TOURISM NEWS from the Eastern African and Indian Ocean region
Reports, Travel Stories and Opinions
By Prof. Dr. Wolfgang H. Thome
Fourth edition July 2010
GEO LODGES MIX ART AND SAFARI
The Uganda based GeoLodges, formerly known as ‘Inns of Uganda’ has recently started to promote local artists and art pieces through their ‘Art on Safari’ initiative. Presently about 90 art pieces are on display in the group’s four lodges, Nile Safari Lodge just outside Murchisons Falls National Park, the award winning RainForest Lodge in Mabira forests (between Kampala and Jinja), Jacana Safari Lodge on Lake Nyamusingire / Queen Elizabeth National Park and the Silverback Lodge just outside Bwindi Impenetrable Forest ‘Gorilla’ National Park. It is understood that the 5 chosen artists were involved in selecting their respective works to fit the particular location where they are now on display and a specially designed catalogue will give visitors to those lodges an idea what is on offer.
Guests staying at the lodges can purchase the art pieces, which are then packed and taken to Kampala before tourists taken them home as lasting souvenirs, in the process supporting the promotion of local arts.
The exhibition will initially run until end of September but may, depending on the success, become a regular feature.
UGANDA WILDLIFE AUTHORITY COMMENCES ‘MAILSHOT MARKETING’
UWA, the national body entrusted with the management of the country’s protected areas and wildlife conservation, has started to send out ‘mail shots’ via email, to showcase the abundance of birds, wildlife and highlight the amazing biodiversity of Uganda, rightly called the ‘Pearl of Africa’.
The first such ‘shot’ took aim at the over 1.000 species of birds found in Uganda, making it arguably the richest bird watching destination in Eastern Africa and the continent, and a potential magnet for ‘birders’ wanting to see this rich variety of migratory and resident birds across the country, not just in the national parks but also in the forests, which may yet hold hitherto undiscovered species.
For intending visitors but also for those just ‘browsing’, please visit www.ugandawildlife.org, or see the site of the Uganda Tourist Board via www.visituganda.com for more information on our many national parks and game reserves and join www.friendagorilla.org where you can make donations towards gorilla conservation from as little as 1 US Dollar, when you make friends on Facebook with one of the dozens of habituated gorillas across the two national parks Bwindi and Mgahinga, where those amazing creatures ‘live’.
SWISS COMPANY BUYS SHELL’S AFRICAN RETAIL NETWORK
While another fuel shortage has hit the Ugandan market in recent days – ostensibly caused by another ill thought out move by the Kenyan tax authority, now requiring electronic tagging of lorries carrying fuel for onward transport into the wider region – news broke that Shell had finally signed a deal with a buyer. Swiss company Vitol apparently led a consortium making the best bid, speculated to be in the region of up to 1.5 billion US Dollars, for which they will take over an extensive retail network in nearly two dozen countries in Africa where Shell has been market leader in the distribution of fuels, LPG and lubricants. Vitol’s consortium beat such companies like South Africa’s Engen, Libya’s Oilibya and Tamoil to the finishing tape, giving it a much larger global profile now and making it a serious stakeholder in global fuel distribution.
The aviation industry in particular will vest new hope in this development, as Shell has in recent years grossly neglected in particular the importation of AVGAS, the fuel needed for most light aircraft with traditional piston engines flying in the region. Especially the Kajjansi aviation companies had in recent months repeatedly run out of AVGAS again, requiring direct imports from Tanzania in drums, where such fuels were available in commercial quantities while in Kenya but especially Uganda the precious liquid regularly ran dry. Shell would not comment on allegations that they used these periodic ‘shortages’ to drive and keep the price of the commodity up but inside sources claim ‘it was too much hassle to bring in smaller quantities of this fuel type because of complicated logistics, including delivery by truck.
Shell’s local CEO had several years ago made a commitment to establish AVGAS fuel tanks and delivery mechanisms for the Kajjansi airfield, where the many of Uganda registered piston engined light aircraft are based, but eventually the company diddled along, changed goal posts and in the end all but abandoned the plans, breaking their promises. A former senior Shell executive in Uganda is said to have taken on the abandoned depot and with new owners of the retail network now known, this will surely be an issue the aviators will take up soon with the new management – and considering the lethargy of the former managers ‘tabula rasa’ will be an appealing option, i.e. install new senior management willing and able to keep promises and not welsh on commitments.
The question has also been raised of taxes due for the sale of Shell’s assets, considering government’s handling of the proposed sale of Heritage Uganda’s interests to new owners which just last weekend hit fresh hurdles, but no confirmation could be received if indeed tax demands will be made on Shell before they are allowed to ‘officially’ hand over and exit the market.
TRAGEDY STRIKES LAKE TRAVELLERS
Bad weather, combined with poor maintenance and the absence of life vests caused a major accident on Lake Victoria last Wednesday with over a dozen reported missing or drowned. The boat was enroute to the mainland from an island of the Ssese Island group, the lake’s major island formation in the Ugandan waters of Lake Victoria. Several NGO’s have in the past promoted safer travel on the lakes across Uganda by donating life vests to boat operators, on Lake Victoria, Lake Albert and Lake Kyoga, amongst others, and a renewed push for safety can now be expected that again so many people reportedly died in this single accident. Lake rescue efforts swung into action immediately the new broke and a number of people were rescued, holding on to wreckage. Sudden storms, sweeping in across the lake, the world’s second largest fresh water lake, are often responsible for capsizing boats. Condolences are expressed to the families and friends of those lost.
MORE DRAMA OVER NEW BUSOGA KING
In disregard of a standing court injunction have the Busoga Kingdom chiefs now apparently resolved to enthrone a new king regardless on or before the 20th of August, according to reports reaching this correspondent from Jinja. Two court orders are presently in place, first against the initial candidate who was elected by less than the required votes of chiefs, when several of them were absent in protest, and then against the current candidate, who was selected by 11 of the chiefs according to the kingdom’s own rules in October last year but then prevented by the Uganda High Court from taking office. Both cases are due to be heard in November this year and almost two years after the passing of the then ruling king still no succession is in place to the disappointment of many of the kingdom’s subjects. Some of them known to this correspondent have expressed their fear of marginalisation in the absence of a king on their throne, especially this being a pre-election year in Uganda where much depends on allegiances and support by traditional rulers, even if they are barred from main stream politics. Watch this space as the saga continues.
ICC INDICTMENT FOR BASHIR DIVIDED AU MEETING
The indictment by the International Criminal Court at The Hague of Khartoum’s regime leader Gen. Bashir has caused disagreements at the African Union Summit in Kampala as the supporting and opposing leaderships of various countries are at loggerheads over recommendations and a draft resolution. Bashir is indicted over alleged war crimes and alleged crimes against humanity and a wanted man in many countries, while nations with roguish attitudes towards such crimes have vowed not to arrest him, should opportunity present itself even if they have signed on to the ICC convention.
The AU has been discussing the general issue over warrants for sitting heads of state or government, with some supporting the notion of immunity while in office but others are equally clear stating that should such allegations emerge, visible for all as in the case of Darfur, immediate action must be taken to bring culprits to book and not let them be shielded by outdated notions of immunity, while they allegedly commit such crimes with impunity. There was also apprehension over the ICC’s reported plans to open an African liaison office in Addis Ababa, the official seat of the African Union head quarters, showing that little progress has been made to change the mindset of many African leaders over good governance, transparency and upholding international law, as they continue to defend such rogues in their midst and continue to grant them a refuge as the case in notorious criminal Mengistu Haile Mariam, wanted in Ethiopia while living in luxury in Harare / Zimbabwe courtesy of the equally notorious Robert Mugabe. Notably was the Sudan not represented at senior level but by their ambassador accredited to Uganda, in a clear sign that there was apprehension over the possibility of an arrest in Kampala should Bashir attend. Watch this space.
AU SUMMIT BACKS UGANDA
The African Union Summit in Munyonyo / Kampala has over the weekend backed President Museveni’s response to the terror attacks by Al Shabab militias from Somalia on Ugandan territory, and on Ugandan troops deployed in Mogadishu that the country will reply in kind and smoke the terrorists out of their hideouts in parts of Somalia not presently under control of the transitional federal government.
As indicated in previous editions the AU has also agreed to send more troops and give them a more robust mandate which allows them to attack militias spotted before first being fired upon, giving them the AU contingent a forward defence option.
Presently only troops from Uganda and Burundi are on the ground but more are expected shortly to join from Djibouti and Guinea – the latter’s troop detach already on the ground in Djibouti for final training and acclimatisation before deployment to Mogadishu. Troops strength, presently at a ceiling of 8.100, is expected to rise to 20.000 in due course and the summit is also due to remove restrictions which have so far banned countries neighbouring Somalia to deploy there under the AU mandate.
Meanwhile have the US Administration’s representatives arrived in Uganda too, in the form of the Attorney General and the Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs and former Ambassador in the region Mr. Johnnie Carson, to interact with the heads of state and delegation present and discuss security cooperation and other matters of mutual interest and concern. It is expected that the US will be making an aid package available towards the summit theme of health for African mothers and children, but also for security cooperation and the anti terrorism fight, where Africa has become another potential platform for Al Qaida and their devilish offspring’s across Africa, subject to improved governance and an intensified fight against the endemic corruption often seen across the continent. It is the latter however which has raised some tension between the US and key contributors to the AU mission in Somalia during specific discussions, when no concrete financial support commitments were made, something which was noted with disappointment that the US was seemingly shifting the financial aspects too to the relatively poorer African countries. From other sources it was learned that the AU was also pushing to elevate the Somalia mission to UN status to gain access to greater resources and the ability to deploy non African troop contingents to Somalia, where – and there was no disagreement over this – the threat of another theatre in the war on terror has grown exponentially in recent months. Watch this space.
GADAFFI’S GUARDS IN FIST FIGHTS AT SUMMIT VENUE
As seen before, during past state visits, the extra large contingent of the Libyan leader’s own security came to blows again with their Ugandan counterparts, this time however the Presidential Guard Brigade’s staff coming out victorious.
Summit rules, to which all attending countries had to sign up to, allowed the main entrance to the venue hall only to be used by the head of state and a strictly limited number of official personnel, including two minister’s at a time and their immediate aides … that notwithstanding, and notwithstanding the fact that South African President Jakob Zuma’s security details a few moments earlier fully complied with this rule, Gadaffi’s chaps tried it on again, like a few years ago during the last visit, and promptly got intercepted and pushed forcefully towards ‘their entrance’ but it took eventually the intervention of the widely respected Libyan Ambassador to Uganda to end the scuffle and send the umpteen security operatives to the place where they belonged. In a related development the local media also reported that the Libyan leader himself slapped an aide in public after apparently being led to a wrong venue for a meeting, and when he eventually arrive at the correct venue his personal guards again attempted pushing and shoving with Uganda presidential security staff … what an episode from the sidelines of the summit … security versus security instead of combining to stand in the way of an potential threats against their principals … ooops …
LITTLE ZAHRA BORN ON KENYA AIRWAYS PLANE
A flight from Dubai to Nairobi saw last minute excitement before landing when a woman passenger went into sudden labour prior to landing at Jomo Kenyatta International Airport in the early hours of Monday. Taking her to hospital while mid air was clearly out of question and it was the cabin crew which swung into action, preparing a provisional ‘delivery room’ in one of the aisles, where they put blankets on the floor and then created a privacy by holding up and fastening blankets from the ceiling.
According to reports from Nairobi the plane was in its final descent into Nairobi when the delivery went ‘active’ and no sooner had the plane touched down was the baby girl then delivered on board of the aircraft. Upon opening of the doors mother and child were handed over to an ambulance while the other passengers gave the crew a standing ovation for their extraordinary efforts. It could not be ascertained however at the time of going to press how the mother had in fact managed to get through check in at her point of origin as airlines ordinarily are reluctant to accept passengers visibly in the last weeks of a pregnancy. Congratulations to both mother and child and to Kenya Airways for obviously training their staff well in first aid.
SOUTHERN SUN HOTELS TAKE OVER NAIROBI’S HOLIDAY INN
The former Mayfair Hotel, for the last couple of years known as the Holiday Inn Nairobi, is reportedly changing hands after an apparent sale by the current owners to South Africa’s leading hotel group Southern Sun. Effective 01st August, according to a source in Nairobi, will the new arrangement come into effect and the hotel will then change name to be known as the Southern Sun Mayfair Nairobi, bringing the ‘old’ name back into the public domain.
South Africa, already a key investor in East Africa in power, retailing and telecommunications, has been relatively slow to enter the mainstream hospitality market but this latest acquisition is bound to raise more speculation over further upcoming deals.
The Holiday Inn brand, often franchised out to individual operators, belongs to global hospitality giant Intercontinental Hotel Group, which owns and operates the Intercontinental Hotel in Nairobi and early this year opened a Crown Plaza Hotel, which – being another 4 star brand of the group – they manage in Nairobi on behalf of the ownership consortium.
PORINI’S OLARE OROK CONSERVANCY CONFIRMS RHINO SIGHTING
An adult eastern black rhino was spotted last week within the Olare Orok conservancy which adjoins the Masai Mara Game Reserve and has been established four years ago on former Masai community grazing land. The mature rhino is the first such sighting since Porini commenced operations in this area four years ago, and although lions, leopards, cheetah, elephant, buffalo, giraffe and a variety of plains game are regularly sighted, this gives hope that a small rhino population may be in the making here, as the area is well protected by wardens and game rangers to ensure game enjoys a trouble free environment.
Staff and guests at Olare Orok were excited, being able to see all ‘big five’ within the conservancy area and this will undoubtedly add to the unique attraction in choosing a safari stay at Olare Orok.
The picture above was availed from Porini’s Jake Grieves Cook, also Chairman of the Kenya Tourist Board, who is one of the pioneers in Kenya to establish and operate dedicated conservancies in close collaboration with local Masai communities, giving them far greater value for their traditional grazing land through employment in the camps, royalties paid to communities and support through one off projects, often co-underwritten by tourist visitors who remain in touch long after their initial visit.
MOMBASA PORT USED TO SHIP IVORY TO THAILAND
The Kenyan port of Mombasa has been identified as the point of shipment of illegal blood ivory, detected and confiscated in Thailand last week. Kenya Wildlife Service’s officers are assisting international police agencies in efforts to ascertain the actual source of the ivory, which is not thought to have originated from poaching in Kenya but may have been shipped through only. It is understood that DNA analysis will be used to ascertain from which country the tusks originated from and the detained cargo may eventually be returned to the authorities there for storage, although this process may take years to complete.
Airlines in Kenya, especially Kenya Airways, have in recent years substantially stepped up screening of cargo to prevent loading ivory and other prohibited goods like skins, partly of course for the reason of the security of their flights, but in the process also being able to detect such contraband. Shipments through the harbour however have not yet been subjected to similar scrutiny, and demands have promptly emerged to step up surveillance and monitoring there too to prevent the country coming into disrepute over any possible complicity in the prohibited trade of blood ivory. Harbour security in general also came under extra scrutiny in Mombasa and it can be expected that added measures are introduced in coming weeks to introduce new technology and manpower towards that end.
Several other captures were reported in Kenyan media in recent weeks when ‘transit’ ivory was confiscated at road block check points, manned by police and near borders also customs officials. Kenya is thought to have about 60 tons of ivory in store, most of it ‘legal’ but also substantial quantities of confiscated tusks, both from within and outside Kenya.
