Hora Mountain set to become a tourist attraction centre

Plans are underway to turn Hora Mountain, a historical site in Mzimba district in the northern region of Malawi into a fully-fledged tourism attraction centre. 

Hora Mountain is an important place for the Ngoni tribe of Mzimba who led by their Paramount Chief, Inkosi ya Makhosi M’mbelwa hold Umthetho Cultural Festival at the foot of the mountain to, among other things, preserve their cultural heritage in August every year.

The three-day Umthetho festival which brings together all the Ngonis in Malawi as well as other Ngoni representatives from neighboring countries like Zambia, Tanzania and South Africa is characterized by feasting and traditional dances like Ingoma celebrating the lives of their ancestral fathers and the victories that they acquired.

Malawi News Agency recently quoted Mzimba Heritage Association (MZIHA) Vice Secretary, Kingsley Jere stressing that Hora Mountain is a potential tourism attraction centre and it is high time local and international tourists started visiting the place.

“The place is beautiful and we will make the place more attractive so that we attract visitors,” he said.

Jere said MZIHA will employ a tour guide who will be taking care of the site and guiding tourists when they visit Hora and climb the mountain.

Only mother nature knows how long has this rock been yawning in Mount Hora
The Ngoni of Mzimba perfoming Ingoma dance at Umtheto festival

Recently, Inkosi ya Makhosi M’mbelwa the Fifth and his wife, Her Majesty Inkosikazi, climbed Hora Mountain as the royal couple celebrated her majesty’s birthday. Jere said what the ngoni paramount chief did clearly indicated that Mount Hora is a potential tourist attraction centre.

Director of Planning and Development for M’mbelwa District Council, Precious Kantsitsi said tourism Industry was one of key areas that could economically lead to transformation of Mzimba as stipulated in the district’s development plan.

He said the mountain has potential of becoming a key tourist attraction site because it preserves the rich cultural heritage of Mzimba and the Ngoni tribe.

Kantsitsi said the site will help to preserve Ngoni cultural heritage for the younger generations and people from all walks of life will be visiting the Hora to appreciate the ngoni culture thereby putting Mzimba a must visit destination for tourists coming to Malawi.

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Ministry of Tourism advocates diversification in Malawi’s hospitality industry

Written by George Bulombola (Malawi News Agency)

Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Wildlife says there was need for players in Malawi’s tourism sector to diversify their businesses for them to be competitive at both domestic and international levels.

The Chief Tourism Officer, Sarah Njanji said this recently in an interview with Malawi News Agency at the end of a week-long capacity building for Micro, Small and Medium Entrepreneurs (SMEs) in the tourism industry held in Mzuzu, a city in the northern part of Malawi.

She said for the industry to be transformed into a competitive sector, there is need for players to be equipped with the necessary skills, knowledge and competencies relevant to the tourism industry.

“We expect that the training will contribute towards improved quality service delivery and build resilient in tourism industry,” said Njanji.

Njanji observed that the training which was among a series of trainings the ministry conducted across the Southern African nation, provided a platform for sharing knowledge, experiences, and facilitating networking which, she said, are catalysts the sector’s transformation.

“The training among others, has also provided a platform for development of networks that will be useful for their businesses through continuous sharing of ideas, contacts and businesses opportunities,” She said.

In her remarks one of the trainers of Orion Tours, Temwa Msiska said most players in the tourism industry face various challenges such as financial access from lending institutions and lack of creativity and planning.

“I hope the knowledge acquired from this training will make the participants reflect on how they can improve their businesses amidst several challenging factors,” Msiska said.

Also commenting on the training, the proprietor of SM Lodge, Kondwani Banda agreed that the knowledge gained at the training will go a long way in motivating players in the hospitality industry to consider diversifying their businesses.

“We used to conduct our businesses in fragmented ways due to lack of coordination. Today I am pleased that this will be a thing of the past as through the training, we have formed an association which will be used to share challenges and plausible solutions in our operations,” said Banda.

The participants to the training were drawn from various sub sectors including travel agents, tour operators, curio sellers and lodge and car hire owners.

The Ministry with support from African Development Bank through the implementation of the Promoting Investment and Competitiveness in the Tourism Sector (PICTS) Project has provided such trainings to about 500 SMEs across the country – MANA.

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Malawi Gets Safe Travels Stamp from World Tourism Body

Written by Tione Andsen (Malawi News Agency)

Malawi has received Safe Travels Stamp from World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC), Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Wildlife has said.

In a press statement issued in the Capital Lilongwe Friday, the Director of Tourism, Alice Magombo says the Safe Travels Stamp will instill confidence in travelers to the Southern African country.

The Safe Travels Stamp allows travellers to recognize destination and companies that have implemented protocols that are aligned with the safe travels Protocols designed by WTTC together with members, health experts among others.

“The Stamp is an endorsement off the guidelines that have been designed to rebuild confidence among consumers and align the private sector behind common standards to ensure the safety of its workforce and travelers as the tourism sector shifts to new normal,” Magombo explains.

Department of Tourism will roll out the enforcement of these global standards throughout the tourism sector. “Those operators that will meet the standards will be awarded the stamp as an endorsement of their adherence to these standards.” she adds.

Managing Director of Ajawa Motel in Lilongwe, Austin Ajawa has welcomed the development, but laments that Covid-19 pandemic has affected the tourism sector such that many operators have either reduced their work force or closed business due to financial challenges.

Jack Chonzi, a car hire operator also in Lilongwe says the development could be a break through since more tourists would feel safe to travel to Malawi.

“Business has been affected greatly due to reduced number of customers being serviced in the city. We will have to see how that stamp will trigger influx of travelers in the coming months,” he adds. 

Tourism sector has been affected greatly since the advent of covid-19 and over 35,000 employees are said to have been laid off due to lack of business – MANA .

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Law enforcers in Malawi rescue a Pangolin from a poacher

Police and wildlife security officers have rescued a pangolin from a poacher who was keeping the animal in his house in Chikwawa district in southern region of Malawi.

Malawi News Agency (MANA) report says the police and Majete wildlife Reserve security officers rescued the pangolin when they raided the house of its merciless captor, a 34 year old man who was waiting to sell the animal to unknown foreign nationals.

Chikwawa Police Station Deputy Public Relations Officer, Dickson Matemba said the law enforcers raided the house on March 10 after receiving a tip from well meaning Malawians that Amos Davie was keeping a live pangolin in his with an intention to sell it. He was expecting to get 7 million Malawi Kwacha (about $9,396) from the sale.

The pangolins are listed among the protected animal species in Malawi and by being found in possession of the animal, Amos Davie contravened parks and wildlife laws in the Southern African country.

He was set to appear in court to answer a charge of illegal possession of listed species.

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Coronavirus Outbreak Affects Tourism Industry

The outbreak of Coronavirus (COVID-19) which started in Wuhan, China in Asia in December, 2019 spreading to other continents and recently formed a new epicenter in Europe, has badly hit tourism industry globally.

The spread of COVID-19 has forced reputable airlines to scale down their flights operation and it has also made holiday makers postpone or just cancel their travel plans thereby impacting negatively on travel and tourism worldwide.

Visits to beautiful tourist attractions like this one are hampered by Coronavirus concerns worldwide

It is not surprising therefore that places which have always been vibrant and well patronised by foreign tourists, have registered a sharp drop in the number of visitors and consequently recorded tremendous loss of revenue in the recent months.

It is now everyone’s wish, or if you like, everyone’s prayer that COVID-19 should quickly vanish the same way it came so that normal life should return and people should be free to shake hands, travel and visit beautiful places again.

One of many wonderful places in Malawi
Mumbo Island, a little slice of paradise in Malawi – the warm heart of Africa
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Dancing: Part of Malawi Culture

When you come to Malawi you will discover that Malawians love singing and dancing. Every tribe in Malawi has its type of traditional dance and dancing is part of Malawi culture. People dance during wedding ceremonies, cultural festivals, political rallies, birthday parties and in some cultures even during funerals.

