Join the 15th edition of one of Kenya’s great cultural festivals. Where? Read on to find out!


(Posted 25th November 2015)

Lamu Tourism, supported by the Kenya Tourism Board and the Ministry of Tourism, now again headed by Najib Balala, is ready to host this weekend’s 15th edition of their Cultural Festival, which combines the archipelago’s past with the present, providing a blend of the historical with contemporary performances.

Highlights of the weekend are the traditional dhow races on the water and the camel races on dry land, besides a vast variety of poetry recitals, performances of the songs of the Swahili culture which is best preserved on the island of Lamu anywhere in Kenya. A Bao game competition is also held, this being one of the ancient board games played not just in Lamu but across the Swahili culture area which once upon a time was predominant along the Eastern African seaboard and the islands as far as Zanzibar.

Visitors can also see how henna paintings are drawn on the skin of those who like to take a living souvenir back home with them and how the henna paste is being made. Food of course also plays a major part in the festival giving visitors the opportunity to sample the spiced dishes the Swahili culture is known for.

Lamu was particularly hard hit when failed Inspector General of Police Kimayo slapped the island with a curfew two years ago, which his successor then promptly lifted, as Lamu itself has always been considered a safe haven in an area which admittedly, due to its closeness to Somalia, had suffered security problems. As a result did tourism to the island all but collapse but has since began to revive, and the festival is once again an opportunity to showcase Lamu as a place which takes visitors back in time.

Lamu Tourism, apart from holding this festival, now offers a range of other smaller festivals, the next one being in January when the Islamic Maulid Festival is held between the 03rd and 07th of January, then followed by the Lamu Art Festival, the Shela Hat Contest, the Lamu Yoga Festival and the Lamu Food Festival in February, March and April respectively.

Lamu Cultural Festival CULTURAL 27-29 November, 2015
Lamu Triathlon ART 5-6 December, 2015
Maulid Festival RELIGIOUS 3-7 January, 2016
Lamu Art Festival (Featuring Shela Hat Contest) ART 13-14 February, 2016
Lamu Yoga Festival ART 2-6 March, 2016
Kite Festival at Kizingoni ART 27-29 March, 2016
Lamu Food Festival ART 15-17 April, 2016



New Tourism Cabinet Secretary Najib Balala, himself from the Kenya coast, who has in the past gone flat out to help promote the festival, is expected to make his first public appearance as the new tourism boss when flying to Lamu for the opening of the event.

Lamu, while connected by road from Malindi, is most easily accessible by scheduled flight from Nairobi where Safarlink and Air Kenya operate daily flights from Wilson Airport with Bombardier Dash 8 aircraft while Jambojet, the Kenya Airways low cost subsidiary, flies from Jomo Kenyatta International Airport to Lamu using a Bombardier Q400NextGen. For more information about Lamu click on or visit the Kenya Tourism Board site and follow the links to Destination Lamu.

Quo Vadis Fly Africa Zimbabwe


(Posted 24th November 2015)

Readers will no doubt remember the latest of Fly Africa Zimbabwe’s full mouthed statements the airline uttered since being grounded on the 28th of October, none of which however has come true until now:

We have begun work on restarting the airline and are working with the regulators to resume flights on Tuesday 24 November. We will update everyone as soon as we have more information

As anticipated was no update given, not the day before yesterday, not yesterday and certainly not today, which was to be D-Day for Fly Africa. Hence has another date passed and gone without the airline returning to the skies. This must be bad news, for the airline, for its CEO Hamilton-Manns and his mouth pieces but mostly for those wannabe travelers who had in good faith bought tickets in Zimbabwe to fly with the airline and were left stranded as flight after flight was falling victim to Fly Africa’s lack of having a valid operating permit.

It now appears that the airline no longer even finds it necessary to put updated statements out, as the media section of their main company web page has for days not seen fresh information apart from introducing new refund mechanisms.

It however simply cannot be established how many of the affected passengers have in fact received their money back so far as the airline has refused to answer such legitimate questions and has begun a game of ostriches sticking their head into the sand, maybe hoping that when they come back up for air the problem will have gone away.

There is open speculation now in Harare if the airline will infact make it back into the skies, even if they manage to meet all the multiple conditions of the Zimbabwe Civil Aviation Authority for a return of their Air Operator Certificate. Faced with massive refund bills have usually well informed sources from Southern Africa in fact suggested that the owners of Fly Africa may have lost the taste for a fight. If that is indeed so, the Zimbabwean operation could face a shutdown with refund deadlines possibly moving from a 30 – 40 day time frame ever further into the future, leaving many of those affected only the option to go to court, where no doubt not just the issue of refunds will be looked into but also, what the airline’s managers knew and when they knew it. It is this link between the what and when which may introduce an entirely new dimension into potential law suits.

For now, the 24th has come and gone and Fly Africa remains grounded. Watch this space for further news updates as and when available.

Kenya’s tourism industry celebrates the return of Najib Balala


(Posted 24th November 2015)

Kenya’s long awaited – many say a year overdue – cabinet reshuffle finally took place this afternoon and one of the most significant changes is the return of Najib Balala from the mining portfolio to the tourism portfolio.

When the government of President Kenyatta was formed there was widespread expectation that Balala would be handed tourism but instead he was put into mining to the bewilderment of the industry. This provided an immediate cause for protests and often harsh critique when former Tourism Cabinet Secretary Phyllis Kandie faced a mounting hurdle race while the sector dramatically contracted with arrivals and revenues dropping nearly month after month and year after year.

Social media reactions since the change was announced speak a clear language and give a unanimous verdict that Balala’s return was wildly celebrated while few if any words were seen about the departure of Phyllis Kandie who was shifted to the Labour ministry.

