Blog Archives

Natural Beauty in East Africa

East Africa is a land of amazement, and the combination of stunning scenery and several of the most majestic and fascinating animals on earth makes this area a mecca for nature lovers. Many of the visitors coming to the region do so for the opportunity to enjoy a safari and to spot animals like lions, elephants and rhinos, but there are also several other great sites worth visiting too. The coastal areas and the islands of East Africa offer a very different natural experience, but they also have plenty of places worth visiting.

The Historical Importance Of East Africa

In many ways, the challenging geography and natural barriers such as jungles and deserts helped much of East Africa to resist colonial influences for a period, but eventually the majority of the area became colonized by one of the European nations. The fertile soils were excellent for growing tea and coffee, while spices and mineral resources were also exploited.

This colonial influence has reduced dramatically during the twentieth century, with the majority of East Africa now made up of independent nations. While there is still significant strife and conflict in some areas, those places that do have important tourist locations tend to try and attract visitors and try and make themselves a peaceful and welcoming place for visitors, because of the wealth and foreign currency that tourism can bring into these countries.

Security And Safety When Visiting East Africa

The majority of tourist areas in East Africa are generally peaceful and safe places to visit, and while there are some areas that are known for petty crime such as pickpocketing, the danger to tourists is minimal. Some countries such as Somalia, Eritrea, Sudan and South Sudan are off the beaten track for visitors, and should be visited with caution. Most of the countries in East Africa are religious and quite conservative, so it is important to check up on local customs before traveling to these countries.

Dinder National Park, park, southeastern Sudan. The park lies in the clayish floodplain of the Dinder and Rahad rivers, at an elevation of 2,300 to 2,600 feet (700 to 800 metres). Established in 1935, it covers an area of 2,750 square mi (7,123 square km). Vegetation in the park consists of thornbush savanna in the north and woodland in the south; along the riverbanks there are palm or gallery forests and swampy areas. Wildlife includes giraffe, hartebeest, reedbuck, roan antelope, bushbuck, oribi, waterbuck, greater kudu, gazelle, dik-dik, buffalo, lion, and ostrich. Black rhinoceros, leopard, cheetah, elephant, hyena, and jackal are also occasionally found. The park can be reached by road fromKhartoum, a distance of 290 miles (470 km). Its headquarters are at Khartoum.

The annual rainfall in the Park ranges between 600-800mm and there are three major ecosystems: the riverine (Hyphaena thebaica, Acacia nilotica), the woodland (Acacia seyal, Balanites aegyptiaca), and the mayas and depressions. The mayas are oxbow lakes along the meandering rivers. They are subject to floods and contain green fodderand water up to the end of the dry season. The Park supports 27 large mammal species, bats and small mammals, more than 160 species of birds, 32 fish species, reptiles and amphibians. In addition there are about 58 species of shrubs and trees (Higher Council for Environment and Natural Resources, 2001).

Dinder is mainly and extensively made of Savannah grassland, woodland and riverine forests; with a few hills and highlands located along and near the Ethiopian border. The park has three ecosystems, each with its own plant and animal communities. The northern part is dominated by acacia seyal and balanites aegyptiaca savannah which merges with anogeissus – combretum woodlot. Along the Dinder river doom palm (hyphaena thebaica) are dominant. Palm trees have an important economic value in the cottage industry as they are used in the making of mats, baskets, brooms; and are also used for construction. Other trees abundantly found in Dinder include: acacia siberana and tamorindus indica. Along the banks of the river, reeds and tall wild sorghum grass grow.

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Talking Issues: Industry of Tourism

by : Mohammed Abdullah
Email: moabd31@yahoo.com

Sudan was gifted by all types of tourism factors such as long beaches, beautiful landscapes, good nature and archeological sites in different parts of the country.
Tourism has become an important industry nowadays and it contributes and brings a huge amount of money to increase the public revenue of countries. The problem that faces tourism in Sudan is the absence of a set plan, tourists’ needs in, how to attract them and types of laws that should be made?
Tourism will bring hard currency and open Sudan to the world.
The plan must address foreigners; this mean that we need to deal with different cultures, traditions and habits.
Archeologists have to convey ancient areas and to inform tourists about Sudan, its history, food and all interesting aspects related to tourism.
The Minister of Investment in Sudan has prepared an investment plan which targeted all states and each of them submitted a proposal about the type of tourism it will present. On behalf of the country, the ministry of investment will present to the market of tourism laws to regulate tourism investment.
The country needs to facilitate the mission of investors and encourage them through flexible legislations.
It is not difficult to create a good atmosphere and offer tourism services based on international criteria. However, this dream has been translated into action by Al-Saraf Tourism Complex, a national company managed to penetrate the world of tourism through a Sudanese restaurant called Al-Housh. This complex was designed to receive ambassadors, international organizations and all foreigners from different parts of the world. The restaurant has an international staff, which is well trained to serve people of multi-cultures.
Those who stand behind the idea managed to create an attractive, breath taking Nile beach in Omdurman.
The Sudanese government appreciated the idea and promised to encourage national investors and to host guests to establish businesses in Sudan.

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by : Mohammed Abdullah
Email: moabd31@yahoo.com

Desert camping in an ancient kingdom

Every now and then you have an unforgettable experience that helps remind you why you made the decisions you did.
I had one of those moments recently while camping in the desert just next door to Sudan’s ancient pyramids.
Six of us set off walking about 11pm from Bagrawiyah villagewhere we stayed with Rami’s family during the Muslim holiday Eid.

At the time, it seemed both reckless and exciting to be walking through the quiet village streets into the darkness beyond.

Guiding our way is intrepid fellow volunteer Robert, who is an experienced traveller and has already camped at the Meroëpyramids on previous trips to Sudan.

We navigate by the moonlight and the shadowy outline of the pyramids in front, walking parallel to the road so as not to be seen by passing cars.

Behind us the green minaret of the Bagrawiyah mosque becomes smaller and smaller.

The Meroë pyramids were constructed about 800 years after their Egyptian counterparts.

 
Good morning!!

The area is the final resting place of more than 40 kings and queens from the Merotic Kingdom, also known as the Kingdom of Kush.

There were once more than 200 pyramids scattered across the desert sands at Meroë, but today that number stands at about 20.

While some remain well-preserved, others are crumbling or slowly being reclaimed by the desert sands.

One of the first stories locals will tell you is that of Italian explorer Giuseppe Ferlini, who infamously smashed the tops off 40 pyramids in 1834 in search of treasure.

While Ferlini hit the jackpot inside the first pyramid he plundered, the 39 he subsequently destroyed yielded nothing.

 
Desert campsite

Once back in Europe, he struggled to find a buyer for his treasure trove, as no-one believed that such exquisite jewels could come from black Africa, with collectors assuming Ferlini was an imposter trying to pass off fakes.

Since then, the pyramids have been virtually plundered of all their wealth and many historical treasures and artifacts relating to the period are now housed in British and German museums.

Still, there is something sacred about Meroë, and not simply for the fact it is an ancient burial ground, but also because it remains virtually undiscovered by modern tourism.

Technically tourists are not allowed to camp at the pyramids; however guards tend to tolerate the practice if done discreetly.

After an hour-and-a-half walking we arrive at the edge of the dunes and climb to the top to scope out a good spot to pitch our tents.

 
Our desert sunrise

The wind has picked up and setting up our tents in near darkness proves challenging, particularly when we discover mid-way through that the pegs are missing.

 
An ancient kingdom

Imagine how ridiculous we felt in the  morning when we discover the bag of pegs in the sand nearby.

In the end we anchor them down with our backpacks and set off for a moonlight stroll amongst the pyramids.

The silence of the desert and the ghostly shadows   of the ancient pyramids and the surrounding dunes  makes for an eerie experience.

We talk in hushed tones and keep in the shadows, which to me is more out of reverence for the ancient crumbling kingdom we are walking amongst, than staying out of the way of any patrolling guards that may be in the area.

It’s just after six when we wake in the morning. As we step out of our tents the sun is just rising and a pale pink sky highlights the desert horizon.

I have to say, it’s a pretty special moment…

We climb to a nearby vantage point and watch as the light changes, illuminating the sands in various golden shades.

 
Young souvenir sellers

As we return to our camp to pack our tents away, a solitary man on a donkey waves at us across the desert and promptly sets up a small makeshift stall with small trinkets and pyramid replicas carved from the region’s distinctive sandstone.

