Archive for August 4th, 2017

Lorna Abur narrates here climb to the highest peak of the Rwenzori Mountains

LORNA’S RWENZORI TREKKING EXPERIENCE

My interest and inspiration in the Rwenzori’s all started over a year ago around August 2016 to be precise, on one boring Sunday afternoon as I was lying on my bed and lazily flipping over the pages of the Uganda wildlife Authority Magazine and reading about the various national parks we have in the country. They all seemed interesting, but as soon as I opened the page titled Rwenzori Mountains National Park-The mystical challenge I was extremely fascinated. At that exact moment, I started to envision myself trekking up for about 7 days to get to the famous Margherita peak that stands at an astonishing height of 5,109m. The idea of the highest point in Uganda covered in ice and snow sparked off so much excitement inside me that I knew right away I had to hold the ice in my hands.

I spent the next months doing my research on the Rwenzori Mountains, I wanted my dream of holding ice in my hands at the highest point in Uganda to come true. I contacted various trekking services e.g. the Rwenzori Mountaineering Services (RMS), Rwenzori Trekking services (RTS), and compared prices. I read stories of a few people that had been up the mountain and contacted them for their personal experiences during the trek, from all the responses and advices I attained it was quite obvious it was going to be a strenuous hike to be attempted by experienced mountaineers. I am no experienced mountaineer but either way I knew I had to get to the peak.

As months went by, I got to know of a club known as the Mountain slayers Club of Uganda, A group of young energetic men and women with the desire to hike mountains and climb rocks, I contacted the team and agreed to join 14 of them to accomplish the great task of conquering the mystical challenge.

Rwenzori Trekking-Day one –Sunday 09/July/2017-Kebitakuli Camp

Due to a few delays our trek started a bit late in the afternoon with the scorching sun aiming for our heads. We were introduced to our guides and porters that were to guide us during the trek, carry our luggage and prepare our meals. We were meant to start our hike using the Nkurungu trail that was not officially used before, this meant we were officially opening the trail. I stuffed my day pack with energy drinks, chocolates, energy bars, crisps, sanitizers making sure I had all I needed and that it was not so heavy.

The trek involved us going up and down a few hills, it was a bit tiresome as the sun was hot. We made a few stops under tree shades, munched on some energy bars, drunk some water and went on trekking for 6 hours till we got to our accommodation for the night at the Kebitakuli camp. It was a bit cold in the night, but lucky for us we were sharing tents and had a nice fireplace set right outside to keep us warm. A deliciously made dinner was served, we cracked jokes by the fire place, the guides briefed us about the next day’s journey and went to sleep.

Rwenzori trekking-Day two-Monday 10th July-Kambeho camp

Our day started as early as 6.30am with a warm bath for some of us under some trees, a tasty breakfast of eggs, sausages, bread and milk tea. This was followed by the day’s 5-6hour trek to our intended camp for the night called Kambeho camp at 3700m ASL.

I found the trek very relaxing with plenty of heather trees, Giant Lobelias, a variety of beautiful flower species and vegetation to marvel at along the way. The water flowing down the streams of Mount Rwenzori is so clean, pure and cold.

I must confess drinking water from a stream is not necessarily a good idea, but up in the mountains it´s all pure and safe. We had a few breaks for lunch and relaxation during the day which was lovely as it granted me a perfect opportunity to take memorable photographs.

Rwenzori trekking-Day three-Tuesday 11th July-Mughuli Lake camp

After an early breakfast we were up again for a 6-7hour trek for the day with a climb along the beautiful river Lhume. The vegetation was spectacular, the sceneries were eye catching, my mood and spirits were extremely high. I had plenty of time pretending to be a diva in front of the camera. This was so much fun….we had our regular breaks for energy drinks/bars and Lunch. We set camp at Mughuli lake camp where we did the usual relaxing by the fireplace, cracking jokes, dinner and retiring to bed.

