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TURKANA FESTIVAL MAY 2015

Turkana Festive Special (1228 x 2121)

Tour Highlight:
The Lake Turkana cultural Festival will take place for the 8th consecutive year in Loyangalani town; on the shores of the awe-inspiring Jade Sea in May 2015 (actual festival dates 29-31st May 2015). This year’s event is co-organized by Express Vacation Tours http://www.expressvacationtours.co.ke in conjunction with the County Government of Marsabit, Local Community Festival Committee, Kenya Tourism Board, National Museums of Kenya and Kenya Wildlife Service.
It is here where the 10 ethnic groups of the Lake Turkana region; El Molo, Rendille, Samburu, Turkana, Dassanach, Ghabra, Borana, Konso, Wata and Burji demonstrate through song and dance their unique differences and traditions. In this remote and forgotten region; we are also made aware of the challenges faced by these minority tribes which include drought, environmental challenges, poor infrastructure and wrangling amongst each other. Thus whilst we awe at their impressive dress and ornaments and study their artifacts and way of life in the dramatic landscape that makes up the north of Kenya; the underlying goal remains and continues to be the promotion of peace and furthermore the appreciation of these fascinating tribes.
This is an adventurous 7 day camping tour with emphasis on the festival event in Loyangalani as well as culture and scenery throughout.

 
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Posted by on February 19, 2015 in Express Vacation Tours

 

Maldives, Seychelles and Mauritius- Which destination is preferred most and why?

Which destination to visit? Which destination has the nicest beaches? What are the differences between the destinations? We are asked these questions on a daily basis and we thought we would take some time to compare and contrast the destinations.

The Maldives, Seychelles, and Mauritius offer some of the most exceptional and luxurious resorts – and unforgettable holiday experiences – anywhere in the world.

Mauritius
Mauritius differentiates itself as a single large, volcanic island with rugged mountain peaks leading down to an azure lagoon that encircles the island. With numerous posh resorts raising the standards of luxury, Mauritian properties continually offer greater levels of service and amenities.

Mauritius is home to great culture and diversity. Influences from Africa, Asia, Europe, and the Middle East have led to a melting pot of cultures. This cultural diversity has resulted in great food and interesting culture. While the beaches might not be quite the same as in the Maldives or Seychelles, the amount of activities and excursions is excellent. From hiking and exploring waterfalls, to World-class golf courses, to a huge range of water sports; Mauritius has the most diverse range of activities of the destinations. For those concerned about getting bored, there is plenty to do in Mauritius.

Mauritius

Maldives
Maldives is a collection of 1,200 small, flat, coral islands that offer spectacular beaches and sensational snorkelling and diving. There are no hills or mountains in the Maldives and the pristine islands are surrounded by lagoons and coral reef.

Maldives is largely about beach, sun, water sports, restaurants, and relaxation. Each resort in the Maldives is on its own island, which collectively boasts the world’s best over-water villas, innovative resort features, and first-class spa facilities. Resorts have been creative in building unique facilities such as underwater restaurants and spa treatment rooms, underground wine cellars, over water villas with pools, treetop dining venues, observatories and more! Some of the nicest, most creative, unique resorts in the World are in the Maldives.

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Seychelles
The Seychelles picturesque tropical scenery is due to its unique granite-island group. Huge granite boulders lining white-sand beaches create breath-taking visuals found only in the Seychelles. In addition to stunning shorelines, island hopping yields rare flora and fauna, pristine rain forests, and wonderful people.

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There are luxury resorts on a number of the granite islands. The 3 main islands of Mahé, Praslin, and La Digue each have luxury resorts while there are also a number of private islands. Enjoying the beaches, giant tortoises, Coco de Mer (World’s largest coconut) and rare birds and vegetation amid the granite hill surroundings, allows for a number of great excursions outside of the resorts. Seychelles has carved out a niche as one of the most environmentally conscience destinations in the region as the government really tries to preserve the pristine islands.

Romance
The over water villas of the Maldives has long captured honeymooners ideas of a perfect spot! As such, Maldives is always popular for those looking to spend some romantic time together. Seychelles conjures up images of idyllic and pristine islands and as such Seychelles is also a great destination for romance.

