Kenya Tourism Board assures tourists of safety

Kenya Tourism Board (KTB) Managing Director Muriithi Ndegwa has assured tourists and investors that Kenya is safe for business.

Speaking in Machakos County during the official opening of Gelian Hotel over the weekend, Mr Ndegwa said travel advisories should be removed to encourage international tourists to visit the country.



Machakos Governor Alfred Mutua, on his part, urged Kenyans to invest in and support hotel and tourism industries in order to make the country self-sustainable.

“If we develop and support the hotel and tourism industries internally, we will not rely on tourists from outside the country to make the industry sustainable,” he said.

Mutua revealed plans by the Machakos county government to build the tallest building in Africa in order to boost the county’s profile in the continent.

Kenya’s tourism industry has in the recent past faced tumultuous times with several western nations including the UK, USA and Australia imposing travel advisories due to supposed terror threats in the country.

The industry has however seen recovery in various coastal towns including Lamu, Malindi, Mombasa and Kilifi with tourist arrivals increasing steadily.

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5 Things You Should Never Pack For Vacation

Sometimes we want to “pack big” when going for a vacation especially if it will last a few weeks or months.

It is, however, important to know what is essential and what is not, in order to ensure we only carry what we really need. highlights 5 things you should never pack for your vacation.


Excessive hair products



Packing shampoo, conditioner, a deep conditioner, detangler, a comb, brush, robber brush, pomade and hairspray is a bit too much. If you are staying at a hotel, it will typically provide a complimentary shampoo and conditioner. Though they may not be what you are used to, they will surely do the job.


Hair dryer



First point of concern is the space needed to pack your hairdryer. In real sense, that space could fit one or two clothes. Even the compact dryers are clunky and take up a lot of space and we cannot forget to mention that most hotels have dryers for guests to use.


Enough pair of shoes


Even though you are used to changing shoes every half a day, you may not need all the shoes in your wardrobe for your vacation. Just carry two or three pair of shoes for the trip, depending with how long your vacation will be.


Camera equipment



Things like tripod, extra flash and multiple lenses can be left behind when packing for a vacation. The important thing to carry is the camera because you can always improvise and work with what you have to get the perfect shots.





When packing for a vacation, do not bother to carry towels since they will just occupy a lot of space and yet the hotel where you’ll be staying will provide you with them.


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Dates set for Madagascar’s Whales Festival 2015

The 2015 edition of Whales Festival will be held from July 4 to 12 2015 on the island of Sainte Marie in Madagascar.

The event sponsored by Madagascar first Lady Voahangy Rajaonarimampianina and the famous presenter Julien Lepers will include concerts, exhibitions, popular games and other activities.



Each of the 17 neighbourhood of Sainte-Marie will contribute to the show each drawing lots of theme from Pirate, Queen, Lemurs, Ravinala, Coconut and turtle.

The event is aimed at encouraging the protection of Cetaceans as well as allowing participants to discover the Island’s culture.

The Whale Festival will begin with a Carnival with a high colour parade where schools, associations and inhabitants of the Sainte-Marie Island will be gathered under the banner of the protection of marine mammals and their environment.

The event coincides with the convergence of thousands of marine mammals, including humpback whales, which happens from mid-June to October in the channel of Sainte-Marie island located along the Malagasy East Coast. The whales, which meet to breed, then begin their long journey to Madagascar to fish-bearing waters of Antarctica from November onwards.

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This is what you need to conquer Mt Kilimanjaro

Climbing Mount Kilimanjaro is every hiker’s fantasy, probably due to its status as Africa’s highest mountain and world’s highest stand-alone mountain at 19,336 feet. Before  you embark on this exciting but challenging course, SleepOut highlights a few tips that will help you succeed in the  conquest.


Find a good tour operator

Before embarking on a mission to climb Mount Kilimanjaro, make sure you have a good tour guide to lead you through. The guide will plan for an organised trek and along established routes to make the climbing easy.


Book in advance

Advance booking will enable you to go during high season, which is between January to March and September to October. High season is a good time to go hiking simply because the weather conditions are safe.


Get fit

Before trekking Mount Kilimanjaro, make sure you break in your hiking boots and practice by climbing stairs, hiking some hills with a pack on, and general walking. This will help you build stamina. It is also imperative that you get basic medical check up before you go hiking.


Pack well

Pack light but make sure you have everything you need to deal with altitude and variation in temperatures. Don’t worry about carrying it yourself since a porter will take up to 15kg of your personal gear in a duffel bag.