Rwenzori trekking-Day four-Wednesday 12th July-Bukurungu East Lake camp

This was one of the toughest days during the trek. We had two options, to either climb the Portal peak which is 4627m or proceed for a less strenuous 6-7hour trek to the Bukurungu camp which was meant to be our resting camp for the night. As usual, I love to take on a challenge, I agreed to join the group that went up the portal peak. We had to wear gumboots as the ground was boggy and I found myself sinking into it several times, lucky for me my personal guide Denis was always by my side, front or back to hold me at my weakest moments.

Going up the Portal peak was a very steep rocky climb for all of us and extremely energy draining as well. I had to mix lots of glucose in my water to keep my body going. It was a long devastating climb, I remember asking Denis several times if we were almost getting to the top and he always responded with “just a few minutes Madame” but these few minutes turned into hours that I eventually stopped asking. We finally got to the top but felt battered , I could easily compare the portal peak trek to an abusive marriage with a husband that beats the hell out of his wife, not that I have been married before, but portal peak could easily be described a s a husband that beat me up.

Going down the mountain was quite difficult, this I felt was one of the greatest challenges of being tall, my knees felt weak, if it wasn’t for the knee braces that tightly held my knees in place, I suspect my knees would have given way.

We got back to camp relatively late, had a shower, dinner and went straight to sleep. I was too exhausted mentally and physically for any chit-chat with the group.

Rwenzori trekking-Day five-Thursday 13th July-Bujuku hut

After breakfast we were out again, this time for an estimated 5-7 hour trek to the Bujuku hut where we were meant to sleep for the night. My mood was a bit low, I am naturally an introvert and extrovert at the same time, yes I am as confusing as that sounds. I am naturally very friendly and outgoing but I value my personal space a lot as well. Being around 14 other members all the time was starting to frustrate and irritate me, I craved for time alone, I wanted time to mentally reflect, think and derive energy from within. Sadly the group later on mis-interpreted this act as a selfish one, but well I guess I can’t fully explain myself to other people all the time.

I was getting irritated with the constant muddy boggy terrain and am certain my personal guide Denis noticed the look of disgust on my face, he surprised me when he asked me to follow him to a route he said was less strenuous, and just as though my prayers were answered, this was a totally different route from the rest of the group.

Denis and I walked on our own for almost 40 minutes in total silence, my mood was getting better, the terrain much drier and easier to walk on, my pace greatly improved. “Madame you are walking fast” he broke the silence as he looked at me with a smile on his face. He noticed the sudden calm and relaxation on my face compared to a few hours earlier. I laughed hard and took out two mars chocolate bars from my day pack, handed him one and we started to chat.

It finally hit me that I had not said much to him since the trek begun, other than the usual “Madame step here”, “Madame step there” “Madame you are walking too fast or too slow “or “Madame drink some water” it finally dawned on me that we had not said much to each other and I was curious to know all about him.

“Call me Lorna not Madame” I said to him…but after various attempts he failed to pronounce my name right and so we stuck with “Madame”.

I asked Denis about his family, I was impressed that he had only one wife and three children as the majority of African men living in remote areas tend to be polygamous with a large number of children.

I was impressed to know that his children were in school studying, the conversation got very uncomfortable when I asked how much he earned and he said only UGX 10,000 a day, that is about USD 3, Only USD 3 a day and yet he walked tirelessly with my day pack, holding my hand, encouraging me to keep on moving, he dealt with my tantrums, frustrations and mood swings and always remained calm. I have not meant a man with such a calm, patient spirit in a long time, I can tell it’s not all about customer care but he was naturally a very calm man, I doubt he ever got angry in his life, I highly doubt it.

As we kept on talking I found myself more and more confused about his financial situation, not only for him but for all the guides, porters and cooks, according to his revelations they all earned very little and it perturbed me. Denis being my personal guide, I felt a sense of responsibility and asked him to hand me my camera bag, I had hidden some emergency cash just below my camera, I took out a UGX 50,000 note and handed it over to him and then I went ahead and promised to pay school fees for a term for one of his daughters, not because I am rich, but because I felt a need to step in and brighten his life in a way.

Denis´s face brightened up, he was smiling and laughing, he started to talk so fast, he opened up and told me so many stories that I could barely keep up, his English was not so good, I struggled to understand some of the things he said but I was content he was happy.

