Wednesday, April 27, 2011

What everyone is talking about: The Royal Wedding!

In the midst of everything happening in the world, everybody is pretty much aware that in less than 48 hours, the wedding between Prince William and Catherine Middleton is going to take place. The wedding has been dubbed such a big event that at least six out of every ten news channels either on TV, radio or online have the latest news about the wedding!

The 1902 State Landau Carriage set to carry the bride and groom from the service
Interestingly enough, flights to London and accommodation in London have become almost impossible to find availability with their tourism facing a major boost. In Kenya alone, at least two broadcasting TV stations are already advertising of how they will broadcast the whole wedding live!

Following a recent newsletter by the TripAdvisor, they advised of some of the things you could do while in England, or places you could visit. These could be treated as pre or post tours in accordance to the royal wedding!

1. The Tower of London - founded towards end of 1066,built in 1078 and as a part of the Norman Conquest of England.

2. The Beatles Story - Located in Liverpool's historic Albert Dock, the Beatles story is a unique visitor attraction  that is said to transport you on an enlightening and atmospheric journey into the life,times, culture and music of the legendary Beatles.

3. The Roman Baths - After work the Romans enjoyed a public bath at the thermae, something similar to the health clubs that we usually have now. They Baths had reading area, saunas, steams, exercise areas etc. These were considered a  social meeting place.

4. The Royal Pavillion - Located in Brighton, The Royal Pavillion is a former royal residence located built in the early 19th century as a seaside retreat for the prince regent, who later became King George IV, who visited Britain in 1783 due to his physician advising him that the seawater would be beneficial to his gout. This is also where he would meet his companion Ms Fitzherbert although it was illegal due to her Catholic religion.

5. The London Eye - Originally known as the millennium wheel, it was built in the year 2000, used as a metaphor for the end of the 20th Century.The London Eye is also seen as an iconic landmark and symbol of modern Britain.
London Eye

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Maasai Mara goes Holllywood yet again! : Disney African Cats

Disneynature has produced a new film,an epic true story that is said to capture the real-life love,humor and determination about  several lion and cheetah families' adventures while living in this wild and beautiful territory.
Narrated by Oscar nominated actor Samuel.L.Jackson ,The story is that of Mara, an endearing cub who strives to grow in the footsteps of her mother's strength, spirit and wisdom; Sita, a fearless cheetah and single mum of five and Fang, a proud leader of the pride who must defend his family.  African Cats was filmed in the Masai Mara Ecosystem from August 2008 to October 2010, and all animals appearing in the movie were filmed entirely in the wild, frequently within the boundaries of Mara North Conservancy - which is home to 5 prides of lion (amounting to 56 family members), 7 cheetah, and many leopards
Directed by Keith Scholey and Alastair Fothergill, African Cats is set to leave people in awe and promises a better feature than Lion King! The movie is set to open in theaters on Earth day 22nd April 2011. 

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Toxic seaweed blamed for couple's hotel death?

Mystery surrounds the death of two British tourists in Chiang Mai whom authorities in Thailand are claiming died after eating poisonous seaweed.

George and Eileen Everitt from Boston, Lincolnshire, died  barely 3 months after New Zealander Sarah Carter also died in the hotel on February 6th 2011 and a Thai tour guide was found dead there on February 3rd 2011.

A  report from the local police say those guests also died from eating the seaweed, which they say was bought from a local night market.

However, relations and medical experts have disputed these findings with Carter’s father, Richard Carter told the Independent newspaper that he found the investigation “narrow minded” whilst David Mabey, professor of communicable diseases at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, said the Thai authorities’ conclusion that all the deaths were a coincidence was “remarkable”.

Sarah Carter died following a swelling of the heart after becoming ill from food poisoning. The Everitts died after both suffering heart attacks in their hotel room – also thought to be the conclusion to a swelling of the heart.The New Zealand Herald reports son Stephen Everitt as saying: “They were active and healthy for their age and it has come as a total shock. And now they want me to believe they had heart attacks at the same time. It doesn't make sense."

