Ecotourism in a Nutshell

By Julia Galusiakowska – Art in Tanzania internship

On the cusp of the last years, ecology has been influencing our lives more and more, entering even the sphere reserved for tourism. Although the COVID-19 pandemic has effectively thwarted our travel plans, many believe we are reaching the final phase of the global health crisis. Countries are expected to open to tourists in 2022, which will be a perfect opportunity to reconsider our travel plans. Many may go in the direction of ecotourism – a combination of tourism and ecology.

The roots of ecotourism

Ecotourism dates back to when the availability of means of transport increased, facilitating travels to all the corners of the world on a mass scale. The negative effects of this tourism boom first received global attention in the 1950s: activists called to limit tourism in the Alps and Mediterranean resorts. The topic resurfaced in the 1970s, when the then young generation developed pacifist and pro-environmental sentiments, especially in North American countries. At that time, people started to look for alternative tourist destinations and ways of traveling. However, a serious discussion among international scientific authorities took place only in the last decade.

How to travel responsibly?

An “ecotourist” thinks through every expedition decision, looking at their actions from the perspective of what is beneficial for the environment and local communities. Seems simple, right? Yet, many still wonder what it means to travel in an eco-friendly way.

1. Travel to a quiet destination: some argue that it is the road that matters – the destination is only a secondary issue. And yet, ecotourists should pay attention to where they go. Thorough research is essential before setting out on the road. The less known and quieter the neighborhood, the better. You won’t find an ecotourist walking on the mountain ranges that remain the most besieged by trekking enthusiasts. Also, it seems highly unlikely to meet him in places overrun with tourists. A trip with a small circle of friends would always win with the sprees organized by travel agencies.

2. Choose an eco-friendly means of transportation: green travelers, whenever possible, choose a means of transport that emits as little exhaust fumes as possible. Ideally, transportation and logistics problems may be solved by buying the right bike, panniers, tent, mat, and sleeping bag. The cyclist traveler is an example to follow with their emissions-free expeditions. However, if your curiosity of the world pushes you to the areas beyond the reach of a vehicle powered by your own muscles, you need to use transport using the engine’s power. That is why using public transport, taking a boat or hitchhiking are choices that declared environmentalists also look upon kindly. Although – in some cases – the use of the aircraft or your own car happens to be the only reasonable solution, it may be condemned by die-hard nature lovers. If we, however, decide to go for it, then to be in line with ecological trends, we should avoid “carrying air.” Answer: optimize the course by taking friends on board.

3. Respect nature: when visiting places with unique natural values, green tourists ensure that such conditions could be admired by the next ecotourists. To do that, they recommend:

-Following the local conservation laws: although ecotourism aims to bring us into contact with wildlife, admiring the animals in their natural habitat should be a collision-free experience. One cannot forget that we are just guests in their homes – a dense forest, an endless meadow, or a picturesque mountain range. All the bans usually serve the purpose of protecting fauna and flora. 

-Taking care of rubbish: to be in harmony with the principles of ecotourism, one needs to leave the place their visiting in the same condition as they found it. If there are no rubbish bins on the route, every tourist must take back any waste.

-Reducing plastic use: if a tourist takes a reusable bottle on their trip, they can skip buying drinks in non-organic packaging. Remember that throwing a PET bottle in the trash is not a solution: decaying for hundreds of years, the plastic will stay in the region.

-Using biodegradable cosmetics: preparing for a camping trip organized in nature, it is advisable to pack hygienic products based on biodegradable substances. 

4. Contact with the local communities: apart from the purely environmental aspect considering the tourism-nature relationship, there is also an interaction with the local communities that should be rethought. It is recommended to always behave ethically and make sure not to offend our hosts with some ill-considered gesture. Before leaving for a foreign country, every ecotourist should get to know the customs to such an extent as to avoid the typical “traps” that lurk for people from a different cultural background. Also, it seems crucial to restrain oneself from any negative judgments that always result from our misunderstanding of local customs and traditions. What is more, it is good practice to support local services and trade. A souvenir from a local artist can remind us of unforgettable moments and support the author of an artwork. Shopping done at the bazaar means not only that we will eat something fresh; it is also a cash injection for local farmers.

The future of ecotourism

Ecotourism is often gaining popularity in times of danger when a tense political situation or natural disasters start to discourage travel agents’ clients from choosing mainstream destinations. At that point, usual mass tourists happen to discover the benefits of this particular form of activity. Amidst the pandemic, this is what has been happening. Although the travel plans are currently deferred, people increasingly realize the potential of ecotourism.  Will the world of the new normal be the same as it was before the pandemic? We don’t know that. However, the social distance may need to be maintained for a long time after the end of the COVID-19 era, meaning we can expect a shift from mass to individualized forms of tourism.

MEN CIRCUMCISION (TOHARA)

By Mariam Msangi – Art in Tanzania internship

Circumcision is defined as the surgical removal of the foreskin. The foreskin retractable fold of skin that covers the end of the penis. It is the continuation of the skin that covers the whole penis. Male circumcision has been shown to considerably reduce the risk of sexually acquired HIV infection. Male circumcision is defined as the complete removal of the entire foreskin (the skin that can be rolled forward or back over the head of the penis) and it may be carried out for a number of reasons. Medical reasons: in men, circumcision is most commonly carried out when the foreskin is tight and won’t pull back (retract). Non-medical reasons: circumcision is a common practice in the Jewish and Islamic communities, and it’s also practiced by many African communities. Most non-medical circumcisions are carried out on children.

Medical reasons for men to have a circumcision

In men, circumcision is sometimes considered a possible treatment option for the following conditions.

Tight foreskin (phimosis): phimosis is where the foreskin is too tight to be pulled back over the head of the penis (glans). This can sometimes cause pain when the penis is erect and, in rare cases, passing urine may be difficult;

Recurrent balanitis: balanitis is where the foreskin and head of the penis become inflamed and infected;

Paraphimosis: paraphimosis is where the foreskin can’t be returned to its original position after being pulled back, causing the head of the penis to become swollen and painful. Immediate treatment is needed to avoid serious complications, such as restricted blood flow to the penis;

Balanitis xerotica obliterans: this condition causes phimosis and, in some cases, also affects the head of the penis, which can become scarred and inflamed;

Cancer of the penis: is a very rare type of cancer, where a red patch, wart-like growth or ulcer appears on the end of the penis or under the fore.

Male Circumcision Acceptability

 In Tanzania Several observational studies have shown that the traditional patterns of circumcision in Tanzania are changing a substantial number of men belonging to traditionally noncircumcising tribes have been circumcised. For instance, the prevalence of male circumcision increased from 19% to 30% in 2004 in the traditionally non-circumcising populations in Mwanza Region. The prevalence of male circumcision was 21% in selected communities of Mwanza Region in 1994 and 54% in the 2003/04. The changes in the pattern of circumcision may be due to health reasons, social mixing between circumcising and non-circumcising cultures, desire for sexual pleasure. With regard to health reasons, circumcised men are believed to be less susceptible to STDs because the foreskin secretes dirty fluid which is a favourable medium for the growth of disease-causing agents and may be a source of bad smell and also circumcised men heal genital ulcers much faster compared to uncircumcised men. The urbanisation in Tanzania and the establishment of district capitals with government officials from all over the country has led to increased mixing of circumcising and noncircumcising ethnic groups. The mix of ethnic groups is most obvious in secondary schools, and has led to increased acceptance of male circumcision.

 Rate of circumcised men in Tanzania

 An estimated 70 percent of Tanzanian men are circumcised, according to government surveys, but prevalence varies from region to region. In some districts up to 80 percent of men especially in the western parts of the country are not circumcised. For this case there has to be more effort in providing more education to people so as to increase the rate of circumcised men and reduce the rate of transmission disease such as HIV, STD’S and other infections.

 Circumcision Benefits

There is some evidence that circumcision has health benefits, including:

  • Less risk of urinary tract infections;
  • A reduced risk of some sexually transmitted diseases in men;
  • Protection against penile cancer and a lower risk of cervical cancer in female sex partners;
  • Prevention of balanitis (inflammation of the glans) and balanoposthitis (inflammation of the glans and foreskin);
  • Prevention of phimosis (the inability to retract the foreskin) and paraphimosis (the inability to return the foreskin to its original location;
  • Circumcision also makes it easier to keep the end of the penis clean.

Circumcision Risks

Like any other surgical procedure, there are risks in getting circumcision. But this risk is low. Problems linked to circumcision include:

  • Pain;
  • Risk of bleeding and infection at the site of the circumcision;
  • Irritation of the glans;
  • Higher chance of meatitis (inflammation of the opening of the penis);
  • Risk of injury to the penis.

The value of using GDH to the country, especially Tanzania

James Mathew Mgaya – Art in Tanzania internship

The nine domains of GNH

To many GDH is new terminology but it bears most important value to the countries. Gross National Happiness (GNH) is a measurement of the collective happiness in a nation. Gross national happiness (GNH) is a measure of economic and moral progress that the king of the Himalayan country of Bhutan introduced in the 1970s as an alternative to gross domestic product. The kingdom of Bhutan’s first legal code, written at the time of unification in 1729, stated that “if the government cannot create happiness for its people, there is no purpose for the government.”. GNH has nine domain pillars of measurement which current work internationally. These pillars provide the foundation for the happiness, which is manifest in the nine domains of GNH: psychological well-being, standard of living, good governance, health, community vitality, cultural diversity, time use, and ecological resilience. In simple understanding is that the country that prefer people than self government interest by living with peace and harmony towards its citizens.

The value of GNH?

Encourage investment; the country with good Gross Domestic Happiness mean it will attract more foreign direct investment which will contribute to GNP (Gross Domestic Product) of the certain country. By FDI means more foreign investors will start their business in Tanzania and increase our national revenue. Moreover, it also encourages entrepreneurship and establishment of new companies and enterprises own by local resident (Tanzanians). Valuation of currency; increase of value of the currency like Tanzanian shillings depend on interest rate, exports and imports , the purchasing power of currency in internationally, foreign exchange reserves that means amount of currency held by foreign governments. Simply, the value of currency increases according to it circulation money within international borders by good diplomatic relation through international trade/financing/business. Which GDH can give you that good standard of living means available market, purchasing power of consumer and good money circulation. Good diplomatic relation internationally; GNH gives good governance and psychological well being this means the government can have good relationships to neighbouring countries and international collaborations to economically, politically, and socially. In psychological wellbeing means government through its resources can ensure life satisfactory in some degree of it services which create peace and harmony among the citizens. Mentally stable country bring relief to nearby countries and allow friendship due to available labour force, no political unrest which attract more investment to multinational companies and international relationship. Increase of production nationally; GDH gives that the government could build into its public policy decisions like good governance and sustainable development This is when government focus in public good to boost they are citizen economy and infrastructures like in Tanzania strategic cities projects which give formal and informal employment to the citizens. Building transportations means to the citizen to increase production from the farmers toward the producers, availability of water and electricity to the rural areas which stimulate production and lead to urbanisation of rural areas which bring closure factories to available raw material due to availability of public goods. Increase of national income; for citizen to enjoy their government the need sustainable income, example in Tanzania they use strategic project to build infrastructure of public goods like roads, railways, bridges aviation and marine transports. This is life satisfactory to the citizens by means of transportation, but it has income good side to government and individuals. It creates formal and informal employment to the citizens and at same time create income through toll like bridge toll at Kigamboni, Dar es Salaam creates income, air Tanzania can create national income, also marine transport in lake zones create employment and national income. If citizens are happy with their government, it means no political unrest and its national income will thrive.

The verdict

There so much to talk about the Gross Domestic Happiness and the things can offer if considered. It is an alternative to Gross Domestic Product which it rather than focusing strictly on quantitative economic measures, gross national happiness considers an evolving mix of quality-of-life factors. The centre provides an overview of national performance across these pillars provide the foundation for the happiness, which is manifest in the nine domains of GNH: psychological well-being, standard of living, good governance, health, education, community vitality, cultural diversity, time use, and ecological resilience.

