Thursday, July 28, 2011

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Listen to Mario Frangoulis on One Voice From Africa

CLICK HERE to listen to this episode of One Voice From Africa.

Listen to Mario Frangoulis on One Voice From Africa

CLICK HERE to listen to this episode of One Voice From Africa.

Listen to George Perris on One Voice From Africa

CLICK HERE to listen to this episode of One Voice From Africa.

A Kenya Report

Twenty years ago, when I traveled to another country for the first time with my own money I knew traveling would be my passion for the rest of my life. Now, feeling I had been almost everywhere in my bucket list, I knew it was time to go to Africa, the place I’ve been keeping in the back of my mind knowing I could not do it all by myself and still feel comfortable about it.

hen I found you and your company, and as you know now, I fully trusted your advice, opinion, and ideas. Then I trusted the people you collaborate with in Kenya and as you said, I never had to worry again. Very strange feeling the first time!

our people took care of me and my wife from the time we arrived, Jonathan and Popo made me feel at home minutes from our arrival. Our first Hotel was what we expected, simple but welcoming. Despite Nairobi’s reputation in the western world, I felt safer than in my own country while Popo made sure every new thing we were seeing was not only fully explained, but fun.

hort and long drives were bumpy but interesting, food at Mount Kenya was great, accommodations and game viewing at Samburu was an impressive first taste of what was waiting for us, while personnel at Lion Hill reserve was the highlight. Lake Nakuru offered so many beautiful pictures it was hard to keep up, everywhere we were seeing more than expected at such a close range that picking the best shot is just impossible. At this point Popo knew what we were looking for and at all times he suggested the best placement, was great at answering all our questions and very accommodating when we wanted to stay a little bit longer on certain areas.

he Masai Mara is definitively the jewel of the itinerary, despite not going during the main migrating month, I feel I saw more than I could have imagine. Everything felt fresh, natural, not mass-produced as you promise on your mission statement. Our driver was extremely respectful of nature while giving us every opportunity to enjoy species of animals and birds we didn’t know existed.

he balloon flight is a story on its own, something that should not be missed and we are glad we did it. Popo had arranged for a drive to the Masai river and I’m glad he did; as usual, the attention to detail is worth more than what you charged us for the trip.

hen traveling I always look for the best value for my experience, this time, I got so much that I want to thank you once again. I can see how you personally crafted these experiences, and I know you’ll continue to do so when my friends decide to travel to Africa and call you.

 wish your company offered tours to other counties. I still have the Galapagos, the Peruvian Amazon, the Antarctic, Indonesia & New Guinean islands, as well as French Polynesian islands I’d like to go. If you can recommend someone like you that could help me with them, I’ll certainly appreciate your referrals. Hope you can send me some names to get ready for next year.

gain, thanks Ken for your personalized attention, for taking my calls and for making sure this trip would be unforgettable for my wife and me. Our pictures and my memories will join me forever.


Tuesday, July 26, 2011

The Grace to cease trading at the end of August

The Grace in Rosebank, Johannesburg will cease trading at the end of August confirmed African Sun Hotels today.

The Grace has been described as iconic by many industry members and is well known in hospitality as a property that has won various awards. It has also been home to many top hoteliers and chefs. The hotel has maintained its elegant and stylish appeal through regular refurbishment, and is known for five-star service.

African Sun Limited has issued a statement this afternoon indicating that it has elected not to renew its operating agreements with both properties that it operates in Johannesburg. This is in line with business objectives and strategy as highlighted in its half year operating statement released in June 2011.

The reduction in overseas visitors and domestic travelers coupled with the continued pressure of the global recession and rapidly escalating running costs in South Africa has made the businesses unsustainable.

Johannesburg has seen an additional 4,100 rooms in the Sandton and Rosebank area which were added to the market in preparation of the Fifa 2010 World Cup. Post-World Cup figures have shown a drop in overseas visitors and domestic travellers, and in particular a shrinkage in corporate business which has migrated away from five-star accommodation.