We got to the central circuit and I was glad with the pieces of timber that were lined up above the bog, this was just a brilliant idea, I remember stopping to take pictures with Denis, we laughed, we jumped up and down, it was so beautiful glazing at Lake Bujuku.

Denis joked about how cold the water was and claimed only the Russians could swim in it.

The rest of the trek towards the camp was interesting, I was glad for taking some time away from the group and bonding greatly with him. I dedicate this day of my hike to Denis….it started on such a bad note but ended up really well.

Trekking the Rwenzori’s- Day 6-14th July 2017-Ellena hut

Before proceeding from Bujuku hut its very important to read the warning information that is stuck on the glass window. Once one is at Bujuku hut they are automatically at the heart of the mystical challenge. I remember reading through the instructions and getting extremely nervous “You should not attempt to go any higher in elevation but descent to a lower hut incase you are coughing, have difficulty in breathing, shortness in breathe, severe headache or nose bleeding” it read.

It is difficult to effect a rapid rescue to Bujuku, Kitandara or Elena huts as they are the worst places to have a serious illness at the central circuit”.

The more I read the more nervous I got. I had been coughing the whole night, had difficulties breathing at one point during my sleep I felt like I was chocking and had to sit up on my bed for almost an hour, I wore five pairs of socks but my feet still felt cold, I noticed some blood when I blew my nose that morning, it was quite obvious the mountain sickness had gotten to me. I quickly swallowed my tablets and tried to remain calm. I remembered how long I had planned for this trip, the amount I spent on the trip and equipment almost USD 850 (I would have flown to Mombasa on holiday and back for this amount), I remembered the pressure and expectations of getting to the peak from friends, family and my poor boyfriend who had to bring me a sleeping bag, skiing glasses, a brand new camera, hiking shoes, warm socks all the way from Norway. A trip he was not even part of but had spent a fortune on. All these thoughts ran through my mind and I decided I was going on till I got to the peak, there was simply no way I could give up at this moment. I would have failed myself and all the people who were looking up to me.

As soon as we were done with breakfast, we posed for some photos with beautiful sceneries at the background and went on with the day´s trek. It was a bit of a tough trek, started off with bog and mud then rocky and steep terrain, the rocks gave me a hard time, Denis had to stretch out his hand every now and then to pull me up, I started feeling the fatigue accumulating around my muscles from days of trekking, I could feel the altitude and that we were elevating fast. We eventually got to camp exhausted after 5-6 hours, we had very few hours to sleep as we had to be up by 2am and begin the walk up the glacier.

Just as soon as we had supper and settled in, we met the guides for a briefing on the do’s and don’ts up the glacier, axes, crampons and harnesses, I was a bit disappointed as the equipment seemed old, the crampons were rusty and felt weak, but I was too exhausted to worry about that and retired to bed for the night.

Trekking the Rwenzori’s- Day 7-15th July 2017-Ellena hut

We were up by 1am and had a quick breakfast to enable us leave by 2am so we up Margherita and down by 10am. It was really dark, I took a dose of acetazolamide to fight the altitude sickness, we all had our head torches firmly strapped on our foreheads, we finally got to the snowline area, wore our crampons and practiced walking on ice, it was a bit hard at the start but eventually eased out.

I took some time to hold the ice in my hands just as I had wanted, it was beautiful, spectacular, the sceneries blew me away…..my dream was starting to turn into reality.

We climbed up and down a few more steep rocks and finally got to the base of the glacier, it was now time to wear the crampons again, get hold of the axes and summit, the time had finally come. I felt nervous and anxious, it looked dangerous, I was not quite familiar with how I would get up there, I had never done this before, it was a mixed feeling of excitement and fear.

Denis asked me to stick to him, there was a gentleman behind him whom I shortly followed, it started out well with us pulling ourselves up with a rope until the situation started to slowly get way out of control.

The guy ahead of me was slowly slipping down because of my weight on the rope, I didn’t know how to use the axe, the guys behind me were yelling at me to get out of the way, I felt so much anger and confusion targeted towards me that I decided to give up.