One of the most popular dances is the Ingoma danced by the Ngoni tribe in Mzimba. It is called Ngoma by other groups of the Ngoni tribe in Ntcheu, Dedza, Mwanza, Dowa and Mchinji where they dance it differently from Ingoma.Reliving the ancient Ngoni warrior

The Ngoni of Mzimba perfoming Ingoma dance

It is so beautiful to see elderly men and women dancing together as they sing traditional songs about war victories during the ancient times and some touching on various topical issues in the modern days.

The Ngoni From Central Malawi

The Ngoni from Central Malawi performing Ngoma dance

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End of the year: Time to reflect

This is December 2017 and in a few days, we shall be celebrating the New Year. As a traveler and as person who loves nature, you had plans to visit some scenic places in the world. You wanted to go to new places in Africa, Europe, Asia, America and make new friends, take  good pictures, eat different kinds of food, sample different cultures, learn new languages, to mention just a few interests.

Some of the plans have materialized but the majority of the have just been pipe dreams. Not that you wanted to but in one way or another, things did not just add up. The good thing is the plans are still there but just some fresh impetus to materialize.

Now as you reflect on the plans, please do  not forget to come to Malawi. I will  not talk much about this beautiful  country. Just search on the internet and you will discover why you must visit the country. When you visit Malawi, please make a trip to Likoma Island. You will surely fall in love with the beautiful island and its friendly people. The first settlers called the island found on Lake Malawi Likoma because they found the place peaceful, safe and secure. Likoma simply means: “This place is sweet.”

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Malawians urged to take leading role fighting wildlife crimes

Malawi’s Department of National Parks and Wildlife has appealed to people in the country to resist any temptation of getting involved in illegal wildlife trafficking.

In a statement from in the Ministry of Natural Resources, Energy and Mining, the Director of National Parks and Wildlife Brighton Kumchedwa says people have a role to play to stop wildlife crime in the southern African country. fighting

The department’s plea comes fast on the heels reports of continued confiscations of ivory and rhino horn in other countries said to originate from Malawi and describes the development as worrisome.

The parks and wildlife the department recently received reports of seizures of both ivory and rhino horn in Thailand, China and Vietnam airports, that happened between January and March this year, originating from Malawi.

Reports indicates that customs officials at Shanghai Pudong Airport in China seized two checked in baggage containing about 39 kilograms of rhino; a consignment of 422 pieces of Ivory weighing 330 kilograms was seized at Suvarnabhumi in Thailand while about 119 kilograms of rhino horn stacked in two bags were seized at Noi Bai Airport in Hanoi, Vietnam. Sadly, the contraband carried by various reputable airlines originated from Kamuzu International Airport (KIA) in Malawi.

“The general public is hereby informed that all the contraband in the three cases is not from Malawi but probably from other countries,” Parks and Wildlife Director says.

He adds: “In this particular case Malawi was simply being used as a conduit for the contraband and the trend is worrisome as it continues to dent the good image of Malawi internationally.”

It is against this background that the department of wildlife and national parks urges Malawians to take a leading role in fighting wildlife criminals so as to save the image of the country.

At one time last year, Malawi confiscated and publicly burnt over 780 pieces of ivory whose DNA tests showed were from elephants killed in neighbouring Tanzania and Mozambique but the traders wanted to Malawi as a passage.

Parks and Wildlife officials burn impounded ivory pieces in Malawi. Pic by Yohane Chideya

Wildlife officials setting alight confiscated a heap ivory last year

The burning of the elephant tasks in full view of local and international media was meant to send a clear signal that Malawi would not allow to be used a conduit for illegal wildlife trade.

Meanwhile, Kumchedwa says the department of national parks and wildlife is seriously engaging all security institutions at KIA to get to the bottom of the matter as investigations are at an advanced stage.