You can rent some equipment and clothing locally, but you may bend with tiny sleeping bags and a fraying pink jacket.


Choose your route

Make sure your hike is at least six to seven days in duration for maximum success. Any shorter and you will not be property acclimatised. Routes vary in degree of difficult, traffic and scenic beauty.

The least difficult routes are Marangu and Rongai; the more difficult routes are Machame, Shira and Limosho.

The longer routes may have more difficult hiking but you will be more acclimatised and your chances of reaching the summit are therefore higher. The longer western routes also allow you to start your summit day at a more reasonable hour.


Dealing with altitude

Pace yourself for the long hike and take it easy and slow. Drink lots of water about 4-5 litres a day to keep you hydrated. Luckily the mountain streams after the first day are good to naturally cooled.


Walk high and sleep low

Take a walk to a higher elevation during the day and come back down to sleep. Consult a doctor before you go and get some medication to prevent altitude sickness.

Also make sure your guides are carrying the proper medical equipment such as oxygen, radios and a recompress bag to deal with altitude sickness if it arises.


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Zuma South Africa Visa Regulations

South African President Zuma commended for pledge to overhaul visa regulations

South African President Jacob Zuma has been commended by the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) for his pledge to overhaul visa requirement for entries into the country.

WTTC President David Scowsill said South Africa is leading in many areas of its tourism development noting that President Zuma’s pledge to reform visa regulations would enable the country to maximise the industry’s potential for economic growth and social advancement.



South Africa’s reliance on tourism is notable with the sector creating close to 1.4 million jobs and contributing nearly 10 per cent of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) making it bigger than banking, mining and telecommunications.

In his state of address on February 12 this year, President Zuma vowed to prioritise the review of visa regulations to “strike a balance between national security and growth in tourism.”

“Growth doesn’t happen by itself and South Africa has done much right in recognising the tourism industry’s role in providing the environment for social and economic advancement.

President Zuma’s swift commitment to review recent changes to visa regulations is yet another example of how the country acts decisively to maximise the economic and social potential of our industry.”

According to WTTC forecast tourism in South Africa is due to add almost 3,450,000 jobs in the next ten years.

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South African reserve among 2015 Tourism for Tomorrow Awards nominees

A South African reserve has been nominated among 15 finalists for the Tourism for Tomorrow Awards 2015.

The announcement made by The World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) places South Africa’s Grootbos Nature Reserve in the Community Award category together with Fenyan Ecolodge in Jordan and Reality Tours & Travel in India.

The awards aims at transforming the tourism industry based on sustainable tourism principals by educating travel and tourism businesses and destinations on how to improve the sustainability of the sector.

Grootbos Lodge

Grootbos Lodge

According to WTTC president David Scowsill, it is important for players in the tourism industry to learn best practices from each other and raise the industry’s ethics.

“The awards, now in their 11th year, showcase the companies and organisations that are breaking new ground in sustainable tourism development.

“This year’s finalists demonstrated that when tourism is well managed it can be a powerful force for providing livelihood and protecting the plant for future generations,” he said.

In the first step of a three step judging process, a committee of independent judges will evaluate and select award entries against established sustainable tourism criteria like protecting natural and cultural heritage, social and economic benefits to local people and environmentally friendly operations.

The second stage will involve an on-site evaluation of the finalist while the third step will involve making an in-depth first hand assessments of the organisations and businesses and a further assessment by another panel after which a winner will be selected from each category.

The winners will be announced during the 15th WTTC Global Summit to be held at Madrid in Spain on April 15 to 16 2015.

Other category finalists include:

Destination Award finalists – Ljubljana, Slovekia; Northeast and Yilan Coast, Taiwan; Sozopol in Bulgaria

Environment Award finalists – Lugana Lodger Eco Resort & Nature Reserve, Guatemala; Rivers Fiji, Fiji; Soneva Group, Maldives and Thailand

Innovation Award finalists – ABTA Global Welfare Guidance for Animals in Tourism, United Kingdom; RED Sustainable Travel, Mexico; TripAdvisor GreenLeader, USA

People Award finalists – Confortel, Spain; Global Travel & Tourism Partnership, USA; Mountain Shepherds Initiative in India.


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What you need to know about Zambia

Zambia is a pearl stashed away strategically in the heart of southern Africa blessed with natural beauty and abundance of Wildlife.

Surrounded by eight countries, Zambia is well linked with its neighbours to ensure sustainable tourist arrivals from both its neighbours and international tourists.


