Category: Africa

Suriname Overivew

Suriname Overivew


The vegetation is characterized by the equatorial forest, rich in precious essences (Lucuma mammosa, Lecythis ollaria, Copaifera bracteata, Bombax ceiba or Kapok etc.) and which covers almost the entire territory; a strip of mangroves borders the coast and, in the less humid areas, there are savannah areas. Over 90% of the country’s surface is still occupied by forest, inhabited by large mammals such as tapir, jaguar, monkeys, giant armadillo and wild pigs; among the reptiles there are the iguana, the caiman and among the amphibians an endemic species of dendrobat, the Dendrobates azureus, while very varied is the avifauna with eagles, cocks of the rocks, parrots, hummingbirds, ibises and herons. The major environmental problems of the country are linked to the pollution of the rivers due to toxic discharges from the mining industries and to the deforestation caused by the exploitation of timber for export. 13.2% of the territory is subject to protection by the authorities; the protected areas include the Central Suriname Nature Reserve, declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 2000 and which encompasses a vast primary ecosystem, the Brownsberg Nature Park, created in 1969 for the purpose of protection, research and education and various reserves natural. Visit baglib for Suriname as a tourist country.


Agriculture is practiced intensively on the small portion of the cultivated area (less than 1% of the national territory). In general, the primary sector contributes to the formation of GDP for 9.9% and employs 7% of the active population. Rice cultivation clearly prevails, which covers internal needs and allows for a certain export. The cultivation of oil palm follows in importance; the country is also self-sufficient for various other foodstuffs, such as sugar (considerable quantities of rum are obtained from the by-products of sugar), citrus fruits (especially oranges, grapefruits), bananas and coffee; a minor role are played by cocoa, coconut palm and peanuts. § As mentioned, Suriname is in practice an immense forest, very rich in precious essences that is not adequately exploited for commercial purposes due above all to the lack of communication routes and targeted investments. § Breeding is of little importance, as it lacks suitable climatic and environmental conditions; fairly numerous are only the poultry. § Fishing is of greater importance, which helps to integrate the food resources of the population and to increase exports (in particular to the USA); shellfish.


The ethnic mosaic at the base of today’s Surinamese society constitutes, even within the variegated Caribbean world, a peculiarity, whose features also dominate the cultural landscape of the country. In fact, in addition to the synthesis between indigenous (Amerindian) and European (mainly Dutch) elements, the contribution linked to the immigration of African and Oriental workers was considerable. Religion, language (Dutch is accompanied by several Creole dialects), cuisine, music (the typical genres of the Caribbean mix with jazz and the rhythms of Black Africa) and architecture (both civil and religious) they bring ample examples of such a melting pot of traditions. One of the most important folkloric moments is the Cultural parade in which all ethnic groups parade. In the capital there are mosques, synagogues, churches, and the beauty of Paramaribo is also recognized by UNESCO which has included the historic center among the world heritage sites (2002). Although many artists have preferred overseas, local art and crafts have kept their roots alive in engravings, sculptures and everyday artefacts. Literature has a group of local artists whose works range from prose to poetry to children’s literature.


Ethiopia Travel Warning

Ethiopia Travel Warning

At the beginning of January 2017, a hand grenade exploded in front of the Grand Hotel in Bahir Dar and a week later in the entrance area of the Etasal Hotel in Gondar. In the latter incident, one person died and others were injured.

According to youremailverifier, the Ethiopian government declared a state of emergency on October 8, 2016. This was preceded by mass demonstrations and sometimes violent protests against the Ethiopian government, mostly in the Oromia and Amhara regions. It is currently not advisable to go on holiday to the Oromia and Amhara regions away from the main routes. Traveling on the main routes (Bahir Dar, Gondar, Lalibela, Dire Dawa, Arba Minch) is currently possible without any problems.

Details of the state of emergency were announced on Ethiopian TV on October 15, 2016. In particular, all protest activities were prohibited.

Travelers are advised to register online in the German list of the embassy in Addis Ababa (ELEFAND) so that the embassy – if necessary – can contact you quickly in crises and other exceptional situations: External link, opens in a new windowhttp: //elefand.diplo. de

The sending of electronic messages (SMS), messages via social networks and e-mails may be temporarily restricted. In large parts of the country, the mobile Internet has been switched off for weeks. It is strongly recommended that you avoid any communication with critical and political statements.

Travelers should also always have several copies of their passport with them. Every landlord and car rental company must provide the authorities with data on their tenants and customers.

The protests are also expressed in roadblocks. In some cases, vehicles outside of Addis Ababa were pelted with stones, including deaths and injuries. Various companies, including foreign ones, were looted or set on fire, including in individual cases tourist accommodations (lodges). The internet and mobile network are interrupted regularly, sometimes for days.

Travelers are advised to stay away from the locations of the clashes, avoid crowds and, if necessary, go to protected areas. If a demonstration has been announced, the route or the whereabouts should be adjusted accordingly.

Country-specific safety information

Domestic situation

The imposition of the state of emergency on October 8th, 2016 has been preceded by protests since autumn 2015, which sparked, among other things, the “Urban Development Plan Addis Ababa”. Many Oromos fear further land grabbing in the event of insufficient compensation Aggravated again in 2016 and extended to the Amharen region. The cities of Bahir Dar and Gondar, which are popular with tourists, were also affected in July. Since then there have been repeated violent clashes between security forces and protesters, leaving numerous dead and injured.

Due to the state of emergency, the provincial administrations are deprived of their powers to maintain public safety and order and are centralized to the Ethiopian federal government. This enables them to react more quickly to future unrest. Details of the implementation of the state of emergency are not yet known.

Road blockades by demonstrators, especially in the immediate vicinity of the capital Addis Ababa, and the cordoning off of areas by the security forces, often restrict road traffic in the region. Countermeasures by the police during protest actions, such as evictions and mass arrests, can also endanger uninvolved persons. Anyone who tries to disregard the barriers must expect to be pelted with stones. Such incidents have already resulted in deaths and injuries.

There are frequent incidents in the outskirts of the country. In the Somali region (Ogaden) in the east, the Ethiopian military carries out armed operations against members of the ONLF (see also Traveling overland).

In the border area with Somalia, due to possible military actions against fighters of the Islamist terrorist organization al-Shabaab, larger troop movements can also be expected across borders.

In the Gambella region there was a tribal-politically motivated attack on villages near the city of Gambella from South Sudan in mid-April 2016, in which a large number of Ethiopians were killed and numerous children were kidnapped. Some of the children were returned in mid-May. Less than a week after the attack, employees of an aid organization were attacked and killed by refugees after a vehicle from this organization caused the deaths of two refugee girls in a traffic accident. In the meantime, the situation has calmed down due to the high presence of government troops and security forces. However, it is not advisable to travel to the region that is not necessary. The border area with South Sudan should be avoided.

When traveling in the South Omo Zone, especially away from the tourist routes, it is strongly recommended to inform yourself about the current security situation with the local authorities immediately before starting your journey. Due to an armed attack on a European tour group on November 7th, 2016, it is recommended that trips in the area north of the Omo National Park only be undertaken with professional tour operators accompanied by Ethiopian security forces. Individual travel in the region is not recommended.


As in other East African countries, activities by terrorist groups in Ethiopia cannot be ruled out. In view of Ethiopia’s military engagement in Somalia, this applies above all to the terrorist organization al-Shabaab there, which regularly threatens countries engaged in Somalia. The location of Addis Ababa, as the seat of the African Union (AU), also increases the attractiveness for possible terrorist attacks. The Ethiopian government warns against activities of al-Shabaab in Ethiopia.

In recent years there have been isolated (attempted) bomb attacks in Addis Ababa. It cannot be ruled out that Ethiopia will continue to be the target of attacks in the future.

Greater caution is therefore advised, especially around western facilities and tourist destinations. This also applies to larger hotels. Attention should be paid to suspicious persons and abandoned items of luggage such as bags, parcels or bundles of textiles. Caution is also advised when participating in major events. Your own behavior should be as inconspicuous as possible. Larger gatherings of people should be avoided.

Land travel / kidnapping / crime / road traffic

Since demonstrations and protests are often to be expected in the Oromo and Amhara regions as well as in the Amhara region, travelers should find out about the security situation on a daily basis.

For the use of the road connections Addis Ababa – Djibouti, Addis Ababa – Shashemene – Moyale, Addis Abeba – Harar, Addis Abebe – Asosa, Addis Ababa – Gambella, Addis Ababa – Debreguracha, Gondar – Metema, Gondar – Humera and Addis Ababa – Shashemene – Dolo separate regulations apply. These include a ban on carrying firearms, knives and objects for starting a fire.

In Addis Ababa there are more frequent pickpockets and occasionally robberies on passers-by. Pay extra attention, especially after dark.

The country’s infrastructure is weak, and there are only a limited number of well-developed roads for overland travel. In principle, long-distance journeys should not be made in the late afternoon, at dusk or in the dark for reasons of road safety.

Before traveling inland, precise inquiries about the security situation should be obtained in individual cases. Particularly in the border regions and away from regularly used roads, an increased risk from attacks and, furthermore, from land mines can be assumed. In addition, the possibilities to get help in traffic accidents are extremely limited. It is therefore generally advisable to use local guides and, if necessary, to coordinate the trip with the local authorities.

Border area with Eritrea

Attacks by bandits and local underground organizations as well as kidnappings cannot be ruled out when driving into the direct border area with Eritrea and the Danakil Depression in North Afar. In January 2012, an armed attack on a tour group took place on the edge of the Ertale volcano in the Danakil desert, in which two German nationals were killed and other German and other EU citizens were injured (kidnappings lasting several weeks).

Against this background, the Federal Foreign Office advises against traveling independently to the Danakil Desert and the northern Afar region without being accompanied by Ethiopian security forces.

Newly laid land mines must also be expected there. In the southeast of the border region with Eritrea, the area on the Bure-Assab road is affected. It is not advisable to take the Eli Dar road towards Assab. If journeys are absolutely necessary, the local authorities should be informed and appropriate.

Ethiopia Travel Warning

History of Gambia – from Senegambia to today

History of Gambia – from Senegambia to today

British West Africa

In 1765 Great Britain established its first colony in West Africa on the Senegal and Gambia rivers and named it Senegambia. It belonged to British West Africa. In 1779 the French recaptured their trading establishments in Senegal. They took James Island and destroyed the fort. It was the end of Senegambia. Great Britain only remained the Gambia Valley.

From 1809 to 1817 Senegal was once again under British ownership. In 1811 Great Britain banned the slave trade in its colonies (France followed in 1848). In 1816 the British built a base at Bathurst to combat the slave trade, which was still carried on by the Americans and the French. Today the capital Banjul is located there.

War between Soninke and Marabouts

Between 1850 and 1887, brutal wars took place between the Soninke, who practiced an animistic religion, and marabouts. Marabouts are religious leaders in Islam. They waged war against everyone who did not want to adopt Islam. Soninke supremacy in the area was broken. Members of the Diola on the south bank of the Gambia who rejected Islam were also killed.

The Gambia was temporarily under the administration in Sierra Leone (see there). France wanted to exchange the area for other (French) colonial land, for example from the Ivory Coast. Traders and settlers were against it, but so were the marabouts, who even ended their war. Britain eventually broke off negotiations.

British colony

In 1888 the Gambia became an independent British colony. A year later, Great Britain and France set the national borders as they still exist today. The border followed the course of the Gambia River and the land on the bank stretched as far as the range of a cannonball, namely ten miles.