Natural Attractions of Zanzibar

By Farzad Ghotaslou – Art in Tanzania internship

Zanzibar is popular weekend trip for Art in Tanzania volunteers and interns in Dar es Salaam. It is also a destination for our safari and Mt. Kilimanjaro clients to relax after their safari of climb. We commonly tailor the Zanzibar stay; usually night or two at the historical stone town with day trips and then total relaxation at the beach. Zanzibar is not only a place to lay on the beach. There are many options to enjoy the exhausting beauty of that this tropical Island provides. Some of them listed below.

Zanzibar have been inhabited for many hundreds of years and although ancient records refer to imported elephants and other iconic species, you won’t find any of Africa’s major land mammals here today.

Jozani Forest has several habitats including swamp forest, evergreen thickets, mangroves, as well as a variety of wildlife, including Sykes and Red colobus monkeys, bush pigs, Ader’s duiker and suni antelopes, elephant shrews, chameleons, and lots of birdlife.

It is best known for its red colobus monkeys, which are endemic to Zanzibar. About 20 years ago, the monkeys were in danger of extinction. This trend has since reversed due to the conservation project. There are about 6000 red colobus monkeys residing in Jozani Forest.

After visiting the red colobus, you will walk across to the Pete-Jozani Mangrove Boardwalk. It entwines through coral thicket vegetation, mangrove forest and across a creek. You walk through mangrove forest, which is extremely crucial to Zanzibar’s ecosystems, providing a habitat for many lizards, snakes and birdlife as well as preventing the coastal erosion.

Most visitors to this vast and scenic spread of green, a biodiversity hotspot that’s part of Jozani Chwaka Bay National Park, come in hopes of sighting the rare red colobus monkey. Thousands of years of isolation from sibling species on the African mainland have made this simian specimen a special beauty, with distinct cries and vibrant coats. There are nature trails through shafts of sunlight where butterflies flicker, a boardwalk that descends into mangrove swamps and the very faintest chance of a leopard sighting – although don’t get your hopes up too much, as the last was decades ago.

Numgwi

You’ve come to the Indian Ocean to sink your toes into coral sands as pure and pale as caster sugar – and the place to do that is Nungwi, on the northwesternmost tip of Zanzibar. There’s a DoubleTree Resort by Hilton here, plus a few lodges immersed in tropical gardens, beach cottages and sea-view restaurants, yet the place has not fallen victim to swarms of international tourists, and islanders mingle casually with visitors. The water sports are plentiful, as are sundown cruises, and you can organise deep-sea fishing excursions in search of leaping sailfish and mean-looking bull dorado.

Also known as Mji Mkongwe, Stone Town is the ancient part of Zanzibar City, which is itself capital of Unguja island. Visit and you’ll get a perfect picture of how the old Swahili trading towns of East Africa look, sound, feel, taste and smell. With Islamic prayer calls on the air and atmospheric winding old alleys redolent of spices at every turn, this settlement is the heart and soul of the island. Admire elegant stone buildings, sip chai and coffee from busy vendors, and eat fresh fish dinners laced with coconut. Stone Town mixes Persian, Arabic, Indian and European legacies to create a destination to remember.

Stone town

Forodhani Market

In the thick of Stone Town, as the afternoon dims towards evening, Forodhani Gardens transforms into a circus of calorific magnificence: welcome to Zanzibar’s spectacular night-time food market, a whirl of chefs juggling spitting pans. The aromas are fabulous, and the range of dishes is extraordinary. Bring a large appetite. You might be familiar with some of the offerings – kebabs of tandoori lobster, say, or falafel as big as your fist. Our favourites are the fish plates served with fried potato balls, naan and samosas. You won’t need to eat for a week – or maybe just not until the same time, same place tomorrow.

Nakupenda Beach

Nakupenda (Swahili for I love you) is the name of a slender slice of sandbank just off the coast of Stone Town. And what’s not to love? Abutting the brilliant blue of the ocean, this tiny beach is an idyll of sand as soft and white as baby powder. It’s the perfect spot for swimming, snorkeling in clear waters flickering with marine life and generally keeping cool under the hot African sun. If you’re lucky you might glimpse the local superstars – the much-loved dolphins, doing their own thing in the distance.

Prison Island:

The prison – which is now owned by a hotel – was built in 1893 and was originally intended to house violent prisoners from the mainland and sick people.

You will get the opportunity to visit the tortoise sanctuary, which contains a large colony of giant tortoise imported from the Seychelles in the late 19th century. The average weight of these creatures is 200 kg, and many of them are said to be over 150 years old. There will be a chance to touch the tortoise and take photos. The island is also a home to a colony of beautiful peacocks.

For the rest of the trip, you can either enjoy the marine life as you snorkel around the coral that fringes Prison Island or just relax under the warm glow of the sun, until you head back to Stone Town.

Chumbe Island:

The Chumbe Island Coral Park is an award-winning private nature reserve and one of the last pristine coral islands around. It is the home of many rare and endangered animals that are protected here. The Park includes a fully protected coral reef sanctuary and forest reserve, a visitor and education center, nature trails, historical ruins, and eco-bungalows for overnight guests.  Chumbe Island is one of the most beautiful islands of Zanzibar and a prime example for sustainable tourism.

You get to snorkel in the most colorful underwater world with a huge variety of fish, corals, turtles, and other fascinating sea creatures. Learn about the marine life, forest, and nature reserve from professional guides. Enjoy a tour of one of the 7 eco-bungalows available for overnight guests, taste the delicious Swahili cuisine for lunch and enjoy the exclusive atmosphere of a secluded island.

Spice Tour:

Spice Tour is one of the most popular excursions on the Island.
In days past, Zanzibar was known as a spice island, exporting cloves, vanilla, nutmeg and cardamom across the world. The spices were brought over from Asia and South America and flourished in the tropical climes.
Nowadays the plantations are a tribute to the island’s past, swapping spices for tourism, combining both in a spice tour.

If variety is the spice of life, then Zanzibar is nature’s supermarket. East Africa’s favorite island playground, Zanzibar appeals to those who want to heighten their senses in a kaleidoscopic world of flavors. The island is renowned for its exotic aromas, spices and herbal remedies, and discovering these delights in their natural home makes for a… well, spicy adventure!

Over the course of centuries, traders arrived at Zanzibar’s port on route across the Indian Ocean to discover new world trade.

The original settlers on the island were Bantu-speaking Africans. At the turn of the 16th century, Portuguese traders established themselves in Zanzibar as part of their quest to take over East Africa. They brought with them various plants from their own colonies across India and South America. Fast forward 200 years later; Arabs set up trading companies on the island, drawing a close to Portuguese dominance over Zanzibar.

It wasn’t until 1832 that Zanzibar’s tropical climate and fertile soils were taken advantage of to make Zanzibar the spice island it is today. The Omani Sultan, Seyyid Said, moved his empire capital from Muscat to Stone Town to cultivate the production of cloves, which was traded like gold at the time. It wasn’t just the flavors that was a winner with taste buds — cloves were used as a common method of curing and preserving meats long before the refrigerator.

When the island’s other main trade — slavery — was abolished, the spice trade continued to flourish, bestowing wealth and flavors that led to the island’s legendary moniker, ‘the Spice Island.’

Walk through the spice farm with your guide. Touch, smell and taste different spices and tropical fruits. Try to guess which is which, from the crushed leaves, the fruit, shoots and vines and creepers crawling up the Zanzibar Spice Tour trees.

Today, the spice tourism trade is booming with various farms of spices and exotic fruits dotted inland.

The spices grown in these plantations add flavors to the distinctive cuisine of the island, provide numerous cures for everyday ailments, and are ingredients in cosmetics and the colorful dyes needed to celebrate festive gatherings. From henna to lipsticks, pillows to medicine, many useful plants are woven into the fabric of Zanzibar’s culture and industry.

On my tour, a local guide led me through a spice farm, from plant to plant, tasting and discussing the significances and uses of each.

Walking through one of Zanzibar’s inland spice farms makes you feel like you are in a scene from the ’90s family movie, ‘Honey I Shrunk the Kids,’ thanks to a soaring canopy of evergreen trees that makes you feel miniature. This is especially the case when you find yourself caught under leaves that are taller than you! Among the tropical greens and coconut palms is the exotic kapok tree, famed for its height, hollow trunk, and spikes. The tree itself can grow up to 200 feet, towering over the rainforest, and the spikes give off the dramatic appearance of a medieval torture device. And yet, the tree shreds its spikes once it matures, and its fibers are used to produce something soft: mattresses and pillows.

Bring your make-up bag, as another fascinating plant you’ll spot is the bright, red-hued lipstick tree. Inside its furry red fruits are hard, deep red seeds that are used as industrial dye in food preparation and cosmetics. The henna plant is also found here, most known for creating stunning and intricate patterns on the skin, of course, but what you might not know is that it is also used to incite natural abortions.

But the most alluring part of walking through the spice farms is seeing what spices look like in their natural state as opposed to a local grocer’s store shelf. A shopping list of spices can be found here: pepper, turmeric, cinnamon, chili, peppermint and allspice with its dried berries pleasantly smelling like a fusion of cinnamon, cloves, ginger and nutmeg

Despite losing its claim to be the world’s biggest clove producer to Indonesia, Zanzibar still produces what is referred to as the ‘King of Spices’ in vast amounts. Cloves are not only a flavors enhancer but its oil, eugenol, acts as a food preservative. It can also be used for medical purposes, as a relief for nausea, gas and vomiting. It can also help control the pain from a toothache.

Zanzibar’s spice farms not only produce spices to eat but also exotic fruits to consume. The red banana, guava and jackfruit trees capture your attention due to their brightness and the sheer size of the fruits. Seeing an almond plant makes for fun piece of trivia to quiz friends back home: did you know it takes roughly 100 days for one nut to be produced from one fruit? No wonder almonds don’t come cheap!

Mother Nature really wanted to spice up the lives of all Zanzibar’s occupants, and with a visit to one of its exotic plantations, you’ll see that for yourself. Zanzibar is a natural mega-mart with spices, fruits, natural cures, manufacturing materials and cosmetics all readily available — just bring an empty bag!

Dolphin Swimming

Traditional small boats pick up tourists and take them snorkeling on the coral reefs and swimming alongside dolphins. While bottle-nose dolphins are very playful and easy-going, humpback dolphins are rather shy and prefer to avoid people. Dolphins are especially abundant along the Fumba peninsula.

You should avoid sudden movements and allow the dolphins to come to you and do not chase the dolphins by boat! Also, the best time to encounter them is typically early in the morning.

The best period for seeing and swimming with dolphins is during the dry season, which runs from January to February and from June to October.

Try to avoid the rainy season because the visibility is not as good.

Ruaha The most beautiful national park in Tanzania

By: Farzad Ghotaslou –  Art in Tanzania Internship

Ruaha National Park in the centre of Tanzania takes its name from the Hehe word for ‘river.’ The eponymous Great Ruaha River serves as a lifeline for the park’s wildlife. Although it’s the largest national park in the country and rich in wildlife, Ruaha is one of the least busy places to visit in Tanzania, so safaris here feel remote and exclusive.

Ruaha has a bimodal pattern of rain forest; the short rainfall season begins November to February, while the long season is between March and April. The park experiences its dry season between June and October.

In the dry season, visitors can expect to see golden savannah studded with baobabs and misty hills stretching along the horizon. With the annual rains, the grasslands become a lush green and the baobabs bloom.

Waterbuck, impala and gazelle come to the river to drink and predators are never far behind. You may spot lion or leopard prowling watchfully along the banks, or cheetah lying in wait on the plains, while skulking jackal and hyena are on the lookout for an opportunity to catch their next meal.

Ruaha is easily combined with a Serengeti safari or Zanzibar beach break. It also partners well with the Selous. Fly from Arusha or Dar es Salaam to one of Ruaha’s two airstrips.

History of Ruaha National Park

Ruaha does not have an extensive history like other areas in Tanzania. It is thought that early permanent settlers were dissuaded by the semi-arid climate and the high concentrations of tsetse fly. (Conservation efforts have recently reduced the levels of tsetse fly making visiting here a more comfortable experience today!) The transformation of this vast area into a national park was first proposed by George Rushby (a Senior Game Ranger) in 1949. Two years later all the residents were forced out of this protected area and in 1964 Britain elevated Ruaha to full national park status. In 2008 the Usangu Wildlife Management Area was incorporated into the park creating the 20,000Km² Ruaha National Park that we know today.

How to get there

By Air-There are both scheduled and chartered flights into the park mainly from Arusha, Dodoma, Kigoma and Dar-es-salaam. Park’s airstrips are located at Msembe and Jongomero

The park is about 130 kilometres  west of Iringa. It is a part of the 45,000 square kilometres Rungwa-Kizigo-Muhesi ecosystem, which includes the Rungwa Game Reserve, the Kizigo and Muhesi Game Reserves, and the Mbomipa Wildlife Management Area.

By road-It is about 130km drive from Iringa town and 625km from Dar-es-salaam city.

The road into the park is passable throughout the year.

Wildlife

Ruaha National Park is renowned for its excellent wildlife-sighting opportunities. Combined with the low numbers of visitors, this makes it a spectacular destination.

The wider Ruaha area hosts 10% of the world’s lion population and has been a Lion Conservation Unit since 2005. It’s not uncommon to find prides of more than 20 lion in the park. Leopard stalk the thicker woodland areas, while cheetah can be found scanning the plains for prey. The wild dog is endangered, but Ruaha is home to almost 100 of them. There are healthy populations of hyena and black-backed jackal too.

The park was formerly known for its large elephant population. It had numbered 34,000 in the Ruaha-Rungwa ecosystem in 2009, before declining to only 15,836, plus or minus 4,759, in 2015.

Elephant are seen in high densities during the dry season, when they gather around the dry riverbed to dig for water with their trunks and front feet. The park is also home to plentiful buffalo, zebra, giraffe, greater and lesser kudu, Lichtenstein’s hartebeest, waterbuck, bushbuck, and impala.

There are more than 570 species of birds, including the eponymous Ruaha red-billed hornbill. Migrant birds from Europe, Asia, Australia and Madagascar arrive during the rainy season between February and April. 

 In addition, Ruaha is populated by large herds of buffalo, major and minor kudus, Grant’s gazelles, African wild dogs. , ostriches, cheetahs and tawny and black antelopes, as well as more than 400 bird species. The latter are particularly numerous along the Great Ruaha River, which meanders in the eastern part of the park and also offers shelter to many hippos and crocodiles.

The Ruaha is also distinguished by its rugged and magnificent topography, particularly in the Great Ruaha area. The park extends mostly on an undulating plateau at about 900 m of altitude, dotted here and there by rock formations and groups of baobabs, while to the south and west rise mountains that reach a height ranging from about 1600 m to 1900 m. The territory is crossed by several rivers of “sand”, most of which dry up completely in the dry season and whose beds are used by animals as corridors to reach the little water left. The combination of rugged river scenarios, large quantities of animals that can be easily seen (during the dry season) and good solutions for overnight stays make this place truly incomparable.

In high season, the area surrounding the campsites, in the eastern part of the park, is crowded with tourists, but Ruaha is generally less crowded than the northern parks. There are still large unexplored areas and, if you exclude the high season from August to October, it can happen quite easily to have the park all to yourself. Whichever period you come, however, budget as long as you can to visit it: this is not a place to be seen only in passing.

More than 571 species of birds have been identified in the park. Among the resident species are hornbills. Many migratory birds visit the park.

Other noted animals found in this park are East African cheetah and lion, African leopard and wild dog, spotted hyena, giraffe, hippopotamus, African buffalo, and sable antelope. Since 2005, the protected area is considered a Lion Conservation Unit.

Ruaha is a year-round destination, though birders may want to visit when the migratory birds are in the area and photographers, around the rains, when the landscape tends to be more photogenic.

For birders, the best time to visit Ruaha is during the long rains between February and April, when the migrant birds arrive. The wet season is a time when the park is at its lushest, with wildflowers peppering the rich, verdant grasslands. This is also an excellent time for landscape photographers to visit.

The park is characterized by semi-arid type of vegetation, baobab trees, Acacia and other species. There are over 1,650 plant species that have been identified.

The weather in Ruaha

The climate in Ruaha works slightly differently to what you might expect. Ruaha is located to the west of the Udzungwa Mountains, which run roughly north-south through central Tanzania. This geographic divide results in Ruaha having one long rainy season rather than the typical long rains and short rains found in Tanzania’s more famous safari areas. The rains in Ruaha usually start around November or early December, becoming heavier in January and February, and then start to dwindle towards the end of March. Do bear in mind that climate change has been altering the typical weather patterns for some years, so forecasting the weather you will have on your trip can be extremely difficult. However, it’s fair to say that Ruaha can often be a surprisingly good destination in the so-called low season of April and May, with clear blue skies and the park appearing lush and green. With plentiful food after the rains, the animals are likely to be in great condition and this is when many species will be breeding and birthing.

References:

  1.  “Tanzania National parks Corporate Information”. Tanzania Parks. TANAPA. Archived from the original on 17 September 2008. Retrieved 22 December 2015.
  2. Mbomipa Wildlife Management Area. Twma.co.tz. Retrieved on 14 September 2016.
  3.  “Tanzania: 5 Reasons To Visit Ruaha National Park”. HowAfrica.com. Retrieved 2018-02-24.
  4.  “Research”. Ruaha Carnivore Project. Retrieved 15 March 2017.
  5.  IUCN Cat Specialist Group (2006). Conservation Strategy for the Lion Panthera leo in Eastern and Southern Africa. Pretoria, South Africa: IUCN.
  6.  Karl Mathiesen (2 June 2015). “Tanzania elephant population declined by 60% in five years, census reveals”. The Guardian. Retrieved 15 March 2017.
  7.  Adelhelm Meru, Permanent Secretary, Tanzania Ministry of Natural Resources and Tourism (2 November 2015). “Press Release: Ruaha-Rungwa Ecosystem Elephant Census Results, 2015”. Retrieved 15 March 2015 – via Tanzania Wildlife Research Institute.
  8. www.lonelyplanet.com
  9. www.expertafrica.com
  10. Wikipedia

COVID-19 AND ECONOMY IN TANZANIA

JAMES MGAYA – Art in Tanzania internship

The pandemic has forced to switch the plans globally. All fashion, sport, and technology events have been cancelled or have changed to be online. Possible instability generated by an outbreak and associated behavioural changes could result in temporary food shortages, price spikes, and disruption to markets.

