Sunday, 20 March 2011

Menu ya Kizimbani

Wednesday, 16 March 2011

Zanzibar's rare monkeys only one of many lures for Indian Ocean visitors

A group of rare Zanzibar red colobus monkeys crashed recklessly through the trees, squealing as they pulled at each others' tails and raced across tree limbs that swayed precariously under their weight in the tropical island's only national park.

Nearby, a pair of the endangered primates -- which are found only in Zanzibar -- groomed each other as another stretched lazily on a tree branch, its feet dangling down so low that they almost touched my head as I walked on a narrow path in the tropical Jozani Forest.

It was my first encounter with the flagship species of Zanzibar wildlife conservation, named "Procolobus kirkii" after Sir John Kirk, the British explorer and naturalist who first brought it to the attention of zoologists. The leaf-eating primates with a dark red to black coat, a paler underside and distinctive pink lips and nose are popular among tourists flocking to this exotic island.

The inquisitive monkeys with wayward hair complement the experience of this Indian Ocean archipelago, which is better known for its exhilarating scuba diving and spectacular snorkeling; the narrow, winding, cobbled alleyways characterizing its ancient capital of Stone Town; as well as an exotic history that includes being the site of the shortest war on record.

There are no firm estimates on the number of red colobus monkeys surviving in the wild. Various accounts indicate that hunting, deforestation and poisoning by farmers looking to protect their crops has cut down their numbers to between 1,500 and 3,000 in three forests.

During my visit to their lush forest in central Zanzibar, I could see that the species is a remarkably social animal. They live in groups of 30 to 50 individuals who play and groom while resting between meals. Males are said to maintain close bonds that enable them to act together to defend their group.

But the monkeys I saw were clearly used to human contact, practically ignoring curious American, European and African tourists who were going "Ooh!" and "Aah!" in awe as they got so close to the animals that they might have as well have been their long-lost cousins.

Despite their charm, the monkeys are not Zanzibar's main attraction.

I visited their forest home during my stay at the Kiwengwa Strand Hotel, a seaside resort on Zanzibar's eastern coast that boasts brilliant white beaches and powdery soft sands fringed by tall coconut palms and lush vegetation.

That natural beauty, and Zanzibar's strategic position just off continental Africa, has attracted adventurers, explorers, conquerors and fortune-seekers for centuries, transforming the tiny archipelago into a melting pot of African, Indian and Arabian cultures and influences.

At one time, Zanzibar became one of the wealthiest nations in Africa after it grew into a major exporter of cloves and other spices cultivated on its soil, ivory plundered from east and central Africa as well slaves from the region.

A struggle for control of Zanzibar helped spark the shortest war in history, when British forces attacked those loyal to self-proclaimed Sultan Khalid bin Barghash on Aug. 27, 1896. The battle ended about 38 minutes later when Barghash fled the palace to end a two-day reign that began after his cousin and predecessor died suddenly.

These days, adventurers and explorers still flock to Zanzibar in the form of tourists seeking to rest weary bodies after climbing Mount Kilimanjaro, Africa's tallest peak in northern Tanzania.

The island is also popular among tourists seeking seaside recuperation after days of exhausting early morning game drives, nature walks and other wildlife adventures in Tanzania, a country with the largest concentration of stunning wildlife attractions in Africa including Serengeti National Park, Ngorongoro Crater Conservation Area, Gombe Stream National Park and Selous Game Reserve.

One of the best ways to get a taste of Zanzibar is to visit Forodhani Gardens in the evening, when dozens of vendors serve an array of delicacies including grilled lobster, octopus, fish, meat, chapati, samosas, french fries, fresh sugar cane and coconut juices and much more to local residents and tourists gathering there at sunset. The light from small lanterns enhances the ambiance.

Still, Zanzibar's charm is not limited to the main island of Unguja.

About 50 miles separates it from the verdant and hilly island of Pemba that is often described as one of the best scuba diving destinations in the world.

Pemba's mangrove-lined coast is broken by hidden, pristine coves and pristine bays. But limited infrastructure keeps most tourists from the volcanic island, effectively letting only the most adventurous enjoy its hard and soft coral gardens with bountiful schools of coral fish, pelagic marine life, mantas and turtles.

The Hour

Monday, 14 March 2011

Madonna, Jennifer Lopez On 'Every Mother Counts' Documentary Soundtrack

Starbucks will release a companion CD to Christy Turlington Burns' documentary "No Woman No Cry" that will include music from Rosanne Cash, the Dixie Chicks, Jennifer Lopez, Madonna, Sinead O'Connor, Gwyneth Paltrow and others.

The "Every Mother Counts" CD will be released April 12. Starbucks will donate $8 from the sale of each CD between April 12 and May 9 to CARE for its maternal health programs in coffee growing countries. The Oprah Winfrey Network, OWN, will broadcast the film on May 7.

