Archive for July, 2016

Four Seasons aims at 2017 re-opening of Desroches resort

FOUR SEASONS’ DESROCHES ISLAND RESORT ON COURSE FOR 2017 RE-OPENING

(Posted 31st August 2016)

The luxury resort on Desroches, one of Seychelles’ pristine islands, will officially re-open in 2017 under the management of Four Seasons hotel group.

The Four Seasons Resort Seychelles at Desroches Island is on one of the islands in the Amirantes group, part of the more distant outer islands of Seychelles.

With its 14km of beaches of immaculate beauty, thousands of coconut trees and the exceptional lagoon, the Four Seasons Resort Seychelles at Desroches Island, intends to be a little paradise on earth.

The resort is made up of 40 beach suites and 11 private villas and it is set to be one of Four Seasons’ most secluded and private properties of any managed by one of the world’s leading hospitality groups.

Seychelles has always had a special place in my heart and it has been a holiday destination for my family since many years ago. I fell in love with Desroches island since I first set foot there and I always knew that this beautiful property will surely have a place in our hotel chain’ said Ali Albwardy, founder and chairperson of Albwardy Investment. Mr Albwardy is also the chairperson of the Desroches Island Development Limited.

The president and chief executive of the Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts Mr. Allen Smith said it is an excellent opportunity to increase the group’s presence in Seychelles and to consolidate their partnership with Albwardy Investment, a company which already owns many Four Seasons hotels and resorts around the world.

The Four Seasons Resort Seychelles at Desroches Island will boost up the presence of the hotel group in the Indian Ocean, as the company also operates resorts in the Maldives and on Mauritius.

For added information on destination Seychelles click on www.seychelles.travel

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How the Seychelles’ tackle their tourism challenges …

SEYCHELLES HOLD YET MORE PRIVATE / PUBLIC SECTOR CONSULTATIONS

(Posted 31st July 2016)

Representatives of the Seychelles’ public and private sectors met again end of last week for another multi-sectoral meeting. The meeting was chaired by Vice President Danny Faure at the National House in Victoria and aimed at maintaining the consultations while listening to the private sector on what they see as challenges affecting the tourism industry of the country and to find ways of alleviating those constraints.

Also present were the Minister for Tourism and Culture Alain St.Ange, the Minister for Finance, the Minister for Environment, Climate Change and Energy Didier Dogley, the Minister for Agriculture and Fisheries and the Minister for Foreign Affairs and Transport Joel Morgan besides other high ranking government officials, representatives of the Seychelles Hospitality and Tourism Association (SHTA), and that of the Seychelles Chamber of Commerce and Industry (SCCI).

The meeting also gave the chance for those present to be able touch base on what has been achieved so far in regards to the solutions proposed during the previous meetings to lessen the challenges of the tourism industry.

Before going over the minutes of the last meeting, Vice-President Faure welcomed the new members of the SHTA and SCCI as well as the new Commissioner of Police Reginald Elizabeth.

Discussions during this meeting centred on many key matters such air access policy which the Principal Secretary for Transport Patrick Andre said the document was sent to cabinet and received approval. The trade has asked that the document be circulated to all members.

Another point discussed was the inter-island transportation, which Mr Andre said a meeting was held with the operators whereby together they addressed the concerns of this sector.

Maritime safety, street lights, stray dogs and an eye on Curieuse Island were among several other points which were discussed.

Taxi metres was once again among the topics raised during the meeting. Minister Morgan said all metres have been installed in taxis and that rates are being applied. Talking about unlicensed taxis, he said this service needs to be regulated and discussions are being held to have them operate as community taxis.

Reporting on the carrying capacity study in the tourism industry, the Principal Secretary for Tourism Ms. Anne Lafortune said the consultant who was in the country recently has completed the exercise. The consultant will be back in the country to have a few additional meetings with key stakeholders and will submit the report in September.

Five other points were put forward by the SHTA members and these were the Gainful Occupation Permit and the 13th month salary, safety and cleanliness of beaches, publishing in one document the guidelines for construction that covers all Ministries, updates on what is being done by the environment department to control the hairy caterpillars, fungus gnats and sand flies, and on the seaweed collection machine mentioned in the previous meeting. After the meeting did Mr. Alain St.Ange, the Minister of Tourism and Culture and the co-ordinator for these meetings say that this ongoing public-private sector working approach is the way to go:  ‘Government remains the facilitators and the trade, the frontline team needs to know that we hear them and that we are working with them’.

