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General information - Striving To Protect Wildlife and Encourage Responsible Tourism Practices Sun, 19 May 2024 23:52:55 +0000 Joomla! 1.5 - Open Source Content Management en-gb Zanzibar A Tour of the Famous Zanzibar Island

A tour of the famous Zanzibar Island


The Standard
Published on 31/12/2009
By Gilbert Wandera


For those wishing to get away from the hassle and bustle of the Nairobi traffic, Tanzania mainland and Zanzibar are the places to visit.

Friendly people, sandy beaches, good communication and transport systems are just some of the things that make them a must visit. I

made a short visit to the two separated by the Indian Ocean early last month as part of the entourage for the Fifa World Cup Trophy tour sponsored by Coca-Cola.

The one-hour flight aboard Precision Air was one of the first pleasant parts of the trip.

The airline partly owned by Kenya Airways is efficient to the dot and arrives at the Julius Nyerere International Airport right on schedule.

After a smooth check out of the airport, our first stop is the Move and Pick Hotel, a five-star facility in up-market Dar-es-Saalam.

The hotel is an imposing red brick facility and one is soon hit with a welcoming aura as you get in through the revolving doors.

Helpful porters are at hand to usher you and your luggage into your room as soon as you are checked in. The rooms are marvelous with a view of the Indian Ocean not far off. They are fitted with air conditioners to help you cope with the humidity in the Coastal town.

A huge bed decked in fine linen is a tempting welcome after a long journey. The rooms are fitted with LCD television sets and for sports lovers there are all the Super Sport channels for your enjoyment.

For the busy executive who has to be in touch with their office, there is Internet in the room at an affordable cost. The hotel has several restaurants that serve both continental and other types of menus.

Those too tired to go to the restaurant can order room service.

A huge swimming pool is also available for those wishing to keep cool and relaxed.

After a couple of days in Dar-es Salaam, we headed to Zanzibar, a 15-minute flight away. The first thing that hits you as you disembark at the Zanzibar International Airport is the intense humidity.

Forodhani Park

Even when it has rained, the heat can still be unbearable. Considering the huge number of airplanes on the tarmac, it is easy to conclude that many tourists love to visit this beautiful coast.

Various air charter companies ferry tourists to Zanzibar in all manner of aircraft from the smallest that carry just four people to the largest accommodating more than 50 passengers. Zanzibar has many tourist attractions but one of the most famous sites is Forodhani Park. Situated just 10-minutes drive from the airport, the park recently upgraded by the Aga Khan Cultural Foundation at close to Sh210 million, borders the Indian Ocean. It offers a spectacular view of the blue waters with several vessels anchored. The breeze at the sandy beaches is a welcome relief from the tormenting heat. The whole of Zanzibar seems to congregate at Forodhani and this has been a venue for cultural and other events carried out in this Indian Ocean island.

According to Mr Ali Mirza who works with the Zanzibar Tourism Foundation, they have succeeded in marketing the country as a destination for sun, sand and sea.

He said tourism now contributes 10 per cent to the country’s economy following an aggressive marketing campaign undertaken by the company.

"The largest number of tourists comes from Italy due to the fact that we are near Malindi. We also have a lot of tourists visiting from Germany and England. We are also currently looking to attract tourists from the Far East and Russia," he said.

According to Mirza, the foundation is also working on how to attract other Africans to visit Zanzibar. He said they attend many promotions and tourism fairs _in different world capitals and that this has worked to attract many tourists. He admitted that this year’s _economic crisis also affected their tourism industry but aggressive marketing has reversed the situation.

Houses of wonders

"Tourism is an important part of our economy and employs 10,500 people directly and another 45,000 indirectly. We are looking to attract more than 500,000 tourists next year," he revealed.

Situated next to Forodhani Park are ‘two houses of wonders’. These were official residences of the Kings of Zanzibar. They are thought to be oldest buildings in East Africa, built more than 150 years ago. Serena Group is one of the international hotel chains with hotels in the island. Though tiny compared to its other hotels in the region, the Serena Zanzibar Hotel is a popular destination with foreign tourists frequenting it.

The Fairmont Zanzibar Luxury Hotel is another of the more famous hotels here on the North East Coast of Zanzibar, located along a stretch of white sand beach. On offer here includes a wide range of water sports from scuba diving to snorkeling and fishing.

The Fairmont Group also manages several hotels in Kenya among them the Norfolk Hotel in Nairobi, Mt Kenya Safari Club at the foot of Mt Kenya and the Fairmont Mara Safari Club in the Masai Mara.

