Archive for the ‘The Corto Team’ Category

Pemba Island – A Wonderful Place to Visit

Friday, March 25th, 2011

The Zanzibar Archipelago located in Tanzania is a treasure trove for tourists and locals alike.  It offers a wide range of activities and sites that will surely quench the thirst of anyone up for some adventure and thrills.  Not only will you get a good dose of history from the quaint towns but the appeal of Zanzibar will captivate you once you get a taste of its hidden treasures, let’s start with Pemba Island.

Natural Beauty

When it comes to natural beauty, Pemba Island definitely does not disappoint here, abounded with lush forests and small scale farms, you will get more out of your trip than you ever expected.  The island boasts of their large production of Cloves, an aromatic spice which is often used in cooking and as a natural herbal medicine for common ailments such as toothaches etc, or immerse yourself in the breathtaking beaches that Pemba has, perfect for that time out you have been planning!  At Pemba Island, the unique mix of nature and simple living might make you want to stay just a wee bit longer!

Water Sports and More

If you enjoy your water sports then Pemba Island will not disappoint you as you can participate in water activities with the beauty of your Tanzanian backdrop.  Aside from the obvious fact that Pemba is surrounded by water, the list of activities will make any water lover’s head spin.  From diving to snorkeling, Kayaking to leisure fishing, Pemba will quench your thirst for that water action.  Rest assured that all of these activities come with able staff and reliable equipment.  These are just some of the many things you can do on the island.  Even something as simple as walking along the beach will give you some time to relax and be one with the sea.

Mud

One of the unique attractions that Pemba offers is its famous Mud Bath.  This may sound a bit weird to those who have not tried this sort of thing yet, all you have to do is let loose and release that inner kid in you.  This activity does actually have some health benefits for you, for starters, the mud is rich in minerals and nutrients that will not only remove toxins from your body but also release some if not all of the stress you have hidden within.  So aside from healing yourself you actually get to enjoy the process as well, a double win for Pemba Island.

Pemba Island is indeed a wonderful place to visit since it has all the things that a tourist might want.  Enjoy nature’s best while immersing yourself in the simple life unique to Zanzibar’s Pemba Island.

Come to Mafia Island

Wednesday, March 23rd, 2011

Although the name may sound a bit intimidating, there is certainly no need to worry as Mafia Island offers the best activities and tours for whatever adventure a tourist may crave.  Come to Mafia Island and see for yourself what this hidden beauty has to offer:

Corals, corals and more corals!

When it comes to biodiversity and marine tourism, Mafia Island has one of the richest collections of marine life species including corals.  The Zanzibar archipelago is actually a collection islands, but Mafia takes the top award when it comes to marine biodiversity, making it the perfect place for divers to go and explore the world underneath.  The booming industry of deep-sea fishing is a testament to the abundance of marine life in the area and among the things you will see in these waters are the adorable manatee and the gentle giants – the green sea turtles which have nesting sites on the island, even the non-divers will enjoy a trip out to sea since there is a lot to see and do while out on the water.  You can snorkel or just immerse in Mafia’s cool, clean waters.

Birds!

Since the island is relatively new in Tanzania’s tourism scene, it has an ‘untouched’ appeal to its landscape making it ideal for tourists who just want to escape the hustle and bustle of the city life or just relax and lounge about in a resort or lodge on Mafia Island.  Another quiet and more passive activity you can do on the island is go bird watching, the lush forests and plains of Mafia is an ideal nesting ground for birds and the best times to go bird watching is at night were the rare and exotic birds come out to feed and play.  Here you will see unique courtship displays and mating rituals that will surely awe you Mafia Island is indeed the ultimate bird watcher’s paradise!

The Easy Life

Mafia Island is the perfect go-to place for those who are in need of some peace and quiet it can be your own private getaway when you book your stay in one of the inns, lodges, or resorts that are present on the island.  Accommodation is well-equipped with whatever amenities that a tourist may need, while providing a relaxed atmosphere environment.  Stress and all the things that have been worrying you will be forgotten once you immerse yourself in Mafia Island’s solitude.

These are just a few examples of the things that you can do while staying on Mafia Island.  Boredom is non-existent here, and surely everyone will find something to do on this island.

New school opening donated by Corto Safaris

Monday, December 13th, 2010

New school opening for the Masai people living around the camp

New school for the Masai people living around the camp

A very exciting day was had by all when many of the Corto Safaris employees gathered together on November 28th 2010 to inaugurate the new Oremiti tented lodge on the shores of Lake Manyara.

The Oremiti Lodge takes its name from the tree that serves both as toothpaste and toothbrushes to the Masai and gives them their legendary radiant smile. This occasion included the opening of the new school which was proudly donated by Corto Safaris to the Masai people living around the camp.

