Kenya needs our help

Reply

Jun 17th, 2003, 04:55 PM
  #1
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 592
Kenya needs our help

To all you Kenya lovers out there, please be advised that Kenya is currently in desperate straits. Between the Iraqi war, British Airways cancelling all their flights to Kenya due to possible terrorism and the scare of SARS tourism had plummeted.

In an article in Daily Nation on the Web last night Block Hotels has had to "sack" 62 of 83 employees at Ol Tukai Lodge and the lodge has been taken over by Amboseli Wildlife Resorts. Many of the employees hadn't been paid in three months. Many other hotels and lodges are asking some employees to take half pay and laying off others.

For a country that has given so much to those of us who have been privileged to travel there and been treated so well by it's people, Kenya now needs our support.

For all of you who had thought perhaps of taking a safari in the next year or so, I would encourage you to put your plans in action now in order to help the Kenyans help themselves. Book your Kenyan safaris and let the people of Kenya know how much we care about them, their beautiful country and its wildlife.

Jan
JanGoss is offline  
Reply With Quote
Jun 18th, 2003, 10:54 AM
  #2
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 723
Yes, Kenya needs help. Representatives of the Kenya Wildlife Service recently took part in the Arabian Travel Market in Dubai to try to bolster tourism, targeting expats and Americans living in Dubai. Jan, I will be returning to Kenya in 2004 and I hope those who either planned trips or are thinking of booking a safari see their plans through. Your thoughtful and encouraging words are exactly what people need to see/hear about a magnificent country.
SusanLynne is offline  
Reply With Quote
Jun 18th, 2003, 12:07 PM
  #3
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 4,916
I agree, and while I had initially planned to only visit Uganda and Rwanda in August, I have just added several days in Kenya at the end (just trying to decide between Samburu and Tsavo).

Michael
thit_cho is offline  
Reply With Quote
Jun 18th, 2003, 01:32 PM
  #4
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 592
Thank you both for your concern and understanding. Since I just returned from Kenya in February I hadn't planned to return again until January or February, but I am now planning on returning in September for three weeks to try to help in any small way I can.
I hope others will also show their concern for this marvelous country.

Thit Cho, I haven't been to Samburu yet so I can't advise you on that, but if you get to Tsavo East spend a night or two at Satao Tented Camp. It is very well run and most comfortable. If they haven't had any rain in awhile I am sure you will see lots of elephants at their borehole, and you should also see some of the man-eaters of Tsavo on your game drives (named thus because when the Nairobi-Mombasa railroad was built in the late 1800's over 150 men were killed by these lions) in addition to buffalo, giraffe, topi, hirola, impala, hippos and on and on. It is such a huge park so even in the busy season one is not over-run by safari vans.

Thank you both again for your concern. I hope many will now start thinking about a trip within the next few months.
Kenya needs to know that we care.

Jan
JanGoss is offline  
Reply With Quote
Jun 20th, 2003, 05:27 AM
  #5
LizFrazier
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Hi Jan-
I contacted Governors Camp to see how they are doing in their bookings.
It sounds like while the out of the way places are laying off staff, the Mara seems to be somewhat better. Most people do visit there that come to Kenya and although they are not fully booked yet, they haven't had to lay anyone off.
Kenya has had so much bad press that they are definately feeling the effects and they really don't seem to understand why it continues.
Thanks for bringing this to everyones attention and Amboseli does in fact need visitors desperately.
Amboseli is one of my favorite locations in Kenya, but I know they are not often included in packaged safaris.
Liz
 
Reply With Quote
Jun 20th, 2003, 12:44 PM
  #6
Surfer
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
U.S State Department closed the U.S. Embassy in Kenya today, to evaluate security. Threat level is at the highest. Embassy will be close for the next four to five days. The terror threat was specific.
 