Article at:

General information Wed, 06 Jan 2010 22:05:43 +0000
general Elephant Teeth Lost to Ike Show Up, Bolivar Man Says,-bolivar-man-says,-bolivar-man-says

Elephant teeth lost to Ike will show up, Bolivar man says


By DIANA HEIDGERD Associated Press
Oct. 16, 2008, 3:55PM
Brian Sattler AP


Roy Davis evacuated his home on Sept. 11, two days before Ike slammed into the Texas coast.

Davis, 57, said today that among the items scattered from his one-bedroom house were prized animal keepsakes from his years working at zoos.

"I probably had 30 pieces of modern-day elephants," he said. "They shed their teeth. They wear them down."

Two treasured elephant teeth have now been returned to Davis, after media reports about the discovery of what appeared to be an unusual fossil on the beach.

Davis says he lived a couple of doors down from Lamar University educator Dorothy Sisk, whose house in the Caplen community also was destroyed by Ike.

Sisk and a Lamar colleague, paleontologist Jim Westgate, went to the area a few days after the Sept. 13 hurricane to see what was left of her place.

They came upon a 6-pound tooth that Westgate recognized as a tooth from a mammoth common to North America until about 10,000 years ago. Eventually, the teeth made it back to Davis after media accounts surfaced about a fossil possibly washing ashore.

Davis, superintendent of Lake Houston Park, is making his interim home in a travel trailer since Ike.

He has had the mammoth's tooth since the mid-1980s, when it turned up at a construction site in Tyler. At the time, Davis was head elephant trainer at Caldwell Zoo.

The native of Moore, Okla., says the African elephant tooth came from when he was working at the Oklahoma City Zoo. An elephant named Timboo died in the 1970s.

"Since I was the only one that could handle the animal at the time, they gave it to me as a remembrance," he said.

As for the rest of his elephant items?

"They're still somewhere on the beach down there," Davis said. "None have shown up yet. They may. If they don't, they'll turn up 10-15 years from now."

Article at:

General information Fri, 17 Oct 2008 21:59:26 +0000
Namibia waste - don't litter't-litter't-litter Few things in today's day and age are more tiresome than litter. And far from wanting to patronise my readers with yet another lecture on littering, one can not help but notice the carelessness with which Namibians, as well as visitors to our country, abuse the sensitive environment per se as a rubbish dump. Particularly after the Christmas holiday season and on weekends the road verges of our national carriers have to shoulder this burden.

Indeed it is poor reflection of our society that we would rely on sub-contractors to clean up our road verges. And to boot, said contractor merely collected the trash only to cart it a few kilometres away from the tarmac and dump it in the open landscape. Whether he intended to bury it at a later stage or not is irrelevant - the hypocrisy of the matter remains that tourists commend us on the cleanliness of our country. If we reflect on the statistics for a second we end up with a desperately miserable failure indeed: how can a country of barely two million inhabitants deem it necessary to employ subcontractors to clean up the countryside, when a mega-million city like Singapore can be spotless without even employing street-sweepers?

Yes, littering is a punishable offence by law even in Namibia, but has anybody ever been convicted? The fact remains, litter is not only a scourge defacing our landscape - which is ever so noticeable with its sparse vegetation - but it is also a hazard to our ecology. Toxins from inks and bleached labels leach into the soil and broken bottles and razor sharp can-edges pose a threat to our wildlife.

The synthetic fabric of cigarette butts will not decompose even under the most favourable conditions in less than thirty years, i.e. when buried in moist climates. The same goes for beer cans: Recently I discovered a cache of old beer cans in a sandy river bed that still bore the label of the old South West Breweries. Apart from the fact that the cans had not rusted (the labels were slightly bleached), the perennial torrent had unearthed a pseudo-aesthetic placebo.

How to deal with trash then when going out into the wilderness? For starters, when you do your tour-shop keep in mind that there will be no garbage collectors 'out there' and that in today's age of excessive wrapping every extra piece of cellophane or plastic could be a potential littering agent. (Even the wrappers of sweets dished out to kids in the countryside most often will be carelessly discarded; as are wrappers for drinking straws attached to some of fruit juice brands.)

Take along extra-strong trash bags. You will be amazed at the amount of garbage a small party of even five can generate over just two or three days. Woven bags are the most durable, because invariably they end up strapped onto the roof of your four-wheel drive for another few days until you can find a suitable dump site. Burn as much as you can, but remember that the aluminium liners of milk and cigarette boxes do not burn or melt at such low temperatures. Those need to be extracted from the ashes afterwards or are disposed beforehand.