This sets off a retail chain reaction and we are soon totally surrounded by a group of small children waving various replica pyramids at more and more reduced prices.

Something in their eyes and the desperation in their pleas makes me wish that I could do more for them than simply buy a dusty souvenir.

We set off on a hike later and quite by accident stumble across a series of mountains, housing a network of small caves. The rolling orange dunes give way to a rocky barren moonscape and the view from the top provides an impressive scale for the endless expanse of desert stretching out across the horizon.

It’s true that the Meroë pyramids may lack the grandness and scale of their Egyptian counterparts, but here you can have them almost to yourself – and that’s pretty hard to beat.

 
The intrepids 🙂

 

Al Housh Resturant & Cafe |

Thomas Klein International (TKI), the Dubai-based food and beverage consultants, recently announced the opening of Al Housh located in Khartoum, Sudan.

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The eatery, featuring 25 stalls selling food and fresh produce and a seating capacity for 600 people, forms part of the El Seref Tourism and Hospitality project, and is the largest outlet located within the 45,000 square feet destination.

“Al Housh offers traditional Sudanese cuisine, and recreates a souk layout and experience whereby customers are brought back to a time and place when the ingredients were at the core of the food they ate,” explains Daniel During, Principal and Managing Director of Thomas Klein International.

“Similarly, the interior design was inspired by the ancient street markets and souks, and we have created similar courtyards and alleys throughout the eatery, to create an authentic dining experience.”

The food and beverage concept was designed after scouring the country to learn about traditional cooking methods, recipes and ingredients.

“We visited every hook and cranny in every souk, every street and stall and spoke to many locals about the Sudanese food and their ways of eating.”

“After months of unrelenting research and education, it all became clear. This amazing food, and culinary traditions, along with the ancient recipes and cooking methods where all hidden in back allies in a huge city, accessible only to the male population, unreachable to women and children and families.”

“We needed to frame this proud heritage and make it available to the wider public and expose it to the world. We needed to showcase Sudanese traditions in a way that would make the Sudanese proud of what their land has to offer. Most of all, we were inspired to create a place that would appeal to Sudanese families and foreigners alike.”

TKI worked with several local and international companies to replicate the ancient Sudanese cooking methods while meeting modern standards of food quality, hygiene and safety. El Seref also has its own on-site slaughterhouse and butchery, as well as a fishmonger. Local breads are baked on site, and most vegetables and herbs are sourced locally.

The main focus was to create a buzzing, dynamic food hall/market concept, rich in sights and sounds, that truly celebrates the native cooking of Sudan. The restaurant features 25 different food stalls, including a spice market, fruit and vegetable market, a deli, bakery, pastry shop, as well as a butcher and fishmonger and traditional street food stalls.

“We also have many live cooking stalls to showcase a host of traditional methods of cooking such as Agashe – a western Sudanese method of grilling meat, whereby the meat and chicken is placed on sticks nestled in the sand around charcoal in a circle.

“There is also the Sudanese Wok and a Salat – a typical Sudanese grilling method whereby hot charcoal is placed in a sand hole and covered with pebbles on which marinated meat slices are cooked,” said During.

Al Housh also offers customers the option to buy fresh produce and ingredients, as well as hot dishes, from the various stalls, complete with expert advice. Diners can order from the stalls or from the menu, and dine in the restaurant or take their freshly-cooked meal home.

“Ultimately, the freshness of the food is very important to the entire concept, and diners are encouraged to watch their food being prepared at the stalls, thereby enjoying the action and traditional skills of the experts,” added During.

Thomas Klein International worked closely with Iskan, a Khartoum-based design company, for the design of Al Housh, which is owned by El Seref Tourism and Hospitality

Industry of Tourism ” Sudan”

Sudan was gifted by all types of tourism factors such as long beaches, beautiful landscapes, good nature and archeological sites in different parts of the country.
Tourism has become an important industry nowadays and it contributes and brings a huge amount of money to increase the public revenue of countries. The problem that faces tourism in Sudan is the absence of a set plan, tourists’ needs in, how to attract them and types of laws that should be made?
Tourism will bring hard currency and open Sudan to the world.
The plan must address foreigners; this mean that we need to deal with different cultures, traditions and habits.
Archeologists have to convey ancient areas and to inform tourists about Sudan, its history, food and all interesting aspects related to tourism.
The Minister of Investment in Sudan has prepared an investment plan which targeted all states and each of them submitted a proposal about the type of tourism it will present. On behalf of the country, the ministry of investment will present to the market of tourism laws to regulate tourism investment.
The country needs to facilitate the mission of investors and encourage them through flexible legislations.

