We received this short video clip from Krista Benner, who has now done our safari – the Great Walk of Africa – five times. The film centres on her last walk, which she did with her daughter Lauren. The Great Walk crosses Tsavo West and Tsavo East national parks, is 100 miles in length, and takes 11 days. Because Tsavo is in Kenya’s Tana River county, Facebook have titled it such, but the rivers we hike down are the Tsavo (Tsavo West), and the Galana (Tsavo East). We feel this little movie captures the essence of what our safari is all about.
Watch it, and consider the Great Walk as a wonderful post-Covid vaccine excursion, which will allow you to finally cut loose from confinement into the great wild expanse of Africa in all its glory. Join us in Kenya where the Covid situation is nowhere close to that of Western Europe and America, and where life is pretty normal. Remember too, that on the Great Walk of Africa you are in a Covid- free bubble. Therapy in its purest form!
Check out our dates for summer 2021. It’s the safari of a lifetime (Outside magazine’s Trip of the Year 2006; and one of 25 Bucket List Trips of 2012). And remember, for those who have done it before, it is different every time. This is the reason why people like Krista keep coming back!
If this had been a normal year Tropical Ice would have closed another Great Walk of Africa season. Kenya’s rains are here, and, as we write, Tsavo is being struck by heavy rains, it is looking very green and beautiful.
As with the travel industry in general for most of this year we have been looking towards 2021 for a return to a state of, at least, partial normalcy. The vast majority of our customers who had booked for 2020 rolled their bookings back to 2021, and as it stands right now nearly every one of our departures next year has people signed up on them. Those of you who have travelled with Tropical Ice will know that client safety is something we take very seriously. This is particularly so on our Great Walk of Africa safari. We have had 43 years of experience conducting walking safaris through wild Africa. We know how to do it safely, and this is the reason why we do better than anyone else.
We’ve given much thought into how to heighten the safety of our clients, specifically with the pandemic in mind. What we have found interesting, indeed reassuring, is how the very nature of our safaris – particularly the Great Walk of Africa – naturally places our visitors in a Covid-free bubble. For 10 days we are in unspoiled wilderness. Our small private camps are never closer than fifty miles to lodges, villages, or townships. And, we have complete control over our small band of camp staff. However, we are enhancing the safety of our clients even more with these additional precautions:
* We will no longer be doubling up single travellers. Each person, who falls into this category, will have their own private tent without a single supplement charge.
* We will be emphasising social distancing, both in our vehicles and in our dining tents. Our Land Rovers will now carry a maximum of 4 passengers; our dining tables will allow for spaced seating.
* It is now a Kenya government requirement that every staff worker inside a National Park (Tsavo), must be Covid tested in order to allow entry. Tropical Ice staff will be no exceptions to this ruling. They will also wear face masks whilst serving in the dining tent, and whenever in the proximity of our visitors.
The hotels we use on our Great Walk of Africa safari (Hemingways in Nairobi; Peponis in Lamu), are complying rigidly to the international Covid hotel standards.
Let’s talk a little about the current situation in Kenya. As of today (November 28), the number of Covid-related fatalities over the past nine months stands at a little over 1,300. This relatively small number is as a result of speedy action by the government who instigated a partial lockdown in March this year. Kenyans have generally taken the situation seriously, and have embraced mask-wearing. Initially, the main cities of Nairobi, Mombasa and Kisumu were blocked off with no incoming or outgoing traffic allowed, but this was lifted in July. There is at present a curfew between 10.00pm and 4.00am in place, and hotels are now operating normally. Restaurants that have complied with government regulations are now open, and functioning normally.
We often come across doubters who wonder if the Kenyan Covid mortality rate of 1,300 is accurate. We would like to remind people that Kenyans are technologically savvy (we invented the concept of mobile phone banking), and few do not have cell phones. If people were dying of Covid in the slums or rural regions we can be sure that it would have been recorded on social media. Those of us who live in the country believe the figure.
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