Family-friendly
We think a family-friendly environment has more to do with a specific resort than the destination as a family-friendly resort in any destination can be really enjoyable. All three destinations offer resorts that cater to families. Mauritius does have more activities in general which does lead more families down this path, but all three destinations have excellent family-friendly facilities.

Activities
Mauritius is one large island and there are so many activities and excursions. Golf courses, water activities, and numerous island excursions gives Mauritius the top spot for diversity of activity options. Seychelles would come in second here with rare flora and fauna that can be visited on a number of islands. In the Maldives, activities revolve around what the resort offers – which is mainly water sports, spa treatments, or the facilities on the island. As such, there aren’t as many excursions or activities as in Seychelles or especially Mauritius.

Service
Both Mauritius and Maldives offer tremendous service. It’s hard to say service in one of these destinations is better than the other as resorts utilize staff differently in each spot, but both destinations have friendly staff that are always trying to please. The people of the Seychelles are wonderful, but of the three destinations things seem to run on island time (slower) than in the other two destinations.

For more on the very best and affordable package offers, visit http://www.expressvacationtours.co.ke

 
 
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EBOLA IS FAR AWAY FROM YOUR SAFARI/HOLIDAY DESTINATIONS

Have you ever wondered how far we really are from what is generally regarded as ground zero for Ebola. Thinking about changing your plans for that safari or the long awaited climb up Kilimanjaro? Perhaps you think you might just wait till this Ebola thing is out of the way and try Europe for the time being. Well, folks, you may be surprised .

Africa is a very large continent. Remember how dumb we thought it was when people were worried about visiting Vancouver when there was a SARS outbreak in Toronto.

Some of your bucket list items in East and South Africa are further from Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia (the three countries with Ebola outbreaks) than the distance between Vancouver and Toronto (4,400 km). As an example – Nairobi to FreeTown, in Sierra Leone is 5,600 km.

In fact, Madrid, Rome, Paris, London and Rio de Janeiro are approximately the same distance or closer to the unfortunate countries with Ebola outbreaks, than are Cape Town and Johannesburg in South Africa, Arusha, in Tanzania, and Nairobi in Kenya.

Check out the map below:

Ebola map

If this information is helpful, spread it on to others.

 
 
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SAUTI ZA BUSARA FESTIVALS – ZANZIBAR 2015

African Music under African Skies. Sauti za Busara is East Africa’s best-loved and friendliest festival. Next year we’ll be back with the 12th edition. Mark the dates in your calendar now 12th – 15th February 2015—and join us in Zanzibar for:
300+ musicians: that’s around thirty groups, from Zanzibar, Tanzania, Africa and beyond, representing urban and rural roots, acoustic and electric styles, and established and up-and-coming artists.

Sauti-za-Busara-

Four nights in the historic Old Fort: You asked for it and we listened. In 2013, audiences said 3 days just weren’t enough, so we’re going back to the 4-night programme. The main stage programme will run Thursday through Sunday with non-stop 100% live performances daily from 5pm until 1am.
African Music Films: documentaries, music clips, videos and live concert footage.
Festival marketplace: food and drinks, festival merchandise, cd’s, and jewellery and handicrafts from local vendors.

Busara Xtra: Around the festival, the island is buzzing with a range of fringe events: traditional ngoma drum and dance, fashion shows, dhow races, open-mic sessions, after-parties and performances of Zanzibar’s oldest Taarab orchestras are all arranged by the local community.

 
 

Kenya Tourism: Rogue Tourists may soon face death through stoning

Traveling to Kenya may not only remain a calculated risk due to ongoing terror attacks, but this “welcoming country” may soon execute you.

Your killing will be a public event and through stoning under the watchful eyes of the Kenya police and justice system. What would a foreign tourist have to do to be stoned? You have to be suspect of committing the crime of being gay or committing a homosexual act. Gay Marriage or not – you may be stoned when visiting Kenya.

A bill seeking to have foreign gay people stoned to death in public in Kenya is now before the National Assembly through a petition by a political party.

The draft bill has proposed that a foreigner who commits a homosexual act be stoned in public, while Kenyan nationals found guilty will be jailed for life.

