Travel News for Africa
- Ecology Activists Oppose plan to build Railway through Serengeti National Park
- Finnair Resumes Direct Flights to Mombasa
- Tanzania Tour Operators urge Govt to Form Tourist Police Unit
- Poachers kill 23 Rhinos in Zimbabwe
- Rwanda Launches new Tourism Trail
- Turkish Television Travel Show Crew visit Uganda
- African Tourists to Rwanda Increase
- 200 people to climb Kilimanjaro to mark Tanzania Independence
- Air France to Fly Direct to Cape Town South Africa
- Zambia Tourism Board Targets One Million Tourists
Conservationists have opposed a plan by Uganda and Tanzania who have entered into a Memorandum of Understanding with a Chinese construction company to build a railway line passing through the Serengeti National Park to Kampala.
The conservationists say it is against international conservation treaties and it will affect seasonal migration of the wild beasts through the park.
The Serengeti is a continuation of the Greater Mara Ecosystem which is famous for its exceptional population of big cats, game, and the annual migration of zebra, Thomson’s gazelle, and wildebeest from the Serengeti every year from July to October, famously called the Great Migration.
The proposed railway route will start from Tanga port to Musoma on the shores of Lake Victoria from where a new railway ferry route will then connect across the lake to a proposed new lake port in Uganda. The new port would then be connected by a rail link to Kampala and beyond.
Finnair has resumed direct flights from Finland to Mombasa with a stop over in United Arab Emirates.
The resumption of the airline after 11 years of its absence in Kenya is a major boost to the tourism sector. The flights bring tourists from Scandinavian countries like Sweden, Norway, Finland and Denmark.
This has been due to the improvement in Kenya safaris at an average of ten per cent growth from January – October with 31,000 arrivals being recorded.
The flight which is expected to be operating bi – weekly will add to the normal Western European countries tourist bag.
In a brief statement, Managing Director of Kenya Tourists Board [KTB] Murithi Ndegwa said the flight is the second airline after Novair from Norway which touched the coastal city of Mombasa last week.
“Next week we expect another maiden flight of Tui Nordic operating Stockholm/Copenhagen to Mombasa operated on behalf of Thomson Airways,” he said.
Ndegwa said the additional flights bring to a total of three airlines from the region within a span of one month.
Tanzania Association of Tour Operators (TATO) has called upon the government to establish a special police unit for the tourism sector.
TATO executive secretary Mustapha Akunaay said while speaking after a stakeholders meeting in Arusha, “incidents of tourists being robbed or mugged tarnished the image of the country and can cost the sector dearly in the long run.”
Mr Akunaay said there was need to assure visitors of security. He said the tourist police unit would protect tourists on Tanzania safaris, tour facilities as well as contain crime near the sites popular with the visitors.
“Since the sector is much dependent on the foreign visitors, security of tourists and tourist facilities should be accorded higher priority,” he pointed out.
He also said TATO had hired a consultant to work on how security can be improved in the sector through establishment of a special police unit.
Many countries, including Kenya, have formed tourist police units to contain all types of crimes in their tourism sectors.
Zimbabwe Parks and Wildlife Management Authority public relations manager Ms Caroline Washaya-Moyo said, 23 black and white rhinos had been killed this year in Zimbabwe national parks and conservancies.
However, 37 rhino poachers and illegal dealers in horns were arrested under an operation by the authority to protect the endangered species.
Ms Washaya-Moyo said the Zimbabwe Parks and Wildlife Management Authority endeavors to preserve the country’s wildlife heritage and has come up with a number of strategies to ensure protection of flagship species.
“This year, a total of 100 rhinos were immobilised for ear notching and horn implanting to facilitate individual identification and monitoring in the field and dehorned to create disinterest to poachers.” she said.
Rhinos remain a major target for poachers who sell their products in Asia and the Middle East where there is a lucrative market. The rhinos can be spotted during national park tours while on Zimbabwe safaris.
The Rwanda Development Board (RDB) has launched a 227km tourist trail, the Congo Nile trail, a new tourism product that is intended to boost the sector.
The trail bridges the western Rwanda corridor passing through five districts with Rubavu as the starting point all the way to Rusizi. A tourist on foot will take 10 days to complete the trail while one who chooses cycling will make it in 6 days while one driving will cover it in a day.
The hike includes many delights for a tourist, such as coffee and tea routes with twelve coffee washing stations, three tea factories and natural beaches along the shores of L. Kivu.
“Tourism is Rwanda’s number one foreign exchange earner so we must capitalize on this by diversifying and bringing more products on the market for tourists,” said Rica Rwigamba, RDB’s head of tourism and conservation.
