This year we've seen a global shutdown impact many industries. When we weren't able to have our beloved guests in our camps we launched our very own Safari Talks, an unscripted LIVE show, that you can find on our Facebook and YouTube channels. This has given us a chance to engage with experts about topics including conservation, photography and the future of travel, and help us make sense people concerns and support while we navigate these unpredictable times.
African Bush Camps (ABC) between March and August entered a 'hunker down' period, a time to step back analyse the situation, better our offering and listen to the concerns of our guests & travel partners. The positive yet surprising reaction is that we're seeing more people reaching out to plan and dream about their once-in-a-lifetime safari. Our overarching belief is after this time of a 'survival state'; everyone needs a holiday and Africa offers many benefits to rejuvenate you after such a crazy time. And the stats agree - 90% of guests set to travel between April - August opted to postpone their trips! #PostponeDontCancel. We're excited to see some local travellers filling our camps with excitement and getting a much-needed rest!
As things feel uncertain, we thought we would lay out some expert-backed research to give you something a bit more tangible - so you can plan your trip with confidence.
What we are doing during this quarantine time? Read here.
We're navigating new times right now, everything around us is changing, and we expect that there will be a 'new normal' at the other side of lockdown. Businesses are pivoting and adapting quicker than ever before, but behind the brands are people with a great sense of empathy and flexibility. As a traveller, you are adapting too. Customers are offering help and support to businesses in need to keep our economies and, vitally, tourism alive. In 2019, 10% of Zimbabwe's GPD was generated by tourism and tourism-related business, and in the safari industry, much of this revenue is pumped back into community and conservation projects.
Visit our Foundation website to find out about the interconnected relationship.
Time is a luxury that we have been awarded during this period. Planning a holiday is usually fun, but with all the added stresses that we all face at the moment, doing it well can be difficult. Our experts are here to give you peace of mind and put together your perfect holiday so you can focus on dreaming about the luxury of wide-open spaces and Africa’s unique and fascinating wildlife.
Read Blog: Lessons of Compassion we can Learn from Wildlife.
When can we Travel?
In this time, we depend on governments to make calls , and this, unfortunately, means . For the majority of this year we have been depending on our government bodies to make decisions for the safety of their citizens - which meant travel bans preventing movement. We are starting to see travel bans lifted and eager travellers coming to the open plains of Africa, for a well deserved safari. Our expert consultants are keeping up-to-date with the daily travel news; any advice given now has to be shared with the caveat that things are changing day-to-day. taken
But for now, we do recommend you look towards 2021 for travel. This is what many experts see as the 'normalisation period'. You will also be able to move your booking to a future date with no further costs if travel is still limited. Hopefully, this will give you the peace of mind to book your dream safari.
If you're looking to book at the beginning of the year, we offer Secret Season special rates between Jan - March where you can save up to 45% off your safari! The green or 'Secret Season' is a magical time of the year to travel; the riot of colours is perfect for photography, all the baby animals, and the short, but life-giving thunderstorms.
For more information about Secret Season, read our blog here.
June - September 2021 may be a perfect time for families looking to book next year’s bucket list vacation. We believe this is when school terms will have normalised and families will need a well-deserved (and much needed) break! One thing that hasn't changed is seasonality in the wilderness, which is why June to October remains our peak season and the ideal time to travel & see wildlife.This is the time when the bush is dry, resulting in better visibility and more concentrated water sources. Animals, therefore, congregate around the water and the shorter grass makes it easier to spot wildlife.
We are seeing a trend in travellers postponing their 2020 trips to 2021. This means that availability is filling up. Booking sooner rather than later is recommended, so take the plunge.
At African Bush Camps (ABC) we offer our consultation services entirely free of charge. An enquiry costs you nothing. We are going above & beyond to make you feel confident in booking by offering you a 100%* Refundable Deposit so that if events out of our control were to happen due to COVID-19, you can get your money back (*T&C's Apply)! You will also be able to move your booking to a future date with no further costs for up to 18 months from the original date of travel**.
As part of this 'new normal', we believe there will (and should) be a stronger shift towards responsible travel - travel that makes a positive impact to the area, it's wildlife & people. At African Bush Camps we've always been dedicated to these core aspects which drive our business.
Read our 2020 Foundation Projects – Latest Developments to see how we were still able to help projects on the ground.
Once travel is possible again, urban places with swarms of people will be avoided, at least for a while. Africa remains a ‘low risk’ travel destination, offering endless space, open-air activities and dining, private accommodation, and low people densities. Many will seek wide open spaces once they are free of their four walls and with our private accommodations and our exclusive conservation areas, you get to experience the luxury of freedom and space.
The Main Reasons Africa Should be your First Travel Destination Post-COVID-19:
- Low people densities
- Away from cities, which act as major disease epicentres
- Private accommodations
- Widely spaced, largely open-air dining
- Open game viewers and outdoor activities
- High staff to guest ratios which means greater than average ability to clean germs
- Active incident reporting systems in place,
- Backup from medical support teams (needed for core business because of location of operation and useful to repurpose for real-time medical risk assessments)
- Presence of camps and in turn guests in national parks helps in safeguarding wildlife and minimising poaching
- Safari tourism benefits community, conservation & education in the areas of operation
Read in more detail why we think Africa Should be First on Your Travel List Post-Quarantine.
The Future of Travel
Before lockdown was announced, it was impressive seeing the quick reaction of so many airports, governments and industry leaders beefing up their testing and sanitation facilities. With this given ‘extra time’ to prepare, our camps will be equipped for internal critical actions to ensure safety and sanitation are adhered to.
For more from industry experts, take a look at the discussion had on our LIVE show 'Safari Talks' with our Founder, CEO & Professional Guide, Beks Ndlovu along with two other industry specialists; Juliet Kinsman, a leading luxury and sustainability writer and editor and founder of sustainability consultancy BOUTECO and Nigel Nicoll, President & Company CEO at ATTA (African Travel & Tourism Association), the trade association that promotes tourism to Africa from all over the world. The panel along with facilitator Sachaba G, delve into hot topics such as the change in Africa travel in the short to long term, how long recovery process will be and the positives to come from this situation. Watch it now:
A Message from our Founder, CEO and Professional Guide, Beks Ndlovu
We believe in the power of Responsible Tourism, and we hope you support us during this time, and we will offer you the same support and benefit in return.
"Africa will continue to grow and develop. The storm will end, and when it does, Africa will be here to welcome you with open arms."
**A Guest may postpone the trip for up to 18 months from the original date of travel, subject to availability, and to adjustments for seasonal and special package rates, by notifying African Bush Camps at least 72 hours before travel if any of the following occurs: