Ebola: is safari travel still safe? Written by Angela Aschmann

Ebola is a scary illness. The very words ‘haemorrhagic fever’ sounds like something out of an apocalypse movie. Africa needed the world to know about the outbreak so that we could work together to stop it spreading. And, make no mistake, we are winning the war on this virus.

But with all the information out there, it’s become harder to tell fact from fiction. Many videos, articles and blogs are helpful and accurate, but some are simply not factual; they are designed to make us afraid by turning ebola into a Bogey Man for grown-ups..

As experts on Africa, we have taken up the challange to answer the questions you asked us. We have done the research, consulted our partners across Southern and East Africa, and have make sense of it all in words and pictures. We trust you will find everything you need to know about ebola and its impact of your travel plans.

Ebola: is safari travel still safe?

Where is the outbreak?

The outbreak is confined to three countries in West Africa: Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia. Senegal and Nigeria have beaten the disease and were declared ebola-free by the World Health Organisation. The lessons from their success stories are being shared with the rest of the world.

Africa is so big – both the USA and China fit into it easily, with room to spare for India and much of Europe – that it is split into five zones: West, North, Central, East and Southern Africa. West Africa includes the countries mentioned above as well as others like Ghana and Ivory Coast. Nairobi and Arusha, both in East Africa, are further away from the outbreak than Rome, Madrid, Paris, London and Rio de Janeiro.

Ebola: is safari travel still safe? Infographic

Safari destinations are in Southern and East Africa. Southern Africa consists of prime vacation spots like South Africa, Namibia, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Zambia and Mauritius. To give you an idea of how far these destination are from the outbreak, South Africa’s holiday capital Cape Town is 3 478 miles (5 597km) from West Africa. Rome, on the other hand, is closer at 4 316km or 2 682 miles away.

Africa’s most famous wilderness destinations are in East Africa: Kenya and Tanzania are both more than 3 000 miles away from the centre of the ebola outbreak in West Africa – about the same as pleasure capitals like Rio de Janiero and Paris.

Ebola: is safari travel still safe? Infographic

How is Ebola spread?

Ebola relies on intimate contact with contaminated bodily fluids to spread because it a haemorrhagic disease – that means it ‘lives’ in the blood. To ‘catch’ ebola, you must come into close contact with the blood, vomit, urine, faeces or corpse of an infected person. This is why healthcare workers and the families of infected people are most at risk. In West Africa, the disease spread quickly because there are so few hospitals and even fewer doctors. Patients have had to rely on their relatives and friends to take care of them, which meant healthy people caring for very sick people without access to gloves, visors, Hazmat suits or disinfectants.

Ebola: is safari travel still safe? Infographic

Is Ebola airborne?

All current medical and scientific research shows that ebola is not airborne; that means you cannot contract it from breathing the same air as an infected person. It is a blood disease, and not a mucus or phlegm one.

If ebola were airborne, it would spread much faster than it has and outbreaks would last longer than they do. Quarantine measures, which are very successful in the fight against ebola, would not be nearly as effective as they are.

Is  Ebola always fatal?

No, not everyone who contracts ebola, dies. The fatality rate in West Africa is high because many people have compromised immune systems owing to extreme poverty and repeated bouts of tubercolosis (TB), malaria and yellow fever. Because their diets are poor and they do not have access to effective health care, tragically, these people there are most at risk of dying.

Many people have survived ebola thanks to early detection, strong immune systems and good care.

In the West, especially the US and Europe, infection rates are very, very low and survival rates are very, very high because of excellent medical care.

Ebola: is safari travel still safe?

Why has Ebola suddenly become a problem?