Martha Wainwright, music supervisor and composer on the film, has contributed a version of Bob Marley's "No Woman No Cry," Paltrow covers Kate Bush's "This Woman's Work" and Rosanne Cash offers an acoustic version of "Motherless Children." Patti Scialfa's "Children's Song" is among the tracks that have not been previously released.

Turlington Burns founded the organization Every Mother Counts last year and has screened her film at health conferences and film festivals in the U.S., the U.K., Canada, India, Guatemala, Poland and Zanzibar.

The film follows expecting mothers in four countries -- Tanzania, Bangladesh, Guatemala and the Unites States -- as they face obstacles to receiving healthcare.

Brecon couple speak of Indian Ocean pirate drama

A couple have spoken about how Somali pirates tried to attack their luxury cruise liner in the Indian Ocean.

Garth and Mary Evans, from near Brecon, had just sat down to dinner on the Spirit of Adventure when they were forced to take refuge in a room.

The ship was steaming between Madagascar and Zanzibar in Tanzania when it came under attack 50 miles from land in January.

But a "well prepared" liner and crew deterred the pirates, the firm said.

Somali pirates have made millions of dollars by capturing cargo vessels in the shipping lanes around the Horn of Africa and holding the ships and crew for ransom.

But stricter naval patrols in those waters have led pirates further afield.

As they have expanded their area of operation, surveillance of the Indian Ocean has been stepped up.

A recent US study found that maritime piracy costs the global economy between $7bn (£4.4bn) and $12bn (£7.6bn) a year.

Mr Evans said the 350 passengers on board Spirit of Adventure had just sat down to dinner when the captain was called to the bridge.

It later emerged that an unidentified craft had been picked by the ship's radar. It had come over the horizon and was heading towards the liner at speed.

As the cruise ship changed course, so the craft changed course to match it.

Mr Evans said it did not take long for the situation to spark a full-scale operation by the 200-strong crew.

He said: "After about two minutes we heard over the tannoy: 'Papa, papa. All crew to emergency stations'.

"We were all rather alarmed and then after a minute we were all called to the lounge and locked in."

Mr Evans said the captain had briefed passengers at the start of the cruise that pirates had started to focus their attacks in areas south of the equator, because there were so many warships patrolling north of the equator.

He added: "We had some reports on the tannoy that unidentified crafts were trying to board the craft.

"We knew we had water cannons on board, razor wire around the back of the ship and we were trailing wire ropes on the back of the ship to foul their propellers.

Company spokesman Paul Green the "relevant authorities" were alerted as soon as the emergency began.

He said: "We don't know who these people were but they saw that the ship was well prepared and it was also a cruise ship, which is not their typical target.

"It was clearly a suspicious craft. When you change course, they changed course.

"We have some well rehearsed measures on the ship, although it interrupted dinner.

"We don't talk about the measures but they have been widely reported - razor wire, changing course, water cannon, long-rang acoustic devices and trailing mesh wire.

"It passed off without incident and was dealt with in a very British manner."

He said that the captain, Australian Frank Allica, was given a standing ovation when he next appeared before the passengers, who gave him a rendition of "For he's a jolly good fellow".

He added: "Who knows what this vessel was interested in. But pirates tend to target tankers and ransom them for their cargo.

"Taking on 200 crew and some 300 mostly British passengers is a slightly different prospect than a slow-moving tanker with 14 Ukrainian engineers."

Mr Evans said: "After about an hour we were allowed back into the dining room."

Mr Evans said he and his wife were glad to return home in one piece.

He added that they would go on a cruise again, but probably not in the same part of the world


Wednesday, 2 March 2011

Ubunifu wa Kuendeleza Bwawa la Bwawani Hoteli

Kama unaswali, ama ushauri juu ya kuendeleza eneo hili, usisite kuchangia mada hii...Karibu!

Tuesday, 1 March 2011

Watoto wa Dr. Salmin Amour waondolewa Libya

Two children of the former President of Zanzibar, Dr. Salmin Amour, are among eight Tanzanians to be evacuated from Tripoli Libya after the Kenya Airways flight had been cleared to land and take off by Libyan authorities.

Flight KQ 1322 was yesterday cleared by the Libya Civil Aviation Authority to fly into Tripoli, after an initial delay in Cairo due to flight logistics, according to a statement from the national carrier. However, it is expected to jet in this morning.

Speaking to The Citizen on Sunday yesterday, the information officer with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Relations, Mr Asa Mwambene said the plane was earlier denied access into Libya, hence the delay in conducting the evacuation.

“Children of Dr. Salmin are among the eight Tanzanians stranded in Tripoli, but they will board the Kenyan flight to return home,” he said.

Apart from the Tanzanians, the Kenyan flight is expected to evacuate citizens of Uganda, Kenya, Rwanda, Burundi, Southern Sudan, Zimbabwe, Democratic Republic of Congo, Sierra Leone, Lesotho and South Africa stranded in Libya, this paper has learnt.

Yesterday, Kenya Airways Managing Director, Mr. Titus Naikuni confirmed that the airline had deployed a charter flight following a request by the country’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs.