Thursday, April 21, 2016

Kusini Weekly Update - April 20th

Beautiful Cotopaxi seen from Chilcabamba Lodge. Despite the earthquake,
Ecuador is open for tourism!
Tropic Ecuador: Ecuador has been top of everyone's minds since last Saturday's 7.8 magnitude earthquake. We are grateful to know that all Tropic Ecuador staff and travelers are safe. We also want to emphasize that all main tourism areas are fully operational, including airports in Quito, Guayaquil, the Andean Highlands, the Amazon and the Galapagos Islands. Ecuador is open for tourism.

Following the quake, Tropic immediately mobilized and began a campaign for donations to acquire solar lighting for those impacted by the earthquake, providing much needed light and the ability to communicate by charging their mobile phones. The results have been overwhelmingly positive.

From Tropic General Manager Jascivan Carvalho: "We are grateful for everyone that reacted immediately to our Solar Kit initiative. We were able to purchase 40 kits in less than 24 hours and they were given to grassroots organizations working the most affected rural communities on the Pacific Coast. We have sourced an additional 100 of the solar kits in Bolivia and are bringing them to Ecuador. We will continue accepting donations for a few more weeks to fund the remaining kits. We are moved and proud of the immense support we are getting from the different corners of Ecuador, including private companies, individuals, families and the international community." Read the full update and see photos of the solar kits on the Kusini blog.

If you can help, please donate here. Thank you for your generosity and support!

Previously only accessible by a 5-day voyage from Cape Town,
a British Airways 737-800 made the first commercial landing
on St Helena this week. Photo: Paul Tyson
New Frontiers: Earlier this week, the first ever commercial flight by British Airways to the remote mid-Atlantic island of St Helena touched down at its new airport, enjoying breathtaking views of the island on approach. The airport opens officially on May 21st and flights will be loaded onto airline systems shortly. New Frontiers' new Guided Journeys offers two set departures to St Helena - Nov 2016 and Mar 2017 - that will let your pax get way off the grid to a fantastic emerging destination before the rest of the world inevitably arrives on its doorstep. Space is still available on both small-group departures. Visit the Agent Zone for the full itinerary.

Ultimate Safaris: Birgit from Ultimate Safaris made an impromptu visit to Ongava Game Reserve in Etosha NP last weekend and got the latest on happenings there. The biggest news is the development of a new research/conservation center. Andersson's Camp will discontinue at the end of 2017, allowing for the development of the new Ongava Centre for Environmental Excellence. The OCEE will serve as a research centre with an upmarket ecotourism component with 10 luxury guest units. Guests will interact with the scientists as well as enjoy rhino tracking and traditional safari activities. Check out Birgit's 33-hour trip report on the Kusini blog.

The stunning vistas of the Simien Mountains make for an
incredible trekking and adventure destination
Travel Ethiopia: Ethiopia has cracked the Top 10 on Outside Magazine's Best Trips of 2016 list. The country is now firmly on the map as a hot "new" destination and Outside's endorsement means it's not just for cultural and religious travelers anymore - bring on the adventure! For the active traveler, the Simien and Bale Mountains are a must-visit, with miles of astonishingly beautiful trekking routes on offer. Ask Travel Ethiopia to add an extra day or two in Lalibela for exploring the surrounding mountains and villages on foot, and you've got an Ethiopian adventure made for the intrepid traveler!

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