since 1995

Zambia, month by month

The birds, the wild flowers, the bullfrogs and the rutting

Swahili time

A mutual love of football overrides cultural differences in Pingwe, Zanzibar

The Cheetah (Acinonyx jubatus)

In game reserves, midday is prime action time

You light up my life

If you know what your flashlight takes like, then you need a headlamp

On foot in Kruger

Walking the Olifants River Back Pack Trail offered by SANParks

Meet Sophie Walbeoffe

Painting elephants, ostriches and, of course, camels

Partner Profile

African Bush Camps CEO Beks Ndlovu developed his love for remote areas at a young age, accompanying his mother, a nurse, to rural outposts in Zimbabwe.

Multilingual Ian Batchelor

We talked to the co-founder of Upmarket Safaris about growing up in Zimbabwe, his favourite safari activity and what it’s like to have your wife as your business partner…

Africa is extraordinary. Its people are some of the most peaceable, friendly and welcoming in the world. Its natural beauty and heritage breathtaking and abundant. They say you never visit Africa once; that it touches you in a way that is hard to explain. If you’ve enjoyed these articles, and they’ve been helpful to you, why not subscribe to Travel Africa magazine, and encourage your friends to subscribe as well, and together we’ll explore the world’s most exciting continent!

Sign me up, I’d love to subscribe!

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Lillian Gaitho’s thoughts at the start of the new weeks focus on Travel Apps

Shopping for a travel app? Quick fives to focus on.

From the golden years of face to face communication, and human contact to the advent of wireless internet, and new age robotics; tourism and travel has no doubt grown to be one of the leading sectors in technological advancement. This has truly given way to a new dawn; that of connected and seamless DIY planning, as well as paving way for global accessibility and ease of travel. Leading on the lists of travel enhancing gadgets is the smartphone, the multi-utility invention that can now literally open doors, control temperatures and track luggage. However, no one size fits all-if you are looking to buy or build a travel app that will cut across all aspects of travel, here are the basics to focus on.

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By Katsiaryna Pleshakova

Minimalist and clean interface

Remember an app is supposed to provide a quick-fix solution to a pressing issue, thus should not leave room for distraction and unnecessary clutter. The first page/interface should link directly to well outlined solutions. Well controlled use of white for both aesthetic and functional reasons as well as overall design appeal is just as important. For great user experience (UX) loading speed and the ease of navigation must be accorded priority.

Travel itinerary generator

This will help you create and visualize the plan and outline of your trip ahead of your chosen travel date. For maximum benefits, the element should be well developed to pick locations with minimal input, match dates as instructed and also give proper estimates in terms of distance, time and possible detractors.

Language translator tool

For efficiency and to aid your stay in a foreign land; an in-app language translator tool will go a long way in helping you conquer the anxieties and suspicions that can arise on grounds of language barrier. On top of this, basic knowledge of local languages also helps in boosting confidence as people tend to be more attracted to those speaking their tongue, even in destinations without any hints or history of hostility or harassment.

Currency converters

Another important aspect for travelers crossing borders to a different currency. Whether converting to dollars, dirhams, yen, yuan, or rupees; accuracy is the most vital function. Additional information such as local exchange rates, projected short term performance and nearby exchange bureaus will also come in handy.

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Travel apps have ceased to be a reserve of the tech-savvy, to be a key facilitator to seamless travel and discovery. Whether for hotel booking applications, flight reservations or simple tax pick-up, a scroll down your smartphone should be able to connect you to the desired service. These quick fives should give you a good perspective on what to look for when shopping, as you consider other aspects such as weather forecast, restaurant finders, and taxi-share.

Qatar Airways ends Arabian Travel Market participation on a high

QATAR AIRWAYS USES ATM PRESENCE TO ANNOUNCE 12 NEW ROUTES FOR 2018

(Posted 01st May 2017)

Qatar Airways brought its participation in the Arabian Travel Market (ATM) 2017, the region’s largest travel show, to a successful conclusion by revealing a host of new destinations, showcasing product innovations and displaying the airline’s new Business Class Qsuite for the first time in the Middle East.