A steadily declining rate has resulted in RevPAR declining by 30% in this enclave in the six months ended 31 March 2011.

The hotel business in South Africa remains depressed and with the strengthening of the Rand against major currencies as well as projections for it to remain stable over the next two years removes the positioning of the country as a value-for-money destination.

In line with these key market dynamics, African Sun has elected to exit out of its operating agreement for The Grace in Rosebank and the hotel will cease to operate on 31 August 2011. Hyprop Investments Ltd, the owners of the building and lessees of  The Grace Hotel, will assess its options in respect to the building.

African Sun has also exited out of its lease agreement with The Lakes Hotel and Conference Centre with effect from 31 July 2011.

Central reservations and marketing will remain in Johannesburg as it is a key hub in sub-Saharan Africa and remains a vital business link for African Sun.

“Going forward, focus for the group will be to operate hotels with a positive cash impact to the bottom line in the short- to medium-term,” says African Sun group chief executive Shingi Munyeza. “In that light our target will be to acquire management contracts in the South African market, particularly in the business hotels.

“As we continue to pursue our expansion, emphasis on mega cities as highlighted in our business strategy with focus on RevPAR growth and rooms growth will remain pivotal.”

African Sun will be adding an additional 231 rooms to its portfolio by December 2011. These will be through the addition of another Holiday Inn with 153 rooms in Gaborone and a management contract under the Best Western brand in Benin City, Nigeria comprising 80 rooms. New signings include a three-star, 201 roomed business hotel, Amber Express, in Accra, Ghana scheduled for completion within the next 24 months. The group continues to pursue opportunities in East and West Africa.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

2012 Safari Roll Out

rolled out the first of it's 2012 East Africa Safari's this weekend.

First off is a 5-day safari in Kenya, Mt. Kenya & Maasai Mara Adventure with Keekorok, which departs every Thursday from Jomo Kenyatta International Airport. This exciting adventure has a starting from price of only $1,299 per person and in certain seasons, no single supplement applies.

Next up is the Kenya Classic, a 7-day safari that visits Nairobi, the Maasai Mara National Reserve, Lake Nakuru National Park, and Amboseli National Park at the foot of Mt. Kilimanjaro. This safari departs every Monday, Thursday, and Saturday from Jomo Kenyatta International Airport at a starting from price of only $1,899 per person and once again, in certain seasons, no single supplement applies.

The current roll out also features Simba Serena – an 8-day safari in Tanzania that visits Arusha, Lake Manyara National Park, Serengeti National Park, the Olduvai Gorge and the Ngorongoro Conservation Area, the Ngorongoro Crater and finally, Tarangire National Park! With a starting from price of only $2,049 per person, Simba Serena is sure to be a winner!

All 2AFRIKA safaris 'connect' to create longer journeys in Africa and 2AFRIKA's safari specialists are on hand Toll-Free on 1-866-462-2374 during business hours to assist safari planners each and every step of the way.

Tune in to One Voice From Africa, the official radio talk show of 2AFRIKA for more details.

Meet Natalia Bernal - you will hear more about her on One Voice From Africa

Natalia Bernal
 is a child of the desert of Atacama . She began singing Chilean, Argentine and Peruvian folk songs with her father at an early age and soon felt attracted to Jazz. Then came Brazilian music, Fusion and Latin Jazz. At the age of 8 she found her first role model: Barbra Streisand, and later studied the work of vocalists like Mercedes Sosa, Adriana Varela,  Eva Ayllon, Sarah Vaughan and Shirley Bassey. After high school, Natalia moved to Chile’s capital, Santiago City, to attend a contemporary music college. She quickly made a name for herself on the Santiago jazz scene and began searching for her own musical identity. In 2003 Natalia received the Latin American Sholarship from Berklee College of Music. She move to the U.S. to study jazz and Latin Jazz , and finally made her way into the Latin Jazz music industry. The influential environment of Berklee gave her the opportunity to work with such renowned artists as Juan Luis Guerra, Paquito D’Rivera, Ruben Blades, Rosa Passos, Eliane Elias, and Gloria Estefan. In her four years in Boston, producers and composers required her collaboration both as singer and a lyricist, and participated in several CD projects including pianist Danilo Perez production: "Panama Suite".  Natalia and guitarist David Newsam recorded an EP that featured bassist Oscar Stagnaro and drummer Mark Walker (of the GRAMMY-winning Paquito D’Rivera Quintet).

