Archive | 2008

Wildcard: Tanzania, vanaf 20 november te zien op Canvas

In juli trokken 35 studenten biologie van de Universiteit Antwerpen voor een tropische stage naar Tanzania. Samen met 28 studenten wildlife management van Sokoine University of Agriculture in Morogoro verkenden ze er de fauna en flora van de savanne, het (berg)regenwoud, het kustbos, de mangrove en het koraalrif.

Tijdens een eerste week deden de studenten kleine veldstudies aan de universiteit van Morogoro. Nadien trok het complete gezelschap in tenten in achtereenvolgens 3 Nationale Parken die nog niet door het grote publiek zijn platgedreden: het Ruaha National Park, het Udzungwa Mountains National Park en Saadani National Park (één van onze favoriete bestemmingen in Tanzania).

In het spoor van de groep reisde ook een tv-ploeg rond woordkunstenaar Ramsey Nasr (gewezen Antwerps stadsdichter) en programmamaker Johan Terryn mee, die een vijfdelige documentaire over de stage heeft gedraaid: Wildcard: Tanzania, op 20 en 27 november en 4, 11 en 18 december, telkens om 21.10u. Parallel aan de serie verschijnt er een boek van Ramsey Nasr, Homo Safaricus bij De Bezige Bij en zal Canvas een speciale website verzorgen.

Download alvast het volledige artikel uit het tijdschrift AlfabetA (nr.77) van de UA voor meer info.
Wil je Tanzania zelf komen ontdekken en Onsea House als uitvalsbasis gebruiken, zoals verschillende biologen van de Universiteit Antwerpen reeds deden? Contacteer dan info@onseahouse.com voor verdere info, rechtstreeks van Vlamingen ter plaatse.

After the Will Smith booking, BBC cast discovers Onsea House in Arusha

The Arusha Times reported this week on the frontpage on the visit of highly rated actors, performing under the auspices of the BBC to spearhead the success of a Sitcom recorderd in Arusha, to be broadcast worldwide under the name of “Taking the Flak“.

The crew and what they intend to do in Arusha became talk of town only after Will Smith, the American actor who was recently described by Newsweek as the most powerfull actor on the planet. He was in Tanzania as UNICEF goodwill ambassador, visited some health projects and made a booking at the Onsea House restaurant!

After Will Smith, the cast of BBC now has discovered Onsea House. This weekend, we had several seperate room bookings from the BBC, including “Smack the Pony” star Doon Mackichan. Rumours have spread that Onsea House in Arusha is a nice and intimate place to relax, eat and overnight.

The Swahili House opens her doors in Zanzibar

After months of renovation, The Swahili House will open her doors in the first half of 2009.
Located in the bustling heart of Stonetown the building was originally set up and used as an Indian Merchant House in the 19th century. In the 125 years that were to come the building was home to one of the many Sultan families and then became a hotel some years ago. The hotel has been purchased by the Moivaro group of Hotels Lodges and camps and renovations started in May 2008. Most of the hotel has been restored into its original state. The result is The Swahili House, a hotel with traditional influences and modern day facilities in combination with authentic Swahili hospitality.

The Swahili House has 5 floors that are all built around a court yard – an ideal spot to enjoy a quiet moment away from busy Stonetown life. The floors are all accessible via traditional Zanzibari Staircases and an elevator.  22 rooms are spread out over 4 floors and can be divided in 3 different room categories:
Sultan Suites – large, spacious rooms with balcony. Approx. 45m2;
Suites: medium sized spacious rooms with balcony. Approx. 33m2;
Deluxe Rooms: standard sized double or twin room. Approx. 21m2;
The rooms all are restored and decorated in traditional Swahili style, but adjusted to Western standards, which for example includes European sized mattresses, air conditioning and a fan. Most rooms feature a spectacular open bathroom including a shower and bath, which are ideally to relax after a busy day of exploring Stonetown and its many treasures.
The Swahili House would definitely not be the same without the rooftop terrace which houses a bar, restaurant and a very relaxing Jacuzzi overlooking the Indian Ocean.

Contact info@onseahouse.com if you would like to include a stay at Swahili House and the sister hotel Fumba Beach or other Moivaro properties in your Zanzibar or safari holidays in Tanzania while using Onsea House as homebase in Arusha.

Birding Safari in Arusha National Park, a bird watcher’s paradise discovered with Birdman

It must be more than 20 times that I have visited “our” Arusha National Park and it keeps on amazing me, every time again.

The mighty Mount Meru, the Momela lakes and its flamingos, the Ngurdoto Crater with great viewpoints on both Meru and Kilimanjaro and its rare Colobus monkeys in the surrounding forest and the massive quanties of giraffes across the National Park are for sure not the only features of this much underrated safari destination. 

Yesterday, we went with James Wolstencroft, Arusha’s one and only Birdman, to look at the park with bird watcher’s eyes. And although I’m not an expert, I must say I was fascinated from the very first minute by the knowledge of our experienced English guide. Within minutes, we spotted the only couple of Saddle Billed Storks living in the park, followed by spur-winged Goose, Sacred Ibis, Black Headed Herons, Egrets, a couple of Grey Crowned Cranes, red-billed Oxpeckers,… It almost looked like a set-up. The trophy of the day were for sure the red-fronted Parrots which we discovered standing on a 2200 meter Kilimanjaro viewpoint on Mount Meru. 

Experience over five decades, across four continents, has given James the broader view of nature which these days very few wildlife professionals seem to have.

James writes daily about the natural world and has been leading bird watching and nature tours for over twenty years.

Much, much more can be found on Birdman’s website or directly on his blog Birding in Arusha National Park – A Safari In Itself

Contact info@onseahouse.com if you like to include one or more days with birdman in your safari or while staying at Onsea House in Arusha.

