Archive for May, 2015

Part two Of Lillian’s Weekend ‘Double Pack’ deals with …

Honeymoons? HONEYMOONS??? Oh, well, it is her topic after all and the best
to those aspiring to tie the knot and submit
to ball and chain …

Top Honeymoon Destinations in East Africa

For the intrepid traveler, East Africa offers the ultimate fun field at any given season. From vast stretches of sunny and sandy beaches, ancient cultures, world heritage sites as well as bounteous wildlife roaming the hundreds of natural habitats. This is not to say that romance and intimacy cannot be achieved, in fact some of the most celebrated honeymoon resorts, luxury camps and private islands are found on the region. From exclusive cabins in Vamizi island to moonlit cruises on the Nile, and air-borne safaris across jungles; here are the region’s top honeymoon spots as recommended by real travelers who have booked their first post-nuptial holiday with us at


While Vamizi is nestled in the serene environs of the Quirimbas Archipelago, Paradise Islands (Santa Carolina) is the most accessible of Bazaruto’s five islands. The two jewels rival each other in sheer charm, presenting a dilemma to any couple dreaming of pure indulgence and intimacy. Both are circled by the still, turquoise waters of the Indian Ocean, with mangrove forests, river deltas, and ancient fishing villages dotting the shorelines and quietly binding the territory. While Paradise Island was a hit with lovers and wealthy Rhodesians before the Mozambican war –the shadows of the abandoned resorts have actively come to live as forts of solitude and exclusivity. Vamizi on the other hand retains her charm, which was very well immortalized in the words of iconic Daniel Craig of James Bond who claimed to have left a piece of his very bold heart on the crescent shaped isle!


If you are looking for nature in its most virgin form, Serengeti in Tanzania has more than just character. The location, activities, wildlife and the general panorama is excellent. Depending on your budget, you can chose any of the relatively simple but excellent in service lodges or splash on the luxurious cottages such as Singita Ssasakwa Lodge. The difference is all in the century old-furnishings in the manor houses, rustic trinkets and antique fireplaces with a great resemblance to royal grandiose. The guiding, game drives, menus, balloon rides and outdoor activities will mostly offer a common denominator for any couple starting off at Serengeti.


Yearning for a rustic, out of Africa honeymoon setting? Masai Mara, will shower honors on your travel diaries! You can opt for lazy days in one of the many luxury camps, while sipping your favorite cocktail along the river banks, or join the Masai community in their daily rituals. The Mara is also renown for hosting the greatest animal migration, and if you say ‘I do’ in the right month, then you will be joined by thousands of explorers who have traversed continents to witness the wildebeest migration! If rustic and not luxury describes your inner style, try taking up the camping option, and al-fresco your couple baths right under the indigo sun sets!

ZANZIBAR – Ultimate Sun downer cruises

For the ultimate and most giving beach honeymoon, Zanzibar is your best option! The Indian Ocean Archipelago is easily accessible from Dar es Salaam via ferry or on a flight from Nairobi. Zanzibar offers a timeless experience with cultural and heritage sites in Stone Town such as House of Wonders and the Museum Palace. Beyond the stone walls is a beach ablaze with activity, it’s a great location for fresh sea food as well as discovering Swahili cuisine. No trip is complete without a visit to the Spice Island of Pemba, and the eco-mooners can also make a nightly sojourn on Chumbe Island for an exploration of the famous Chumbe Island Coral Park. Still a day on your itinerary? Take a quick flight to the mainland for a drive in the nearest park before kicking it back on shore in time for a sun downer cruise.

NAIVASHA and the Rift Region

For just less than two hours on the road, you will have bade farewell to the urban capital of Nairobi and said hello to the charming countryside of Naivasha. The lakeside has numerous boutique hotels designed in the pre and colonial times, depicting a romantic fairytale that defies all odds and standing out are the Lake Naivasha Country Club and the Enashipai Resort.