Reply With Quote
Jun 20th, 2003, 04:16 PM
  #7
LizFrazier
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Yes, I saw that information. Oh my, it is so tragic. Thanks for pointing it out. I am really getting concerned about our trip to Kenya in September. The situation seems to be getting worse instead of better. The latest report I heard is that since Kenya has not arrested those responsible for the hand held missile attack at airplaces in Mombasa, they are not addressing the safety of the tourists in Kenya.
I don't know what else to say but that I hope this gets resolved because Kenya will suffer greatly if they lose this season coming up and don't have anyone able to get there to enjoy it. Liz
 
Reply With Quote
Jun 20th, 2003, 05:45 PM
  #8
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 592
Liz:

You're so right. They don't understand it, and I must say it is also hard for me to understand.

As the Kenyan papers so aptly pointed out, if the US is so worried about tourists why haven't they advised all the American citizens who live in Kenya to vacate? Good question.

Secondly, the attempted missile attack on the plane in Mombasa and the bombing of the hotel was in November. I flew (and so did many other) to Kenya in January without any government warnings. All the airlines were flying then. Why did they not issue them right after the attacks, but are now so concerned?

Kenya so very much needs the return of the tourists not only from the economical side, but also needs the tourists in the parks to deter poaching and spearing, that I am about to throw caution to the wind and go anyway.

Some Maasai moran just speared Erin, one of Cynthia Moss's Amboseli elephants last week, one that belongs to "Echo of the Elephants" family. This was an elephant Cynthia had known and followed for years (see elephanttrust.org for story). When the parks are crowded there would be less chance for this to happen.

It is fine for the U.S. and Britain to say you must do this and this before we think you're safe. They don't stop to think Kenya doesn't have the financial or military resources to do this. If the U.S. feels so strongly, perhaps they should offer to bring in anti-missile devices and train the Kenyans to use them.

I certainly don't have all the answers. However, my heart truly goes out to Kenya and we need to help in any way we can.

Jan
JanGoss is offline  
Reply With Quote
Jun 20th, 2003, 06:25 PM
  #9
LizFrazier
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Jan-
I don't want to imply that I know all the answers, but when you put questions out there, it sounds like there is no answer for them. Let me pass along some things I have picked up by reading as I see pertinent news articles and what the Dept. of State has said about this very subject in the news. I'm not intending to talk down to you or anyting, Jan, its just that we have been directly affected since this started in May, and I've had to scour everything to keep up on this as best I can. Please don't take me wrong.

After the attack in Mombasa, the terrorists involved went to Ethiopia I believe, either there or the Sudan to hide. Anyway it was a neighboring country to Kenya. They did leave Kenya very quickly.
It sounds like the governments do somehow know who was responsible for this attack. Kenya has lost a lot of its security service when the new administration came in. They just wandered off one by one.

Our government connections said those very people responsible for the attacks in Mombasa have recently returned to Kenya from the country they were hiding in to prepare for another attack and Kenya has not apprehended them. I guess we cannot go into other countries uninvited (Iraq aside of course), and handle their problems for them.

The reason the hand held missiles are so scary in Nairobi is that Nairobi Park is in the direct line with the planes leaving the airport. There are many places to hide there and attack airplanes arriving or departing JKIA.

There has been quite a bit of dialogue between the governments on this and of course none of us are privy to that. So all of the businesses, i.e., airlines have to respond as best they each can depending on the specific threats. The first was directly at Great Britain and aircraft. Immediately BA cancelled all flights into Kenya. Whether all airlines will cancel flights remains to be seen. We can only wait and see what happens.
I'm thinking from what I read that this attack is imminent, maybe days(?) from now. We have to wait and see what happens.

I sincerely hope that we are able to go on our trip. I must temper that with depending on what happens, we may have to cancel for our own welfare. I hope not. Liz

P.S. If you all know his, sorry to bore you. If not or if you know more, please post it. Thanks.
 
Reply With Quote
Jun 20th, 2003, 08:16 PM
  #10
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 592
Liz:

Thanks so much for your thoughtful input. Really appreciate it.

France and Germany have lifted their bans this week! I know other airlines have been flying into Nairobi since British Air stopped, and they have had no problems. Will keep my fingers crossed that nothing serious happens in the next few weeks. I know how anxiously you are awaiting your return, as am I.

