Tanzania Safari 2020
Moving the office to Tanzania for a month….or so
Many of our friends and clients are working from home right now. Businesses have been disrupted, jobs have been threatened and life is difficult. It was difficult for us as well, our travel business literally stopped overnight. We have great bookings for so many of you, but only in 2021/2022. As tine went on, we came to realise that more and more people needed a break. People were prepared to take responsibibty, get insurance and travel. As you can read below, we came to Tanzania to see if it was ok, to find out, and to break new ground. The safari has not been easy. Breakdowns, tiring long drives between locations, cooking in the rain, and dust. We are on a budget and cannot afford deluxe lodges, we camp and stay in cheap guest houses (like the one in Mpanda that I am writing this from). But we feel we are doing the right thing. Here is why:
Francisca and I have been in Tanzania since the middle of October. Many of you have been following us on facebook or our blog: Karamanju.com .We have been on Safari in Tanzania our own landrover, driving thousands of kilometres from Dar es Salaam to Bagamoyo, Korogwe, Arusha, Lake Natron, the Serengeti, Mwanza, Kigoma, Gombe Stream, and now south to Mpanda and Katavi. You could be forgiven for thinking that we are on the trip of a lifetime. Far from it, we have simply moved the office from South Wales to the back of a 90 Landrover.
You see, we were getting news that Tanzania had been largely unafected by Covid-19. This was not just our safari travel suppliers saying this, but western medical professionals based in the country. You, our friends and clients have always been a highly educated and adventurous group of people. That is why we are friends with so many of you. You will travel, if you know what the risks are, and you believe the risks are manageable.
We had to put our money where our mouth was.
Tanzania had a brief flirt with covid and then opened up to tourism. The nation was accepting flights and clients without covid testing. People started to ask questions to which we had no clear answers. We therefore decided we had to put our money where our mouth was, get on an aircraft, and see what Tanzania was like. So much of our business is Tanzania. We had to know, was Tanzania safe, was Tanzania still worth visiting, and more importantly was it feasable. (had the safari operations all shut?).
I wont lie, we were slightly nervous when we got onto the Ethiopian Airlines aircraft, but after 5 hours we were in Addis Ababa, and soon after that we were in Kilimanjaro. As soon as we landed we felt completely at home. After a couple of days liasing with our friends at the Matembezi company, we flew to Zanzibar for some admin, We then flew back to Dar es Salaam and picked up our landrover. The ride was not easy, after years of sitting it needed a new cylinder head (in Dar es Salaam) and new bearings (in Arusha). We picked up our photographer friend Sara Jenner and set off north to Lake Natron. After two days in the barren but beautiful place we continued. You can read the whole story here.
As the journey progressed, we saw the migration, soon after that we visited Gombe stream and now we are destined for Katavi and Ruaha national park.
Fly to Tanzania for Unbeatable Value and Safety
As we write this, we have been in Tanzania for just over a month. We have been blown away by the changes since we were last here. The once impassable tracks, are now proper graded earth roads. There is now good tarmac on some of the more remote district roads, trains run on time and often, Air Tanzania, the national airline operates all over the country in brand new Dash 8-Q400’s. The national parks are extremely well run and efficient. Tanzania Safari lodges are open, and a small number of hardened western tourists are here, seeing the great migration from their own private safari car. No one wears a mask, no one seems to be sick. We are not scientists, but we know what we see. Tanzania is eminentyly safer than any country in Europe or the USA. If you want to come on safari, then now is the time, while the numbers are low, the infrastructure is new and the people are desperate for good tourism to restart. Good tourism means tourism that puts money back into society, not just in the hands of a capitaist few.