A number of exciting announcements were made by Qatar Airways at ATM, including the launch of the new high-speed broadband partnership with Inmarsat (GX Aviation), as well as plans to introduce a fifth daily non-stop service from Doha to Bangkok, a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) signed to boost tourism between both nations, and the launch of the airline’s redesigned website set to go live in May.

Qatar Airways Group Chief Executive Mr. Akbar Al Baker said: ‘The Arabian Travel Market has always been one of our most anticipated events of the year for the opportunities it brings, and 2017 proved to be no exception. We are delighted with the outcome of our participation at the Arabian Travel Market, where we demonstrated our continued commitment to innovation and growth, and showcased our ground-breaking Business Class Qsuite, reinforcing Qatar Airways’ leading position to the global travel, tourism and hospitality industries‘.

Significantly, H.E Mr. Al Baker also revealed a host of new destinations the airline will launch in 2018 including three more destinations in Africa: San Francisco, U.S; Cardiff, United Kingdom; Utapao, Thailand; Chittagong, Bangladesh; Mykonos, Greece; Málaga, Spain; Accra, Ghana; Lisbon, Portugal; Abidjan, Ivory Coast; Prague, Czech Republic; Kiev, Ukraine, and Mombasa, Kenya.

On day one of ATM, Mr. Al Baker hosted a packed press conference followed by an unveiling ceremony that revealed the highly-acclaimed new Business Class Qsuite for the first time in the Middle East before international media, travel trade leaders, industry representatives and VIP guests.

Mr. Al Baker welcomed and gave a tour of the Qsuite to industry leaders and dignitaries including His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Ruler of Dubai and His Highness Sheikh Hamdan Bin Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai.

Thousands of visitors experienced Qatar Airways’ renowned hospitality at its impressive two-storey stand, while exploring the potential to travel the world through the airline’s network of more than 150 destinations.

Qatar Airways was named ‘Airline with the Best Business Class’, and the ‘Airline with the Best Cabin Crew’ on the eve of Arabian Travel Market at the prestigious Business Traveller Middle East Awards 2017. The awards are based on votes submitted by the readers of Business Traveller Middle East, and add to the international recognition and the growing list of accolades the carrier has received.

The airline currently holds the title of World’s Best Business Class as awarded by Skytrax in 2016, and its Doha hub, Hamad International Airport (HIA) was also recently honoured with five stars at the Skytrax World Airport Awards and was ranked Sixth Best Airport in the World.

In Eastern Africa does Qatar Airways serve Entebbe and Kigali daily with an Airbus A320, flies double daily to Nairobi – the first East African destination to see wide body aircraft deployed on the route from October onwards – and also connects Doha with Kilimanjaro, Zanzibar and Dar es Salaam, again using Airbus A320 aircraft.

Kenya Airways adds Victoria Falls stop as Cape Town flights rise to six a week

VICTORIA FALLS JOINS KENYA AIRWAYS DESTINATION LIST

(Posted 01st May 2017)

Tourism to Zimbabwe is set to benefit from the latest addition of flight routes to Victoria Falls as Kenya Airways will today launch a nonstop service from and to Nairobi.
The Embraer E190 service will operate three times a week, offering a two class cabin configuration of Kenya Airways’ award winning business class and economy class.
All three flights will then continue to Cape Town joining three existing flights operating since last year via the Zambian city of Livingstone.
This now covers both sides of the iconic Victoria Falls and combine this leading African destination with an equally iconic Cape Town where the Table Mountain and many other attractions await tourists.

Rwanda and Ethiopia sign multiple deals including tourism cooperation

ETHIOPIAN PRIME MINISTER CONCLUDES VISIT TO RWANDA WITH SIGNING OF 11 AGREEMENTS

(Posted 30th April 2017)

Rwandan President Paul Kagame and Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn signed a series of bilateral agreements at the end of the three day state visit before they both participated in Umuganda, where they helped with the construction of a secondary school library building.Among the bilateral agreements were such covering extradition, legal assistance, communications but also tourism, a sector where Rwanda has excelled in past years and where Ethiopia has been facing challenges to grow the industry to its full potential.
The two countries already cooperation in the field of aviation where RwandAir is using the Ethiopian Airlines Aviation Academy to train pilots, cabin crew and technicians and is using the Ethiopian Airlines maintenance facilities to service some of their aircraft instead of sending them overseas for mandatory maintenance.
A former Ethiopian Airlines CEO Girma Wake is in fact the Chairman of the Board of Directors of RwandAir, a further sign of close cooperation in the aviation industry.