Mount Kenya Trust news updates

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:MOUNTAIN DISPATCHES
News and highlights from the Mount Kenya Trust
April – June 2016
Dear Friends,

For the past few months we have focussed on our strategy and are committed to even bigger engagement with communities, working with partners on water management and increasing our monitoring and evaluation capabilities. These are challenges that will improve our ability to focus on our vision, being the integrity of the Mount Kenya ecosystem for the welfare of all who depend on it.

We wish to recognise Timaflor for acknowledging the impact of our work and its importance to agribusiness by making a new generous monthly commitment to the Trust. We are very grateful to organisations and individuals who understand that without support for the core costs such as management salaries and operations, our conservation projects simply couldn’t be achieved. Relying on donations for all that we do means that funding for projects and field teams alone isn’t enough. In order to keep succeeding and being able to employ a good team at the helm, help with our core operations is vital. Our recent growth in the past four years can be put down to support like this from the Woodcock Family Trust and the continued help in kind from our committed local partners.

A big shout out to Brittany Retherford and the Lala Salaama Project and those that have supported Mount Kenya whose mission is to improve the livelihoods of rangers on the mountain. And to our amazing hosts in Colorado this year – thank you, we are truly grateful to you for accommodating, looking out for us and helping us to make new connections. Read more about the World Ranger Congress below.We hope you’ll agree that April to June has been a hugely productive quarter.

Susie Weeks
Executive Officer

Read more about the 2016 World Ranger Congress held this year in Colorado attended by MKT!
The Tusk Trust Safaricom marathon held in June helps to pay MKT ranger salaries.
Read more about Kenya’s water resource strategy here on the Water 2030 Resource Group
Ranger Teams Update

Thanks to the presence of the vehicle donated by the Sheldrick Trust in the Northern Sector our teams, particularly the Marania Wildlife Guards, have been patrolling a much wider area and are able to respond better to reports of illegal activity and support KWS teams more regularly. The teams have recently patrolled in areas such as the Imenti forest where illegal activity is rife.

JWPT
The team found over 65 snares with 2 cable snares designed to trap elephants along with 2 pitfall traps. There were 200 logging incidents with 3 ambushes laid and 2 arrests made. One incident involved bamboo harvesting which was being used for basket making. JWPT took on a joint operation in the SE of the mountain around the Ragati, Chehe, Kihari, Kabaru and Thego areas motivated by reports of recent elephant poaching.

HPT
One zebra foal was rescued by the team and taken back to base where it received medical treatment for several weeks. The team was visited by several media groups including a French film crew Peignoir Prod from Paris. Many injured animals were found along with wire snares, fence damages and ambushes carried out by the team.

MWG
High levels of poaching around the Marania base in April were confronted with de-snaring operations. A tip-off from the community enabled the teams to find an elephant carcass that had already had the tusks removed. Many animals were also found in snares including zebras and bushbuck. Large clearing of indigenous forest was also found with over 100 trees felled.

Elephant Corridor Fencers
The fencing teams have been working hard to contain rogue fence breaking elephants. They responded rapidly to multiple fence breakages into Kisima and Ntirimiti/Subweiga communities by a lone bull identified as ‘Melo’. Six breakages were recorded in one night! Illegal logging within the lower area included the felling of eucalyptus and red cedar trees along with unpermitted grazing within the Corridor.

Tree Nursery News

The nursery expansion is complete – with a capacity now for over 20,000 seedlings. Gearing up for next rainy season and new beds have been made for over 10,000 Croton seedlings that will be sent to the Eco-Fuels Kenya for October 2016 planting. Other species being raised include Warbugiaugandensis, Junipera procera, Acacia xanthopholea and Ficus.

Indigenous tree seedlings from the nursery were planted next to MKT office. Once the trees attain a good height, the exotic species in the compound will be removed to leave an indigenous canopy cover. Some of the trees are already one metre high!

Tree Planting

A new site along the Ontilili riverbank was opened up for indigenous tree planting on the north-western side of the mountain. The area is in critical need of rehabilitation due to old plantations and abused small-scale (shama) systems that cleared the site many years ago. It is alarming to see bare river banks in such a key water catchment area.

Along with Kenya Forest Service (KFS) and community members, we have planted over 8,000 indigenous tree seedlings (Waterberry, Podo, African Olive and Cedar) along the degraded river bank. The seedlings were sourced from five different women groups around the mountain including the Embu side.

Mid June saw the area receive some rains, a welcome blessing for the seedlings planted towards end of April. The rains also reduced the heat build up that could have resulted in forest fires.