A three-person crew from Kanal Türk TV in Turkey arrived in Uganda on November 10 to film a four-episode series on Uganda’s tourism for their travel show named Dinyayi Geziyoum (I am visiting the world).
The crew who returned home on Monday night following a 15-day tour of Uganda visited several tourist and lodging sites, including the Source of the Nile, Murchison Falls National Park, Queen Elizabeth National Park, Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park and Lake Mburo National Park.
The crew filmed tourism experiences such as wildlife safaris, community and cultural tourism experiences. “Uganda’s tourism will be on Turkish TV for one month,” said Ms Özlem Tunca, the presenter of Dinyayi Geziyoum.
Ms Tunca says the Dinyayi Geziyoum, which was recognised this year as the top documentary television show in Turkey, is viewed by 15 million Turks. She hopes that the episodes on Uganda will help draw the attention of more Turks to Uganda, recently named by travel website Lonely Planet as the world’s leading travel destination for 2012.
The journalists’ journey to Uganda is the brainchild of Turkish Airlines, which early this year launched direct flights from Istanbul to Entebbe Airport.
According to statistics from Rwanda Development Board (RDB), African tourists dominated visits to Rwanda in the first semester of 2011, a phenomenon that indicates the country’s increasing attractiveness to the region and the entire continent.
African tourists to Rwanda increased by 28 per cent to 340,379 compared to the same period last year with the figure representing 84 per cent of 405,042 visitors that the country received.
Rica Rwigamba, the Head of Tourism and Conservation at RDB said, “Emphasis is to increase the leisure market and position Rwanda as a major leisure destination. We have done a good job in branding Rwanda as a safe destination, so now we need to talk more about leisure.”
To mark Tanzania’s 50th independence anniversary on the 9th of December 2011, more than 200 people are expected to scale Mount Kilimanjaro peak.
The Tanzania Tourist Board (TTB) Public Relations Officer, Mr. Geoffrey Tengeneza said in Arusha last week that TTB was working with the Tanzania National Parks (TANAPA) to organize the historical event expected to be flagged off by the Minister of Natural Resources and Tourism, Mr Ezekiel Maige.
“TANAPA has agreed to waiver climbing fees to all local Tanzanians who will participate in the 50th Anniversary climb while a local tour operator is to play the role of identifying and recruiting potential climbers as well as to handle all the related logistics, including transport and accommodation,” said Mr Tengeneza.
While TTB are targeting to take 200 climbers up the mountain the massive interest being shown by people who keep knocking at the Tourist Board’s doors in Dar-es-salaam as well as those who have been applying online is reportedly overwhelming.
Kilimanjaro which is the world’s highest free standing Mountain is made up of three distinct volcanic cones, with Kibo escalating to 5,895 meters or 19,341 feet, being the highest point on the African continent. Other peaks are Mawenzi at 5,149 m (16,893 ft) and Shira 3,962 m (13,000 ft).
More than 25,000 people, mostly foreign tourists go on Kilimanjaro climbing tours every year at an average of 2000 climbs per month. Of late this Africa’s highest peak has been attracting charity expedition missions by celebrities from around the world.
The Western Cape Tourism Minister, Alan Winde, welcomed the announcement and is set to see off the first flight to Charles de Gaulle Airport at the inaugural ceremony at Cape Town International Airport hosted by Air France.
Air France is the 17th airline to fly direct into Cape Town, raising the average number of international flights into the destination to 12 per day.
The increase of direct flights to Cape Town opens further opportunities for business and leisure tourism, and also stimulate competition between airlines which results in lower fares.
“Cape Town has become a favourite destination for travelers around the world, scooping several international awards this year. Air France’s commitment reiterates this confidence in our tourism industry,” Minister Winde said.
Zambia is working towards hitting the one million tourist arrivals mark this year as it launches the ‘Let’s Explore’ brand on the international market in London next week.
Zambia Tourism Board (ZTB) marketing director Evans Muhanga said he was confident that the target would be met because of various packages prepared for exposition locally and abroad.
Mr Muhanga said the launch would take place at the World Tourism Market Fare in London from November 7 to 10, 2011. He said the launch would be important for marketing Zambia as a preferred tourist destination.
“We are going to avail the brand on the international market. We already did the launch locally but now we are going to the foreign market,” Mr Muhanga said.
Mr Muhanga said the development would boost the tourism arrivals from 850,000 to one million by the end of the year.
“We also need to be ready to improve our infrastructure in readiness for co-hosting the United Nations World Tourism Organisation with Zimbabwe in Livingstone and Victoria Falls town in 2013,” Mr Muhanga said.