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Newsletter from East Africa July 2006

Newsletter from East Africa July 2006

Ol Seki Mara Camp, Masai Mara

Ol Seki Mara Camp, was opened in July 2005 by Sue Allan and her son and daughter in law, Jan and Erin. Sue has run luxury mobile safaris for 35 years throughout Kenya and East Africa and has used her extensive experience to create this exclusive seasonal camp.

Set on a wonderful rocky promontory, overlooking the sweeping Isupukiai River, the luxury seasonal Ol Seki Mara Camp enjoys panoramic views in a gorgeous wilderness area teeming with game. Eastern Koiyaki, north of the Mara, provides a rare opportunity to enjoy wildlife viewing, in a pristine setting. The simple modern architecture creates an exciting living space in the six spacious tents, each with a double and a single bed, crisp linen, thoughtfully designed lighting, a changing room and en suite hot showers and flush toilets.

Leleshwa Camp, Siana Community Conservation, Masai Mara

Leleshwa Camp is situated on the Siana Community Conservation Area on the northeastern edge of the Maasai Mara Game Reserve in Kenya. Nestled in a stream valley amongst picturesque hills and rolling plains, Leleshwa Camp is a small, intimate camp accommodating up to 14 guests. It consists of 7 well-appointed tents of 20 x 14 feet with en-suite bathrooms and a large verandah. Each tent has either 2 single or 1 king sized bed with duvet bedding and an extra canvas cot bed can be provided for children. Bathrooms are fitted with flushing toilets and a traditional safari shower. Hot water is available at all times. Solar power provides lighting inside the tents. At night, hurricane lamps bathe the camp in a soft, warm light and Maasai warriors are on patrol to escort you. Meals and drinks are served in a large dining and comfortable lounge area by very friendly staff. The camp is situated just outside of the Maasai Mara Game Reserve, which gives guests the opportunity to enjoy a range of other safari activities in addition to those permitted in the reserve itself.

IPU Congress held in Nairobi

Kenya hosted the 114th Assembly of the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) last month. The conference was attended by over 1,500 delegates from 143 countries. Among the key topics discussed were how parliamentarians could be sensitized to help combat violence against women, how to enhance the capacity of individual legislators to address challenges and meet economic, political and social expectations of the electorate, the role of parliament in strengthening controls on trafficking of small arms and light weapons, and the responsibility of parliament for environmental management and combating global degradation. The visitors also had a chance to sample what Kenya has to offer as a key tourist destination, and were pleased and promised to come back.

Zanzibar archipelago tourist figures up

Famous for its warm sandy beaches, spice aroma, water-sports and old Arab architecture, the Indian Ocean island of Zanzibar off the coast of Tanzania had signaled an increasing number of tourists. Tourist arrivals in the semi-autonomous archipelago had recorded 36 percent growth between June 2005 and mid-this year because of aggressive marketing strategies. Zanzibar received 125,443 tourists during the said 12-month period as compared with 92,160 in the year before. Italia were with 40 % share the leading source market followed by Britons with 10 %, South Africans 5 % and Scandinavians, Americans (USA) and Canadians have 6 %.

Precision Air Starts Entebbe Flights

From 15. July onwards there will be a new air services between Entebbe – Mwanza – Kilimanjaro/Arusha. Precision Air, Kenya Airways’ Tanzanian partner airline, will fly the service with an ATR 42 aircraft.

Fairmont Hotels invest substantially in Kenya properties

Fairmont Hotels which took over the Lonrho properties in Kenya is spending now USD 35 million to renovate and up-grade the properties Norfolk Hotel, Mt Kenya Safari Club, The Ark and Mara Safari Club. The cottages of Aberdare Country Club will be closed but the Club (The base station for The Ark) remains open. Fairmont is also intending to invest in Uganda and Tanzania but first intends to strengthen its position in Kenya.

Tanzania asks Bill Gates support her tourism publicity

Bill Gates is among prominent American who visit Tanzania as a tourist, who is now asked by Tanzanians President Jakaya Kikwete to support Tanzania tourism through various technological dimensions that would make Tanzania outstanding among the top African tourist destinations. Bill Gates is not a stranger in Tanzania because he had landed into this African nation secretly to avoid media interventions to his private visiting meant for leisure. He is known to have spent days in expensive Indian beaches of Zanzibar and taken wildlife-hunting expeditions in Tanzania game reserves.

