Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Dinner hosted by the Women Ambassadors in Washington DC, in honor of H.E. Dr. Tebelelo M. Seretse, outgoing Amb. of Botswana

H.E. Ambassador Liberata Mulamula together with H.E. Dr. Faida Mitifu, Ambassador of the Democratic Republic of Congo and the Women Ambassadors in Washington, DC co-hosted a dinner at Vidalia restaurant in honor of H.E. Dr. Tebelelo M. Seretse, Ambassador of Botswana who has completed her tour of duty in Washington. Ambassador Seretse was well known for her distinguished service and was admired by all the women Ambassadors.


H.E. Amb. Mulamula handing H.E. Dr. Amb. Tebalelo Seretse a gift from the Women Ambassadors of Washington DC.


H.E. Ambassador Mulamula with the Women Ambassadors of Washington DC.

MHE. BALOZI LIBERATA MULAMULA AMKARIBISHA BALOZI MPYA WA ZIMBABWE NCHINI MAREKANI UBALOZINI TANZANIA HOUSE

 
Mhe. Liberata Mulamula, Balozi wa Jamhuri wa Muungano wa Tanzania nchini Marekani amemkaribisha Mhe. Ammon Mutembwa, Balozi mpya wa Jamhuri ya Zimbabwe Ubalozini Tanzania House, Washington DC, Marekani, Jumatano Novemba 26, 2014. Katika mazungumzo yake na Balozi Mutembwa, Mhe. Balozi Mulamula alimweleza Balozi huyo kwamba ajisikie kwamba yuko nyumbani. Mhe. Mulamula aliendelea kwa kusema kwamba Tanzania na Zimbabwe zina mahusiano ya kihistoria na kwa msingi huo ni vyema kutafsiri kwa vitendo mahusiano hayo kwa kujenga mashirikano zaidi baina yao. Mhe. Mulamula alifurahishwa na ziara hiyo ya Balozi Mutembwa Ubalozini na kuahidi kwamba kupitia kwa Jumuia ya Ushirikiano wa Nchini za Kusini mwa Afrika (SADC), Tanzania na Zimbabwe zina fursa ya kutosha kuziwakilisha nchi zao nchini Marekani kwa manufaa ya Serikali na wananchi wao.
 
Kwa upande wake, Mhe. Balozi Mutembwa alimshukuru Mhe. Balozi Mulamula kwa kumkaribisha Ubalozini na kwamba kwa vile ndio kwanza ameripoti katika kituo chake kipya cha kazi atashukuru sana kupata mwongozo wake na ushauri kutoka kwake ili aweze kutekeleza majukumu yake ya kiuwakilishi nchini Marekani kwa ufanisi. Balozi Mutembwa alisema pia kwamba moja ya jukumu lake kubwa  ni kuhakikisha vikwazo  ilivyoekewa nchi yake na Marekani vinaondolewa kupitia mazungumzo na kujenga maelewano mazuri baina ya  nchi yake na Marekani.
 
 
 Mhe. Liberata Mulamula, Balozi wa Jamhuri ya Muungano wa Tanzania nchini Marekani na Mexico(Kulia) akimkaribisha Mhe. Ammon Mutembwa,(Kushoto). Balozi  Mpya wa Jamhuri ya Zimbabwe nchini Marekani Ubalozini Tanzania House Washington DC,Marekani.

 Mhe.Balozi  Mulamula na Mhe. Balozi Mutembwa katika picha ya kumbukumbu baada ya kusaini kitabu cha wageni.

 Mhe. Balozi Liberata Mulamula(Katikati) akiwa katika mazungumzo na mgeni wake Mhe.Balozi Ammon Mutembwa (Wa pili kushoto) huku Maofisa wao Bw. Suleiman Saleh (Wa kwanza kulia) na Bw. Whatmore Goora (Wa kwanza kushoto) wakifuatilia.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Discussion on USAID African Diaspora Marketplace III


Discussion with Jeffrey L. Jackson, Senior Private Sector Advisor, USAID. Barbara Span, Vice President, Global Public Affairs, Western Union, Eric-Vincent Guichard, CEO, Homestrings and Zelalem Dagne, ​ CEO, Global Tracking before the launch of the African Diaspora Marketplace III (ADM III), on October 27th 2014 at The Embassy of Tanzania in Washington, DC