One of our orthopedic surgeons who works at the hospital where I work
volunteered to operate in Kenya this entire month. I'm keeping my fingers crossed that he won't have any trouble getting OUT of Kenya in July. I know he had to fly from London to Entebbe and then fly Kenya Airways to get there, so he will probably have to return the same way. If you hear of anything new please post it.

Again, many thanks,

Jan


JanGoss is offline  
Reply With Quote
Jun 20th, 2003, 08:18 PM
  #11
 
Join Date: May 2003
Posts: 81
Just chiming in on the subject-
my party of 10 has grappled with this the last 6-8 weeks since the US state dept. issued the last travel advisories about Kenya & E. Africa. We had resolved just two days ago to take our mid/late August trip as planned long ago, and of course were disturbed by today's news about the embassy closure and the "high" security alert for all American concerns in Kenya.
Nonetheless I am confident we will go on with our plans. First, mid-August leaves some time for these concerns to be resolved, and second, we are all sure we have a greater chance of being killed by a car accident in our hometowns than a terrorist attack in Kenya. Finally, though we are not opportunists or taking any pleasure in what is a bad situation for some people, it is looking like we will be able to add Masai Mara - not a part of our original itinerary - because they are hurting for visitors and there is deep discounting going on. Combine with that that tourism is way off (fewer people and vehicles) AND that early reports say the 2003 migration is shaping up as one of the best in recent history.
I am all for doing my part to help keep Kenya travel afloat. This was to be our first trip to Kenya and we were all devastated a few weeks ago when we thought we couldn't go on our "trip of a lifetime." Now we're elated that it's back on - and adventure and a bit of risk are part of what makes travel exciting anyway right?
Bring on the wildebeests!
OffToAfrica is offline  
Reply With Quote
Jun 21st, 2003, 09:31 AM
  #12
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 592
Dear OffToAfrica:

I salute you for your decision to go forward with your trip. I too plan on doing the same in September. There always was some risk of being mugged or robbed or being killed by the crazy Kenyan drivers on the poor roads but the risk was small, and once you have fallen in love with Kenya a risk you feel is well taken.

I just finished reading Philip Caputo's book "Ghosts of Tsavo" and he made a statement in it that I liked so much that I wrote down. "Travel without an element of danger is mere sight-seeing."
Whether you are faced with a charging elephant or rhino, or whether risking danger in the skies to get to Kenya - I guess all on this website are really serious travelers and not just sight-seers.

I know your group will all fall in love with Kenya as many fellow Fodorites have in the past.

Jan
JanGoss is offline  
Reply With Quote
Jun 21st, 2003, 11:36 AM
  #13
LizFrazier
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
This just picked up from the Lonely Planet Africa board:

Pentagon warns of Africa terror threat

From Barbara Starr
CNN Washington
Friday, June 20, 2003 Posted: 1:55 PM EDT (1755 GMT)



WASHINGTON (CNN) -- The Pentagon's Defense Intelligence Agency has received specific information of a possible imminent terrorist threat to U.S. interests in Kenya, intelligence sources told CNN Friday.

The DIA Thursday issued a "defense terrorism warning report" to government agencies and officials in the region, notifying them of the threat and detailing the intelligence information that prompted the warning, sources said. That information is classified.

In response to the threat, the State Department closed the U.S. Embassy in Nairobi and a spokesman said it would probably remain closed through Tuesday.

Kenya and the Horn of Africa region have long been a center of al Qaeda terrorist activity. U.S. authorities blame al Qaeda for the August 1998 bombing of the U.S. embassy in Nairobi. That attack, and an almost simultaneous bombing at the U.S. embassy in Tanzania killed 224 people.

"East Africa has been an area of terrorist threats and indeed terrorist attacks in the past," said State Department spokesman Philip Reeker. "Those threats are still out there."

In May, British Airways and Israel's El Al suspended flights into Kenya because of terrorist threats. Intelligence sources told CNN that Thursday's warning was not an extension of those earlier threats but was based on fresh information.

Last month, the State Department issued a travel warning urging Americans to defer all non-essential travel to Kenya. Non-essential U.S. personnel in the country were also urged to leave.

