ART IN AFRICA
In Namibia, local guide Johannes Ikun Nani has been telling Thomson Reuters Foundation how proud he is to see the rock art there. Namibia is home to one of Africa’s biggest collections of rock art engravings and tens of thousands of paintings attributed to Stone Age hunter-gatherers. Some date back as much as 30,000 years. “I feel proud to see this with my own eyes,” Nani, an indigenous San descendent in the Erongo mountains, told a representative of the foundation: “They left this handmade rock art to show us we had family here. It’s like a newspaper to let us know they were in this area.” He points to a painting on the rocks that he says depicts figures carrying hunting weapons and nets. Archaeologists fear climate-linked flash floods, dust, vegetation growth, fungus and desert elephants and other animals seeking water close to the sites may pose a threat to the ancient art’s survival.
+Thomson Reuters Foundation is the corporate foundation of Thomson Reuters, the global news and information services company. It works to foster more inclusive economies, promote human rights and advance media freedom. It is committed to fighting racism and discrimination.
ACROSS THE CONTINENT
Marriott International is planning to open more than 30 new more hotels across Africa by the end of 2024. That’s more than 5000 extra rooms. The Marriott team revealed the figures at the Africa Hospitality Investment Forum in Morocco. The company is also expected to introduce its Delta Hotels by Marriott brand to Africa. “Marriott International’s expansion plans reinforce its commitment to Africa and highlight the growth of the travel and tourism sector across the continent,” says regional vice-president Karim Cheltout. “We continue to see opportunities to expand in major gateway cities, commercial centres, and resort destinations across Africa.” The expansion will be led by Protea Hotels by Marriott and Four Points by Sheraton, which will make up more than half of the additional properties.
+ Marriott International already has nearly 130 properties and more than 23,000 rooms in 20 countries across Africa.
Most of us are travelling just with our phones as our camera. Colleague Mogens Johansen, our lead photographer, keeps up with the advances there, and in recent times has reviewed both the iPhone 14 Pro and Google Pixel 7. But, interestingly, the “camera in our pocket” also leads our readers into a deeper engagement with photography, which is why we’re interested that Fujifilm Australia has announced the release of its X-T5 camera. It has a 40.2MP CMOS sensor, with 160MP “Pixel Shift” for super high-resolution imaging, and is light and portable (smaller than X-H series and X-T4). The weather-resistant body has 56 weather-sealed points for high levels of dust and moisture resistance and it can operate in temperatures as low as -10C. The X-T5 camera body will retail for $3199 and will be available mid-November. Fujifilm has also released an XF30mmF2.8 R LM WR Macro lens.
Maybe if I’m good, I’ll get the new GoPro HERO11 Black Mini for Christmas. (I guess that would be a sort-of Quid GoPro for being “good”.) The mini is smaller and lighter than the HERO11 Black and has one-button control. It still has an in-camera 360-degree horizon lock to keep footage steady even if the camera rotates 360 degrees during capture. It still shoots Cinematic 5.3K60, 4K120 and 2.7K240 video with 24.7 megapixel stills from video. It is available now, with a recommended price of $649.95.
+ The good thing about being all-digital photographers now is that we can never again be negative.
+ I started my photographic apprenticeship when I was 18, in the days of Ilford FP4 film and developing. After my first, not-very-good assignment, I remember chief photographer Len Weil telling me not to worry, my talent was developing — and then banishing me to the darkroom for a week. + The next assignment went better. In my mind, I heard the piercing voice of “Fleet Street Len” telling me to be bold, engage with the subject. “Get the picture, or don’t bother coming back to work!” That’s when I snapped.
+ When someone says my camera takes nice pictures, I simply reply: “Thanks, I taught it everything”.
A reader is in a quandary. She has paid a deposit for a costly tour cruise for her husband and herself and the final payment is coming up, but her sister in the UK is, sadly, terminally ill. Our reader is unable to find travel insurance that will cover her for cancellation of travel for a relative who lives overseas and dies from a pre-existing condition. She says: “This trip is to celebrate a milestone birthday and it’s expensive. We could not afford to lose the cost if I have to go to the UK to be with my sister.”
If I’m really honest (and I always am), finding travel insurance to cover you for cancellation of travel for a relative who lives overseas and dies from a pre-existing condition may be impossible. Insurance companies do cover for cancellation due to the illness or death of a family member — but each defines what a “family member” or “relative” is. It usually refers to spouse, de facto partner, fiance, fiancee, parent or parent-in-law. Siblings seem to rarely come into the list … but each company will have that list of covered family members in the definitions section of their travel insurance documentation. Generally, the situation must not have been the result of a pre-existing medical condition. The team at Compare Travel Insurance are trying to help.
Reader Mike Freeman feels that many travel insurance policies are “woefully inadequate with regard to COVID-related cancellations, especially if insuring for the domestic market”. He says: “Whilst a quick trip to the Gold Coast or visiting family within Australia may cost (in total) $2000 to $6000 for a couple, a Kimberley trip or cruise, or Far North Queensland adventure, is more likely to be in the region of $20,000 to $30,000 for a couple. The very best of the insurers in the table ‘may’ cover up to $5000 as a COVID-related cancellation benefit. One consumer tactic would be to take two individual policies where the limit is $5000 or less per couple, thereby covering double the amount. Still not enough, but better!”
STILL MASKING UP
+ It strikes me, with COVID-19 still about, that the last thing you’d really want to do on a short flight is take your mask off while everyone is eating. To be really safe, eat before you go and keep it on.
+ The United States’ Centres for Disease Control and Prevention still currently advises “properly wearing a high-quality mask or respirator over the nose and mouth in indoor areas of public transportation (such as airplanes, trains, buses, ferries) and transportation hubs (such as airports, stations, and seaports).”