• Sydney Australia - credit Jackie Appleton

World Lion Day

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Vicki Tester

 

August 10 was World Lion Day and it is worth taking stock on how these magnificent animals are doing in the wild.  With Cecil the lion, and his untimely death showed, many people around the world hold lion in deep affection.

The current situation is a mixture of good and bad news.  To deal with the bad first, the number of  lion in Western, Central and East Africa have decreased by 60% over the past 21 years. However the better news is that their numbers have  increased by 12% over the same period in Botswana, Namibia, South Africa and Zimbabwe.

It is encouraging that Rwanda realises the value of having lion in its National Parks and has re-introduced 15 lion to their Akagera National Park – the last time lion were seen here was 15 years ago. 

Picture courtesy of Peter Ellis

Picture courtesy of Peter Ellis

The King of the Jungle needs all the friends it can get.  If you want to discuss seeing these beautiful animals in their natural habitat just get in touch.

 We have lots of ideas on how to incorporate this into your own bespoke, tailor made holiday and many other places/parks that are a must visit on your trip.  We will also advise on the best time of year to visit and the length of time you need in each place therefore making the most of your time and money, whilst making the best memories!

Please contact us on Tel: 01323 446550 or email: info@experienceholidays.co.uk

Picture courtesy of Peter Ellis

Picture courtesy of Peter Ellis

 

Picture courtesy of Peter Ellis

Picture courtesy of Peter Ellis

Wildebeest Migration

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Vicki Tester

 

For all of you that loved and marvelled at Ben Fogle’s ITV programme on the wildebeest migration and would like to find out more about seeing this amazing event, then please get in touch.

Whether you see the herds in Kenya or Tanzania it does depend upon when you can get away and for how long. Both countries have much to offer relating to the migration and all that happens around it and also with other wonderful Game Parks and scenery.

Certain parts of the migration are very popular to watch, particularly the river crossings, so finding accommodation and/or places can be difficult and expensive.

As always try to plan in advance to ensure your seat at this spectacle and to minimise costs.

Please contact us for more information and advice on building your own bespoke, tailor made holiday to see this spectacular – Tel: 01323 446 550 or email: info@experinceholidays.co.uk

Picture courtesy of Peter Ellis

Picture courtesy of Peter Ellis

 

Picture courtesy of Peter Ellis

Picture courtesy of Peter Ellis

 

Picture courtesy of Peter Ellis

Picture courtesy of Peter Ellis

 

Kenya Safari and Beach

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For those people experiencing a safari for the first time and who are not sure how they will like it or for those that know that a few days of game viewing are enough for them, the following suggested itinerary should give food for thought…

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Kenya Safari and Beach

This itinerary offers a lovely combination of bush and beach and is ideal for those not too sure if the safari element will be to their taste or not.  But be warned, hardened safari-goers will tell you that Africa gets under your skin, encouraging you to return again and again:

Day 1: Mombasa, Shanzu Beach
Day 2: Tsavo
Day 3: Tsavo East
Day 4: Tsavo East
Day 5: Mombasa, Diani Beach
Day 6 to 11: Mombasa
Day 12: Depart Kenya

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Description

 

Kenya: Safari and Beach
For those people experiencing a safari for the first time and who are not sure how they will like it or those that know that a few days of game viewing are enough for them, the following suggested itinerary should give food for thought…

Day 1: Mombasa, Shanzu Beach
Begin with an overnight stay to the north of Mombasa on the Shanzu beach, considered one of the best on this coast. Time to unwind after the journey and to dip into the Indian Ocean.

Day 2: Tsavo
Today begin a private safari by driving inland to the Taita Hills. Take an afternoon game drive in the Taita Hills Game Sanctuary. Tsavo Park and this sanctuary are famous for their red elephants; the animals cover themselves with the red earth to act as a deterrent to insects and as a cooling agent.

Day 3: Tsavo East
After breakfast, continue the safari with a morning game drive in Taita Hills and then continue to Tsavo East. The aim will be to arrive in time for lunch at a Tented Camp. After time to settle in and let the heat of the day dissipate (watching whatever animals visit the waterhole here), head out for an afternoon game drive in Tsavo East. This whole area has good numbers of all the Big 5 but finding them is the task. Back to the camp in time for sundowners while watching the activities at the waterhole.

Day 4: Tsavo East
Today take morning and afternoon game drives in Tsavo East. It is probably worth returning to Camp to relax during the heat of the afternoon.

Day 5: Mombasa, Diani Beach
Today, return to Mombasa with the chance of game viewing en route. Your destination is to the south of Mombasa for a stay on the Diani Beach. The hotels here vary in size and cost and it does depend upon the kind of holiday that you want while staying on the coast. For the more pampered and quieter holiday, then the smaller hotels will suit. The beach is silver sand and the reef not far from the shore. Plenty of swimming, snorkelling, sailing and other water sports are available. Or just chill out.

Day 6 to 11: Mombasa
There is plenty to do here.  Mombasa is worth a visit both from the shopping point of view and also a visit to Jesus Fort in the Harbour (for the history of the place). Another trip to consider, if you have not had enough wildlife experiences, would be a day trip to Shimba Hills National Park. A different experience to your safari as this is a forested park with different animals to be seen and a greater abundance of butterflies.

Day 12: Depart Kenya
Depart Mombasa today for the onward or homeward journey.

All photographs courtesy Kenya Tourist Board

Kenya - beach camel      Kenya - Boy with Wood

Kenya - lions      Kenya - Mombasa Beach

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Little Gems

Many safari lodges offer tented accommodation, but in most cases, this is not camping as we knew it in our youth.  These tents have comfortable furniture and en suite bathrooms – this is camping in style!

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Client Feedback

Content coming soon

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Free Safaris for children under the age of 12

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Posted by:

Vicki Tester

 

SkySafari, one of the companies that we love booking with, provides once-in-a-lifetime wildlife experiences, for the young as well as for the young-at-heart.

Families find their 8-day SkySafari the perfect solution to avoid long transfers as their direct flights between the lodges & camps of the Elewana Collection allow you and your family to spend more time searching for The Big Five.

With the Easter Holidays just around the corner, why not take your children on an 8-day SkySafari in either Tanzania or Kenya?  And what’s more, children under 12 years of age will travel free of charge until mid-June 2016.

SKYSAFARI HIGHLIGHTS

  • Each of the Elewana Collection lodges & camps is geared for family groups and offers a unique perspective and diverse activities specific to each age group
  • Our passionate and informative guides will explain all about the flora & fauna encountered 
  • Your children (and you) have the opportunity to learn about the traditional values of some of East Africa’s oldest tribes
  • Small lodges or camps in private reserves – away from the crowds

ITINERARY IN BRIEF

  • KENYA – 1 night Hemingways Nairobi | 2 nights Tortilis Camp Amboseli  |  2 nights Elsa’s Kopje Meru  |  2 nights Sand River Masai Mara
  • TANZANIA – 1 night Arusha Coffee Lodge | 2 nights Tarangire Treetops | 2 nights The Manor at Ngorongoro | 2 nights either Serengeti Pioneer or Migration Camp
Elsa's Kopje Meru - Luxury Open Cottage - Courtesy of SkySafaris

Elsa’s Kopje Meru – Luxury Open Cottage – Courtesy of SkySafari

 

Tortillis Camp - Courtesy of SkySafaris

Tortillis Camp – Courtesy of SkySafari

 

 

 

 

 

 

TERMS & CONDITIONS

  • No charge for children’s accommodation, meals, drinks, activities and transfers in our luxurious Executive-Class Cessna Grand Caravan aircraft
  • Park & Concession fees for children are payable (USD 155 in Tanzania and USD 370 in Kenya)
  • Only applicable to the 8-day Classic SkySafari itineraries. SkySafari Plus extensions are excluded. 
  • Valid for bookings made from today to the date of travel
  • Valid for any SkySafari  departures between today and 15 June 2016
  • Maximum 2 children under 12 years sharing a room with 2 adults

 Truly an exceptional offer and a wonderful introduction to Africa for the children.

Serengeti Migration Camp - Bedroom Tent - Courtesy of Skysafaris

Serengeti Migration Camp – Bedroom Tent – Courtesy of Skysafari

 

Tarangire Treetops - Courtesy of Skysafaris

Tarangire Treetops – Courtesy of Skysafari

Family Holidays to Kenya just got a little bit cheaper

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Posted by:

Vicki Tester

 

There are many reasons to head to Kenya for a holiday – fantastic, wildlife, beautiful silver sand beaches, friendly people, history that goes back to the dawn of man and only 7/8 hours flying time away.

Picture courtesy of Peter Ellis

Picture courtesy of Peter Ellis

 

Picture courtesy of Peter Ellis

Picture courtesy of Peter Ellis

Now the Kenya Government has announced that it is waiving visa fees for children under 16. This will not make a huge difference but it certainly helps.

Kenya has always been a great family holiday destination and one of the best places for your first safari. It offers a mixture of experiences and children are always made a fuss of by the Kenyans. There is something magical in watching your youngster being taught about the nature around them by a tall Masai warrior.

There are still deals on offer for holidays to Kenya this year so give us a call to discuss your bespoke, tailor made safari and/or beach holiday.

Contact us on Tel: 01323 446550 or Email: info@experienceholidays.co.uk

Picture courtesy of Peter Ellis

Picture courtesy of Peter Ellis

 

Picture courtesy of Peter Ellis

Picture courtesy of Peter Ellis

 

 

Southern Kenya Safari

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Mount Kilimanjaro dominates the skyline of southern Kenya whether displayed in all its glory, or shrouded in its table cloth. This itinerary highlights the best of southern Kenya. 

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Southern Kenya Safari

Mount Kilimanjaro dominates the skyline of southern Kenya whether displayed in all its glory, or shrouded in its table cloth.  This itinerary highlights the best of southern Kenya. 

Day 1: Amboseli National Park
Day 3: Tsavo West
Day 5: Tsavo East
Day 7: Nairobi

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Using Mount Kilimanjaro as a backdrop for your photos (providing it is playing ball and not covered in cloud!), this trip takes in some of the largest Parks in Africa and places that often feature in films and animal documentaries.

This trip can be added to and by including the Northern Kenya safari route it would give you a more extensive tour of this fascinating country. Your budget will determine how exclusive your experience will be. It is possible to stay in small, well appointed camps or lodges were numbers of clients are limited to 20 or less but Kenya has the whole range of accommodation types and prices to match.

Day 1: Amboseli National Park
Begin with a drive from Nairobi to Amboseli National Park. Amboseli is the second most popular Park in Kenya after the Masai Mara and is at the foot of Mount Kilimanjaro making it the perfect backdrop for your animal photos. The rain and snow melt from the Mountain, and then permeate down to Amboseli into 5 swamps, two of which are now protected in the National Park. This reliable water is relied upon by the wild animals of the Park. All of the Big 5 are found here (although the number of rhino is much depleted due to poaching) as are good numbers of the plains animals.

Take morning and late afternoon game drives out over the plains, through the Acacia forests and in to the swamps looking for those animals that are high on the wish list. Drive to the top of Observation Hill for an excellent view of the Park. Take time to look at the bird life here which is prolific, colourful and in abundance. As the Park is within the Masai homeland, take the opportunity to visit them in their manyata and learn about their nomadic way of living.

Two nights stay Amboseli

Day 3: Tsavo West
Head in to Tsavo West National Park and you will be able to see wildlife along most of the journey. Tsavo East and West National Parks account for 4% of Kenya’s landmass and are not as busy as some of the other Parks in Kenya. However the amount and diversity of wildlife and birds (over 500 species have been recorded here) are second to none.

Tsavo West is a mixture of plains, wooded grassland, mountains and riverine forests. There is also the spectacular volcanic mountain range of the Chyulu Hills which are well worth a visit. The Park is huge and your game drives will take you to these different areas. All of the Big 5 are represented here and the elephants are renowned for their red/brown colour. This is from their taking dust baths in the very red soil.

Certainly drive to the top of Poacher’s Lookout for an all round viewpoint and ensure that you see the crystal clear water at Mzima Springs. Here you have the opportunity to go in to an underwater viewing chamber to see the tilapia fish and, if you are lucky, hippo walking along the bottom of the spring.

Two nights Tsavo West

Day 5: Tsavo East
Move across to Tsavo East, which is a mixture of bush, plains and rivers crossing the Park. The Galana River runs all year whereas the Voi and Tiva rivers are seasonal. There are good size herds of elephants here and watching them coming down to drink and bathe from the top of Mudana Rock is a must. This side of Tsavo is quieter than the West giving you the feel of having an exceptional and individual experience. Again all the Big 5 are here as are all the plains animals and over 500 species of birds being recorded here.

Two nights Tsavo East

Day 7: Nairobi
Today either return to Nairobi for the onward or homeward journey, or extend your holiday with a few days of relaxation on the coast with its silver sands, clear water and beautiful corals and fish.

Giraffe

Credit Peter Ellis


hippo2

Credit Kenya Tourism


Hot Air Balloon

Credit Kenya Tourism

            

 

Wildebeast Crossing River

Credit Kenya Tourism


lions

Credit Peter Ellis

      

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Little Gems

Tsavo East is home to the infamous ‘man-eater’ lions – grizzly looking beasts, larger in size than regular lions and having more of the appearance of Scar in the Lion King than Simba! The original “man eaters” are to be found in the Nairobi Museum.

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Client Feedback

Content coming soon

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Northern Kenya Safari

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Kenya is the birth place of safaris as we now know them, although they originally had hunting in mind.

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Northern Kenya Safari

Kenya is the birth place of safaris as we now know them, although they originally had hunting in mind. Hemingway wrote movingly about his experiences here and many other famous people have safaried in Kenya over the last century. So perhaps if you are thinking of setting out on your own safari, then the following itinerary will give you a varied and interesting trip.

Day 1: Nairobi
Day 2: Samburu National Park
Day 4: Aberdaire Mountains
Day 5: Lake Nakuru National Park.
Day 7: Masai Mara
Day 10: Depart Nairobi

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Description

 

Kenya is the birth place of safaris as we now know them, although they originally had hunting in mind. Hemingway wrote movingly about his experiences here and many other famous people have safaried here over the last century. So perhaps if you are thinking of setting out on your own safari, then the following itinerary will give you a varied and interesting trip.

There is a perception that Kenya safaris are too crowded and the experience spoilt by the volume of vehicles around each lion, cheetah or leopard. This is not a wholly undeserved reputation, but like everything in life, you get what you are paying for. We can take you to places where there is a very good chance that your wildlife encounter will be unique, the camp site having less than a dozen visitors and the view and food second to none in Africa. Give us the challenge of finding the best value for your hard earned money.

Day 1: Nairobi

Stay overnight the city, either in one of the many iconic hotels, or perhaps at a camp site in Nairobi National Park to get your safari started.

One night Nairobi

Day 2: Samburu

After breakfast you guide/driver will pick you and drive north to Samburu National Park. This afternoon, take a first game drive in the Park. Samburu is fascinating in that it is on the edge of two types of terrain – the dry semi desert of the Northern Frontier District and the lusher country around Mount Kenya. Because of this, it is home to some rare and different animals, such as Grevy’s Zebra, Gerenuk and Reticulated Giraffe. The Uaso Nyiro River runs through the Park supporting the wildlife and home to pods of hippo and good sized crocodiles.

Two nights Samburu with game drives morning and afternoon.

Day 4: Aberdare Mountains

Drive back to the Aberdare Mountains for a different type of wildlife experience. Hopefully Mount Kenya will be clear making an excellent backdrop for photos. The afternoon and evening will be spent checking the wildlife that comes out of the forest to drink and feed in the open area. After an a good meal you can either continue watching the floodlit waterhole or retire to bed and ask the nightwatchman to give you a knock if something you particularly want to see (leopard, wild bush pig or elephant for example).

One night Aberdare Mountains

Day 5: Lake Nakuru

Today, drive in to the Rift Valley to Lake Nakuru National Park. The lake here is famous for having up to 1 million greater and lesser flamingos feeding around its edge at different times of the year. With another 450 species of birds in the Park, this is a bird enthusiast’s dream. However there are plenty of mammal species to be found here, with good numbers of white rhino and the much more rare black rhino.

Two nights Lake Nakuru

Day 7: Masai Mara

The next destination is the world famous Masai Mara with its open plains and riverine woods. At the right time of the year, the plains are teeming with wildebeest and zebra as they migrate from one part of the Serengeti to the Mara and back again. If you are here for the migration, you will have the chance of watching the hectic and traumatic river crossing by the ungulates. You have a great chance of seeing the Big cats here and also good numbers of elephant. Over 450 species of birds have been recorded here with almost 60 raptors included in this number. A wonderful way of seeing the wildlife here is to take an early morning balloon ride across the plains and finish the experience with a champagne breakfast when you land.

Three nights Masai Mara

Day 10: Nairobi

Drive back to Nairobi for the onward or homeward journey. Alternatively, fly down to the Kenya Coast for a few days of relaxation, snorkelling or diving.

Giraffe Masai Mara

Credit Peter Ellis

Cats kenya

Credit Peter Ellis

 

Lake Turkana

Credit Kenya Tourism

Zebra1

Credit Peter Ellis

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Little Gems

Where to start! There is nothing like the thrill of seeing big game in its natural environment for the first time.

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Client Feedback

‘Wow, wow and wow – the Masai Mara during the migration was something we will never forget’

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East Africa

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East Africa – the lands that spawned the safari, drawing such luminaries as Teddy Roosevelt and Ernest Hemmingway. The original safaris were all about trophies to hang on your wall and the excitement and near misses you had endured (the truth is that the hunter with you would never let you come to harm – he would never work again if anything happened). It was for the elite and the wealthy.

Then after the war came the change in emphasis, using the camera and making safaris more accessible to others. Some would say that it went too far with too many tourists around a pride of lion or any other spectacle. But the truth is that the countries of this part of the world are huge, the wildlife abundant and the safari experience can be as individual and as private as it ever was. Your guides/rangers are more knowledgeable and understand the need to conserve the ecosystem.

East Africa is more than the wildlife/sea life, spectacular as it is. It is believed to be the cradle of man and there are a number of excellent sites to visit, such as the Olduvai Gorge. There are any numbers of adventure trips that can be arranged, the favourite being climbing Mount Kilimanjaro and with more than 50 tribes in Kenya alone; there are many cultural experiences to be explored.

To get the most out of your trip, talk to us, with the experience of the countries we can help you plan a trip to be remembered.

Lake Turkana

Credit Kenya Tourism


Wildebeast Crossing River

Credit Kenya Tourism


Giraffe

Credit Peter Ellis

                    

 

Tales from a Waterhole 1 – by Peter Ellis

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Vicki Tester

 

The team here at Experience Holidays ask me why Africa is my favourite destination. Apart from the fact that I was born and raised in Kenya and have a life long love of wildlife, I love the fact that every time you go out in to the bush you are not sure what you will see or encounter.

I had a 3 week holiday in Namibia last November and I thought that a few tales of what we saw while travelling would help explain why I keep going back.

We arrived at a big waterhole in central Etosha National Park where we had seen a male and female lion on a baby giraffe they had just killed. The lions had gone and the remains were being squabbled over by a couple of hyena and half a dozen jackel. On the other side of the waterhole a small herd of kudu were nervously drinking. An alarm bark from one of them made them all scatter. One of the youngsters leaped forward straight in to the mud in the centre of the waterhole and sank up to its chest. The more it thrashed to get out the deeper it sank. 

IMG_0526

Picture courtesy of Peter Ellis

 

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Picture courtesy of Peter Ellis

 

 The rest of the herd left with barely a glance backwards.

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Picture courtesy of Peter Ellis

 

IMG_0568

Picture courtesy of Peter Ellis

One of the jackals saw an opportunity for fresh, uncontested meat and leapt across the water and on to the drying mud. We held our breath as it approached the rear of the kudu (images passed through my mind of a rhino we had to put down in 1962 in Kenya when it got stuck in mud in the Nairobi National Park and the hyena could reach its rear end) but thankfully the jackal started to sink in to the mud. It backed off quickly and lay down to await developments. Then a hyena walked around the waterhole and began to wade out but the water was too deep and anyway it had a belly so full it was waddling.

All the while other game came to drink and ignored the drama. The kudu kept on struggling and slowly began to break through the mud until finally with a huge effort it was free and on the bank. A huge cheer went up from the people in the 4 vehicles watching this drama.

The mud covered kudu looked lost for a moment and then tagged on to another herd of  kudu that were just leaving the waterhole. 

Keep an eye out for my next tale coming soon. 

IMG_0573

Picture courtesy of Peter Ellis

 

IMG_0581

Picture courtesy of Peter Ellis

Honeymoon

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Amanda Skingle

 

 

Picture credit Tourism Australia

Picture credit Tourism Australia

With the excitement of the wedding and all the details that need your attention, the honeymoon can often slip down the agenda. It is the moment when you can relax (or otherwise if that is what you want!), have some time to yourselves and reflect on the memories of the day itself. Meticulous planning is required to ensure the honeymoon is as memorable as the wedding.

The key is to start planning early and to tap in to the knowledge of an expert for your chosen destination.  It will cost no more and will ensure that you are in the right place at the right time. There is nothing worse than looking forward to a safari of a lifetime, only to arrive and find that the rains are in full swing, making travel difficult (if not impossible) and the wildlife has dispersed to inaccessible areas.  The popular destinations often include time spent on a beach and timing can be critical. Swimming in the sea along with large quantities of seaweed (as happens in some popular beach resorts) is not the experience most would relish.

The sooner someone is working on your honeymoon, the sooner you will have the options to consider and decide upon. We will ensure that you are not rushing from one place to another, with no time to see what attracted you there in the first place. We will work to your budget and time constraints and will have suggestions as to the type of accommodation available and what activities are on offer. We will also advise the lodges and hotels where you stay that you are newly-weds, which often brings a few treats.

There are often special packages for honeymooners and your advisor will factor these in to your itinerary, if appropriate.

A number of our recent newly weds who have already set up home, have opted for their friends and families making contributions towards their honeymoon rather than struggling to find wedding gifts that they have not already got at home.  Experience Holidays offers this service at no extra cost.

So get in touch with Experience Holidays on 01323 446550 or email info@experienceholidays.co.uk and start working together with our experts to ensure that your bespoke, tailor made honeymoon itinerary is truly as important and memorable as your wedding.

Picture credit Tourism Australia

Picture credit Tourism Australia

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