Organic waste can be buried at a suitable site away from camp in order to decompose, but preferably not in a sandy riverbed where it could be washed up during the next rainy season. Egg-shells, banana peels, apple cores and, worst of all, orange peels will not be eaten by gerbils or other wildlife critters when flung into a nearby bush and they will certainly not decompose, but instead just turn to unsightly litter.

Avoid taking glass or bottles to the bush - they break and take up space. Cans at least can be crushed and returned to a Collect-A-Can depository and cartons or boxes burned. Make a point of informing your fellow campers of the situation even at the danger of sounding condescending (as I am now) and what system or programme you are following to combat it. In future Namibia will hopefully actively endorse recycling programmes which will make it possible for us to return most of our trash from the bundus.
General information Sun, 28 Jan 2007 18:33:00 +0000
general driving through southern africa Visiting Namibia, Zambia, Zimbabwe and Botswana

Africa is undoubtedly the most scenic and exciting continent in the World, with its vast open spaces, variety of Fauna, Flora, with its very impressive variety of birds, reptiles, wild and marine life and the place to visit on the African continent is - Namibia.

Many tourists visiting our beautiful Namibia often find themselves short of money, because they have not been informed correctly of the extra costs when deciding to visit the neighbouring countries in the north- eastern part of Namibia, being Zimbabwe, Zambia, and Botswana. I have outlined each country separately, as each country has different fees and charges.

All countries require your vehicle papers and proof that you are either the owner or have permission to take the vehicle out of the country. To help you budget for your hassle - free holiday, I have put together some important information.

To enter Namibia from South Africa, Zambia, Botswana, and Zimbabwe:

(1) All foreign registered vehicles entering into Namibia must pay cross border charges obtainable at all Borders

(2) Keep the CBC voucher in your car at all times

(3) When you depart from Namibia hand in your CBC at your exit border post

(4) Costs: N$ 120 per vehicle, N$80 for trailer - one way only

(5) Should you wish to re-enter Namibia you will have to pay again

To depart from Namibia to a neighbouring country with a Namibian registered vehicle you require the following:

(1) Namibian registered vehicles leaving Namibia require a valid police clearance, valid for 3 months. Cost N$ 30, even if your vehicle is a hired Namibian registered vehicle. This is obtainable at a police station (if in Windhoek) go to traffic office (Mon to Fri) at least two weeks before departure. The office is not open weekends or public holidays.

Car hire vehicles:

It is important that you inform your car hire dealer that you wish to travel out side the country with their vehicle, so that they can give you all the necessary papers for your travel. Please state that you wish to visit all countries in case you should want to visit another country which is near by.

To enter Botswana you require the following:

When you enter Botswana either from South Africa, Zambia, Zimbabwe or Namibia and wish to re-enter again into Botswana, Please ask for a double entry, as the single entry is for one way.

(1) Costs: double entry Pula 90, single Pula 50, insurance P 20, valid for a year

(2) Should you wish to cross from Zambia into Botswana with the ferry at Kazangula

(3) The ferry costs are extra: U$ 25 or Pula 125 per vehicle and 2 Pula per person

NB: No meats, dairy products, tined meat, tin fish, egg, poultry etc. are allowed into Botswana - from - Namibia - Zambia or Zimbabwe, unless a permit is obtained before entry. Only certain products may be brought in from South Africa, but again these laws could change as well. It is far better to buy what you require once you are in the country that you are visiting and support the local market, than to try and obtain a permit, an original must be produced at the point of entry. To be quite honest most big towns that you are visiting will have all the stocks you require, and there is not much difference with prices, if you think of all the hassles of trying to get a permit. Permits are only available from their offices in Botswana. So in other words you must first go to Botswana or have them courier the permit as a faxed copy is not acceptable. Should you buy groceries in Botswana, and then visit Namibia or Zambia or Zimbabwe and wish to go back via Botswana, you may not take these groceries back into Botswana even though they were purchased in Botswana, unless you have a permit for them. So the bottom line is: finish everything that you have bought.

To enter Zimbabwe you require the following:

All foreign passport holders except SADC require a visa which is obtainable at their borders. Costs in foreign currency - not in Namibian dollars:

U$ 30 single, U$ 45 double

Euro 25 single, Euro 40double

British P 55 single, British P 70double

Rands 210 single, Rands 390 double

All foreign registered vehicles to pay the following:

Carbon Tax: Rand 140, Pula 90, U$ 15, valid one month

Toll Fee: Rand 60, Pula 50, U$ 10, one way

Insurance: R150, valid one month

Hired Vehicle: R200, valid one month

Commercial - T/0: R300, valid one month

To enter Zambia you require the following:

All vehicle papers same as above. Visas required the same as Zimbabwe and obtainable at their borders.