The Rift Valley region is home to numerous lakes, boasting of abundant birdlife as well as other features such as cliffs, rocks and the popular Hell’s Gate, home to the Lion Kings domicile. It’s a great destination for couples keen on exploration, rather than relaxation. And yes, husbands who get bored that quickly can take up a game of golf nearby, of course with no guarantee that the bride will still be there after he completed 18 holes, visited the 19th and then staggered ‘home’ …


For those keen on kicking off bucket-list items before the little ones show up, trekking gorilla’s in Rwanda would make for a great idea. It’s however important that you make proper arrangements prior to walking down the aisle. Make sure your body is ready for the uphill task, get all your vaccinations and book your permits if need be. There are great lodges in Volcanoes Park (French: Parc National des Volcanos) – the northern extension of Virunga Mountains, to welcome you with a few honeymoon treats as well as plan your excursions. And just an hour’s drive on are the shores of Lake Kivu with some charming honeymoon locations … Choices galore for the intending couples …

Beach Crazy? Read on for Lillian’s recommendations this week

Here comes a double pack from Lillian, delayed for posting due to my travels during the week …
Enjoy … I sure went beach crazy in Mombasa and did not have
to go all the way to Mozambique …

Beach Crazy? This Five Sandy Townships of Mozambique Will Spoil You!

Whatever your origin, landing in Maputo-the capital town of Mozambique awakens a feeling that you may not be able to explain. The surreal feeling illuminated by age-old light houses, homogenous architecture embracing Mediterranean-style, sands stretching beyond horizons and the promise of endless coastline. With a continental coastline that rivals any other in Africa, Mozambique offers a variety of beach destination for every traveler. Here is a low-down of what to expect in the five top, as explained by Lillian Gaitho of

Quirimbas Archipelago

Located in the far north, the Quirimbas Archipelago are a beautiful string of islands consisting of thirty four islands; both desolate and inhabited, private and public. The archipelago presents a timeless escape into the world of Portuguese trade which took place in the 18th Century. Most of these islands are connected to the mainland by coral reef cropping, sand bars and swampy mangroves. The islands are home to the spectacular jewel, Quirimbas National Park which protects most of the rare habitants found here. Quirimbas is a fairly a new destination, with most resorts still new, thus offering a chance to walk the virgin path and leave your footprints where no man has been!


If you are a poetic fairy or a knight, then you might have heard of Craveirinha’s Tasty Tangerines of Inhambane, the poem that wishes Inhambane – popular for the fruit – a long life, before going ahead to raise curiosity on the secretive whispers in the queues. Inhambane exists as it did in the 10th Century; a long palm fringed border that never seems to get enough of the ocean’s kisses. There is enough modern accommodation, and the beach town, seems to attract new visitors every season, some keen on spotting the dudong schools before they go extinct while others chase after the mantra ray’s evil reflection on the whales.


A spell-binding, hakuna matata kind of scenery, Vilankulos is the perfect destination for visitors looking for time off the urban rut race, and sea food worth Food Network! This Mozambican capital of water sports is popular with enthusiasts as it offers great tides for surfing, diving, snorkeling and dhow tours for a sight of the vibrant fishing villages. Horse riding along the beach as well as barefoot walks is another indulgence here, take it all! One thing you must note and prep before your trip is that Vilankulos or Vilankulo moves at her own pace, so, slow down, smell the calamari and calm down to the local pace!

Bazaruto Archipelago

With five stunning islands within one of the largest protected marine areas in the Indian Ocean, it’s no doubt a great destination for marine exploration. Bazaruto, is composed of five palm-fringed, unspoilt islands, making a valid claim to the title Jewels of the Indian Ocean. It’s an ideal destination for honeymooners, water-sporting, fishing as well as an idyllic location for all-inclusive tropical island vacations. Each Island has something unique to offer; Benguerra is adored for her clean, white sandy beach, Santa Carolina-the smallest of the five- is fondly referred to as Paradise Island, with the remnants of a fort serving as a nostalgic reminder of its history. Magarugue is home to the rare Marlin and Sail fish, while Bangue is the most solitude, with close to no life apart from backpacking campers and crawling oysters. Bazaruto offers the life-size marine park.

Mozambican Pemba

This might be confused for the clove legend island named Pemba, cousin of Unguja and commonly referred to as Zanzibar, hence the emphasis. Mozambican Pemba lies to the north, acting as the main gateway to the Quirimbas Archipelago. The island is most popular as home to the world’s largest natural harbor, Pemba Bay – formerly named Porto Amélia, in honor of the queen of Portugal. Pemba is popular for water sports, and diving and is also the capital town of Cabo Delgalo province.