I remember yelling out to the professional guide named Herbert that was at the base to kindly evacuate me, I had totally lost interest in summiting, all I wanted was to get out of the way, it didn´t matter anymore, It took about 40 minutes for the guide to get to me, I immediately asked him to take me down.

No Madame, you have trekked 6 days to get to this point, I have been watching you, you are a strong woman, follow me and we will get to the top” the rest is history. I forever remain indebted to Herbert, for being extremely professional and encouraging at my weakest moment, I pulled myself to the top, took amazing photos on the Margherita, I was very proud of myself and glad that despite of the negative energy derived from the group, there was one positive person that made my dream come true.

Coming down the glacier was a lot of effort as well, I remember breaking down into tears at some point as I was exhausted, fatigued and dehydrated. Herbert didn’t look so well either, my crampons came off so many times that I nearly gave up and opted to spend a night on the glacier, either way Herbert never gave up on me, I remember us getting down at 7pm. We had spent almost 12 hours struggling to go up and get down, this is not recommended at the glacier as its risky. I was back at the camp by midnight, totally devastated and torn, I had dinner, didn’t bother to have a shower and instantly fell asleep.

Trekking the Rwenzori’s-Day 8-16th July-John Matte hut

The trek down was really painful as my legs were hurting from the previous day, I walked really slowly with Denis, I was very exhausted so we maintained a really slow pace. I spent most of the day taking pictures and wishing to get out of the mountain. The trek took approximately 7 hours, we continued to bond as usual till we got to the camp. I was not comfortable being around the group after all that had transpired at the glacier, I had my supper in silence and spent most of my time outside speaking to the guides, I went to bed early and asked Denis if we could wake up as early as 5 am before the others so that I could leave.

I was up at 4am, packed my bags, woke Denis up and one more guide and we were off on our own. This was one of the best days for I knew I was finally going home, it was also relaxing for me because I was away from the group. We cracked jokes, laughed, finished up my chocolates, we were later joined by two of the other porters who were carrying my heavier bags, we all walked joyfully till we got to the exit gate. I have never felt so relieved to be back to civilization, I quickly signed out as I waited for a boda-boda to pick me up and transport me to the Sandton hotel in Kasese town.

It was very emotional for me to say good-bye to all these lovely people that had carried my bags and guided my walk, they felt like family, we exchanged contacts and bid each other farewell. I was so emotional. I wanted to cry so much. I wished I could offer them a better life, I felt they deserved a much more rewarding pay for their efforts, since I work for a tour company I promised to recommend them to any of my clients or friends who would wish to trek the Rwenzori’s.

One lesson well learnt from the Rwenzori’s is negative people and negative company are dangerous in our lives. We should always try to surround ourselves with positive people especially during strenuous/difficult situations.

I forever remain indebted to Herbert, Denis, Hannington , Robert all the guides, cooks and potters that work tirelessly to ensure we have a safe enjoyable trek yet they earn peanuts for their hard work. It is my wish that one day I will be in a position to transform their lives and ensure they earn a much more rewarding pay.

Nairobi Now News Updates

Nairobi Now – All you need to know ahead of
your next visit to the Kenyan capital

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Date: August 4, 2017 Venue: Choices Basement – Baricho Road Time: from 8 pm Tickets: KES 500 Advance

Nairobi Now

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Le Duc de Praslin invests in smart AND green technologies, again!

USE OF STATE OF THE ART TECHNOLOGIES IS NOW PART OF THE ‘LE DUC DE PRASLIN

(Posted 04th August 2017)

Le Duc de Praslin Hotel & Villas has more recently again invested significantly in some of the latest ‘smart’ technologies to improve on its service delivery. The famous homegrown establishment located at Cote D’Or on the island of Praslin continues to innovate and plan for the future with the installation of sophisticated security cameras and new inverter type air conditioning units.

