In the last few weeks, almost every person I’ve met has asked me this question:
“Will you be going back to Africa while there is still an Ebola outbreak?”
In answering the question with a resounding “Yes”, I have tried to explain the size of the African continent and the huge distance between West Africa, where the Ebola outbreak exists, and the safari destinations of East and Southern Africa. As the crow flies, London is actually closer to West Africa than Nairobi in Kenya! It is very easy to find alarmist reports in the media wherever you are in the world and the other day I received an email from a friend in South Africa who was concerned about my husband traveling into New York City for work because she had heard of the healthcare worker here who had been infected while working in West Africa!
Tourism is vital to the economies of many African countries and plays a large part in ensuring the continued existence of wildlife and wild lands. If you value this and want to help both the people and wildlife of Africa, please think very carefully before canceling your travel plans to the continent. Consult your travel agent by all means, but remember that the main safari destinations of East and southern Africa are literally thousands of miles away from the outbreak in West Africa.
Before I end I do want to say that Ebola is a terrible disease and my thoughts are with the people of Sierra Leone, Liberia and Guinea who are caught in this outbreak. The dedicated healthcare workers from these and other countries are heroes and should be treated as such. I hope that the outbreak can be controlled quickly without the loss of more life.
Until next time