There have always been periodic outbreaks of ebola. The current outbreak is considered bad for many reasons:

  • Better detection and diagnosis means more cases are certified as ebola (many of the early symptoms are the same as other diseases).
  • Better record keeping means the numbers can be confirmed.
  • Better global communications, including the spread of social media, means we are getting blow-by-blow accounts of it so it seems overwhelming .
  • Increased media interest in Africa has highlighted this particular outbreak over others, especially since Europeans and Americans have been infected.
  • Increased regional travel means it is spreading faster between towns.
  • Increased logging in West Africa means road are better and bush meat – ie the flesh of forest dwellers like chimps and other primates, which is considered a great delicacy and a primary source of protein – is far easier to come by. Bush meat is a source of infection in West Africa.
  • In some parts of West Africa, there was panic buying of chlorine (a major disinfectant) and protective gear like disposable gloves. Hoarding meant that there were shortages of these items at a critical time in the lifespan of the epidemic, meaning it spread faster.
  • Some rural people do not believe ebola exists and were urging patients to leave hospital or preventing healthcare workers from reaching them. This had a negative impact on containing the disease.

 

Ebola: is safari travel still safe?

What emergency measures are in place?

The world is taking ebola seriously:

  • There are several drug trials under way and research into ebola vaccines – Zmapp is the most well-known.
  • Screenings for the early symptoms, like fever, take place at international airports (once a patient has advanced symptoms and is most contagious, they are far too ill to travel).
  • The US government is urging its citizens to get flu shots, which is usual during the winter season. The better your immune system, the more protected you are from all diseases.
  • Patients with ebola are in quarantine, which is the best way of halting its spread.
  • In West Africa, widespread decontamination with chlorine is occurring.
  • West African governments are effectively disposing of bodies (in the past, cultural practices brought friends and families into close contact with the deceased).

 

Ebola: is safari travel still safe?

Our top African Safari Experts Anza & Ramona on safari in East Africa in October 2014.

What is Go2Africa’s policy on ebola?

Go2Africa has been bringing passengers to Africa since 1998. Since 2005, we have taken more than 30 000 clients – that’s around 250 a month – on safari. And most of our clients come back for more adventures.

We like to think that we’re a bit of an authority on safari and vacation travel to our beautiful continent. We’ve always provided 365/24/7 emergency support to all our travellers, from the minute you leave home and you return, safe, sound and brimming with memories. Because we book your entire journey – from flights all the way through to accommodation, excursions, transfers and activities – we know where you are and what you’re doing every step of your journey. That’s the only way we travel in East and Southern Africa: with back up all the way.

We take the same care of our clients that we do of ourselves: we will not send clients anywhere that we would not go. Right now, in October 2014, two of our senior safari experts Ramona Rubach and Anza Snyman are travelling in East Africa and Uganda for almost a month because we do not believe they are at any risk of contracting ebola.

The risk to any Go2Africa client is very, very low. None of our destinations are in West Africa, we do not route flights through the outbreak region and we keep our clients informed and updated with the facts.

We know that ebola is scary and understand that many people are worried about the outbreak, which is why we are working round the clock with our partners in Southern and East Africa to find the best possible solutions around trips that are postponed or cancelled. We realise that any disruption of your dream journey is a tough decision to make, which is why we treat every one of our travellers’ unique situations with the utmost care and professionalism to find the best possible resolution under the circumstances.

What happens if I get sick on safari?

We have dealt with major medical emergencies such as serious pregnancy complications and heart attacks all the way through to less serious ones such as travellers losing their spectacles in the middle of the bush.

Because we get to know our clients before we tailor-make their safaris, we encourage them to let us know about any medical conditions, right down to special dietary restrictions, so that we can support them effectively on vacation.

We maintain daily contact with suppliers to ensure that things are running smoothly, and our 24/7 hotline handled by senior staff. We also advise our clients to take out comprehensive insurance that includes medical evacuation.

We work exclusively with reputable partners who are as committed as we to your wellbeing. Since 1998, we have helped travellers from all over the world discover popular and remote parts of Africa. There have been medical emergencies – that is inevitable – but we’re proud to say that each has been handled with efficient and sincere care.

Ebola: is safari travel still safe? Infographic

Ebola is a scary disease and our hearts go out to those who have lost friends and family to it. But, with global screening efforts, effective quarantine measures, new vaccines and a better understanding of how it is spread, we are winning the war. Fewer people are being infected and more are surviving. To date, there have only been three confirmed cases in the US and one in Europe, and two of the five affected countries are in the clear.