The latest Daikin inverter air conditioning units in over half the rooms is part of the hotel’s drive to improve on its green label and reduced carbon footprint which in turn assists in reducing the high cost of utilities. Late last year, the hotel embarked on a project to install a significant number of solar panels (the maximum permitted) on the roofs of its main buildings which has contributed in a marked reduction of their electricity consumption. The first phase of the installation of the air conditioning units is a further commitment by the hotel to boost its sustainability credentials and the second phase is expected to be completed at the end of this year, when all the older generation units will be phased out.

As a further boost to improving the safety and security of the hotel and its clients, an investment of about 20,000 US Dollars in over 50 surveillance cameras have been installed throughout the hotel’s premises.

Despite having had no security incidents / misdemeanours over the past 10 years, the management believes that extra security equipment acts as a deterrent and provides more high-tech surveillance of the premises. This is especially so as the hotel has both a beachfront and garden location with several dining and entertainment outlets popular with both hotel guests and outside patrons. The equipment is in no way intruding on clients’ privacy as they have been installed only in public areas.

We are proud to continue our investment in the latest technologies to ensure that the comfort and security of that our clients is enhanced. We have several outlets such as our Chill Out Tapas lounge bar that attracts numerous patrons and it is important that they enjoy a hassle-free experience,” commented Robert Payet, General Manager of Le Duc de Praslin Hotel & Villas.

Beers by Four Points by Sheraton

YOU CAN BE SURE THERE IS A BEER O’ CLOCK AT EVERY FOUR POINTS BY SHERATON

(Posted 04th August 2017)

Marriott International, Inc.

Four Points, a booming Marriott International (NASDAQ: MAR) (www.Marriott.com) hotel brand known for its love of beer, is embarking upon a global trip discovering the world’s Best Brews. The journey kicks off at the new Four Points Manhattan Midtown West on the eve of International Beer Day and will continue across the globe before culminating at the Four Points Barcelona Diagonal in October.

POINT 2: Four Points’ Best Brews Around the World celebrates the brand’s signature initiative, a dedicated program in which each of the brand’s 225+ hotels around the world showcases a local, craft beer which has been chosen based on taste, popularity, quality and proximity to the property. A Best Brew is available on tap at each Four Points, offering travelers an authentic taste of local beer culture wherever their travels may take them.

To add further authenticity and credibility to the Best Brews program, Four Points is enrolling select associates at each “Best Brews Around the World Brew Off” hotel in the globally recognized Cicerone Certification Program. This program is highly regarded in the food and beverage industry and is instrumental with the development of expert beer servers. Each of the selected Four Points associates will train and complete the first of four levels of the Cicerone Certification Program, becoming a Cicerone Certified Beer Server and on-property beer aficionado.

POINT 3: At each stop during the Best Brews Around the World tour, two beers from local craft breweries will go “head to head” (pun intended) for bragging rights and to claim the winning spot as the hotel’s newest Best Brew. The beers will be presented by the breweries and judged by the crowd, comprised of local beer lovers, each hotel’s newly certified Cicerone, and hotel guests. Every “Best Brew Off” competition will be hosted by an influential “beer expert” who will help educate the crowd and cast the final vote. At tonight’s kickoff event at Four Points Midtown Manhattan West (http://APO.af/9338E1), Peekskill Brewery and LIC Beer Project will square off. The evening will be hosted by Bella of “One Hoppy Lady” (www.OneHoppyLady.com).

The upcoming stops on the tour include one in East Africa, namely in Nairobi on the 20th of September at the Four Points by Sheraton in Hurlingham where the daily Happy Hour gives every guest the chance to taste on of their special order in-house brews :

· August 9, 2017 – Four Points Cancun Centro (http://APO.af/yGcF42) (Mexico)

· August 23, 2017 – Four Points Kelowna (http://APO.af/1KY9fF) (Canada)

· September 6, 2017 – Four Points Melbourne Docklands (http://APO.af/IxZX65) (Australia)

· September 20, 2017 – Four Points Nairobi Hurlingham (http://APO.af/iNQseB) (Kenya)

· October 2017 – Four Points Barcelona Diagonal (http://APO.af/AAzEB5) (Spain)

POINT 4: “Four Points has a love for locally crafted beers, which is why we’re traveling to the far corners of the globe to discover the best brews the world has to offer,” said Callette Nielsen, vice president, global brand manager for Four Points. “We know the perfect pint has universal appeal, which is why we’re celebrating International Beer Day with the launch of our ‘Best Brews Around the World.’ From Manhattan to Barcelona and Melbourne to Nairobi, we are taking our love of beer on the road. We invite local beer lovers and thirsty travelers to join us as we discover new Best Brews.”