One Tree Per Child Update

Three schools have set aside half acre land so far to grow Casuarina woodlots. Casuarina was chosen due ability to withstand harsh conditions and grow in poor and degraded soils. The woodlots aim to decrease future dependency on fuel wood from the neighboring forest ecosystem. Fencing materials have been procured and fencing work will begin next month.

Bunson Tree Nurseries

Ngusishi Secondary School is now installing a Bunson Travel Tree Nursery. The tank and fencing materials have been bought and delivered. The next step is for the school administration to make the base of the tank. Seedlings grown in the tree nursery will be planted around the school compound and the rest will be taken by the pupils to plant in their homes.

Education

To keep the young generation in constant touch with what is happening to the ecological environment, MKT continued its outreach program to schools.

Nkiria Primary School along with Ngusishi and Ntirimiti Secondary schools have all received environmental education sessions from our Field Coordinator. The pupils were very enthusiastic as they watched the film Mizoga – which has package information on bush meat trade – a problem that has escalated in the area since the Sirimon community was resettled there. The pupils were enlightened on the dangers of consuming game meat from illegally hunted wild animals in the adjoining forest reserve.
Students also planted trees in their school compound to reduce direct wind that blows straight into the classroom.

Football for Conservation

A football ambassador from the Vijana Amani Pamoja visited the initial six schools to refresh the teams on the skills learned in sessions previously this year. The coach also talked about youth challenges such as drugs abuse and early pregnancies. It was encouraging to see school managers joining their teams showing clearly how people are embracing conservation efforts.

Nkiria Primary School also had a chance to visit Ol Pejeta conservancy on an educational tour, sponsored by the Laikipian after achieving second place in the U12 Laikipia football tournament held in April.

Health and Environment
The CHASE Africa Community Health Project

Numbers are increasing month on month with large turnouts from the communities in both Embu and Meru counties. A visit from Dandelion Africa, a Nakuru based NGO that improves the health and economy of Kenyan youth and women, had this to say:

Timau is a very fertile area with a robust economic status among the population as compared to the geographical area we work on. The farms were fertile and most people preferred to come to the clinics after work because they were busy looking after their land.

MKT and Dandelion Africa have similarities in how both organizations run their outreach programs. The setup and process during the outreach… starting with registration to finalising with the designated pharmacy.

The outreach was mainly dominated by women with fewer men and MKT uses a referral system where mobilisers refer patients to the different MoH facilities. We learnt how to better utilise the services of mobilisers in the community.

The Olympics for Rangers – World Ranger Congress in Colorado

Susie Weeks (MKT Executive Officer), Edwin Kinyanjui (JWPT Leader) and Simon Gitau (KWS Senior Warden) were all sponsored to attend and present at the International Ranger Federation World Ranger Congress (WRC) in Colorado, USA. This non for profit organisation supports park rangers and their conservation work attended by over 300 rangers from nearly 70 countries! Prior this Edwin and Simon were able to take part in a 9 day mobile course in Colorado and Utah deepening their knowledge base and experience.

At the Congress the team were able to network with other men and women rangers and resource managers and present as a panel to the participants about the important partnerships that are helping to conserve Mount Kenya.

‘We all felt inspired to work harder to ensure the work of our rangers is placed in proper context – they are our planet’s guardians yet they are under-equipped, and in most cases underpaid and poorly protected because greed and politics get in the way of what is right’ Susie.

Rangers put their lives on the line every day, away from their families and without the most basic equipment. The WRC and its organisers the IRF give us an opportunity to share experience, knowledge and the daily fight against poaching and habitat destruction has generated a support network and a sense of community around the world. As the President of the International Ranger Foundation, Sean Willmore said at the event, the WRC is ‘the Olympics for rangers’.

Our trip was funded by the Lala Salama Project, USAID, Friends of Africa International and the Congress Organisers and their partners to whom we are deeply thankful. Simon, Susie and Edwin also gave two further talks organised by the Lala Salama Team, and as a result of these equipment and further funds for equipment were donated by new friends from the Lala Salama network created in Colorado. Huge thanks to Neptune Mountaineering in Boulder for the donations of jackets and boots for the Mountain Rescue and Joint Wildlife Protection Teams worth over $4,000!