Insurance for all vehicles: N$ 250

Local road tax: N$ 75

Please make sure that your vehicle has red triangles in the car in case you break down, they are required by law in Zambia. Should you not have them you could pay a spot fine of R 100. If you should be fined for anything in any country, always ask for an official receipt. Fines are sometimes payable in the currency of the country, so ensure that you always have some cash in the country's currency on hand.

Use of credit cards:

It is advisable to use your credit card where possible. Petrol stations in Namibia only accept Garage Cards, Botswana (big towns) accept your master/visa cards at petrol stations. Always keep some cash in the local currency on hand. Credit cards can now be used to enter Chobe National Park, at SEDUDU. Main entrance in Kasane, but not at the other park entrances.

In Zambia most hotels accept master/visa cards. It is not advisable to use your credit card in Zimbabwe, rather change your forex at the local Banks. Never change money in any country off the streets - it is illegal and you could end up paying for fake money.

Please make sure that your passports are valid of six months or more. Never leave your passports or car papers in your vehicle, and try and park your vehicle in view of all. Never walk alone at night in any country.

NB.Some countries' driver's licences have expiry dates - please check that your licence has not expired. Namibians, please check yours.


Should you require a visa to enter Namibia:

(1) You must obtain the Visa before you leave your country

(2) If you plan to leave Namibia and re-entry Namibia you require a double-entry, as these Visa's are only obtainable outside of Namibia otherwise you will not be allowed back into Namibia, as no visas are available at Namibian borders

(3) This applies to Botswana as well

(4) Visa for Zimbabwe and Zambia are available at all their borders

Currencies that can be used:

Namibia dollars N$ can only be used in Namibia. U$ dollars can be used in all countries, but make sure that you have some. Small notes available, as many places do not have change in the Currency that you are using. Euro, Rands, Pula can be used as well, but are not as popular as the U$ note.

Borders do not take traveller cheques. These can be used at holiday resorts and at some shops. Always ask before you purchase something.


All roads from Cape Town to Lusaka are in good condition and fully tarred. Precaution should always be taken when travelling on gravel roads in any country.

Should you require further information for latest updates on border charges - or any other information on the Caprivi or other Regions - please feel free to email us a Please note that the above prices are subject to change.

Compiled by Valerie Sparg

Kalizo Lodge

Caprivi, Namibia
General information Sun, 28 Jan 2007 18:27:00 +0000
Namibia Namibias Geography

Namibia Geography

Kunene River in KaokolandWith an areal of approximately 824.000 square km, Namibia is more than tripple the size of Great Britain. The north-to-south length of the country is 1500 km, while the east-to-west width is around 600 kilometres in the south and 1100 kilometres in the north. The population density is very low (1,8 million people), amounting to 2,2 inhabitants per sqkm. The main reason for this being the harsh desert and semi-desert conditions and the resultant scarcity of surface water. With the exception of the border rivers - Orange in the south and Kunene, Okavango and Zambesi in the north - there are only dry rivers in Namibia.They are called "Riviere" and only flow periodically during the rainy season, sometimes just for a few days or even hours.

Namibia can be divided into four major geographical segments. In the west stretches the Namib Desert with hardly any vegetation. It reaches from the north of South Africa up to Angola. The desert belt has a width of about 100 kms in the south and 1100 kms in the north, gets up to 600 metres high and is characterised by mighty expanses of sand dunes in its central part. In the north and the south it has predominantly gravel fields. Towards the inland, the desert belt is followed by the "Escarpment", a mountain wall of up to 2000 metres. Namibia's highest mountain is the Brandberg with a height of 2579 m.

The Escarpment changes into the Central Plateau which slowly descends towards the east. The heights of the central highland vary between 1100m and 1700m. The majority of the Namibian towns and villages lie on this plateau, like the capital of Windhoek at 1654 metres above sea-level. Further to the east lies the Kalahari Basin, also part of the plateau, which reaches heights of 1000m in places. It is characterised by wide sandy plains and long-dunes with scarce vegetation. Another distinct geographical area, is the north-east in the relatively rainy Kavango and Caprivi region. It is flat and covered with dense bushveld.

Simply put, average rainfall increases from the south-west to the north-east. The annual amounts vary between 50 mm in the Namib and 700 mm in the Caprivi. In years of drought, like 1991 to 1993, they can even be much lower than that.

