Since June 2014, western Africa has been ravaged by Ebola, with over 22,000 cases and nearly 9,000 deaths in the four countries most affected. Although thousands of miles away, tourism numbers across the entire continent of Africa have been affected by the outbreak, with drastic reductions in the number of visitors, anywhere from 25-70% below normal ranges.
There has finally been a bit of light at the end of the tunnel–recently the tide has turned, and the number of cases has gone down significantly. While some predictions stated that there would be upwards of 1.4 million cases by this time (in Liberia and Sierra Leone alone), the reality is that there are nowhere near that number, and all current signs point to a gradual disappearance of the disease altogether. There are currently less than 100 new confirmed cases reported in a week in Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone–the lowest since the epidemic entered the world stage.
The task now is to make sure that governments and medical authorities remain vigilant, as even a small lapse in security could open the way for another mass infection in Africa or anywhere else in the world. In addition, the citizens of West Africa need to remember the lessons learned from this horrible outbreak, and be on the lookout for any signs of a relapse.
Tanzania–where Pamoja Safaris operates–was never even close to the risk zone, yet business was affected as western travelers canceled their reservations and postponed upcoming trips. Numbers across the board were down as much as 60%, despite a campaign by the tourism boards and governments to persuade potential tourists that everything was alright. Many safari guides lost out on months of work, and things began to get a bit desperate at times when they couldn’t afford to support their families. The latest news has sparked a bit of hope in the travel community though, and safari companies are preparing for the next high season (starting in June) by ramping up sales efforts and preparing guides for their upcoming deployments.
We’re looking forward to a rebound in tourists from here on, and welcome you with open arms to explore Tanzania–the best safari country on earth.