Rhino Ark & partners Mount Kenya Fence Project progress

The third phase of the Mount Kenya electric fence started in the Imenti Forest with approx. 14km now complete. There have been many issues in this highly conflicted area:

  • Illegal activities are rampant with regular joint by the KWS, KFS and MKT organised.
  • The community requested activities such as grazing, firewood and stone collection permits to be banned for a period of five years. However permitting issues are to be discussed at a higher KFS level.
  • Beehives to be removed that are close to the fence.
  • Once this seasons crops have been harvested shambas next to the fence should not be dug again.
  • Gates are to be manned by community members.
Safaricom / Tusk Marathon Water Stop

Once again the Trust was manning Waterstop 8 at the Tusk Trust Safaricom Marathon with this year Susie Weeks, Executive Officer, even running the half marathon! It was fantastic to see so many local and international runners on the course.

Some funds raised by the event are donated to MKT for the Joint Wildlife Protection Team salaries. This essential and highly effective mobile team are key to tackling illegal activities on the mountain, with daily reports involving logging and poaching along with many other illegal activities.

Parting shot – Buffalo through the grass
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Thank you for your support in 2016!

Batian Level Donors

Nelion Level Donors & Fundraising Events
CHASE Africa, Timaflor
SAX 10to4 Sponsors: Fly540

Lenana Level Donors
Safaricom Marathon via Tusk Trust

Coryndon Level Donors
Eden Wildlife Trust, The Woodcock Family, Tusk Trust, Zurich Zoo
Fly 540 10to4 Sponsors: BATUK, Tropic Air

Point Piggot Level Donors & Event sponsors
The International Elephant Foundation, Seneca Park Zoo, Jim Butterfield, Bunson Travel

Point Dutton Level Donors & Event Sponsors
Safarilink, Lewa Wildlife Conservancy, Kisima Farm, Marania Farm, Ol Donyo Farm, Steve Strong
Fly540 10to4Sponsors: Highlands Water, Braeburn Schools, Remote Medical, The Born Free Foundation (Kenya), Flamingo, Timaflor, Commercial Bank of Africa, Mascor, Xado EA, Browns Cheese, Dormans, CMS, Express Automation, Gras Savoye, Kenya Treks, Kongoni Camp, Rift Valley Adventures, Trout Tree, Mt Kenya Bicycles, Bikes & Outdoor Adventures, Tropical Heat, Kitengela, Matbronze, Shimano, Equinox Flowers, Huduma Services Limited, Laikipia Wildlife Forum, Laikipia Wilderness, Ligent, One Stop, Saab, African Ascents, Azimuth, Gundua, Kisima Flowers, Kisima Flour, Marania Farm, Ol Donyo Farm, Mawingu Networks, Raka Cheese, Savage Wilderness, Sirai House, Tambuzi, Uhuru Flowers.

Thanks to our regular contributors for their assistance so far this year: The Mountain Club of Kenya.

Our partners: We wouldn’t be able to keep up the good work without our most important supporting & operational partners. These include The Kenya Wildlife Service, The Kenya Forest Service, Rhino Ark, Kisima Farm, Marania Farm, Tropic Air, Borana Conservancy, African Ascents and Lewa Wildlife Conservancy and One Stop.

To all our friends and supporters who took part and / or contributed to the 3 peaks climb for the horse patrol team, many many thanks.

Thank you to Nancy Balfour and Morten Jensen for your time and assistance
Click here if you would like to receive our monthly reports

Photos: Mount Kenya Trust teams, Brittany Retherford.
Donate to the cause via Tusk Trust
Copyright © 2014 Mount Kenya Trust. All rights reserved.

Our mailing address is:
PO Box 690
Nanyuki 10400
Kenya
Email:
info

Physical Address:
We are located on Turaco Farm between Nanyuki and Timau. Please click here to request a map to our new offices

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News from The Nesbitt Castle in Bulawayo

Hotel News
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This months news from The Nesbitt Castle.
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The Nesbitt Castle – The Old Lady in her Youth

The Nesbitt Castle is full of history and intrigue. Building commenced around 1910, and her construction took years. Built by Theodore Albert Edward Holdengarde, no plans were laid out for the building, no architectural drawings; nothing submitted to the council for approval, just a collection of distant memories, a practical disposition and a romantic dream. […]

The post The Nesbitt Castle – The Old Lady in her Youth appeared first on The Nesbitt Castle.

