Destination: Tanzania

Suffering and Smiling: Vanity Fair Does Africa

Africa is hot. Why? So we can save it? Frank Bures deconstructs the magazine's latest issue and what it says about Western views of the continent.

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The Sound of Sunshine

Frank Bures was working for a boss he didn't like, spending too much time alone. It was a dark time. He found light in the bright, poignant music he first encountered in Africa: soukous.

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Darkness, Then Light, On a Road in Tanzania

How often do the best travel stories in newspapers appear outside the travel section? At least half the time, I’d say, and today’s New York Times has a good example. In an eloquent opinion piece, Verlyn Klinkenborg writes about arriving in Tanzania after sundown and the ride from the airport into Arusha on a darkened highway. “Again and again, the lights caught people walking along the side of the road — past the edges of the fields and in the dusty track beside the asphalt,” Klinkenborg writes. “They were not hastening. Some wheeled heavily loaded bicycles. Many carried five-gallon plastic buckets, in every way those buckets could be carried. Some were dressed up, with surprising formality, for the evening ahead, although why the formality surprised me is a good question. They came into view for a second or two and then vanished. As for the country beyond them, it might have looked like anything — like savannah, like forest, like the canals of Mars.” Over the next week, the road and Arusha are illuminated for Klinkenborg, literally and metaphorically.

Tags: Africa, Tanzania

No. 6: ‘North of South’ by Shiva Naipaul

To mark our five-year anniversary, we’re counting down the top 30 travel books of all time, adding a new title each day this month.
Published: 1978
Territory covered: Kenya and Tanzania

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Lake Victoria

Area: 26,564 sq. mi. (68,800 sq. km)
Coordinates: 1 0 S 33 0 E
The shriveling Aral Sea made the news first, followed soon by Lake Chad, which, in 2001, researchers reported had shrunk to 1/20th of its former size. According to the International Rivers Network (IRN), a nonprofit organization monitoring rivers and their watersheds worldwide, Lake Victoria’s water level has also dropped sharply in recent years, reaching its lowest point since 1951. Lake Victoria is the largest such body of water on the African continent and the source of the Nile, and this finding certainly has seriously implications for some 30 million people in Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda who rely on its resource. The study cited by IRN contends that human activity, namely the building of a large dam, and drought conditions have contributed to the receding shoreline.

.(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) is the editor of the Oxford Atlas of the World.

Tags: Africa, Tanzania

Kenya vs. Tanzania: Trading Insults and Allegations for Tourist Dollars

The battle for visitors is getting ugly in East Africa. Officials in Kenya and Tanzania—two major safari destinations—have taken to unabashedly insulting one another’s tourist offerings in the press. “Tanzania is too boring,” a Kenyan official says. “Kenya is too dangerous,” replies a Tanzanian. And that’s just the beginning. One Tanzanian government official has accused Kenyans of making a threatening phone call that led to a travel advisory for Tanzania. A recent report in the Washington Post has all the sad details.

National Geographic’s Mea Culpa

Dan Rather and CBS News aren’t the only media heavyweights apologizing for shoddy journalism these days. In the October issue of National Geographic, Editor-in-Chief Bill Allen apologizes to readers for unwittingly passing off a staged photograph of a tribal elephant hunt in Tanzania as the real thing. According to Allen, the photographer, Gilles Nicolet, posed the photo, which appeared in the July issue, and then lied to editors about it. Readers noticed that elephant tusks in the photo had numbers printed on them. When confronted, Nicolet confessed that the tusks had been borrowed from the Tanzania Department of Wildlife. “I’m still losing sleep over the fact that we failed to uncover the truth before publishing the pictures,” Allen writes in the print edition; (a different explanation is available here). “You have our apology.”

Test Day

Test Day Photo by Frank Bures.

Frank Bures administers an English exam to his students in Tanzania, where life is hard and giving up isn't an option

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Family on Safari

Family on Safari Photo by Frank Bures.

How would Grandma have felt about the bumpy Tanzanian roads? She would've hated them. And those pit toilets? Ditto. Frank Bures explores the family vacation minus one.

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The Magical Miracle Tour

The Magical Miracle Tour Photo by Frank Bures.

When a German evangelist arrived to save Africa from Satan and his evil witch doctors, Frank Bures went along for the ride

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On Tanzanian Time

tanzania clock tower Photo by Frank Bures.

In a land where they have a name for people who are always in a hurry -- Mzungu! -- Frank Bures meditates on the art of slowing down

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