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It is not difficult to create a good atmosphere and offer tourism services based on international criteria. However, this dream has been translated into action by Al-Saraf Tourism Complex, a national company managed to penetrate the world of tourism through a Sudanese restaurant called Al-Housh. This complex was designed to receive ambassadors, international organizations and all foreigners from different parts of the world. The restaurant has an international staff, which is well trained to serve people of multi-cultures.

Those who stand behind the idea managed to create an attractive, breath taking Nile beach in Omdurman.
The Sudanese government appreciated the idea and promised to encourage national investors and to host guests to establish businesses in Sudan.

Climate Change Impact on Wildlife and Eco-tourism

It is clear that there are significant and continuing reduction to the global biological diversity and this is due to several reasons. The most important ones are the environment changes and the misuse of natural resources. Today most of environment changes are related to the climate factors. Sudan has several wildlife habitats distributed along the different ecological zones. Each habitat has its own adaptation wild species. Species are distributed in and outside the protected areas.

Many protected areas are protecting essential habitats and ecosystems of national wealth. The major impacts of climate change on wildlife habitats are changing animals’ range and distribution, habitats quality and the timing of migration. Climate change has potential effects on most migratory bird species and migration route. The climate change had especial impacts on marine mammals when the plankton and sea temperature are influenced by the change in the climate. Also the reptiles which have repetition migration may be faced by many hazards caused by climate change . It is reported that the climate change is expected to alter the distribution and abundance of many species.
Ecotourism means the use of natural resources for the benefits and enjoyment of human beings, but in a sustainable ways. The tourism industry in Sudan is till a new business. The diverse ecosystem, many protected areas, which are rich with fauna and flora, and the diverse traditional cultural folklore aspects could contribute positively to the development of ecotourism investment in Sudan. The sectors related to ecotourism industry are also affected by climate change. It is reported that the climate change is impacting most forms of nature based tourism experiences and destinations.
Several areas of research .including wildlife ecology, biology, food habits, behavior ,wildlife management ,wildlife habitat ,watershed management ,diseases, socio-economics studies ,etc;  had been conducted by the Wildlife Research Center and other research institutes and universities, in the different ecosystems and protected areas of Sudan.

Recently studies conducted in Al Sabaloga Game reserve concluded that: Indices of climate fluctuations (for 30 years period) and changes are observed, consequently the habitats were deteriorated, some wild animals disappeared and some are threatened with extinction.

Wildlife Research Priorities include: Inventory studies of the current status of habitats, factors of climate change and their impact on the different taxonomic groups, identification and assessment of possible adaptive responses and the use of remote sensing techniques in studies of climate change changes habitats and ecosystems. Wildlife management and proper adaptive programs should be one among the main priorities of the government strategies and policies towards the sustainability of these resources.

The paper ended by a number of recommendations, the main were:

1. Studies should focus on inventory, monitoring and assessing the available wildlife resources. Assessing the management problems and measures of risks in the region and formulate certain measures for adaptation and mitigation as related to CBD and Climate Change Convention.

2. More focus should be put on the important role of the Media.

3. The need for land use plans incorporating climate change mitigation and adaptation should incorporate sufficient coordination among the different natural resources institutions including Wildlife Administration.

4. Wildlife management and proper adaptive program should be one among the main priorities of the government strategies and policies towards the sustainability of these resources for the economic and recreational values.

5. Addressing climate change requires unprecedented global cooperation across borders. The international organizations are helping and supporting developing countries and contributing to a global solution by step up policy research .knowledge, and capacity building. Seeking the international support to develop strategies to mitigate climate change and protect biodiversity is a must.

6. Joint research programmes are needed to cover gaps in wildlife research topics linked to other disciplines. Wildlife research (especially in climate change issues) should be among the first priorities in government strategies that could be enhanced through capacity development of humans and institutes.

By Alula Berhe Kidani,

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