No 418 Wildlife Trade News: 30th May

Some good news this Sunday but still … you get your daily dose of bad news too …

in the spotlight today ……………………

Moment £3million turned to dust: Chinese authorities put half a tonne of ivory into grinder after it was seized from smugglers (NA comment: A good start, better late than never, but China is going to have to do a heck of a lot more to convince us it is finally getting serious about tackling the illegal wildlife trade, isn’t it?)

  • More than half a tonne of ivory and ivory products were destroyed publicly
  • Items were ground into powder under the eyes of media and diplomats
  • Ornaments included fine Buddha and goddess statues carved from tusks
  • Beijing hopes to show determination in ‘further protecting wild animals’

"We will strictly control ivory processing and trade until the commercial processing and sale of ivory and its products are eventually halted." – Zhao Shucong, head of China’s State Forestry Administration

No 418 Wildlife Trade News: 30th May

Illegal Trade In Bear Bile Is Widespread In Malaysia (NA COMMENT: When it comes to incompetence and collusion, Perhilitan and the Sabah Wildlife Department have few equals. They are experts in turning both a blind eye and deaf ear to anything regarding the illegal wildlife trade or cruelty to animals in zoos. The CITES Standing Committee watch over all this like statues on a stone plinth……the only difference is, statues have their uses don’t they?)

130 turtles seized at Dhaka airport. EXTRACT: The Indian pond turtles were to be smuggled to Malaysia, in a Malaysian Airlines flight, at around 10:00am this morning.

Barely a week goes by without illegal wildlife enroute to Malaysia being confiscated. How many more animals will be ‘sacrificed’ by the CITES Standing Committee before it punished Malaysia for its widespread and persistent complicity in the illegal wildlife trade? Does anyone in the Secretariat and Standing Committee have the backbone to take on Malaysia?

Why are poaching, bush meat trading and elephant killing still happening? MALAYSIA – See more at:

China signals end to domestic ivory market during destruction of illegal stockpile extract: Government sources confirmed today’s ivory destruction was preceded by an independent third party audit of the stockpile to be destroyed. WWF and TRAFFIC consider such audits should be a prerequisite before any ivory stockpile destruction is carried out, to ensure there is utmost transparency in the process.(NA comment: MALAYSIA is looking increasingly isolated because of its reluctance to have its stocks of ivory independently audited and destroyed.When Malaysia trails behind China, you know just how bad things are – despite which, CITES, inexplicably, allows Malaysia to go unpunished. Malaysia has a long history of complicity in the illegal wildlife trade, so much so it’s known as a worldwide hub; well, when sanctions are not enforced what’s to stop Malaysia? In other words – CITES is part of the problem, not part of the solution – which it should be. Who do you blame for that?)




Six arrested in connection with rhino horn theft. MOZAMBIQUE

National scene: Govt claims larger protected forest area. INDONESIA. EXTRACT: The moratorium on new permits, however, has frequently been ignored by local officials due to the absence of sanctions for violations. – See more at:

Is the Tide Against Live Animal Circuses Turning? 3 Recent Victories to Celebrate

Traffic news in Chinese

Timber sales to Vietnam trebled in 2014, finds report. EXTRACT: “Vietnamese traders go directly to Cambodia and buy illegal timber from Cambodian loggers,” he said.

Forensic trailers for rhino poaching fight. SOUTH AFRICA

Rhino horn trade debate will fuel poaching. By working on a proposal to CITES to legalise trade in rhino horn, South Africa could actually be fuelling rhino poaching.

Lumber Liquidators’ CEO Resigns Amid Investigation into Illegal Timber Imports

Grayson Wealth Management and Carpathian Forestry are running a recovery room scam AND Sucker lists, recovery room scams, and why victims of scams become more trusting, not less

ECUADOR: 10,000 shark fins destined for Asia seized. 6 arrests

Police Confiscate 176 Smuggled Shark Fins. INDONESIA

Ont. passes killer whale ban, other animal protection measures. CANADA

2 red sanders smugglers arrested

Malaysian state eyes 100% certified palm oil by 2025 (NA comment: Nature Alert encouraged all concerned in Malaysia to do this about seven years ago. We met with resistance and the industry is now seven years behind the times……AND IT’S GOING TO BE AT LEAST 10 more years, if we are to believe them- and we don’t, before they are RSPO compliant. It would be impossible to exaggerate how bad and devious this industry is.)