Thai authorities have now asked the World Health Organisation to aid an investigation into the deaths.

Story courtesy of Travelmole Newswire UK

Monday, April 11, 2011

Is China responsible for the killing of African Elephants?

"Ninety percent of all the people who pass through our airports and are apprehended with illegal wildlife trophies are Chinese," These are words uttered by Julius Kipng'etich, director of the Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS).

The facts
Reports have been flying through the media insinuating many blame China for the rise in elephant killings in Africa, with the latest incident to point to these thoughts and trend being witnessed on late last month March 30th when Thai customs seized two tons of ivory hidden in the hold of a ship arriving from Kenyan port of Mombasa. The 247 tusks are estimated to be worth about $3.3 million, illustrating the lucrative nature of a global illegal trade that threatens to decimate Africa's wildlife.

Thailand capture two tons of ivory shipping from Kenya...
2009 was the worst year Kenya had recorded in decades for poaching with 249 elephants killed, up from 140 in 2008 and only 47 in 2007.

How is China implicated?
China is visibly investing highly in Africa every year in deals that swap roads and railways for the minerals and natural resources that contribute to its growing economy with experts calling for the African people to examine the dark side of the Chinese presence in Africa with statements such as "China is the major driver for trade in ivory and that is linked to China's phenomenal economic growth, the level of disposable income there, a re-embracing of traditional culture and status symbols in which ivory plays a role and phenomenal increase of Chinese nationals on the African continent," coming from Tom Milliken, regional director for east and southern Africa at TRAFFIC.
Dead elephants due to poaching
"KWS noticed a marked increase in poaching wherever Chinese labor camps were located and in fact set up specific interdiction efforts aimed to reduce poaching" An embassy cable written by the US ambassador to Kenya, Michael Ranneberger written in February 2010 and published by the website WikiLeaks.

Is it an inside job?
Implications of KWS workers being involved in the trade is a worrying factor with statements such as below causing a panic on whether to trust or not to trust the KWS workers!

"I suspect that a lot of the killing being done in Kenya is carried out by wildlife department personnel.."Peter Younger, Interpol's wildlife crime program manager.

"We are right back where we were in the 1980's. I suspect that a lot of killing that is being done in Kenya is either carried out by wildlife department personnel or with their full connivance," Richard Leaky ,a Kenyan renowned conservationist and former head of the national wildlife authority.

 Kipng'etich however denied any collusion by wildlife officials,saying that if you look at the seizures it was clear they were not coming from government stocks because those were marked with indelible ink in accordance with regulations. He further added that the wildlife service has "counter intelligence" measurse to keep an eye on its own staff,and that any member of staff who was involved in poaching knew the tough consequences; Losing their job and facing to go to jail.

Our question to you is: Who do you think is responsible for the rise of elephants death and the ivory trade?

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Good Safari Guides Go a Long Way!

When planning a safari, most people will think of where will they go? Where will they stay? What will they eat? How will they get there? and many more questions. However, rarely will people think of " who will be my safari guide?" A question that may seem not so important but it is very important.

Why is it important?
A good safari guide ensures that they will take you through the heart of the safari which is the experience in the Jungle. He/ she will make sure that if you are on a game drive and you happen to drive through a Lion, the guide will point out all you need to know or see about that Lion. If you want to know about the culture of the people (say the Maasai), the guide should be able to answer you appropriately. Basically a guide's product knowledge on what he is "guiding" you on, should be super. This is because it means that at the end of your tour, if not all...most of your questions should be perfectly answered.

The Fun must be involved
People usually have a lot of reasons for going on a holiday.One of those reasons being;Fun!! A fun, enjoyable guide will entail that his /her guiding is not turned into a lecture!The last thing you need when you are on holiday is to have someone who drains out the fun of your safari.An energetic,fun and enjoyable guide will definitely make sure your safari experience is remarkable and memorable.So while planning that safari make sure to ask your agent on who your safari guide is?Are they well experienced and have great product knowledge? but most importantly...Is their tour guiding a fun experience? 
Images courtesy of