african horizons guide

Near-term Safari Opportunities 2020-2021

We’re excited to see African countries safely reopening and welcoming international travelers back to their borders. With a careful understanding of new protocols and entry requirements, it may be a great time for some travelers to take advantage of a safari in the near-term over the next 3-9 months.

Some considerations for travel in the near term

Pros

  • Uncrowded parks & nearly-exclusive wildlife viewing and trekking
  • Great value especially during the green season
  • Plenty of availability at preferred camps
  • Guides and camp staff are eagerly awaiting guests 
  • Camps can pull out all the stops with upgrades and added value experiences
  • Your presence safeguards wildlife and benefits community programs in the areas you visit

Cons

  • Navigating flight and airport protocols is more  onerous and uncertain
  • Countries have implemented advanced health screenings and entry requirements
  • Reduced options for multi-country itineraries
  • Some camps and domestic flights have not yet resumed operations
  • Travel insurance policies vary by provider and specific coverage and benefits can be unclear

The following countries have now opened their borders with responsible Covid protocols, and commercial international flights have resumed:
Kenya – Rwanda – Tanzania – Zambia

Tips for developing an itinerary in the coming months

  • Single country itineraries are key
    • International border crossings currently require time-sensitive Covid tests
    • Here are examples of single country itineraries in Kenya, Tanzania, Rwanda & Zambia
  • Reduce interactions with other guests through:
    • Less moving around in country
    • Longer stays at fewer camps
    • Private charters for transfers
  • Families or groups of friends can take advantage of exclusive-use of camps, lodges and safari villas.
  • Get familiar with the risks associated with air travel
  • Review the specific health protocols at the camps. Some examples below.

The camps and communities in these destinations have done an incredible amount of work to sustain vital services in the absence of tourism and to prepare for the resumption of tourism through extensive staff training and implementation of stringent new protocols.
Here are some favorite achievements and messages from our colleagues who are keen to welcome guests back to their countries:

Kenya

Rwanda

Tanzania

Zambia

Epic 350km fundraising walk in the Luangwa Valley

Read about the full project here

 Zambia Migration Safari in December 2020 is on!

Details and full itinerary here

HERE’S A FULL OVERVIEW OF TRAVEL RESTRICTIONS AND GUIDELINES WHERE WE OPERATE


Enhanced health protocols at safari camps and lodges:

Safaris are inherently a lower risk travel option as good quality safari experiences steer clear of crowds and offer intimate camps, small professional teams and wide open spaces. However, our colleagues have gone above and beyond to design and implement the highest health and safety protocols. Here’s a few examples:

wilderness safaris covid-camps
Asilia COVID-19-In-Camp-Protocols
SINGITA_COVID-19-HYGIENE-PRACTICES_fin
Time + Tide's commitment to safety _ Time + Tide

Let’s Start Planning Your Safari!

Kili’s Return to Rwanda – Gorillas & More!

Kili returned to Rwanda to find a country that has made tremendous progress toward its goal of being one of Africa’s leading countries and most dramatic stories of renewal. Rwanda has successfully positioned itself as a luxury destination with extraordinary wildlife and cultural experiences.

Aside from new luxury lodges near Volcanoes National Park, there are a lot experiences in Kigali and throughout the country that make Rwanda more than a gorilla extension.


Kigali

Kigali is a unique among African capitals, and it is clear from the moment you leave the airport. The roads are clean and in good condition, and the city center is safe and vibrant enough to have a walk through town. It has become an international hub and a shining example of progress. Here are some interesting experiences we recommend:

 

Azizi Life Cultural Tours

Inema Arts Center

Inema Arts Center

Rwanda Wildlife Conservation Association

Kigali Genocide Memorial


Volcanoes

The area around Musanze, the nearest town to the gorilla trekking headquarters in Volcanoes National Park, has seen the most development with a number of breath-taking new luxury lodges as well as some old favorites. In addition to being a base for gorilla trekking, there are a lot of other things to do like visiting the Gorilla Doctors facility, the Dian Fossey Center, the spectacular twin lakes, the Iby’wacu Cultural Village or just having a walk around the Musanze town and markets.

 

Sabyinyo Silverback Lodge

Sabyinyo Silverback Lodge

Singita Kwitonda Lodge

Singita Kwitonda Lodge

Bisate Lodge

Wilderness Safaris Bisate Lodge

Virunga Lodge

Volcanoes Virunga Lodge


Akagera

Akagera is a national park that is being successfully restored into a great conservation story, and we’re hearing excellent feedback from some of our first clients to visit the far northern corner of the park. Lions were re-introduced in 2015, and there has been excellent recent leopard sightings. This project is in collaboration with the Rwandan government and the surrounding local communities. You can learn more about this project here, and also on the African Parks website. If you’re up for visiting a unique area while also supporting groundbreaking conservation work, Akagera is at the top of our list!


Nyungwe

In addition to soon-to-reopen Gorilla’s Nest Lodge in Musanze, One & Only Resorts has introduced Nyungwe House in the south western corner of Rwanda, a spectacular option for including chimpanzee trekking in your Rwanda itinerary. Plus, they’re offering scenic helicopter transfers between Nyungwe and Volcanoes for an unbelievable bird’s eye view of Rwanda’s incredible topography.


Some of Kili’s Gorilla Trekking Photos

Learn about Kili’s Secret Safari

Mike & Sheila’s Serengeti Plains and Virungas Mountains

img_3488Mike & Sheila want to make sure we mention their ages (71 & 72) and these three points:

  1. Good guiding makes all the difference.
  2. A camping safari is a 24-hour experience.
  3. Tracking gorillas shouldn’t be intimidating

For their first safari back in 2011, we focused Mike & Sheila’s itinerary on a mobile camping safari in Botswana. It was a great fit. For this year’s trip we turned to East Africa, splitting their time between northern Tanzania, with camping and walking in the Serengeti, and tracking gorillas in Rwanda.

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Entering the Virungas Mountains

Jeremy’s Rwanda Gorilla Experience

Rwanda is so many things, and my time there was magical. Here’s the first video from my visit, starting with the gorilla tracking experience. I did two treks: first to the Susa group, and then to the Hirwa group.

The Susa trek was nearly a two hour climb into the misty highland. It is the largest tourist-accessible group with multiple silverbacks, some young babies and a rare set of twins, and it is one of the original groups studied by Diane Fossey. The hike was exhausting and my legs were shaky with fatigue, but it was so rewarding to spend an hour observing the young gorillas tumbling around.

Hirwa Family Tree

Hirwa Family Tree

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