We believe that Southern and East Africa remain prime holiday destinations for everyone from honeymooners to families with kids. It’s our job to manage the risk; it’s yours to enjoy a vacation of a lifetime.

Ebola: is safari travel still safe?

Written by Angela Aschmann. Connect with her on Google+.

Baby Rhinos…a reminder of what we’re fighting for

Originally posted on Fight for Rhinos:

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Ebola Outbreak Update – by Sandy Salle on October 15, 2014

Ebola Outbreak Update – Should You Cancel Your Trip?

by Sandy Salle on October 15, 2014

We understand that some travellers, as well as their family and friends may be concerned about traveling to Africa due to the Ebola virus. The outbreak is all over the news and the media has caused a tremendous amount of fear in people.

We would like to take this time to point out several important points about the Ebola outbreak:

  • Every single one of the countries we send clients to is currently Ebola FREE. Not one case in any of the countries we book trips to has been affected by this current outbreak, including Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, Rwanda, Mozambique, Zimbabwe, Zambia, South Africa, Botswana, Namibia, and Madagascar.
  • Many of the major travel hubs throughout Africa, as well as Europe, have banned entry to travelers who have been to the affected areas of Sierra Leone, Guinea, and Liberia.
  • Traveling throughout Africa is not like it is in the United States where you can just cross the border of each state as you wish. Each of the 54 independent nations that make up Africa have their own strict customs rules and many of the countries throughout Africa are now prohibiting travelers from entering if they have been to one of the three countries that are currently experiencing an Ebola outbreak.
  • Ebola is mainly transmitted via direct contact with an infected person’s bodily fluids. Objects that have saliva, blood, or other bodily fluids from an infected individual can also post a risk for spreading the disease.
  • Southern and Eastern Africa have been preparing for cases since the first Ebola outbreak reports in West Africa, which were reported back in March of this year. Only now is America and Europe beginning to implement precautionary measures. Currently, Infrared Thermal Imaging Cameras are being used in International Airports to detect individuals with fevers. These individuals are quarantined and tested prior to official entry.
  • Parts of Europe and South America are closer to the affected countries in West Africa than safari destinations in Southern and Eastern Africa. See the map below for a look at just how huge Africa really is and the distance between each region.

africa size

Map graphic was taken from the Economist website and can be found at the following location: http://www.economist.com/blogs/dailychart/2010/11/cartography

We understand that there has also been concern over whether or not Ebola is an airborne disease and if it is likely that a traveler can catch it while on an airplane.

According to a recent article by the New York Times, “Top Ebola experts have said they would not expect to be infected even if they were sitting next to another passenger [on an airplane] with Ebola – unless that passenger actually vomited or bled on them. Patrick Sawyer, the Liberian-American who brought the virus to Nigeria in July, was so sick he had to be helped off the plane in Lagos. He had vomited while on board. There were about 200 passengers on the plane, according to Nigerian health authorities, and not one of them got infected.”

The article further went on to say, “If Ebola was transmitted like influenza, experts point out, an outbreak would echo the spread pattern of the 2009 flu pandemic, and by now there would be millions of cases around the globe.

Ebola does not typically cause sneezing or coughing and saliva does not normally build up large viral loads until late in the disease. But because patients can cough vomitus or blood, or vomit violently, caregivers routinely wear masks and goggles.” (Click here to read the full article.)

Note that the information above is subject to change; however, at this time, it is accurate to date. The below graphic illustrates where the current Ebola Outbreak is reported:

ebola

Image above taken from thesafaricompany.co.za website – read the full article here: http://thesafaricompany.co.za/travelblog/ebola-are-you-at-risk-infographic/

Safari Awards 2015 Finalists Announced

The votes have been counted and the results are in. You will find a full list of all 2015 finalists here. At the Judges Conference in London on 12th September Inyati Game Lodge was selected as a Safari Awards Finalist in one or more categories. The overall Africa results will be released at WTM on Sunday night, 2nd November 2015

Inyati Game Lodge – 2015 Finalist Best Safari Guiding Team

Wildlife is a huge part of going on safari, so its crucial to have expert guides who can get you as close to the action as possible. This category rates the guides at the lodges guests stayed at.