Rain mostly comes from the north-east between December and February, when humid, unstable air masses approach from the tropical part of Africa and reach Botswana and Namibia, causing strong thunderstorms with torrential rains. Most of the rainwater evaporates immediately or is channelled away as sheet flow without being absorbed by the vegetation. However, due to water-impermeable layers of clay and stone, the groundwater is collected and is eventually used by the surrounding settlements and farms.

Part of the annual rainfall is collected in dams, the biggest of them being Hardap Dam near Mariental with a capacity of 300 million cubic metres. The water supply remains, on account of the growing population, a major problem for Namibia. There are, for example, plans to build a pipeline from the Okavango to Windhoek, but Botswana fears changes in the ecology of the Okavango Delta and opposes the project.

General information Sat, 27 Jan 2007 15:31:00 +0000
Rwanda Tour Operators and Travel Agents


P.O Box 6025
Telephone: (+ 250) 08524799
Telephone: (+ 250) 08744129
African Jacana Tours and Travel Avenue de la Paix
BP 3455 Kigali
Tel: 0250 571131 / 518017
Fax: 0250 82572
Albertine Safaris B.P 2755, Kigali, Rwanda
Tel: (250) 08461256 / 08484813
International Tours and Travel Ltd SORAS Building, Boulevard de la Revolution
Tel: 0250 574057 /578831/2
Fax: 0250 575582
Kiboko Tours & Travel Avenue de la PAIX
1st floor
Kigali Centre
Tel: 0250 501741 /520118 /520119
Fax: 0250 501741


Boulevard de la Revolution
SORAS Building
Tel : + 250 575566 /575988
Fax : + 250 574452
Primate Safaris Avenue des Mille Collines
Tel: 250.501934
Fax: 250.574513
Rwanda Eco-Tours Aigle Blanc House, Offic No.13,
Boulevard de l Umuganda
P.O.Box 6292 Kigali
Tel: 250.580228
Fax: 250.580228
Satguru Travel & Tours Service Avenue du Commerce
BP 2111 Kigali
Tel: 0250 572643 / 573079
Fax: 0250 573853
The Travel Company P.O. BOX
3090 Kigali, Rwanda
Tel: 0250 505151
Fax: 0250 505251
Thousand Hills Expeditions BP 3090 Kigali- Rwanda
Tel: 0250 505151
Fax: 0250 505252
Volcanoes Safaris

P.O BOX 1321, Kigali
Tel: 0250 576530

Box 22818
Tel: +256 41 346464/5, +44 207 235 7897


Wild Frontiers P.O Box 844
Halfway House 1685
South Africa
Tel: +27 11 7022935
Fax: +27 11 4681655
World Wide Movers BP
Tel: 516221



Changa Travel Agency BP 3246 Kigali
Tel: 0250 577564 / 577103
Fax: 0250 577669
Concord Rwanda Sarl International Travel Bureau BP 4152 Kigali
Boulevard de la Revolution
SORAS Bulding
Tel: +250 575566 / 575988
Fax: + 250 574452
International Tours Agency BP 502 Kigali
Bd de la Revolution
Tel: 0250 572113
Fax: 0250 572113
Rwanda Travel Bureau BP 1395 Kigali
Tel: 0250 577777 / 578560
Fax: 0250 578565
Travel Agency Services BP 3859 Kigali
Tel: 0250 574990
Fax: 0250 571138
Top Travel Tours 10 Bd de la Revolution
BP 10 Kigali
Tel.: 0250 578646 / 572552 /085 03606
Fax: 0250 573853
General information Mon, 18 Dec 2006 13:26:00 +0000
Rwanda General Travel Guide for Rwanda

About Rwanda

Rwanda is a landlocked republic in Equatorial Africa, situated on the eastern rim of the Albertine Rift, a western arm of the Great Rift Valley, on the watershed between Africa's two largest river systems: the Nile and the Congo. Much of the country's 26,338 km2 is impressively mountainous, the highest peak being Karisimbi (4,507m) in the volcanic Virunga chain protected by the Parc des Volcans. The largest body of water is Lake Kivu, but numerous other lakes are dotted around the country, notably Burera, Ruhondo, Muhazi and Mugesera, some of which have erratic shapes following the contours of the steep mountains that enclose them.

Primarily a subsistence agriculture economy, Rwanda nonetheless produces for export some of the finest tea and coffee in the world. Other industries include sugar, fishing and cut flowers for export.

