Air Seychelles / Etihad set for double daily flights to Abu Dhabi

AIR SEYCHELLES / ETIHAD TO GO DOUBLE DAILY ON ABU DHABI – MAHE ROUTE

(Posted 30th March 2015)

Information was received that, without yet confirming a date, Air Seychelles and partner airline Etihad will move from the present 13 weekly flights between Abu Dhabi and Mahe to a full double daily service. According to the details obtained each of the two partner airlines will operate 7 flights a week, Air Seychelles with their wide body Airbus A330 and Etihad with their Airbus A320, both offering a two class cabin layout.

This development comes hot on the heels of the announcement by the airline that they will re-launch a three times a week nonstop service from Mahe to Paris, which will substitute the previous twice weekly flights from Mahe via Abu Dhabi.

French and Seychelles’ tourism sources have expressed their delight over this development as it will no doubt boost visitor numbers from France to the archipelago and help to have the French market once again become the leading producer of tourist visitors to the islands.

Another source from Victoria commented on the double daily frequencies as follows: ‘When this happens it is good news because Air Seychelles has many code shared flights with airlines in Europe. Passengers will be able to connect to us with two options every day and even a flight delay will not strand them completely’.

In a related development was it learned that the twice weekly flights from Mahe to Dar es Salaam have made a real impact in Tanzania as many travelers take advantage of the extraordinary bargain fares the airline offers for flights, via the Seychelles, to Abu Dhabi / Dubai and to Mumbai, which sell, all taxes included for US Dollars 280 and US Dollars 408.50 respectively. Feedback from travel circles in Dar in fact have indicated that other airlines are warily watching Air Seychelles as in particular their transit passenger numbers via Mahe continue to grow, largely at their expense of course as such fares are simply too good to pass.

For schedule information and other details click on www.airseychelles.com

No 370 Wildlife Trade News 30th March 2015

The good news from Malawi, where the ivory stock
will be burned this week, are overshadowed by
another daily dose of bad news about ongoing
poaching, wildlife and environmental crimes

Under the spotlight today ……………………

Malawi to burn its £5m ivory stockpile this week – and demonstrate its commitment to wildlife conservation http://www.independent.co.uk/environment/nature/malawi-to-burn-its-5m-ivory-stockpile-this-week–and-demonstrate-its-commitment-to-wildlife-conservation-10141379.html

….. while Malaysia’s government continues to hide its ivory, demonstrating a very obvious and suspicious lack of transparency. Nothing has changed then over the years. CITES will not punish Malaysia, will it? And, all the reports are kept secret from inquisitive NGO’s.

Malawi’s courageous stance on ivory is a call to wealthier nations to sharpen up their game http://www.independent.co.uk/voices/malawis-courageous-stance-on-ivory-is-a-call-to-wealthier-nations-to-sharpen-up-their-game-10141385.html

No 370 Wildlife Trade News 30th March 2015

Malaysian rangers need ‘guns and decent salary’ EXTRACT: "It’s a professional job that has to be taken seriously. In Malaysia, only three of seven turtle species remain. There are only 20 rhinos remaining. "The biggest problem in wildlife conservation is that usually there aren’t enough rangers, and the authorities aren’t spending enough to do enforcement on the ground," she told The Star.

Poaching is widespread in Malaysia, with pygmy elephants, sun bears and green turtles among some of the species under threat. Recently, 19 turtles were found dead in Sabah, while in March 2014, 60 were found in the same area on Pulau Tiga. "It all translates to boots on the ground. Parks must have adequate rangers who have guns. If there aren’t enough or they aren’t well paid, how can you save the wildlife?" she said. – See more at: http://news.asiaone.com/news/malaysia/malaysian-rangers-need-guns-and-decent-salary#sthash.G9fXa6FQ.dpuf

Book Review: Money Logging on the Trail of the Asian Timber Mafia. SARAWAK/MALAYSIA

http://asiancorrespondent.com/131707/book-review-money-logging-on-the-trail-of-the-asian-timber-mafia/

Sarawak Report website hacked, story deleted http://www.freemalaysiatoday.com/category/nation/2015/03/30/sarawak-report-website-hacked-story-deleted/

Zim elephants essentially political refugees https://www.newsday.co.zw/2015/03/30/zim-elephants-essentially-political-refugees/

CITES STANDING COMMITTEE?

