Archive for May 13th, 2017

Zimbabwe’s Wilderness Safaris launches ‘Star Bed’


(Posted 13th May 2017)

The new Star Bed at Wilderness Safaris Linkwasha Camp in Hwange National Park, Zimbabwe overlooks the beautiful and productive Scott’s Pan, offering an exciting sleep-out adventure for guests wanting to get closer to nature and experience a night under the stars.

Linkwasha’s new Star Bed is positioned right in the middle of the action where the animals come to drink at Scott’s Pan and is a wonderful addition to our Hwange offering. In the dry season, the magical elephant experience will be taking place all night long, in front of and all around the Star Bed – offering a life-changing experience for our guests who want an authentic wildlife adventure‘ said Wilderness Safaris Zimbabwe MD, Ron Goatley.

Situated a short drive away from Linkwasha Camp, the Star Bed is built on a platform raised a few metres off the ground. All the bedding and comforts will be set up specially for guests requesting a sleep-out. The bed will be surrounded by a mosquito net but is otherwise open to the beautiful southern skies; basic ablution facilities are available nearby. A highly-qualified guide will accompany guests, sleeping a little further away to be on standby should they require assistance during the night.

As more and more of our guests seek new and different safari experiences that help them to not only reconnect with nature, but also with themselves and their loved ones, we are delighted to offer more Star Bed adventures at our camps. We have a diverse range of Star Beds on offer across all of our regions, with each one offering a unique perspective of the African bush‘ Ron added.

In Zimbabwe, there is also a Star Bed at Ruckomechi Camp in Mana Pools National Park, as well as a platform at Hwange’s Madison Pan, which is a 20-minute drive away from Little Makalolo. In Botswana, Star Beds are offered at Abu, Jao, Little Tubu and Tubu Tree camps in the Okavango Delta, and at DumaTau and Savuti camps in the Linyanti. At Kalahari Plains Camp there is a sleep-out area on the roof of each of the 10 canvas units.

For guests who want to experience the thrill of sleeping under the stars without having to wander too far away from their creature comforts, several Wilderness Safaris camps have added private Star Beds onto the guests’ rooms. In Namibia, both Little Kulala and Kulala Desert Lodge in Sossusvlei have decks located on the flat rooftops of each unit, while at Doro Nawas Camp in the Damaraland region, guests can roll their beds out onto their patio to appreciate the star-studded skies from the comfort of their very own space. Another elegant option is found at Segera Retreat in Laikipia, Kenya. Here, guests can spend a romantic evening outdoors on romantic lantern-lined swing-beds suspended under the six timber and thatch villas.

Now East Africa’s tourism apex body too speaks out against the gorilla permit fee hike in Rwanda


(Posted 13th May 2017)

#DownWithUmeme is a very popular hashtag by this correspondent over the frequent power outages caused by Uganda’s electricity company. Now however have readers opposed to the doubling of permit fees for gorilla tracking – to a good part incensed over the intransigent and almost arrogant reaction by those responsible – taken to create their own in correspondence and feedback sent, reading #DownWithThePermitFeeHike.
The East Africa Tourism Platform, the regional private sector apex body, has now also spoken out, as has previously AUTO, the Association of Uganda Tour Operators and RTTA, the Rwanda Tour and Travel Association and published their own response over the rise of tracking fees from previously 750 to now 1.500 US Dollars. In a publication aptly called ‘Let’s not kill the goose that lays the golden egg’ are words of caution given, which however, going by responses on Twitter and other social media, have fallen on ears gone absolutely deaf:

It can only be hoped that sooner or later, before major damage is done, common sense prevails and consultations, earnest consultations for that matter, resume to resolve the fallout caused by this hugely controversial decision.
Watch this space!

Seychelles returns to China for another marketing campaign


(Posted 13th May 2017)

The Seychelles Tourism Board (STB) has officially launched its marketing campaign to reposition the destination in China.