Travel Guide


Office Rwandaise du Tourisme et des Parcs Nationaux (ORTPN)
The Rwanda Tourism Board
Boulevard de la Révolution n° 1
PO Box 905
Kigali, Rwanda
Tel (250) 576514 or 573396
Fax (250) 576515


All International flights arriving in Kigali are with SN Brussels, Kenya Airways Ethiopian Airlines, Air Burundi and Rwandair Express.

All international flights arrive at Kigali International Airport,10 Km from central Kigali. There are two flights a day from Nairobi, two per week direct from Brussels and two per week from Johannesburg.

For information on connections from Nairobi Entebbe and Johannesburg,
please contact RWANDA AIR EXPRESS

A valid passport is mandatory. Visas, required by all visitors except nationals of the USA, UK, Germany, Canada, Uganda, Tanzania, Kenya, Burundi, Democratic Republic of Congo, Sweden, Mauritius, South Africa and Hong Kong, cost USD 60 and can be bought upon arrival.

The unit of currency is the Rwanda franc. The US dollar is the hard currency of preference. It may be impossible to exchange travellers' cheques away from the capital. Credit cards are usually only accepted at the major hotels in Kigali.

In addition to the indigenous language of Kinyarwanda, French and English are official languages. French is widely spoken throughout the country. In the capital and other tourist centres, many people speak English.


Good Friday and Easter Monday, which fall on variable dates, are recognised in Rwanda. Other public holidays are :
1 January (New Year's Day);
1 February (National Heroes Day);
7 April (Genocide Memorial Day);
1 May (Labour Day);
1 July (Independence Day);
4 July (National Liberation Day);
15 August (Assumption Day);
1 October (Patriotism Day);
25 December (Christmas Day), and
26 December(Boxing Day).

Rwanda can be visited throughout the year. Gorilla tracking and other forest walks are less demanding during the drier months. The European winter is the best time for birds, as Palaearctic migrants supplement resident species.

Dress codes are informal. Daytime temperatures are generally warm, so bring lots of light clothing, supplemented by light sweaters for the cool evenings and heavier clothing for the Parc des Volcans and Nyungwe. When tracking gorillas, wear sturdier clothing to protect against stinging nettles, and solid walking shoes. A hat and sunglasses provide protection against the sun, and a waterproof jacket may come in handy in the moist mountains.

Binoculars will greatly enhance game drives and forest walks, as will a good field guide to East African birds. Bring a camera and an adequate stock of film. Print film is available but transparency film is not. Toiletries and other essentials can be bought in the cities.

Rwanda has an excellent cell phone network covering almost the entire country.
International phone calls can be made easily. Appropriate SIM cards for the network are readily available everywhere, even in remote towns, and cell phones can be purchased or rented from major shops in Kigali. Most towns of any size will have several Internet cafes and computer centres.

Rwanda has possibly the best roads in East Africa. Most visitors who have booked through a tour company will be provided with good private vehicles, usually 4-wheel drive. All of the major centres are connected with local and luxury bus services. Air charter services are available anywhere in the country and well advertised.

The fine road network, with little traffic, offers wonderful opportunities for long bicycle trips across the verdant hills and valleys. Mountain biking and hiking can be enjoyed on the thousands of kilometres of fine rural trails linking remote villages, criss-crossing the entire country.

Gorilla Permits can be arranged by a travel operator, or can be purchased directly through the Office Rwandaise du Tourisme et des Parcs Nationaux (ORTPN) / The Rwanda Tourism Board, at the headquarters in Kigali, or at their office in Ruhengeri.

A certificate of yellow-fever vaccination is required. Much of Rwanda lies at too high an elevation for malaria to be a major concern, but the disease is present and prophylactic drugs are strongly recommended. It is advisable not to drink tap water. Bottled mineral water can be bought in all towns. Hospitals are located in all major towns.

A combination of tropical location and high altitude ensures that most of Rwanda has a temperate year-round climate. Temperatures rarely stray above 30 degrees Celsius by day or below 15 degrees Celsius at night throughout the year. The exceptions are the chilly upper slopes of the Virunga Mountains, and the hot low-lying Tanzania border area protected in Akagera National Park. Throughout the country, seasonal variations in temperature are relatively insignificant. Most parts of the country receive in excess of 1,000mm of precipitation annually, with the driest months being July to September and the wettest February to May.


General information Mon, 18 Dec 2006 13:15:54 +0000
general The Nicholls Spinal Injury Foundation

The Nicholls Spinal Injury Foundation


The charity is led by world-renowned chef, David Nicholls, whose family encounter with spinal injury has driven this opportunity for funding research to enable patients with spinal injury to walk again.