KENYA AIRWAYS TO CODESHARE WITH TAAG OF ANGOLA
The commencement of flight operations between Nairobi and Luanda, the capital of Angola, will apparently be code shared between TAAG, the national airline of Angola and the Kenyan flag carrier. Luanda will mark another milestone for the Pride of Africa as it will be their 50th destination, and the 41st in Africa, putting KQ on top of the rankings as far as continental connectivity is concerned. Flights will initially operate from Nairobi every Tuesday and Friday and subject to market acceptance and load factors more flights will be gradually introduced. The code share will also give TAAG added reach as their own passengers can via Nairobi fly to the Middle East, India and the Far and South East with Kenya Airways.
At the same time the source also confirmed that the first of the recently leased two new Embraer 190 will join the KQ fleet in early November with the second aircraft following shortly afterwards.
AIR BERLIN ADDING MOMBASA
Germany’s second largest airline has last week announced that they are pondering the addition of Mombasa to their long haul destinations, to be served from Germany’s capital city of Berlin. Other long haul destinations floated in the press announcement were Dubai in the UAE and Miami / Florida.
The airline operates both charters and scheduled services and it was not immediately clear if the flights to Mombasa would be all inclusive tour charters, a mix or purely scheduled flights, on which tour operators, travel agents and individual travellers could then buy their tickets.
However, irrespective of this, the announcement has excited the Mombasa tourism trade and in particular the hotel and resort operators, who have already welcomed the idea of more flights between Germany and Mombasa, assisting to fill beds and reach their ambitious targets of the highest ever arrival numbers ever for Kenya in 2010.
NEW FERRY MISHAP RAISES FRESH CONCERNS
A recent early morning incident, involving one of the only recently commissioned new ferries for the Likoni channel crossing, has raised fresh concerns amongst ferry users. The docking on the island side reportedly failed for yet undisclosed reasons, either mechanical or through human error, and when the ferry was then carried off, after stalling, due to the currents and prevailing winds, it hit two moored ships before being stabilised. The old ferries were causing constant problems with breakdowns but there were also allegations, now being renewed, that skills by the staff operating and maintaining the ferries needed strengthening and improving through vigorous training, to ensure constant safe and secure operations.
This latest incident will add further pressure on government to finally go ahead and construct a new road and dam linking the Nairobi – Mombasa road and the international airport directly by road link to the south coast and reduce reliance on the ferry connection.
NEW LAKE VESSEL TO OPERATE OUT OF KISUMU
Last week saw the launch of a new cargo and passenger ship, which will from now on connect Kenya’s lakeside city of Kisumu with outlying islands and areas hard to reach by road. The capacity is said to be up to 200 passengers and 15 saloon cars, but less when lorries and busses are on board. The privately owned vessel is expected to easy trade and travel along the Lake Victoria shores on the Kenyan side of the lake and will be available not just for local area residents but tourists too, who can now do lake tours from and to Kisumu, returning the same day after completing a round trip. The construction and commissioning of the MV Suba Green Forest was undertaken by an NGO which is active in the area. No email or website details are available however at the time of going to press neither for the project itself nor for making bookings by any intending users of the new service.
GOMBE STREAM NATIONAL PARK TO EXPAND
Information was received from conservation sources in Arusha that government has approved the expansion of the Gombe Stream National Park from its present 33 square kilometres to nearly 60 square kilometres, almost doubling it in size. Gombe Stream is famous for its chimpanzee populations. The boundaries of the park will now push right to the shores of Lake Tanganyika, permitting the animals to migrate to the lake shores without leaving the protected area, in their search for food and water.
Gombe has been a park well known to ‘specialist’ clientele but due to the distance from the main centres not easily accessed by road, making journeys to the park using aircraft more expensive and thereby limiting market penetration. Yet, those who visited Gombe and the not too far off Mahale National Park, come back literally stunned by the scenery and their safari experience brought back from this remote corner of Tanzania.
The last major park to be expanded in Tanzania was the Lake Manyara National Park, which now fully surrounds the entire lake, again offering greater protection to the game, securing migration paths and a offering a wider area for visitors to see within the park.