Such price rises would be felt most by vulnerable populations who depend on markets for their food as well as those already depending on humanitarian assistance to maintain their livelihoods and food access. In Tanzania it was the season of cashew nut during Asian outspread of Covid 19 pandemic as we all know that Asians their the consumers of cashew nuts for years now the Vietnam, India; Malaysia and so on.

During the period the shipment stops due to curfews and lockdowns. Mtwara’s economy went down with it although it was the year before but now it was devastated situation and desperate moment for farmers who were hungry for money due to last year recovery.

  We witness Global stock markets crashed in March 2020, but in tourism industry unemployment was inevitable , tourism enterprise experience bankruptcies, The pandemic has had a significant impact on the aviation industry due to the resulting travel restrictions as well as a slump in demand among travellers air Tanzania incurs tremendous loss which is facing accumulated losses of TZS150 billion Tanzanian shillings (USD64.6 million).

Thank to God Tanzania’s macroeconomic performance has been strong for the last decade, but the current crisis is an unprecedented shock that requires strong, well-targeted and sustained policy response.

The gravity of the situation was easy to Tanzanians, the impacts of COVID-19 are being felt in different ways and the measures taken by the respective governments have also differed on the areas of focus and comprehensiveness.

When our late President John Magufuli let people to continue working this bring relief to low-income earners who eat according to the day and work, they do. If measures of lockdown implemented like other nation people of Tanzania Most in big cities would starve for food more than pandemic. Thanks to him we Tanzanians at least overcome fear of unknown although many international organisations went on lockdown.   

The pandemic has been affecting the entire food market system due to border closures, trade restrictions and confinement measures have been preventing farmers from accessing markets, including for buying inputs and selling their produce, and agricultural middle men from harvesting crops, thus disrupting domestic and international food supply chains and reducing access to healthy, safe and diverse diets. 

We experience panic buying which lead to genuine shortages of spices, citric fruits and vegetables regards of fear of the unknown, which is caused by emotional pressure and uncertainty to food security. This increases the amount of entrepreneurs who seize opportunities to produce different products, and the spread of lies rumours of preventive measure and commodities to social medias so as people can earn income.

During the earlier stage of the pandemic, supply shortages were expected to affect a number of sectors due to panic buying, increased usage of goods to fight the pandemic, and disruption to factories and logistics. There have been widespread reports of shortages of pharmaceuticals product with many areas seeing panic buying and consequent shortages of food and other essential grocery items.

The verdict

Tanzanian economy, including lower export demand, supply chain disruptions for domestic producers and suppressed private consumption. International travel bans and caution against contracting the virus have severely hurt the tourism sector, which had been one of the fastest-growing sectors in the economy.

The pandemic is impacting lives and livelihoods particularly those in urban settings relying on self-employment and informal/micro enterprises. However, government has already taken, and this forecast assumes the authorities will take additional health and economic policy measures to mitigate negative impacts. 

Typical Skin diseases Tanzania

By Gwamaka Mwakyusa – Art in Tanzania internship

Skin diseases such as acne, psoriasis, and eczema are associated with a significant impairment in the quality of the patient’s daily life. Several instruments assess quality-of-life (QoL) in adults and children with skin disease and help us understand its impact. Three groups of investigators have recently examined the psychosocial effects of skin disorders.

Smidt and colleagues developed and tested a new instrument specifically designed to assess these issues in adolescents, who are particularly vulnerable to issues of self-esteem. Skindex-Teen addresses such age-specific matters as sports participation, peer relationships, and clothing choices. In the 200 patients studied, acne was the most common skin condition. The reliability of the 21-item scale was greater than 0.4, and test-retest reliability was supported by acceptable intraclass correlation coefficients for the total score, physical symptoms scale score, and psychosocial functioning scale score.

Numerous observations and limited studies have suggested that psoriasis increases stress and depression. Kurd and colleagues mined the British General Practice Research Database to assess the association of psoriasis with depression, anxiety, and suicidality in a large population. Compared with 766,950 patients without psoriasis, 149,998 psoriasis patients had significantly more clinically diagnosed psychiatric diseases. Additionally, among the psoriasis patients, those with most severe cutaneous disease was more likely to have depression, anxiety, and suicidality diagnoses.

Evers and colleagues analyzed the effects of psychological stressors on skin disease in patients with psoriasis. This report follows their earlier finding of clinical exacerbation of psoriasis in the month following stressful life events. The present longitudinal, prospective study assessed how stressors affect serum levels of cortisol, a key component of the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis, in psoriasis patients. They found that peak levels of daily stressors were significantly associated with lower cortisol levels and that patients with persistent high stress had lower mean cortisol levels than patients with lower stress. The stress response involves activation of both the HPA axis and the autonomic nervous system, both of which interact with the immune system. Therefore, stressful events could exacerbate and prolong chronic inflammatory diseases such as psoriasis. Other investigators have reported a blunting of the HPA axis in some subjects with psoriasis, which could account for inadequate secretion of cortisol and a resulting exacerbation of clinical disease.

Relations between Tanzania and China could be central for future African ecological transition

By Alessandro Deligios – Art in Tanzania internship


In these last year’s China is exploiting her economic power to take more influence in geopolitical arena. According with the future model of geo-economic competition, China firstly seems try to become the leader State in Asia, secondly is taking more power in many areas of the word. One of the strategies to extend her influence is the Belt & Road Initiative (BRI), with which, through financing project in different word areas, China is able to deeply link the economy of various countries to her one and so create a global economic network that have Chinese economic and financial system as reference – the so-called Beijing consensus.
In particular China is focusing on East Africa and in this region Tanzania-China relationship is a key for Beijing to get a strategic economic position: in 2013 the Tanzanian ex-President Jakaya Kikwete signed an agreement for allow China to invest in the financing of Bagamoyo port project, around which it should have place a special economic zone, that expected China to have especial condition for example for water and energy provisions and the security that Tanzania wouldn’t have financing another competitor port. But in January 2016 the project has been annulled by the President John Magufuli because the agreement for him was like sell Tanzania to Chinese investors.


In climate discussion we know that African countries are the most affected by the problem brought by climate changes, especially by the global warming: the continent probably will be exposed to longer periods of drought and water provision will be always more difficult. About this we also know that China is one of the countries which release the highest levels of greenhouse gases. Despite the attempts of Kyoto Protocol, signed in 1997 and started in 2005, and of Paris Agreement in 2016, emissions have not yet been limited in satisfactorily way. Developed countries have the responsibility to help the development in ecological transition and the GEF (Global Environment Facility) is a program managed by the UN and the Word Bank that give financing to the developing countries for they can get positive results related to four areas: climate changes, desertification, international water pollution and biodiversity. Good results are got in third and fourth areas, buty not in the first two.


At the start of April 2021, the First Minister Geoffrey Mwambe said that Tanzania would be ready for a new agreement about Bagamoyo port project if terms will be changed: in this Tanzania-China relations can be central for the ecological transition of all the Africa. Tanzania could advance conditions for the project according with UN 2030 Agenda sustainability goals, cooperating with others African countries for doing the same with others Chinese investments in Africa, when possible. With high chance China is so interested in extending her economic influence in Africa to get more global diplomatic weight to be disposed to accept conditions of sustainability for her projects. It could be one of the few ways to do that China – but not only, also other countries that would like investing in Africa – massively reduce her emissions. And this will be more powerful based on how many countries will collaborate: it should be a priority because fast growing economies have to develop in sustainable way and must do pressure on developed countries, especially on China in that global big player that is trying to extend own power.


Sources:

  • (About climate issue and international relations)
    J. Grieco, G. J. Ikenberry, M. Mastanduno, Introduzione alle relazioni internazionali, UTET, 2017
  • (About Bagamoyo port project)
    D, Ayemba, Bagamoyo port project timeline and all you need to know, 15 April 2021, on Construction Review Online
  • P. Mittal, Tanzanian Bagamoyo Port Project Story, 16 September 2020, on Belt and Road News.
  • A. D’Amaro, Un ponte tra Cina e Africa: il porto di Bagamoyo, Tanzania, 8 September 2020, on Lo Spiegone.

Clean drinking water condition in Addis Ababa (Ethiopia). General Overview

By Ekaterina Kilima – Art in Tanzania internship

According to the World Bank (2019), Ethiopia is one of the priority African countries for the Global Water Security & Sanitation Partnership (GWSP) programs. In other words, a lot of money is being invested in Ethiopia to improve its water and sanitation systems. Currently, Addis Ababa is considered a region with very safe drinking water (85 % of water is low risk) compared to other regions of Ethiopia (only 7% of water is low risk in particular places) (CSAE 2017). Access to clean drinking water is a big inequality issue as the region’s poorest people barely have access to high quality water unlike the richest group.

A recent epidemiological study conducted by Wolde et al. (2020) suggested that the clean water in Addis Ababa might be exposed to bacteria and parasites more during the wet season (January-October) due to high rainfall. The results of the study have shown that, although mostly insignificant, slight contamination was found in the water samples from public taps and reservoirs (around 6% each). Traces of fecal coliforms and total coliforms were found in those samples. The highest contamination results were observed in the water samples from springs and wells (76% and 79% contamination respectively). The number of fecal coliforms was decreasing with every week of the season while the number of total coliforms was increasing. Moreover, some samples were collected from Akaki, Gefersa, and Lege Dadi water plants but the parasitological results for them were negative. Wolde et al (2020) also note that the quality of the water might depend on the condition of the water supply reservoirs. For example, most reservoirs in Addis Ababa are well maintained. However, most springs are often exposed to heavy rain, flood, and microorganism contamination. It is important to check the serviceability of the public and private taps in a timely manner and to prevent them from being tied with cloths, ropes, and plastic tubes as it can enhance the contamination. This statement can also be proved by another study conducted by the Central Statistical Agency of Ethiopia in 2017. It was found that nearly 95% of households that receive low-risk water, get it from improved high-quality sources. The most common source of clean drinking water was the piped water on premises while the most dangerous was unprotected springs and surface water (CSAE 2017).

Some key lessons to remember are that the highest quality water is usually consumed in urban areas rather than rural and this water comes from secured and improved sources such as public pipes or kiosks. Bottled water is also a good source of high-quality water but is not consumed by many people. It is important to maintain the quality of the water reservoirs and make necessary repairments to ensure that people get good quality water. One of the biggest social issues regarding water supply is inequality because Addis Ababa poorest areas still do not have access to clean water.

Sources:

https://www.researchgate.net/publication/339804186_Quality_and_safety_of_municipal_drinking_water_in_Addis_Ababa_City_Ethiopia

https://washdata.org/report/drinking-water-quality-ethiopia-ess-2016

EU Countries Travelling Prospects Towards the End of 2021

By Romaisa Hussain – Art in Tanzania internship

Coronavirus (COVID-19), identified in 2019 as a deadly respiratory illness which spreads through droplets in the environment through an infected person’s breathing has caused a global pandemic. It has collectively affected the entire world and amongst many other sectors, tourism and travelling remain one of the most affected zones.

Due to pandemic, traveling is restricted to contain the spread of disease. Because of the travel ban, the tourism sector has a long way to go in order to recover back to its original state. This means that the tourism economy along with travel restrictions has led to global recession.

However, it is hoped that tourism will soon continue as significant measures such as air corridors gradually opening and thorough COVID-19 testing is being held in place in order to make it safer to travel again. Due to the pandemic, we are well familiar with the quarantine and COVID-19 tests which were made mandatory in order to travel. This highly affected tourism in 2020 which followed into 2021.

Statistics showed an 85% decrease in tourism in the beginning of 2021 in Europe. For the past year or two, people have been in the process of quarantine in their homes in accordance with the safety protocols. This is why it can be said that as soon as the restrictions lift, they will be more eager to go out on trips and adventures as a means of ‘escape’. As reported by Euro News, global research showed that 70% of the people in 2021 had made arrangements to travel on trips or take a break.

If people were encouraged to plan a road trip in 2020, 2021 was going to be the year they traveled overseas. But of course, there are still certain apprehensions regarding restrictions. With the vaccination criteria and road blocks still intact and the rise in the number of infected in populated areas like Europe, these can play a huge role in difficulty of crossing the borders.

Therefore, it cannot be said for sure whether tourism will restart any time soon and recover to how it once was back in 2019 as only 46% of the total amount in 2019 is set to travel in 2021. In accordance with the Swiss Economic Institute, it is assumed that the complete recovery will not be possible until at least 2024. However, there is still hope.

Europe is making attempts towards controlling the pandemic and accelerating vaccination programs which might enable people to travel in the summer of 2021. The European Tourism Trends and Prospects reported by the European Tourism Commission (ETC) highlighted that although there were some hindrances related to the vaccination, these programmes were still essential to continue traveling. The ETC calculated that 56% of the European population was willing to travel from August 2021.

Policies regarding tourism and travelling

In order to restart travelling and tourism in 2021, the European Union’s Digital Green Certificate is set to take effect before summer.

This program will work towards safer travelling procedures between citizens comprising the data whether the person has been vaccinated and holds a negative test or if he or she has recovered from COVID-19.  Eduardo Santander, Executive of ETC, stated that despite the distressing 12 months prior to the vaccines, it can be optimistically said that although the vaccination programme went through a bit of ups and downs, it is functioning with much more stability now and it has been proved to be effective. He continues that it gives people hope for the summer of 2021.

Moreover, he also discussed how the EU Digital Green Certificate will restart the traveling of EU citizens and international travelers sooner than expected depending on better communication between people implementing the travelling rules as well as the fast distribution of travelling certificates.

European Destinations see major decline in 2021

Based on the latest statistics, a major decline of tourism in Europe was witnessed in the 1st quarter of 2021 estimating up to 90%. One of the deeply affected countries was Austria which experienced 99% decline with strict traveling restrictions placed for those who planned to enter. Iceland experienced -97% where only vaccinated individuals were allowed to travel. In addition, Cyprus, Slovenia and Finland were affected with an average of 93% decline.

The only placed that didn’t go below 50% was Monaco. Most of the areas that were increasingly affected by the lockdowns and traveling restrictions were Southern and Mediterranean parts of Europe which were highly dependent on international travelers, whereas, the Central and Eastern parts got by with domestic travelers.

Prospects for Travelling

Italian agriturismo

Despite all the complications caused by COVID-19, there are still prospects set in place to restore travelling. The British Government arranged to lift traveling restrictions on the 17th of May 2021 which immediately caused an increase in travelling as people started to plan their trips to European destinations such as Cyprus, Greece, Portugal, Spain, Turkey etc. As more American citizens are getting vaccinated, (though gradually, but increasing nonetheless) it gives hope to the European tourism economy.

As travelers will look towards minimum contact with the population, the Government also plans to work towards alternative accommodations to minimize public contact.

These alternatives replace bigger hotels in populated destinations such as in Italy and Croatia with agriturismos which are farm houses that are aimed to facilitate travelers and guests.

Other alternatives include sleeping on boats or yachts during a sailing trip to avoid contact in populated areas. In 2021, it is also anticipated that travelers may aim towards staying on holidays for longer periods of time to enjoy maximum experience of their choice of destination.

Moreover, hotel prices are expected to fall and mountain railways’ fares could increase depending on the number of people. Statistics also proved that 9 out of 10 Europeans chose to travel inside Europe in the summer of 2020 and this continues in 2021 as the most booked places remain inside Europe by 60%.

Abiding by the rules

Understandably so, travelers nowadays are more cautious to travel and they usually expect assurance from the governments before setting out to travel in the current year.

People rely highly on the reviews and experiences of other people who have traveled as a means of research to establish whether their destinations are safe before traveling. Restaurants that take restrictive measures will automatically be more approached by people and as for the traveling sector, measures are being taken at the airports. COVID testing and quarantining for 2 weeks before entering the premises will enable a sense of safety assurance amongst people which will hopefully boost tourism back up in the current year.

Due to the restrictions and limited travelling destinations, it can be established that the rate of tourism will not sky rocket back to its original state as it once used to be. However, it is understood by the majority that there is no need to hurry as the mandatory requirement right now appears to be the health and safety of the people. Moreover, people who do travel nowadays aim to stay in a place for longer periods of time as they can easily work digitally due to the pandemic and enjoy their holidays simultaneously.

COVID-19 has had a great impact on the global economy but it does not mean that the current population will cease to travel. People will still continue to plan holidays, only this time, with more safety precautions. As of now, most of the European destinations include tourist spots that are either safe to travel to or have recovered from COVID-19. We may also witness a change in the trend of longer vacations being replaced with shorter trips but nonetheless travelling will always remain a norm.

Sources

Euronews Travel Trend Report. (2020). travel after 2020 what will tourism look like in our new reality? Retrieved from https://static.euronews.com/website/pdf/euronews-trend-report-travel-after-Oct-2020.pdf?utm_source=euronews%26utm_medium=organic%26utm_campaign=whitepaper

European Travel Commission. (2021, May 6). MIXED PROSPECTS FOR SUMMER 2021 AS EUROPE WORKS TO OVERCOME VACCINE HURDLES. Retrieved from https://etc-corporate.org/news/mixed-prospects-for-summer-2021-as-europe-works-to-overcome-vaccine-hurdles/

Lauren M. Sauer, M. (2021, May 21). What Is Coronavirus? Retrieved from https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/health/conditions-and-diseases/coronavirus

OECD Better Policies For Better Lives. (2020, December 14). Rebuilding tourism for the future: COVID-19 policy responses and recovery. Retrieved from https://www.oecd.org/coronavirus/policy-responses/rebuilding-tourism-for-the-future-covid-19-policy-responses-and-recovery-bced9859/

Southan, J. (2021, May 14). Travel industry experts weigh-in on post-COVID trends. Retrieved from euro news travel: https://www.euronews.com/travel/2021/05/14/what-will-travel-look-like-in-a-post-covid-world

The New York Times. (2021, April 16). Gauging the Prospects for International Travel. Retrieved from https://www.nytimes.com/2021/04/16/travel/international-summer-travel-coronavirus.html