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the inflight magazine of air uganda part of the asante issue number 006 may-july 2011

your complimentary copy


Welcome Aboard!


n behalf of all my colleagues at Air Uganda, it is my great pleasure to welcome you aboard and I thank you for flying with us today. Our flight crew will do everything humanly possible to make your

flight a pleasant one. In our effort to raise the ‘safety bar’, Air Uganda has joined the pool of major world airlines to become IOSA certificated by year 2011. As the IOSA Certification Project Manager, my primary role is to ensure that this target is achieved. IATA Operational Safety Audit (IOSA), recognised by the world’s major airlines, is the benchmark for safety. Its goals are to provide standardised audit programmes of the operational management and control systems of an airline, based on internationally-recognised standards and supported by a rigorous quality assurance process. In 2001, the International Air Transport Association (IATA) brought together airlines and industry stakeholders to develop a global safety programme for its member airlines. By 2003 IATA Operational Safety Audit, IOSA, was launched, based on over 700 safety and recommended practices. IOSA is based on Globally Harmonised Standards derived from all relevant airline industry’s best practices for purposes of continuous safety improvement in participating airlines. IOSA provides a common set of audit standards that are centrally managed, continuously updated, and consistently implemented by experts and industry professionals. The standards are in compliance with ISO 9001 Quality Management Systems. With a quality-based programme and independent audit organisations accredited by IATA, IOSA is effectively raising the ‘safety bar’ in the industry and in Air Uganda in particular. IOSA certification is now a prerequisite for business transactions under ‘codeshare’ arrangements between established major international airlines. Leading airlines from all regions have incorporated the IOSA Standards into their airline operations, as a major component of industry efforts to improve aviation safety. Air Uganda shall, on IOSA certification, join the pool of major international airlines and offer our esteemed passengers not only the highest level of safety confidence in the Airline but also enable them the flexibility of travel connectivity between world class airlines. Thank you for flying with us and we look forward to serving you again. Deogratias Tonda IOSA Certification Project Manager



Fort Portal And The Forest Of Toro – A Tourist Paradise


Rwanda’s Rare & Shining Jewel


On The Summit Of Africa

Explore one of the most attractive

Encounter the intact natural beauty

towns in Uganda, surrounded by

of the waters of Lake Kivu nestled

of Mount Kilimanjaro that has confounded

crater lakes, caves and tea estates.

in the highlands of Rwanda’s

cynics, challenged climbers, and

mountainous landscape, offering

captivated all who have held it in

spectacular views.

their gaze.


Hell And Heaven

Here is an experience that will attach itself to your memory for life.


Old Roses

Behold the giant Equatorial snow-dome


Heal Your Home

Originating in the hedgerows of

Discover 10 ways to heal your

antiquity, the humble rose of old has

home and to make it into a

risen to majesterial status among

happy, healthy environment.

horticulturists and gardeners alike,

The views expressed in this magazine should only be ascribed to the authors concerned, and do not necessarily reflect the views either of the publishers or of Air Uganda. The printing of an advertisement in Asante does not necessarily mean that the publishers or Air Uganda endorse the company, product or service advertised.

Publishers: Editorial Director: Editor: Editorial Assistant: Senior Designer: Design Assistant: Production Manager: Production Assistant: Editorial Board:

Camerapix Magazines Ltd Rukhsana Haq Roger Barnard Cecilia W. Gaitho Sam Kimani Fatima Janmohamed Azra Chaudhry, U.K Rose Judha Rukhsana Haq Jenifer B. Musiime Regina Busingye







the inflight magazine of air uganda part of the asante issue number 005 february–april 2011


Conservation Is The Key For Zanzibar

Enjoy a wealth of marine life in the clear warm waters around coral reefs.


Coastal Delights

Care to sample the delectable delights of Swahili cooking?

your complimentary copy

Cover picture: Forest elephant in Semuliki National Reserve.

Final Cover.indd 1

4/19/11 3:22:42 PM



Abstract Africa

Made out of ebony, the Makonde carvings are one of the most timeless, exciting and valuable art forms to


Mind Your Language

It is often the small


Animal Magic

If you’re a pet owner, you

gestures that make

already know it: owning a

or break a business

pet is good for you.



Editorial by IOSA Certification Project Manager, Air Uganda


Book World


News Page


Air Uganda Flight Schedule


Healthy Travelling


Route Map




Tips for the Traveller


Crossword Puzzle & Sudoku

be discovered.

ASANTE meaning ‘Thank you’ in Kiswahili

Correspondance on editorial and advertising

is published quarterly for Air Uganda

matters may be sent to either of

by Camerapix Magazines Limited

the above addresses.

P.O.Box 45048,00100 GPO Nairobi, Kenya Telephone: +254 (20) 4448923/4/5


Fax: +254 (20) 4448818 or 4441021 E-mail:

CAMERAPIX MAGAZINES LTD All rights reserved. No part of this

Editorial and Advertising Office:

magazine may be reproduced by any means

Camerapix Magazines (UK) Limited

without permission in writing from

32 Friars Walk, Southgate, London, N14 5LP

the publisher.

Tel: +44 (20) 8361 2942 Mobile: +44 79411 21458

All photographs by Camerapix unless


otherwise indicated.

Air Uganda The Wings of East Africa


ir Uganda is the country’s carrier, underwritten by the

This portends a greater opportunity for inter-country trade and

Aga Khan Fund for Economic Development (AKFED). Air

linkages. For the aviation industry this is a very clear opportunity,

Uganda launched her first flight on 15 November 2007

especially given the poor road and inter-country infrastructure.

and continues to grow its operations in East Africa and Southern

What’s also promising is the pace at which the continent itself

Sudan. Air Uganda is also a member of Celestair Group, with

is growing, fuelled by a young demographic, credit free cash

sister airlines in West Africa, Air Burkina, Air Mali, and in

economy and financial aid coming from all corners of the world

Europe, Meridianafly.

to accelerate the pace of growth. The promising future is a

The airline offers flights to six destinations from Entebbe:

shared sentiment amongst staff, the nation and the East African

Nairobi, Mombasa, Juba, Dar es Salaam, Zanzibar and Kigali,

region: optimism, dreams, desire to make it happen, desire to

served by 84 flights per week. Air Uganda’s growing fleet

do it quickly.

includes two CRJ-200s and two MD-87s. The CRJ-200s are 50-

We understand what our clients are passionate about, hence

seaters offering an all-Economy Class service, while the MD-87

our efforts to addressing these needs are not restricted to

has 99 seats with both Economy and Business Class service.

discounts but cover the best destinations, deals, on-board

Our vision is to be the leading East African airline in terms of

service, safety etc. We thus continually strive to offer innovative

safety, quality, customer service and punctuality, well placed to

solutions that address our customers’ needs. The objective is

prosper within the open skies of the East African Community. In

to generate preference through initiatives which create affinity

line with this vision, Air Uganda is currently repositioning itself

amongst travellers flying for business. We aim at breaking

as ‘The Wings of East Africa’. Air Uganda over the years has

through the barriers of category stereotypes and consumer

continually increased its footprint in the East African region,

indifferences by introducing a new dimension to a well-

offering direct flights out of the Entebbe hub to most of our

structured market. In doing so, we offer a fresh evaluation of

destinations. What we can offer today to the East African

the existing alternatives.

traveller is convenience and comfort – making the most of your

A service is just a promise, completely invisible. We make

opportunities. The campaign is thus designed to focus on the

the invisible, visible; that is why we offer you online booking,

larger purpose why people fly – to spread ideas, to strike a

let you check in 30 minutes before departure for passengers

partnership, to explore, to connect with their loved ones.

with hand luggage only, arrive on schedule and fly direct to

We have noticed a positive trend for air travel in East Africa with speed and time becoming key essentials to doing business.

all our destinations; so you do not have to worry about your travel arrangements

We are the Wings that unite East Africa

7ˆÌ…ÊœÕÀÊiÝVii˜Ìʈ˜yʈ}…ÌÊÃiÀۈVi]ʜ˜ˆ˜iÊLœœŽˆ˜}]ʜ˜‡Ìˆ“iÊEÊ`ˆÀiVÌÊyʈ}…ÌÃÊ EÊ܈̅ÊÎäʓˆ˜ÕÌiÃÊV…iVŽ‡ˆ˜Ê̈“iÊLivœÀiÊ`i«>ÀÌÕÀiÊvœÀÊ«>ÃÃi˜}iÀÃÊ with hand luggage only, you are sure of an unbeatable flying experience with us.

The wings of East Africa

>Ê³ÓxÈÊ­ä®{£ÓÊ£ÈxÊxxxʜÀÊäΣÓÊ£ÈxÊxxxÊUÊ ‡“>ˆ\ʈ˜vœJ>ˆÀ‡Õ}>˜`>°Vœ“ÊUÊÜÜÜ°>ˆÀ‡Õ}>˜`>°Vœ“


6 | asante | may – july 2011

may – july 2011 | asante | 7

destination: uganda


and the Forests of Toro – a Tourist Paradise,

Photos © David Pluth/Camerapix Magazines

explores Asante.

Western Uganda – accessible by a good tarmac road from Kampala – offers some of the finest tourist attractions in the whole of East Africa, with a number of animal and bird species unique to the area. A good starting point is Fort Portal.




et on the moist, verdant northern footslopes of the

forms an intermittent weave of serpentine silver flowing along the

Rwenzori, Fort Portal is one of the most attractive towns in

Congolese border into the distant southern tip of Lake Albert,

Uganda, surrounded by crater lakes, caves and tea estates.

shimmering far below.

It is well placed for visits to the primate-rich Kibale Forest and scenic Semuliki Valley. Fort Portal is the capital of the Toro Kingdom, the youngest

The Semuliki Valley houses two of Uganda’s most intriguing and divergent protected areas. Separated by a northern spur of the Rwenzori foothills, Semuliki Wildlife Reserve consists of

of Uganda’s traditional kingdoms, founded around 1825.

open grassland rolling down to the swampy southern shore of

Perched on a hill above Fort Portal is the large circular palace built

Lake Albert, while Semuliki National Park protects the Ugandan

in the 1960s.

extension of the sweltering Ituri Forest, home to a host of species

A mere 10 kilometres west of the town, following a dirt road along the precipitous northern Rwenzori foothills, the Semuliki

found nowhere else in East Africa. Set aside as a forest reserve before it was gazetted in 1993,

Valley opens up in all its geographical immensity. To the immediate

the 220 square kilometre (85-square-mile) Semuliki National

right are the sheer walls of the Rift Escarpment, while the aptly

Park is relatively untouched by tourism, despite protecting the

named Blue Mountains rise to 2,500 metres in the distant

country’s only significant stand of tropical lowland forest, which is

Democratic Republic of Congo. To the left, shrouded in clouds,

characterised by a more diverse vegetation than other Ugandan

rise the austere glacial peaks of the Rwenzori. Cupped within

forests, and has a moister, denser undergrowth as a result of

this imposing natural amphitheatre is the green swathe of the

having no real ‘dry season’. The local people are the Bamba and

Ituri Forest, which extends over thousands of square kilometres

Bakonjo ethnic groups, mainly coffee and cocoa growers. There is

into the dark heart of the Congo Basin, while the Semliki River

also a small number of Batwa Pygmies, traditional forest dwellers

8 | asante | may – july 2011

Pretty crater lake near Fort

destination: uganda

Murchison Nile River hosts so much wildlife; buffalo (below right), crocodiles and a fantastic variety of birds.


who moved from the forest when it became a national park,

Nkusi Falls on

although they continue to gather medicinal plants from within,

the extreme

and generally welcome visits from the rare passing tourist.

side of lake Albert.

One of the specialised micro-habitats of the park is caused by the Sempaya hot springs, which erupt from the ground through a saline stalagmite-like sculpture at a scalding 106°C (223°F).


It is a primeval, evocative sight, linked to the same tectonic activity

Sunbird, one

that created the Rift Valley and Rwenzori Mountains. The pungent

of the 400

bubbling water is rich in salt and sulphur, while the surrounding

species of

mud supports a strange lungfish-like creature fed upon by an

birds found in

unusually large population of shorebirds. Large mammals also


frequent the hot springs, which form a natural salt lick, while the surrounding forest is good for primates, with grey-cheeked mangabey, red colobus, black-and-white colobus and red-tailed monkey all regular. Semuliki is the only East African stronghold for the water chevrotain, a superficially duiker-like relic of an ancient ungulate family that shares several structural features with pigs and is regarded to be ancestral to all modern-day antelopes, deer, cows and giraffes.

Fort Portal is one of the most attractive towns in Uganda,surrounded by crater lakes, caves and tea estates.

Semuliki is renowned among birdwatchers for its remarkable checklist of 400 species, which includes 35 from no other locality in East Africa, among them the immense black-wattled hornbill, Nkulengu rail, spot-breasted ibis, African piculet and Congo serpent-eagle. The scarcity of many of these localised specials and the density of the forest mean that they are not easy to find, which makes them even more of a challenge to birdwatchers. >>

may – july 2011 | asante | 9

destination: uganda

>> The truly dedicated could set up a 3-4 day camping trip along the


Kirumia Trail, which follows the river and a series of associated


oxbow lakes to the banks of the Semuliki, where monkeys play in

the town of

the trees and elephant and buffalo occasionally come to drink.

Fort Portal

The 555 square kilometre (214-square-mile) Semuliki Wildlife

are lush tea

Reserve is Uganda’s oldest protected area, gazetted in 1932


as the Toro Game Reserve. Back then, its legendary abundance

(Inset) Tea

of wildlife included tens of thousands of Uganda kob, numerous


buffalo, the forest race of elephant (so common it was referred to locally as a ‘Semuliki rat’), and an impressive density of predators


– indeed, the Kenyan hunter Brian Herne once wrote that he had

Nature walk

“never seen so many big lions in other part of Africa”. Semuliki

at Semuliki

was devastated by poaching during the years of unrest, but this

National Park.

trend is slowly reversing, and lion and spotted hyena have both recolonised the reserve in recent years. The part of Lake Albert bordering the reserve is one of the top locations for shoebill and other water-associated birds, ranging from flotillas of great white pelican to breeding colonies of the dazzling red-throated bee-eater. Contiguous with Queen Elizabeth National Park to the southwest, the 766 square kilometre (296-square-mile) Kibale Forest National Park protects a moist medium-altitude transitional forest habitat with an extremely diverse fauna and flora, including some 335 bird, 60 mammal and 145 bird species. Probably the most accessible of the country’s large forests, it was originally

10 | asante | may – july 2011

destination: uganda

set aside as the Kibale Forest Corridor Game Reserve, part of a migratory route between Queen Elizabeth and Murchison Falls National Parks for elephant and other large game. Today, Kibale Forest is best-known as Uganda’s premier destination for tracking habituated chimpanzees. Unfortunately, this pursuit tends to be a little more hit-and-miss than gorilla tracking, mainly because chimps are far less sedentary creatures than gorillas, often covering dozens of kilometres daily as they search for food sources – and they can move seriously quickly through the tangled forest undergrowth. You’re most likely to get lucky during the fruiting season, when the guides know which trees the chimps favour, and if you do, these delightful apes, more closely related to humans than to any other living creature, are tremendous fun to watch as they squabble and play in the canopy. Chimps aside, Kibale Forest supports the largest variety and highest density of primates in Uganda, and has thus been

Right: Hot springs in Semuliki National Park, the bubbling water is rich in salt and sulphur.

the site of much behavioural research by primatologists. The tally of 13 primate species includes a high density of the red colobus monkey, which is rare elsewhere

bushbuck, red duiker, blue duiker, bush pig, civet, buffalo and giant forest hog which are

in Uganda, but is easily seen in the

present, but rarely seen. In addition, Kibale harbours Uganda’s largest population of forest

forested environs of Kanyanchu tourist

elephant, which frequent Kanyanchu for brief periods during the rainy season, but are

camp. Also present are black-and-white

almost never seen, though their spoor is abundant.

colobus, red-tailed monkey, blue monkey, L’Hoest’s monkey, grey-cheeked mangabey and olive baboon. Other wildlife includes

The ethnic groups who live near the park are the Batoro and the Bakiga, many of whom grow cash crops – such as coffee – and eucalyptus trees for timber. Many local villages are also involved in the tourist industry, one such being Bigodi, which lies outside the park >>


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may – july 2011 | asante | 11

destination: uganda

Semuliki is renowned among birdwatchers for its remarkable checklist of 400 species which includes 36 from no other locality in East Africa.