Brussels Airport News Updates of April 2017

Brussels Airport News Updates, in particular
of importance for all travelers on Brussels Airlines
out of their East African destinations Entebbe,
Kigali and Bujumbura … and others too of course …

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Your flight info at your fingertips
No more searching for info about your flight! With the latest version of the Brussels Airport app, everything you need to know about your flight is now at hand!

The app automatically detects where you are within the airport (when your bluetooth is on). This means you get relevant, up-to-date information based on your location, such as the walking distance to your gate.

Discover the benefits here and download our free app today.

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Hi Belgium Pass
Introducing the Hi Belgium Pass from Brussels Airlines: a unique travel formula offering people from around Europe the chance to discover Belgium at a very attractive price.

For just 149 euros, passengers can fly to Brussels Airport from 50 different European cities. Once arrived, the ticket is also good for unlimited free train travel anywhere in the country as well as free entry to 2 participating attractions in Brussels, Bruges, Ghent, Antwerp, Leuven, Liège and Mechelen.

Hi Belgium passes will be available until the end of the year. So what are you waiting for? Come and say “Hi” to Belgium!

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New flight to Fez with Air Arabia
Air Arabia already serves several Moroccan destinations from Brussels Airport. And now, just in time for summer, they are expanding the network with 2 weekly flights to Fez.

The first flight will leave Brussels bound for Fez on the 14th of June 2017.

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No time left to do the shopping?
Delhaize.113548.png Coming home with an empty fridge waiting for you? Don’t worry! The newly revamped Louis Delhaize supermarket in the arrivals hall is set to reopen its doors on the 27th of April.
Goods ranging from fresh products and groceries to sweet and savoury snacks to even toiletries can all be found at Louis Delhaize.

Stock up on all your essentials from 6am to 10pm daily.

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20 km of Brussels
The 37th edition of the 20 km of Brussels is coming up on Sunday 28 May 2017. The number of participants this year is limited to 40,000 and as in previous years, organisers expect to fill all places without difficulty. The route takes in Brussels’ most impressive monuments and is a great way to discover the city if you are up for the challenge! But even if you’re not, the event attracts plenty of supporters and onlookers every year, adding an extra dimension to a weekend city trip! 20kmOdud.172300.jpg
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Kafunta Safari News and what happened in April 2017

Kafunta Safaris News Updates

Though not at ZATEX this year, I had to give South Africa
priority as they ‘sealed the deal’ well in advance, here come
more news from my hosts of last year, Katunta Safaris …
Enjoy!

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Kafunta Safaris
NEWSLETTER April 2017
Dear all!

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Welcome to our 2017 season!

Wow, it’s been an awesome start to it with Kafunta River Lodge reopening with a full camp!

And it’s been a great month, with amazing sightings all along. Those who doubt coming to Luangwa so early in the year, this newsletter is for you! Wildlife and birds abound, the light is absolutely amazing with dramatic sunsets and the temperature has been really comfortable.

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Now of course… there is a risk of rain. In our March newsletter I showed quite a few pictures of the river and its high level, as well as the flood plains in front of the lodge.

Well, we can say the rains have still been regular, with some good downpours, all month long. Although it makes for beautiful scenery, it is now time for them to stop so we can get moving with building the pontoon (which should be in full operations by now) and grading the dirt road to camp, which is bumpier than we would like.

We are confident the rains will trinkle from now on, and for those of you visiting us in the coming weeks, rest assured that fixing those two things is our high priority.