 
Video

MHE. MOHAMED CHANDE OTHMAN, JAJI MKUU WA TANZANIA ATEMBELEA UBALOZI WA JAMHURI YA MUUNGANO WA TANZANIA, WASHINGTON DC 19/11/2014

Mhe. Mohamed Chande Othman, Jaji Mkuu wa  Tanzania ametembelea Ubalozi wa Jamhuri ya Muungano wa Tanzania uliopo Washington DC na kufanya mazungumzo na wafanyakazi wa Ubalozi huo Ubalozini hapo Tanzania House. Katika mazungumzo yake hayo, Mhe. Chande aliwaeleza watumishi wa Ubalozi namna mihimili mitatu ya dola inavyofanya kazi pamoja na mipaka yake. Alibainisha kwamba Tanzania inajivunia mahusiano mazuri yaliyopo baina ya mihimili hiyo ambayo kutokana na misingi thabiti imekuwa ikifanya kazi katika mazingira mazuri yanayojikita katika kulisukuma taifa la Tanzania mbele. Mhe. Chande alisema pia Tanzania imo katika juhudi kubwa za kuhakikisha wananchi wake wanapata huduma za kimahakama katika kila ngazi ili kukidhi mahitaji yaliyopo sasa katika mikoa mbali mbali.

Aliongeza kwamba jambo la msingi  kwa sasa ni kuongeza ufanisi katika shughuli za kimahakama na hili linahitaji zaidi rasilimali fedha ili vyombo vyote viweze kutekeleza majukumu yake kwa wakati muafaka.


Mhe. Mohamed Chande, Jaji Mkuu wa Tanzania akisaini kitabu cha wageni katika Ubalozi wa Jamhuri ya Muungano wa Tanzania, Washington DC, Marekani.

Mhe. Mohamed Chande Othman, Jaji Mkuu wa Tanzania (Wa Tatu Kushoto)katika picha ya pamoja na Maofisa wa Ubalozi wa Tanzania Washington DC na watumishi wengine wakati wa ziara yake Ubalozini. Wa nne Kushoto, ni Mhe. Prof. Ibarahim Juma, Jaji wa Mahakama ya Rufaa na wa Pili kulia ni Mhe. Aloysius Mujulizi, Jaji wa Mahakama Kuu ya Tanzania.

Monday, November 10, 2014

STATEMENT BY THE MINISTER FOR FOREIGN AFFAIRS AND INTERNATIONAL COOPERATION, ON ALLEGATIONS THAT THE GOVERNMENTS OF CHINA AND TANZANIA ENGAGED IN ILLEGAL IVORY TRADE, WHICH IS MADE UNDER REGULATION 49(1) OF THE STANDING REGULATIONS OF THE NATIONAL ASSEMBLY 2013 EDITION

Honourable Deputy Speaker,
 
Various local and international media reported yesterday that members of the delegation of the President of China, who visited our country 18 months ago, engaged in buying ivory in the country. The source of the allegation is apparently a report by an American Non-Governmental Organisation known as Environmental Investigation Agency (EIA).  The report further accused our country and its leaders of passivity and doing nothing to stem illegal ivory trade. 
 
Honourable Deputy Speaker,

Allow me to inform the Tanzanian public and the international community through your august House, that the claims by the American NGO that the historic visit to Tanzania by the Chinese President, who chose our country for his first trip abroad after assuming office, was  associated with illegal ivory trade, have no iota of truth. Similarly, accusations the Government of Tanzania pays no attention to illegal ivory trade and takes no action against culprits of the crime, are baseless. The EIA report has been cooked up with the aim of tainting the good reputation of our country and that of our friends, the People’s Republic of China. It is a patched up report, whose release has been timed to serve an agenda well known to us. 

Honourable Deputy Speaker,

Before delving into why I hold that this report is fabricated, allow me to outline to your august House the following six undisputed facts:

1) Firstly, it is true that the biggest ivory market is in China. Those engaged in illegal ivory trade look for market in China;

2) It is also undisputed that most of the ivory peddled in the black market originates from African countries, including Tanzania;

3) The illegal ivory trade involves criminals and criminal networks masterminded by individuals of different nationalities, including Chinese and Tanzanians;

4) The Government of Tanzania and that of China are not engaged in illegal ivory trade and have no link with criminal networks of the illicit trade.

