Coronavirus and African safaris:

November 2021:  The African continent has effectively now reopened, with the exception of some restrictions in Madagascar, visitors from the UK, Europe and the USA can now visit African countries without restrictions or the need to quarantine on their return. Negative PCR tests are still required to get on most airlines and on arrival in each country as well as on departure.  Individual countries have their own regulations but the situation is changing, mainly for the better, on a  regular basis.  If you’re travelling on safari with us, we’ll keep you updated with any changes to requirements.

September 2021 update:  We have finally run our first safaris for 18 months – and they were very successful!  Two safaris to Tanzania showed us there will be travel after and even during Covid.  Whilst there are still restrictions for some, especially UK residents, many countries can now travel to Africa.  There are certain conditions, with testing requirements to enter some countries and to be allowed onto planes; these conditions can be complicated with care needed to ensure the timings are right, but we can help visitors with this and our experience has shown that a safari is an even more life-enriching experience at this time.

February 2021 update:  The good news is that Africa has still had some of the least number of Covid cases of any continent; there has undoubtedly been some under-reporting but the simple fact that hospitals and clinics across Africa have not been over-run suggests numbers are much less than in Europe and elsewhere.  A low age demographic is certainly helping but the South African variant is worrying and responsible for many of the travel restrictions currently in place, for South Africa itself and for other southern African countries.

If you would like to travel in the next year, please get in touch and we can discuss options.  A lot of safari groups have been postponed from 2020 and 2021 to 2022 – if you, like so many, are desperate for a great holiday and an experience to look forward to, you will need to start your planning early!

June 2020 Update:  As at 1st June, Africa does not appear to have suffered in terms of the numbers of Covid-19 cases and deaths in comparison to Europe, the States or even South America.  Whether this is due to an, as yet, unknown factor, under-reporting or whether the worst is yet to come, remains to be seen but Tanzania, for instance has just reopened its borders for tourism and the 14 day quarantine period has been withdrawn.  It appears the numbers of cases have been surprisingly low, many countries have had strict lock-downs and Botswana for instance has had 24 confirmed cases and only one death.  See:

https://kerdowneybotswana.us6.list-manage.com/track/click?u=f28b63ca5a7b34e97cf791dfc&id=e6744752f6&e=576b4e277a

1.  Booking terms & conditions have been altered to confirm that in the event of advice against travel by the WHO or Foreign Office, any safari will be postponed until travel is permitted and any deposits paid will be carried forward in full.
2.  Airlines are allowing customers to rebook their flights or giving vouchers for use against later travel.
3.  We guarantee to work with any of our clients on a case-by-case basis to provide the right outcome during what we appreciate is a very difficult time for all.
4. Journey Into Africa is financially stable but all clients’ money is held under our trust arrangements as a member of the Travel Trust Association.  This means that in the very unlikely event of Journey Into Africa becoming insolvent, any clients money would still be available for their safari.

All our safaris until the end of August have been rescheduled for 2022 and we are very grateful for all the cooperation of our clients.  We are hugely concerned not only for friends, colleagues, our clients and their families, but also for all our many friends and partners across Africa.  Whilst the actual number of coronavirus cases may be low, the impact on many millions of people’s lives cannot be underestimated in countries with little government help and who have come to rely on tourism for their livelihoods.  It’s estimated that for every employee in good employment in tourism in many African countries, up to 14 other people are being supported economically by that worker.  The complete loss of tourism will have a profound and devastating effect.

So please, if you have booked a safari don’t cancel – postpone!  This allows the company in Africa to retain their staff and give hope for a better year in 2022.  It also allows Governments to maintain their park rangers and anti-poaching staff, in the knowledge that the great parks of Africa will be in demand again next year.  The same is true if you were intending going on safari in 2022 and 2023 – please go ahead and book, this gives a measure of stability for the ground operators in Africa and as an added incentive, if you don’t book early it seems unlikely you’ll get space in the best small and exclusive camps, particularly in busy seasons.

