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Rwandan traders welcome Uhuru’s directive on Mombasa Port

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Mombasa Port

The directive by Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta to Mombasa port authorities to improve operations at the port will stimulate trade and cut on transport costs, importers say.

Last week, President Uhuru ordered Mombasa port authorities to ensure that they reduce delay time at the port, saying the current situation where containers take 18 days to reach Kampala from Mombasa was untenable. He directed the port authorities to ensure this is reduced to five days at most within three weeks.

According to the Private Sector Federation here in Rwanda, the development has caused excitement and relief among the private sector and stakeholders.

Claudine Kabayiza, an importer, said it was good news given the inconveniences they were going through to clear goods at Mombasa.

“We have been spending a lot of money because of these delays. I am happy that finally authorities in Kenya have come to our rescue,” Kabayiza said.

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Tijara Beach: Unwind and Renew Your Spirits

altOur Honeymoon:

My husband and I fell in love with Tijara from the moment we laid our eyes on the pictures. We knew then and there that it was the perfect place for our honeymoon.

After all the craziness leading up to the wedding, we felt that we would certainly deserve a much needed break and therefore felt that our honeymoon would be best enjoyed somewhere quiet where we could sit back and relax,together. Tijara offered us just that; a truly unforgettable experience. After the wedding, we knew we had made the right decision, we were more than exhausted.

After landing at the Ukundaairstip(near Diani beach)we made our way to Pungu Beach, on the shores of Kenya’s beautiful south coast, just 30 minutes away.The second we arrived at Tijara, we could feel our minds and bodies relaxing as we were soothed by the warm morning sun and the smell of the ocean. As we pulled into the gate, we were met by the owners Ian and Larissa and their gorgeous children, who welcomed us with an ice cold drink, a fragrant face cloth and one of the most stunning views we had seen in a long time - a huge exotic garden, just four cottages well spaced out and the azure water of the Indian Ocean beyond.

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Into The Wild...The Real Wild

After a night at Leleshwa Camp, a small group of us set off in the early morning for a truly unique three day hiking experience in the heart of the Loita Hills. Whilst the Loitas border the Masai Mara, this untouched eco-system offers some amazing and very diverse landscapes.

Following a three-hour drive from camp, we were met by our three Purko Maasai guides who, having all grown up in the Loita Hills, were more than familiar with all the vegetation and wildlife in the area.  All their knowledge kept us well entertained and taught us a great deal about the various animals and plants we came across as well as their warrior initiation and the Maasai culture as a whole. Once we had offloaded all we needed for the day’s hike, the group set off under a canopy of trees where within the first 15 minutes we spotted a giant strangler fig, several species of birds and butterflies and the presence of buffalos, bush bucks and leopards.As there is absolutely no access for vehicles in the area, David (our driver) continued onwards with the vehicle to a nearby village where he met the rest of the team as well as a friendly herd of donkeys who were loaded up with all the camp gear and bags to be transported to camp.

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Rwanda’s Liberation Day: How a responsible mindset has helped achieve big from scratch

That time of the year is back again. The time when Rwandans reflect upon their rescue from years of bad governance hardships that resulted in the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi – a genocide which only the then Rwanda Patriotic Army (RPA), now Rwanda Defense Forces (RDF), was able to halt, winning the four-year Rwanda liberation battle that ended on July 4, 1994.

On 19 July 1994, a broad-based National Unity Government was set up in Kigali, and continues to govern Rwanda up till now; today with President Paul Kagame at the helm – a man who even led the liberation journey.

And if the then RPA forces − who were under Rwanda Patriotic Front (RPF) political wing − did achieve that liberation, it was not just out of the blue. There are a range of explanations to their victory. One sound example is found on page 219 of the book “We wish to inform you that tomorrow we will be killed with our families” by Philip Gourevitch, an American war reporter.

“The RPF guys had this impressive clarity of purpose about them”, Gourevitch quotes James Orbinski, the Canadian doctor who worked in Kigali during the Genocide, as saying.

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A Gathering of Elegance in Nairobi

concours_delegance2Back in the days of horse drawn carriages, French aristocracy paraded them in the parks of Paris during summer weekends and holidays.  This pastime became known as the Concours d’ Elegance (a gathering of elegance).  With the advent of the motor car, carriages became museum pieces but this new mode of transport brought a competitive edge to the Concours, as rival manufacturers vied with each other for prizes and the attention of potential buyers.

Today, there are Concours d’ Elegance events all over the world that attract the owners of classic and vintage cars and motorcycles. The event at Pebble Beach, California, was first conducted in 1950.