5) Cognizant of the gravity of the effects of illegal ivory trade, our two governments have been working very closely in tackling the criminal networks of the illicit business. Government agencies in our two countries have been collaborating and exchanging information, which led to the arrest of culprits. Furthermore, during the recent visit to China by our President, our two governments signed an agreement under which China would provide equipment for an operation to fight poaching and illegal harvesting of forest resources in Tanzania (China Aided Equipment for Forest Resources and Wildlife Conservation). Another agreement was signed for China to provide modern equipment for cargo surveillance at the port.

6) Tanzania and China participated fully at the London Confrrence on Illegal Wildlife Trade, which was held in February, 2014. One of the major achievements of that meeting was the signing of an agreement to fight illegal ivory mtrade by China, Botswana and Tanzania. This was the first time for China to sign such agreement, which attests to the commitment by the government of President Xi Jinping to rout illegal ivory trade. Before the London conference, the Chinese government burnt in public a consignment of illegal ivory seized in the country.  
 
Honourable Deputy Speaker,
Having said that, allow me now to explain why I submitted that the reports by the NGO EIA are fabricated.
 
Honourable Deputy Speaker,
This was not the first time for the New York Times to publish such report. A similar report was published last year.  The source of the allegations mentioned in the report is a person met on the street and interviewed. The person is not an employee at the port or airport. He is just a commoner as seen in the video clip of the interview. 

Apart from the false allegations made by suspect source, the EIA report also mentioned the interception of a container at the port with illegal ivory. It is true that state agencies intercepted the container with contraband. What was not publicized is that the seizure was made possible by close cooperation of Tanzanian and Chinese intelligence agencies. It was intelligence information from China which facilitated the operation. Disappointingly, however, reports in social media claimed that the intercepted container was being loaded onto a Chinese naval ship, which was not true. 
 
It must also be mentioned that President Xi’s visit to Tanzania lasted for 24 hours and his programme started immediately on arrival at 15.00 hours ending at 22.00 hours with a state banquet on the first day. The second day’s programme started in the morning with the inauguration of Mwalimu Julius Nyerere International Convention Centre, after which President Xi and his delegation had meetings with Zanzibar President, Dr. Ali Mohamed Shein and retired President Benjamin William Mkapa. Thereafter, President Xi and his delegation proceeded to the Chinese cemetery at Majohe from where they drove to the airport and flew off. The question is, what time did the alleged shopping carried out by President Xi’s delegation take place?
 
And why should the allegations of President Xi and his delegation buying illegal ivory arise today? Why now after the visit by our President to China? Why should the report be published after the national address by our President in which he detailed the success of his visit to China? 
 
Honourable Deputy Speaker,
Everybody can guess the answers. The peddlers of such reports do not wish our country well. They do not wish our Chinese friends well. They are jealous of China’s achievements. It is amazing that they hate them while they depend so much on them. They would wish to monopolize Chinese trade, Chinese financing and Chinese investments. It is taboo for us Africans to access those opportunities. We must not accept such nonsense. We are an independent country, nobody will choose friends for us and we shall not inherit anybody’s enemies. We will enhance our brotherly partnership with China and we shall not be deterred by malicious fabrications from any quarter. 
 
Let me also reassure your august House, Honourable Deputy Speaker, that our government will not relent in the fight against illegal ivory trade. The days of perpetrators of the evil business are numbered.

Thank you for your kind attention.


ISSUED BY: THE MINISTRY OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS AND INTERNATIONAL COOPERATION, DAR ES SALAAM

7TH NOVEMBER, 2014
 ______________________________
TAARIFA KWA VYOMBO VYA HABARI

Wizara ya Matnbo ya Nje na Ushirikiano wa Kimataifa inawasilisha kwenye Vyombo vya Habari taarifa kuhusu Kauli ya Waziri wa Mambo ya Nje na Ushirikiano wa Kimataifa, Mhe. Bernad K.Membe (Mb.) kama alivyoitoa Bungeni leo tarehe 07 Novemba, 2014 Mjini Dodoma kuhusu shutuma dhidi ya Serikali za China na Tanzania kujihusisha na biashara haramu ya Pembe za Ndovu.Taarifa hiyo llitolewa kwa mujibu wa Kanuni ya 49 (1) ya Kanuni za Kudumu za Bunge Toleo la 2013. Taarifa hiyo inasomeka kama liuatavyo:-