We firmly believe that safaris are one of the safest trips in a post Covid 19 world – small camps and lodges, often exclusive to your party, away from the bulk of other visitors – a safari lends itself to self-isolation!  We have a great Tanzanian safari in early 2022 with space available, led by Andrew Beckett, see:

Tanzania: file:///C:/Users/Andrew/Downloads/web_The_Tanzanian_Safari_February_or_March_2021%20(1).pdf

Safari Offers:

Unsurprisingly, there are some phenomenal and probably never to be repeated deals on offer in 2022!  We can help you book a safari for early 2022 and would expect to get some great deals giving a fantastic safari with the added benefit of very few people around.  However, you need to be flexible and to be prepared to delay your plans until the next year if Covid-19 is still an issue and WHO advice is against travel.

We can assure you that if you were to travel in 2022 you would get a fantastically warm welcome from the people of Africa and you would really be helping the people, the infrastructure and the wildlife.

Get in touch for full details.

Fund raiser for Endamaghan School, Lake Eyasi, Tanzania – over £6,000 raised so far!

We visit this school regularly when spending time with the Hadza hunter-gatherers and Datoga people in the remote Lake Eyasi region of Northern Tanzania.  In many ways it’s a typical Tanzanian school, with great shortages of what we would consider essentials: imagine a school of over 900 pupils, of which over 200 are boarders, with only 17 staff including 11 teachers.

We’re doing a fund-raiser to purchase items the school and next door clinic have told us they need the most, including sheets, pens, exercise books,  a laptop, photocopier and microscope, weighing scales and a delivery bed!

Please visit: https://www.gofundme.com/fundraiser-for-endamaghan-primary-school-tanzania

Again, Coronavirus have affected our plans with this fund-raiser but we are still expecting to bring the supplies to the school in early 2022. If you would like more information on this school and our efforts to help it, do please get In touch.

Malawi and Zambia:

We returned in May 2019 from an agent’s trip to Malawi and Zambia.  Visiting 19 properties and many different areas this was a great way to see the progress being made in  both countries.  Standards in lodges and camps have greatly improved and restocking of many of Malawi’s parks now mean they offer a much better game viewing experience, whilst Zambia’s Luangwa Valley has long had an excellent reputation for great game viewing particularly renowned for its leopard sightings.

Our view: combine both countries to get a terrific safari experience as well as the delights of the lovely people of Malawi and the chance to swim and snorkel among the tropical fish of Lake Malawi and walk in the tea plantations. In terms of wildlife and scope of both animals and wilderness feel, Malawi doesn’t match either Tanzania or Botswana, but we had a ‘purple hour’ in Luangwa where we watched lion, wild dog and leopard at sunset, as well as seeing mouth-brooding cichlid fish in Lake Malawi and as a less expensive safari destination, a Zambia/Malawi combo has much going for it.

To see an example Zambia/Malawi itinerary click here: The Zambia and Malawi safari.

Tarangire – now a year round safari destination!

Tarangire National Park in northern Tanzania has always had a reputation as a dry season park, so during the June to October time, great herds of zebra and wildebeest are drawn to the Tarangire River and the swamps to the south, making for fabulous game viewing among the atmospheric and massive baobab trees.  But in the so-called ‘wet’ season from November to May, many of the grazers and many elephants disperse to the plains of the west, leaving behind long grass and, some would say, a host of annoying tsetse flies!

Nothing however stays the same and whilst I remember my first visit to Tarangire in December of 1986, spending 2 days and seeing just one elephant and not much else, each year since, I’ve been seeing a steady increase in wildlife at all times in Tarangire and now it truly is a year-round game viewing destination with elephants always to be seen and even in the Jan to March period the Silale Swamp offers some of the best elephant viewing on the continent.  Whether this is because of human pressure outside the park encouraging elephant to stay within the boundaries is yet to be determined but one result is that the increase in elephants helps keep the long grass down, which in turn helps in spotting cats.  Lion, leopard and cheetah which move very little and are always in the park are now easier to see and so in just one game drive in February of 2019, I watched 3 cheetah, 2 leopard walking along the swamp margin and 3 lion in a tree, along with many elephant and other game.  We also watched 3 male lion killing a buffalo calf that afternoon – not  a bad day for the supposedly low Tarangire season!