"First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you,

then you win." – Mohandas Gandhi

Drone footage shows what rainforest destruction really looks like

Screen capture — Forest Heros captures the environmental impact of a palm oil company in Indonesia on camera.

Northern port central to illegal timber trade. PORTUGAL

ZAWA defends lion harvest

The Last Stand in Africa’s Most Dangerous Park By Damon Tabor Jun 2015 Can Belgium’s noble son save Africa’s most threatened wilderness from poaching and big Oil? Read more:

New York Blood Center Leaves Chimps to Die of Starvation. EXTRACT: “Never, ever have I seen anything even remotely as disgusting as this” Yes, you can believe your eyes and feel your heart break. It’s a fact that a colony of 66 chimpanzees in a Liberian laboratory are being abandoned by the New York Blood Center

Massive economic growth does little for happiness in China

Vaquita porpoises down to ‘way less than 100,’ Mexican agents shoot fisherman while enforcing new protected area

A fisherman hauls up a critically endangered vaquita porpoise accidentally entangled in his net in 2008. Entanglement in fishing gear threatens the species with extinction. Photo credit: Omar Vidal.
Read more:

Flash Report on the Mombasa Port: a Liability for Kenya and Africa Ivory Trafficking: Undercover Survey at the Mombasa Port Reveals Vulnerabilities, Confirms High Level Corruption, and Highlights National and International Security Issues

Rhino Charge 2015 again a huge crowdpuller as event goes underway shortly



All systems are go for the start of the annual Rhino Charge in Northern Kenya, where 64 participants, only one had to pull out at the last moment, will be required to visit 13 control point scattered over approximately 100 square kilometres of rough terrain within the space of 10 hours. Supplied with a 1:50,000 scale map of the venue and the GPS coordinates of the 13 control points, each competing team will decide their own route to follow. The winner will be the competitor who finishes at the control point where he/she started having visited all the other control points in the shortest distance (GPS measured).

Winners’s details will be announced here just as soon as the race stewards have released the final audited results. The same will apply to the funds raise this year, for the host community and for the Rhino Ark’s conservation projects.

As a motorsport event supporting conservation, the organizers are deeply committed to minimizing any environmental impact that could arise from the competition. For instance, the duration of the competition is limited to 10 hours; and only 65 competition cars may participate in the event. In addition, to avoid cumulative impact from consecutive events, the Rhino Charge is organized each year in a different location.

To determine and help mitigate any potential negative impact, Rhino Ark commissioned in 2008 an independent environmental and social impact audit of representative samples of venues where the Rhino Charge event had been held. The venues assessed were Tassia Ranch (Laikipia), Swuari Lagha (Samburu), Ol Kinyei Group Ranch (Narok), and Lorongoswa Group Ranch (Kajiado).

The audit found that there was minimal impact on the sites arising from Rhino Charge activities. Recommendations arising from the audit were incorporated into subsequent Charge venues and course designs

One of the main environmental challenges of organizing such a large event with close to 3,000 officials, participants and spectators in the most remote wilderness areas of Kenya is the management of waste. In keeping with Rhino Ark’s conservation mission, the Rhino Charge Committee is dedicated to leaving each venue as they found it. To this end, stringent rules have been set by the Committee to ensure that no refuse is left anywhere in the entire Rhino Charge venue. This includes a system of fines that is strictly implemented to address refuse generated by competitors and spectators. In addition, with the support of key sponsors, refuse is collected across the venue, including the Spectator Camp and the Gauntlet.

To promote refuse recycling, a Waste Sorting Station has been set up at the venue since 2013. Glass, cans, tins, and plastic bottles, among others, are separated and brought back to Nairobi for recycling. In the 2014 event, over 60 cubic metres of refuse was properly sorted and removed from the venue for recycling.

Kindly note that general information about the Rhino Charge, as well as updates about the event, including photographs, will be made available online on the new Rhino Charge website

Updates can be found on the news page:
Live updates on the event will be available at

Please follow us on the digital channels of the Rhino Charge and Rhino Ark:

Rhino Charge Rhino Ark
Twitter @rhino_charge @RhinoArk
Instagram Rhino.Charge Rhino.Ark
Hashtag #RhinoCharge #RhinoArk

You can also follow us on the new Rhino Charge free mobile application "Rhino Charge" developed by Litchman Consultants which can be downloaded from the Apple Store and Google Play.For background information on the Rhino Charge, you can download the following documents:

Fact sheet about the Rhino Charge;
Fact sheet about minimizing the footprint of the Rhino Charge;
Fact sheets about the conservation activities supported by the Rhino Charge.