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The Fabulous Wedding of Mr. & Mrs. Vere at The Nesbitt Castle, Bulawayo
The Power of One | Scenes shot at The Nesbitt Castle
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The Nesbitt Castle
6 Percy Avenue, Hillside, Bulawayo, Zimbabwe
Tel +263 9 282735 / 6 | Mobile +263 77 724 9300

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Kenya Airways and Jambojet sign codeshare agreement for Malindi flights

KENYA AIRWAYS TO CEDE MALINDI FLIGHTS TO LCC SUBSIDIARY JAMBOJET

(Posted 31st July 2016)

As previously mentioned here will Kenya Airways, as of tomorrow, 01st of August, let subsidiary Jambojet operate all its scheduled flights to Malindi. Both airlines have signed a code share agreement two days ago to ensure that passengers booked by Kenya Airways to fly with them from Nairobi to the coastal resort town and vice versa have their tickets and bookings accepted.

What is yet to be ascertained though is if international passengers booked by Kenya Airways from their embarkation point via Nairobi – passengers connecting to domestic flights need to clear customs at JKIA and then check in again for their final leg, in this case Malindi – will then enjoy the same terms and conditions as they had on their flight with Kenya Airways.
This applies in particular vis a vis baggage allowance where international passengers on Kenya Airways are allowed two pieces of checked bags, 23 KG each in economy class and 32 KG each in business class, or for instance qualify for the free uplift of a golf bag.
Both airlines have been asked to clarify on these questions to ensure passengers have a smooth ride all the way to and from Malindi and avoid a perhaps costly PR disaster should international passengers end up having to meet the local Jambojet terms and conditions, i.e. paying for checked bags.
Malindi airport which last year got a new terminal building capable of handling substantially more passengers. The airport serves not just Malindi town but also the nearby resort area of Watamu, both famous for their beaches, deep sea fishing, diving and of course quality resorts like Medina Palms and Hemingways in Watamu and the Driftwood Club in Malindi.
For added information about Destination Kenya click on www.magicalkenya.com

Under pressure UBER agrees to pay drivers better

SLASHED FARES YET HIGHER PAY AS UBER FACES REALITY IN KENYA’S HARD FOUGHT TAXI MARKET

(Posted 31st July 2016)

Information was confirmed overnight that UBER, under pressure from the car owners and drivers contracted by them over the recent radical slashing of fares, has now given in to demands to raise their pay.
Should drivers on call fail to get rides during peak hours will they receive between 450 and 500 Kenya Shillings as a top up from UBER, clearly in response to growing unease by car owners / drivers with obligations to pay off car loans and now faced with drastically slashed fares and sharply increased competition through new web based cab hailing services. Rates for rides dropped from 60 Kenya Shillings to 35 Kenya Shillings last week as reported here at the time.
UBER also suspended signing up more drivers for the time being, again in response to competitive pressures and to give their contracted drivers a break not to further raise competition from within.
Terms and conditions apply reportedly to qualify for the top up, such as having accepted at least 90 percent ride requests since they joined UBER, being on duty for given periods and at least make a trip every two hours.
Claims by UBER that the tariff revision in Nairobi was not caused by increased competition though were met with incredulity and have put a dent into the otherwise above average PR performance of the company until now.

The final steps to achieve Category One status for Kenya

KENYA´S PARLIAMENT EXPECTED TO PASS NEW AVIATION LEGISLATION IN AUGUST

(Posted 31st July 2016)

Kenya´s parliament will next month tick the last boxes in the application process for approval of Jomo Kenyatta International Airport for Category One status by the American FAA. Legislation is reportedly now ready to be tabled in the house after the committee for transport has put final touches on the draft.
When signed into law by President Uhuru Kenyatta will this then be the last missing link and subsequent approval by the FAA is then expected soon afterwards.
Kenya has for several years now tried to secure this coveted status, which allows for direct flights to the United States but at least twice failed to reach the required score vis a vis physical inspections of the airport.
With the launch however of the new Terminal 1, offering a complete separation of passenger flows between arriving and departing travelers and the launch of a second similar dedicated arrivals terminal for airlines other than Kenya Airways and their SkyTeam partners, are the facilities now in place to warrant Cat 1 status.
It is expected that soon afterwards America’s Delta Airline will revive plans to begin flights to Nairobi and SkyTeam partner Kenya Airways too is said to be actively looking at the US market for direct flights.
American tourists form one of the largest contingents for safaris in Kenya, in fact in East Africa and direct flights will reduce the travelling time compared to one stop routes via Europe or worse, the Gulf.
Kenya Airways will no doubt be keen to tap into that market which hitherto was, as far as African airlines are concerned, the almost exclusive domain of Ethiopian Airlines and South African Airways.

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