As travel begins to resume around the world, we are looking forward to bringing the unbelievable wildlife and rich culture of Africa to our travelers. But as safari dreams start to become reality once again, questions about health and safety arise: How can I enjoy my safari safely? What social distancing and cleaning procedures have been implemented in response to COVID-19? What will happen if I get sick on safari?
Before you step foot on an airplane to start your safari, there are steps you can take to limit your exposure risk. Click here to read our Journey Specialists recommendations. Once you’re on the ground, Africa Adventure Consultants and our partners in Africa are taking extra precautions and instituting new policies and procedures to increase safety and security.
Even prior to COVID-19, a luxury safari offers plenty of opportunities for social distancing. Safari camps are generally located in remote locations in the bush without other people nearby. Some are on private concessions of tens of thousands of acres. Most of our preferred safari camps and lodges are also relatively small, accommodating only 10-30 guests at a time. They are also spacious, providing ample room to spread out with large common areas, lots of verandas and decks, and more. Now, camps are doing even more to increase safety measures. While at camp, most travelers will be spaced out from other guests in common areas and may have fewer companions in their game drive vehicle. Camp staff will wear masks or protective shields, will often wear gloves and will engage in no-touch greetings. Travelers may be expected to also wear face coverings in common areas or while on game drives. For an extra layer of protection, travelers can consider upgrading to private vehicles, staying in a private villa, renting out a camp for exclusive use or traveling by private charter.
Dining options will vary depending on what type of accommodation we book for you. In most cases, safari camps are spacing out tables in the dining areas and sometimes throughout the camps. Camps that once provided self-serve buffets are phasing them out and replacing them with buffets where staff serves you or with individually plated meals brought to your table. Private dining options may also be available, such as bush breakfasts and dinners or private dining in areas throughout camp. Food served outside of camp, such as a picnic lunch while on an all-day game drive, will be individually packaged. For travelers staying in city hotels in places such as Cape Town and Victoria Falls, hotels may offer spaced out dining in a restaurant and/or room service upon request. Be sure to discuss what dining options you are interested in incorporating into your custom safari as you plan with your Journey Specialist.
Cleaning has always been an important behind-the-scenes component of a safari. Where you were not likely to see the cleaning happening while on safari pre-COVID-19, you will probably see it in action in the future. Our partners are increasing the thoroughness of room cleaning between guest stays and including enhanced sanitizing measures. They are implementing new cleaning procedures in common areas as well. Dining areas will be disinfected between guests and safari vehicles cleaned between groups. Additionally, airplanes used for regional flights will be cleaned more often. Each camp and lodge will have slightly different cleaning procedures, so ask your Journey Specialist for specific information about your camp(s) prior to departure.
In order to limit exposure between guests in camps, some of our preferred safari camps and lodges are reducing the maximum number of travelers in each safari vehicle to 4 people for game drives. Traveling with a larger group than 4? Let us know if you would rather share a vehicle rather than splitting up. Traveling with fewer than 4 and want to stay separate? Upgrade to a private vehicle for your game drives while on safari. Many camps use open-air vehicles, though it is not practical in all destinations. In closed vehicles, windows will also be kept open whenever possible on game drives to increase ventilation.
Staff at safari camps usually stay at camp for weeks or months at a time working. While this practice existed before COVID-19 altered the travel landscape, it will help limit exposure moving forward as well. Upon arrival at camp, staff will be tested or monitored for symptoms. Daily temperature checks and screening for staff will also be the norm at camp. You will likely be asked screening questions or have your temperature taken as part of the routine screenings as well, especially upon arrival.
Should you get sick while on safari, you will be assisted on the ground to receive medical treatment. Some camps have doctors or medical staff on site or on call. Other camps can arrange for medical staff to visit camp if necessary. If illness requires more medical care than what can be provided on site, local staff will help you transfer to the nearest hospital for further assistance. We have long recommended all travelers take out medical evacuation coverage, either separately or as part of a comprehensive travel insurance policy, in case of medical emergencies.
Health and safety has always been a priority for Africa Adventure Consultants and our partners on the ground in Africa. COVID-19 is now a part of our daily life and there is a level of risk involved with all our daily activities. Travel is no exception, but with these increased precautions and preventative measures we are working to keep our travelers safer and healthier while on their safari.
Looking for information specific to the places you’ll be traveling in Africa on your Africa Adventure Consultants’ safari? Contact us for detailed information.
Photos courtesy of Robin Pope Safaris, Journey Specialist Sara Stark, Livingstone Club member Rhea Mae Chavez, Journey Specialist Anisha Barrientos, Lemala and Flying Doctors