 KAULI YA WAZIRI WA MAMBO YA NJE NA USHIRIKIANO WA

KIMATAIFA KUHUSU SHUTUMA DHIDI YA SERIKALI ZA    CHINA NA TANZANIA KUJIHUSISHA NA BIASHARA HARAMU YA PEMBE ZA NDOVU INAYOTOLEWA KWA MUJIBU WA KANUNI YA 49 (1) YA KANUNI ZA KUDUMU ZA BUNGE TOLEO LA 2013

Mheshimiwa Naibu Spika,
Siku ya Jana Vyombo vya Habari mbalimbali vya Ndani na Nje ya Nchi vilitoa habari kwamba ujumbe wa Rais wa China uliokuja nchmi Miezi 18 iliyopita ulijihusisha na ununuzi wa pembe za ndovu nchmi. Chanzo cha habari hizo ni taarifa ya taasisi isiyo ya kiserikali ya nchini Marekani ijulikanayo kama Environmental Investigation Agency (EIA). Habari hiyo imekwenda mbali zaidi kuituhumu nchi yetu na viongozi wake kutojali, wala ushughulikia tatizo la biashara haramu ya pembe za ndovu.

Mheshimiwa Naibu Spika,

Ninapenda kupitia Bunge lako tukufu kuutaarifu umma wa Watanzaniana dunia kwa ujumla kwamba madai yaliyotolewa na NGO hiyo ya Marekani ya kuihusisha ziara ya kihistoria ya Rais wa China kutembelea Tanzania kama nchi ya kwanza toka aingie madarakani na biashara haramu ya pembe za ndovu hayana ukweli wowote. Vilevile, madai ya kwamba Serikali ya Tanzania haijali na wala haichukui hatua dhidi ya wanaojishughulisha na biashara haramu ya pembe za ndovu sio kweli.

Taarifa za taasisi hii ya EIA (Environmental Investigation Agency) ni za kupikwa na kuungwa ungwa ili kuchafua heshima ya nchi yetu, pamoja na kuchafua heshima ya rafiki zetu wa Taifa la China. Ni taarifa iliyoandaliwa na kutolewa wakati huu ili kukidhi ajenda mahususi ambayo tunaifahamu fika.
Mheshimiwa Naibu Spika,
Kabla sijaelezea kwanini ninasema taarifa hii sio ya kweli ningependa kwanza kulielezea Bunge lako tukufu mambo sita yafuatayo ambayo hayana ubishi:
1)    Moja, ni kweli soko kubwa la pembe za ndovu lipo China. Wanaofanya biashara haramu ya pembe za ndovu hutafuta soko huko;
2)    Ni ukweli usiopingika kwamba pembe za ndovu nyingi zinazouzwa kwenye masoko haramu zinatokea katika nchi za Afrika, Tanzania ikiwa ni miongoni mwa nchi zinapotoka pembe hizo;
3)  Biashara hiyo haramu inahusisha wahalifu/ na mitandao ya wahalifu ambao wana uraia wa nchi mbalimbali zikiwemo China na Tanzania:

4)    Serikali ya Tanzania na Serikali ya China hazifanyi biashara
haramu ya pembe za ndovu na wala hazihusiki na mitandao haramu.
5)    Kwa kutambua ukubwa wa Tatizo la biashara hiyo haramu, Serikali zetu mbili zimekuwa na ushirikiano wa karibu kabisa katika kukabiliana na mitandao inayofanya biashara hiyo haramu. Vyombo vya dola vya nchi zetu mbili vimeshirikiana kwa karibu na kupashana habari kila wakati zilizowezesha kuwakamata wahusika wa biashara hiyo. Isitoshe wakati wa ziara iliyomalizika hivi majuzi Serikali zetu mbili zilisaini mkataba wa kutupatia vifaa vya kusaidia operesheni ya kupambana na ujangili wa wanyamapori - (China Aided Equipment for Forest Resources and Wildlife Conservation). Vilevile kwenye ziara hiyo tulisaini Mkataba wa kutupatia mitambo ya kisasa ya kufanya ukaguzi wa mizigo bandarini- ambayo itasaidia kubaini mizigo inayosafirishwa.
6)    Tanzania na China zilishiriki kikamilifu kwenye Mkutano wa Kimataifa wa Kudhibiti Biashara Haramu ya Pembe za ndovu (London Confrrence on Illegal Wildlife Trade) uliofanyika mwezi Februari 2014. Moja ya mafanikio makubwa ya mkutano huo ni kwa nchi za China, Botswana na Tanzania kusaini mkataba wa kupambana na biashara hiyo haramu. Hii ilikuwa ni mara ya kwanza kwa China kusaini Mkataba wa aina hiyo, jambo lililodhihirisha umakini wa Serikali ya Rais Xi Jinping kushughulikia tatizo la biashara haramu. Vilevile kabla ya mkutano huo wa London, Serikali ya China ilichoma moto hadharani shehena ya meno ya tembo haramu yaliyokuwa yakishikiliwa nchini humo.
Mheshimiwa Naibu Spika,