Fact File: Fort Portal, Uganda



Country: Uganda. Province: Kabarole. Kingdom: It is the seat of Toro Kingdom. Currency: Ugandan shilling (UGX). Time zone: It is +3 GMT. Languages: Rutooro, English, and Swahili (Generic). Population: 46,200 (2010 estimate). Driving lane: Left. Climate: Fort Portal is situated at an altitude of about 1,500 metres and is endowed with a cool climate suitable for growing tea. Hotels: Many high standard accommodations, providing both local and international cuisines, are available in and just outside of town. ATMs: They can be found in select places. It is best to have cash.


boundaries just five kilometres from Kanyanchu. Adjacent to this


tiny village, the community-owned Bigodi Wetland Sanctuary offers a

Also of

great introduction to East Africa’s rainforest fauna. Clear views from


the swamp edge into the gallery forest allow for good sightings of

abundance in

red colobus, black-and-white colobus, grey-cheeked mangabey,


red-tailed and possibly L’Hoest’s monkey, and the guides really


know their stuff when it comes to the swamp’s varied forest

Reserve are

avifauna, which includes squawking African grey parrot, yellow-

wildlife such

billed and double-toothed barbets, and a trio of colourful turacos.

as elephant.

Calling code: Dial + 256 483, followed by six-digit local number. Transport: The Entebbe International Airport provides both local and international flights and is about a 30-minute drive from Kampala. Taxis and rental cars are available at the airport for transport. It takes around four hours drive, from Kampala to Fort Portal. Also available are the boda bodas, buses and matatus. Communications: There are numerous internet cafés around town. Contact the mobile or cellular phones

The nearby Kasenda Crater Lake Field, whose 30 odd lakes are

service provider to ensure international roaming. Airtime

each a different shade of blue or green, is also serviced by several

cards are available everywhere.

excellent community projects, notably the Lake Nkuruba Nature

Entry requirements: A passport is required by all

Reserve, protecting the beautiful jungle-fringed lake for which it is

and must be valid atleast six months. Prior to visiting

named. Visitors can go boating on the lakes, the water is safe for

Uganda, contact the Ugandan diplomatic

swimming, and the birdlife is prolific.

missions in your home country, or

South of Kibale Forest, the Katonga River forms the southern

any Ugandan representative nearest

boundary of the 208 square kilometre (80 square-mile) Katonga

to you concerning visa.

Game Reserve, which is traversed by the river’s many tributaries.

Health and medical emergencies:

Only recently developed for tourism, the reserve protects a network

Regarding immunisations and other

of forest-fringed wetlands along the Katonga River. Best explored

precautionary measures, it is best to

on foot and by canoe, Katonga supports some 40 mammal and

contact a travel health professional,

at least 150 bird species, many specific to wetland habitats. Most

prior to visiting Uganda. Fort Portal

visible are elephant, waterbuck, reedbuck, colobus monkeys and river otter. This is one of the best places in Africa to look for the elusive sitatunga, a semi-aquatic antelope with webbed hooves that forages almost exclusively in swamps.

12 | asante | may – july 2011

has a hospital and various small clinics. Medicines and antibiotics are readily available from pharmacies.

Photos © Helene Thomas

destination: rwanda

RWANDA’S Rare & Shining Jewel


Nestled in the highlands of Rwanda’s mountainous landscape is a small lakeside village set amidst forested peninsulas that jut out into the waters of Lake Kivu. It is the intact natural beauty here that make it Rwanda’s rare and shining jewel, says Helene Thomas.

ibuye, pronounced, ‘Ki-boo-yeah’, is situated 130

Almost every hill in Rwanda is covered in a patchwork field of

kilometres west of Kigali, Rwanda’s capital city. The road

vegetables, tea, coffee or banana plantations. But it is Kibuye’s

winds its way through spectacular mountain ranges where

densely-forested hills set amidst the tranquil waters of Lake

some of the mountain peaks reach dizzying heights. The Kibuye township sits on the eastern edge of Lake Kivu, a vast lake that reaches across to the Democratic Republic of

Kivu that make it unique and attractive to both international and local visitors. Kibuye is situated in the Karongi District of the Crete Zaire

Congo. There are other Rwandan towns situated on this lake,

Nil region, one of the least populated regions in the country.

including Gisenyi to the north and Cyangugu to the south.

Its population is about 150 inhabitants per square kilometre

Towns in the eastern part of the Democratic Republic of Congo

compared to approximately 300 to 500 inhabitants per square

are also situated on the lake, including Goma, Sake and Bukavu.

kilometre for other parts of the country so it is ideal for escaping

It is the largest lake in Rwanda and among the deepest lakes

crowds and to be at one with nature.

in the world. Rwanda is proudly known as the land of a thousand hills,

Kibuye has characteristics that make it particularly unique to Rwanda’s other beach resort town, Gisenyi. Both towns are

although if anyone counted, it could easily be a million! Original

situated by the beautiful Lake Kivu, but in Kibuye, the lake can

forests have, in most areas, been replaced with food crops.

resemble a vast ocean, and in other parts it can look like a

14 | asante | may – july 2011

destination: rwanda

Opposite: Part of Lake Kivu and the forested hills, planted predominantly with pines and eucalyptus. Above: From the waters of Lake Kivu is a spectacular view of Rwanda’s mountainous landscape.

Rwanda is proudly known as the land of a thousand hills, although if anyone counted, it could easily be a million! gentle winding river as it weaves around mysterious and

A day can easily be filled by taking a ride on a small wooden

uninhabited islands. The emerald-green lagoon-like bays are

passenger boat and exploring inhabited and uninhabited islands.

unique to this region.

Remarkably, some of the islands are inhabited by cows and their

From the waters of Lake Kivu is a spectacular view of Rwanda’s

shepherds. When asked how the cows reached the islands in

mountainous landscape: hills upon hills, and a ghostly outline of

the first place, the answer seemed somewhat far-fetched, but

some of the country’s highest mountains. Local fishermen venture

perhaps true. The shepherd herded his cattle into the water,

out in their hand-carved wooden boats which have long slender

they swam some kilometres with the shepherd calling from a

tree trunks that reach out and over to touch the lake’s glassy

boat. Other islands, such as Napoleon, are inhabited by bats,

surface. By night, their lanterns appear to be small cities dotted

and others by locals who manage cafés, restaurants and

across the lake. On a particularly still evening, a fisherman’s song

camping grounds. One such island is called the Island of Peace

can be heard being carried across the waters. The main catch

which features a bar and restaurant, a volleyball net, tents for

is Nile tilapia. The hotels in Kibuye feature fresh tilapia on their

overnight camping, a manicured garden, a pebbled path that

menus, and they serve it with vegetables, rice and deep-fried

joins the main island to a smaller island, and a swing hung from

potato chips.

a tree right on the edge of the lake. The feel of the islands is

Perched on the peninsulas in Kibuye are luxury hotels, each

imbued with a sense of paradise.

with its own unique view of Lake Kivu and the mountains. Most of

Back on land, Kibuye has a big market on Fridays and a

the hotels are situated between three to ten kilometres from the

normal street market other days of the week. Construction is

township. Once you reach your hotel, tranquility awaits you. At

currently taking place to build an indoor market. There is an

night, the gentle lapping of the lake (and if you listen carefully, the

easy walk around Kibuye town which takes in parts of Lake

occasional fisherman’s song) lull you to sleep. By day, a vast range

Kivu and the forested hills which are planted predominantly

of bird species sing from the forest canopy and the manicured

with pines and eucalyptus. In fact, Kibuye is nick-named, the

hotel gardens. In just a few short hours you become immersed in

‘Switzerland of Africa’, because of the similarities with that

the slow-paced way of life that is Kibuye.

country’s mountains.

>> may – july 2011 | asante | 15

destination: rwanda

Fact File: Rwanda Area: 26,338 square kilometres.



Capital city: Kigali. Language: English, French, Kinyarwanda (Kiswahili is also widely spoken). Official currency: Rwanda Franc (R). Time zone: Rwanda is two hours ahead of GMT. Climate: Rwanda has a temperate tropical highland climate. Rwanda’s altitude ranges from 1,500-2,500 metres on the average. Rwanda enjoys warm temperatures that vary with regions. There are two annual rainy seasons: from February to June and from September to December. Hotels and Restaurants: Hotels and restaurants are abundant in Rwanda. However, it is advisable to book


On a less light note, there are important landmarks to consider

when visiting Kibuye. There is a genocide memorial that includes nine small buildings which represent the nine communes that formerly made up the province of Kibuye. The site has become known as the ‘Hill of Resistance’ because of the heroic resistance mounted by the people of Bisesero against their enemies during the 1994 genocide. There are also two memorial churches, Karongi Catholic Church and Nyange Catholic Church. Geographically, the Karongi district is unique and of particular interest to geographers, mountaineers, climbers, hikers and investors. Western Rwanda includes part of the highlands that separate the two greatest river basins of Africa, the Nile and the Congo. Lake Kivu is considered to be one of Africa’s Great Lakes, and lies within the Albertine Rift of the Africa’s Great Rift System, ultimately feeding the Congo River. While being aesthetically beautiful, the lake has other attributes that are of particular interest to the Rwandan Government and foreign investors. Because of its location in the rift valley it holds vast quantities of methane gas and has the potential to give Rwanda about

Above: Densely-

hotel reservations in advance. Credit cards are usually only accepted at the major hotels in Kigali.

forested hills

ATMs: One can withdraw a limited amount of money

set amidst the

per day using ATM card. However, the ATMs do not

waters of Lake

accept international cards. Payments are made mainly


in cash. Calling code: The international calling code for Rwanda is +250. Transport: Rwanda International Airport in Kigali provides both domestic and international flights. It is 10 kilometres from the city centre. Also available in all major centres are local and luxury bus services as well as Air charter services offered anywhere in the country. Driving is on the right hand side. An International Driving License is mandatory. Communications: Rwanda has a superb cell phone network that covers nearly the entire country thereby easing both local and international phone calls.

$ 50 billion a year worth of energy. At a depth of almost 500 metres,

Appropriate SIM cards for the network are

Lake Kivu holds about two-trillion cubic feet of methane resources and

plenteous throughout the country and cell phones

ten-trillion cubic feet of carbon dioxide resources. There is already one

can be purchased or rented from major shops in Kigali.

methane extraction plant in Gisenyi with the likelihood of more to come.

Also accessible are several internet cafés and

Aside from lake activities such as swimming, boating and kayaking,

computer centres.

there are plenty of walks and climbs to do in and around Kibuye. There

Entry requirements: Passport is required by all.

is Karongi mountain, the highest mountain in the district, and close by is

Check with your nearest embassy for current visa

Gisovu tea plantation, the biggest tea plantation in Rwanda.

requirements. Entry tourist visa is issued at the exit

Ever since the road was paved from Kigali, Kibuye has become a

point of Kigali Airport to all citizens with a valid passport

popular weekend getaway for families. If you are seeking the quietest

of more that six months from the expiring date.

period, visit Kibuye any time between October and May. The peak season

Health: There is no compulsory vaccination for

is June to September which is the long dry season. There are plans to

travelling to Rwanda. It is advisable for a traveller to

pave the roads to link Butare and Cyangugu with Kibuye and also Gisenyi.

update vaccinations like cholera, tetanus, hepatitis A

In the meantime, though, a boat ride from Kibuye to Gisenyi will have you

and meningitis.

reaching Rwanda’s other lake resort town faster than by road.

16 | asante | may – july 2011

book world

Books‘R’Us A diverse range of general interest books giving fascinating accounts of animal behaviour and capturing the fleeting and dramatic moments of African wildlife in splendid photographs.

East Africa Alive

The Spotted One

The Hunters & The Hunted

In the wild, time unfolds in a series

Loveliest of the great wild cats, the

Never before has African wildlife been

of fleeting and sometimes dramatic

cheetah is poetry in motion, a blurred

illustrated with such power and drama.

moments – a crocodile seizes a drinking

streak of graceful ferocity and a sauntering

Here, in marvellous sequences, the

zebra, a fleeing impala soars above

portrait of fluid beauty. They threaten no

reader can follow the stalk, the hunt and

its fellows in a huge bound, an eagle

man and kill only for food. But the world’s

the kill of the lion cheetah, wild dog, and

snatches a fish from the lake surface,

fastest animal is under threat from fellow

many other animals, witnessed at first

elephant and white rhino clash at a

predators and ecological change.

hand and captured in this superb series

Duncan Willetts and John Dawson ISBN: 1 904722 14 8

Kathrine and Karl Ammann ISBN: 1 904722 22 9

Kathrine and Karl Ammann ISBN: 1 904722 23 7

of colour photographs.

waterhole. This is one of the most unusual and All these moments, and many more,

moving stories of animal behaviour.

The text, in collaboration with Ian Parker,

are captured in East Africa Alive as it

Kathrine and Karl Ammann devoted

is both lively and authoritative and is

explores the ancient themes of courtship

two years to the study of cheetah and

based on startling new evidence about

and birth, conflict and rivalry, life and

their movements in the wild of the

how these predators interact. Such

death. Each theme is introduced by an

Maasai Mara, a remote and hauntingly

profound understanding of their subject

authoritative text and illustrated with

beautiful corner of Kenya. This account

is the secret of the Ammanns’ success

some of the best photos ever taken in

of their life among the cheetah forms a

as photographers. In this remarkable

East Africa. Detailed, descriptive captions

compelling and poignant narrative.

book, the world of The Hunters & The Hunted is brought vividly to life.

accompany the images. While working in the Mara, the Ammanns Here is East Africa, more alive than

discovered their photographic talents.

you’ve ever seen it before.

Their fascinating story is brought to life by some of the best colour pictures ever taken of any predator, anywhere.

For more information contact: Books ’R’ Us LTD. | P.O. Box 45048, 00100 G.P.O. Nairobi, Kenya Tel: +254 (20) 4448923/4/5 | Fax: +254 (20) 4448818 or 4441021 Email: •

18 | asante | may – july 2011

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may – july 2011 | asante | 19

destination: tanzania

On the Summit



Photos © David Pluth/Camerapix Magazines

The giant Equatorial snow-dome of Mount Kilimanjaro has confounded cynics, challenged climbers, and captivated all who have held it in their gaze. “It’s small wonder”, says Mambo Gichuki, “that it’s considered one of the great mountains of the world”.

