May 25, 2009

Rhino Charge

Filed under: Introduction — parto @ 10:20 am

The Rhino Charge is an annual off road motor sport competition that has been held in Kenya since 1989. It is a unique and exciting competition that requires bravery and a high level of skill in off-road driving and navigation. The event is held to raise funds for a very noble cause – conservation of Kenya’s Aberdare Ecosystem.

The Rhino Charge is an off-road event in which competitors are required to visit 13 points scattered over approximately 100 square kms of rough terrain within a 10 hour period. Competitors are supplied with a 1:50,000 scale map of the venue, co-ordinates of the 13 Control Points and their Start position (at one of the Controls).

Each competitor must plot the Control Points on the map and decide his/her route. Navigation is by compass/GPS and the winner is the competitor who visits the most controls in the shortest distance (GPS measured).

Each team brings its own 4WD vehicle, and competitors are given the locations of “guard posts” in the bush. They head off into the wilds around and the team that covers the least distance to get to all the posts is the winner.

May 22, 2009

The Big Fives

Filed under: Introduction — parto @ 10:20 am

Lions:The lion (Panthera leo) is one of four big cats in the genus Panthera, and a member of the family Felidae. With some males exceeding 250 kg (550 lb) in weight, it is the second-largest living cat after the tiger. Wild lions currently exist in Sub-Saharan Africa and in Asia with a critically endangered remnant population in northwest India, having disappeared from North Africa, the Middle East, and Western Asia in historic times. Lions live for around 10–14 years in the wild, while in captivity they can live over 20 years. In the wild, males seldom live longer than ten years as fights with rivals occasionally cause injuries.

Leopards: The leopard (Panthera pardus) is a member of the Felidae family and the smallest of the four “big cats” in the genus Panthera; the other three are the tiger, lion and jaguar. Once distributed across southern Asia and Africa, from Korea to South Africa, the leopard’s range of distribution has decreased radically over time due to hunting and loss of habitat, and the leopard now chiefly occurs in sub-Saharan Africa. There are fragmented populations in Pakistan, India, Indochina, Malaysia, and China.

Elephants:They are large land mammals of the order Proboscidea and the family Elephantidae. Elephant are. The elephant has appeared in cultures across the world. They are a symbol of wisdom in Asian cultures and are famed for their memory and intelligence, where they are thought to be on par with cetaceans and hominids.Healthy adult elephants have no natural predators, although lions may take calves or weak individuals.They are, however, increasingly threatened by human intrusion and poaching.

Rhinos:They are large mammals shortsighted, bad tempered but magnificent to look at. Unfortunately there aren’t too many to look at these days due to poaching. Rhino horn, used for medicinal purposes, is much prized in the Middle East and the Far East where it is more valuable than gold.There are two species of rhino in Africa, the Black rhino and the White rhino, both of which you can see while on safari. Black rhinos have suffered the most drastic reduction in population in the last 20 years. There are now only about 3500 left in the wild although valiant conservation efforts are increasing those numbers.

Buffaloes:The African buffalo is one of the most successful grazers in Africa. It lives in swamps, floodplains as well as mopane grasslands and forests of the major mountains of Africa. Buffalo can be found from the highest mountains to sea level areas, and prefer habitat with dense cover such as reeds and thickets. Herds have also been found in open woodland and grassland.

May 21, 2009

Fort Jesus

Filed under: Introduction — parto @ 9:15 am

Fort Jesus was built by the Portuguese in 1596 to guard the harbor entrance at Mombasa and thus in a way control the Indian Ocean trade between East Africa and India. At the time they had a number of rivals like the expansionist Turks and some unwilling hosts like the Wamvita.

The first Portuguese to set foot at the East African coast were in a fleet of four ships and 160 sailors and soldiers, under the command of Vasco Da Gama. On arrival the Mombasa people were not friendly. The Portuguese thought it prudent to sail on north, where they were welcomed by the king of Malindi.The king needed help in his fight with Mombasa so he gave Vasco da Gama a pilot who guided his fleet to Bombay, India and back to Malindi.

The Portuguese needed a sea route to India so that they could benefit in the trade of spices and gold by buying at source instead through other countries. Hence Malindi became the first Portuguese on the East African coast pillar which exists till today. The Portuguese pulled out of Malindi in 1953, attacked Mombasa and began to build Fort Jesus which was completed three years later. Over time, the fort fell into the hands of the Sultan of Mombasa, Omani Arabs, and later the British who used it as a prison during their rule of East Africa. Fort Jesus has major attractions which include:

Omani House

The Omani House is important in the history of Fort Jesus because it is were the Portuguese made their last stand against the Omani Arabs in the Early morning of December 1698. Through the Portuguese made a last desperate attempt to save the fort, the captain was shot and beheaded and the Portuguese were defeated.

The term Omani House is due to its display and renovations done to Omani donation. The display includes a collection of Omani Silver Jewellery which was used by Omani ladies, Omani weaponry such as swords, daggers, old muskets and Omani cutlery like coffee pots, bowls and plates.


There is a skeleton on display in a glass case. This skeleton was excavated at the exact site when a museum worker cleaning the place discovered a ring like structure protruding from the ground. According to Archeologists, this skeleton is of late 16th or early 17th centaury which coincides with the period of the Great Siege of Fort Jesus.


On the site of the present museum building the Portuguese was one barracks during the British period when the fort was used as a prison; the barracks were converted and used as prison cells. In the Museum there are a variety of exhibits ranging from the Mombasa ship wreck Exhibition. Other exhibits include items or artifacts collected from coastal sites along the Kenyan Coast arranged according to historical period from 9th to 19th centaury.

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