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The Cowans

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Ron, Anke and Luke have been at the lodge since early April, but Luke is just on his way back to Australia as his school holidays are over. Ron and Anke are staying behind to oversee the final preparations for Three Rivers Camp.

We’re on track for opening, even if the rains are making it a bit more challenging than we’d like! And driving down can be an adventurous journey! See the picture here of Ron & Anke in a bit of a pickle, and waiting in the shade while help was on the way (the vehicle got slightly stuck… ).

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April is Ron’s birthday month and as we are loyal to our traditions, the staff came along with Ron’s favorite chocolate cake happily singing and wishing "bwana" another wonderful birthday.

Why this is always done at breakfast I’m not certain! Sure keeps our sugar level high for the rest of the day.

The Cowans also had visiting friends for a week or so, and enjoyed bringing them to one of their favorite spots – at the top of the Chindeni Hills. It’s quite a climb to get there (several hours of steep hill hiking), but the view is worth it.

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Ron, Anke and Luke at the top of the Chindeni Hills
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From left to right: Anna, Fine, Friederike, Luke, Anke, Ron, Sverre and Paul (sitting)
Welcome to Anna & Sverre!

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With our portfolio of camps increasing so is our staff. Firstly, we are very excited to welcome Anna van Doorn and Sverre Beugelink!

Both from the Netherlands, they met each other almost 13 years ago, while working in a restaurant in Holland and have been together ever since. Travel & nature are a common passion and in September 2013 they left home to work as hotel managers in rural China. This was the beginning of a new career. In 2014 they set foot on the African continent, and after working on the top of a rocky outcrop in the Ugandan Savannah followed by a tropical beach in Zanzibar they joined us at the very end of March.

With studies in hospitality management and years of experience in restaurants (from cook to barista to events to restaurant manager), Sverre is ready to meet the challenge of our first season at Three Rivers Camp. Anna’s background is in Commercial Economics and her high administrative skills and passion for customer service makes her the perfect Duty Manager at Kafunta River Lodge.

Anna will also serve as Sverre’s back up and extra help at Three Rivers Camp, and in the future, we hope to see Anna & Sverre both based at the camp.

And to Ludovic!

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We also have long term visitor at the moment, Ludovic Wilmart who is coming to us from Belgium (that makes him my compatriot!). Ludovic is staying at Kafunta as a school intern.

As a small child, Ludovic inherited his mother’s empathy for injured animals and helped her caring for rescued ones often turning their house into a small zoo.

His parents also passed on their passion for travel and when Ludovic turned 21 he left his tiny country to spend most of the year in widespread New Zealand where the idea of working in tourism came to him. Back in Belgium, Ludovic started tourism studies and is now doing his school internship with us for a couple of months.

Not only is he learning a lot about the industry, he is also a keen photographer as you will see throughout the newsletter, and on our social media! Well done Ludovic, and we’ll be sorry to see you go at the end of May.

Now some of you may wonder what has happened then with Eugene Booysen, who was at Kafunta River Lodge for the past two years! Don’t you worry! "Monkeygene" is coming back soon and will be based at Island Bush Camp as full time manager to take over from our friend Klaus, forced in pre-retirement.
Staff on deck!

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Our restaurant team, barmen and waiters, will also be growing as senior staff train new locals to eventually move to Three Rivers Camp.

Our Lodge Manager Lisa Peake is looking after them as a good mother hen would!

Look at how sharp they all look in their new uniform!

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Clockwise from Lisa – Sandie, Francis, Nashan, Andrew, Honest
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Francis presenting afternoon tea
How about some wildlife!

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Earlier on I said this newsletter would interest those of you who are still shy of coming to Luangwa so early in the season.

This section is for you! And the rest of us who are never tired of looking at the abundant, and gorgeous wildlife, we are privileged to have here in our area.

Now I have TOO many pictures to show for one newsletter. So you will just have to stay tuned to see more on the next one. But here’s a sample of what was seen in the past month.

Leopards, lions, wild dogs, buffalos, and tons of birds. Thank you to all for already sharing your pictures with me so they could be included in this newsletter.