Based in New York City since 2008, Natalia Bernal has released "La Voz de Tres" ( with her trio Bernal/Eckroth/Ennis (available on iTunes, Amazon and CD Baby), and recorded in several projects with musicians from all over the word including: Layla Angulo Latin Band, DiSanto, Mary Ann McSweeney Quartet, Los Chamanes and more.   Her new solo project is in the making, and you can check out her upcoming performances and news at:

Micheal Castaldo’s PRAY’R ‘Now Available’ at

Not only is he a great friend of mine, Micheal Castaldo is also an extraordinary performer!

I am sure that you will agree with me when you go to and 'listen' to his latest 'miracle',PRAY'R which is available to download for only 99c - probably your best investment this year to date (if you do - which I hope you will).

I was fortunate enough to receive a copy of PRAY'R before it was launched which is what prompted me to write a review on (click the link on my page and you will be able to 1. Read my review and 2. Download your own copy of PRAY'R).

When a friend needs help - I help - and I know that my friends always go the extra mile to help me . . . and so with that said, I need you to go to (again, click the link on my page), download PRAY'R, 'listen' and then write YOUR review on Micheals latest masterpiece.

Your review is very important - so please give it your best shot - and in no time, we can look forward to a one-on-one conversation with Micheal and I on One Voice From Africa AND soon, we all hope that he will be featured on the Classical Crossover website which is maintained by our mutual friend Nicola Jarvis.

So give it your best shot friends - and remember that all of us friends need one another from time to time to help one another - now, I am asking for your help. I know that you will and so in advnace, I thank you very sincerely for your input and your review of Micheal Castaldo's PRAY'R.

My sincerest gratitude to you all, always.


Women of the World

You heard them perform HUMANA on One Voice From Africa - now Women of the World is embarking on a new project to capture the magic of winter holidays around the world.

The five enchanted voices will take you on musical journey from ancient to present celebrations of life and divinity. The renowned singers highlight holiday classics, as well as rare musical gems from all over the world. Please join Women of the World in holiday celebration, honoring the diversity of various cultures and the unity found in commemoration of being.

Please reply back to if you are interested in having WOW perform their 2011 Winter Holiday concert for a private concert or a public event.

Your continued support is appreciated - 'we' are the reason why they sing.

With every warm wish,


Women of the World     

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Cape Town T-Bag Art

Heading to Cape Town? Include a visit to T-Bag Designs, a small company nestling in the mountain valley of Hout Bay, not far from Cape Town’s CBD.

To learn more about T-Bag Designs, watch their short promotional video by clicking here.

The 2AFRIKA Team

Electricity Rationing in Tanzania

According to reports from the BBC the Tanzanian authorities are imposing severe electricity rationing, to save the remaining water in its hydro-electric dams, which are at critically low levels because of the drought that is currently gripping East Africa. But the Tanzania Electricity Supply Company promises that essential facilities such as hospitals will not be affected. Tanzania relies for more than half its power on its giant hydroelectric dams. A spokesperson for Tanesco, Badra Masoud, said "There is going to be rationing, but not for 24 hours. Some people won't have electricity between 8:00PM and 6:00AM; others will lose electricity from 6:00PM to 11:00PM." The dams are expected to begin filling again once the rainy season gets under way in September.

How this ‘electricity rationing’ will affect the safari lodges in the National Parks is anyone’s guess at this time. 

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Katerina Polemi joins Kenneth Hieber on One Voice From Africa on July 21

Katerina Polemi
 is a natural talent with music in her soul, a guitar in her hands, and rhythm in her feet. She is a vocalist, songwriter, guitarist, and pianist. But most of all, she is an artist, with an extraordinary love of performance, and creating music that inspires the soul.