Constance Ephelia wins award for their ‘Cyann’ restaurant

SEYCHELLES BAGS TWO TROPHIES AT WORLD RESTAURANT AWARD CEREMONY IN HANOI

(Posted 04th August 2017)

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The Seychelles’ Creole cuisine, which combines flavours from French, English, African, Indian, and Chinese cooking is one of the island nation’s unique features.

The Creole food is one of the aspects that tourism operators, especially hotels and restaurants, strive to promote among visitors to Seychelles.

Two restaurants in Seychelles have received accolades at the World Luxury Restaurant Awards, which inspires excellence and ignites healthy competition in the luxury restaurant industry.

The second edition of the World Luxury Restaurant Awards ceremony was held at the JW Marriott Hotel in Hanoi, Vietnam.

Constance Ephelia’s signature restaurant ‘Cyann’ was crowned the Seychelles’ Luxury Resort Restaurant, while CaranaBeach Hotel’s ‘Lorizon Restaurant’ received the award for the Seychelles’ restaurant providing the Best Ambience or Romantic Atmosphere.

The Constance Ephelia resort is located at Port Launay on the western coast of Mahé. Its Cyann Restaurant, which offers a beautiful view over the Port Launay marine park, is open for both lunch and dinner. Guests can expect to experience the precision of French culinary techniques combined with local and Asian influences. The restaurant is known for its sushi and selection of signature dishes.

Commenting on the accolade, Constance Ephelia’s General Manager, Kai Hoffmeister said: ‘I am delighted that our team received this award, because it recognizes all the hard work and effort it has put into keeping our luxury hospitality standards to a higher level‘.

Lorizon restaurant was nominated in the Best Ambiance/Romantic Atmosphere category after representatives of the World Luxury Restaurant Awards visited the restaurant in February this year.

Lorizon is the Creole word for ‘horizon’ as the restaurant provides guests with a dining experience that offers a sweeping view of the ocean, while they savour what the owners describe as their innovative cuisine using products sourced from the Denis Island farm.

CaranaBeach hotel’s Director Alan Mason said: ‘We’re so excited for our team to be awarded with recognition of this calibre. It’s one that recognises how the entire CaranaBeach concept has come together, from the idea stage right through to the execution‘.

The World Luxury Restaurant Awards made its debut in 2016. Restaurants from across the globe are nominated based on three main criteria: interior design, the quality and presentation of the cuisine, and a reputation for excellent service and positive reviews.

According to the World Luxury Restaurant Awards, nominations are done by guests, food critics, bloggers and other relevant experts. The restaurants may also nominate themselves.

The 2017 nominees were competing in 81 different categories.

The final outcome is based on votes received per category and awards are presented on a country, continent and global basis.

In 2016, AVANI Seychelles Barbarons Resort and Spa’s ‘Tamarind Restaurant’ was crowned the Seychelles’ best in Thai cuisine.

For added information about the Seychelles click on www.seychelles.travel or visit www.seychellestourismboard.travel

Brussels Airlines seeks designs for their fifth branded aircraft

MORE PLANES MEANS MORE CREWS ARE NEEDED AT BRUSSELS AIRLINES

(Posted 04th August 2017)

After the summer holidays Brussels Airlines will open a new selection rounds for pilots and cabin crew. In order to prepare for the growth of the airline next year, one hundred recruitments are planned. On top of those, a reserve list will be established.