Safari approved by Carmen Roberts, BBC World News’ Fast Track reporter

What a co-incidence: just after posting the news on female Wildlife presenters, starring Charlotte Uhlenbroek, we got a request from Carmen Roberts, also from the BBC, to organize a safari in Tanzania, after her trip in Kenya.

We put together a last-minute 3 day safari to Lake Manyara National Park, Ngorongoro Crater and Tarangire, in co-operation with one of our partner tour operators, taking into account the budget indications.

After returning from an “excellent safari”, enjoying a sundowner at the the terrace of Onsea House in Arusha, Carmen told us she is a journalist for Fast:Track, a travel programme on BBC World News for the business and leisure traveller. She was in Kenya to shoot a snake safari. 

To watch Carmen Robert’s snake safari, treat yourself soon on Fast:Track.
Do not hesitate to contact info@onseahouse.com for any safari enquiry and/or plans to stay at Onsea House.

BBC Wildlife presenter Charlotte Uhlenbroek: “I love the whole of east Africa but Tanzania is my favourite”

Wildlife television presenting was once a man’s world. A documentary on baboon behaviour or ocelot extinction would call for a bearded naturalist like David Bellamy, or the cheery anthropomorphism of Johnny Morris. But now this territory is facing a climate change all of its own, as it is invaded by a new breed of presenter: feisty, intelligent, eco-aware – and female. Though a publicist for Sir David Attenborough assures Timesonline that he is “obviously not replaceable”, his grip on the title of king of the jungle may not be as firm as it once was.

Dr. Charlotte Uhlenbroek is one of them. Uhlenbroek’s big television break came in the late 1990s. “I’d spent months analysing chimp vocalisations in a soundproof studio back in Bristol,” she explains – work that revealed that chimp communication involves not just one type of call, as was previously thought, but several different long-distance calls. “The BBC heard there was a girl up the road who had been working out in Gombe, and asked if I wanted to go back to present a series called Dawn to Dusk, and that they’d pay me!” Presenting came naturally to the young primatologist. “I was talking about chimps that I knew incredibly well. I was just turning to the camera as if it was a friend. I felt like a conduit.” Her ability to decipher primate behaviour, her blue-chip zoological credentials and look of “an eco-friendly Lara Croft” meant she was soon fronting BBC2’s Chimpanzee Diary. Since than, she presented Jungle (2003) and Safari School (2007) and has written several books. Her latest book, Animal Life, is a “bang-up-to-date” look at animal behaviour, packed with research using the latest technology.

The Independent reported in an interview with Uhlenbroek:

I love Kenya and the whole of east Africa but Tanzania is my favourite because that’s my stomping ground. I worked in the forest for four years, I speak Swahili and I go back regularly so I’m very at home there. Tanzania has some of the best wildlife in the world and some beautiful wildlife parks, the best two being the Serengeti National Park and the Selous Game Reserve. Selous, in the south-west, is three times larger than the Serengeti and twice the size of Belgium. It was founded by the German colonial administration in 1905 and later expanded to include elephant migration routes. You really get a sense of wilderness in these reserves. As for the people, the Tanzanians are just some of the nicest I’ve ever come across. I worked really closely with the researchers there and they became my second family. They derive a lot of pleasure from spending time with people and families. When I worked in Gombe, I would periodically come back to England to write up some of my research. Then, when I returned, the Tanzanians would tell me off for being too abrupt. I’d say good morning to them and then launch into a series of instructions for the day about who should follow which chimp. They’d say, “Charlotte, slow down. We don’t live at that pace. How are you? How are your family?” In Gombe, you might spend half an hour talking to the staff about their goats and their family (though not necessarily in that order) before getting down to the day’s programme of work.

Intrigued by Tanzania and the Chimps in Gombe Stream National Park? Contact info@onseahouse.com for more information and advise if you are interested to see wildlife with reputable eco-tour companies and to feel personally connected with the animals when you get back.

Rik Felderhof met “schrijvers op de veranda” in Onsea House

Een geheel nieuw programma met Rik Felderhof op de NCRV, in navolging van Villa Felderhof: Schrijvers op de veranda. Nederlandse schrijvers luchten hun hart op de veranda van Rik Felderhof aan de voet van de Kilimanjaro in Tanzania. Er wordt indringend gesproken over liefde, zelfkennis, verbeeldingskracht en uiteraard Afrika.

Te gast zijn: Nelleke Noordervliet, Arthur Japin, Yasmine Allas, Desanne van Brederode, Abdelkader Benali, Susan Smit, Jan Siebelink en Charlotte Mutsaers. De opnames vonden de afgelopen weken plaats met telkens een afsluitend diner op de veranda bij Onsea House in Arusha.

Vanaf 18 oktober, 20:17 uur, Ned. 2

British Airways to launch flight to Tanzania

East African Business week reports that one of the world’s leading airlines – British Airways (BA) has concrete plans of promoting Tanzania’s tourism sector by launching a new route to Kilimanjaro International Airport (KIA).

The BA Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Mr. Willie Walsh, said due to the increasing number of tourists in Kilimanjaro and Arusha regions, plans are in the pipeline for the UK airline to start a direct flight to the region, blessed to have the highest mountain in Africa, Kilimanjaro.

“Introducing a direct flight to Kilimanjaro International Airport (KIA) will give us an opportunity to promote Tanzania’s tourism in the world, and I believe there is high demand in Kilimanjaro,” he explained.

Currently, the Dutch airline, KLM flies daily to KIA en route to Dar es Salaam. Another airline, which flies into KIA is Ethiopian Airlines.

The new route will also help to lift flowers from Kilimanjaro and Arusha to the European Union (EU). Todate, stakeholders in the flower sub-sector export flowers to the EU markets via Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA) in Nairobi, Kenya.