Dubai Visas can now be extended for 60 days starting October 21

UAE Visit Visa holders can now apply for a 30-day extension for two times without having to leave the country, the Federal Authority for Identity and Citizenship (FAIC) has announced.

The visa reform takes effect from October 21, 2018.

A Dh600 (approximately 165usd) fee is applicable for each extension. Previously, visitors had to leave the UAE after the expiry of their three-month visit visas or one-month tourist visas.

The UAE has simplified visa application processes and it comes easing burden on tourists to attract more visitors.

Dubai has been the world’s favourite tourist destinations and at least five tour companies in Ghana send dozens of people to the city weekly.

So much have been heard about Dubai but the city keeps introducing new attractions and activities which compel tourists to visit again and again.

After my visit to Dubai, I noticed these 8 strange things that you’ve probably never heard about the city.



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Chale Wote Street Art Festival 2018 comes off in August

The 2018 CHALE WOTE Street Art Festival comes off in August in James Town, Accra.

The event that serves as an alternative platform to bring out art, music, dance and performance out of the galleries and onto the streets of Accra is scheduled to take place from August 20 – 26, 2018.

The annual art festival that started in 2011 received over 30,000 visitors in 2016.

Call for artists and media accreditation are in sessions for this year’s event.

Chale Wote. Image by Ghanafuo.com
Chale Wote. Image by Ghanafuo.com

Featured image by Accradotaltradio.

World Cup 2026: Have fans from Africa been taken out from sporting activities?

The hope of many of Football fans from Africa was to see Morocco win the bid to host the 2026 FIFA World Cup but United States, Canada and Mexico jointly won the bid after winning 134 votes to beat Morocco’s 65.

Prayers were up for Morocco not because fans from Africa will not be able to afford travel to North America but because of very strict measures in place for acquiring visas to North America. A great number of visa applicants would be denied the opportunity to witness the 2026 World Cup.

Barely a year ago, the United States was awarded the bid to host the Olympics in 2028 which will definitely record a low turnout from Africa as Donald Trump tightens the borders of the United States. There have been instances in the past where boxers and footballers were denied visas to fight or play outside the continent and there is no doubt that some athletes partaking in the Olympics would be denied visas to travel to the United States.

“The philosophy of the Olympics Movement is one that promotes togetherness and unity of the world’s people regards of demographic differences such as gender, colour or creed.

This is superbly exhibited with the logo of the Games, which are five interlocking rings of different colours to represent the five continents that feature at the Games; Africa, The Americas, Asia, Australia and Europe. And that idea of unity will likely suffer a major blight if concerns about travel are not resolved.”

The joy associated with qualifying to World Cup is so huge that all soccer lovers who could afford would love to travel to support their teams as they compete for the grand trophy. Thousands of people would be denied this joyful moment.

The United States has been tightening its borders daily for a couple of years now and the election of Donald Trump is set to make it increasingly difficult. His administration has already introduced entry restrictions on citizens from certain Muslim-majority countries.

During the 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup in Canada, there were widespread rumours that only people having more than GHS 40,000 in their bank accounts were granted visas whereas people from the west embark on vacations on credit; monies they have not yet realised.

Embassies and High Commissions in Africa see it as favour to grant visas to visa applicants and forget what their countries stand to benefit from tourists. The acts of insignificant people who end up as illegal immigrants do not rule out that all applicants will also end up so especially when applicants have several ties back home.

Even when host countries decide to offer visa-free travels for people visiting for the games, there are always clauses for fans from Africa. Russia announced a simplified travel procedures for fans visiting for the World Cup but fans from Africa were supposed to be part of organised fan groups. The decision to travel as a group or be a member of an association cannot be enforced on someone.

I can predict for sure that the United States, Canada and Mexico would be waiving visas for fans traveling for the World Cup but would definitely have clauses to prevent people coming from Africa.

The ‘United 2026’ would be a great tournament but not for fans from Africa.

World Cup 2018: What to see in Russia’s host cities for Nigeria’s matches

Nigeria is considered by Russia as ‘immigration risk’ country with strict measures in place for Nigerians traveling to Russia but the case has not been the same for fans traveling for the World Cup.

Nigerians, as any other participating country in the World Cup, enjoyed simplified travel procedures to Russia and this is an opportunity for fans to see some of the beautiful attractions in the country while enjoying the games.

Jetsanza.com lists recommended attractions in the host cities for the Nigeria’s matches.

Kaliningrad
Croatia v Nigeria, 16 June

Formely the capital of Prussia, Konigsberg (“King’s mountain”) later flattened in the Second World War. During the Potsdam Conference, Stalin procured the city as the westernmost outpost of the USSR. Even though it was hundreds of miles from Russia, the area became part of the world’s biggest country – and was rebranded as Kaliningrad, with the German-speaking population forcibly removed.

The major attraction in Kaliningrad is the grand cathedral, re-built with the help of German donations. Look out for the statue of Immanuel Kant, the philosopher who believed perpetual peace could be secured through universal democracy and international cooperation.

Volgograd
Nigeria v Iceland, 22 June

Formerly Stalingrad, Volgograd is on the western bank of the Volga River. It was the site of WWII’s Battle of Stalingrad, commemorated by a huge statue, The Motherland Calls, part of the hilltop Mamayev Kurgan memorial complex.

Known as Hill 102, Mamaev Kurgan changed hands many times during the biggest confrontation in the Second World War: the Battle of Stalingrad, in which the Soviet Union fought Germany to a standstill in 1942-43, with the loss of thousands of Red Army and German lives. The hill, which is now the site of a memorial complex, stands above the brand-new stadium – which, according to Fifa, “embodies aspects of a Victory Day firework display”.

After the tournament, the ground will become home to FC Rotor, formally known as Tractor Stalingrad.

St Petersburg
Nigeria v Argentina, 26 June

The former Russian capital is the greatest urban creation of all time, coaxed into existence by Peter the Great – now entombed in the Peter and Paul Cathedral, alongside the murdered family of the last tsar. And the Hermitage is arguably the finest art gallery in the world, both in terms of its location, in a string of former palaces, and houses Rembrandt, Van Gogh, Picasso and others.

World Cup 2018: Fan travels to Russia on vintage tractor

A diehard fan of the German Football team, Hubert Wirth, is traveling to Russia for the World Cup on a vintage tractor.

Wirth, 70, is undertaking this lengthy road trip from his hometown Pforzheim, Germany, to Moscow.

Soccer fan from Pforzheim, Germany, Hubert Wirth, 70, with his dog Hexe, drives his tractor with a trailer to attend the FIFA 2018 World Cup in Russia near the village of Yasen, Belarus June 7, 2018. REUTERS/Vasily Fedosenko
Soccer fan from Pforzheim, Germany, Hubert Wirth, 70, with his dog Hexe, drives his tractor with a trailer to attend the FIFA 2018 World Cup in Russia near the village of Yasen, Belarus June 7, 2018. REUTERS/Vasily Fedosenko

Accompanied by his dog, Wirth told eyewitnesses he hoped to reach Moscow in 10 days’ time, maybe even making a pitstop in Minsk.

The vintage 1936 tractor, which pulls a big trailer-van, goes at the speed of 30 kilometres an hour, eyewitness Sergey reported to Russia’s auto industry website Abw.by.

Soccer fan from Pforzheim, Germany, Hubert Wirth, 70, with his dog Hexe, drives his tractor with a trailer to attend the FIFA 2018 World Cup in Russia near the village of Yasen, Belarus June 7, 2018. REUTERS/Vasily Fedosenko
Soccer fan from Pforzheim, Germany, Hubert Wirth, 70, with his dog Hexe, drives his tractor with a trailer to attend the FIFA 2018 World Cup in Russia near the village of Yasen, Belarus June 7, 2018. REUTERS/Vasily Fedosenko

When crossing the Belarusian border on Thursday, Wirth was stopped by local transportation authorities, who, instead of giving Wirth a ticket, respectfully asked him to buy a BelToll ticket for the toll road.

“From what I gathered, the authorities themselves didn’t know how to react. After all, a tractor is not a car,” said Sergey.

Wirth has been very responsive to fans and readily agrees to get his photo taken next to the tractor.