Code sharing between Kenya Airways and Turkish Airline

Both airlines have signed the code sharing agreement which take effect from 1. August 2006. Passengers can now fly beyond Istanbul from Nairobi. Passengers from Eastern Europe can now fly to any destination in Africa from Istanbul.

Lawford’s Hotel, Malindi will re-open in November 2006

The most popular Hotel in Malindi was founded in 1936 and had always operated until 2003. Lawford’s will be reopened by November 2006 completely renewed, refurbished and now managed by Overlook Management. Overlook Management has also taken over now Lamu Palace Hotel and Petley’s Inn in Lamu. The Company had already Coral Key Beach Resort, Blu Key Beach Club, Tsavo Buffalo Camp and Tsavo River Hill in its portfolio.

Tanzania plans to establish a tourist police unit

Tanzania plans to establish a special tourist police unit responsible in maximizing security and safety in key tourist sites and in hotels a step ahead to protect the destination. When established, Tanzania will join Kenya in such an initiative. Kenya had earlier formed tourist police unit after waves of armed robberies hit its key tourist sites including the famous Maasai Mara Game Reserve. Under the East African Community (EAC) integration, joint security measures have been designed to integrate regional police forces and other security organs in curbing cross-border crimes and flashing out armed Somali terrorists.

Kampala Serena Hotel opens on Monday 31. July 2006

After nearly 18 months of reconstruction the new Kampala Serena Hotel will open its doors. The cost of completely rebuilding the former Nile Hotel has reached US$32 million. Serena has in recent years become the market leader in quality terms and owns and manages an impressive portfolio of award winning resorts, safari lodges and camps and city hotels. New to the group is the management of a major conference centre, which is expected to host the opening ceremony of the Commonwealth summit in Kampala next year and also the Executive Committee meetings of the global group, expected to bring nearly 60 heads of state and government to Uganda.

New Carrier for Mombasa Route from August 1st 2006

East African Safari Air Express will commence operations twice a day, with a morning and evening link, between Nairobi and Mombasa. East African Safari Air Express is closely cooperating in Kenya with Jetlink, which is serving such routes like Kisumu, Malindi, Lokichogio and Juba in South Sudan.

Building ban in Kenya’s Masai Mara

The National Environmental Management Authority now directed a moratorium on any further buildings and expansions until a review and new management plan for the game reserve has been agreed upon. The greater Mara ecosystem now reportedly has some 60 different developments most of which have been build without a due EIA – Environmental Impact Assessment unlike at other East African national parks, where EIA’s are mandatory. In contrast TANAPA, the Tanzanian national park managers, have recently halted plans to establish a mega resort in the heart of the Serengeti (which adjoins the Mara across the border) and earned applause and commendations from around the world for their effort to protect the fragile ecosystems.

Take over of Kenya-Uganda railways concession delayed by a further two months
The Rift Valley Railway Consortium, which was to take over the concession to run both Kenya and Uganda Railways, by July 01st this year has to wait another three months to give time to sort out pending entrenching issues.

Kenya Tourist Board forecasts tourism income to grow by 10pc

Earnings from the tourism sector have increased by 10 per cent over the last six months, the Kenya Tourism Board (KTB) said yesterday. The board said that the sector earned Sh27 billion (approx. USD 375 million) driven by an increase in tourism arrivals from the country’s key markets of Europe and the USA. The earnings reflect an increase over Sh24 billion recorded during same period. The increase was also influenced by the transformation of Nairobi as a key conferences tourism destination following the refurbishment of the Kenyatta International Conference Centre. The board is projecting that the growth will be sustained over the next six months with full year earnings expected to climb by 10 per cent from Sh49 billion (USD 680 million) registered last year to Sh56 billion this year. During the period under review, earnings and arrivals from Kenya’s traditional markets continued to increase with the numbers from Germany and France increasing by 15 and 25 per cent.