Madagascar successfully stages fourth ITM


(Posted 31st May 2015)

Each of the Vanilla Island Organization members has at least one key event or festival, which is turned into a Vanilla Island event on the annual calendar, supported by all other members.

For Madagascar it is the ITM, the International Tourism Fair Madagascar, which ended yesterday evening on a high note, acknowledged to have been the most successful todate. Dedicated to sustainable tourism did the trade show’s symposium also give visitors the opportunity to sit in lectures dedicated to the topic of tourism labels as well as, among many other themes, the need to raise standards and professionalism in the small accommodation category and of course inter island air connectivity, crucial to make the Vanilla Island concept work and fulfill its potential.

The full range of presentations and trade show exhibitors and participants can be accessed via the respective web links by clicking on:

The fourth edition was again attended by the Vanilla Islands Organization CEO Mr. Pascal Viroleau, fellow Vanilla Island’s tourism boards, among them IRT, Ile de la Reunion Tourisme, the Seychelles Tourism Board, Mayotte Tourism, Comoros Tourism and the Mauritius Tourism Promotion Authority. Also present were a large number of private sector exhibitors keen to promote their properties and services and inter island travel now that several airlines have put special fares and air-passes in place, including Air Austral. Also present were Madagascar’s’ regional tourism offices, tour and travel operators associations and many more.

Madagascar has been holding the rotating presidency of the Vanilla Islands and this office will now go for the next twelve months, effective 01st of June, to the Mauritius Minister of Tourism, who is also the country’s Deputy Prime Minister Mr. Duval.

Which Vanilla Islands airline has started their short haul fleet renewal?


(Posted 31st May 2015)

Air Madagascar has since the beginning of the year taken delivery of the first of two brand new state of the art ATR72-600 aircraft as part of a short haul fleet renewal. The new aircraft arrived at the airline’s hub at Antananarivo’s Iveto Airport on March 22nd registered as 5R-EJA (MSN 1239) and a second such aircraft, production number MSN 1248, with no firm delivery date provided as yet, is according to information received from an aviation source due to arrive in June.

From 2017 onwards should a further three such planes be delivered, to replace the ageing lower capacity ATR42’s.

The new aircraft, besides the new avionics suite and more fuel efficient engines, will uplift as many as 74 passengers in an all economy cabin while the older -42 types only offer 49 seats.

Long haul services to Europe, in order to escape the notorious EU Blacklist, are provided by Airbus A340-300 aircraft leased from Air France and maintained under EASA regulations. Watch this space for breaking and regular aviation news updates from Eastern Africa and the Indian Ocean islands.

Negotiations underway to grant Brussels the coveted US ‘Preclearance’ status


(Posted 31st May 2015)

Negotiations are underway between the US Government through the Department of Homeland Security and several foreign countries’ airports, including Brussels, to implement a ‘pre-clearance’ modus operandum for passengers flying from there to the United States of America. Brussels Airlines flies daily from their home hub to New York and will tomorrow resume services to Washington DC, which will operate five times a week.

When, as is expected, the negotiations are successfully concluded, will all passengers travelling from the Eastern African gateways of Entebbe, Kigali, Bujumbura and Nairobi and with final destination USA, on arrival in Brussels undergo the full immigration and customs process ahead of their onward flights, conducted by US Immigration, Customs and Agriculture officers. When cleared to travel to the United States will they then be able to bypass the often long lines on arrival and enter the US via a domestic terminal, saving time and often the anxiety after a long flight from Africa via Europe to the States. For America in turn it will allow to have passengers cleared for entry before they board a flight to the US, and, in some cases, have passengers rejected, saving them the journey and the instant turnaround when they are sent back over whatever issues may have arisen, leading to the decision by US Immigration officers to deny them entry inspite of holding a Visa.

A local aviation source close to Brussels Airlines commented that once this measure has been put into place will the airline no doubt become an even greater travelers favourite considering the convenient one stop travel to the Big Apple and the US capital city.

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