Some of the voting questions: How effectively did your guides communicates with you? Did you feel you learned a lot? Were you inspired?

 Best Safari Guiding Team

Inyati Game Lodge – 2015 Finalist Best Walking Safari

Walking safaris are a great way to view things from a different perspective to the typical game drive on four wheels. If you had the opportunity to go on a walking safari, let us know what you thought of it.

Best Walking Safari

About

Over 4,000 vetted tour operators, travel agents and travel journalists are invited to vote to support their favourite safari properties and conservation organisations. Nominees then contact their guests and followers to ask for their support in voting for them. A finalist list is formed based on numbers which is reviewed by the Judges (independent operators) and the results are produced. The process is entirely independent, transparent and supported by the trade. All The Safari Awards Judges have been nominated by the previous years awards winners and finalists and are unquestionably the most highly-respected, knowledgeable independent tour operators selling safaris. The judges sit at the head of the Good Safari Guide, ensuring that the lodges, camps and operations presented both in the guides and in the Awards really are the best in Africa and worldwide. With nominations from over a thousand luxury travel professionals, hundreds of readers of Conde Nast Traveller, Tatler, Brides and Travel Africa Magazine you can rest assured that any safari operation nominated for a Safari Award is amongst the best in its genre. Finalists are amongst the top 3% not just in Africa but worldwide, and the Safari Award Winners are unquestionably the best, their reputation earned through excellence recognised by independent industry experts. View  Good Safari GuideSafari Awards 2015 Finalists Announced

Talking to Kids About Rhinos

Originally posted on Fight for Rhinos:

The killing of our rhinos is a tragedy that most adults have a hard time coming to grips with. So how do you explain the crisis to kids? The following books are true stories based on the lives of two wonderful little rhinos. They are available on Amazon, and benefit rhino charities. Chizi's tale

Chizi’s Tale: 100% of the proceeds benefit TUSK

one special rhino

One Special Rhino: All proceeds benefit the International Rhino Foundation

In honor of World Rhino Day, coming up on Sept 22, please print these free rhino coloring pages, and as your kids enjoy coloring them, tell them about our majestic rhinos and how special they are. By the way-if you take a moment to scan them and send to fightforrhinos@gmail.com, we’d love to share ‘em!

rhino and baby coloring page 2

Rhino coloring page 1

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Vote in the Safari Awards by 8th Sept to win a £10,000 safari.

Safari Awards

We have been nominated!
Please vote for us.
With the voting deadline looming, we would like to thank you for nominating our lodge under the best value safari property , and ask that those that have not yet cast their votes to please support us by visiting the following links on The Safari Awards website. Inyati Game Lodge

There are 2 fabulous safaris on offer in a prize draw for all voters (see www.safariawards.com for details).

The voting/support phase runs through until midnight, September 8th. The Judges will assess the data at a conference on September 12th. The country-level results will be announced throughout October on social media, and the final overall results will be announced during the Safari Awards evening in London on Sunday 2nd November 2014. (click here to book your Awards Party tickets)

We look forward to hosting you at Inyati Game Lodge, Sabi Sand Reserve and sharing an experience which typifies the African safari, without compromising on accommodation and incredible game viewing.

 
Warm bushveld regards
Leighanne Dawkins
Inyati Game Lodge
t: +27 11 486 2027 / 4073 | fax: +27 11 486  0301| inyatiho@iafrica.com | www.inyati.co.za

Stay in touch with us!
https://twitter.com/InyatiGameLodge
http://www.facebook.com/Inyatigamelodge
BLOG http://inyatigamelodge.com

Global March for Elephants and Rhinos

Originally posted on Fight for Rhinos:

DeathThink it’s not your problem?

Poaching is killing our planet.

Each year over 35,000 elephants and 1000 rhinos are slaughtered. Poaching has become a pandemic; animals are killed in Africa, India, Asia…and demand for their parts spans across the globe. If we don’t act NOW, we will lose them all within a few short years.

We must restore the balance.

ranger funeral

Funeral of a ranger after eight were killed in Virunga National Park.

Poaching is killing people. 

Each year poachers AND rangers are killed in the line of fire. People are also killed and hurt from terrorist attacks fundedby poaching. From the Westgate Mall attack to the kidnapping of hundreds of Nigerian girls, to the loss of lives during the 9/11 attacks in New York.

We must stop the blood flow.

As devastating as this is, there is hope. The good news is that YOU can do something about it. Yes, YOU!…

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An Epic Move for Rhinos

Originally posted on Fight for Rhinos:

crash in kruger © Scotch Macaskill

Crash in Kruger via Scotch Macaskill. A crash is a group of rhino-increasingly rare with the escalation of poaching.

After much speculation as to whether or not it would happen, the South African government has made it official. They have approved moving 500 rhino out of Kruger National Park.

Of the rhino to be moved, 260 will be sold to private buyers and another 250 taken to a safe location.

edna molewa

Edna Molewa, SA Minister of Environmental Affairs

Edna Molewa, Minister of Environmental Affairs, confirmed the possibility the rhino will be sent to Botswana and Zambia, where there will be “intense protection zones”.

According to Molewa, “this move, along with creating rhino strongholds could allow a total rhino population size of South Africa continue to grow.”

Botswana not only has better political and economic stability and a smaller population than South Africa, but they recently banned commercial trophy hunting and in 2013 adopted the controversial…

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It’s a Bird, It’s a Plane, It’s a ..Rhino?!

Originally posted on Fight for Rhinos:

Rhino airlift

Airlift via Black Rhino Rescue Project, photo:Michael Raimondo

Now that South Africa has established its going to move hundreds of rhinos to new locations, logistically HOW will they do it?

Translocating  one-ton animals is tricky. But the most dramatic, and arguably the safest method to date is by air.

Photographer Emma Gatland joined the team from Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife for a rhino capture and relocation project in Kwa Zulu Natal, South Africa.

“There aren’t many people who get to witness a rhino lift,” she says. “It’s a new procedure, which is gentle on the rhino as it shortens the time the animal is kept drugged. The rhinos are airlifted using an old Vietnam Huey, which in itself is an adventure. They are lifted roughly 500 – 1000 meters into the air suspended by their ankles.”

Airlift 2

The rhino is sedated.

Airlift 4

Then secured..

AIrlift 5

And moved!

Of course any location, whether…

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Ebola in Africa – should you panic? by Onne , 01 August 2014

Africa is a huge continent, containing 47 different countries (not counting the surrounding island nations). It is over 7000km from north to south. “We’re going to Africa” is therefore a very vague description of destination. It’s like saying we’re going to Asia. A good first step is to pull out a map of Africa and look at where the current outbreak of Ebola is found:

Ebola map

The countries affected at the moment are all in West Africa – Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone. Nigeria has had one case that was identified on an inbound flight. Subsequently, all flights from affected areas have been cancelled and all countries in the region (including South Africa) are on high alert and have stepped up measures to screen travellers and identify possible victims.

We are certainly not downplaying the crisis and this is without doubt the worst Ebola outbreak in history, with over 700 deaths so far since February. But cancelling a trip to South Africa makes just as much sense as cancelling a trip to Spain because of Ebola. In fact, Spain is closer to the epicentre of the outbreak than South Africa is. All the popular safari destinations in Southern and East Africa remain unaffected by the Ebola outbreak. There is absolutely no reason to cancel your safari trip now. The biggest risk as a traveller right now is that you might have an elevated temperature due to the common flu or cold, and are then quarantined at the airport as a precaution.

How is Ebola spread?

This is an important question to help asses the risk. Thankfully and significantly, Ebola is not an airborne virus. It is spread through direct person-to-person contact, and contact with body fluids of infected persons – blood, saliva and other secretions. The WHO has a helpful factsheet about Ebola, which is worth a read. This means that the risk for ordinary travellers remains low, even in high risk areas, as long as you take basic precautions and avoid intimate contact with others.