Brussels Airlines is planning a further expansion of its flight offer next year. In that regard, a total of hundred flight crew will be recruited by the airline later this year. The registrations are now open and will be closed on 31 August. Around 85 flight attendants will be recruited after the selection process in September. Brussels Airlines’ priority is to find motivated candidates with good language skills (Dutch, French, English), with sense of responsibility and initiative, an outgoing personality and a flexible and multiculturalattitude. The airline welcomes candidates with and without flight experience. The successful candidates will receive an internal training before starting their career on the European network.

For its growing fleet, Brussels Airlines will start a cockpit reserve list, from which some twenty pilots will be recruited in the course of the winter. Both young graduates from flight schools as well as experienced pilots are welcomed. The registration will be openedin autumn and will be communicated on brusselsairlines.com/jobs. Brussels Airlines’ Flight Training Department expects to receive several hundreds of resumes and ask candidates to wait for the official launch of the selection procedure.

“We continue to create employment in Belgium. In total we employ more than 3,500 people in Belgium and abroad. Indirect employment amounts to a multitude hereof thanks to our activities at the airport.”

Bernard Gustin, CEO Brussels Airlines

This recruitment is on top of the integration of the flight crew of Thomas Cook Airlines (160 employees), which is foreseen this autumn, on condition of approval by the authorities.

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Brussels Airlines job site

Meanwhile is Brussels Airlines also adding a fifth branded aircraft to their fleet following the immense popularity of Rackham, Magritte, Trident and Amare, Brussels Airlines now goes in search of a fifth Belgian icon to dedicate another one of its aircraft to. Who better to decide than the customers who will fly the four corners of Europe on board of the iconic plane as from next year? That’s why the airline launches a competition to let enthusiasts determine the next Belgian icon to take center stage on their Airbus A320.

As a proud ambassador of Belgium, Brussels Airlines continues its series of special design aircraft, which fly people to the home of famous Belgian characters and events. In 2015, Brussels Airlines presented a first special livery with Rackham, an Airbus A320 painted like the famous shark submarine from the Tintin album “Red Rackham’s Treasure”. Rackham soon became one of the most photographed planes in Europe. One year later, two new Belgian Icons joined Brussels Airlines’ fleet: Magritte, dedicated to the world-renowned surrealist painter René Magritte and Trident, the official plane of the Belgian Red Devils, Belgium’s national football team. This year, the airline presented another Belgian icon: Amare, dedicated to the music festival Tomorrowland, for which the airline flies 10,000 partygoers to Belgium every year.

Brussels Airlines now turns to its customers and fans to ask what they would like to see on the next plane, an idea that sets Belgium apart. Everyone with a heart for Belgium, designer orenthusiast, can send in their written idea or even a plane design. A jury of famous Belgians, including Tomorrowland founders Manu and Michiel Beers, Olympic Gold winner Olivia Borlée, CEO and artistic director of BOZAR Paul Dujardin, CEO of Pairi Daiza Eric Domb, producer and musician Netsky, and Belgian Star Chef Yves Mattagne, will create a shortlist of the two best ideas. The final decision is again taken by the fans. They get to vote for the final winning idea. Next to eternal fame, the winner gets to follow the entire design process and the painting of the Belgian Icon behind the scenes, he or she will be at the frontrow during the big reveal event of the plane and will fly on its maiden voyage. The plane will be presented to the public in March 2018.

“Our Belgian Icons are very well known and are a great tool for people around the world to get to know Belgium. We are a country with many well kept secrets. Everyone knows us for our great beers and chocolate, but most people don’t know that Belgium is also the home of many cartoons, that Belgians invented French Belgian fries, the cassette tape, roller skates and the saxophone. With our Belgian Icons, we aim to put our country on the map, and this time we want our customers to have a say. We hope to get many great ideas for our next Belgian Icon and who knows, we might have to keep some for the 6th one.”

— Bernard Gustin, Brussels Airlines CEO

Ideas and designs for Brussels Airlines’ Belgian Icon contest can be submitted until 31 August at midnight via brusselsairlines.com. The winner will be selected in September. May the best idea win!

Brussels Airlines connects Belgium and Uganda five times a week but also serves Rwanda and Burundi with six and one flights per week respectively.