Her album, Spread the Music Not the Name is available from and the Apple iTunes Store and you should get your personal copy as soon as possible. You MUST own this masterpiece.

Her philosophy as an artist is focused on what’s real. As she says, "real music, and real anything comes from nothingness that becomes something. This happens when you approach it from the purest and most sincere place inside your being. That’s how I seek to approach it: Love-Study-Feel and Go!"

Katerina Polemi
 is my special guest on One Voice From Africa tonight and together we talk about music, life, Africa, the road ahead, and much more. To listen - click here!

Saturday, July 9, 2011

George Perris joins Kenneth Hieber on One Voice From Africa

Join George Perris and Kenneth Hieber in this episode of One Voice From Africa (July 14) as together they talk about music and together, launch a brand new piece of music, never heard before. Join in – this is a great episode of One Voice From Africa.

George Perris was born in Athens in 1983, his father is Greek and mother is French. In addition to launching his music career, he is working on his third CD while studying ancient Greek literature at the University of Athens.

At a very early age, Perris decided he wanted to become a singer, and began studying piano. From the age of 14, he began to seriously pursue performing, and at age 18, the famous Greek composer Mimis Plessas discovered his talent, and invited him to tour all over Greece and Cyprus.

His first solo album "My New Day" (EMI) was released shortly thereafter, featuring compositions by the famous Stefanos Korkolis, and a Greek version of "Caravane", Raphael’s major European hit. In the summer of 2006, Perris joined the international tenor Mario Frangoulis on a tour throughout Greece.

2008 was a big year for Perris. He participated as a featured artist at the Athens Arena International Music Festival sponsored and hosted by Mario Frangoulis, singing duets and appearing with many important international artists such as Lara Fabian,Lucio DallaJustin HaywardMadeleine Peyroux, andFrances Ruffelle. These performances were recorded and released in late 2008 and early 2009 in a series of two CDs entitled, "Mario Frangoulis & Friends 1… What a Wonderful World" and "Mario Frangoulis & Friends 2… It Makes the World Go Round" to great acclaim.

At the same time, his second album, "Perno Anasa" ("I Take A Breath") was released by SonyBMG. This album was especially important and personal as Perris wrote most of the songs, establishing himself not only as a talented singer, but also as a songwriter with great promise.

In the summer of 2009, George participated in three concerts in Cyprus dedicated to the Oscar Award winning Greek composerManos Hadjidakis at the ancient Kourio theatre in Limassol. This was followed by a series of concerts in Istanbul, Bodrum and Izmir as a special guest of Mario Frangoulis.

In the late spring, Perris was invited by The Greek Institute in Boston, U.S.A. to present two solo performances: "George Perris: Greece, A Musical Journey" at the Stuart Street Play- house in Boston; and "George Perris" for an international show at the world-famous Ryles Jazz Club where he sang in English, French, Greek, Spanish and Portuguese, taking his audience by storm.

The transition from 2009–2010 was pivotal for George Perris, and launched him on a new "international stage" a result of his stellar performances and duets with Lara Fabian in the 2008 Athens Arena International Music Festival. Fabian invited him to perform as a guest artist on her European tour; highlights were two performances at the Zenith theatre in Paris to an audience of 10,000, and in Belgium to great acclaim. Attendees includedNana Mouskouri and Charles Aznavour, who lauded the young artist for his powerful debut performance.

One Voice From Africa has a FREE 9-Day Safari in Kenya, for YOU!

You’ve heard One Voice From Africa – now isn’t it time that Africa hears your voice?

One Voice From Africa (OVFA) is the official talk-radio station of 2AFRIKA (2A), the trendsetting destination specialist to Africa.

Effective Immediately OVFA2A and South African Airways in conjunction with our Kenya ground crew, have collaborated to launch a 9-Day 'One Voice From Africa' Safari to Kenya (world renowned for its magnificent national parks, Out Of Africa, and colorful diverse culture), and you’re invited to come along – FREE OF CHARGE!

