OnSafari: Klein’s Valley

OnSafari: Klein’s Valley

Those damned kids! They ruined dinner once again!

Mama looked at us unabashedly. It was really getting dark, around 7:15 p.m. in the Klein’s Valley that borders Kenya’s Mara to the north and the Serengeti to the west. The sun had blinked out at 6:30p and twilight doesn’t really exist in the equator, but the high stringy cumulus making the moon and Venus blur threw what light the far away sun touched them with back down to the ground. A sort of unexpected twilight.
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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.
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WorkKing

WorkKing

Worldwide the pandemic response was a society — like a house with windows — pulling down all its blinds. As we cautiously pry open the levers what will we see?

In the developing world we’ll see how young societies fared without the heavy influence of world powers. In normal prepandemic times there was hardly a move that an African government made without first running it by a host of global powers. That didn’t happen the last two years.
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Not At Last

Not At Last

How times have changed! I love cliches. And the pandemic has helped refresh traditions and with that, nostalgia, and with, sentimentality and so now I’m terrified. In a few weeks I head back to my most loved Serengeti. What will it be like?

I drove my first safari vehicle into the Serengeti from Kenya’s Mara in February, 1972, and when I’m reminded that’s a half century ago I feel like putting on a toga and sitting on a park bench dribbling bread crumbs to pigeons.
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Mr. 13173

Mr. 13173

Terrible, scandalous, hypocritical and immoral but never surprising. Africa leaders have feathered their beds ever since colonial masters bribed them into submission, ever since world powers bought their Cold War loyalties, then now when giant corporations and disreputable not-for-profits buy influence. Excruciatingly terrible but what’s new?

What’s new is Kenya’s President Uhuru Kenyatta. The expose regarding Uhuru Kenyatta specifically published in the recently released Pandora Papers might just at long last make a difference.
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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?
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Lion on Safari

Lion on Safari

Early this morning I finished a number of phone conversations with friends, staff and property owners in East Africa, mostly in Tanzania and Kenya. I’m encouraged … with caveats.

The small companies are dying like flies. The big, mid-market companies are also on life-support and some of them already hanging from the edge. Upmarket companies, or small companies owned by deep pocketed investors seem to be all that’s left. Even the bottom feeders seemed to have fled Dodge.
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Pox on Vax

Pox on Vax

Is naming anti-vaxxers who die of Covid a moral strategy for promoting vaccination?

No, says Elizabeth Bruenig in this month’s Atlantic. Yes, counters University of Cape Town professor Nicoli Nattrass.

The “Death Shaming” controversy is on big time. It’s on because Delta is mowing down those who flaunt it, and it’s on because the madness that denies vaccine science can just as readily deny the anti-vaxxer’s obits.
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Afghan Parts

Afghan Parts

Chinua Achebe, author of “Things Fall Apart,” was a greater seer than any of his characters: Today Africans across the continent are filled with worry, nervous with a sense of helplessness. Across the continent it feels like things are falling apart.

“The Americans wanted revenge over the 2001 September 11 attack on the Pentagon Building,” Nigeria’s largest newspaper, The Sun, says today in its lead editorial. “What they now have is a defeat.”
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Update on UP

Update on UP

Africa is breaking as covid cases surge.

Data collection and compilation varies so dramatically one country to another. Moreover collection and compilation has improved equally dramatically since the start of the pandemic, so each country’s numbers may be inflated by their improved collections. Suffice it to say that not a single African country reports the situation improving and many are sounding the alarm.
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Afghan Apprehensions

Afghan Apprehensions

“U.S. abandoning Afghans sends terrible message” is the headline in South Africa’s BusinessLive. The Daily Maverick calls it an “unmitigated disaster.” Kenya’s Standard: “U.S. Government has let down Afghanistan.”

None argue that America should stay. The criticism is entirely for abandoning the tens maybe hundreds of thousands of Afghans who live in mortal danger because of their American connections. And for the stupidity of having extended the original mission:

“The purpose of armies is war, not peace,” writes BusinessDay this morning in Johannesburg. “The failure of military intervention [in Afghanistan] shows the time has come to disband Nato and US bases around the world.”
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Covid Confusion

Covid Confusion

The spike in Covid-19 in certain countries in the southern hemisphere is causing mayhem in the travel industry. Today South Africa moved to an “adjusted alert Level 4″ which further closes down the country, and separately, the CDC advised even vaccinated travelers against visiting Tanzania.

This needs much explanation, especially since the new Tanzanian president is really moving the country in the right direction. But the one thing she refuses to do is specifically why the CDC kiboshed Tanzanian travel. In South Africa’s case, it’s just rotten luck.

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What’s Wrong

What’s Wrong

Foreign involvement in local wars seems to be ending worldwide in spite of the possibility that withdrawing these powerful forces recharges terrorists.

Americans worried that ending the Afghan war infuses the Taliban with new power are joined by Kenyans and other of Somali’s neighbors as foreign forces retreat from fighting al-Shabaab.

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Fatal Optimism

Fatal Optimism

Every citizen in sub-Saharan Africa expects Wave Three at any moment. The vaccination rate is only around 1% with the bulk of that in Kenya and Zimbabwe (although Zimbabwean health reporting is under serious scrutiny), and winter is right around the corner when viruses thrive.

So the vaccination slugfest in sub-Saharan Africa is scheduled to hit a major turning point momentarily. What can we predict?

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Dgc Etc

Dgc Etc

Like an archaeological dig with a thousand pieces slowly and painstakingly pieced together, we are discovering the image of Covid-19. For anxious travelers there’s definitely more hope than ever, but one big piece, India, dangerously eludes our grasp.

Vaccine passports requiring every single traveler to have her own cell phone, natural African herd immunity and a dangerous virus fuse in India are all center point.

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