This was during a press conference held at the Four Seasons hotel in Shanghai on May 09th, when the Minister for Tourism, Civil Aviation, Ports and Marine Maurice Loustau-Lalanne and the STB’s chief executive Mrs. Sherin Francis met members of the media.

Also present at the event were the trade partners namely the General Manager of the Creole Travel Services Guillaume Albert, and the General Manager of Mason’s Travel Lenny Alvis.

Other representatives from both destination management companies were also present. Representatives of the 7 South, Banyan Tree Seychelles, Savoy Resort and Spa, Constance Resorts Seychelles and a wedding planner, Mr and Mrs Wedding from Seychelles.

The event was also attended by the STB team which takes care of the Chinese market and which is headed by Jean Luc Lai lam.

The campaign, launched under the tagline The Call of the Islands…the last Eden on earth, was officially launched by Minister Loustau Lalanne.

In his opening speech, Minister Loustau Lalanne said after five years in the market, STB feels that now is the right time to refocus its attention on the discerning Chinese visitors in the first tier cities of Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, Chengdu and Shenzhen with their supporting second tier cities.

Our objective will be to work closely with valued local partners in Seychelles to deliver an attractive suite of products and services which is fun, relaxing and which represents value for money‘ said Minister Loustau-Lalanne.

The press conference was followed by a travel trade workshop at the same venue. The partners present all had a chance to present their products and services.

We are very excited to be working with you all on this project because we know that we have a destination which is an ideal match for the discerning Chinese tourist. The campaign aims to highlight the beauty of Seychelles and how the destination offers Chinese travellers an out of this world experience’ ‘ said Mrs Francis in her opening address at the trade workshop.

These workshops will continue over the next few days in line with the new repositioning in the other main cities of China.

After Shanghai, the roadshows will be in Beijing on May 15th, Guangzhou on May 17th and in Chengdu on the following day.

China at current sits in the 7th place on the visitor arrivals’ table for Seychelles, with 5415 visitors so fare this year up to week 18.

As part of its strategy, STB continues to focus on maintaining that fine balance between tourism and sustainability. Seychelles was found to have the purest air on the planet by the 2016 Environmental Performance Index and Seychelles Sustainable Tourism Label (SSTL) has achieved ‘Global Sustainable Tourism Council-Recognised’ status this April, affirming Seychelles’ commitment to promote sustainable tourism products and services.

Maria’s latest exploits tells the story about Fire and Smoke, all related to food of course

Maria Is My Name

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Furnas: All Fire and Smoke

You know you’re close when you see pillows of smoke drifting in the air. Smoke. So much smoke. Step out of the car to capture a photo from the hills above, and the smell of sulfur engulfs your nostrils. It both excites and scares me.


Furnas, on the eastern side of the Azorean island of Sao Miguel, is a town of geysers spewing scorching steam into the air and bubbling-angry waters from the ground.

Getting to Furnas from the island’s main city, Ponta Delgada, is half the pleasure. I used the north shore on the way to Furnas and the south shore on the return to the city. The drive took me through gob-smacking vistas, forests filled with scents of eucalyptus, land where pineapples grow and Europe’s only tea plantation is found.

Focus. Hug the curb, I repeated in my head over and over, to stop myself from wandering off the road and plunging down some cliff. Beautiful as the sights were, I was passing through with no plans of making a permanent island stay.

Furnas has long been a spa-town, thanks to the twenty-two different mineral waters found there and used in various spa treatments. It also has amazing bread and a dish meaty enough to have even the most carnivorous amongst us, consider a vegetarian lifestyle. From Ponta Delgada, I set the GPS (something I highly recommend having especially if traveling solo) to the Terra Nostra Garden Hotel.

The GPS took me to the gates of Terra Nostra Garden. Close. But not what I was looking for. I asked a local for directions. The hotel was just around the corner, down the first street, past the store with the vegetables on the left, next to the café on the right.

“You can’t miss it,” I was told.

