Continuous progress is seen as international travel begins to open up. Last week, the US State Department lowered the travel advisory level for several of the countries in which we travel. Previously, there was a blanket level 4 – “Do Not Travel” – warning for all international travel. For many countries, the warning has been lowered to a level 3 warning, which is “Reconsider Travel due to Covid-19.” While the number of countries in Africa that have actually opened their borders is very limited, the State Department’s action can be seen as an encouraging sign that is consistent with Safari Professionals’ sense that travel to the safari destinations in Africa will begin to return just after the first of the year.
Safari Professionals continues to stay in touch with our friends and colleagues throughout Africa, in order to update you on developments that may affect future safaris. Each country is establishing safety protocols for international travelers and safari operations. And they will continue to monitor each destination’s progress as safety protocols are finalized.
Optimism in the Safari Business???
In addition, many of Safari Professionals’ partners in Africa are creating their own safety protocols, which will often exceed those that are required. Examples include certified staff training in the new “Covid-19 Travel Safe” hygiene and physical distancing procedures, contact free arrivals and registration at safari lodges and camps – and sanitizing of safari vehicles before each use.
In some countries, national parks and reserves have opened up for domestic tourism – allowing everyone to get used to the “new normal.” While the actual dates of welcoming international travelers will vary from country to country (Tanzania is already open!), it is anticipated that the turn of the New Year is the most realistic earliest date when people will be able to visit most, if not all, of their favorite safari destinations.
A very high percentage of travelers who expected to go on safari in 2020 with Safari Professionals have re-scheduled their safaris in 2021 – and they are very grateful. They are also thankful that their partners in Africa have almost universally kept their 2020 prices through 2021. Safari Professionals is finding that this high rate of re-scheduling is a trend within the safari industry, which has created an interesting situation: they are already finding that some of their favorite lodges and camps already have limited availability. If you’ve been dreaming of your own safari, 2021 will offer you an opportunity to realize those dreams at prices you aren’t likely to ever see again. All it takes is a call (800-779-2146) or reach out here to see what your safari may include.