Africa’s safari areas have made great strides in recent years to combat poaching and promote conservation. Tour operators on the ground, led by some of our favorite preferred partners, have done admirable work not only in fostering wildlife preserves but also in making sure the communities they operate within benefit from the tourism dollars flowing in. From jobs to schools to health initiatives, safari-goers and safari companies have been supporting the communities that support them. The COVID-19 pandemic has threatened that, as a lack of business leads to less funding for animal sanctuaries, fewer jobs for locals and more poaching as opportunities to earn money dwindle.
There are, however, now several countries in Africa’s safari areas that are accepting American travelers. With that comes the opportunity to glimpse some of the world’s most stunning wildlife and stay in some of the world’s best lodges and have the places practically to yourself.
The vast grasslands of Kenya and Tanzania in East Africa are open to travelers. Kenya requires a negative COVID-19 PCR test taken within 96 hours of arrival, along with a health screening upon landing. Tanzania might test you on arrival depending on your screening. Once there, you have open to you the majesty of Kilimanjaro, the Ngorongoro Crater and the Olduvai Gorge open to you, along with cultural visits with the Maasai people and oh so many beautiful creatures.
Neighboring Rwanda is also open to visitors with a negative test within five days of arrival in addition to a negative test on arrival (you’ll have to spend a day in quarantine at your lodging to await results). Once cleared, travelers can go gorilla trekking and birding in the country’s verdant national parks. Uganda is also open, with a negative PCR test taken within 72 hours of arrival required.
Moving south, Zambia allows visitors in with a negative PCR test taken within two weeks of arrival. You will also need to inform officials of where you will be staying for potential follow-up screening. You can still go on safari there and visit Victoria Falls, though anyone crossing to Zimbabwe not only needs a negative test taken within 48 hours, there is a 14-day quarantine.
Namibia’s dunes, wildlife and birds are open to you if you have a negative test taken at least 72 hours but no more than seven days before your departure. Going to South Africa is more complicated but possible as part of a longer itinerary as you’ll need to spend at least 10 days in a low-risk country (the U.S. is high-risk) first. You’ll also need a negative PCR test within 72 hours of departure, a government contact tracing app, mandatory travel insurance and a health screening on arrival.
In the wide open spaces of Africa’s safari areas, you’ll be able to go on private or small group tours with a feeling of safety and security, see amazing animals and cultures up close and help spur the local economies. And you’ll easily avoid the crowds.
Is Africa one of your dream travel destinations? If so, Botswana should be on your list.
Seeing the animals from the water offers a different amazing vantage point. I did a land and boat safari in Chobe National Park when I was in Botswana and the highlight was seeing so many elephants playing in the water on the boat safari. The Okavango Delta is a great spot for a safari in a mokoro which is an adventure! Botswana can be paired with Zimbabwe, Zambia, Namibia and or South Africa.
Keep in mind, it is best to plan at least a year in advance for Africa as many of the top lodges fill up quickly as they are limited in space. When you are ready, I am excited to plan your African adventure! Email Stefany at: firstname.lastname@example.org and or email@example.com.
With passion and adventure,
There are only two northern white rhinos left in the world, but all is not lost, as scientists have been able to make embryos from harvested eggs and frozen sperm, with the hopes of implantation in a surrogate mother. That news from this month was cause for celebration on Sunday’s World Rhino Day, although there is much work to be done to save the subspecies.
The western black rhino has also gone extinct in the wild, part of a disturbing trend for the species and subspecies of rhinos. White and black rhinos live in Africa, where poaching and habitat loss have threatened them with extinction, but national parks and sanctuaries have helped conservation efforts.
The birth of a calf in April at Uganda’s Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary brought the total number of southern white rhinos to 27. Once thought to be extinct, the southern white rhino has thrived in protected sanctuaries and its status is listed as near threatened.
Among the three Asian species, Javan and Sumatran rhinos are critically endangered, according to the World Wildlife Fund. The one-horned, or Indian, rhino has improved from endangered to vulnerable, though poaching remains a problem.
To promote conservation efforts, Largay Travel preferred partner African Travel is pledging $100 per couple traveling on its Majestic South Africa 10-day itineraries that include Cape Town and the Shamwari Game Reserve, a 61,000-acre area where guests enjoy twice daily game drives.
“We exist because our goal in life is to make travel matter. It’s our responsibility to protect some of the species most at risk from extinction in the places we visit, and we are extremely passionate about rhino conservation” African Travel president Sherwin Banda said. “At Shamwari, this is something our guests will experience first-hand and we’re proud that we’re able to support sustainable tourism through this effort.”
Shamwari’s rehabilitation center cares for sick, injured, abandoned or orphaned animals, and the donations will go toward the construction of a rhino boma (enclosure) where the animals can receive treatment and prepare for release back into their natural habitat.
At andBeyond’s Phinda Private Game Reserve in South Africa, guests can take a direct role in conservation efforts by helping the veterinary team and rangers place tracking chips in rhinos and take DNA samples.
Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information on these and other ways you can help with conservation efforts and see these majestic creatures up close.