Journey Into Africa joins Friends of Serengeti!

The Serengeti is undoubtedly one of Africa’s most spectacular parks with phenomenal numbers of animals and a huge variety of habitats, including possibly 10% of the continent’s African lion population.  It is however under huge pressure from mounting human population and increasing tourism numbers which paradoxically, are crucial to its survival.  As a responsible safari operator, Journey Into Africa has joined the non-profit Friends of Serengeti organisation which works to help protect the Serengeti ecosystem for future generations and we will be encouraging our guests to make a small donation before they visit the magnificent Serengeti.

Rwanda and gorilla permit increase:

Rwanda has suddenly, and with immediate effect from 6th May 2017, doubled the cost of their gorilla permits from US$750 to an eye-watering $1,500 per permit per day.  Given we recommend two gorilla treks if you can, for a couple that would be $6,000 in gorilla permits alone!

There are some variations that are still being fully understood, for instance including 3 extra days at one of Rwanda’s other parks such as Nyungwe Forest or Akagera, would give a 30% discount off the gorilla permits, but there is no doubt this is a truly staggering increase!

Rwanda would argue that this is more money going towards gorilla conservation, but Uganda has already seen the opportunity and has confirmed it will be maintaining its permits at $600 each for at least 12 months.  Ground operators are already looking at the implication of the Rwandan increase with options to cross the border from Rwanda to Uganda and take advantage of the lower permit fees there.

2019 update – Uganda permits to increase to $700 from 2020.

If you’ve ever wanted to see the gorillas, do contact us now – the cost is only going one way!

Journey Into Africa joins the Travel Trust Association

Journey Into Africa is now a member of the Travel Trust Association, membership number Q4764.  This gives even greater financial protection to our clients as all monies paid to Journey Into Africa are now held in Trustees accounts.  Contact us for further details.


The Great Migration Update – November 2019

Good rains ( some places too much rain!) in East Africa in November 2019 lured the great herds of wildebeest and zebra back onto the short grass plains of the southern Serengeti in good time and they are now, in December, exactly where they would choose to be, feeding on the succulent short grass and preparing for their young.  Zebra have a peak foaling around December, while wildebeest have a synchronised calving with around 300,000 calves born in a 4 week period in February/early March.  This is highly unusual in the tropics and possibly has been developed as an anti-predator device but has given us one of the great wildlife sights!

Below is the 2017 migration update and comparing it to 2018 there seems to be many similarities!  The big herds swung south on their cue of rains on the southern plains which came a little early in the central Serengeti and many wildebeest were back in Central Serengeti in September 2017.  Things then got slightly ‘messy’ as the expected rain in November and December barely arrived; the big herds split and some moved back north, some disappeared into the woodlands of the south and west.  Right now, in early February some rain in January has brought the herds back onto the plains, where they choose to be.  Let’s hope so: February is calving time and without the rain both the calves and their mothers will suffer, with ongoing effects on the predators and their young.

May 2018 update:  February was dry, the herds dispersed, the dust rose and then at the beginning of March it rained, virtually every day through March which made for some interesting conditions on the plains and a couple of hours spent digging 4×4’s out, but the rain was mainly at night or an hour’s thunderstorm and then the dust settled, the flowers came out, the grass grew, the wildebeest returned to the plains in their 100’s of 1000’s and everyone was happy!  We watched a female cheetah with five sub adult cubs hunting successfully on the plains, lion cubs on kopjes and a fascinating interaction between 3 endangered wild dogs and a lioness.  Possibly one of the most memorable sights was a huge pride of 20 lion walking right towards us across the Ngorongoro Crater in perfect early morning light – unforgettable!

