Airline alliances in Africa

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There are three notable international airline alliances, namely Star Alliance, Oneworld and SkyTeam. Most large airlines are part of one of these alliances. Notable exceptions are Emirates, who have been hugely successful on their own, and most low-cost airlines, whose business model is much different to traditional airlines that form these alliances.

Many people favour flying primarily with one alliance, to reach upper status levels and get the best benefits. The negative side is that they often miss cheapest flights (most of them are business traveller who don’t have to pay themselves). The other problem is that the desired route or destination is often not served by an airline of the “right” alliance. This is especially true for those who travel in Africa, where the choice is often nonexistent.

Out of the three alliances, it is much obvious that Star Alliance is the only real option for travellers in this region, offering the best connections both within Africa and to other continents.

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Democracy 3: Africa – be better leader than real ones

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There are not many video games set in Africa, but last month saw the release of ‘Democracy 3: Africa’, a strategy game where the player will be the leader of an African country.

‘Democracy’ is a series of turn-based strategy games where the goal is to stay in power and run the nation successfully. Democracy 3: Africa’ is the newest edition in Democracy series developed by Positech Games. The game has 10 African countries to choose from. Given all political, economical and social aspects, African countries provide very intriguing scenarios for a game like this. Certainly, this game is very unique compared to previous ‘Democracy’ games, where the player leads mostly stable western countries.

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Kenya makes miracles in sevens rugby

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Kenyan players celebrating after stunning Fiji in the 2016 Singapore Sevens final

Kenyan rugby sevens team made national history by winning the 2016 World Sevens Series tournament in Singapore. While Kenya has had a strong rugby sevens team, winning this tournament against all rugby powerhouses was a huge achievement. Kenyans will now have high expectations for the team at the forthcoming Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, where Rugby sevens will feature for the first time.

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Nigerian musicians getting famous abroad

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Traditionally so called “world music” has had its followers in western countries, providing many African artists opportunities to tour other continents, yet remaining niche artists outside their home markets. Over years, numerous African artist that have made name all over world, Ali Farka Toure, Fela Kuti, Miriam Makeba, and Youssou N’Dour, to name few. Not mainstream, but still well recognised artists. These represent older generations of musicians, many of whom have passed away. They are being replaced by new generation of musicians, performing modern music styles. Most popular of them tend to come from Nigeria.

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Lions killed as human-wildlife conflict increase in Kenya

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Recently there have been number of news reports of lions straying from Nairobi National park into city estates. One such incident led to a serious mauling of a man. While lions straying off the park is not unheard of, it is obvious these incidents are on the rise. This is attributed to increased human activity around the park, particularly building of the Southern Bypass road. Matters will only get worse when the Standard Gauge Railway will pass through much of western parts of the park. After this there will be only more pressure to degazette the park, seen as a prime land by many developers.

So far strayed lions have been returned to the park, but the latest incident saw a lion being killed by Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) rangers, sparking international headlines. The day after this, another incident saw Masai morans (a term for a Masai warrior) kill a lion by spears after the lion had killed a cow.  The park has just over 30 lions, so killing of these will have a significant negative effect on the population.

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Lions at Nairobi National Park

Elsewhere in Kenya, there were widespread news of lions being killed near Masai Mara last year.

Increasing human habitation near parks and encroachment will inevitably lead to more human-wildlife conflicts around Nairobi NP and other parks in Kenya. Elephants trample fields destroying crops, while lions and other predators kill livestocks, and in the worst case, humans. For rural poor people, wildlife is a nuisance, not an asset (unless they engage in poaching). They are not the ones who benefit from tourism. While foreign tourists bring plenty of money to the country, most of it goes to few hands.

Pastoral Masai have lived among wildlife since long times. They are used to kill wildlife to protect themselves, but in a sustainable way. But not anymore as their population and amount of livestock have grown rapidly. Unfortunately Masai do not kill wildlife only to protect their safety and livelihood, but also use it as political tool.

Local people have the right to protect themselves and their property. National parks are there so wildlife can thrive free of significant human disturbance. But being isolated in relatively small parks has significant negative effects on population ecology. There will always be wildlife outside the parks where they pose a threat to local people. Consequently, managing human-wildlife conflict properly is really important, despite being a difficult issue to deal with.

Jovago.com – the site budget travellers in Africa use to book their hotels

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Jovago.com is a relatively new hotel booking machine, launched in Nigeria in 2013. Despite its short history, it is already considered a leading online booking service in much of Africa. While Africa-centered, Jovago has listings worldwide (probably through other booking machines). Their primary markets are in Sub-Saharan Africa, but also in some Asian countries like Bangladesh and Pakistan. Jovago.com has already gained popularity among locals, but few western tourists have heard of it yet. Anyone travelling in Africa, especially those on budget, should make use of the service.

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Google translate and other online language resources

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Google Translate, while not nearly as accurate as a professional translator would be, comes handy as it can translate chunks of text in no time and for free. Errors aside, the reader will likely understand most of the translated text right way.

Google Translate expanded last month, when three new African languages were added among others, so the service can now translate ten native African languages. These are : Amharic, Chichewa (Nyanja), Igbo, Shona, Somali, Sotho (Sesotho), Swahili, Zulu, Yoruba and Xhosa. According to Wikipedia,  Kinyarwanda and Wolof are under development. In addition, Google Translate includes most foreign-derived languages spoken in various parts of the continent, including Afrikaans, Arabic, French and Portuguese.

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