David is the Executive Chef and Director of Food and Beverage at the Mandarin Oriental Hyde Park. He is a world-renowned chef and has enjoyed a successful and varied career, being the youngest ever recipient of a Michelin star at the age of twenty-two.

In 2003, David's 19 year old son was enjoying a gap year in Australia when a freak swimming accident led to him being paralysed from the arms down. With little movement in his hands, he is termed tetraplegic and has received significant care at Stoke Mandeville hospital.


The Foundation is dedicated to raising funds to further 3 primary objectives. Its unambiguous remit is to fund a chosen few substantial medical projects which promise significant advance in these areas.

  • Expand spinal injury research and development
  • Encourage stem-cell research and surgery
  • Promote post-cure rehabilitation for spinal injury patients

Regrettably, the Foundation cannot support grant applications for individuals.


The Foundation is run by a small group of committed, hands-on trustees who devote their personal time to managing and administering the Foundation's activities.

It buys in a limited level of professional administrative and fundraising support and has no office base, operating instead from Trustees' and staff's personal office bases to help minimise administrative costs.

For further information please contact:

The Nicholls Spinal Injury Foundation
Arch Villa, 23 High Street, Bozeat, Northants. NN29 7NF.
Telephone: 01933 664437

(The Nicholls Spinal Injury Foundation is a registered charity, number 1107671)


General information Mon, 30 Oct 2006 11:15:00 +0000
Tanzania AWF - Concerns on Water Project

AWF Responds to Concerns About Water Harvesting Project


Concerns have recently been raised about a water harvesting project in Ol Tukai village in northern Tanzania after reports that three zebra died after falling into water trenches. AWF would like to provide the following information regarding this project.

Ol Tukai village is one of the two villages neighboring Manyara Ranch and specifically mentioned as beneficiaries in the title for the Tanzania Land Conservation Trust (TLCT).

A serious problem facing these pastoral villages is the availability of both ground and surface water after many years of drought. When rains do come, the ground is largely bare and so compacted that most of water runs off quickly and is lost.

One of the roles of the TLCT is to pilot the use of technologies and methods that may assist in the sustainable management of rangelands in East Africa, such as those around Manyara Ranch. The project in Ol Tukai was designed with technical assistance from the Westerveld Conservation Trust (WCT) in the Netherlands which specializes in innovative water harvesting techniques. A series of water trenches of varying sizes in a specific formation is used to capture and slow the run off from seasonal rains, allowing them to percolate slowly into surrounding land, restoring the water table, and re-hydrating the soils, and eventually improving surrounding vegetation. The project to pilot this approach in Ol Tukai was approved by village officials and was also endorsed by the Board of Trustees of the TLCT, chaired by Tanzania’s Prime Minister.

The recent death of three zebra in one of the larger water harvesting trenches is truly regrettable. At the same time, however, AWF and the TLCT are confident that the net benefit to zebras and other wildlife from the complete package of conservation projects being implemented in the area far outweighs this unfortunate accident. Hundreds of migratory mammals in northern Tanzania lose their lives crossing water ways each year in the natural course of events.

Following these zebra deaths, TLCT staff have consulted with Ol Tukai village members who were emphatic that they want to proceed with the water harvesting project and do not want the trenches filled in. As a mitigation effort to try to avoid further deaths, the villagers and the TLCT have agreed to construct a thorn barrier around the deepest water trenches. This barrier will be made using a thorny plant that has been invading the ranch, thus addressing an additional conservation issue.

For further information on this project or other AWF activities in the Maasai Steppe, please contact Dr. James Kahurananga at

General information Wed, 19 Jul 2006 13:25:00 +0000
general Photographers Guide

Taking photographs in Africa

Remember that wildlife behave most naturally if they forget human presence, so try to whisper. The best scenes result from patience and generous distance. If an animal doesn’t do what you would like it to do, it will have a reason for it. Please don’t yell, throw something, feed or scare the animals in any way. Although we see the animals feeding most of the time, this doesn’t mean, they are abound in food. For this reason, and the mid day heat, they save their energy during the day. Chasing a cheetah mother with her cups out of her hiding just so you get a better photo, can be costing the whole family’s life. Sounds exaggerated? There is a constant fight for pray between the predators. A lion that sees a helpless cheetah mother due to her cups, will take the chance to kill her once your car is gone.
Please refrain from taking any photographs at airports, harbours, or government buildings as this is considered illegal in many African countries.
If you want to take photographs of local people, you must ask permission and expect to tip them. It is best to check with your driver/guide first. Especially the Masai have learned to take good money for photos and the price will not always be according to your expectations. If so, don’t take the photo. It is their right just like anyone else’s to ask for a price, and it is your right to leave it. The same applies to visits to the Manyatta ritual of the Masai.