The draft bill, presented alongside a petition by the party’s legal secretary, Edward Onwong’a Nyakeriga, is seeking to criminalise sodomy, with offenders earning life imprisonment.

“There is need to protect children and youth who are vulnerable to sexual abuse and deviation as a result of cultural changes, uncensored information technology, parentless-child developmental settings and increasing attempts by homosexuals to raise children in homosexual relationships through adoption, foster care or otherwise,” Nyakeriga says in his petition.

The bill by the Republican Liberty Party prohibits all forms of sexual relations between people of the same sex. Last week, Speaker Justin Muturi forwarded the Anti-Homosexuality Bill to the Justice and Legal Affairs committee, which will consider it and report back to the House.

The bill also introduces “Aggravated homosexuality”, which includes committing such acts with a minor or where the offender is HIV-positive. This, the Bill proposes, should be punished through stoning to death in public.

Parliament already has a caucus against the gay lifestyle and in February MPs announced that they would seek measures to deal with it. The parliamentary anti-gay caucus consists of, among others, MPs Irungu Kang’ata (Kiharu), Julius Ndegwa (Lamu West), John Njoroge (Kasarani), Clement Wambugu (Mathioya) and Stephen Kinyanjui (Kinangop).

Last week, a Ugandan court rejected a not-dissimilar law passed in December last year by that country’s legislators. The court ruled that Parliament had not met the quorum requirement when passing the law.

The law was condemned locally and internationally, with the US threatening Uganda with sanctions over its enactment. The Republican Liberty Party argues that homosexuality is unnatural and must be legislated against.

“The petition aims at providing comprehensive and enhanced legislation to protect the cherished culture of the people of Kenya, legal, religious and traditional family values against the attempts of sexual rights activists seeking to impose their values of sexual promiscuity on the people of Kenya,” the petition reads.

The bill is likely to face immense opposition from civil society, with some organisations having already openly supported the gay culture and lifestyle.

Famous Kenyan author Binyavanga Wainaina has been among the few people who have gathered the courage to come out and declare that they are gay.

The Kenyan gay and lesbian community has in the past said that it wants Parliament to repeal all anti-homosexuality laws as they infringe on their fundamental rights.

Religious leaders, on the other hand, have come out to oppose any attempt to legalise homosexuality and lesbianism in this country. Clerics have termed the practices an “unnatural crime” that must not be allowed in this country.

While the constitution outlaws the union of persons of the same sex, it does not explicitly make homosexuality a crime. In July, a poll by Ipsos Synovate found that 64 per cent of Kenyans believe homosexuality is an unnatural act and is learned in the growing-up process.

According to the study, only 14 per cent of Kenyans surveyed in the poll believe that being gay is natural and some people are indeed born this way.As reported.

 
 

The most expensive hotels in the world-It had to be in Africa!

The rates listed reflect the average nightly price a couple can expect to spend to stay at each respective resort for the period spanning

July 1 – August 31, 2014. The rates mentioned include all taxes and fees.

1. North Island Lodge (Seychelles) $6995
2. Fregate Island (Seychelles) $5246
3. Laucala Resort (Taveuni ,Fiji) $5040
4. Khwai River Lodge (Okavango Delta, Botswana) $3800
4. Savute Elephant Camp (Chobe, Botswana) $3800
4. Eagle Island Camp (Okavango Delta, Botswana) $3800
7. Singita Sasakwa Lodge (Serengeti, Tanzania) $3700
8. Clayoquot Wilderness Resort (Vancouver Island, Canada) $3681
9. Le Dune, Forte Village Resort (Sardinia, Italy) $3114
10. Mnemba Island Lodge (Zanzibar, Tanzania) $3100
11. Singita Lebombo Lodge (Limpopo, South Africa) $2754
12. The Wakaya Club and Spa (Wakaya, Fiji) $2740
13. Cala Di Volpe (Sardinia, Italy) $2613
14. Canouan Resort (St. Vincent and the Grenadines) $2592
15. Hotel Pitrizza (Sardinia, Italy) $2567
16. Villa del Parco (Sardinia, Italy) $2502
17. Four Seasons Tented Camp (Chiang Rai, Thailand) $2436
18. Maia Luxury Resort & Spa (Anse Louis, Seychelles) $2420
19. The Ranch at Rock Creek (Philipsburg, United States) $2385
20. Queen Charlotte Lodge (Naden Harbour, Canada) $2308