Baada ya kusema hayo, naomba sasa naomba nitoe sababu kwanini ninasema habari za NGO ya EIA ni za uongo;
Mheshimiwa Naibu Spika,
Taarifa kama hii iliyotoka kwenye New York Times sio mara ya kwanza kutolewa. Taarifa ya aina hii iliwahi kutolewa mwaka jana. Na mtoa taarifa ambaye ametajwa kuwa chanzo cha habari ni mtu mmoja ambaye walimkuta barabarani na kuanza kumuuliza maswali wanasema. Mtu huyo sio mtumishi wa bandari wala uwanja wa ndege. Ni mpita njia tu wa mtaani. Hata video ya mahojiano ya Aljazeera inaonyesha hivyo. Ukiachilia mbali uwongo uliotolewa na bwana huyo, taasisi ya EIA imeongelea tukio la kontena lililokamatwa Bandarini likiwa na pembe za ndovu.

Ni kweli kabisa kwamba kontena la pembe lilikamatwa bandarini na vyombo vya dola. Jambo moja ambalo watu wengi hawalijui ni kwamba mafanikio ya operesheni ile yalitokana na ushirikiano wa vyombo vya usalama vya Tanzania na China. Taarifa za kiinteligensia juu ya operation hiyo kwakweli zilitoka China na kuwasilishwa taarifa hiyo kwenye Serikali ya Tanzania na ndipo operesheni ile ilipofanikiwa. Lakini habari zilizotoka kwenye mitandao zilisema kwamba Kontena limekamatwa likipelekwa kwenye meli ya kijeshi ya China...jambo ambalo sio kweli hata kidogo. (Msisitizo) Huwezi Serikali ya China ukaleta taarifa ya intelijensia Tanzania ya kuonyesha kuna kontena linakuja China, halafu wakati huohuo, Serikali ya China imetayarisha meli yake ya kijeshi kubeba hiyo kontena. Ni uongo ambao hauwezi kukubalika.

Mbali na hayo, ziara ya Rais Xi Jinping nchini ilikuwa ya masaa 24 tu, na programu yake ilianza mara tu alipowasili nchini kuanzia saa 9 alasiri hadi saa 4 usiku kwenye dhifa ya taifa. Siku ya pili ratiba ilianza asubuhi kwa uzinduzi wa Ukumbi wa Mikutano ya Kimataifa wa Mwalimu Julius Nyerere. Baada ya hapo Rais Xi na ujumbe wake walikuwa na mikutano na Rais wa Zanzibar Mhe Dk. Ali Mohamed Shein na Rais Mstaafu wa awamu ya tatu Mhe. Benjamin William Mkapa. Baada ya hapo Rais Xi na ujumbe wake walienda kwenye makaburi ya Wachina kule Majohe na kisha wakaondoka kwenda uwanja wa ndege. Sasa hizo shopping zinazoelezewa kufanywa na ujumbe wa Rais Xi Jin Ping zilifanyika saa ngapi? Zilifanyika usiku wa manane?
 