The scenery in Kenya is superb, the earth deep red, and the vegetation can be very lush. Wildlife and vegetation offer the full range from soft blending colours to combinations of bright colours offering immense contrast. It also depends where you go. Beaches, palm trees, sea and sky will probably be emphasized by a good Fuji Film whereas on safari you might want to take a Kodak to underline the red of the soil. Also, keep in mind that Kenya is right on the equator. The sun gets harsh late in the morning so that high-contrast films become inappropriate, roughly from 10am to 4pm on a sunny day.
Depending on the locations you visit, one can easily shoot 10 rolls of film a day. For a two-week trip, we could be talking about 100 rolls of film. The price difference between 100 rolls of E200 and grey-market Elite II is pretty significant. Unless you have reasons to get "pro film" such as E100S/SW, an amateur may be better off using either Sensia II or Elite II as their main film. A must is however, the Velvia for locations like the Lake Baringo, Bogoria or Nakuru for the flamingos, but also the rich sunsets, nutritious soil and dense bush by the rivers come out really well on Velvia. If you wish to make prints rather than slides, I suggest Reala and Super G 800.
For those who are making these "once in a lifetime" trips to such remote locations, make sure you bring at least two camera bodies in additional to plenty of film. In particular, the game parks are very dusty. If the only camera body you have with you malfunctions at a remote location, you are completely out of luck regardless of how many rolls of great film you have with you.
Make sure you keep your equipment in a dust free place (maybe a box with rubber seal), and tuck it away the moment you don’t use it. Keep a soft towel in reach to clean the equipment regularly. You will mostly be driving around with an open roof on dust roads and when you stop to take a photo, the moment you pop out your camera, all the dust from the car catches up with you and covers your lens.
The wide range of colours, contrasts and light available will demand a change of film all the time. The more camera bodies you have to “change film”, the better. Remember, the animals won’t wait or continue their action for you until you have replaced the film. You will have enough to do by changing lens.
If you buy your films at home or on arrival depends on you. They are likely to be cheaper in your home country and you are more likely to get exactly those you want, but due to the x-ray on the plane, you might want to put them in your hand luggage and depending on the amount you buy, this might be a bit inconvenient. Also, the heat doesn’t do them all too well. Depending on your itinerary you might want to buy some in Nairobi and some in Mombasa. Of course, the lodges sell films too, but not at the price you expect.
I suggest a 12-24mm lens for vast plains and herds but you will be surprised in how many other situations you will make use of them. A zoom won’t be of much use when an elephant of 4 meters height stands just a couple of meters away, or a cheetah jumps onto the bonnet of your car.
Of course you won’t get around a proper tele (zoom) either. I expect, at 400mm you will reach your limits in holding it still.
Of course a UV- and/or Skylight Filter should be on every lense for protection and use.
A polarisation filter helps a lot during the day at the water holes, rivers and sea side.
Other equipment
Sometimes a cotton sack of rice gives you a nice “lens pillow”, but with the engine running or the wind moving the car, even this might fail. A tripod could be useful for some scenic shots and photographing tame birds and small mammals (such as mongooses) in the camp grounds, but keep in mind that you're not allowed out of a vehicle in African National Parks. Far more important is the good bean bag like the large Kirk Hugger.
  • extension cable/adapter for British sockets
  • Rain protection for camera
  • Cleaning utilities
  • Dustproof case for equipment
  • Tripod or better, monopod
    You will be out in there in the middle of nature. There is no socket on the third tree to your left. Please remember to take sufficient batteries with you. Camps often use solar or generator power. Especially at night, the production is reduced to a minimum which can mean that you will not find your batteries fully charged the over night. A battery charger for the car could be an option depending on how you travel. 2 - 3 sets for each camera are reasonable.
    Digital cameras
    Unless you want to take your laptop into the dusty National Parks, you should have plenty of storage space. As mentioned before in the “analogue part” you can easily take up to 300 photos a day that you want to keep!! And you won't get around to sorting them out during the day, so you will have much, much more. Please don’t reduce the size of the picture on the card, if you take a great shot and want to enlarge it later, you will have a nervous breakdown. An external hard disk can help out well here.
    Please view also our Comments from members.
    If you have anything to add about digital cameras and video recording, please leave your comment.
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    General information Mon, 05 Jun 2006 15:47:00 +0000