I have just returned from a wonderful trip travelling in Jordan, with my daughter, Jodie. We hiked 20 km around Petra, and explored the spectacular canyons of Wadi Rum on foot and by camel. Within a few days we had run out of superlatives, it was unbelievably beautiful, and the people were amongst the friendliest I’ve ever experienced.
In the places we went there were many tourists, mostly French, German, British, Japanese, Australian, and the, nowadays, inevitable Chinese. Americans were noticeably absent. I asked our guide why this was the case, he smiled, shrugged, but made no comment.
It’s the same thing in Africa’s major wildlife countries at present. Tour companies in Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, Botswana, Zambia and South Africa are currently noticing a concerning American silence.
As the 24 hour TV stations continued to dish out their cheap news, stir anxiety and fuel hysteria around the world regarding the recent tragic Ebola outbreak in West Africa, we at Tropical Ice made a decision to wait it out, give it some time to run its course, until the public hopefully reached a point where they would understand the situation and be able to judge the reality of this issue for themselves.
Well…we’re not entirely convinced that the hysteria and anxiety is diminishing. So, before we get into the main reason for our newsletter, which is to tell everyone about the magic of the African bush, here are the facts of the Ebola crisis from our perspective.
We do not have Ebola in Kenya.
We are as far away from the affected West African countries as New York is from London. In fact, London and Paris are closer to the Ebola epicentre than Kenya is.
You can only catch Ebola by direct contact with body fluids from an obviously infected person, and since there is no one with Ebola in Kenya your chances of contacting it are therefore zero.
It is safe to fly?
The virus is not airborne, and this is despite the best efforts of the cheap news media to suggest otherwise, with their scandalous dependance on all the “What If” scenarios.
Since the Ebola outbreak began in March this year approximately 620,000 people have died of HIV/Aids in Africa; 340,000 have died of malaria; and 200,000 have died of starvation. Ebola has claimed approximately 5,000 lives.
Africa is not a country, it is a vast continent, where for those of us who like to travel and experience wild places, different cultures, and the remaining wildlife on our planet, the positives greatly outnumber the negatives.
There is currently a big question mark hanging over our wildlife; the great elephant herds in Tsavo, and the lion population of the Maasai Mara exists now. Whether they will be here tomorrow offers genuine reasons for concern, and many of us involved in wildlife conservation are filled with uncertainty.
National Parks in Africa today exists only if wildlife can pay their way. Tourist dollars in the form of park entrance, camping and permit fees comprise the main revenue earner of Africa’s national parks, and consequently preserve a natural home for wildlife. Reduced tourist numbers bolster the arguments which cattle herders, and land-grabbing politicians use to eat away the natural environment.
This is not the time to bunker down. Keep a clear perspective, don’t wait, come and see it now while it still exists.
See wild Kenya in its natural form, on our award winning Great Walk of Africa – 100 miles across pristine elephant wilderness; visit the Serengeti/Maasai Mara on our Classic Migration Safari; or combine them with an ascent of Kilimanjaro, on the Kilimanjaro & Beyond safari.
We’ve been doing this for 37 years…we know what we’re talking about.
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