Ewaso Lions News: Naramat has cubs, Shivani receives PhD, New bus for kids

Ewaso Lions News Updates

Promoting Human-Lion Coexistence in Northern Kenya
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04th of Aug 2017

Naramat gives birth to 4 cubs

b01687d1-1509-453a-be32-58215362693e.jpg

We are really excited to announce that Naramat, the resident lioness in Westgate Conservancy, has given birth to 4 cubs. This is only the third time in 10 years that we know of lionesses successfully breeding within the community landscape, and is the first time that cubs have been born within the Conservation Area. She has moved around with her cubs frequently, especially with the arrival of Loeku and Lguret (see story below), and is managing to cope well during this challenging time.

Click here for more information»

e1fa4c06-23d2-4ab7-9dd3-3de5155b1c8f.jpgMama Simba receive a car & Lion Kids Camp a bus

Thanks to generous supporters, we have been able to purchase two new vehicles: a Suzuki 4WD and a new “bush bus”. The Suzuki, which will be shared between our research and community programmes, will be partly used by our Mama Simba programme and driven by Munteli who passed her driving test in April! CMC Motors in Nanyuki held a lovely surprise handover ceremony where the Mama Simba ladies were presented with the new vehicle. Also, thanks to donors, we received our incredible "bush bus" in July. The arrival of the bus marks an exciting step forward in our quest to scale-up our Lion Kids Camp programme and engage more children from across Kenya in conservation. The bus will also be used by community members for wildlife safaris, exposure tours and training events. It has taken 2.5 years to raise funds for this bus and have it custom-made for the bush, but we managed and our team is thrilled!

Watch the clip to see the ladies receive their car »

93c3c373-599a-43bd-8e12-607e27329633.jpgLions move through a challenging landscape

Since the arrival of the 4 new males in April, we have seen a marked change in the movement patterns of Lguret and Loeku. Fortunately Loeku was collared in February and we have been able to identify new lion corridors and key dispersal zones.

Read on to learn more »

f3189848-5cee-4338-9b36-db79530cf475.jpgShivani receives her PhD from Oxford

We are very excited to announce that our Founder and Executive Director, Shivani, received her PhD from the University of Oxford in England in July. This was a long and challenging journey for Shivani but she is thrilled to have finally achieved this. Her thesis focuses on lions in human occupied landscapes and what they need in order to survive with people.
Read her story here »

102bf4d6-cac2-414b-a14a-3d28afaed935.jpgSolomon heads to university thanks to Jeremy Lucas Education Fund

Our sponsored student, Solomon Lenasalia from Kipsing, secured a place at Kenyatta University in Nairobi to study a Bachelor of Environmental Studies (with a focus on Environmental Resource Management) and will be funded through the Jeremy Lucas Education Fund. Solomon will start his course in September and we are all really excited and so proud of him. Since completing secondary school in 2016, he has been working with the Ewaso Lions team and teaching at our Mama Simba school in Lempaute. Congratulations Solomon!

Learn more about the Jeremy Lucas Education Fund »

443e4ebd-86d2-43f3-a3b5-600139f864bd.jpgEwaso Lions joins hands with ICEA Lion Group to save lions

We are delighted to announce that the ICEA Lion Group, a Kenyan based insurer and financial services company, has partnered with Ewaso Lions on the I See A Lion campaign. The campaign promotes lion conservation across Kenya and spreads awareness about the threats lions face. The ICEA lion team spent time with our warriors in Samburu and produced a short clip about our work conserving lions. They are also supporting our warriors by enabling us to purchase data collection equipment allowing us to monitor wildlife effectively.
Watch the clip to see our team in action »

c735a67a-288c-4a7a-85e5-273df5dbcc40.jpgFeatured Photo

We have a new addition to our camp. Jeneria rescued this little puppy at the end of June from a nearby village. We have named her Nanyori, meaning green, after her beautiful green eyes. We were concerned that Kura our camp dog would not accept her, but both dogs are now finally playing and we are excited to watch this young one grow up at our Ewaso Lions Camp in Samburu.
View image »

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Photos © Ewaso Lions. I See A Lion photo © Jillian Knox

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