Woeful World

Woeful World

Of Kayak’s 226 countries it provides travel service to, only 6 are open to travelers without restrictions. 52 are closed entirely, sometimes even to citizens trying to return. That leaves 168 which you can visit provided that you are fully vaccinated, have a negative PCR test and are willing to quarantine on arrival for various lengths of time.

Trouble is to get to some of those 168 restrictive countries, you normally fly through one of the 52 (like Japan) that you can’t, now. So the practical number of countries that you can visit is probably less than 80, and almost all of them require quarantine on arrival.
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2-3 Weeks

2-3 Weeks

2-3 more weeks before we know how Omicron effects upcoming travel. The demographics of Omicron patients are right now being compiled: age, are they vaccinated and how many times and with which vaccine, are they a breakthrough? Laboratories around the world are mixing their serum with the antibodies current vaccines produce. What happens? One, two, a hundred experiments aren’t enough. 2-3 more weeks.

America is a horrible place to try to figure this all out. We’re either alarmists or aggressive reactionaries to alarm. But there are authorities and sources that if we’ll just be patient enough will give us good answers. 2-3 more weeks.
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Covid Formalities

Covid Formalities

Seven of us returned from 3-4 weeks in Tanzania on Thanksgiving Day. This is a report of the formalities required with regards to Covid. This is a very small sample of how people travel to and from Tanzania, but every little bit helps.

Like all unexpected obstacles to travel, it’s usually a lot easier than presumed. I often refer to the time in 1970 when New Orleans announced the first metal detector for departing passengers. For a year no one flew through New Orleans. Today it’s second nature to us all.
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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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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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Missed Connection

Missed Connection

The week following Labor Day is always a chaotic one for the travel industry and African tourism in particular, and this one was no exception! Does that mean that the pandemic is over and everyone’s packing their bags?

Not exactly, but … close. The Delta variant is a game changer. Problem is that we really don’t know how much of game changer yet. And while uncertainty is often travel’s greatest nemesis, it just doesn’t seem to be the case, today. I really sense that the educated – especially veteran travelers – believe they understand more about the pandemic than they don’t, nudging uncertainty only a tad into the spotlight.
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Travel Tanks

Travel Tanks

African tourism has tanked. A decline was predicted off the promising numbers of June but nothing like we’re seeing, now. The nosedive is exactly inversely proportional to the rates of virus spread, which both in the west Africa are much higher than had been predicted.

It means that travelers who had paid deposits and possibly even full payments are bailing. Since travel insurance no longer covers itinerary impacts from covid, these represent difficult decisions from a lot of angry travelers.
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Thar She Goes!

Thar She Goes!

Many of you have sent me a copy of last weekend’s NYTimes article, “Who Needs a Whirlwind Trip When You Can Take It Slow?” Thanks. But no thanks.

A lot of people need, enjoy and prosper with a whirlwind trip, including me. Among the others: those who aren’t super rich, those who don’t get unlimited time off, those who are exceptionally curious, those who are savvy enough to know that four days is usually no better than two and those who recognize that at the current moment “slow travel” is about the biggest come-on I’ve seen in my half century in this industry.

I can think of two reasons this might make any sense.
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Delta Details

Delta Details

Travelers are growing weary of Delta and I’m not referring to the airline. What exactly is your risk, especially if you’re contemplating a far-away journey?

Voluntary travel is rarely determined by facts, alone: It’s how you “feel” about the trip. But the more you’ve invested the more you need to understand the facts. If you cleared your calendar, made a deposit, bought airline tickets – well, then, go a little bit further than just how you might feel after watching the evening news.

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When To Go

When To Go

Everyone in sub-Saharan Africa is gearing up for an expected surge in tourists in just a few weeks. Oh how they’ll be disappointed.

The uncertainty of airline schedules, the flux in which European airports in particular continue to alter their in-and-out rules, much less the reliability of lodge and hotel services following more than 14 months of closure will make those travelers who actually have booked early departures balk before stepping on the plane.

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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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