Jambo muhimu la kujiuliza hapa, ni je hiyo taarifa ya Rais Xi na ujumbe wake kubeba pembe za ndovu iweje itoke leo? Kwanini wakati huu baada ya ziara ya Rais wetu nchini
China? Kwanini itoke baada ya Mhe Rais Kikwete kuhutubia kuhusu mafanikio ya ziara yake nchini China? Jibu ni moja tu. Wivu.
Wasambazaji wa taarifa hizi hawaitakii mema kabisa nchi yetu. Hawawatakii mema marafiki zetu wa China.
    Wakubwa hawa hawataki tujengewe reli ya TAZARA na reli ya kati kwa viwango vya kisasa kabisa.
    Wakubwa hawa hawataki tujengewe bandari ya Bagamoyo, bandari ya kisasa ambayo italeta makontena mengi na meli nyingi katika nchi yetu.
    Hawataki tupatiwe mikopo nafuu kwa ajili ya maendeleo ya nchi yetu.
    Na wala hawataki tujenge vyuo vya ufundi nchini, achia mbali kutaka kupata scholarships nyingi kutoka China kwa ajili ya Watanzania haswa katika upande wa gesi na mafuta.
Wanaweka wivu, hawataki na sisi tuendelee kama walivyoendelea wenzetu. Inashangaza kuona, wanawachukia lakini huku wakiwategemea Wachina hao hao. Wao wangependa peke yao wafanye biashara na China, wakachukue mikopo China, wavutie uwekezaji kutoka China, lakini tukifanya sisi Watanzania au Waafrika inakuwa nongwa. Tusikubali upuuzi wa aina hii. Sisi ni taifa huru, hatuwezi kuchaguliwa marafiki wala hatutarithishwa maadui. Tutaendeleza ushirikiano wetu wa kidugu na China na kamwe hatutorudi nyuma kutokana na maneno ya uwongo na uzushi.
Aidha, ninapenda kulihakikishia Bunge lako Tukufu Mheshimiwa Naibu Spika kwamba Serikali yetu haitorudi nyuma. Tutaendeleza mapambano dhidi ya biashara haramu ya pembe za ndovu. Na wale wote wanaoshughulika na biashara hizo, siku zao zimefikia mwisho.
Ahsanteni kwa kunisikiliza.
 


Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Is Tanzania still safe to visit ?



 


By Marc Harris, Managing Director of Tanzania Odyssey – a long established Tanzania specialist tour Operator


There have been no cases of Ebola reported anywhere in East Africa and the epicentre of the current outbreak is 5,500 km away from Tanzania.  Indeed Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea are closer to Madrid, Paris and London than they are to Tanzania in East Africa


The current UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) Tanzania travel advice as well as the US Department of State travel advice does not mention Ebola as a risk: https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice/tanzania & http://www.state.gov/p/af/ci/tz/


As one of the longest standing Tanzania Tour Operators in Tanzania we have built excellent relationships with our partners on the ground in Tanzania as well as being a member of ATTA (African Travel and Tourism Association) where we are kept informed and up to date about any changes which we can inform and act accordingly on our clients behalf.

We do not have a crystal ball and cannot predict whether Ebola will reach East Africa.  However, we have considered the situation extremely carefully, and are completely unconcerned.  In our opinion the problem of Ebola in Tanzania is simply that of perception and miscommunication


We have many thousands of tourists in Tanzania at any one time and we are delighted to note that we have only received a handful of enquiries about Ebola – the message from our side is that it business as usual in Tanzania


--
For further information please contact Marc Harris – The Managing Director of Tanzania Odysseywww.tanzaniaodyssey.com 

Exploring Zanzibar, a Tropical Island Adventure



Zanzibar wraps its reality around you like a lingering fairytale. This tiny archipelago of Indian Ocean islands that once lured sailors, Sultans and slavers to its far-distant shores is so charismatic that it sweeps you into its shadowy romantic past and sunlit present all at once, and finally sets you down, all sun-bronzed and laden with spices and island art, and memories of an exceptionally sparkling and colourfully abundant sea.

 


The main island is small and easy to explore, with glorious white sand, palm-fringed beaches rewarding you for just a couple of hours’ drive to the North coast and the same to the East, along mainly hopeless but endlessly fascinating roads flanked by simple homesteads, roads worn more by foot or bicycle and frequented by chickens. There is a time warp here, this place where the past is so responsible for the present, where mobile phones, internet connections and television are all relatively recent, and where the history and culture is so imbued that you can simply stretch out beneath the dappled shade of the coconut palms and soak it up. Welcome to Zanzibar, and a world apart.


 

Sailors and traders from the first century AD came to the lands of ‘Zinj el Barr’, the Black Coast, bringing beads, porcelain and silks to trade for gold, slaves and spices, ebony, ivory, indigo and tortoiseshell. They waited for annual monsoon winds to fill their dhow sails and bear them across the Indian Ocean; today’s visitors usually arrive in a small ‘plane or ferry from Dar es Salaam. But these still afford a measured approach, allowing a breathtaking vision of sparkling cerulean waters over sandbanks and reefs, and then into Stone Town, the ancient island capital, still more of a town than a city, a maze of winding pedestrian streets in a hotchpotch of rooftops, a mass of corrugated iron overwhelming the historic stonework beneath.