The department is also making every effort to fight illegal wildlife trade and will continue doing so on top of the scaled up efforts which include counteracting illegal trafficking through establishment and operationalization of an anti-trafficking unit within the department.

Recently, Malawi parliament enacted a law which imposes stiffer penalties for wildlife crimes and the country’s President Peter Mutharika has championed the cause with public pronouncements against illegal wildlife trade.

 

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Key road damage disturbs travellers in Malawi

Local and international motorists using the M1 Road between Mzuzu and Karonga in northern Malawi have for several days been stranded following the washing away of a bridge at Jalawe in Rumphi district which has rendered the section of the road impassable.

Persistent rain has been falling in the northern part of the country including Rumphi district for the past three weeks resulting in washing away of a small bridge at Jalawe and subsequent blocking the free flow of traffic between Karonga shoreline district and the City of Mzuzu.

Residents of Jalawe area assess damage on the washed away mini-bridge

Government has since engaged the Malawi Defence Force to construct a Bailey bridge that will support flow of traffic temporarily. The situation was expected to normalize within days, according to Roads Authority officials.

Roads Authority Acting Chief Executive, Sam Kadangwe told Nation Publications that as a long lasting solution, the authority will soon engage a contractor to fix concrete culverts on the affected section.

Meanwhile, some motorists use Chitimba – Livingstonia Road as alternative route as the damaged section is being maintained.

 STOP PRESS !!      

The Jalawe bridge that was washed away a few days ago due to incessant rain in Rumphi  has since been replaced and all the stranded local and international motorists have proceeded to their respective destinations. The picture shows how the place looks like after the Malawi Defence Force constructed a  temporally Bailey bridge on the damaged section to make the M1 Road between border district of Karonga and Mzuzu city passable again.

IMG-20170412-WA0000

 

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Malawian young entrepreneurs inspired

Young entrepreneurs in the City of Mzuzu in northern Malawi, particularly those in the hospitality industry, have over the past weeks been attending culinary lessons offered by Melvin Myers, one of the USA’s celebrated chefs, whose inspirational approach has left an indelible mark in the hearts of many.

Myers was with Africa Lift Incorporated – an international non  governmental organization based in Mzuzu conducting a two week long Culinary Field School in various locations and selected catering institutions in the city with an aim of teaching young entrepreneurs basics in the culinary field.

Sphiwe Gondwe, a restaurant owner who has attended two of Myers’ field lessons at Immaculate Lodge and another at Green shop said the two days she participated in the lessons helped to completely change her attitude towards the culinary field.

“Before I attended culinary lessons I never thought that I could diversify my cooking skills in order to expand my business opportunities.

“However, now I know that I don’t need to worry about competition but rather I should just concentrate on making my cooking more appealing to my customers,” Rose Cross Mahorya, a government reporter quoted her as saying.

Kondwani Nali, a visual artist in the city is also one of the many youthful entrepreneurs who got positive inspiration from Myers.

“Just by looking at how he uses artistic impressions to display his food, I realized that I could do the same with my artistic skills.

“I felt challenged when I saw him using the same local products that we have to make impressions that wow people,” he said.

In his words, the Caribbean born chef said that culinary field requires one to be poised and know what exactly the want to achieve because their preparations are consumed by people who need to be protected at all cost.

“As a chef, my first emphasis is on cleanliness and there after choice of food products to be used in my cooking and creations.

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

“This is because one may prepare a mouthwatering dish using the best ingredients out there, but if the dish causes harm to the consumer, you have failed your job as cook,” he said.

Myers who owns a catering institution –Success Catering Incorporated – in the US encouraged the young entrepreneurs to be innovative in their cooking and think of new artistic presentations each time they prepare a meal.

“I may have gone to college to study some culinary basics, but no one taught me how to make these artistic impressions. They are all derived from my mental,” he said.

Among other lessons which were open to the public, Myers taught different knife handling skills, types of cuts and sculpting of fruits and other food products into artistic presentations.

 Chef Melvin Myers- has inspired young entrepreneurs to think creatively

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