 
Reply With Quote
Jun 21st, 2003, 01:59 PM
  #14
sandi
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
We got the same warning in Sept'98 after the two Embassy bombings. We were scheduled to depart less than 2-months from then via Nairobi to Tanzania. While my travel partner wanted to cancel, she was calmed down enough and convinced not to.

My very cavalier response (then) was "they've been there already, they won't be back". Well that was then, now is now, and we know all too well that "they do return".

The only issue she wanted to be assured of was whether our trip insurance would cover evacuation in case of "terrorism" - at that time none of the companies included anything on the subject. Well after checking and getting some of the strangest responses from various companies, one actually saying something about "pre-existing terrorism" and "being hit by shrapnel, while at our hotel" - none where really prepared then. We eventually purchased thru CSA who offered the best insurance for our situation.

Kenya was the quietiest and most secure place one could image. There was security everywhere. And once we arrived in Tanzania, you would't know there was a hint of possible trouble in the air. But admittedly there were fewer tourists, very few Americans (we only met 1 couple in two weeks), though many Europeans were traveling.

My feeling is, unless there are actual bombs falling from the skies, murderers in the streets, and our country forbids me from boarding my departure flight - I'm going, regardless where. I've learned that the best time to travel anywhere is when we're advised not to.

But it still all comes down to ones individual level of comfort and feeling of safety.
 
Reply With Quote
Jun 21st, 2003, 06:58 PM
  #15
LizFrazier
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Sandi-
I didn't know you had a trip planned to Kenya. What dates will you be going and which areas and camps? How did we miss you in all of our discussions? Liz
 
Reply With Quote
Jun 22nd, 2003, 05:27 AM
  #16
sandi
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Liz -
I'm not currently planning a trip to Kenya or anyplace for that matter. Nothing to do with terrorism, but rather other things happening right now.

My statement was referring to our prior experience in '98 and my overall feeling as to government warnings and my feelings about travel in these strange times.

Though I do encourage people to continue to travel regardless the destination.
 
Reply With Quote
Jun 22nd, 2003, 05:59 AM
  #17
LizFrazier
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Sandi-
Don't want to hijack Jan's thread here as it is very important to us traveling to East Africa right now, but I would be curious as to the actual camps you have stayed in when you were in Kenya and Tanzania. Probably some I've visited and I'd like to know the condition of them when you were there. Liz
 
Reply With Quote
Jun 22nd, 2003, 06:20 AM
  #18
sandi
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Liz -
We traveled to Kenya in '96 stayed at The Norfolk (NBO), Tortillis (Amboseli), The Ark, Samburu Intrepids, Lion Hill (Lk.Nakuru), Sekenani Camp(Mara), Windsor Country Club (NBO).

In Tanzania in '98 at Sopa (Tarangire), Serena (Ngorongoro), Kirawira (Sereneti), Serena (Lake Manyara) - from here we went (via NBO) onto The Seychelles.

I know I will return to Kenya as this was my first safari country - and it's said "you always fall in love with your first" - though those that followed are as wonderful and exciting, it's not the same as "your first"
 
Reply With Quote
Jun 22nd, 2003, 07:40 AM
  #19
LizFrazier
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Thanks Sandi-
Not the same ones other than the Ark,which I didn't care for. I much prefer the Mountain Lodge in the Aberdares, which has ensuite bathrooms. I also stayed at the Serena at Ngorongoro which I loved. I was thinking Lion Hill is the stepped one on the hillside overlooking Lake Nakuru and I had two unpleasant experiences there, but I tried to find pictures of it on the search engine and couldn't see that so I think I stayed at a different one. It was tattered when I was there, I got flea bites all over my legs from the bed and that was on my second visit. Oh well, thanks anyways. Liz
 
Reply With Quote
Jun 22nd, 2003, 11:30 AM
  #20
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 596
I would like to suggest that for anyone interested in helping Kenya, they become a member of the East African Wildlife Society or EAWLS. I have been a member supporting them for 8 years. They publish a lovely magazine quarterly called Swara. Please check out their website at www.eawildlife.org.
Louise is offline  
Reply With Quote
 



Thread Tools
Search this Thread
Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are On



All times are GMT -8. The time now is 10:14 PM.