Protective clothing

South Africa is not only an interesting mix of cultures, but also of third world and first world conditions. While many people unfortunately still live in third world conditions, the infrastructure in South Africa is very much first world, and the public health system is good. The department of health is very conservative when it comes to public health policy and disease prevention. For example, South Africa was the first country to require yellow fever vaccines for travellers arriving from Zambia, after a part of western Zambia was reclassified from “vaccine not recommended” to “vaccine generally not recommended” a few years ago. A minor change by the WHO, but the health department responded swiftly and firmly with new regulations (considered unnecessary by many). South Africa also has world class airports with excellent screening, medical and quarantine facilities.

Info Ebola 

So these are the facts. There is no Ebola in South Africa or any of its neighbouring countries. Unfortunately, when panic sets in the facts are not always considered in the decision making. During 2012-2013, we had cancellations for trips to South Africa because of the political protests and unrest in Egypt, 7000km away at the opposite end of the content. A major fail of geographical comprehension, and a pity for that family that they cancelled a fantastic trip for a completely unnecessary reason. Let’s hope the same does not happen with this Ebola outbreak.

http://wild-wings-safaris.com/blog/ebola-in-africa-should-you-panic/#.U-osDywbrFd.wordpress

Remembering our Elephants

Originally posted on Fight for Rhinos:

“You know … they say an elephant never forgets.
What they don’t tell you is, you never forget an elephant.” World Ele Day
On today, World Elephant Day, let us bow our heads and remember the gentle giants who have lost their lives to poaching. 100 a day, every day…

We pray for the safety of those who remain, and we will continue to fight like hell to stop the scourge of poaching from taking anymore.

Sign: Stop the Ivory Trade

Sign: Google-Stop Ivory Trade through your site

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Ebola in Africa – should you panic? | Wild Wings Safaris Blog

Ebola in Africa – should you panic? | Wild Wings Safaris Blog.

Jan Braai vir Erfenis: 6 Desember 2013 foto’s

Jan en die span kuier in Sabi Sands, opsoek na die groot vyf. Hy wys jou ook hoe om ‘n springbok fillet met ‘n biltongsous op die kole voor te berei.

Arrival

Arrival via private charter @ Ulusaba airstrip

Jan Braai vir Erfenis

Jan Braai vir Erfenis

Springbok fillet on grill

Springbok fillet on grill

Springbok fillet & veg on grill

Springbok fillet

Springbok fillet with vegetable kebab

Sensational Safari

Keith Jenkinson

Keith Jenkinson – Inyati General Manager

Exciting game drive

Exciting game drive

 

 

If Rhinos Go Extinct

Originally posted on Fight for Rhinos:

To every thing there is a yin and yang, a balance. The web of all species is intricately connected, each relies on the others.

When we let a species go extinct, we upset the balance. So if we fail the rhino, what will happen to the rest of the savanna?

Rhinos are mega-herbivores, the lawn maintenance crew of the savanna. Their job to the ecosystem is to carve out paths for other creatures (eating), make water holes (digging), and to help germinate plants (defecating).

rhinos eating grass

It may seem simplistic, but they are the only sizable creatures in this habitat to do it. The other mega-herbivores, elephants affect different parts of the savanna, as they eat from a different menu, browsing on taller bushes and trees.

Rhinos eat an average of 23.6 kg during the course of each day. The dung piles they share can be 5 metres wide and 1 metre deep. That’s a sizable…

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Mating for Life Part 1: Monogamy in Birds

Originally posted on Wildlife TV:

The animal kingdom is full of different mating strategies both of terms of the physical ‘deed’ and courting/attracting mates. Mating is when a male and female of the same species (or genus) come together to reproduce and create offspring. In reality, ‘mating for life‘ is quite rare in the animal kingdom, but several species practice monogamy; providing exclusive mating rights to a single partner for a given period of time.

  • Which animals mate for life?

Some animals are famous for their perceived monogamous behaviour: The European turtle dove (Streptopelia turtur) has been the subject of Shakespearean poetry for its dedication to its life partner. Turtle doves do indeed seem to pick a preferred mate, but they certainly aren’t as saintly as it first appears; females will commonly mate with passing males if they are deemed more desirable than their partner, this of course is…

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