ARUSHA – NAMANGA HIGHWAY WORKS ADVANCE
It was learned last week that the laying of tarmac on this stretch of one of East Africa’s busiest roads is now advancing, giving hope that the journey between Nairobi via Namanga to Arusha will in the future be easier, safer and faster. While crossing the border still inflicts at times trauma with travellers – unlike the times of the ‘old’ East African Community – when the internal ‘borders’ were only marked by road signs but not controls, at least the highway, when completed, will bring relief to transporters for cargo, bus operators and passenger cars, as they often arduous and certainly dusty journey will become more enjoyable.
As the ‘new’ EAC advances it is expected that eventually internal border controls will be abandoned again, making the region ‘One’ with border and customs checks only at international airports and external border points, a dream and vision of the founders of the East African nations decades ago but still to be attained once again by the present generations.
RWANDA SIGNS OPEN SKIES AGREEMENT
Information was received last week from Kigali, that Rwanda has on the sidelines of the ICAO ‘Air Services Negotiation Conference’ in Jamaica recently signed an open skies agreement with Singapore to facilitate the start of air services as and when demand has made flights feasible. Singapore Airlines presently only flies to Johannesburg / South Africa and Cairo / North Africa with passenger services although a cargo service has been launched to Nairobi / Kenya last year. It is there that the most likely added passenger service will come as the global economy recovers further and RwandAir could then conceivably code share the remaining sector between Nairobi and Kigali. Considering that Singapore Airlines is also a member of the global Star Alliance, and the close ties between RwandAir on one side and Brussels Airlines and Lufthansa on the other side – both Star members too – there are interesting constellations arising in the future, worth watching.
AIR SEYCHELLES MOVES SALES OFFICE IN VICTORIA
Last weekend saw the sales offices of Air Seychelles move to new premises, located next to Air France and Kenya Airways, creating a new ‘airline hub’ in the city of Victoria. Also in the same building are the sales offices of the archipelago’s main ferry company. Air Seychelles codeshares, and operates all flights between Mahe and Paris with Air France, and Air France / KLM are major shareholders in Kenya Airways and partners in the world’s third largest airline alliance ‘Sky Team’. While the flights between Nairobi, KQ’s hub, and Mahe are not yet codeshared between the two airlines, fresh scope is nevertheless arising out of the sales office move and speculation is now rife when, rather than if, the ties between Air Seychelles and Kenya Airways will further intensify. Watch this space for the most up to date news from the Eastern African and Indian Ocean aviation sector.
SOUTH AFRCIAN TRAVEL AGENTS EXPERIENCE SEYCHELLES
The Seychelles Tourist Board, in conjunction with their private sector partners, invited a group of over 30 leading South African travel agents to the archipelago to show them what an island holiday in Seychelles is all about. Air Seychelles flies regularly to Johannesburg with B767 equipment and South Africa is the most important market for the islands from the African continent and part of twin centre holiday arrangements for tourists from further abroad. The South African travel agents visited restaurants, scenic sites and other attractions, hotels and resorts on Mahe, Praslin and La Digue, to see the places they normally ‘sell’ but also newly opened and other resorts, before sitting down for a day long workshop at the new Ephelia Resort in Port Launay on Mahe, where they learned much there is to know about Seychelles tourism. The trip was reportedly co-sponsored by Thompson Holidays and Air Seychelles ‘Flying the Creole Spirit’.
SEYCHELLES TOURISM ACADEMY GETS VALIDATION VISIT
A number of lecturers from the Irish ‘Shannon College of Hospitality Management’ came to Mahe earlier in the week to validate results and review the implementation of a three year course jointly taught in both Ireland and the Seychelles. The lecturers will also be active in the class rooms, taking over some of the teaching duties, and their Seychellois counterparts are likely to learn a trick or two also sitting in the classes to observe teaching methods and the use of teaching aids. Students of the STA studying the course are eligible to continue in Ireland for their bachelor’s degree once completing the diploma studies at STA and attaining the minimum pass marks required to go for advanced studies.
