To everyone planning travel : Listen to NPR’s latest podcast of “To The Best of our Knowledge” after, of course, first reading this blog. And then, buy and read “Beyond Guilt Travel,” remembering, of course, this blog.
“To The Best of Our Knowledge” is an often dead-pan basement interviewing machine adroitly edited to keep you awake. When successful you actually learn quite a lot. Ditto for this week’s podcast about travel.
I’m on my way back to Africa, the second time since the pandemic began oscillating downwards. As with the first safari it’s much longer than pre-pandemic.
Responding to my clients’ wishes I built a long, multiple country itinerary with almost every possible wildlife stop. A certain anxiety among traveler enthusiasts has resulted in them pushing to go longer and deeper once they make the decision to go.
Sort of like, ‘Well if we’re going to do it, we better do it all!’
Things aren’t going well for tourism. It’s best in America where local travel has doubled over last year and is only about 15-20% below pre-pandemic levels. Europe is a close second. It’s really bad in Africa and the Middle East where current tourism is still only a third pre-pandemic levels. And the worst of all, of course, is Asia where China is learning the hard way that you can’t wipe out the virus like the Uyghurs.
Soon I return to Africa with 9 travelers, and as disappointed as I felt with the less than full safari my guys on the ground are ecstatic. At least I’m coming! Tourism in Africa isn’t anywhere near the level that was predicted, and this is leading to some very interesting stuff.
Part III :
Do I get my money back?
I lost all the investment on a personal holiday to Paris to celebrate our 50th wedding anniversary because my wife tested positive for Covid. The great if unusually satisfying irony is that a hundred or so travelers EWT has sent mostly to Africa since last fall had not a single Covid disruption. Just us, the owners.
No, we didn’t get our money back.
Is it safe to … ???
We want an answer, now. Right now. Is it safe? Is Covid gone, or under control enough. Replace “…” above with anything:
“Is it safe go back to Africa, now?” “Is it safe to restart my Yoga classes?” “Is it safe to go to school without masking?” “Is it safe to go to a movie?”
My answer to my question, “Is it safe to go to Africa?” is “Yes.” No matter what? No. As safe as before Covid? Depends on where and when you’re going.
My four-day trip to Dublin last Saturday was as complicated and stressful as any in my life. All the unlikely pandemic warnings that I level at my clients came true for my wife and myself. Analyzed with the three African safaris which EWT completed in the last several months a grim landscape emerges that I can only hope is a mural of the past, not of the future.
I was supposed to be in Paris with my wife celebrating our 50th anniversary. I’m in Dublin where I’ll be writing more about this interesting, unexpected journey due to Covid in later days. But today I just gotta write about Marriott!
Marriott is pleased as puddin pie that it’s opening a luxury camp in Kenya’s Mara. “The location and surrounding landscape will … create harmony with the natural world … drawing inspiration from the elements: earth, wind, fire and water.” Not sure about the fire.
At 10:05a Chicago time, 4:05p London, 6:05p Kyiv today, the air planes flying over much of the Northern hemisphere were exactly as shown in the picture above. The question is how much larger will the blank circle now positioned over Ukraine grow.
Don’t ask a travel agent. The Washington Post did yesterday and miracles of miracles you can’t believe how surprisingly safe and wonderful traveling to nearly any part of the world is! Better journalists at NBC asked consumers and travel investors, and there’s no question that the surge to travel has come to a near full stop because of the Ukrainian war.
As this (hopefully last) phase of the pandemic ends the tourism that’s left standing in the fields of Africa is fit for a king. In fact only kings. A safari post-pandemic will cost you twice what it was pre-pandemic.
EWT’s informal survey of 2022 safari prices in sub-Saharan Africa shows a dramatic price increase from 2020. Highest in Tanzania, lowest in South Africa but unbelievable everywhere. What’s going on and is this going to last or should you roll back on your heels and wait for sanity?
If you’re a resident in one of the twenty Republican States that are currently prohibiting vaccine documentation you probably already know that it will be much more difficult for you to travel outside the country than before the pandemic.
I anticipated this, but not to the extent it’s happening. It’s ludicrous and is making America the laughing stock of the world.
Game changers for travel! Couldn’t be better holiday presents! Two new drugs one of which is exceptionally effective treating Covid. U.S. ends restrictions on southern Africa!
I’ve scheduled EWT’s first public safari that I’ll guide for June! I think that’s the first moment that international travel to Africa will be manageable.
If like me you have serious hope that Omicron (and fingers crossed, the whole pandemic) might be gone by mid-year then you might want to join me as I continue chasing the herds in Tanzania this June!
My November “Recky” turned out to be a “Wrecky!” We slipped into sub-Saharan Africa at just the right moment, early November. Days after we started a fabulous safari Omicron hit the headlines and literally days after we headed home new regulations by our CDC would have made coming home much more difficult than it was.
Travelers squeezing hope out of several reports from South Africa that the Omicron variant declines as fast as it surges need to calm down.
Being cautious about this does not mean I don’t believe the reports. I do. This morning DMC News’ excellent summary highlighting South African scientists’ excellent field studies absolutely shows me that Omicron might be insignificant in South Africa in as few as a couple months. Why, then, the caution?
How about if each of you – especially if you’re strangers to me – each send me $100 for the best dinner you’ve ever had in your life. We’ll do it in about a year. Promise it will be the most memorable meal of your life!
There’s a reason that travel purchases aren’t capitalistic. There’s no enforceable contract between the consumer and the provider of the service. In a sense it’s just hype. You can’t try it on. You can’t return it when it arrives broken. There’s no warranty other than ebullient promises.
Whether, when, how and where to travel is more and more confusing.
You would think that someone like myself, having just returned from almost a month in Tanzania, would have some sage advice for you. Our trip to an “adventure” destination – one clearly in the throes of Covid – went off without a hitch. There were new hurdles to overcome that we all managed quite well. So what’s the problem?