Covid Rant

Covid Rant

Travelers’ frustrations are growing. … What a stupidly simplistic statement: everybody’s frustrations are growing. But I’m talking about travel and I’m about to scold you if you travel.

Travelers are venting their anger on us, their suppliers. They want to know why they can’t get their money back for trips that the virus scuttled. This is my answer.
Read more

Sibili

Sibili

EWT currently has one safari operating in Kenya and I will be leaving on the weekend to take another to Tanzania. These are the first safaris EWT has operated since the pandemic and we’re learning a lot about what travelers like me should expect and how radically different the business landscape has become.

There’s a lot for me to still learn but I have some very preliminary advice to persons considering traveling to East Africa. It boils down to money: Don’t go if you don’t spend a lot but don’t spend a lot without being very, very careful.
Read more

Should You Go?

Should You Go?

What’s the greatest risk to an international traveler right now? Obviously, Covid, but NOT for the reason you think! A vaccinated traveler is very unlikely to get sick from Covid. More vaccinated travelers are going to get hurt and some die from slipping on the stairs of the jetway than from Covid. More vaccinated travelers headed into wild jungles (who are taking malaria pills) will still get sick from malaria than from Covid.

The Covid vaccine is as much a game changer as Delta. Its efficacy is better than all the vaccines before it, better than malaria pills, better than attending daily mass, better than practically anything! So what’s the problem?
Read more

Masking Up

Masking Up

Here’s what yesterday’s CDC mask-wearing recommendation changes means for travelers:

For the foreseeable future if you travel most anywhere you’ll be significantly changing the way you traveled before: Mask wearing, social distancing and many other pandemic protection characteristics will now become the status quo when traveling, perhaps for years to come.
Read more

Covid Chicanery

Covid Chicanery

Reopening is a contentious topic. Loosening the rules for dining out, for example, is an explosive issue as much in New York as Nairobi. Not just personal freedom and sanity, but for the large part of the economy on which dining is based.

But get real folks, not for vacation travel.

Read more

Corona Crests

Corona Crests

This blog is about travel prospects to sub-Saharan Africa, but in preparing it my jaw dropped.

South Africa has a sixth the population of the United States but has tested a million of its people. Comparatively that’s two to three times better than the U.S.

The U.S. handling of the pandemic is a chaotic mess. South Africa and other countries know this, and it’s why the prospects for Americans traveling to Africa is getting worse and worse.

Read more

Corona Crisis

Corona Crisis

Oh my. A careful reading of the Presidential Proclamation limiting travel starting midnight Friday, and Homeland Security’s accompanying brief shows how woefully inadequate and perhaps intentionally baneful the action is.

The limitation does not apply to Americans, green-card holders and a host of others including most NGOs, cargo and health workers, nor of course the crews and staff of airlines or other transport companies. These exemptions put in certain doubt the effectiveness of the ban.

Read more

Worth What?

Worth What?

Beware traveling this summer. The facts suggest that the Trump administration’s demeanor and policies have loosened the reigns so much on airline regulation, that consumers are suffering terribly.

Here’s a story of one Cleveland family who returned home from Africa yesterday. Perhaps you can learn something from their travails.

Read more

Is Uganda Safe?

Is Uganda Safe?

John Gilman wrote:
My daughter has an opportunity to travel to Uganda with a group called Sozo Children. Are you familiar with the group? Is Uganda a safe country to visit? Thank you.

Dear John,
I am not familiar with the group.

As my blogs in the last several months have pointed out, I am cautious about travel to Uganda. I would not go there for a vacation, but that is not necessarily an indictment of going there for any other reason. Vacations are supposed to be worry-free and relaxing. I doubt that a mission anywhere in the world could be classified in that context.

It would also depend upon where she was scheduled to go. The areas in and around Kampala and Entebbe and the entire western part of the country I’d consider too unsafe or too close to the most recent ebola outbreaks to travel to right now.

Regards,
Jim Heck

Bringing Handguns into Kenya

Bringing Handguns into Kenya

Pastor Jim wrote:
Jim, I travel to Kenya once a year for a month. I go into areas that are not safe, expecially in turkana, Kisumu, and Nairobi, ect.. Can an American get a permit to bring in a handgun and then leave with it?

Dear Jim,
Ever since Kenya banned hunting in 1978, it’s very difficult to enter the country with any kind of gun. Permission must be requested through the American embassy, and that is the first big obstacle. Even after the embassy requests the permit on your behalf, it is unlikely that it will be granted unless your profession is one that normally requires weapons (such as a policeman), or unless you are ultimately transiting to another country like Tanzania that allows hunting.

But much more than that, Jim, if you ever had to use your gun, you would probably end up in jail in Kenya, even if the use was in self defense. The gun laws in Kenya are extraordinarily strict. Use even in self-defense is limited. And the embassy would give you no support.

Kenya is in the midst of fighting terrorists, and any individual attempting to bring in a weapon for whatever reason is suspicious.

I travel often to Kenya. I have businesses there. I haven’t been to Kisumu for a while, but I do get into the Northern Frontier. I have never been armed.

– JIM

You Can’t Befriend Somalia without Training

You Can’t Befriend Somalia without Training

Matthew Wrote:
Jim i want to begin providing aid in somalia, would you recomend Garissa a good
place to live and creat a relationship with somalians?

Matthew –

In your straight-forward email, I sense a dogged commitment and very high moral belief in what you’ve decided to do, so far be it from me to dissuade you. But that’s what I’ve been doing most of my life in Africa.

I have a forty-year view. Individual charity or “missions” are almost always bad. But there are thousands, probably tens of thousands of people exactly like yourself who are successfully helping Africa. They do it with proper training, first, and then by joining some of the outstanding organizations like the Red Cross or Medecins sans frontieres for health issues, or by joining NGOs like USAid or UN agencies. Those groups of people do Africa enormous, untold good.

Good individuals like yourself often help African individuals, but it’s like biofuels here where I live near Iowa. We spend more energy and other resources to make biofuels then we get out of them. Most individual charity work expends more money, human resources, intellectual effort than it produces good. Especially someone as clear-minded as yourself. You belong in the foreign service, not on an individual mission. You probably don’t even know the extent of your own talents, but a good organization will determine that and will maximize your individual effort.

Go back to my blog and navigate to “charity” on the right-hand panel and then read the thumbnails of a dozen blogs I’ve written that explain this more fully.

I’m not telling you not to go. I’m telling you to make a short turn first, to a good organization.

Regards,
Jim Heck

Touring in Laikipia

Touring in Laikipia

miriamb@centurytel.net> asked:
When is the best time to see wildlife at Mt. Kenya vicinity? What is the cost of a safari there?

The “Mt. Kenya” area is usually known as “Laikipia” and is an area with abundant wildlife, but also great ranches and several densely populated cities. North of Mt. Kenya and a bit north of Liakipia is Samburu to the west and Shaba to the east, both at the beginning of the great northern frontier, and at this point there are few ranches or populated cities.

You can obtain much more information by googling Laikipia, Samburu or Shaba.

Everyone has their own preferences for when a given area is the best. For me it is just as the rains begin or end, which in this part of East Africa is mid-November through mid-December, March or June.

There is a huge variance in the cost of a safari. An overland camping safari in a big Bedford vehicle where you share the truck with up to 30 other people can cost as little as $100 per person day. Most lodge safaris cost around $400 per person per day. And boutique luxury camps can cost upwards of $800 per person per day.

Regards,
Africaanswerman