For all luxury hotels, the lowest available price, on average, a couple would have to spend to stay at the respective resorts was established for the months of July and August 2014. Private island resorts and safari lodges were also considered as hotels and were included in the survey. Only those accommodations hosting a minimum of 20 people were considered. The rates were taken from the respective hotels’ websites, were requested by phone or were drawn from the leading hotel-booking sites. In all cases, the lowest available price was used in tabulating the results.

Seychelles

Seychelles

 

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Five star Coast resort has received two awards of merit from TripAdvisor for exemplary hotel service and excellent dining for 2014.

The Sarova Whitesands Beach Resort & Spa acting General Manager, Mr Francis Msengeti said the awards are a mark of excellence and achievement.

“The awards symbolise high standards of customer service to clients who have continued to patronise this resort,’’ Msengeti said.

Its Pavillion Restaurant, which is open to residents for buffets, breakfast, lunch and dinner was also recognised. TripAdvisor is the world’s largest travel site that celebrates hospitality excellence and is given only to establishments that consistently achieve outstanding traveler reviews on TripAdvisor.

To receive the award, an establishment needs to comply with various points. The chosen hotel, resort, restaurant or bed and breakfast has to reach an overall score of four points or more from international travellers. Mr Msengeti said the onset of the tourist high season is slowly picking up. “Generally, as an industry, we are still working together with the government on efforts for recovery following the huge slump in international arrivals occasioned by travel advisories over insecurity,” he said.

We asked our fans to give us their views by way of voting in the polls.

Tulia pool at the resort

Tulia pool at the resort

 

VISA REQUIREMENTS TO KENYA

Visas are required for all visitors to Kenya, EXCEPT for Nationals of the following countries who do NOT need a Kenya visa:

Bahamas, Bangladesh, Barbados, Botswana, Brunei-Darussalam, Cyprus, Dominica, Ethiopia, Fiji Islands, Gambia, Ghana, Grenada, Jamaica, Kiribati, Lesotho, Malawi, Maldives, Mauritius, Namibia, Nauru, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, San Marino, Seychelles, Sierra Leone, Singapore, Solomon Islands, South Africa (for less than 30 day stay), St Lucia, St Vincent & The Grenadines, Swaziland, Tanzania, Tonga, Turkey, Tuvalu, Uganda, Uruguay, Vanuatu, Zambia, Zimbabwe

Nationals of all other countries require a visa. Visas can be obtained on arrival at the airport in Nairobi or Mombasa, EXCEPT for citizens of the following countries who DO need to have a visa prior to arrival in Kenya:

Afghanistan, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Senegal, Somalia, Iran,Lebanon, Iraq, Syria, Libya, Mali, Sudan, Nigeria, Yemen, Cameroon, Pakistan, Tazikstan, North Korea

For other nationals, visas can be obtained at the airport upon arrival in Kenya, or from the Kenyan Embassies / High Commissions abroad prior to departure.

Visa Requirements

  1. Passport( Not photocopy ) which is valid for at least six(6) months -To be submitted along with the application form.
  2. Completed (Filled in) Application form duly signed.
  3. Copy of flight Itinerary / Letter from travel agent on company letterhead confirming booking.
  4. Two Passport size photos, 2 inches by 2 inches (NB: Computer generated pictures are not acceptable)
  5. Visa Fees: (Money order / Cashier’s Cheque Only Payable to Embassy of The Republic of Kenya)
    • US$50.00 For Single Entry (Tourist/Visitor/Business),
    • US$100.00 For Multiple Entries (Tourist/Visitor/Business),
    • US$20.00 For Single Transit of not more than 3 days for travelers on stopovers in Kenya while proceeding to other destinations
    • US$100.00 East Africa,
    • Diplomatic, Official, Service and Courtesy visas will continue to be issued Gratis .