All you need to do is 'tell everyone' you know, ask them to tell their friends, and to keep the word spreading! Then, select your departure date from New York City’s JFK, invite only eleven (11) friends to join you, and with our compliments, you will travel on safari completely FREE OF CHARGE! Nothing gets better than that!

You did read that right – FREE OF CHARGE!

Travel dates commence on September 01, 2011, and the 'last flight out' is May 31, 2012, so while time is of the essence for planning purposes, you have a wide window of opportunity to visit 'my part of the world'!

On safari, you visit Mt. Kenya Forest where you spend the night in a gorgeous 'Tree House'. Then Shaba National Park up north, Lake Nakuru National Park famed for its pink flamingoes that line the shallow soda lake, and as a befitting finale to an already spectacular safari, the Maasai Mara National Reserve where herds of game roams free and the location of the film we all know –Out of Africa!

Depending on when you travel (seasonal prices apply), you can invite your friends from as little as$2,669 per person + tax, an 'easy' sell’! This includes round trip air from New York City’s John F. Kennedy International. Since this is a global promotion, (meaning that you may not need air services from OVFA / 2A), you can select the 'land arrangements' portion only which best price is only $1,899 per person.

Need to know more? Then listen to One Voice From Africa the moment it is launched (and posted here) and take immediate action. A free 'How To' kit is available from 2AFRIKA on request for you to review and share with your FB friends, and their friends. 2AFRIKA plays a vitally important role in 'Corporate Social Responsibility in Tourism' and for each passenger who signs up, we'll contribute $15 to UTHANDO South Africa, a most worthy cause headed up by my very dear friend James Fernie.

So, travel free on safari in Kenya, assist those in need in Africa, and above all, 'enjoy a safari of a lifetime' FREE OF CHARGE! This is the 'stuff' that others dream of - with OVFA and 2A, "Dreams do come true!'

For more details and your free 'How To' kit, contact 2AFRIKA Toll-Free on 1-866-462-2374 (in the US) or email

Looking forward to having you and your friends join us and 'especially' to handing you your FREE OF CHARGE 'Safari Package'.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Micheal Castaldo illuminates the One Voice From Africa studio

The good fortune of being in media is receiving material ahead of time. Today was a day of GREAT FORTUNE – I received a high-def recording of PRAY’R performed by tenor Micheal Castaldo.

PRAY’R is exactly that – a delicate, incredible prayer; add the majesty of Micheal’s voice, a powerful orchestral arrangement, and mighty choral strength, and once again, Castaldo does it – a masterpiece!

This multi-lingual performance [Italian/English] touches the soul of the listener.

PRAY’R starts very gently and with ease. There is much beauty in the first notes and the introduction, very gentle indeed – it is as if you can imagine one preparing to pray. As Micheal starts singing in Italian, there is no need to listen very closely to know that this piece is coming from the heart – it is very evident from the very first note.

As the piece builds, Castaldo introduces English lyrics and then suddenly, with full choral presence,PRAY’R explodes with enormous presence. This composition encapsulates its listeners every sense. Immediately you feel compelled to press 'repeat' and listen to PRAY’R repeatedly which is precisely what I am doing as I write!

When you hear PRAY’R, you will experience the emotions of love, kindness, and wonder!

Written and produced by Micheal Castaldo and Stein B. SvendsenPRAY’R will be released shortly and it is my guess that this composition will become an international 'anthem' from which we all will draw enormous inspiration. Keep in touch to learn more about my full feature conversation with Micheal on One Voice From Africa. If PRAY’R is a sampling of what is to come on the rest of the album, I’d have to add that we’re in for an incredible, chilling experience that will not just reach out but touch the very core of our souls!

BRAVO Micheal – you most certainly have created a masterpiece of music that everyone will want to own and listen to for many years to come! And now, I hit repeat yet again, and end my note with warmth and wish you continued success – Ken