20 | asante | may – july 2011

destination: tanzania


ar below us the sun burst over the eastern plains in a spectacular shower of celestial diamonds. In the shadows to the west the lights of Moshi began to flicker out one by

one. My guide breathed with pleasure. It was a long, drawn-out breath, but not as laboured or as ragged as those of the party he had just led up the last 914 metres (3,000 feet) of Mount Kilimanjaro in darkness. As a tourist attraction ‘Kili’ is one of Africa’s major drawcards. More than 5,000 climbers – from seven-year old siblings to 70-year-old grandfathers – test their stamina on its slopes each year. And more are always on the way. Grand, majestic and seemingly inviolable, Africa’s highest mountain rises out of the hot dusty plains on Tanzania’s northern border with Kenya. Ringed by an almost constant wreath of clouds – court attendants to this Queen of Mountains – its dome-shaped ice-capped peak floats in the sky, a shimmering, disembodied phantom. But no ghosts ever had such substance as Kilimanjaro. One of the largest volcanoes ever to burst through the earth’s crust, this is the highest free-standing mountain in the world. Just three degrees south of the Equator, glaciers stream down its flanks from a lofty snowcap almost six kilometres (four miles) high. On a clear day, the summit can be seen more than 160 kilometres away. Within its great massif, in contrasting humid and icy embraces, Kilimanjaro encapsulates the world in miniature. In the space of three days, the climber passes from the Equator to the Arctic: through montane forest, moorland heath and alpine desert to a barren world of snow and ice. The trekker traces Nature’s evolution in reverse, from the animals of the forest to the first stirrings of bacterial life on the summit. Yet Kilimanjaro remained shrouded in mystery, unknown to the outside world, until little over a century and a half ago. The first written reference to it, without sight, was made by the second century geographer Ptolemy in his classic Geography. The greek referred to a ‘great snow mountain’ hidden in the African interior. Thirteen centuries later, the Portuguese geographer, Fernandes de Encisco, noted that west of Mombasa lay ‘the Ethiopian Mount Olympus which is very high’. The first European known to have beheld its gleaming snows was a German missionary, Johannes Rebmann, who was serving in the British Church Missionary society. Told of a high mountain called ‘Kilimsharo’ in the land of ‘Jagga’, in 1848, protected only by an umbrella and his Bible, he set off from Mombasa to find it. He caught his first glimpse of the summit on may 11th of that year, but when he reported it to Europe he was ridiculed for suggesting that a mountain near the Equator could be capped with eternal snow. It was 13 years before Rebmann’s sighting


was confirmed by another German, Karon Klaus von der Decken,

Mawenzi at

and a young British geologist, Richard Thornton.

dawn from

Since then, countless thousands have been lured and

across the

enchanted by the flawless symmetry of this graceful mountain


adrift in the startling blue of the African sky.


may – july 2011 | asante | 21

destination: tanzania


As the continent’s highest mountain, Kilimanjaro is in fact

a relative newcomer. A million years ago it did not exist. It was born in a series of spectacular explosions that gave its sister

slopes, leaving the summit bathed in bright sunshine while a halo of cloud encircles the lower slopes. While almost 2,540 millimetres of rain fall on its forested lower

peak – saw-edged Mawenzi, which climbs to about 5,148 metres

slopes each year, only 533 millimetres nourish the heather and

(16,890 feet) – its now familiar appearance.

groundsel at 3,657.6 metres (12,000 feet) – and the summit

In an eruption 360,000 years ago, lava surged across what is now the saddle to Mawenzi. About 100,000 years ago, a huge avalanche at the summit breached the south-west crater and

only received some 127 millimetres (five inches.) Thus the crowning glory that glistening ice-cap, is swiftly disappearing. Fading or not, Kilimanjaro’s summit draws an endless

formed a spectacular precipice. Eventually magma withdrew from

procession of climbers, from young backpackers and families to

the central vent and with a final belch of fire from its expiring

hardened professional mountaineers. There are nine routes

depths placed a perfect cone of ash around its rim. Born out of

to the summit from the south and the west, all passing through

ice and fire, Kilimanjaro’s latent forces are only asleep and the

different sections of the moorland and glaciers that make up

snows are in rapid retreat.

the 765-square-kilometre Kilimanjaro National Park. The remote

Hans Meyer, who became the first man to climb the highest

southern and south-western faces of Kibo offer some of the

point, Kibo, in 1887, found snowdrifts almost 1.8 metres

world’s toughest climbing routes – particularly those crossing

(six feet) deep on the southern slopes of the 4,572 metre

the Decker, Kerstein and Heim glaciers.

(15,000 feet high) saddle. Today, the saddle is a sterile desert, brown-bare, and the crater above is often naked. Nonetheless, one-fifth of all Africa’s ice is still held in

The world’s greatest living climber, Reinhold Massner, spent many weeks on Kibo in 1978 to acclimatise himself for the first successful ascent of Mount Everest without oxygen. With K.

Kilimanjaro’s four square kilometres of glaciers. On such a high

Renzler, he became the first to climb Kibo’s sheer 1,524 metre

mountain, the weather changes rapidly. From March to May,

(5,000 feet) Breach Wall, which, with its huge icicle, hangs from

the south-west monsoon rains fall on the southern slopes, and

the Diamond Glacier. Later he said it was the hardest climb he

the lighter rains of the north-east monsoons water the northern

had ever done.

slopes at the end of the year. The climate at the crest of the mountain contradicts that lower

The summit of Kilimanjaro can, however, be reached from the eastern slopes by any reasonably fit person – of any age. The

down: a dry North-East wind blows between May and October,

youngest climber so far was an 11-year-old, the oldest 74!

causing most precipitation to fall on the south-western slopes.

People in their 60s regularly step it out and the mountain has

More than that, it sucks dry the clouds which cling to the southern

been scaled by several blind climbers raising funds for charity.

22 | asante | may – july 2011

Above left: Climbers passing the Furtwangler Glacier on their way to the summit. Above: Climbers enjoying breakfast in front of the Lava Tower.

destination: tanzania

Fact File: Tanzania



Area: 945,097 square kilometres. Capital city: Dodoma. Official language: Swahili, although English is widely spoken and understood. Official currency: Tanzanian Shilling (TSh). Time zone: It is three hours ahead of Greenwich Mean Time (GMT +3). Climate: Enjoys tropical climate which varies according to altitude. The rainy seasons in Tanzania are from March to May and November to December. Temperature ranges from 23-30 °C. Hotels and restaurants: There is abundant accommodation that suits the tastes and needs of various travellers; ranging from luxury and standard hotels to guest houses, lodges and bungalows. Hotels and lodges usually offer internet, fax and


A motorcyclist has broken its bewitching silence, and skiers

The snow

have glissaded down the inside of its steaming crater.


Hang-gliding enthusiasts have also launched themselves from

international cuisines.


the summit – one never to be seen again.

ATMs: Numerous ATMs are found in all major towns.

phone service. Plenteous restaurants offer both local and


The easiest and most popular route, covering 80 kilometres

Credit cards and cheques: Tanzania has a cash-based


from the base at Marangu, takes five days to trek to the top and

economy; cash is more readily accepted than traveller‘s

on the Kenyan

back again. Technically straightforward, it is nonetheless grueling.

side of the

cheques. Credit cards are accepted on a limited basis.

Bad weather can make the mountain dangerous. When cloud


descends, it’s easy to get lost. Several climbers have also fallen foul of the effects of oxygen starvation, which carries very real risks for the fit and unfit alike. The busiest climbing seasons are December to February,

Calling code: The international calling code is +255. Transport: Both Dar es Salaam and Kilimanjaro International airports provide local and international flights. A popular way to move around the city or shorter distances between

when the mountain is often clear of cloud, and July and August.

towns is with a dala-dalla (minibus). Bicycle-taxis and private

Food must be carried, as well as wood and water for one’s final

taxis are also available at a negotiable fare.

night on the mountain. The park maintains excellent huts at the

Communications: Mobile or cellular phones are widely

three points on the climb and has a well-trained rescue team to

used in the main urban areas of Tanzania. Travellers are

ensure the mountain is scaled in comfort and safety.

advised to contact their service provider to ensure they have

But the experiences garnered during the three-day ascent, through the unique forest, and across the heather with its magnificent views of Kibo and Mawenzi, to the breathtaking eruption of dawn as the sun bursts over the rim of the world at the summit, are reward enough for the effort. From the summit the whole of Africa stretches away at your

international roaming. There is relatively fast and cheap internet connection with internet cafés present in most of the major cities. Postal services are also available. Entry requirements: A passport is required by all. It is advisable to check with the Tanzanian Embassy in your

feet. Inside the crater, however, the mood is eerie, a primordial

home country, or any Tanzanian representative nearest to

place evoking the kind of environment that must have existed at

you concerning visa.

the very beginning of life on earth. Within the crater is a

Health: When travelling to Tanzania, it is best to contact a

perfectly shaped ash cone with a central pit almost 152.4 metres (500 feet) deep. Forty kilometres down its vent, molten rock heaves and boils, perhaps one day to burst forth again and build the mountain anew.

travel health professional well before travelling, for the latest information on health and vaccination recommendations. Also a personal medical insurance is advisable.

Kilimanjaro is only sleeping.

may – july 2011 | asante | 23

destination: zanzibar


Conservation is the Key for

ost of Zanzibar’s visitors these days arrive by plane rather than ship, and so they miss

the sight of Zanzibar’s famous Stone Town waterfront that greeted renowned


travellers such as Marco Polo, David Livingstone, and Sir Richard Burton. That’s a pity, because even today, it is something to be seen. Unmarred by high-rise office

by Kate Nivison.

blocks or hotels, huge construction cranes, power station chimneys or the oil terminals that disfigure many ports these days, the skyline of Stone Town, its capital and main port, has changed little for centuries, and is still Zanzibar’s main attraction. Highlights include the minarets of its numerous mosques, two cathedral spires (Anglican and Roman Catholic), the battlements of the Portuguese fort and of course the palaces of the Sultans of Zanzibar. It is this rich cultural heritage, as well as the island’s natural beauty and unique wildlife that the people of Zanzibar are now, after years of neglect, making heroic efforts to preserve. Zanzibar is politically part of Tanzania, and UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and cultural Organization) declared the historic centre of Stone Town a World Heritage Site, calling it ‘an outstanding material manifestation of cultural fusion and harmonisation’. The cultural fusion referred to here is that unique 1,000-year blending of Arabia, Africa and India which developed along the East African coast, now known as the Swahili culture. Other examples of Swahili ‘material manifestations’ along the coast, the Comores, include Mombasa Old Town, Malindi and Lamu, but Zanzibar was in its time the most powerful trading post in the entire area, and the size and scale of Stone Town reflects this. The name Stone Town itself gives a clue as to how the old town survived for so long. The rock of Zanzibar island is mainly a kind of limestone formed from coral, called coralline rag, which can be cut into building blocks quite easily with simple tools. Merchants grown rich on trade with the African interior to the Middle East and beyond, built themselves splendidly solid houses of several storeys, adorned by airy

24 | asante | may – july 2011

Photo © Camerapix

from the Horn of Africa as far south as

Large dhow along the Tanzanian coast, the basic design has scarcely changed in thousands of years.

destination: zanzibar

balconies and wooden-latticed zenana quarters for their wives. Everyone wanted to be near the waterfront, the source of both their income and welcome breezes, so the houses were packed together in narrow streets and more or less held each other up. Even the walls of lesser houses had an infill of coralline cobbles within a stout wooden or stone framework – a big improvement on mud bricks. But even the stone had long-term drawbacks. Zanzibar has plenty of rain, and the coralline rock is not only porous, but badly affected by air pollution. By the 1960s, the Old Town was very run-down and most of the buildings, including the Sultan’s Palace, the House of Wonders, and the Old Dispensary were in urgent need of restoration. With political instability in the air, visitors were often disappointed by the decay and litter in this most exotic-sounding of destinations. Since Islam is the dominant religion here, interested benefactors included the Aga Khan, and things began to improve. The Old Dispensary is now a wonderful sight, and houses the Stone Town Conservation Authority and a restaurant with wonderful waterfront views. The House of Wonders is open again, as is the Palace Museum next door, and the Fort. Major hotels in Stone Town such as the Zanzibar Serena Inn, Tembo House and the Dhow Palace Hotel are in renovated buildings, and their interiors are even richer than their former merchant owners would have believed. As far as possible, the work is done by local craftsmen who still have the skills in stone and woodworking inherited from their ancestors. Some of the most photographed features in Stone Town are Photo © Camerapix

its doors. There are over 500 of these imposing pieces of the woodcarvers’ art. Stone Town’s numerous unofficial ‘guides’ will tell you that the pointed brass bosses or iron spikes were protection against elephants pushing down the doors. Not such a fantasy, apparently, since a 10th century Arab traveller reported that Zanzibar was ‘rich in elephants’, and the Venetian explorer Marco Polo mentioned them in 1295. Perhaps these were native


elephants, survivors from the time when the island was part of the

A narrow

African mainland. Or possibly they were the domesticated ones

street, typical

transported, with some difficulty by cargo dhow from India.

of Stone

Sadly, the Zanzibar elephants seem to have disappeared some


time ago, since the British and Portuguese records don’t mention their presence at all. Certainly ivory from the continental interior


vied with slaves to make Zanzibar the East Coast’s main trading

Young Muslim

post during the 19th century, and local elephants would not have

girl in

stood a chance.

Stone Town.

Other native animals, some of them very rare and found only in Zanzibar, have been a little luckier, so apart from conserving its cultural heritage, the authorities are also keen to preserve what is left of the wildlife. The island even has its own variety of leopard,

Photo © Camerapix

although sightings are now very rare. There is also the shy civet cat, the not-so-shy mongoose, two species of monkey, including the red colobus, and forest lemur, pig, duiker and pygmy antelope. On a still smaller scale, Zanzibar boasts 20 species of bat, 30 forms of snake, and its own kind of chameleon. Around 100 species of birds have also been identified. >> may – july 2011 | asante | 25

destination: zanzibar

>> For an island only 86 kilometres long and 39 kilometres wide,

alike are introduced to the various types of snakes and other

this is quite a respectable tally. It is very fortunate that so many

reptiles, whether native or not. Teasing or random feeding are

species have survived long enough to be around when there is at

not allowed, but questions are encouraged. People quickly learn

last some real interest in conserving them.

which ones are dangerous, which are harmless, and which

One of the main problems for wildlife conservation everywhere

ones to encourage to keep down insect pests including the

is the attitude of local people towards the creatures around them.

much-maligned chameleon. This wholly commendable scheme

Unfortunately in Zanzibar local superstition dictates that some

is not government funded, and relies on donations from passing

perfectly harmless creatures like the chameleon should be killed

tourists to keep it going.

on sight because they are thought to be inherently evil. In rural

The Jozani Natural Forest Reserve also relies to a large

areas people still believe that the only cure for a chameleon bite is

extent on visitors eager to see the handsome Kirk’s red colobus

to commit incest – a thought so horrific that getting them before

monkeys that are unique to Zanzibar, and if they are lucky, bush

they get you is seen as a duty.

pigs and various kinds of small buck. But it is the red colobus

This is where education comes in. In the centre of the island,

that is the star of the show. Although wild, they seem to positively enjoy showing off for the camera, and aren’t at all aggressive.

Reserve, one retired teacher has set up a scheme for teaching

Again, feeding is not allowed because these monkeys share a

children about the local animals. Here, local people and visitors

characteristic with those of their human cousins who are diabetic

Photo courtesy Wikimedia

at the Zala Reptile Park not far from the Jozani Natural Forest

26 | asante | may – july 2011

destination: zanzibar

Zanzibar has a wealth of marine life in the clear warmwaters round its numerous coral reefs.

– they cannot digest the sugars found in many foodstuffs. Their diet consists largely of the leaves of the Indian Almond tree, and they have developed the habit of nibbling charcoal to help their delicate digestions. Maintaining plenty of Indian Almond trees is obviously a priority for the conservationists here, and the cover they provide also helps the survival of other forest species. Zanzibar has a wealth of marine life in the clear warm waters round its numerous coral reefs, and conserving it is now a matter of hard economics. Traditional fishermen need to feed their families, and there is now a steady demand for seafood from the hotels. But increasing numbers of scuba divers and snorkellers now come to the island to enjoy the underwater scene. At Nungwi in the north, the villagers have started a sanctuary for injured turtles and other large marine creatures, to nurse them back to


health and then release them, to the benefit of all concerned.


At the Ras Nungwi Beach Resort, eco-tourism is now

in Zanzibar

the watchword, using local materials to blend in with the

town. The

surroundings, and ensuring as little disturbance to the natural

buildings are

environment as possible. Visitors are gently cautioned not to


offend Islamic sensibilities by their dress, intrusive photography

of a blend of

or public displays of alcohol consumption. Hopefully they will


Famed carved door of Zanzibar.

Photo © Camerapix


return home feeling that they have been part of a shared experience, rather than cause disruption to local life. It seems unlikely now that Zanzibar will fall prey to the kind of high-rise, intrusive development that has plagued other areas, but will continue to attract the kind of people who appreciate this gentler, more concerned approach.

Fact File: Zanzibar Area: It is 984 square kilometres.

Local buses (known as daladalas), taxis and

Official language: Both Swahili and English are the official

minibuses are available throughout the entire


island. It is possible to hire a vehicle provided one

Official currency: Tanzanian Shilling (TSh).

has an International Driver’s Permit. Whilst hiring

Time zone: It is +3 GMT.

motorcycles travellers are advised to ensure a crash-helmet for

Climate: Enjoys tropical climate largely dominated by the Indian

safety purposes.

Ocean monsoons. The rainy season is from March to May.

Communications: Nearly all internet and mobile companies served

Temperature ranges from 24-27°C.

in Mainland Tanzania are available in Zanzibar.

Hotels and restaurants: As an island destination, Zanzibar offers a

Entry requirements: A passport is required by all. Zanzibar is part

wide array of accommodation including hotels, guest houses, beach

of Tanzania so visa requirements are the same. Prior to visiting,

resorts and island getaways. Restaurants offer locally available

contact the Tanzanian Embassy, High Commission or Consulate in

foods such as seafood delicacies.

your home country, or any Tanzanian representative nearest to you

ATMs: Available at various sites in Zanzibar.

concerning visa.

Credit cards and cheques: Traveller’s cheques are accepted at

Health: It is best to contact a travel health professional well before

large hotels and restaurants. They can be exchanged for local

travelling, concerning immunisations prior to visiting Zanzibar.

currencies at Bureaux de Change provided one has a passport and

It is advisable to ensure precautionary measures against malaria.

the cheques are properly signed. Credit cards can be used at larger

Customs: As Zanzibar is largely Muslim with a rich Swahili

establishments; however it is advisable to use cash for payments.

culture, it is best to dress modestly. Smoking in public

Calling code: + 255 24, followed by seven-digit local number.

places as well as nude and topless sunbathing is

Transport: Zanzibar Airport provides both local and international

prohibited. Non-Muslims are not allowed to enter

flights. Zanzibar enjoys a thriving sea transport network.

any of Zanzibar’s many mosques unless invited.



may – july 2011 | asante | 27


Like many other aspects of life on the Kenyan coast, the local cooking is a distillation of the many influences that have arrived on these shores since the first traders plied the gentle ‘heartbeat’ of the Indian Ocean monsoon. According to some estimates, traders have been visiting the Kenyan coast for over 4,000 years. But the emergence of the Swahili culture as we know it today dates back only to around 800 AD, when the Shirazi people of Persia first brought Islam to East Africa. For centuries, the kazkazi wind carried dhows laden with gold, ivory, cloves and other treasures (including slaves) from Zanzibar, Bagamoyo and Lamu. They returned on the kuzi with cargoes of cloth, porcelain, and other goods for barter. They also brought spices, exotic vegetables and their own recipes and cooking methods. This happy melange of African, Arab and Oriental influences is reflected in today’s widely acclaimed Swahili cuisine. The emphasis is on fresh natural ingredients, simply cooked, with an exotic touch of spice. Apart from the relatively rich coconut sauce dishes, most of the food is fairly light and, therefore, ideal for the tropical climate. Full use is made of the wide variety of seafood, meat, poultry and other produce available on the coast. The range of seafood, in particular, is quite staggering, including rock lobster, tiger prawns, oysters, squid, octopus, rock cod, sea bream, grey mullet, red snapper, sailfish and tuna – all melt-inyour-mouth fresh. Vegetable dishes might include plantains (matoke), cassava (muhogo), yams (viazi vikubwa), eggplant (birganya) or spinach (mchicha). The eastern, mainly Indian influence is found Photos © Camerapix

in chapatis and many rice dishes, using the pishori rice originally from Pakistan but now grown in Africa, with side dishes of pickles and chutneys made from mangoes, limes, chillies and coconut. Naturally, a wide range of spices are used – although usually with a light touch. These include cardamom, ginger,


Delights Felix Huwyler samples the delectable delights of Swahili cooking.


garlic, coriander (dhania) and turmeric. The main traditional cooking methods are grilling, baking in leaves, or frying in a traditional karai (a sort of Africanwok). An eastern touch is also evident in the fact that the main dishes are all served together, so there are no courses as such. Visitors are often delighted by the attractive presentation in small dishes, or clay pots, usually on brass trays or on top of brightly coloured cloths (kikoi). Sweets can feature a rather stark choice between the wide variety of available fresh fruit or syrupy sweetmeats and fudges – definitely not for the weight-watcher! And the finale to a meal is the serving of coffee (kahawa), perhaps spiced with cardamom and ginger, from the traditional conical Arabic pot. The delights of Swahili cooking are now being ‘discovered’

he Kenyan coast is famous for many things – palm-fringed beaches, rich

by more visitors to Kenya as an increasing number of hotels

history, distinctive architecture, and some of Africa’s friendliest people. But, as

and restaurants are adding innovative local dishes to their

more and more visitors are discovering, it is also home to a unique cuisine – a

Western-style buffets – and wishing their guests “furahia

delicious blend of exotic tastes and simple cooking methods.

28 | asante | may – july 2011

chakula chako!”.


A Taste of Swahili Cuisine Some recipes supplied by Felix Huwylre, which will provide you with a taste of the simple yet tantalising cuisine of the East African Coast.

Coconut Turmeric Sauce 1/2 litre Ingredients 10 g garlic, chopped 5 g ginger, peeled, chopped 1/2 chilli, fresh chopped or pound in a motar until pastelike 20 g fresh coriander leaves or finely chop 2 cardamom seeds 30 g butter 60 g onions 1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder 500 ml coconut milk, first press 1 pinch salt Little black pepper Preparation 1. Heat butter and glaze onions, add turmeric powder and then the pounded items. 2. Gently cook all items at low heat. 3. Add coconut milk and gently simmer for 20 minutes.

Coconut Spinach (Mchicha wa Nazi) Serves four. Ingredients

This sauce is now ready for further use (lobsters, prawns,

2 tablespoon vegetable oil or butter

fish, chicken dishes). If the sauce is a bit too thin, it should

30 g onions, finely chopped

be thickened with a little cornstarch mixed with coconut milk.

50 g ginger, fresh, chopped 1/4 chilli, fresh, chopped (without seeds)

Lobster in Coconut Turmeric Sauce (Kamba wa Nazi na Manjano)

125 ml coconut milk, first press

Serves four.

1/2 kg spinach, stalks removed, washed



2 lobsters at 1 kg to 1.2 kg each

1. Heat oil in a stewing pan, add onions, ginger and chillies

20 g butter 1 bunch fresh coriander, chopped roughly 500 ml coconut turmeric sauce (see below)

1 pinch salt

and fry quickly. 2. Add coconut milk and bring everything to the boil, add spinach leaves and cover. Add salt.


3. Lower heat and gently simmer for about five minutes.


Preparation of coconut milk

1. Split lobsters lengthwise into halves using a large sharp

1. Split coconut in half, remove coconut water and set aside.

knife. 2. Remove tail flesh, remove the centre and cut flesh into one-inch cubes. 3. Clean the shell by removing the intestines, rinse, dry and place into the oven to dry. 4. Meanwhile, heat the butter in a saucepan, season the lobster cubes with salt and pepper and gently toss

2. Remove flesh from shell and grate finely*. 3. Place grated coconut into a strong piece of cloth and twist hard to squeeze out the milk. Open cloth, pour coconut water on it, and repeat the extraction process. 4. Place coconut in a bowl and pour a little boiling water on it – repeat the process, pressing. This milk is weaker and may be used for curries, sauces, etc.

in the butter until half done. 5. Add the coconut turmeric sauce and gently simmer

*This can also be done in a kitchen blender by cutting

for a minute and evenly fill into the hot shells. Sprinkle

the coconut flesh into slices and using the coconut water

with the coriander and serve.

obtained after splitting coconut (see step 1)


may – july 2011 | asante | 29


Marinated Grilled Chicken (Kuku Paka) Serves four. Ingredients 1 large chicken (2 legs, 2 breasts) 2 tablespoon oil 15 g garlic, chopped roughly 15 g fresh ginger, chopped roughly 2 tomatoes, sliced 1 green pepper, cleaned, sliced 1 medium onion 2 lime (juice) 2 coconuts (for milk see recipe of coconut spinach) 1 teaspoon salt 1/2 teaspoon black pepper Preparation 1. Place garlic, ginger, tomatoes, pepper, onions and lime juice in the mortar and pound until fine. (This can also be done in


Grilled Thaffi (Samaki wa Kupaka) Serves four. Thaffi is fish of average size (about eight inches long) found along the Kenyan coast, with a smooth scale-free skin,

a blender.) 2. Remove skin from chicken, season with salt and pepper, brush with oil and gently grill on a charcoal grill, half-cooked. 3. Put remaining oil into a pan and gently fry the pounded mix, add the coconut milk and simmer together for

silvery in colour. However, any fish can be used for the following recipe. If necessary, scale the fish after gutting and cut away the fins. Make incision cuts on both sides of

5-10 minutes. 4. Remove the grilled chicken pieces and place them in the sauce, bring back to boiling point and keep hot and

fish to allow the marinade to penetrate well. You may also use fish fillets (with the skin left on), so incision cuts are not necessary. These are better baked in the oven. Ingredients 4 whole fish Salt to taste Oil Marinade Preparation 1. Rub the marinade into the fish and allow to marinate for about six hours. Do not use salt in the marinade since this will draw water from the tissue of the fish, making it dry. 2. Remove fish from marinade, sprinkle it on both sides with salt then dip it in a little oil and gently grill it on both sides until done. Serve on a large flat platter with the coconut sauce separate. Preparation of Marinade Mix the following ingredients 10 g chopped garlic 50 g onions, chopped 1 teaspoon turmeric powder 1 chilli small, chopped 1 handful fresh coriander leaves 20 g tomato paste 2 tablespoon oil Some ground black pepper

30 | asante | may – july 2011

serve as soon as chicken is cooked through.

Serve with steamed rice.

Cardamom Fudge Ingredients 1/2 kg - 30 pieces 1 litre milk (fresh or pasteurised) 400 g sugar 8 cardamom pods Preparation 1. Place cardamom pods in a mortar and crush to remove seeds. 2. Put all the ingredients in a pot and boil, stirring constantly until very thick. It will appear like caramel. To test, add a little cold water – it must become a solid little ball. 3. Pour on an oiled baking tray, allow to cool a little, then cut with a sharp knife into 2 cm squares.

may – july 2011 | asante | 31



Photo © Camerapix Publishers/Shakira Chaudry

ell and

After a steep slog through a stinking earthly purgatory, Marie-Anne Kinyanjui discovers a sweet new sanctuary on the roof of the world. We were in the belly of the earth, in the second circle

of surreal hot springs, which gasp steam and an unforgettable

The earth had opened to reveal a deep pit, filled with shades.

sulphuric stench. Some of the springs in the gorge are boiling

Here, my guide told me, resided the shadows. Canto XIV


he earth began to close in as we descended the final few steps to the shimmering floor of the Great Rift Valley. Under the relentless glare of the Equatorial sun, we

hot, as if the fires of Hell lurk directly beneath them. The gorge’s violent origins are everywhere evident in huge piles of coarse volcanic rocks, among which glint great lumps of the tough glassy black rock, obsidian. Our descent began down a steep, stony path into the gorge, where the main challenge was trying to stay upright. I had the

stepped, Dante-like, across the threshold of the Gate of Hell,

perverse pleasure of watching a member of our group (the kind

accompanied by our guide and a dozen other souls filled with

who insist that every insect is carrying the Black Death and is out

earthly wonder.

to get them) slide down the steep slope. Although the smell of

Officially known as the Mount Longonot and Hell’s Gate

rotten eggs attacks you as you pass through the gorge, the sight

National Parks, this 120-square-kilometre wonderland northwest

of the earth spitting boiling water can be quite compelling. “It’s as

of Nairobi is famous for the thrilling walks that skirt its sheer

though the trapped souls below are burrowing upwards to escape

red cliffs. The highest point in the parks is the peak of Mount

the prods of the Devil’s fork,” said a particularly poetic member of

Longonot, a spectacular volcanic crater whose lopsided rim

the group. I just found it fascinating.

climbs to 3,321 metres and descends to

Our guide obviously agreed. Holding a large three-pronged

2,187 metres, making it a relatively easy

stick, he stood surveying his kingdom, undaunted by the smell

climb – or so some say! Ol Njorowa Gorge, more commonly known as Hell’s Gate, is home to a series

and chattering to us about physics, geography and eagles – a lovely oratory that I missed most of because I was too busy ogling the plants that miraculously thrive in this natural hothouse. If truth be told, I was also keeping a wary eye open for lions.

32 | asante | may – july 2011

Above: Hell’s Gate features tall cliffs that offer rigorous tests for rock climbers.


I always find the air to be one of the most enduring memories of a Kenyan safari. When we started up the rise out of the gorge, we were greeted not only by the sweet air of the savannah, but by a sweeping expanse of scrubland dotted with small herds of gazelle and impala – among which, I’m sure, lurked the odd lion. The Photo © Camerapix

park’s main gate is actually called Elsa Gate after the lioness that won the hearts of George and Joy Adamson, who released some of their famous charges here. Hell’s Gate was also one of locations for the filming of Sheena – Queen of the Jungle and The Lion King. The main locations for Lion King, including Pride Rock and the Gorge, are modelled after Hell’s Gate National Park. Apart from the wondrous wildlife and the marvellous people, I always find the air to be one of the most enduring memories of a Kenyan safari. The air here seems to contain the entire

you have spent most of yours stuck in areas where the meanest predator is the neighbour’s cat. Our next port of call was the cloudy peak of Mount Longonot,

essence of Africa, spread out beneath some of the world’s

which is called a mountain but for serious climbers probably

biggest and bluest skies. In Hell’s Gate, I will always remember

constitutes little more than a big hill. I personally felt like I was

the wind, which was of the variety that sweeps all the cobwebs

scaling the windy heights of the Himalayas. As we began our

from your mind. According to the obnoxious lady, it carried the

ascent, the sun tentatively began the day’s assault, making for a

pestilence that will kill us all. After a brief rest, it was time for our trek into the game park, unarmed and covered only in Spartan clothing to brave the wild creatures and plants of Hades. We managed to pass a menacing group of buffalo without incident, only to be speared by a vicious variety of grass. Although the idea of walking through a park can be quite daunting, rest assured: there has not been a single

climb in pleasantly intense heat. We left behind the steamy gates of Hell for the lofty blue heights of Heaven. At first, we arrogantly struck our way up the modest incline, but after an hour’s climbing our confident strides were reduced to a miserable shuffle, which for some of us ceased altogether. The path was dusty and the dust seemed to have only one purpose: to inveigle itself in every noon and cranny of our sweaty bodies.

animal attack on a human in Hell’s Gate for the past decade.

The vegetation was thorny and scrub-like, and, our guide happily

Or so our guide told us. Either way, the walk through the park is definitely an experience that will attach itself to your memory for life – particularly if, like me,


told us, probably concealed a few more ravenous animals. That thought alone managed to induce a new, revitalised spring in our step. Before we realised it, we had arrived at the first peak. Here we found a beautiful vista awaiting us, which could only


have been created by a very magnanimous god. Sitting with the

crater of

park spread out like a green and yellow carpet before us, we felt


like the proprietors of Heaven itself. Antelope and zebra could


be seen placidly wandering in the park. As if on cue, a ray of


sunlight broke through a cloud to stroke a finger of gold across

by lopsided

the ground. On the wavy horizon, the waters of Lake Naivasha


shimmered in the sun.

crater rim

After half an hour exploring our nest in the sky, we began an

and eroded slopes.

uneventful descent. I began to wonder if the animals in the park


they were in Eden. Not even a single rush by a disturbed leopard!

were actually there or if they had somehow become as tame as Taking the beaten path down to our campsite, the whole group

Mount Longonot and Hell’s Gate National Park.

Photo © Camerapix


lapsed into a reverent silence, like so many pilgrims returning from the roof of the world. Even a slight drizzle of rain could not dampen our enlightened spirits. And, for once, the annoying lady had nothing bad to say.

may – july 2011 | asante | 33


Old Roses Originating in the hedgerows of antiquity, the humble rose of old has risen to majesterial status among horticulturists and gardeners alike, Sheila Copsey sheds love and light on this floral beauty.

succinct lines, he was surely only hinting at the


beauty of the rose. Persian poets were waxing lyrical about the

lustrous lineage of this floral gem whose origins

magnificent flower in the ninth century AD, when petals were

are etched in antiquity and entwined with the scent of

used to make sweet-smelling potpourri and rose-water. The

historical romance.

Chinese were not far behind, developing an enduring love for

hen the poet Walter de la Mare first penned these

Their names and descriptions read like the social column of a glossy magazine: Madame Hardy, enchanting in white silk, set off

But the Romans were not the only people to recognise the

the rose, enshrining its beauty in their literature and art. It was the Greeks who were believed to have introduced the

by her green eyes: Madame Pierre Oger, in the palest blush-pink

Romans to the rose. The Greek word for rose is rhodon and

even on the wettest day; Mrs Anthony Waterer, beguiling in

Rhodos – the island of Rhodes – is almost certainly so named

the deepest crimson; and archiduc Joseph, a veritable dandy in

because roses flourished there, nurtured by the temperate

shades of orange, pink, and mauve.


These are the old roses. Most have their ancestry rooted deep

From its humble origins, the rose has become a powerful

in the past. Others made their debut in the 20th century. It is

emblem in religious symbolism. Christianity adopted the red rose

their style as much as their age which earns them the epithet of

as representative of Christ’s blood; Muslim legend relates that

old. Characterised by their free-growing habit, flat, soft-coloured

the rose sprang from beads of the prophet Muhammad’s sweat;

flowers, and heady perfume, old roses bring a breath of mystery

and in Hindu mythology, Vishnu is said to have created his bride

and fascination into the garden.

Lakshmi from 108 large and 1,008 small rose petals.

Certainly, they are a breed apart from the comparatively

Painters, poets, and writers, have recognised the romantic

scentless, short and spiky specimens which feature in public

beauty of the rose through the ages. William Shakespeare

gardens all over the world.

included more than 60 roseate references in his work, and since

New roses contain a high-centered bloom, are resistant to wind and weather, and are largely baldness.

34 | asante | may – july 2011

mediaeval times there has scarcely been a painter who has not employed the symbolism in some way.


In 1590, one of the favourite old roses – the pink and white striped Rosa Mundi – was in cultivation in Britain and France. It is probable that this particular species originated in Persia and found its way across Europe with a knight crusader. The Rosa Mundi is a typical example of the oldest cultivated form of the rose, the Gallica. The rose had, and still has, considerable influence on the development of the species, providing the stock for many other crosses and hybrids. Rosa Mundi, like the rest of the family, flowers once each summer, has a fabulous perfume, and needs very little attention. Colours vary from palest pink to the red-black of Tuscany Superb and include striped roses such as Tricolore de Flandre and Georges Vibert. They have only one drawback – they bloom for only three weeks each year. The search to find a rose whose transient beauty could be persuaded to reappear more than once a summer, became a thorn in the side of growers throughout the world. Eventually the trail led to a small island in the Indian Ocean. Towards the end of the 18th century a strange marriage took place on the Ile de Bourbon, now known as Réunion. An old annually flowering China rose called

bedeck her arboreal acres with a profusion of roses. Nurserymen

Parson’s Pink was growing in a hedge alongside the damask rose,

and gardeners in her employ were given an explicit brief; to scout

Quatre Saisons, which had its flowering season in the autumn.

the four corners of the world for rose species and return with

The two roses cross-fertilised naturally to create what is now

them to Malmaison.

called the Bourbon rose, a family of beautiful and often exotic

Even the Napoleonic Wars did not hamper Josephine’s gardening

roses which flower atleast twice in summer and will continue

enthusiasm. The British Navy lifted its blockade of the French ports

flowering until the first weeks of winter.

to let through a ship carrying plants destined for the illustrious

The Bourbons include such stunning varieties as Variegata di Bologna, a huge bush displaying blooms of white striped with deep mauve; Zephirine Drouchin, the famous thornless rose, with a

gardens. Thus it was that Malmaison at one time housed what is thought to have been the largest collection of roses in the world. How do we know so much about Malmaison and Josephine’s

redolent perfume which fills the evening air; and Boule de Neige,

passions? Here we are indebted as much to the artist as to the

living up to its name with pure white flowers which reflex into

empress. Pierre Joseph Redouté was employed by Josephine

perfect pompoms and often last long enough to see the first snows.

to faithfully record the beauty and variety of her roses. This he

The Bourbons also gave rise to one of those elusive conundrums which rose lovers enjoy so much. For many years growers cultivated a beautiful pale pink rose called Blairi No.

did with an unstinting accuracy which makes his drawings and paintings invaluable to contemporary botanists and rose lovers. Sadly, after Josephine’s death in 1814, Malmaison fell into

2. Oddly, there was no trace of what growers and cultivators

decay and disrepair. Only now is it being restored to its former

believed must have been Blairi No. 1. Eventually Mr. Graham Start

glory. But in the pictures of Redouté can be seen the full

Thomas, an eminent gardener and rose expert, rediscovered the

splendour of Josephine’s garden and its height.

rose in the 1970s and reintroduced it to cultivation. Now, Blairi

Josephine’s place in botanical history is enshrined in one of

No. 1, a softer pink and more temperamental rose, grows in the

the most beautiful old roses, appropriately called Souvenir de la

finest gardens beside its younger brother.

Malmaison. Though the rose hates wet weather, in sunshine it

The history of old roses and the fact that they still exist today owes much to two people – one an empress, the other an artist. When Napoleon gave Empress Josephine a new chateau at

is perfect, a neat flower of many petals and so pale that it can appear white at the edges. The fashion for naming roses after society patrons or

Malmaison, a short carriage drive from Paris, she might have

heros and heroines reached its height in the mid-19th

chosen any theme for her garden. The French style of the time,

century. A popular name could spell success for a

formal parterre with gravel paths and petite box hedges, was still

rose at a time when nurserymen were engaged

fashionable. Happily for every rose lover, the empress decided to

in fierce competition. >> may – july 2011 | asante | 35


>> When Grace Darling rowed out into the briny to save seafarers from the storm, she could hardly have imagined that her braveness would also guarantee success for a rose named after her. The rose Grace Darling emerged in 1884 and quickly became a favourite. The name of one stunning white rose changed more than once along with the political climate. Introduced in 1901 as Frau Karl

Rose Flowers Roses are honoured as one of the most popular flowers

Druschki, this particular rose lost popularity in England, France,

in the world, reckoned as the queen of flowers, and even

and America at the outbreak of the First World War. The rose

sometimes as the flower of roses. Historically dating 35

soon became widely known again as Snow queen, and it was under

million years, the rose flower culturally carries symbolic

that name that it held its place as the premier white rose, up until

meanings depending on the variety, colour and even number

20 years ago. Such is the confusion over this one rose that it is

of roses. For instance the red rose is popularly known

also known as Reine des Neiges and white American beauty.

as the flower of love. Due to their aesthetic beauty they

Another war was to change the name of one of the best loved

serve as decorations for both outdoor and indoor settings.

roses of all time. The French grower Meilland was working on a

Some are used for landscaping purposes, others for hedging

particular lovely rose known simply as 3-35-40 when the Nazis

and even some for utilitarian purposes such as game cover.

invaded Czechoslovakia. Pale cream with pink edges, he decided

Due to their charming fragrance they constitute commercial

to name the rose Madame Meilland after his mother.

perfumery. While the oil from the plant produces perfumes,

As the enemy forces moved steadily across Europe and ever closer he resolved to send the seedlings to collaborating growers in Germany, Italy, and America, rather than see them destroyed in

the leaves and roots are used in teas and jams for medicinal purposes. Rose flowers are a major export earner for many

the fighting. Cut off from the other growers, Meilland progressed

countries in the world when sold as commercial cut flower

with the development of his rose until, at the end of hostilities, he

crops. They are valued all over the world as a gift especially

was to discover just how successful it had become.

during Valentines Day, Mother’s Day and Christmas.

In Italy it was much admired and being sold as joy. In Germany

Presently, over 100 species of roses are found. Natives,

similar success had resulted in it being named The Glory of God.

cultivars and hybrids are all widely grown with the smallest

But the rose reached its pinnacle of glory in America, where it

types attaining a height of less than 61 centimetres and the

achieved first prize and the highest rating ever in the All-American

largest growing as high as 610 centimetres.

Rose selection trials. In its honour, and to celebrate its success

In Tanzania for instance nearly all the commercial farms

in the year that war in Europe ceased, the rose was finally and

in the floriculture industry are located in the northern parts

appropriately named Peace.

of Arusha and Kilimanjaro and more than 75 per cent of the total flowers produced are fresh cut roses. More than a dozen varieties of roses are produced and chiefly exported to the European Union. While Kenya’s rose industry is amongst the oldest and largest in Africa it is indeed a chief export earner. Some of the largest flower farms are located in the Rift Valley region around Lake Naivasha. The peak season for export of roses is February during Valentine’s Day. Nearly 70 per cent of all the roses produced are exported to European countries such as Holland, Germany, Switzerland, France and the United Kingdom. Uganda, also a big exporter of roses to Europe, produces 27 varieties of roses commercially including the Viva (bright yellow), Chelsea (orange), Akito (white), Meera (champagne), Marie Claire (orange flame), Samoa (deep orange), Blushing Akito (pink), Poeme (pink), Lambada (orange), Red Calypso (bright red), and Valentino (dark red). Uganda offers great competitive edge due to its hot and humid climate that gives it potential to achieve very high yields of small roses (sweethearts) which account for more than 65 per cent of the European market demand.

36 | asante | may – july 2011

may – july 2011 | asante | 37



eal your

Did you know that salt could dispel negative energies in your home? What colour candles should you light to encourage vitality? What can you use instead of harmful chemicals to kill bacteria? Gilly Pickup suggests 10 ways to heal your home and make it into a Happy, Healthy Environment.

1. Don’t Smoke

Long ago when houses had chimneys it took just a few minutes

It pollutes the home environment with toxins and makes it

for a complete change of air but with today’s efficient insulation

unhealthy for everyone else. Besides all the other well-publicised

it can take several hours. If someone in your home has asthma

health risks, it has been positively identified as a factor in the

and you have a gas cooker check carefully that you have proper

development of asthma in youngsters. Have a fresh, attractive

ventilation. Placing a few large houseplants around your home

home without nasty nicotine stains on the walls besides

soaks up pollutants too.

reducing your risk of starting a house fire.

5. Salt of the Earth 2. Clear the Air

A natural cleanser and purifier, salt can be used to overcome

Increase the healthy negative ions in the room. Positive (unhealthy)

negative energies in your home. Sprinkle some sea, rock or

ions outweigh negative ions when air becomes polluted, which can

cooking salt in the corners of each room, invoking its protective

lead to tiredness, irritability, muggy-headedness, headaches and

qualities with a prayer or visualisation as you do so. You could

allergies. Plants, especially ferns and rubber plants are a good

also place wind chimes round your home. According to Native

natural way to encourage a healthy ion balance or you could invest

American tradition, this creates a protective healing circle, as

in an ioniser. Electromagnetic fields from household appliances

they believe the salt grains absorb evil spirits.

such as microwaves and televisions are thought to depress the human immune system. Try to avoid placing electrical clocks, fans,

6. Use Essential Oils

radios or answer machines near your head when sleeping and

After an argument, you can try misting a room with rescue

don’t keep a television in the bedroom! Keep a reasonable distance

remedy to help dispel negative emotions. Bergamot, frankin-

from your computer screen and television. In the kitchen,

cense, lavender or sandalwood is just the ticket for those times

do not use a microwave that appears to be malfunctioning.

when you feel stressed. For an emotional lift burn geranium, jasmine or rose and if going to sleep is a problem, use clary

3. Light Some Candles

sage. Coughs and colds respond well to eucalyptus, tea tree or

They boost the positive energy in a room. Why not combine colour

rosemary. Put a couple of drops of the oil in water and pour in

to create a specific energy? Burning a red candle in a room will

the top of a lighted burner or just add a few drops to a bowl of

encourage activity and vitality, while blue is the colour to bring

water and place on a radiator. As it evaporates, its aroma will

serenity or if you want to meditate. Go for zingy orange when you

fill the room. You can also add a few drops to a plant mister and

want to get a party going. Burn white candles as you listen to your

spray the room.

favourite music for a relaxing, chilled experience.

7. Mirror, Mirror on the Wall 4. Throw Those Windows Open

The Chinese think mirrors are great at keeping chi energy

Make sure the air you breathe is constantly renewed by opening

flowing through the home. Mirrors expand energy and deflect bad

the windows every day. This will allow pollutants from furnishings,

influences. For example, placing a mirror on the bathroom door

cooking, heating systems and cleaning products to clear.

will stop ‘wealth energy’ flowing in where it will be flushed away.

38 | asante | may – july 2011

They can expand a hallway and are great for spaces that need

This centuries old ritual burns herbs such

to draw in natural sunlight. Amazing things happen when you

as cedar wood, sage, lavender or and

use a mirror that effectively pulls in the outdoors and warmth

lemongrass to help restore positive energy

from the sun. Avoid mirrors in the bedroom if you want a

to a room. Tie a bunch of herbs together and

good night’s sleep though. Energy needs to be concentrated

light them. Then waft the smoke around

not expanded.

yourself before wafting it to the east, south, north, west then above and finally to the ground.

8. Shun Chemicals

You can use your favourite incense stick if you

Avoid using harsh chemical products in the home. Always try

prefer. (Be careful you don’t set anything alight!)

to use natural cleaning materials rather than bleach and Don’t use pesticides like fly sprays or woodworm treatments.

10. Use Entrance Mats and Remove Shoes

Natural remedies are normally just as effective. Repel insects

Using mats and taking off your shoes inside greatly

by using lavender oil; kill bacteria by diluting lemon or tea tree

reduces dirt, pesticides and bacteria in the house.

in water. To make a natural glass cleaner, combine some white

The soil around most homes is contaminated with lead,

vinegar and warm water together and pour into a spray bottle.

pesticides and lawn chemicals. In homes where people

Spray on surface to be cleaned and wipe dry.

routinely remove their shoes when they enter, the levels of

chemical disinfectants, which can cause allergic reactions.

house dust are lower than in homes where people do not

9. Space Clear your Way to a Great Atmosphere

routinely remove shoes. Carpeting holds up to a 100 times

Cleanse the atmosphere of your home by ‘smudging’.

the amount of dust as bare flooring.

Driver Training for harsh environments

A Piece Of Tranquility in Dynamic Kampala

tech @ +256 772 22 11 07

may – july 2011 | asante | 39


Africa bstract


One of the most exciting – and valuable – art forms to be discovered by the western world in recent times is the ageless sculpture of the Makonde tribe. The strange but beautiful forms of their ebony carvings all tell a story reflecting tribal legends and folklore, says Jack Crowther.

alking around many towns in East Africa, you’ll

Congo, they migrated and settled in the isolated Ravuma Valley

notice the abundance of abstract sculptures in

of southern Tanzania some 2,000 years ago, where their culture

wood and stone. In urban communities not yet

remained unchanged by any outside influences.

100 years old, where cultures are still so firmly rooted in age-old

Their wood-carving skills not only survived, but flourished, as

traditions, it comes as something of a surprise to find this world

the Makonde sought to ensure the protection of their heritage

of modern art.

through a system of mass education of each generation.

Yet, remember that the inspiration for Picasso and so many

The story- teller not only related their history, but specifically

other artists of his time came from Africa. European art, which

instructed the younger males in their culture, mythology and

had struggled with the problem of representing reality, finally reached

customs. Wood carving was also taught so that they could ‘read’ and ‘write’ their family histories.

a point of where it simply could go

Inevitably, specialisation of labour occurred as

no further.

each village became well established, secure and

Perspective and proportion,

more prosperous. The result was that master

colour and light were worked with

craftsmen were eventually commissioned to carve

familiar ease. Even the advent of

the family trees while the other men followed

democracy, which gave birth to

different pursuits.

social realism and freed artists from the suffocating world of

Family trees take three basic forms. One commemorates a specific event in the life of a

romanticism and classicism, failed

specific family. Generally 30 to 46 centimetres

to satisfy their quest for ‘reality’.

high, the sculpture tells a complete story, which

Even so, it was intuitively felt that art could and should go further –

is read from top to bottom. The symbol at the top indicates the subject of the story, while the dominant

there had to be another point of

figure represents the family to whom the story

view, another hitherto unexplored

relates. The symbol appears throughout the story

world of human experience left for

and the various figures represent the family members

man to chart.

involved in the event.

The clue, of course, came from

The Makonde migration from the Congo to East

Africa in the form of masks and

Africa is a common theme. The dominant symbol, not

statues brought back to Europe

surprisingly, features luggage being carried on the

by explorers, missionaries and

head. Other common themes are farming and trade.

traders. An art form – unconcerned about realism in the western sense – it plainly sought to express, through symbolism and abstraction, something about man and his place in the universe. Distortion and exaggeration,

The second form of family-tree sculpture traces the family lineage, usually in carvings ranging around 91 and 122 centimetres high, though larger and older families will have even taller trees. Since Makonde society is matrilineal, the mother is always the dominant figure. In older works, they will be

simplification and suggestion soon

represented with a donyo, or upper lip plug – a symbol

became an intergral feature of European

of fertility. The larger the donyo, the more children she

art. Thus the seeds of what was to

will have had, and the more respect she commands.

become known as Surrealism were sown. Perhaps the most interesting traditional art in East Africa – and certainly the most striking – is Makonde, from the tribe of the same name. Originally from the equatorial rain forests of the

40 | asante | may – july 2011

While concentrating on the line of inheritance from mother to daughter, the story-teller also depicts individual family members going about their normal activities, such as hoeing, milking, smoking, and drinking. Recently, a new type of family-tree sculpture emerged in Tanzania. Known as Ujamma, after


the communal villages founded under Julius Nyerere’s African

commissioned, the

socialism, these sculptures feature social events that have taken

symbols employed change

place in modern Tanzania.

with the individual.

There are no dominant figures as most of the sculptures

All Makonde sculptures

show various aspects of peasant life. Even if westerners aren’t

are made from ebony

entirely capable of reading them, these carvings are quite

– an extremely hard

realistic narratives.

and long lasting tropical

Where modern European art has sought to express human

hardwood which has

consciousness and emotions, the makonde artist salutes the

some specific qualities

world of spirits that influence human life. This abstract style is

that lend themselves to

far from symbolic – it is the embodiment of the spirit itself.

high-quality work. Its even

Makonde people believe in good and bad spirits, Mawingo

consistency prevents

and Shaitani. The absence of Mawingo and or the presence of

chipping and peeling and,

Shaitani determine an individual’s well being.

when properly finished, it

Commissioned to deal with a spirit influencing someone’s life, the story-teller studies a suitably shaped piece of wood and then carves away the excess to reveal the spirit. To do this, he also studies the shadows cast by the wood;

acquires a high gloss and pleasantly soft sheen. More importantly, ebony seems to come

for the real spirit lies in a non-tangible world – the world of

alive under a warm light.

shadows. As he cuts and scrapes the excess wood away, the

Its rich tones are accentuated, while the contours of the piece

shadows begin to take on the spirit’s shape until, finally, it is

are highlighted by the now-revealed grain.

revealed. Indeed, when looking at Makonde Abstract, remember – it

When buying Makonde wood sculptures, test them for heaviness and look for the warm and subtle tones of colour

is not the aesthetics of the piece that are important, but the

under a bright light. Anything else may simply be stained

shadows. As such, the work must be properly lit for it to come

hardwood. To keep your piece looking good, don’t forget to give

alive. One simple rule of thumb applies to Makonde Abstract – if

it proper lighting and a little wax and polish from time to time.

the piece is pleasing to the eye, it is Mawingo. If it looks evil, then it is Shaitani. While each piece of Makonde Abstract is unique, there are

No matter what you buy, Makonde is a truly valuable work of art – and an attractive and interesting compliment to any home or office.

several common themes which reflect both the concerns and the values of the Makonde people. Most Mawingo carvings deal with sexuality – fertility and virility

African Blackwood (Mpingo Tree)

being the gift of good spirits. Shaitani carvings, on the other

The African Blackwood or mpingo is traditionally the

hand, deal with ill-health – sickness wrought upon an individual

preferred wood for makonde carvings. Being greatly prized

by evil spirits.

by carvers, it has long been over-harvested across the

There are also many common symbols: an elephant can refer

African continent rendering it endangered. Due to high

to long life, virility, and strength. A chameleon speaks of change,

commercial demands for the makonde carvings, many

and birds are synonymous with the female spirit. Specific birds

sculptors are seeking alternatives such as the less hardy

have different meanings.

variety of the muhugu, which is a type of African mahogany

The owl is a mother-figure. The horn-bill is all-seeing and the

and the African rose wood (mpera vitu). These woods

eagle far-sighted. Snakes symbolise the evil of temptation, teeth

require less arduous effort to sculpt and meet the

represent hunger and the desire for a good harvest, the gourd

raw-material demand in the face of shortages of the African

stands for water and the mother – the givers of life and love.

Blackwood (mpingo). Also due mainly to the tourist trade,

There are two final traditions of Makonde sculpture – ‘Love’

other types of wood such as coconut are used. Some

and ‘Unity’. ‘Love’ is a circular structure with the male on top,

sculptors have also learnt to carve in stone and coral.

the woman beneath, expressing the Makonde philosophy of Love’s need for give and take. ‘Unity’ is basically the same but includes the outline of a child – for within the circle of love, the child brings unity. ‘Love’ pieces are traditionally given by the mother when a

Today, many communities and organisations are taking initiative to conserve the endangered African Blackwood (mpingo) and to overcome illegal logging which is widespread. In Tanzania for instance, an export ban on mpingo tree has been imposed. Also sellers of hard woods

daughter marries, while ‘Unity’ pieces are given to celebrate the

and Makonde carvings are required to be registered and

birth of her daughter’s first child. Since each piece is specifically

their mpingo wood certified.

may – july 2011 | asante | 41


MIND YOUR LANGUAGE! In the world of international travel, body language is serious matter, says Brian Johnston.


espite the globalisation of commerce, most business

may well embrace warmly and kiss on the cheek. Arabs would get

is still done on an individual, one-to-one basis and it is

on well in Mexico, where embraces are also common, but they’d

often the small gestures that make or break a business

get a cool reception in Germany, where body contact ends with a

relationship. Not convinced? Try waving at a Vietnamese manager, pointing at a Ugandan director with your left hand or

firm handshake. In Uganda western-style handshaking has become the norm,

hugging a Taiwanese company president out of sheer enthusiasm

although generally much less pressure is applied to the clasp.

– and you may find your carefully prepared business trip rapidly

Traditionally members of the opposite sex don’t touch, even to

going wrong. You might have done your homework over charts

shake hands, although exceptions are usually made for foreign

and statistics and even studied a phrase book or two, but the

businesswomen. More unusual is that you’ll be expected to shake

chances are you’ll still be confused if a Frenchman points to

hands with someone every time you meet, even if that’s several

his eye, a Chinese bursts into laughter or a German raps his

times in the same day. As the relationship develops, so does the

knuckles on the conference table.

body language.

Welcome to the baffling world of body language – that’s belly

In the Far East bowing has traditionally served in place of a

language (haragei) to the Japanese and face–reading (nunchi)

handshake, but foreigners would be wrong to assume a bow

to the Koreans. We might well get by with body language in the

is merely a form of greeting – it may equally convey sorrow,

bedroom, but when it comes to more formal relationships it’s

sympathy, congratulations or thanks. Koreans and Japanese bow

more likely to cause discomfort and confusion. The Taiwanese will

frequently, traditionally minded Chinese and Taiwanese less (they

be offended by your hugging, the Ugandan mortally insulted by

might applaud instead on entering a meeting), and it’s virtually

your pointing, and as for the Vietnamese, he won’t be impressed

unknown elsewhere. Singaporeans, despite being ethnic Chinese,

– waving in the Western manner is used strictly to attract the

don’t bow. Japanese-owned stores in Singapore once attempted

attention of dogs. A German rapping his knuckles, meanwhile,

to transfer social custom by having employees bow to customers,

is merely saying hello – a substitute for a handshake if he or

only to find that Singaporeans reacted negatively to what they

she can’t reach you across a wide conference table. As for the

considered excessive obsequiousness.

Frenchman pointing to his eye, he’s saying “You can’t fool me”,

When meeting foreigners, most Japanese and Korean business

and it’s time to rethink your negotiations. And don’t imagine these

people make do with a handshake and a slight dip of the head and

passing gestures are trivial in the face of multimillion-dollar deals.

shoulders, sometimes called a shadow bow. It’s fine to reciprocate

Many Western business negotiators have misinterpreted a

in like manner, but a bow will impress. In Korea, a bow is carried

Chinese smile as a sign of satisfaction or pleasure. In fact, a

out by keeping the back and legs straight and bending from the

smiling Chinese is far more likely to be signalling emotions ranging

waist; men keep their palms behind them on their buttocks, while

from embarrassment or polite disbelief to total anger.

women fold their arms across their chest. In Japan men’s hands

The international etiquette of body language is full of pitfalls

are kept at the sides with palms against the thighs, while women

right from the first moments of the introduction. Shaking hands

fold their arms across their waist. The deeper the bow, the more

has become a universally accepted form of greeting, certainly.

respect is conveyed. Koreans will seldom bow more than once,

But a Japanese will want to give only the lightest and most

but in Japan repeated bowing shows particular respect or apology.

fleeting of grips, while most Arab businessmen like to maintain

A significant difference between handshaking and bowing

a lingering hold and would think it ungracious for the other

is that the latter doesn’t involve physical contact. In general,

to withdraw. The Arab thinks the Japanese is unfriendly; the

Asians aren’t a tactile people, especially in formal settings, and

Japanese thinks the Arab embarrassingly effusive and possibly

physical contact other than a handshake should be avoided.

even intimidating. A Frenchman walks into work every day and

Arm patting, arms around the shoulders, hands on knees,

formally shakes hands even with his closest colleague; an Arab

and other signs of friendliness only make the average Asian

42 | asante | may – july 2011


Most business is still done on an individual one-to-one basis and it is often the small gestures that make or break a business relationship. businessman feel uncomfortable; most businesswomen would

to the Mexicans a challenge, and to the Indonesians downright

feel highly embarrassed by physical contact with foreigners of

aggressive, since the gesture shows defiance in traditional

either sex. (While the same is true of Arab women, Arab men

wayang (shadow-puppet) shows.

would consider such lack of physical contact cold and aloof.) This

Having got your arms and legs under control, it’s time to

doesn’t mean that foreigners have a restricted body language,

remember that those twitching facial muscles can be equally

however, as many cultures place great importance on unspoken

misleading. Europeans and North Americans place great

signs and non-verbal signals. A Filipino raising his eyebrows

importance on direct eye contact, which implies friendliness

is politely saying no; an Indian wagging his head from side to

and sincerity in Western cultures. (Lack of eye contact denotes

side is in total agreement (westerners, on the contrary, would

boredom or disinterest; eye contact maintained too long,

be disagreeing), while a Chinese with his palm down making

however, is either aggressive or flirtatious.) Thais, on the other

scratching motions with his fingers is inviting you to come closer.

hand, find direct looks offensive, and they may embarrass

In Europe, a Frenchman flicking his fingers on his cheek is bored

Japanese, though Koreans and Chinese maintain almost as

to tears. Then there’s the famous Gallic shrug, which can either

much eye contact as Europeans.

mean ‘It doesn’t worry me’ or, more alarmingly ‘What do you

Western business people smile to show friendliness and

expect me to do about it?’ And, of course, a French person

agreement, but when it comes down to important negotiations

making the OK sign, far from indicating that everything is OK,

a serious expression is deemed appropriate. Nothing could be

is simply referring to the number zero. An Englishman giving the

more different in the Far East, where people tend to talk about

thumbs up will be indicating agreement or success; a German will

serious matters with a smile or even a short laugh, believing

only be indicating the number one.

that they are being less confrontational and perhaps making

Having grasped the meaning of some non-verbal signals

the truth more palatable. A laughing Filipino will certainly have

doesn’t give you a licence to twitch indiscriminately, pull faces,

arrived at the most vital point of his or her negotiations – while

and poke and prod, however. In Mediterranean and Latin

the American business partner is still puzzling over what the

American countries gesticulating wildly and talking with the

joke might be. The Japanese will often smile before delivering

hands is more than acceptable, but many Asians would consider

bad news, while Thais generally smile to diffuse conflict; the

such actions wild and impolite – and indeed, often construe

combination is rather disconcerting, even totally misleading,

such unrefined waving as a sign of anger. People in the Far East

for those unused to cultural differences. But don’t imagine

generally keep their hands clasped in their laps or on the tabletop

your smiling business partner wont be indicating his impatience,

when seated. Feet should be kept under control too. Its an insult

frustration or annoyance in other ways, such as by sucking his

to point at a Thai with the sole of your foot, even inadvertently if

breath through his teeth. Chinese from Shanghai to Singapore

your legs are crossed. The same is true in Malaysia, Indonesia,

might wave their hands in a fan-like motion in front of their

Pakistan and Arab countries, where the foot should always be

faces, not because they’re feeling hot but to show their

flat on the floor while seated, or curled

disagreement or even anger. Not that your negotiations

towards the body if

could ever possibly deteriorate

on cushions. Tapping

to such a level, providing you

the feet, swinging the

follow the golden rule:

legs and placing feet

if in doubt, don’t wiggle it.

on furniture in the

No one ever got offended

manner of Westerners

anywhere by controlled body

is considered uncouth

movements, and all you have

almost everywhere

to do is head off into the

else. So is the Western

sunset with your deal tucked

habit of standing

into your briefcase. Just

with hands on hips

remember as you depart,

or in pockets. To the

don’t bother waving at the

Chinese this is an

Vietnamese – and keep

indication of obstinacy;

on smiling.

may – july 2011 | asante | 43



suffering from hypertension, and divided them into two groups.

physical well-being in ways that are wholly surprising.

condition, while those in the second group were given dogs and

Repeated studies show pet-owners have lower stress levels,

told to look after them. Six months later, most of the pill-poppers

lower cholesterol and lower blood pressure. In short, own a

still had high blood pressure, while the pooch-petters had shown

pet – especially a dog – and you’ll almost certainly live longer.

significant improvement, with blood pressures down to within the

The news is so good that insurance companies are starting to

normal healthy range. Even Dr. Allen herself was taken aback at the

lower premiums for pet owners, and numerous official health bodies

difference. “This study shows that if you have high blood pressure, a

are recommending we adopt a pet.

pet is very good for you when you’re under stress,” she concluded.

n fact, it’s now becoming apparent that owning a pet isn’t

Dr. Allen studied stockbrokers who lived alone and who were

just beneficial in providing the kind of social and emotional support you would expect, but actually promotes good health and

Brokers in the first group took mainstream medication for their

Not into forming a lifetime relationship with a pampered pooch or feckless feline? Don’t worry: just a few months of animal interaction can do you good, and even stroking another owner’s animal can

“And pet ownership is especially good for you if you have a limited support system” – in short, if you live alone. But wait: there’s more. Snuggle up to your labrador or canoodle

have almost immediate effects on your well-being. (And, incidentally,

with your cat and it might serve you very well indeed should you

that of the animal: a dog’s blood pressure starts to drop almost as

ever have a heart attack. The American Journal of Cardiology

soon as you start petting it, showing that the advantages work both

reported in 1995 that owning a dog increased your chances of

ways.) This is particularly true if you’re feeling stressed.

surviving a major heart attack by a very significant margin:

“We’ve shown over and over that it’s beneficial to be with a pet

26 per cent survived among dog-owners, while only six per cent

when you’re under stress,” says Dr. Karen Allen of the State

of non-owners pulled through. Studies since then have backed up

University of New York. She should know, having studied some

the results and also demonstrated that cholesterol levels are two

of the most ridiculously stressed-out people on the planet: Wall

per cent lower among those with furry friends, which translates

Street stockbrokers.

into a four per cent reduction in the chance of having a heart


Magic If you’re a pet owner, you already know it: owning a pet is

good for you. You know it the minute you hear the pitter-patter of claws across your kitchen floor, the thump of a happy tail against the sofa, or the rumbling purr of a contented animal in your lap. You feel it too, as those brown eyes gaze up at you with trust and affection. Now science is supporting this sentimentality with some good medical facts: chances are, you really will feel better if you own a pet, says Mary Day.

44 | asante | may – july 2011


Pets provide comfort, pleasure and companionship, and make us feel needed. In social settings, they often provide a topic of conversation, a distraction, or a way of easing tensions. Indeed, it’s well accepted that the presence of animals has a calming effect; aquariums of fish in particular are known to induce a sense of well-being. NASA (National Aeronautics and space Administrations) has considered sending pets into space to combat loneliness and boredom among astronauts; children learn about responsibility, love and even death from family pets. The effects are numerous and difficult to document, but a Canadian study among university students revealed higher self-esteem and confidence among those who had owned a pet when they were young. Similar benefits can be observed in the elderly. Elderly people with dogs or cats make fewer visits to the doctor because they’re more active and better able to deal with social isolation. Many point to a feeling of purpose and fulfilment derived from looking after their furry friends, especially for those whose spouse has passed away. Sadly, it has also been shown that the elderly, attack in the first place. This was particularly true of dog owners, perhaps because they tend to get significantly more exercise than those who own another pet, or no pet at all. If you’re going to pick the perfect companion, it seems dogs will encourage you to live longer than any other creature. Other effects from our pets are just being discovered and are imperfectly understood. In 1999, South African doctors determined that 15 minutes of dog-stroking resulted in hormonal changes in both human and dog. Further studies seem to suggest that these include the release of oxytocin, prolactin and serotonin, all known as ‘feel-good’ hormones. Indeed, serotonin is known to elevate mood, and is used clinically to treat aggressive personality disorders – in other words, it makes people friendlier. A similar result can be obtained from eating chocolate, but note this: while eating chocolate makes you gain weight, petting a dog might actually make you lose it! Caressing a pet reduces the level of the stress hormone cortisol, which is mainly responsible for regulating appetite and the craving for carbohydrates. Curiously enough, though, cortisol control is only observed when someone strokes their own pet, not when they stroke an unfamiliar animal or a stuffed toy. As the evidence piles up that pet ownership has physical benefits, researchers also point out their enormous emotional impact. “There’s no question that emotions have an impact on health,” says Dr. Freedman, a pioneer of studies into humans and pets, and head of the Department of Health and Nutrition

the blind and wheelchair patients receive more attention when accompanied by a dog, and more social indifference when out on their own. The emotional impact of animals is particularly significant in patients recovering from a major illness or accident. This isn’t a new idea: in ancient Egypt and Greece, dogs were used in the healing centres attached to temples, where it was recognised that the presence of animals helped to calm patients and speed their recovery. (As their tongues were thought to be cleansing, dogs were also encouraged to lick patients’ wounds!) These days, the use of therapy dogs and other pets has become almost standard practice in many of the world’s hospitals, mental institutions and rehabilitation centres. The benefits are many: Alzheimer’s patients remember more and pay better attention after they’ve watched brightly-coloured fish in an aquarium, AIDS patients suffer from lower rates of depression when around cats and dogs, while those with major injuries from car accidents seem to heal more quickly when animals pay them periodic visits in the ward. Some final testimonial to the power of the pampered pooch? It might be a sad indictment of our times, but in a recent survey conducted by the American Animal Hospital Association, half of all the people they asked said they’d rather be stranded on a desert island with their pet than with another human. To add insult to injury, 40 per cent of women said their pets understood their moods better than their husbands did!

Sciences at Brooklyn College in the USA. ‘It has been shown that the presence of a friendly pet can have a positive effect.’ But she cautions that studies are difficult to undertake and judge scientifically because of the many factors involved. It may be that owning a pet makes you more positive, or it may be that positive people are simply more likely to become pet owners. On top of that, Dr. Freedman adds: “It’s not clear that a person actually has to own the animal to get the effect.” Still, actual ownership is clearly an emotional decision and animal lovers would be quick to point out the benefits.

may – july 2011 | asante | 45

asante news

Travel Agents Product Training Workshop

Above: Ms. Njeri Wachira, Air Uganda Country Manager for Kenya, awards Travel Agents with certificates.

Air Uganda held a Travel Agents workshop in Mombasa on 18 March 2011, to award travel consultants in recognition of their support in 2010. The growth of Air Uganda in Mombasa can be attributed to the strong partnership with travel partners. Air Uganda is part of the Aga Khan Fund for Economic Development and is the only airline that flies directly between Mombasa and Entebbe and three times daily from Nairobi.

Above: Travel Agents with certificates awarded to them at the workshop.

Special Offer to Kigali Air Uganda has extended their special offer for USD 49 return (taxes exclusive) between Entebbe and Kigali. This fantastic offer is valid until 15 May 2011 on only Air Uganda operated flights. For more information on this offer, please contact Air Uganda at any of our sales and ticketing offices in Uganda and Kigali or visit our website at

Amazing Offer to Mombasa and Zanzibar It’s true; you can fly between Entebbe, Mombasa and Zanzibar at half price.Buy one return ticket and get the second at 50 per cent off. Fly direct from Entebbe to Mombasa or Zanzibar with your loved one. Don’t stress about your honeymoon or holiday. This offer is valid until 28 April 2011. Terms and conditions apply.

Holiday Packages Paradise is wherever you choose to go; take a trip with any of our holiday packages, well planned and packaged to suit your desires. Whichever one of our holiday packages you choose; you will experience the bliss of luxurious get-away. Choose to unwind today with Air Uganda. Log on to or email us at and book your holiday today. 46 | asante | may – july 2011

YOUR FEEDBACK I am now an avid passenger with Air Uganda. I must admit that flying was never ‘my thing’ in the past, until only recently. In the past my flying experience left me distressed, I dreaded travelling by air. I recall one time how the night before my flight I could hardly sleep. So distressed was I that I even contemplated cancelling my trip, something I had done a few times before when going for personal trips. And I did. The checking into the airport, the usual delays, the long queues, the endless cancellation of flights, routine drills of safety precautions, turbulences, the sideways tilting or turning of the plane … was a constant nightmare for every flight I took and at times I could not even take food on board. Many times I could not figure out what was going on in the air except for the welcoming voice of the captain whom I couldn’t see and yet entrusted my safety to. Some regional flights were indeed dreadful, a litany of lamentation: constant cancellations of flights, delays, uncomfortable planes that were low flying and slow moving all made me resort to driving rather than flying regionally. All these personal problems and misgivings about air travel hindered me from enjoying air transport. Then about four years ago I had a major breakthrough. I spoke to Air Uganda and discussed my challenges and fear with them. I learned from Air Uganda that safety communication before any flight was mandatory in air transport and that turbulences which may cause inconvenience should not cause any worry so long as your seatbelt is fastened at all times when seated. They were able to allay my fears regarding safety. They explained to me that the pilots have many years of experience, and that the fleet was regularly serviced and that before every flight, a rigorous exercise of checking the plane’s airworthiness was undertaken by competent personnel. The staff was very understanding and patient. They took time to explain everything to me, and this helped me gain confidence to fly. Since that breakthrough, I have successfully travelled 84 times with Air Uganda in the last four years. I fly comfortably with no fears, no sleepless nights before my trips and an end to the long hours I used to spend on the road. Being a regular customer, I find their rates and offers attractive and reasonable. My hope and desire is that Air Uganda expands its operations to increase its routes to cover the whole of Africa and beyond. I am happy because of Air Uganda’s partnership with Qatar Airways and SN Brussels for it has eased my international travel connections. Thank you Air Uganda! Obed Akiriho I recently flew with your airline from Nairobi to Entebbe. There was a mix up at the ticket counter and I was over-charged. An employee of Air Uganda, Christine Muli, assisted me and went to great lengths over a period of time to make sure that I was fully refunded for the overpayment. She handled this situation with excellent customer service and professionalism. I was exceedingly impressed with her integrity and diligence. I fly within the continent of Africa several times a year, sometimes with many travelling companions for business purposes. As a result of Christine’s service, we will make it a point to book our travels with Air Uganda. Harvey Wittmier I travel regularly to Kampala but normally use Kenya or South Africa Airways. On 29 January I had my first experience with Air Uganda on flight U7 240 (Entebbe-Nairobi). The plane arrived late from Juba however, I was most impressed when the captain came into the departure lounge to firstly, apologize for the delay of 15 minutes and secondly, to assure us that boarding would begin in 5 minutes. And it did! Congratulations, that’s what I call customer service! Stephen Pead





U7 202

06:30 Hrs

07:40 Hrs

Mon,Tue ,Wed ,Thur, & Fri

U7 206

14:30 Hrs

15:35 Hrs

Tue ,Wed ,Thur, & Fri

U7 202

08:30 Hrs

09:40 Hrs


U7 206

12:20 Hrs

13:25 Hrs


U7 204

16:45 Hrs

17:50 Hrs


U7 204

18:45 Hrs

19:50 Hrs

Mon,Tue,Wed. Thur, Fri & Sun





U7 203

08:15 Hrs

09:25 Hrs

Mon,Tue ,Wed ,Thur & Fri

U7 207

16:15 Hrs

17:20 Hrs

Tue ,Wed ,Thur & Fri

U7 203

10:15 Hrs

11:25 Hrs


U7 207

13:55 Hrs

15:00 Hrs


U7 205

18:20 Hrs

19:25 Hrs


U7 205

20:30 Hrs

21:30 Hrs

Mon,Tue,Wed. Thur, Fri & Sun





U7 120

10:15 Hrs

11:15 Hrs

Mon, Tue, Wed & Thur

U7 120

14:45 Hrs

15:45 Hrs


U7 120

12:15 Hrs

13:15 Hrs


U7 120

15:15 Hrs

16:15 Hrs







U7 119

12:00 Hrs

13:00 Hrs


U7 119

12:15 Hrs

13:15 Hrs

Tue, Wed & Thur

U7 119

16:45 Hrs

17:45 Hrs


U7 119

13:55 Hrs

14:55 Hrs


U7 119

17:00 Hrs

18:00 Hrs






U7 340

09:00 Hrs

11:40 Hrs


U7 340

09:00 Hrs

11:35 Hrs






U7 341

12:10 Hrs

13:50 Hrs


U7 341

12:05 Hrs

14:50 Hrs





U7 320

13:00 Hrs

14:45 Hrs


U7 320

14:45 Hrs

16:30 Hrs

Tue, Wed & Thur

U7 320

11:30 Hrs

13:15 Hrs


U7 320

15:30 Hrs

17:15 Hrs





U7 321

15:20 Hrs

17:05 Hrs


U7 321

17:05 Hrs

18:50 Hrs

Tue,Wed & Thur

U7 321

13:55 Hrs

15:40 Hrs


U7 321

17:50 Hrs

19:35 Hrs






U7 340

09:00 Hrs

10:40 Hrs

Thur & Sun







U7 341

11:10 Hrs

13:50 Hrs


U7 341

13:10 Hrs

14:50 Hrs





U7 350

09:30 Hrs

09:15 Hrs


U7 350

12:00 Hrs

11:45 Hrs

Tue & Wed

U7 350

09:55 Hrs

09:40 Hrs


U7 352

16:15 Hrs

16:00 Hrs


U7 352

16:00 Hrs

15:45 Hrs





U7 351

10:00 Hrs

11:45 Hrs


U7 351

12:15 Hrs

14:00 Hrs

Tue & Wed

U7 351

10:15 Hrs

12:00 Hrs


U7 353

16:30 Hrs

18:15 Hrs


U7 353

16:15 Hrs

18:00 Hrs



For any information contact your preferred Travel Agent or our Sales & Reservation Office on 041 2 165555 in KAMPALA

Seasonal Flights to both Mombasa and Zanzibar: 01 Jan-30 April 2011 – Flights 2 times weekly Thursday and Sunday. | 01 May-30 June 2011 – No flights during this season. 01 July-30 Aug 2011 – Flights 2 times weekly on Thursday and Sunday. | 01 Sept-30 Nov 2011 – No flights during this season. 01 Dec-11 Jan 2012 – Flights 2 times weekly on Thursday and Sunday. may – july 2011 | asante | 47


These gentle exercises, which you can carry out easily during your flight, will help blood circulation and reduce any tiredness or stiffness that may result from sitting in one place for several hours. Check with your doctor first if you have any health conditions which might be adversely affected by exercise. Foot pumps: Start with both heels on the floor and point feet upward as high as you can. Then put both feet flat on the floor. Then lift heels high, keeping the balls of your feet

Other Tips for a Comfortable Flight

Knee lifts: Lift leg with knees bent while contracting your thigh muscles. Alternate legs. Repeat 20 to 30

For your own comfort try and travel light.