PLEASE NOTE:

  • No Visa is required for persons on direct Transit and will not leaving the airport,
  • A single entry Visa would allow re-entry to Kenya from any of the following East African Countries (Uganda, Tanzania, Burundi, Rwanda)
  • Visas are usually valid for six months from the issuance date
  • Visas are issued within 14 (Fourteen) business days from date of receipt of the application being sent by mail and courier services
  • Those travelling to Kenya with their pets must obtain pet permits
  • Holders of Kenya visitor/Business/tourist visa cannot engage in any form of employment whether paid or unpaid
  • Applicants who intend to conduct temporary business, trade or profession must apply for a special pass from the Director of Immigration Services in Nairobi
  • Applicants seeking to undertake Internship/placement or academic research should liaise with their host organizations, institutions or companies to make applications for the necessary pass to the Director of Immigration Services in Nairobi prior to their engagements.
  • Application for all Visa services should be completed online.

Please note that if you obtain the visa on arrival at the airport, payment should be made in US$ cash banknotes and the immigration officers do not accept credit cards or travelers’ cheques, so you will need to have the exact amount in cash.

You can download the visa form and print this out to complete the details, ready for presentation at the airport in Nairobi.

For more information on visas and to download the VISA formkenya-flag

please visit: http://www.kenyaembassy.com/dcservices/appforvisaonline.aspx

 

Killer virus Ebola is deadly and it is now in Nigeria

The Ebola virus is devastating, extremely dangerous and simply shocking. Symptoms include high fever, bleeding and central nervous system damage.

The fatality rate can reach 90%, with an incubation period of two to 21 days. There is no vaccine or cure.

Supportive care such as re-hydrating patients who have diarrhoea and vomiting can help recovery. Fruit bats are considered to be the natural host of the virus.

Nigeria is now on top alert. Nigeria has put all entries into the country on red alert after confirming the death of a Liberian man who was carrying the Ebola virus.

The man died after arriving at Lagos airport on Tuesday, in the first Ebola case in Africa’s most populous country.

Surveillance has been stepped up at all “airports, seaports and land borders” into Nigeria.

Since February, more than 660 people have died of Ebola in West Africa – the world’s deadliest outbreak to date.

It began in southern Guinea and spread to Liberia and Sierra Leone.

The Liberian man collapsed on arrival in Lagos last Sunday. He was taken from the airport to a hospital, where he was put in quarantine.

Officials have identified the 40-year-old man as an employee of the Liberian government.

Mr Chukwu confirmed that the other passengers on board the flight had been traced and were being monitored.

The Ebola cases in Sierra Leone are centred in the country’s eastern districts of Kenema and Kailahun, just over the border from the Guekedou region of Guinea where the outbreak started.

On Thursday, the World Health Organization said that 219 people had died of Ebola in Sierra Leone.

 

Meridiana and NEOS charter Airlines resumes flights from Italy to Kenya coast

After turbulent low season, the resuming charters from Italy wouldn’t have at the best of times. This alone has already boosted the fortunes of several resorts and hotels at the Kenya coast, mainly in Malindi and the Watamu area which are heavily frequented by Italian tourists.

Sources put the number of tourists to around 600 who arrived over the past two days on Meridiana and on NEOS and who were taken by road to their resort hotels.

This has seen several hotels which had closed during the low season period reportedly reopening and getting back to business, after recalling their staff. KTB and Magical Kenya and the entire Tourism fraternity have broadly welcomed the return of the charters from Italy and have expressed cautious optimism that the market downturn has reached its low point. Concerns, however, were also mentioned and one in particular stressed the urgency to provide security for the tourists at the beaches as well as during their excursions to visit attractions along the Kenya coast where the ruins of Gedi, among others, have in the past drawn a lot of visitors through the gates.‘Italians have in the past liked trips by air to Lamu but I am not sure how those trips will now sell. I hope that the direct route from Malindi to the Tsavo East National Park will be ok because short safaris for one or two nights have also been popular among Italian tourists. For now we are just happy to have tourists arrive in good numbers and hope they can enjoy their holiday in Kenya’ one source commented. For more information about the Malindi hotels and Watamu as destinations click on www.expressvacationtours.co.ke