Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Fly540 opens a UK sales office

Good news if you're in the UK and looking to do some domestic flights in Kenya: Fly540, the newest airline in East Africa (since November 2006), has just announced its first UK reservations number, 0871 644 3365 (daily 8am–8pm) as part of its appointment of Flight Directors in Horley, Surrey, as its general sales agent in the UK. Previously, you could only book Fly540 online, or through their East African offices. Presumably, for travellers outside Britain, the new UK res number is also another option.

The Kenyan hub of Fly540, which aims to become Africa's first no-frills airline, is JKI Airport in Nairobi. Its Kenyan network consists of: Mombasa, Maasai Mara, Malindi, Lamu, Eldoret, Kitale, Kisumu and Lodwar.

Other airlines are available: I like Safarilink (based at Wilson Airport in Nairobi) and Mombasa Air Safaris (based at Moi, Mombasa).

Fly540 also has an active regional network – and about to expand in Tanzania.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

The Endorois have won their case


Tourists welcome, no Endorois: the slightly grubby swimming pool and warm spring complex at Lake Bogoria Spa Resort, with its usual 0% occupancy.

It's a small victory for human rights in Kenya, but gives hope to dozens of other communities. The Endorois are a small tribe of Kalenjin pastoralists, closely related to the Tugen. They used to range over a large area around Lake Bogoria, but were evicted from the narrow shores of the lake when the reserve was created in 1974. Although they lost little of their traditional grazing lands within the reserve’s narrow confines, what they did lose was precious and fertile, along the wooded southern shore, where several streams provided valuable fresh water, and at Loboi in the north, where the ill-conceived spa-hotel owned by the family of former president Daniel Arap Moi expropriated the warm springs. They also lost valuable honey and sources of herbal medicine. Like every one of Kenya’s indigenous groups, they have valid claims, and their four percent share of the gate receipts is pitifully low – especially since Bogoria rarely figures on safari itineraries. Inspired community leadership has seen them pursue restitution of their lands and compensation as far as the African Union’s Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights. And finally last May's judgement has been made public. Now they will want to see action on the ground – that should be interesting.