It was also learned that lecturers from the Seychelles Tourism Academy will be posted to Shannon as understudies to advance their knowledge and skills before returning again to Mahe. Well done!
South Sudan News
EGYPT AIR TO START JUBA FLIGHTS
News from Juba confirmed over the weekend that Egypt Air, a member of the global Star Alliance, will commence flights between Cairo and Juba, via Khartoum, in early August. Information received indicates that initially two flights a week, on Wednesday and Friday, will route from Cairo via Khartoum to Juba before returning the same way back to Egypt.
The Egyptian government has offered the Southern government in Juba an aid package worth 300 million US Dollars to infrastructure projects but there have been concerns in the Southern political establishment over Egypts constant lobbying towards a vote against independence in January next year, more than likely to avoid having another country to deal with when it comes to negotiations over the Nile waters, already at deadlock with the East African water producer countries upstream.
The arrival of Egypt Air on the Juba aviation scene however has been broadly welcomed, as after Ethiopian and Kenya Airways this is the third major African airline now adding Juba to their Africa network. There were some resentments however expressed to this correspondent that the flight would have to route via Khartoum, which several of those spoken with coined ‘unsafe for us Southerners when travelling abroad … they could pick us off the flight any time and we rather go via Entebbe (with Air Uganda) or via Nairobi or Addis’ … Trust know whom …
POACHERS HELD FOR TRIAL
Reports from Juba speak of at least four poaching suspects now in custody, following a surveillance mission triggered by tips from local residents. The culprits were found in possession of game meat, at least one leopard skin and illegal firearms, when police and security forces swooped down on them. They are also suspects in other violent crimes but it was their alleged poaching which finally netted them.
The government in Juba has repeatedly in the past vowed to stamp out poaching while supporting the restoration of national parks to induce a start for adventure and expedition tourism, and the game rich parks like Boma are considered a future magnet for safari visitors to the Southern Sudan.
REFERENDUM FOR 09TH JANUARY 2011
Information was received from Juba last weekend that the date for the independence referendum has now been formally agreed between the Government of Southern Sudan, in short GOSS, and the regime in Khartoum. The 09th of January next year is the big day, when the Southern population can at last step up and decide on their own destiny, being able to throw off the shackles of regime colonisation, exploitation and discrimination. Negotiations on contentious issues between the two former protagonists will also begin on 27th of July, initially in Khartoum before moving to Juba, during which such crucial issues as water, oil – and its ownership – but also existing debts incurred by the regime, international treaties, monetary issues and common borders will be explored. A separate border commission is also in place already, and it is understood from sources in Juba that about 80 percent of the boundary lines between South and North have been resolved, with the remaining 20 percent however focusing on some of the most contentious areas, where the oil fields are located. Issues also remain to be resolved on the separate referenda for Abyei and the Nuba mountains, which could also determine the future of those parts of Sudan and give an independent Southern Sudan even greater ‘muscle’ in the future. Watch this space.
And today once again some material taken from ‘The Livingstone Weekly’ by Gill Staden:
Boat Cruise for School Children
On Friday I went on a cruise on the river with ten children from the secondary schools in Livingstone. This was a special treat for the best students. Before coming on the cruise they had been given a tour of some of the other operations in Livingstone. They had been to Batoka Sky to see the helicopters and microlights. They had been to Bushtracks to see the work that is done there, including the steam train.
The aim of the day out was to show the students what jobs there are available in tourism and to help them to understand the tourism industry.
We all boarded the African Princess for our cruise and I could see that this was definitely a day to remember for these students. We went up the river along the side of the game park while listening to the tour guide as he told us all about the river. And then, after a few speeches and the giving of certificates we all sat down to a sumptuous lunch. A great time was had by all. Thanks to Livingstone Adventures.
High Water in Lake Kariba
I was asked if I could get some photos of Lake Kariba with its high water. Karen from Eagles Rest was kind enough to send me some. First, here is one I took when I visited in 2009:
Now, here are Karen’s:
To see pictures of the floodgates open, see: