Archive | June, 2012

Paleoanthropologist Donald Johanson discovers Onsea House

We have the pleasure to have Donald Johanson among our guests, as expert in the National Geographic Expedition “Human Origins”. The whole expedition team has chosen to stay at Onsea House before they walk in the footsteps of early humans, from the highlands of the Great Rift Valley to the Eden of South Africa’s Western Cape, in the company of one of National Geographic’s top experts on human origins.

Donald Johanson has produced some of the field’s most groundbreaking discoveries, including the most widely known and thoroughly studied fossil of the 20th century, the 3.2-million-year-old “Lucy” skeleton.
Although the 20th century has been peppered with important early-human fossil finds, it was Johanson’s 1974 discovery in Ethiopia that added a crucial link, prompting major revisions in our understanding of human evolution. “Lucy” possesses an intriguing mixture of ape-like features such as a projecting face and small brain, but also characteristics we consider human, such as upright walking, marking an important step on the path to Homo sapiens.

In 1981, Johanson founded the Institute of Human Origins, a non-profit research institution devoted to the study of prehistory. In 1987, the IHO was given permission to conduct an expedition to Olduvai Gorge in Tanzania, and found a partial skeleton, OH 62, which is generally attributed to Homo habilis. The discovery and description of this species is credited to both Mary and Louis Leakey, who also uncovered the tools and fossils of ancient hominines. Mary Leakey also discovered the Laetoli footprints. Members of their family staid also earlier at Onsea House to celebrate the anniversary of their discoveries.

Since 2010, National Geographic Expeditions selected Onsea House as top accommodation in Arusha. Check out the National Geographic Expeditons to Africa and ask for an upgrade to stay Onsea House or Machweo.

Karibu Fair Hosted Buyer Dinner & Fine Wine Tastings

The night before the opening of the Karibu 2012 Travel and Tourism Fair, the new Machweo Fine Dining restaurant welcomed the Karibu Fair hosted Buyer Dinner which included 17 International Safari agents looking for new property discoveries in Tanzania.

During the entire Fair, many agents and colleagues staid at Onsea House and Machweo and the evenings at the  restaurant were the talk of town. Both Friday, Saturday and Sunday were fully booked with too few space to accommodate all booking requests.

The highlight was the stay of the entire crew of one of our main wine suppliers including the Regional Business Manager (East Africa) of winemaker KWV and another wine expert  flown in from South Africa, who all joined the Fine Wine Tastings at Machweo on Friday, Saturday and Sunday night.

KWV wines were among the biggest winners in the Winemakers’ Choice Diamond Awards. Leading the charge were the Paarl-producer’s premium Mentors wine range. Over the past few months alone, KWV The Mentors have featured in virtually every major wine competition. At the Veritas Awards, it was the range to garner the most recognition for KWV. Our favourite was KWV The Mentors Sémillon 2009, a refreshing experience in flavour. In the 1820s, the grape covered over 90 percent of South Africa‘s vineyards, where it was known as Wyndruif, meaning “wine grape”.  It was once considered to be the most planted grape in the world. Today, it accounts for just 1% of South African Cape vines.

Other connoisseur wines tasted and selected for our new winelist include the Hartenberg the Eleanor Chardonnay with its creamy citrus, nutty, mineral and elderflower flavours with a refreshing acidity (which proved to be great with langouste in tarragon lemon butter) and the The Meye Cabernet 2008 (which was fantastic with Axel’s Kenyan beef filet with béarnaise sauce).

After the meals, we tasted the KWV 10 year old brandy, recently awarded the Best Brandy in the World, which will as of now also feature our drinks list.

The “Karibu Travel and Tourism Fair” jointly organized by Tanzania Association of Tour Operators, Tanzania Tourist Board together with the Ministry of Natural Resource and Tourism, is a three day International Travel and Tourism Fair which is held in Arusha. The Fair has grown into East Africa’s biggest tourism and is thé occassion for great food and wine at Onsea House.