We’ll keep it brief here, but the news is all good!
A few weeks ago Botswana scrapped the required PCR test for incoming visitors if they are vaccinated.
Only last week the government of Namibia declared that the country no longer needed to wear masks in public.
And the latest on the South African front, effective as of today, is that PCR tests are also no longer necessary for visitors who have been vaccinated, masks will no longer be mandatory in outdoor public places, and with an expected 80% of the population having some form of immunity due to a combination of vaccinations and previous infection, South Africa now stands at a “watershed moment as it enters the next phase of managing the pandemic.” according to President Cyril Ramaphosa.
Safari bookings are already reflecting the ever-loosening travel restrictions across the globe. Most of the lodges we deal with report that should things continue as they have been, 2022 will be their busiest year on record. This is excellent for them and for the industry as a whole (although it does make getting a new booking tricky, as this year is made up of a combination of deferred and new bookings, so availability is becoming more and more limited).
The message we are hearing on a continually increasing scale is that the end is in sight. Yes, the new normal will probably never revert back to the way it was. Yes, the after-effects will take a while to settle down fully, but we can confidently state that this is the first time we are truly, truly optimistic about the African travel situation in the coming year.
Up until now it has been a mish-mash of very different approaches from different countries, but each week we are seeing the best safari destinations more and more in line with each other under their respective country’s policies, and travel is suddenly almost as easy as it was before March 2020!
We know we’ve been disappointed before, and the last two years have certainly taught us to take no situation for granted, but with a wave of overwhelming optimism sweeping through the industry, we can firmly state, THIS IS IT! Time to TRAVEL!!