The country’s guaranteed to charm you and is home of the Victoria Falls, the only natural wonder of the world found in Africa. The falls is a world heritage site and the largest curtain of falling water spilling 550,000 cubic metres of water per second (at peak) down to a depth of 110 metres.

No wonder the great explorer David Livingstone, overwhelmed by the splendour of the Victoria Falls could only exclaim that the Victoria Falls was “by far finest sight I have seen in Africa”.

Zambia has one of the fastest growing economies in the world and considered an oasis of peace due to peaceful political transitions in the past. It is also considered one of the safest and secure destinations for visitors with friendly and welcoming locals.


Zambia has 20 national parks and over 34 game management areas and is famed for walking safaris and is one of the best places to go on walking safari in the world.

There are several international airlines that fly to Zambia including South Africa Airways which flights to Zambia’s capital Lusaka and Livingstone town, the country’s tourist capital.


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Live like a King at Royal Tree Lodge, Botswana

Royal Tree Lodge is a small, intimate lodge set 20 minutes from the town of Maun in Botswana providing luxury accommodation and a getaway to the Okavanga Delta.


The lodge is nestled in 400 acres piece of land dotted with riverine trees and acacia woodland on the edge of the Thamalakane River with an abundance of wildlife as well as an extensive variety of bird life.

The lodge has eight Maru style safari tents, well appointed and strategically placed beneath a canopy of large shade trees to ensure privacy.

There are two new honeymoon cottages with large sunken baths, numerous candles and an outdoor shower to make your stay as memorable as possible.

royal tree

There is also a two bedroom villa with en suite bathroom and its won private pool set in tranquil garden with exotic views of zebra and eland at the nearby flood plains and grasslands.

While at Royal Tree Lodge you can enjoy game drives, bird watching, horse riding, scenic flights over the delta.


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The Airport Where No Luggage Gets Lost

As a traveller, there has been one or more occasions when your luggage got lost at the airport before departure or on arrival at your destination.

There are airports however where cases of lost luggage have never arisen and even if they are misplaced, the owners are traced and handed their luggage.



A ranking of the top 10 airports in the world for baggage handling places Kansai International Airport as the best in the world for reuniting passengers with their luggage after a flight, with a remarkable zero items of baggage going missing since it opened in 1994.

The airport, built on a man-made island in Osaka Bay in central Japan, clinched the top spot for its faultless record on baggage with the New Kansai International Airport Co., the operator of the airport, also commended for the short time it takes for passengers to receive their luggage after disembarking and the attention to detail demonstrated by staff.

The compilation, done by Skytrax, the UK-based airline and airport consultancy for its recent World Airport Awards 2015 covered 550 airports in 112 nations around the world, using reviews from 13 million users to decide rankings in 20 categories.

Japanese airports fared extremely well when it came to taking care of passengers’ luggage, with Tokyo’s Haneda International in sixth place on the list and Narita International rounding out the top 10.


“The baggage delivery award is based around various criteria, the core emphasis integrating speed and efficiency of baggage delivery, staff support services, baggage hall information and so on.

“Specific reasons for Japanese airport performance is somewhat intangible, but in most respects it is a result of the more fastidious nature of staff and their disciplined approach towards ensuring maximum service efficiency,” Peter Miller, director of marketing for Skytrax said.

Asian airports took the top six spots for baggage handling, with Copenhagen in seventh, followed by Munich and Zurich.

In overall ranking of airports, Kansai International came in 12th place up from 14th one year earlier.

Singapore’s Changi Airport ranked best in the world followed by Incheon International Airport in South Korea and Munich Airport.

London Heathrow Airport came eighth on the list, up from 10th in the 2014 awards, with London City in 32nd place, Gatwick 40th, Stansted at 73 and Manchester in 80th position.


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A visit to Intu Afrika Game Reserve, Namibia

Intu Afrika Kalahari Private Game reserve is a 10,000ha wildlife conservancy located in south-western region of the Kalahari Desert along the upper reaches of the Auob river system of Namibia.



The reserve is characterised by ancient parallel red dunes sparsely covered by unique vegetation.

Grassy plains peppered with century old camelthorn trees common known as “dune streets” or valleys separate the dunes providing refuge for diverse animal and bird life indigenous to the Kalahari.

The reserve offers a variety of activities in the expansive Kalahari wilderness. Get an opportunity to know more about existing lion programmes get to see African lions. You can also get to learn about predator re-introduction programme or take a walk in the Kalahari with a bushman tracker.

Intu Afrika is home to two Kalahari lions, one male and female said to have exceptional tolerance to cold and heat.

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