Helplessly entwined in its own history, the people of Zanzibar are the Swahili, evolving from the influx of mainly Arabian and Persian immigrants who settled on the East African coast and islands to trade and escape the political upheavals of the Gulf two thousand years ago. Their cultural history was founded in sailing dhows, similar to those that glide by its shores today, boats that brought people, language and cultures and long centuries of power wrangling.


 

The Arab immigrants were overthrown by the Portuguese in the 15th century, until the Sultan of Oman finally saw them off for good in 1698 and started building the Stone Town of today; the Old Fort on the harbour was built on the remains of a Portuguese church dating back to 1600. Visitors to Stone Town still encounter the grandiose vision and dominant architectural style of a confident young Sultan who transferred the seat of his sultanate from the contentious capital of Muscat to the breezier climes of Zanzibar in 1832, and then began palace building in earnest, and seeding the coconut palms and clove plantations which soon defined Zanzibar as the ‘Spice Island’.


 
 

Driving through the island centre now, it is worth stopping to explore the spice plantations, where a guided walk for passing tourists is likely to be more lucrative than vast crops to export, but it is a fine sensual pleasure to crumble cinnamon bark straight from the tree, to breathe the scent of cloves drying in the sun, to taste and guess the spice from a handful of pods and powders. These are well used by the chefs and kitchens in beach hotels, where fishermen daily bring the catch of the day to be grilled, baked, battered or blanched with assorted Zanzibar spice.

The coast is dotted with hotels, self-contained beach hideaways that relish their privacy and provide various levels of style and comfort. I have been to most and head north by choice, to the northernmost peninsula which is occupied by Ras Nungwi Beach Hotel. The name is a very literal Swahili translation, but it says nothing of how this beach is secluded and the coral sands are blanched very, very pale. It does not tell how the wonderfully translucent and clear the sea is here, where a coral reef surrounds the shore creating a shallow wide expanse to explore until the tide rises high and then turquoise waves crash onto the beach It is a naturally beautiful place.

 

 

Turtles come ashore to lay their eggs when the moon is full, and the surrounding reefs are a thriving colourful world to snorkel and dive. Ras Nungwi Beach Hotel is essentially respectful of its place, each room constructed from local wood and coral rag to create a number of thatched round houses along the beach, with lodge rooms in gardens behind. Soft sand pathways link the central thatched and open-sided restaurant to the rooms, pool and dive centre, providing the comforts of a fine hotel with a rustic, beach hideaway style. This is a fine place to lie back and soak up Zanzibar, crack open a coconut, watch the dhows on the far horizon and look forward to spice-scented, star filled African night.

--
We travelled with Tanzania Odyssey (www.tanzaniaodyssey.com) – one of the first tour operators to specialise in solely in Tanzania

 

 

 

 

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Ebola virus scares away safari tourists. Is this impacting Tanzanian tourism?

With the media attention on the spread of the Ebola virus; is this having an affect on Tanzanian tourism?






Safari planning expert, Julian Carter-Manning, of Yellow Zebra Safaris shares his point of view.

Question: What is it that makes a Tanzania safari so special? 

We operate safaris in all the major safari destinations but it is the quality of safari on offer in Tanzania, coupled with the diversity of its parks and safari experiences that make Tanzania such a popular destination. 

The sheer quality of Tanzania's safari is undeniable. Home to the major safari parks of the Serengeti and Ngorongoro Crater, as well as Kilimanjaro and Zanzibar,Tanzania has four of Africa's most iconic sites. 

The Serengeti is the mother of all safari parks, and where else can you go on a Big Five Safari in an extinct volcano the same day that you start to climb up Africa's highest mountain? The Great wildebeest Migration in itself is a huge attraction, and so are the chimpanzees of the Mahale Mountains, and the crystal clear waters and pure white sand beaches of Zanzibar! 

Tanzania's safari is then the most diverse of any destinations we operate trips. If you take Botswana or South Africa for example then the vast majority of travellers will only go to one specific safari region within that country. For South Africa that area will be the Kruger National Park where as for Botswana it would be the parks centered in and around the Okavango Delta. 