Balala was the arguably most successful tourism minister Kenya ever had, serving between 2008 to 2012, and under his leadership did the industry reach new record revenue and arrival levels. Balala then was sacked by his party boss, one Raila Odinga, after he challenged him to be more democratic and less dictatorial and his successor in office at the then coalition government presided over the start of the downturn when he stubbornly refused to listen to the sector and institute early marketing countermeasures ahead of the last elections. With declining budgets and a continued refusal by the present government to embark on a global recovery marketing blitz and other recovery measures, while the writing was in capital letters on the wall, did little happen until the start of this financial year, when resource allocation for tourism was massively raised. At that stage had dissent among the tourism industry with the present government grown, tens of thousands of workers had lost their jobs and disillusionment with the government had spread like a cancer, eating deep into their support base.

Kandie was repeatedly blamed for not asserting herself enough in cabinet for the sector, but saddled with added portfolios like East African Affairs and Commerce was there simply not the attention possible for a sector which for long was Kenya’s economic backbone.

Broad consensus among Kenyan private sector stakeholder though is that the industry was, besides the security challenges the country faced, being messed up by ill-considered tax increases, lack of attention and timely response to private sector concerns, rash and harsh anti travel advisories and most of all failure to acknowledge that there was a problem for too long, with ministerial speeches often being described as coming from another planet, far from reality on the ground.

Expectations are high for Balala to turn the sector’s fortunes around again, stand up in cabinet for tourism and ensure that resource allocation does not remain on paper but translates into funds actually remitted to the Kenya Tourism Board and other bodies tasked with the promotion of tourism at home, in the region, the continent and overseas.

With barely two years left before the next elections will it be Balala’s task, to hand in hand with the private sector rebuild the tourism industry and in particular find solutions for the Kenya coast where the downturn was the longest and steepest ever seen over the past fourty odd years.

Former Tourism Secretary Phyllis Kandie is thanked for trying while holding the portfolio but for Najib Balala it is a rousing ‘welcome back’ as he will move into his old offices seeking to put the shine back on the industry.

Reunion exhibits at the Bourges Wedding Fair


(Posted 24th November 2015)

Alongside 45 exhibitors from the wedding industry, the island of Reunion also exhibited at the Bourges Wedding fair where the islands’ tourism marketers shared a booth with the tour operator Thomas Cook. The tour operator promoted the island as the only honeymoon destination. Reunion Island Tourism (IRT) took advantage of this tremendous opportunity to confirm the positioning of Reunion as a premier honeymoon destination in the Indian Ocean.

According to the latest statistics available are weddings and honeymoons on the rise. With 241.000 marriages in 2014, the sector apparently does not know the word crisis. On the occasion of the wedding exhibition more than 500 visitors, including brides and grooms to be, crowded the space of the tour operator Thomas Cook asking to know more about the island and wanting to know the location of .Reunion.

For the IRT, the goal of the participation in the wedding and honeymoon show was to inform and guide the bride and groom market in choosing their honeymoon destination. While at the show did Reunion enjoy the full attention from the public. Future couples and accompanying persons showed a real interest in the island and requests for many quotations of honeymoon packages for travel were made ​​directly to the Thomas Cook agency.

Through the participation of IRT at the Bourges Wedding and Honeymoon Fair is work continuing to create a special image for the destination with the objectives: develop honeymoon stay packages for Reunion and then consolidate and sustain the positioning of the island on this important niche market.

Save the Rhino’s online store shows off holiday collection

Browse for rhino goodies on our online store
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‘Tis the season to be rhino! Shop for rhino gifts on our online store this Christmas and help protect wild rhinos.
Crochet rhino toys
£15.00Handmade by the Little Ndaba women’s group in Zambia
Christmas cards
Share some festive rhino joy, with a choice of six card designs
Rhino keyrings
Fantastic stocking fillers; choose rhino heart or African continent design

Help save rhinos this Christmas

With Christmas just around the corner, now is the time to stock up on rhino presents for your friends and family.

Browse our online store to discover a wide range of clothing, cards, gifts and more! All proceeds from your purchase will directly support Save the Rhino’s conservation work to protect the world’s five rhino species.

We ship all over the world, but to ensure Christmas delivery please see our grace

Shop online
Ranger cap
Adjustable, unisex logo cap, as worn by rangers in the field
Gift membership
From £24We have three membership schemes for kids and adults to join
Rhino pin badge
Show your love for rhinos with our pin badges, available in silver and gold
UK supporters – you can raise free donations for Save the Rhino when you shop online through Give as you Live. Make sure you sign-up before doing your Christmas shopping. Find out more.

News from the Maasai Wilderness Conservation Trust

The Biggest thing happening on #GivingTuesday
Best day ever…the CrowdRise Giving Tower App is now live. That means you can download it, share it with everyone you know, and get ready for #GivingTuesday next week on December 1st.

Please Click Here to learn more about the Giving Tower and download the free app.

We know this week is a little crazy with the holiday so we’ll be in touch early next week. In the meantime, have the best Thanksgiving ever.

Thank you so much,
Maasai Wilderness Conservation Trust

See what’s happening on our social sites

Notice of flight interruptions at Jomo Kenyatta International Airport

Kenya Airways Notice

November 24, 2015 at 5:10pm

Nairobi, November 24, 2015

As a result of Pope Francis’s visit to Kenya on 25th to 27th November 2015, Jomo Kenyatta International Airport will experience minimal disruption during his arrival and departure times on each of those days.

Consequently, Kenya Airways has rescheduled some flights departing or arriving during this time.

We regret any inconvenience to our guests and request them to plan their journeys to the airport well in advance as we may experience traffic jams across the city during his visit.

For further information do not hesitate to contact our 24 hour Contact Centre on +254 20 327 4747, or email customer.relations.

Thank you for flying The Pride of Africa.


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