The Masai women and their tribal songs

The Masai women and their tribal songs

As part of the fun activities on the day everyone was taken on a short safari Game drive in the Lake Manyara National Park, upon our arrival to the village which is the home of the local crafts association, the Masai women welcomed the group with the sounds of their tribal songs, here they proudly displayed their local crafts and offered gifts of beaded coloured jewellery

Local dignitaries gave their speeches – in particular the mayor, governor, and Masai community leaders – thanking

Speaches about eco-tourism in Tanzania

Speaches about eco-tourism in Tanzania

the involvement of Corto in taking part in the development of the community and the importance of eco-tourism in this Tanzanian Region.

After all the speeches were given, songs sung and a small show organized in our honour was finished, the dignitaries headed to the classroom to unveil the plaque and cut the cord as a sign of symbolic inauguration, a few words of mutual congratulation were exchanged before we headed out doors to where trees were planted around the school

New School Opening

New School Opening

where once grown this will provide a little shade to generations of school children.

The aroma of delicious cooking filled the air and so it felt like a long wait before the moment arrived and all were invited to a giant barbecue which was organized by the cooks at Corto Oremiti Tented Lodge. By late afternoon our bellies were full and the rains came, bringing good luck to the newly planted trees.

Celebrations of the new Oremiti tented lodge

Celebrations of the new Oremiti tented lodge

The beautiful day ended with the promise of a bright future of cooperation and mutual assistance between Corto Safaris and the surrounding Masai community.

Kilimanjaro Porters – Our Policy

Thursday, November 18th, 2010

We have recently updated our website with information on our relationship with our Kilimanjaro porters.

As members of the Kilimanjaro Porters Assistance Project – KPAP we have a duty to act responsibly and we hope the information below will convince you that we are a serious partner when it comes to Treks on the Kilimanjaro.

Our Porters

The Price difference you will notice between all the different Kilimanjaro operators in Tanzania are very often due to the differences in the way companies treat and pay their porters and guides during your journey. At Corto, we have been leading the way for many years in terms of fair treatment and responsible tourism.

Porters Salaries

We have been KPAP members (see Responsible Tourism paragraph below), and as such, we respect the rules. Whereas the average salaries paid to porters by the tourism outfitters in Tanzania is 6220 TSH/day, we actually pay them a daily salary of 10 000 Tsh, and we pay them directly on their return at Mweka by one of our office workers. Each porter must show his porter’s card and signs a list when he receives his pay.

Tips for Porters

During the briefing, we give each client a tipping sheet prepared by KPAP and we ask that they use it to spread the tips equally and openly accross the whole team. It is up to our clients to follow this sheet or not.

Porters Equipment

Even though they are not permanently employed by Corto, we have our team of faithful porters. For each climb, we send out a list of porters that the guides must follow. This procedure ensures that the porters can not bribe the guides to be hired. This practice is unfortunately still taking place with other guides and companies. Porters are not authorized to begin the climb unless they are properly equipped for Mountain climbing. The guides are responsible for performing this check. For information, the city of Moshi has a very large second hand clothes market. This allows the porters to equip themselves against the cold with mountain clothing at very low prices.

Further details about our porters Working Conditions

  • For every trip, there are between 3 and 5 porters by customer (see table below).
  • They receive 3 full meals a day.
  • They can carry a maximum of 20kg each plus 2kg for their own equipment.
  • They sleep in a tent suitable for mountain climbing.
CLIENTS Head Guide Assistant guide Cook Assistant Cook Porters
1 1 1 4
2 1 1 1 10
3 1 1 1 12
4 1 2 1 17
5 1 2 1 20
6 1 2 1 24
7 1 2 1 26
8 1 3 1 1 28
9 1 3 1 1 29
10 1 3 1 1 31
11 1 3 1 1 35
12 1 3 2 37
13 1 4 2 39
14 1 4 2 41
15 1 4 2 44

Number of Staff for Kilimanjaro Climbs (except Marangu)

Responsible Tourism

CORTO Safaris is involved in responsible tourism, by respecting the local populations and the environment.

Our teams are paid in excess of the rates recommended by the Park Authorities.
We care about our teams working conditions, Transmission of knowledge, and Traveler Information and Awareness.

We have developed a special partnership with the NGO “KILIMANJARO PORTERS ASSISTANCE PROJECT” -www.kiliporters.org – which is an initiative launched by “THE INTERNATIONAL MOUNTAIN EXPLORERS CONNECTION” - www.mountainexplorers.org

Training and Prevention programs are run during our Low Season :

• English Language Courses
• First Aid Courses
• Information Seminaries on HIV / AIDS

Please visit our partner’s websites for more information.