Soccer fan from Pforzheim, Germany, Hubert Wirth, 70, with his dog Hexe, drives his tractor with a trailer to attend the FIFA 2018 World Cup in Russia near the village of Yasen, Belarus June 7, 2018. REUTERS/Vasily Fedosenko
Soccer fan from Pforzheim, Germany, Hubert Wirth, 70, with his dog Hexe, drives his tractor with a trailer to attend the FIFA 2018 World Cup in Russia near the village of Yasen, Belarus June 7, 2018. REUTERS/Vasily Fedosenko

Reasons Why You should Join The Next Flight To Ghana

Ghana without a doubt is one of the most exciting and fun countries to live in. Almost every blessed day, there’s a festival, street carnival or concert being held somewhere in the country. And to top it off, we come across as one of the most friendly people you will ever meet anywhere on planet earth, a reason that has made Ghana, one of the top tourism destinations.

This week is even more special as the nation is packed with very interesting events that should compel you to take the next flight to the Gateway to Africa.

Let us take a look at some of the top reasons why you need to pick the next flight to Ghana.

VGMA Nomination Jam

Vodafone Ghana Music Awards (VGMA) is the most prestigious and biggest music awards in Ghana and arguably the whole of West Africa (Our cousins in Nigeria may disagree). Before the awards night, there is a massive concert known as VGMA Nominees Jam, meant to officially outdoor the nominees. This year’s nominees jam is happening on 23rd March 2018 in the ancient and historical city of Cape Coast in the Central Region. Probably you must have heard of Ghanaian arts like Stonebwoy, Kofi Kinaata and Shatta Wale. You could just be about to meet them if you decide to pick the next flight to Ghana now. The Central Region houses the Cape Coast Castle, Elmina Castle and Kakuum Canopy Walk. You will be killing two birds with one stone by visiting these attractions.

Ebony Reign’s Tribute Concert And Funeral

20-year old music sensation, Ebony Reigns whose music took the nation by storm and then sadly lost her life in a road accident would be buried on March 24, 2018. As a high profile funeral expected to welcome all celebrities and government officials, there would be Ghana’s rich and unique culture on full display.

There is going to be a Tribute concert in her memory and almost all musicians in the country are expected to perform. Tickets for the concert are sold at approximately $2, about 5% of what one needs to pay to see such top musicians.

3Music Awards

This is one of the most anticipated events in Ghana right now, mainly because it is a new awards scheme. The 3 Music Awards is organised by TV3. The event has been well hyped and gotten a lot of attention from the Ghanaian public and music lovers. It is happening on the 24th of March 2018 with the biggest and most sought after artiste in Ghana, Shatta Wale expected to perform on the night. If you are yet to hear of Shatta Wale, then a simple google search or youtube videos of his performances will help you know exactly who you will be coming to watch in Accra on 24th of March.

Ponobiom Live In Concert

The Uptown Energy is hosting what is expected to be a great concert in the capital city this week. The concert which will take place at the West Hills Mall in Accra on 24th March has artistes such as Kwaw Kese, Sarkodie, Stonebwoy, Tinny, Edem and King Ayisoba all on the bill. The concert will also see one of Liberia’s biggest act CIC perform.

MOGO Concert

Ghana is simply a country that loves its music and celebrates its music stars. There will also be the Music OF Ghanaian Origin (MOGO) concert this week. The MOGO is an annual concert organized by Citi FM to celebrate indigenous Ghana music and musicians. This year’s edition is scheduled to be held at the La Palm Royal Beach Hotel in Accra on 24th March. Highlife legends such as Amandzeba, Adane Best and Dromo Naa are expected to thrill patrons to some old-time indigenous highlife music.

Kwahu Easter Festivities

In a few days’ time, the Easter festival will start and in Ghana this means a trip to the land of Kwahu. From street carnivals to paragliding to Kwahu Cave tours, thousands of people around the world are expected to converge in the Eastern Regional city to celebrate in grand style.

6 Reasons Nigerians should visit Ghana

The West African countries of Ghana and Nigeria have an ongoing rivalry between them akin to that of siblings. From football, to politics, to entertainment, citizens of each country always want to demonstrate their superiority over the other, howbeit not in a hateful or bias manner. It is always more bants than facts. There have been several episodes, of ‘social media wars’ or ‘Twitter Fights’ between citizens of both countries that leave us all clutching our stomach with laughter. Through it all though, it is obvious that it is all love and sport.

In this post, we attempt to give reasons why Nigerians, despite the rivalry with their Ghanaian counterparts, should visit the Gold Coast. Just like Nigeria, Ghana is rich in history, mineral resources, culture, tradition and places of interest to see and visit.

Many Nigerians do not even know that Ghana has Hausa and Fulani speaking people like there are in Nigeria.

 

Cousins

Ghanaians are like cousins to Nigerians. Visiting Ghana for a Nigerian is like visiting cousins for holiday. There are lots both countries share in common, but somehow still do things differently. Case in point, the Jollof. When Nigerians visit Ghana there is an air of familiarity about the place, some lingo and slang are commonly used, but Ghana’s pidgin is still very confusing to Nigerians.

 

Food

Shito. Banku. Waakye. Jollof. The list is endless really. Ghanaian cuisine can be a joy to experience and even though the eternal battle over whose Jollof is better still rages on, no Nigerian should visit Ghana without tasting the Jollof. Ghanaian food is actually so popular in Nigeria that there are bukas and restaurants in Lagos dedicated to selling just Ghanaian meals. The most popular among them is Ghana High.

 

Shatta Wale

Shatta Wale is Ghana’s biggest music sensation at the moment. And only recently he has had a war of words with Nigerian pop artistes on social media. As long as you are not one to take these things too seriously, visiting Ghana to see a Shatta Wale-show should be on your list of things to do, at least that way you can see what the hype is about yourself and tell if he is as great as he says he really is.

 

Beaches

Ghana is blessed with such an impressive stretch of beaches. If you are tired of the Elegushi and Oniru beaches of Lagos, switch it up by exploring the coastline of Labadi and Kobrobite. If you are enthusistic about wildlife, visit the Cocoloco beach where you would find turtles and a large number of river birds. Beach Resorts in Ghana are beautiful and spending a night or more in one of them would greatly enrich your Ghana experience.

 

Chale Wote

Nigeria has Calabar Carnival. Ghana has Chale Wote. This annual street cum art festival does get bigger and better every year with amazing exhibitions, musical performances, art installations, food, merchandise vendors as well as live music and dance that goes on well into the night. For anyone who enjoys having a good time and finds him/herself in Ghana in the month of August, Chale Wote is a must-attend.

 

Nigerian Community

There is a perpetually growing Nigerian community in Ghana and visiting Ghana would definitely feel like home. It wont be long before you notice the familiar accent of a Nigerian, no matter where he is from back home and quickly tag them as your brother or your sister. Especially in Ghanaian Universities where many Nigerians turn to as an alternative to schooling in Europe or right here at home.

GUEST BLOG by: Caleb Olorunmaiye, [email protected]

Why the IOC should reconsider making Los Angeles hosts of 2028 Games

(Photo: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports)

In September 2017, Los Angeles is expected to be awarded the bid to host the Olympics in 2028. That is because it is the only country that is bidding to host. Although a small section of Los Angeles’ residents are opposed to this due to the financial demands on the city, the bulk of opponents can be found outside the country for a totally different reason.

That is because there are fears very few people will be allowed entry into the country when the Games come around.

The United States has been tightening its borders daily for a couple of years now and the election of Donald Trump is set to make it increasingly difficult. His administration has already introduced entry restrictions on citizens from certain Muslim-majority countries.

And with the rise of nationalism and populism across much of the western world, it is unclear if significant changes to migration restrictions would be relaxed.

That is because not only will spectators find it extremely difficult to gain visas to attend the Games, athletes may be severely affected.

As such, it is imperative for the International Olympic Committee to devise a way in which the travel restrictions would be solved for ahead of the Games or the unpopular move of taking the Games away from the US.

The philosophy of the Olympics Movement is one that promotes togetherness and unity of the world’s people regards of demographic differences such as gender, colour or creed.

This is superbly exhibited with the logo of the Games, which are five interlocking rings of different colours to represent the five continents that feature at the Games; Africa, The Americas, Asia, Australia and Europe. And that idea of unity will likely suffer a major blight if concerns about travel are not resolved.

Russia presents a great opportunity and model for which other hosts of sporting events such as the Olympics could learn from and follow.

Ahead of the 2018 World Cup scheduled to take place in Russia, the world’s largest country is considering introducing a scheme that will allow football fans with tickets to matches to enter the country to watch the games without visas for the period. The move is not only set to bring the world together, Russia is expected to make billions of dollars as revenue from all the people that would converge on its streets to watch the beautiful game.

This presents an opportunity for the IOC to also negotiate for all host countries to accept athletes and fans on visa-free for at least the period of the Games.

If this is done, I am confident that the unifying power of sports would not be derailed by our man-made borders.

Exposing The Corrupt Acts Of Officials At O.R. Tambo International Airport, South Africa

South Africa, has, in the recent years become the favourite holiday destination of many Ghanaians and as a Travel Blogger with many years of experience in the field, I took it upon myself to put together a complete travel guide for holidaymakers. And to make this project kosher, I had to embark on several trips to gather genuine and needed information.

There’s no doubt that South Africa’s economy is one of the largest and fastest growing economies on the African continent but the country is being sullied each passing day by some nefarious activities by her immigration officers.

First to meet you on your arrival at the O.R. Tambo International Airport is one of the many immigration officers who I would like to describe as “Mr Corruption”. And, I didn’t miss him when I arrived on a Kenya Airways flight on a fine Saturday morning (April 10, 2017).

On my arrival, the news of a lady who was denied entry by an immigration officer the previous day for no palpable reason got me edgy. I was asked a number of questions by the immigration officer in regards to my visit to his country.

He then asked; “How much do you have on you for your stay in South Africa?” and I answered him “US$3,000”. Then, he started smiling, suggesting to me his interest in my cash – in other words, wanting a share of it.

He then asked of my accommodation arrangements and quizzed whether I had paid for my hotel which I answered “no”.
He told me he had every right to deny me entry into his country because I had not paid for my hotel. In order to extenuate the issue, I explained to him that the hotel only accepts payment on arrival and that was clearly stated on the confirmation of reservation, again assuring him I had my accommodation very well sorted.

That wasn’t the end!

Unconvinced by my explanation, he requested for US $50 or deny deny me entry (and entry denial usually attracts a ban for a specified period). With fears all over me, I quickly handed him the money as requested.

He took me to an office at the airport and still went ahead to place a phone call to the hotel I mentioned to him to verify whether I had booked with them. The hotel confirmed it to him but was only for a night per my agreement with them.

Then came his threat again: “I have to send you back for booking a hotel for just a night when you will be staying for ten days.” I explained to him that based on previous experiences, I only reserve a room for a night when travelling and only extend my stay in that hotel only when I am satisfied with their services or go look for another one.

He then requested for an additional US $50 or else he will report to his head who will ensure they put me on the next flight back to Ghana. “Do I look like a punk to this dude?” I asked myself. I kept pleading and later had to succumb to his threats by paying him US $20.

My US$70 entry stamp

I’m convinced he knew this experience may be put in a blog post some time to come knowing very well he was dealing with a Travel Blogger. Well I told him am one. He didn’t hesitate to give me his phone number when I requested and assured me to count on him anytime I may need him.

I wasn’t the only one who went through this ordeal.

Richard Koomson (a tourist from Ghana) had a rather funny experience when immigration officers asked him to bribe them half his hotel rate for his entire stay. Funny, isn’t it? He ended up paying US$ 100 out of the requested US$250 after spending half an hour explaining to them why he did not pay for his hotel in advance.

Richard Koomson paid US$100 to gain entry into South Africa

One Stephen Mensah also encountered similar incident with security officials at the airport. He was told immigration officials erred in granting him entry into the country and was forced to bribe officials to be granted entry. He was fortunate enough to have his R200 accepted.

Prince Osei Tutu (Ghanaian businessman visiting his girlfriend) had no option than to empty his wallet to satisfy some unscrupulous immigration officials. He also ended up paying an amount of US $100 as he had the rest of his money hidden elsewhere.