March 2017:  I’ve just returned from two fantastic safaris in Tanzania.  This has to be one of the best times in Tanzania: herds spread out over the short grass plains, calves everywhere and plenty of predators especially hyena and lion whilst this is a terrific time for watching cheetah, particularly in the Serengeti, when many females have young and are having to work hard to feed their youngsters – chances of seeing hunting cheetah are excellent.

The herds as always attracted attention from the predators and one safari group in February saw 12 different cheetah on one day – the Serengeti is truly the best place in the world for seeing and watching wild cheetah!


Serengeti Walking Safaris

Botswana safaris can be organised at any time for as few as two people and the small size of the camps and that most visitors fly by light aircraft between the camps, makes independent bespoke safaris in Botswana often no more expensive than as a group.

One of my recent safaris was experiencing a walking safari in the wilderness zone of the Serengeti.  If you like the idea of getting out of your 4×4 vehicle and exploring areas on foot that almost nobody visits, this safari is for you.  Smaller, more basic camps but a real feel for wilderness and in conjunction with more regular game viewing, some would argue this safari gives the best of all worlds.  If you’ve heard that the Serengeti is getting too busy, we spent four days in the wilderness zone and saw not one other person, vehicle or road!  Fantastic!

Serengeti Walking Safari under Tanzania’s Itineraries on this website.


A Tanzanian Safari in verse – Out of Africa

A journey into Africa, with lifelong friends we love so dear.
I must admit that now I’ve been, there is nothing much to fear.
A trip of a lifetime yes it was, it far exceeded what I wished.
I urge you all to make the trek, add it to your bucket list.

To Tanzania we flew, a far off land unpaved to traffic.
A safari trip just like you read about, in National Geographic.
Tented camps may not sound like much, but we really did enjoy it.
With comfy beds, a talking shower, and they even had a toilet.

Our guide Firoz an extraordinary man, he knew all the flora and the fauna.
Where is our camp I asked this man, “Why it’s just around the corner.”
There are no signs to tell you where you are or where you should be going.
“Trust your guide” he says, it’s all mapped in his head, it takes a lot of years of knowing

Steve Kessinger, Tanzania, September 2013.
For the full version of Steve’s great poem, click on the Blog link on the menu


Late deals/low season safaris in Botswana!

January to end March is low season in Botswana so if you fancy some winter sun and wildlife, you can stay in a camp that costs over $1000 per person per night for just over $500!  Same camp, same service, same activities.  Some game has dispersed but the territorial animals including the predators remain and using a guide and tracker system increases your chances of excellent game viewing at a beautiful time of the year when all is green, there are plenty of young around, the light is a photographer’s dream and the birdwatching is at its best.

Botswana safaris can be organised at any time for as few as two people and the small size of the camps and that most visitors fly by light aircraft between the camps, makes independent bespoke safaris in Botswana often no more expensive than as a group.


Ugandan gorilla permits

Uganda has recently introduced reduced gorilla tracking permits for low season months; the regular cost of US$600 per person permit has been reduced to $400. Whilst in Rwanda in a rare incidence, mountain gorilla twins have recently been born.


Elephant and rhino poaching

There has been an increase in both elephant and rhino poaching in many parts of Africa, from Chad to South Africa, as rising prices in the illicit trade has encouraged poachers to return. On the other hand, in some parks such as Kafue National Park in Zambia, more elephants have been seen in recent months than for decades.


Serengeti Highway

Serengeti Highway to be reassessed. The Tanzanian Government has agreed to relook at the proposed highway which would have cut a road 53 kms straight through some of the most unspoilt areas of the northern Serengeti National Park. The proposal has created uproar in conservation circles and potentially would have a massive impact on the greatest wildlife migration of earth where nearly 2 million wildebeest, zebra, gazelle and other antelope move in search of water and grazing. The Tanzanian Government has stated any road would now be unpaved in the park, and even more significantly, have agreed to look again at a southern route, outside of the Serengeti. The debate and discussions continue.

   
All safaris arranged by Journey Into Africa are
protected under the Travel Trust Association scheme, membership number Q4764.