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Be our guest! The Shelley Family

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We are back with our popular feature we started last season. Once in a while in our newsletters I introduce you to some of our guests, randomly selected at the lodge by our team of managers.

Amongst our first guests this year, were Paul & Ann Shelley with their teenagers boys Ben & Buster. Coming to us from Australia, this is what they had to say after their 5-night stay at Kafunta.

Was this your first trip to Africa? Yes, this is our first time to Africa. Paul has travelled to Johannesburg for work previously.

Why did you choose South Luangwa as your safari destination, and Kafunta River Lodge? Because Luke and Ben are at school together, and also in the same soccer league so we’ve known Ron & Anke for a long time. We also know a family who came before and had said how great it was. We really wanted to see it for ourselves. We did not know anything about South Luangwa before we came.

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How was your experience at Kafunta? Kafunta was just amazing. A beautiful place just to sit and take in the surrounding views. We were warmly welcomed. The staff were amazing. The accommodation wonderful.

What was your greatest wildlife sighting? This was our first time on safari so all the wildlife was up close and amazing to see. Absolutely loved everything. Lions walking past us. The leopard relaxing on a tree. I loved the hippos and their sounds at night.

Was there anything that made you nervous in the African bush? Our guide, Martin, made everything relaxed and comfortable, even as 5 lions walked casually passed our open 4WD!

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You went to see the local kids play soccer, how was that? Ben was keen to have a game with the locals, and was a bit surprised when he turned up and it was decided to play 2 x 1 hour halves. He had an absolute ball. The locals had all turned up to watch and it was great fun. Great sportsmanship by all.

Do you think you will travel again in Southern Africa after this? If so, where? I think that we will definitely go back to South Luangwa and Kafunta. We would like to visit at a different time of year and have access to the river crossing to see a different area of the park.

And anything else you would like to add? Our family had a wonderful time. Everything was absolutely great. The staff, the accommodation and the food. We were certainly looked after by all.

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Half time! Both Ben and Luke joined to play
New in the neighbourhood – Luambe Camp

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Luambe National Park is a very small piece of land tucked between the North Luangwa and the South Luangwa National Parks, on the Eastern side of the Luangwa River. It offers a Luangwa Valley experience reminiscent of the early days in the Valley – remote and wild!

We applaud the rebirth of Luambe Camp, the only safari camp in the park and its operating company Luambe Conservation Ltd whose main objective is to primarily conserve the habitat and biodiversity of the National Park, which forms a crucial part of the Luangwa Valley’s ecosystem.

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We are delighted to join with Luambe Camp and introduce a very exciting combined itinerary to include both South Luangwa at Kafunta River Lodge and Luambe National Park at Luambe Camp and then fly for a 3 nights stay at Wasa Lodge in Kasanka National Park for the unique bat migration! This is a spectacular phenomenon happening yearly in a very limited period of time (end of October/early November).

Seats are limited due to seasonality of Luambe Camp (closing Oct 31) and the short bat migration. Inquire here for package details.

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Bat migration at Kasanka National Park
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Luambe NP
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Kasanka NP
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Observation Hide
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If bats are not your thing, we can also suggest visiting all three parks of the Luangwa Valley, by combining our camps in South Luangwa, with a few nights at Luambe Camp before continuing to Mwaleshi Camp in North Luangwa. The seasonality of this combo is broader, being available from mid-June until October.

This is not a set package, but a tailor-made itinerary which I would be happy to help with. Inquire here for more information.

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Luambe National Park
Just a few sunsets

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It’s time to end the newsletter, but I couldn’t resist sharing a few more pictures of the amazing April sunsets we’ve had over the past few weeks.

The combination of clouds and spectacular lights makes for jaw-dropping sceneries that Anke and Ludovic both captured beautifully, right from the deck of Kafunta River Lodge.

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In a month’s time Island Bush Camp and Three Rivers Camp will be welcoming their first guests too. Another exciting time ahead. The picture to the left is another sunset, but this time taken from Three Rivers Camp, how stunning is that!?

Bye for now,

Izzy

Kafunta Safaris

Kafunta Safaris, Box 83, Mfuwe, Zambia

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