Thai Customs promotes anti-ivory smuggling campaign. extract; The Director-General added that Thailand is to submit a comprehensive report on the control of trade in elephant ivory as well as the conservation of elephants to CITES by March 31st. http://customstoday.com.pk/thai-customs-promotes-anti-ivory-smuggling-campaign/

Return of the seal clubbers: Blood stains on the ice as half a million seals face death in cull. (NA comment – and not a criticism. More a reality check. IFAW was formed in 1969 as a direct consequence of revealing this slaughter to the world. In other words, IFAW would not exist today if it was not for seal-clubbing. 46 years on and tens, if not hundreds of millions of donor dollars and countless dead seals later, nothing has changed – right down to the exact same newspaper reporting now as it did in 1969.)

http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/world-news/return-seal-clubbers-blood-stains-5413076#ICID=sharebar_twitter

Axe falls again on illegal logging. SARAWAK http://www.theborneopost.com/2015/03/29/axe-falls-again-on-illegal-logging/

Two suspected rhino poachers killed at Lake Nakuru National Park
Read more at: http://www.standardmedia.co.ke/thecounties/article/2000156424/two-suspected-rhino-poachers-killed-at-lake-nakuru-national-park

Paddington’s saviours: Mail on Sunday readers donate astonishing £30,000 to fly tortured bear rescued from Peru circus to new home in U.S. sanctuary http://www.dailymail.co.uk/home/index.html

Working elephants removed from Delhi streets http://thenewdaily.com.au/news/2015/03/29/working-elephants-removed-delhi-streets/

Kenya: Call to Charge KWS Wardens With Killing http://allafrica.com/stories/201503290062.html

Malaysia, US to host ARF workshop on combating wildlife traffickinghttp://www.nst.com.my/node/78652MORE HOT AIR AND BACK SLAPPING? SABAH IS THE PLACE FOR IT. What it lacks is law enforcement by the wildlife authorities – as highlighted last week by no less than Sabah’s very own Chief Justice Minister.

WTH?! Popular Thai Night Club Brings in Baby Elephant to ‘Party’ With Guests

http://www.onegreenplanet.org/news/popular-thai-night-club-brings-in-baby-elephant-to-party-with-guests/

IS THERE NO END TO THE CRUELTY IN THAILAND?

Baby elephant exploited for drunk tourist rager. THAILAND

http://news.thaivisa.com/thailand/baby-elephant-exploited-for-drunk-tourist-rager/43641/

Ethical tourism: why tourists should pay to not ride elephants in Thailand http://www.abc.net.au/local/photos/2015/03/30/4207317.htm

Five arrested for killing peacock in Indore’s Betma area http://www.hindustantimes.com/indore/five-arrested-for-killing-peacock-in-indore-s-betma-area/article1-1331795.aspx

Man sentenced for bid to sell leopard skin. INDIA http://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Delhi/man-sentenced-for-bid-to-sell-leopard-skin/article7042098.ece

Canned Lion Hunting – South Africa’s Dirty Little Secret (UNCENSORED) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-eDDm_XKL2Y

Bustard or bust: K-P government reaffirms stance against poaching. PAKISTAN

http://tribune.com.pk/story/860492/bustard-or-bust-k-p-government-reaffirms-stance-against-poaching/

APRIL suspends contractor after environmentalists expose ongoing deforestation http://news.mongabay.com/2015/0328-april-suspends-contractor-over-deforestation.html#ixzz3VnCqWaEM

Indonesian government must protect pig-nosed turtles from extinction

http://www.antaranews.com/en/news/98302/indonesian-government-must-protect-pig-nosed-turtles-from-extinction

Wild elephant dies. INDIA

http://www.assamtimes.org/node/13318

Environmental group calls for halt to wood auctions. TAIWAN http://www.taipeitimes.com/News/taiwan/archives/2015/03/30/2003614745

Illegally-cut logs, monk’s ID found in Surat Thani watershed . THAILAND
http://www.bangkokpost.com/news/general/511330/illegally-cut-logs-monk-id-found-in-surat-thani-watershed

Male tiger cub poached in Bandhavgarh http://indianexpress.com/article/india/india-others/male-tiger-cub-poached-in-bandhavgarh/

Government Urged to Cancel Move to Parade Jumbos. INDIA http://www.newindianexpress.com/cities/thiruvananthapuram/Government-Urged-to-Cancel-Move-to-Parade-Jumbos/2015/03/30/article2736819.ece

Six Vietnamese Charged Over Logging; Military Collusion Alleged. CAMBODIA https://www.cambodiadaily.com/news/six-vietnamese-charged-over-logging-military-collusion-alleged-80981/

Poaching Vessel Master Arrested in Malaysia http://www.maritime-executive.com/article/poaching-vessel-master-arrested-in-malaysia

Mobile app reveals what products contain palm oil http://news.mongabay.com/2015/0330-palm-oil-app.html

Deforestation a growing concern. KASHMIR

Cost of museum visits in Rwanda set to rise

INSTITUTE OF NATIONAL MUSEUMS RAISING ENTRANCE FEES TO RAISE MORE FUNDS

(Posted 30th March 2015)

A regular source in Kigali has confirmed that entrance fees and charges for other services at the various museums across Rwanda, the Royal sites included, will be raised from 01st of April. East African residents will from that date onwards be required to pay RF 3.000 as opposed to the previous charge of RF 1.000 and fees for non-resident visitors have risen correspondingly.