Independence in 1965 and republic in 1970

After the Second World War, the colony gradually gained more independence. Parties were formed. In 1965 the Gambia was given independence. The country remained in the Commonwealth of Nations and was a monarchy headed by the British Queen. Dawda Jawara became prime minister.

A popular vote in 1970 decided that Gambia should become a republic. Jawara was elected its president and was re-elected in 1972 and 1977. Bathurst was renamed Banjul in 1973. The Gambia was seen as a “model country” with an exemplary democracy.

Senegambia (1982-1989)

An economic crisis led to a coup in 1981, which however was suppressed with the help of troops from Senegal. On February 1, 1982 the Gambia and Senegal merged under the name Senegambia (this is called a confederation). The armed forces, the currency and the economic area were united. But the cooperation turned out to be difficult, and the additional bureaucracy also made the merger difficult. In 1989 the confederation was ended again. Jawara remained President of Gambia and was re-elected in 1992.

1994 coup: Yahya Jammeh becomes president

In 1994, Jawara was ousted in a military coup. He and his government were accused of corruption. The coup was bloodless. Lieutenant Yahya Jammeh declared himself President of Gambia. The constitution was repealed, political parties banned, opponents arrested and the death penalty reintroduced.

In 1996, Jammeh finally allowed democratic elections again. A certain stability returned. Jammeh won the election. Tourism, interrupted by the coup, increased again. In 2001, Jammeh was confirmed in office. He extended his term of office and was accused of corruption and waste.

In 2011, Jammeh was re-elected in an election. Now he was accused of manipulating the election. The lack of freedom of the press and the violation of human rights continue to be criticized. Jammeh sees himself as a faith healer.

Adama Barrow becomes President of Gambia

Jammeh’s presidency ended in 2016. He lost the election and so Adama Barrow took over the office of Gambian President. Jammeh delayed the takeover, but ultimately couldn’t prevent it.

When a baby is born in Gambia, all those who belong to Islam celebrate the naming festival one week after the birth. The Mandinka call the ceremony Kulliyo, the Wolof Ngente. All relatives and friends are invited. It is celebrated in front of the house or in the family courtyard. The festival begins in the morning.

An imam (Muslim head) cuts off a lock of hair from the baby and then doses some water on his head. The imam speaks verses from the Koran. Then he whispers his name in the baby’s ear. Then the name is repeated aloud to everyone. That can also be done by a griot. Griots are called Jali in Gambia.

The name of the child was kept secret until then. The baby’s father chose and determined the name. Now the party will go on until the evening. Most families slaughter a cattle, sheep or chicken. Guests are also often offered kola nuts. You break the seeds into pieces, chew them and spit them out after about an hour.

Incidentally, the birthday is usually not celebrated in Gambia. It also happens that children whose birth has not been reported to the authorities do not even know on which day they were born. This is not only the case in Gambia, but in all of West Africa according to Countryaah.

Names in Gambia

And what are the names of the children in Gambia? Often the first names have a Muslim origin, then there are also traditional names or English names (such as John or Susan). Girls are often called Fatou or Fatoumata, Mariama, Isatou or Ami or Aminata. There is also the first name Fanta, which reminds us more of a lemonade, but the name has nothing to do with that.

The firstborn son is often called Lamin among the Mandinka people. This is the African modification of the Arabic name al-Amin, which means “conscientious” or “trustworthy”. When it comes to the girls’ names, Aminata is the counterpart. Other common boy names are Ebrima, Abdouli (or Abdoulaye, from the Arabic name Abdullah), Momodou (from Arabic Mohammed) or Ousman (Arabic Othman).

You can often tell from the surname which people someone belongs to. Mandinka, for example, are often called Jawara or Jobateh. Wolof are often called Mboge or Njie. Jallow, Ceesay, Bah, Camara, Jobe and Jammeh are also widespread in Gambia.

History of Gambia