Passport page of Prince Osei-Tutu containing the entry stamp he paid US$100 for.

Lydia Twumwaa (a tourist from Ghana) who had met all conditions to travel to South Africa was denied entry and sent back to Ghana because she did not understand the “language” when she was asked to pay for an entry stamp. I’m sure you understand this “language”.

Another tourist is currently serving a year ban from entering South Africa for overstaying his VISA after he refused to pay the requested bribe of US$ 200 (his US$20 offer was not accepted).

He was given an option of either paying US$200 or receive a year ban. His US$20 offer was rejected when asked how much he could afford

This is how corrupt and enraging immigration officers at the O.R. Tambo International Airport can be. They have no shame and demand monies as if it’s legitimate or legal and they do it without flinching, and even give orders with gusto, without considering the visitor’s status. They do not care about the consequences of their absurd acts; neither do they care they could be challenged and dismissed. From all indications, there’s absolutely no visible discipline there.

Officials at the O.R. Tambo Airport are always finding means to extort monies from travellers. Extorting money from travellers is the norm at the OR Tambo Airport as other officers look on and smile while you are being spoken to in ‘figures’.

Many have lost interest in visiting South Africa as immigration officers welcome you with unplanned bills from whoever they get in contact with. I know for sure that South Africa tourism sector alone generates much revenue and plays a major role in driving their economy.

There are so many people out there that I’m convinced have fallen victims to these demands and threats of corrupt immigration officers who haven’t been bold enough to voice their experiences. It’s disgusting and very pathetic!

Like many others, I spent over US $3,000 during my 10-day stay. So just imagine the loss if the country drives visitors away through bribery and corruption right at the airport. One cannot fail to perceive the air of hostility that envelops the atmosphere at the airport on arrival and also, departure.

So, the question is, who at all is accountable for these corrupt practices?

I hope this corrupt attitude has not gotten to top management at the airport. The response this blog post receives from them would tell the world if this has eaten to the top. The authorities must act now to bring sanity to the O.R. Tambo International Airport.

Now, many of us see travelling to South Africa as ‘going to war’ because you literally battle with the security officials as soon as you arrive. It’s a pity!

I hope this post is helpful to others who are still planning the great South African adventure. Just be prepared at the airport!

Join Ghanaian Bloggers on a Tour to Dubai (May 1- 7, 2017)

Travel dates: May 1- 7, 2017

Undoubtedly, Blogging is one of the most paying jobs (if not the most paying) of today. We are taking days off our computer desks to tour the beautiful city of Dubai and we invite you to join us on this adventure.

Holidaying with bloggers means there would be networking, opportunity to interact from the people you have been reading from and even a chance to put your passion into blogging so as to make some decent money.

Dubai is an incredible city to visit. With so much to do and see, we have sampled the beautiful attractions and activities that a visitor to Dubai cannot miss.

Dessert Safari
Dessert Safari a delightful Dubai activity that you can’t miss when you visit the city. Not trying the adventure of being chauffeured in the sandy and golden landscape of the desert is like eating ‘fufu’ without soup. Standby photographers would be around to take you beautiful pictures that speak for themselves.

Desert Safari/ Photo credit: dubaisafariworld.com

Dubai City Tour
Pictures of the beauty of Dubai have been circulating on social media and the Dubai City Tour is going to bring them before our very eyes.

Dhow Dinner Cruise
Enjoy a dhow dinner cruise on the marina and see Dubai from a new angle. Luxurious seating, stunning views, and prime service await you. You can enjoy delicious specialties like grilled fish, curry, or penne Neapolitan while enjoying a live singing and dancing show.

Dhow Dinner Cruise/ Photo credit: reddunestourism.com

Starting from $1,135, you get to enjoy:

1. 5 nights Hotel and Breakfast
2. UAE Tourist Visa
3. Return Air Ticket
4. Airport transfer
5. Dubai City Tour
6. Dhow Cruise Dinner with transfer
7. Desert Safari
8. Travel Insurance
9. A night stay in Nairobi, Kenya

We are inviting few non-bloggers to join us. Call me on 0560574768 to reserve your package.

 

Featured Image: Dubai Yellow Pages