Visits to the various museums and Royal sites, i.e. the palace at Nyanza or the coronation preparation sites near Musanze, entrance to the Musanze caves and other similar attractions are now an almost integral part of a safari across Rwanda, in part to diversify the tourism products and in part to showcase the country’s history from the ancient times to today’s new Rwanda.

It could not be ascertained what advance notice safari operators were given, if any, to cater for the fee rise in their tour packages.

Kenya Airways adjusts schedule ahead of night closure of JKIA runway

KENYA AIRWAYS ANNOUNCES SCHEDULE CHANGES EFFECTIVE 01ST OF APRIL

(Posted 30th March 2015)

Kenya Airways has announced changes to their current schedule, effective from the 01st of April, sharply increasing connectivity on domestic and African routes.

Malindi will be served twice a day, up from the present 6 flights a week, clearly an effort by the national airline of Kenya to help boost the destination by providing more connecting flights which departure times suit the passengers rather then operational purposes. Special deals, as mentioned here a few days ago, are now available for visitors from for instance the UK to fly with Kenya Airways to Malindi and demand is said to be encouraging inspite of the harshest ever anti-travel advice from the British Foreign and Commonwealth Office.

Flights from Nairobi to Mombasa will also go up from the present 56 to 63 per week providing more choices to connect to the coast for passengers originating in Nairobi, or other domestic upcountry destinations but notably also from the wider region where hotels and resorts are presently hard-selling coast vacations to the markets in Uganda and Rwanda.

It was also learned that flights from Nairobi to Zanzibar and to Kilimanjaro would be doubled from one per day to two per day, assuming that the TCAA has cleared the added frequencies – which after all will benefit tourism arrivals to both destinations.

Flights from Nairobi to Paris will rise from the present 5 per week to daily, aimed to boost visitor numbers from France to Kenya but also giving the French market better connections to such destinations like Seychelles to where KQ presently flies four times a week.

All departures and arrivals will from the 01st of April be taking into account the upcoming runway works at Jomo Kenyatta International Airport, for which operations in and out of JKIA will be suspended between midnight and 6 a.m. to allow for the gradual re-surfacing of the single runway.

The airline has of late come under a sustained smear campaign attack in particular from social media sources, with some suggestions being floated that this may have been encouraged by competitors to downtalk Kenya Airways. It was noted however that the regular foulmouths’ on Twitter and Facebook did individually at times behave like rabid dogs, matching the conspiracy theorists of the likes of ‘who killed JFK’.

The airline by and large ignored the campaign which has now died down again, either after the inducements ran out or for simply realizing that yapping on would serve no purpose. Notably have some of those involved now turned their attention to the case of a Chinese restaurant which had banned Kenyans from entering in the evening, prompting the authorities to close the business down and charge the owners for a series of offences.

For the full schedule details and other information click on www.kenya-airways.com

Kenya’s season opening triathlon will be held in Watamu

INTERNATIONAL TRIATHLETES DEFY UK ANTI TRAVEL ADVISORY FOR WATAMU EVENT

(Posted 30th March 2015)

The ‘Season Opener’ for Kenya’s triathlon calendar will be held in Watamu / Kilifi county at the Kenya coast on 18th and 19th of April and over 200 local and international athletes have already signed up for the event.

The various races will be held over two days beginning with a children’s aquathon on 18th of April that will see participants aged five to fifteen years run and swim over various distances. The children’s aquathon seeks to bolster the development of triathlon at grade school level across Kenya. The Sprint and Olympic distance events will take place on 19th April with participants starting with a 1.5Km swim, a 40Km cycling and finishing off with a 10Km run for the Olympic distance. The Sprint distance will see competitors battle over a 750m swim, a 20Km cycling and a 5Km run around the picturesque Watamu bay area.

H&A Sports CEO Aida Rajab commented: ‘The race is now in its sixth year and has grown in stature and 2015 will be the most competitive in its history’. She further added that the race will include an ocean swim with a flat bike course along Turtle Bay Road and a run course through Watamu Town.

Race director and Ironman competitor Falgun Bhojak also added his voice when he was quoted: ‘This year’s course has been modified and the distances and terrain will cater for all participants from professional athletes, first-timers and children’. He added that this year’s lineup will include three time winner and Kenya international Swaleh Balala, two time runner up Michael Owora, Mohammed Tarmal and Sharifa Ingosi who will lead the women’s pack.