However if you are considering a trip to Tanzania then you have the famous reserves in the north of the country, the quieter slower paced southern circuit and also the 'wild' western circuit. In summary, in Tanzania you have three safari 'circuits' to choose from where as in many other destinations you often only have one! What's even more interesting about Tanzania is that these three areas cater for different styles of traveler. Northern Tanzania for example, works well for a first timer to Africa where as Southern Tanzania caters for the safari connoisseur, or the adventurous first timer who is looking for something different.

Each of these three safari circuits can then easily be linked with a high quality beach stay, which is another of Tanzania's main attractions. In our opinion it is the continent’s finest destination for safari and beach trips.

The final point to mention is that if you choose your lodges carefully, then Tanzania can be an incredibly good value safari destination when you compare it to the other leading safari destinations.

Q - Is the Ebola epidemic in West Africa a risk to Tanzania?


The first thing to say here is that as far as we are aware there have never been any instances of Ebola in Tanzania.  I would like to stress that I am no doctor, and so the views I express here are simply my own personal opinions from an interest in Ebola itself, and my company’s responsibility to our clients. 

Over the last few months it is true to say that we have noticed an increase in the number of clients concerned by the Ebola virus spread in West Africa, however at present we have no concerns regarding our clients traveling to Tanzania. 

It is very important to put this into some perspective. During this current outbreak there have been no reports of Ebola in the whole of East Africa, let alone Tanzania. The suspected cases in Kenya turned out to be negative and strict travel screening has been placed for people traveling from ebola affected areas.

There have been a number of posts and forums online stating that the epicenter of this virus is well over 5,500km from Tanzania. The argument is that London, at approximately 4,900 km away is closer, Brazil, at approximately 3,000km is closer, Spain is closer, France is closer etc. It is an 'argument', however whether that really helps travelers gain more confidence is debatable, especially considering most travelers simply look at the fact that airlines fly across Africa daily.

With the ease of air travel across the entire planet, Ebola is a potential threat anywhere. But you then have to consider the fact that Ebola is not an air born disease. That is not to say that there is no threat of Ebola being moved cross country through aviation - as the cases in Nigeria underline - but it is to stress that Ebola can only be transferred through human-to-human transmission. Infection results from direct contact (through broken skin or mucous membranes) with the blood, secretions, organs or other bodily fluids of infected people, and indirect contact with environments contaminated with such fluids (source WHO), so the concern of travelers catching Ebola on a plane is really very small indeed.

To put this in perspective you could well be on a plane or even walk though the epicenter of the epidemic itself right now, and not catch Ebola. The BBC recently released an hour long documentary about the current outbreak. The Horizon program, 'The Search for a Cure', stated that every single case could be traced back to the first case. In summary, it is a contact disease, in a sense similar to the spread of HIV if you were looking for a comparison....i.e. through bodily fluids.

The reality is that Ebola primarily spreads overland. Then, the distances of Tanzania from the affected areas becomes much more relevant. Couple this with the fact that it is far from easy to travel by land from West to East Africa, the chance of Ebola spreading to Tanzania is in my opinion a small one. This fact is backed up by the fact that outbreaks in Uganda over the last 20 years, albeit significantly smaller than the current West African outbreak, never reached Tanzania. Uganda is significantly closer to Tanzania than any of the current infected areas!

We have been advising our clients to carry on as normal and are carefully monitoring the situation. We simply don't believe that at present there is any risk to our clients traveling to Tanzania. We obviously take the 'threat' very seriously but with clients traveling across Tanzania right now, we are carrying on our safari operations as normal.

We are members of the African Travel and Tourism Association and receive daily updates on Africa as a whole. It is important to stay on top of any news and any changes in the current situation in West Africa. Ultimately the key is to stay well informed. Websites like the World Health Organisation and Doctors Without Borders offer updates and great sources of current, high quality information.

We would advise any travelers to Tanzania to contact their travel company and ask them for their own opinion. It then goes without saying that we also always encourage clients to take out good quality travel insurance. 

About the author
Julian Carter-Manning is the Co-founder and Director of Yellow Zebra Safaris. He is the lead designer of ‘on the ground’ operations for safaris in Tanzania and across the African continent for Yellow Zebra Safaris. You can contact him via the company website at http://yellowzebrasafaris.com.

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