Wear loose clothing and elasticated stockings made of natural fibre.

Increase your normal intake of water and only if need be, drink alcohol but in moderation.

Use moisturising cream to keep your skin from drying out.

Take off shoes in the plane to prevent your feet from swelling up or wear shoes that will cope with expanding ankles.

Avoid heavy meals during the flight.

Short walks once every two hours are excellent for circulation.

Try to touch your toes when waiting in the aisle to stretch your hamstrings.

On arrival at your destination, have a hot shower or a relaxing bath.

On arrival a quick jog, brisk walk, or a vigorous scrub will help stimulate your circulation.

times for each leg.

on the floor. Continue cycle in 30-second intervals.

Knee to chest: Bend forward slightly. Clasp hands around the left knee and hug it to your chest. Hold stretch for 15 seconds. Keeping hands around knee, slowly let it down. Alternate legs. Repeat 10 times.

Shoulder stretch: Reach right hand over left shoulder. Place left hand behind right elbow and gently press elbow toward shoulder. Hold stretch for 15 seconds. Repeat on the other side.

Overhead stretch: Raise both hands straight up over your head. With one hand, grasp the wrist of the opposite hand and gently pull to one side. Hold stretch for 15 seconds. Repeat on the other side.

Arm curl: Start with arms held at a 90-degree angle: elbows down, hands out in front. Raise hands up to chest and back down, alternating hands. Do this exercise in 30-second intervals. 48 | asante | may – july 2011

Forward flex: With both feet on the floor and stomach held in, slowly bend forward and walk your hands down the front of your legs towards your ankles. Hold the stretch for 15 seconds and slowly sit back up.

Shoulder roll: Hunch shoulders forward, then upward, then backward, then downward, using a gentle, circular motion.

Ankle circles: Lift feet off the floor, draw a circle with the toes, simultaneously moving one foot clockwise and the other foot counterclockwise. Reverse circles. Do each direction for 15 seconds. Repeat if desired.

Neck roll: With shoulders relaxed, drop ear to shoulder and gently roll neck forward and to the other side, holding each position about five seconds. Repeat five times.


Entebbe Flight connection on Jetlink

Seasonal flights to both Mombasa and Zanzibar: see flight schedule on page 47.

Flight connection on Zan Air

may – july 2011 | asante | 49


Kampala Sales Office: Tel: +256 (0) 412 165 555 +256 (0) 312 165 555 Email: Fax: +256 (0) 414 258 267 Jubilee Insurance Centre, 1st Floor, Podium Level, Plot 14 Parliment Avenue, Kampala, Uganda. P. O. Box 36591, Kampala, Uganda.

Dar es Salaam Sales Office: Tel: +255 (0) 783 111 983       +255 (0) 222 133 322 Email: Harbour View Towers J-Mall, 1st Floor, Samora Avenue, P.O. Box 22636, Dar es Salaam, Tanzania.

Nairobi Sales Office: Tel: +254 (0) 20 313 933 Email: 5th Floor, Jubilee Insurance Building, Gen Kago Street, Nairobi, Kenya.

Mombasa Sales Office: Tel: +254 (0) 20 313 933 +254 (0) 734 605 203 Email: 1st Floor, TSS Towers, Nkrumah Road, Mombasa, Kenya.

Zanzibar Sales Office: Tel: +255 (0) 242 233 506/7      +255 (0) 713 666 602 Email: Office no. 23, Mlandege Street, Muzammil Center Building P.O. Box 22636, Zanzibar, Tanzania.

50 | asante | may – july 2011

Juba Sales Office: Tel: +256 (0) 477 153 912 Email: Hai Suk Street, (Opp. the Mosque) Juba, Sudan. Kigali Sales Office: Tel: +250 (0) 252 577 926 +250 (0) 252 577 928 +250 (0) 788 380 926 +250 (0) 722 926 926 Email: Office No. 26 UTC (Union Trade Centre) Building, Town Centre. Kigali, Rwanda. Head Office: Tel: +256 (0) 414 258 262/4        +256 (0) 417 717 401 Fax: +256 414 500 932 Email: Investment House, Plot 4, Wampewo Avenue, Kololo. P.O.Box 36591, Kampala, Uganda. Entebbe International Airport (Ticketing Office): Tel: +256 (0) 414 321 485 +256 (0) 41771722 Email: or 2nd Floor, Passenger Terminal Building, Entebbe, Uganda. PLEASE NOTE : After working hours: Weekdays (17:45 hrs - 21:00 hrs), Saturday (14:00 hrs - 21:00 hrs) and Sunday (07:30 hrs - 21:00 hrs) Please call our Entebbe ticketing office on Tel: +256 (0) 414 321 485 +256 (0) 417 717 222 for assistance.


Land Uganda is a compact country, with an area of 236,580 square kilometres – roughly the size of Great Britain. Climate Although situated on the equator, Uganda’s relatively high altitude tempers the heat, and humidity is generally low. Throughout the year sunshine averages about 6 to 10 hours a day. There are two rainy seasons: the main long rains, which start late in February and end in April, and the short rains, which start in October and run until about the middle of December. The region around Lake Victoria, however, receives rain at almost any time of the year. Topography It is located on the equator, within the eastern plateau region of the African continent and between the eastern and western ridges of the Great Rift Valley. Near the borders several mountain masses stand out strikingly from the plateaux. Economy Uganda is blessed with fertile soils that support a wide variety of food and export crops, both annual and perennial. Agriculture is the dominant sector of Uganda’s economy. The major traditional export crops are coffee, cotton, tea, horticulture, tobacco and sugar cane, while groundnuts, maize, beans, sorghum and millet have emerged in recent years as cash crops for the peasant farmers. Language English is the official language and is also the medium of instruction in Uganda’s education system, from primary school up to university level. Swahili is also spoken. There are some 30 indigenous languages spoken in the rural areas. The most common of these are Luganda and Luo. Electric supply All installations are of British standard and appliances should be fitted with the square, three-pin plugs of British specifications. The voltage is 240 volts, 50 Hz for domestic use. The voltage fluctuates continually, however, and proper surge protectors are advisable for any expensive equipment. Time Uganda is three hours ahead of Greenwich Mean Time (GMT). Time remains constant throughout the year. People The people are warm, friendly, and full of humour. They are anxious to make friends with visitors and are continually asking guests whether they are comfortable and enjoying themselves. A large number of people speak English. Excursions Uganda is beginning to develop an excellent tourist infrastructure, with first-rate roads and communication facilities. Uganda’s national game, forest and recreational parks are indeed some of the spectacular showpieces Africa has to offer. They do have regulations regarding off-theroad driving, game watching, and so on, which are clearly stated at the entrance gates of parks or on leaflets supplied by the tourist offices. Mountaineering safaris to the Ruwenzori Mountains in the western Rift Valley are now becoming a favourite Ugandan expedition. Similar safaris can also be organised to climb Mount Elgon in the east, sharing the border with Kenya. Hotels There are international-standard hotels in Entebbe, Kampala and Jinja, as well as in many of the smaller towns. Camping, rustic bush camps and guest houses are also available. The Kampala Sheraton, the Serena Kampala, the Grand Imperial, and the Nile Hotel, all in the national’s capital are by the best. There are many other less expensive, but quite nice hotels in the city. Outside Kampala, most towns also have a variety of moderately priced and budget hotels. Banking hours There is a wide range of banks in Uganda, particularly in Kampala. Their hours are generally from 0830 to 1400 hours on weekdays, and Saturdays from 0830 to 1200 hours. Forex bureaux keep longer hours – 0900 to 1700 hours on weekdays and 0900 to 1300 hours on Saturdays. ATMs are available in the larger cities. Communications Telephone, telex, fax and airmail services connect Kampala to all parts of the world. Services are available at the General Post Office and its many branches, as well as in the main hotels. International direct dialling is available and now there are a number of Internet cafes. Medical services Uganda has good health services, with some good government and private hospitals and clinics in the major cities. Air rescue services are available.

Currency Uganda Shilling (UGX). Notes are in denominations of UGX 50,000, 20,000, 10,000, 5,000 and 1,000. Coins are in denominations of UGX 500, 200, 100, 50, 20, 10, 5, 2 and 1. You can change money at banks and hotels. Although the forex bureaux usually have better exchange rates. Credit cards International credit cards are accepted in major hotels and shops. Working hours Shops and businesses are generally open from 0830 to 1730 hours on weekdays, with a lunch break between 1300 and 1400 hours. Some businesses are open on Saturday, at least until midday. Small, local shops or kiosks on the side of many roads are generally open much later, until about 2130 hours and on weekends and holidays as well; they stock basic food and household items. Public Holidays 2011 1 January 26 January 8 March 22 April 25 April 1 May 3 June 9 June 30 August 9 October 6 November 25 December 26 December

New Year’s Day Liberation Day International Women’s Day Good Friday Easter Monday Labour Day Martyrs’ Day National Heroes’ Day Eid al-Fitr (End of Ramadan) Independence Day Eid al-Adha (Feast of the Sacrifice) Christmas Day Boxing Day

Note:The two Muslim holidays, Eid al-Fitr and Eid al-Adha are timed according to local sightings of various phases of the moon and the dates given above are approximate. Customs Besides personal effects, a visitor may import duty-free spirits (including liquors) or wine up to one litre, perfume and toilet water up to half a litre and 270 grammes of tobacco or 200 cigarettes. Other imported items, not exceeding US$100 may be brought in duty free and without an import licence, provided they are not prohibited or restricted goods, are for personal use, and are not for resale. Note: A special permit is required to export game trophies. Health requirements Visitors from areas infected with yellow fever and cholera required certificates on inoculation. All visitors are advised to take an antimalarial prophylactic beginning two weeks before their arrival and continuing for six weeks after their departure. A gamma globulin injection provides some protection against possible infection by hepatitis and is well worth taking. Visa and immigration requirements Visa applications may be obtained at Uganda diplomatic missions. Two photographs are required for visas, which are usually issued within 24 hours. Visas are also available at the country’s entry points. Check with the Uganda diplomatic mission in your country if visa is required as some countries are exempted. Taxi services Taxis are immediately available at Entebbe International Airport. They can also be found outside most hotels in Kampala and at most of the country’s major centres. All don’t have meters, so make sure the fare is negotiated in advance. Car rental Several firms operate car hire services in Kampala. Vehicles may be hired with or without driver. For trips outside the city it is possible to hire insured cars appropriate for the trip (a four-wheel-drive vehicle with a drivertranslator is recommended). Entebbe International Airport The main point of entry is Entebbe International Airport, about a 30-minute drive south of the capital, Kampala. Although modest, the modern airport does provide automated passenger facilities, currency exchange, postal services, banking facilities, telephoned, duty-free shops, gift shops and a restaurant and bar. Security The same rules apply for Kampala as for almost any city anywhere.Be careful and take the usual precautions to safeguard yourself and your belongings. Do not leave valuables in your car. Walking at night in all major centres is reasonably safe.

may – july 2011 | asante | 51

CROSSWORD PUZZLE & SUDOKU Crossword Clues Across







1. Geometric food? (6,4)



6. Get a taxi here for the film maker. (4) 10. Extinct flightless birds. (5)




11. A dominant move for condemnation. (9) 12. Misleadingly-named, he is often relatively small. (8)

15. This bun sounds like food and drink! (7)



13. Colossal vote for burst of fire. (5) 14

17. Vectors turns to shelters. (7) 19. Confused beast of burden swallows direct debit and takes note. (7)





21. Alarm as mixture produces wine! (7) 22. Land of broken heart? (5) 21



24. Sneers so badly at painful discomfort. (8) 27. Timely one around very quiet mystery tour. (9) 28. Cooker for the wide-open space perhaps. (5) 29. It ebbs and flows as edit returns. (4)





30. Glen tenses up but reveals mildness of character. (10)

Clues Down

26 27


1. Sidney adds point for the team. (4)

4. Ed omits to turn for fashionable dressmaker. (7) 5. Two men brought to account with calendar. (7) 7. Where there’s this, there’s a way! (1,4) 8. Famously portrayed by Yul Brynner (4,2,4) 9. Permit ended Jewish festival. (8) 14. Extinguished problems with the postal service? (7,3)



Answers across 1. Square meal | 6. Rank | 10. Dodos | 11. Damnation | 12. Grandson | 13. Salvo | 15. Teacake | 17. Coverts | 19. Muddled | 21. Marsala | 22. Earth | 24. Soreness | 27. Opportune | 28. Range | 29. Tide | 30. Gentleness |

3. Rinse out the plant exudation. (5)

Answers down 1. Side | 2. Underhand | 3. Resin | 4. Modiste | 5. Almanac | 7. A will | 8. King of Siam | 9. Passover | 14. Stamped out | 16. All there | 18. Road sense | 20. Dispute | 21. Mordent | 23. Roped | 25. Nerve | 26.Bees |

2. Beneath the labourer, that’s sneaky! (9)


16. Everyone present and compos mentis. (3,5) 18. Don sarees to produce better driving? (4.5) 20. Food is put everywhere to contain quarrel. (7)

Place a number from

21. Melodic embellishment. (7)

1 to 9 in every empty

23. Rodney takes in PE and is tied. (5)

cell so that each row,

25. Bravery – this is sensitive. (5)

each column and each

26. Busy creatures! (4)

3x3 box contains all


1 7

6 8 2

appear twice in a row,

can work it out by a process of elimination.


4 6 8 9 4 9 2 2

8 4 6

52 | asante | may – july 2011



to 9. No number can

Do not guess ­– you



the numbers from 1

column or 3x3 box.




6 3

1 7 2






the inflight magazine of air uganda part of the asante issue number 006 may-july 2011

your complimentary copy

Asante 006  
Asante 006