A local resident of Watamu but citizen of the UK, whom this correspondent met during a recent visit to the Watamu area, could not help himself in writing to this correspondent: ‘We are all in some sort of shock over the latest FCO Advice on Kenya. You saw for yourself what is going on in Watamu and our ‘WATAMU WOW’ campaign is doing well. Anyone who wants to visit Watamu should do so without fear. I live here and we don’t look over our shoulders all the time or live in fear. I am sorry to say that these guys got it all wrong as far as Watamu is concerned’.

A number of foreign based athletes have confirmed their participation clearly believing local residents more than these anti-travel advisories and they can expect a warm friendly welcome from their Kenyan hosts when they arrive.

For more event information and other details of the Kenyan triathlon race calendar for 2015 click on www.hnasports.co.ke

Lupita in Kampala and almost no one knows …

OSCAR WINNER LUPITA ON LOCATION IN KAMPALA FOR ‘QUEEN OF KATWE’ PRODUCTION

(Posted 30th March 2015)

The Oscar winning star of 12 Years a Slave’, Lupita Nyong’o, is presently in Uganda for the shoot of the Mira Nair directed film ‘Queen of Katwe’ and ‘official Uganda’ is only slowly catching on to the news. The film will portray the career of one Phiona Mutesi, a chess prodigee who grew up in the sprawling Katwe slums, and her coach Robert Katende.

Lupita’s presence in Uganda, seen above with Sarita Alam, one of the founders of GeoLodges, could give a huge promotional boost as was the case when the Oscar winning film ‘The Last King of Scotland’ was shot in Kampala, Entebbe and Mbale. Unlike however a few months ago, when an almost unknown starlet was hyped up as a PR savior, does Lupita have real qualities vis a vis global recognition and the fact alone that she is in country should be used to dispel concerns caused by recent US Embassy warnings that the country is not safe.

Sarita Alam reacted to social media comments by saying ‘it is not too late’, meaning there is still time to work both mainstream and social media for the benefit of promoting Uganda, but due haste is now needed having missed the arrival and early stages of Lupita’s presence.

Social media in neighbouring Kenya, where Lupita was raised, have already expressed their hope that she will at least pay a visit to them but from what is understood from sources close to the production company will Lupita fly out of Uganda at the end of the shoot with no planned stopover – as of now – in Kenya’s capital Nairobi.

After some scenes of a recent James Bond film were also shot in Uganda, is there now also a chance to gain a higher profile in Hollywood as a production country, considering the phenomenal success of ‘The Last King of Scotland’ as no doubt Lupita’s present role will again give Uganda an international platform, as a tourism destination and also providing spectacular backdrops for movies.

Watch this space, and the social media, to see how this will play out in coming days and if ‘official Uganda’ will be waking up to grab this opportunity with both hands, or not.

Rocky start for Jambojet’s Ukunda flights?

JAMBOJET ACCUSED TO STRAND UKUNDA PASSENGERS AS FLIGHT FAILS TO ARRIVE

(Posted 30th March 2015)

After launching their new domestic destinations Lamu, Malindi and Ukunda only two days ago has apparently the goodwill Jambojet created with the new flights already evaporated and gone out of the proverbial window as far as Ukunda is concerned.

Social media reports from this evening suggest that the Nairobi to Ukunda flight failed to land at the aerodrome and that airline officials cited lack of runway lights for the cancellation.

Residents from Ukunda poured scorn over this response, saying unless the Jambojet officials are entirely daft, the Ukunda airfield never had runway lights and was so far only an airfield licenses for daylight operations.

As a result were passengers destined for Europe bussed to Mombasa’s Moi International Airport, but according to a Facebook posting, lo and behold, was the evening service by Jambojet into Mombasa also cancelled.

Start quote:

JamboJet should be renamed to KwaheriJet..
A total of 9 passengers missed their connecting flight to Europe because of "JamboJet" The flight was scheduled to fly from Ukunda directly to JKA Nairobi at 18.15. At 18.30 we were told that the plane cannot land due to the runway not having lights! "We have arranged a buss to take you to Mombasa airport" we were told. Once we arrived in Mombasa the 20.15 plane had not even arrived! Not until 2 hours later did the plane arrive!! About 60 people were told that their JamboJet Mbsa-Nrbi flight had been cancelled and told to "try tomorrow" Meanwhile we had all lost our connecting flights and had to buy new tickets costing us thousands of U$, all thanks to this despicable airline. Kwaheri JamboJet, never again!!! These tourists will never come back to Kenya again, sad..
‪#‎JamboJetsucks

End quote

In view of the late time this news item emerged did the airline not respond but is welcome to reply in the morning and can be sure that their explanation will be featured here in full. By the look of it of course this is indeed a very negative start to what has been hailed as a new route and a lifeline for the Diani resorts which are the only parts of the Kenya coast now not under prohibition order by the UK’s Foreign and Commonwealth Office anti-travel advisories.

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