It’s painted pink and bright-yellow. I didn’t miss it.

photo courtesy of

Terra Nostra Garden Hotel has direct access to Terra Nostra Garden, which is a nice little perk. There’s an admission fee to the garden with its famous thermal pool, but if you’re staying in the hotel, the fee is waived.

It was drizzling the one morning I had set aside for my garden and pool visit. Since you can’t control the weather, I ventured off anyway. I took a lovely stroll around the park with its hundreds of plants imported from around the world including Australia, China, North America and South Africa. It’s a botanist’s dream!

I got very close to the natural thermal pool, believed to cure everything from arthritis to skin disorders. I felt its heat, which ranges from 35 – 40 Celsius. I stepped back and examined its colour: rust, due to the high iron content. I sat on a bench and watched the gaiety between friends, who clearly were far braver than I. They were merrily splashing about and saying things like "oohh" and "aahh" and "das ist nett."


I debated the merits of going in. It would do my skin wonders no doubt, but the effort of changing into a swimsuit to dip my body into what looked like a pool of mud, was not very appealing. As the annoying drizzle continued to fall on me, I came up with Plan B: Walk Away.

I chose instead to enjoy the healing powers of a hot cup of tea from the comfort of a window-seat in the hotel’s restaurant. It felt quite Zen. And why not? Is there anything a good cup of tea can’t fix?

As morning turned to afternoon, my stomach reminded me it was time to eat. I ordered cozido, the local specialty, slow-cooked over many hours in holes dug around Lagoa das Furnas, a short trip outside town.


Large metal-pots are filled with a variety of meats, sausages and vegetables. Then it’s lowered deep into the thermal ground and allowed to cook five to seven hours.



This method of cooking has been used for generations by island locals. Today, this specialty can found in many restaurants in the Furnas area. I had to try it. My conclusion: It’s a vegetarian’s nightmare! I was, in fact, vegetarian for the next 24-hours!


The best part of eating in Furnas though, is the local bread. Called Bolo levedo, it looks very much like a large English muffin, but it tastes nothing like it. It’s a specialty of the Furnas valley not to be missed. Break into one of these darlings and find airy pockets just waiting to be filled with butter or jam or cheese. The outside has a slightly crunchy edge and a sweetness that makes you say, "more please."


And on a drizzly-grey day, in a town where the earth seems to burst with anger, filling my heart with awe and slight fear, eating something as comforting as Bolo levedo with fresh Azorean cheese made me happy, happy, happy! Of course a glass filled with a robust local wine didn’t hurt either. Verdade!


Nairobi Now news updates let you know where the ‘action’ is

Nairobi Now – All you need to know when visiting Nairobi
Date: May 13, 2017 Venue: The Lord Erroll Dinner and Show: KES 7,500/- at 6.30 pm Show Only: KES 1,500/- at 8.30 pm For more information/tickets: call 0721 920 820, or email reservations Runway designers: Deepa Dosaja, Lisa …

Nairobi Now News

Dear ATC Readers,

Welcome to this week’s Nairobi Now newsletter!

You can always access Nairobi Now and get in touch with us through twitter, facebook or the blog.
Also, email us to submit your events or suggest new ideas and collaborations.

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UNWTO set for new leadership


(Posted 13th May 2017)

The 105th session of the UNWTO Executive Council, meeting in Madrid, Spain, on 12 May 2017, recommended Zurab Pololikashvili, Ambassador of Georgia in Spain, as a nominee for the post of Secretary-General for the four-year-period starting January 2018.

The candidature of Zurab Pololikashvili was presented by his country, Georgia, in accordance with the UNWTO statutes.

The recommendation of the UNWTO Executive Council will be submitted to the upcoming 22nd UNWTO General Assembly for ratification (11th to 16th of September 2017 in Chengdu, China).

Damaging allegations made by eTurboNews Publisher Steinmetz did not have the desired effect as the Executive Committee in round two of the voting for a new UNWTO Secretary General nevertheless voted for him.

Congratulations to the UNWTO Secretary General Elect.

Resume of Ambassador Zurab Pololikashvili

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