“Pebble” as it is fondly known, is the world’s premier celebration of the automobile. Only the most beautiful and rare automobiles are invited to appear on the famed eighteenth fairway of Pebble Beach Golf Links each year, and connoisseurs of art and technology congregate to see them. An auction of fine and rare cars is an important feature of Pebble and at recent event, a 1933 Alfa Romeo Tipo 8C 2300 Spider was sold for $1.6 million.

This year, the AccessKenya Africa Concours d’Elegance will be held on 25th September at Ngong Racecourse.  Although this country’s Concours is over 20 years younger than the event at the Pebble, it is rated as one of the most prestigious and varied events of its type in the world.  “The cars are magnificent examples of the best from around the world”.  The organisers, the Alpha Romeo Owners Club, have run the event since 1970 and have achieved international status.  Since 2006 the Concours has been a FIM. AFRICA recognised and sanctioned event.

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Fat Vs Fit

We All Want to be Beautiful

Being gorgeous is really just a frame of mind, but if that’s too airy fairy for you, read on.  This is the low down on winning the battle of the bulge after conferring with nutritionists, gym instructors and psychologists.

Increase your Metabolism

YogaBill Philips author of “Body for life” says ‘count portions not calories.  You must eat enough calories otherwise your body will go into fat storing mode.  If you can’t eat a lot at breakfast time, at least have some fruit or a smoothie.  Eat little and often and Ectomorphs in particular, should eat well at night.’

What type of body do I have?

Ectomorphs – have lean bodies, high metabolism and do not put on weight or muscle easily.  They also may think they are thin and therefore do not need to work out.

Mesomorphs – have well developed bodies and can lose weight and put on muscle quite easily, with exercise.  In spite of looking fit, they may not actually be.

Endomorphs – are of stocky build with a high ability to store fat.  They have a slow metabolism and find losing weight hard.  However, they may be fitter and more flexible than they look!

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Data Dilemma?

By Jonathan Somen – Group Managing Director of AccessKenya Group Ltd

Is your data properly backed up and secured?

datasafetyDisaster Recovery plans are becoming more and more critical for businesses globally.  This is especially true for Kenyan companies given that the country is now connected on fibre to the rest of the world.  With potential security breaches from hackers who can now reach Kenya more easily, a plan to recover critical data is even more important than ever before.

A good plan has a number of different areas of focus.  The first area of focus is to  backup and protect the actual data that a company owns.  Many companies today use tapes to backup their data and at times, take this information offsite.  Whilst this solution works, it does rely on an individual or a team to physically change the tape, run the backup and then remember to take it offsite on a daily basis.  The critical step however is to restore the data regularly to check that the data is fine and is not corrupted.  Doing a tape backup, losing your data and then finding that the two year old tape you use is worn out and no data is saved, is potentially crippling for a business.  The global trend is to outsource this service to providers.  Most decent offsite backup solutions automate the process of backing up the data.  The data is stored in a custom built data centre which has excellent security as well as stable and backup power, and many alerting systems to protect the data that sits within the data centre.  This also provides physical separation for the customer so that their backup data is stored away from the customer premises.

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How Well Covered Are You?

Written on behalf of JW Seagon, Nairobi By Karen Froude

Advice for travellers who prefer activities and extreme sports to lying on the beach!

hazardous_activitiesDo you prefer paragliding to paddling, bull fighting to bikinis, cheerleading to cocktail hour or bungee jumping to beach beds?  Whatever your passion on holiday, don’t go uncovered!

In a world where we are always looking for the next bigger and better thrill, it is essential that your travel insurance meets your appropriate requirements. For example, if you are going on a diving holiday, then it is also important that your insurance not only covers you for the risks associated should you have an accident, but that it also covers all your equipment.

Standard travel insurance is rarely sufficient to cover some of the more dangerous pursuits enjoyed by many of us.  Hang-gliding, base jumping, parachuting, canoeing and other more ‘extreme sports’  require the disclosure to, and acceptance by, your insurance provider before you can be sure you are covered for all eventualities.  Most insurance companies understand that today we want to engage in more active pursuits whilst on holiday and are happy to provide cover just by loading the premium with an additional amount.  So if you are unsure what is covered under your travel insurance policy, ask the experts before you go.

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Up Up and away!

Air Travel Advice

Article courtesy of professional insurance brokers J W Seagon (Kenya) and Bupa International (UK)

Whether you are going on a business trip or off on holiday, there are a number of potential health problems to look out for when flying. Even before you step on a plane your health may be put to the test.  Packing, travelling to the airport, long queues at the check-in desk and delays can raise your heart rate and stress levels.

So how can you have a stress-free flight?

Allow plenty of time to get to the airport and plan your trip in advance. Plus, keep the following tips in mind for a healthy flight and you should feel fresh and ready to go when you reach your destination!

  • Deep vein thrombosis (DVT).  Deep vein thrombosis is when a blood clot forms in one of your veins, usually in your leg.  Flying may increase your risk of DVT by slowing blood flow and causing it to collect in your legs. However, it’s not limited to flying - anyone who sits in the same position for a long period of time can develop DVT.  You can reduce your risk by wearing compression stockings (flight socks) on the plane, which help by applying gentle pressure to your legs and improving blood flow.  They can help if you are traveling for at least six hours and are over 40, very overweight, pregnant or have previously had a blood clot.  Walking around the cabin may also help.

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The Other Face of Diani Beach

By Luciana Parazzi Basile

Open any Kenyan magazine today, and there is always an article on Diani Beach, the in-place, the most fantastic tourist destination, the place with kilometers of pristine beautiful beaches of fine white sand, the place which is a must for your next holiday. But there is so much more to Diani Beach than just our unspoiled beaches.

diani-wildlifeDiani Beach is blessed with one of the world’s few remaining coral rag forests, comprising beautiful century old indigenous trees and an abundance of wildlife. Sadly, today, there is only about 20% of the forest left and the wildlife has been decimated. “I remember in the early 70’s we could not keep dogs because leopards would take them,” says an old time resident. Today, the Colobus Trust (CT) the key conservation and primate rescue organisation on the South Coast of Kenya, together with the South Coast Residents’ Association (SCRA), battle to conserve and save what little is left of this ever so fragile ecosystem, which is home to the nationally threatened Colobus Angolensis monkey as well as vervets, sykes, yellow baboons, bushbabies, endangered golden rump elephant shrews, not to mention a variety of birds, some rare, butterflies, insects and monitor lizards.

A survey carried out a few years ago by the Colobus Trust amongst tourists in the various hotels in the area, indicated that over 90% chose Diani Beach as their preferred holiday destination, not only for the beautiful beaches, snorkeling and diving, but also for its nature and animals. Where else in the world can one enjoy the beach and then stroll in the hotel gardens or surrounding areas and admire animals, birds and butterflies in their natural habitat?

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Land of the Golden Pagodas

By Bryan Harris

Myanmar, or I could say Burma, because this country goes by two names. It’s also unusual to visit a country that is shunned by much of the world but this just gives an extra frisson of excitement in spite of the fact that one pretty much has to travel within a closely monitored and conducted group tour. The reason for this is that the country has been virtually closed to visitors for the best part of fifty years and only recently allowed a trickle of tourists in at all. Burma used to be part of the British Raj and when India gained its independence in 1947, so did Burma. A short period of democracy followed until a coup locked the country into the grip of a military junta where it has remained ever since.

irrawaddy_riverA mighty river, the Irrawaddy, two thousand kilometers long, flowing from the Himalayas to the Bay of Bengal, defines Burma, neatly dividing the country between east and west so much so that to travel the fabled ‘Road to Mandalay’ is actually to sail the river which immediately sets one back in time. Here is the ‘old’ Asia, how it must have looked all those years before the Vietnam war and western influence did much to change the face of Burma’s near neighbours.

Rangoon, in the Irrawaddy delta, now renamed Yangon, is the principal city but here there are no skyscrapers, no mobile phones, no credit cards, no ATMs, no heavy traffic, no jostling crowds, no mini-skirts and of course hardly any tourists. In the centre is Rangoon’s most important building, the Shwedagon Pagoda with a newly restored spire, gleaming with thirty tones of gold leaf. This is the Vatican of Buddhism but older by a thousand years and a visit here at dusk is uplifting and the only place crowded by visitors because Burma does not do mass tourism.

The very exclusivity of Burma makes it an expensive destination because one does not have access to the full gamut of places to stay and transport options ranging all the way upwards from the backpacker that are so familiar in other Asian countries. Here the only option favoured by the regime is to admit the super well-heeled tourist on a conducted tour, where the aim is to generate maximum tourist dollars while maintaining a chasm between the wealthy i.e. the tourists spending four or five hundred dollars a day, and the relatively impoverished Burmese populace of fifty million who make do with an average income equivalent to a thousand dollars a year. So expect to find yourself taking one of the luxury river steamers that ply the hundred or so kilometers between the cities of Mandalay and Bagan that reveal many of the country’s treasures, the greatest of which is Bagan itself.

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