September 3, 2014
Recently we’ve had a few guests express concerns over the cases of Ebola being reported in West Africa and how and if that might impact their trips with Africa Dream Safaris. First off, our hearts and prayers go out to the impacted individuals and their loved ones. To date there have 3,500 cases of Ebola reported in West Africa including 1,900 deaths.
We understand there is concern over these tragic events but we would like to assure our guests the affected areas in West Africa have had zero impact on East Africa including Tanzania, Kenya or Uganda. There is no Ebola in Tanzania or anywhere near the areas where we operate our safaris. Furthermore, we have not received any cancellations due to concerns about Ebola and rightfully so. Since there appears to be a a lot of myths and confusion on the Internet about Ebola, we have found this article by NBC News entitled “Why are Americans so scared of Ebola” to be very helpful.
Keep in mind that Ebola is not airborne nor is it transmitted casually (one has to have intimate contact with blood or body fluids). This is similar to the way AIDS is transmitted. There are more deaths in Africa attributable to AIDS during a single day then all the Ebola deaths combined since its inception in 1976. Sadly, over 1.2 million deaths in Africa from AIDS were reported in 2011.
Please note that the affected areas of West Africa are thousands of miles away from the famous safari circuits of Tanzania including the Serengeti National Park. Much of Europe is actually closer to the affected areas of West Africa then the Serengeti. The distance between Liberia and Arusha, Tanzania is 3,567 miles.
Furthermore, there is no viable land route from the affected areas to where we operate our safaris and there are no direct flights between the affected areas and Tanzania. Kenya Airways the primary airline that would connect East and West Africa, has suspended all flights to the infected countries through Nairobi-Kenya, the African Hub, out of an abundance of caution.
Please see the below map that illustrates the vastness of the African continent compared to other countries.
* Map Created by Cartographer Kenneth Field, Kingston University London
Per the World Health Organization, even if a safari did include the affected areas of West Africa (which they do not), the actual risk is incredibly low:
The World Health Organization (WHO) states: ‘The risk of a tourist or businessman/woman becoming infected with Ebola virus during a visit to the affected areas and developing disease after returning is extremely low, even if the visit included travel to the local areas from which primary cases have been reported. Transmission requires direct contact with blood, secretions, organs or other body fluids of infected living or dead persons or animal, all unlikely exposures for the average traveler’s.’
We do hope that some good will yet come out of this tragedy in West Africa in that the significant media attention may raise awareness on the greatly underfunded and inadequate medical facilities that exist in Africa. Though there is no denying the horrible situation in the affected Ebola areas of West Africa, the much larger humanitarian crisis in Africa still remains AIDS and many other widespread and easily treatable conditions and diseases.
See below for official notification of Ebola free status in Tanzania.
ADS proudly sponsors The School of St. Jude – a charity funded school that provides a free, high-quality primary and secondary education to the poorest and brightest children of Arusha region, Tanzania, East Africa. Here’s their monthly update:
In under a year, our first set of students will do something they once thought would never be possible – graduate from secondary school. Many of them have been with our school since its early days, studying hard so they can pass their national exams and achieve high marks to get into their chosen university or secure a job.
There are some Form 6 students who only started at St Jude’s last year and have come through years of government schooling. Their education took place in classrooms filled with more than a hundred students, often sharing only one textbook between them. Coupled with that, they were being taught often by poorly qualified teachers, due to a lack of teacher training colleges in the country. Yet, in the face of these immense challenges they proved that they desperately wanted to learn and, after going through an application process, were accepted into St Jude’s. Now their futures are looking brighter, but some of these older students are still unsponsored and need your help.
Since starting at St Jude’s last year, Pascal has kept up his commitment and strong work ethic towards his studies, managing to get A-level results in almost all of his subjects. It has not been an easy road for him. He grew up in Karatu, a remote area about two hours away from Arusha with his mother, who is a farmer, along with seven brothers and sisters. His father passed away when he was young. Most of his siblings only made it to the end of primary school for their education.
Pascal went to a school in Karatu, which like many other government schools in the country did not have proper materials, books, equipment and teachers. Adding to the challenge was that he could not speak any Swahili or English when he started secondary school, as it was not properly taught at his former school. His mother also did not know either language. Pascal could only speak the language of his Iraqw tribe but he did not let this deter him. He could not stand to fall behind in his studies, so during his holidays he would do extra work with his friends and other local children and they would share things they had learnt with each other. By the time Pascal got to Form 4, he had improved his ability to speak and understand Swahili and English. He and his friends had created an education for themselves.
Over time, Pascal heard about the high-quality education at St Jude’s and knew it was an opportunity to realise his dreams. He sat our Form 5 entrance tests for Chemistry, Physics and Biology and passed all of them. His hard work paid off when he got accepted into our school. He now loves having his own set of textbooks and learning at St Jude’s, which strives to have great resources.
Pascal is now closer to his dream of becoming an Environmental Management Officer so he can protect the natural resources in his country. “There is much misuse of natural resources in Tanzania and elsewhere and I think if I was in that position, I would have the knowledge to educate the people and pass on information about how to look after the environment,” he said.
Exciting news was announced this week in Tanzania with regards to tourist arrivals from the United States. There was a 7 percent increase in tourists arriving into Tanzania from the United States from 2012 (65,110 American tourists) to 2013 (69,671 American tourists). America is now Tanzania’s second largest source of tourism.
Natural Resources and Tourism minister Lazaro S. Nyalandu, noted: “The increase in tourism is due to several factors; the increased flights from the U.S., the greatly improved infrastructure, and Tanzania’s new luxury accommodations which have attracted a growing number of celebrities and Hollywood A-listers like Oprah Winfrey, Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie.”
Tanzania has showed a steady increase of visitors worldwide over the past five years, having reached its benchmark of 1,000,000 visitors in 2012 for the first time since records have been kept.
Tanzania’s acting Managing Director of the Tanzania Tourist Board, Devota Mdachi noted that “this is also due to the fact that Tanzania, in addition to having three of Africa’s natural wonders of the world, is viewed as a peaceful and stable destination, rich in history and cultural diversity”
Presently Tanzania is the largest country in East Africa, focused on wildlife conservation and sustainable tourism, with approximately 28 percent of the land protected by the government, the largest percentage of any country in the world. It boasts of 16 national parks and 32 game reserves, 50 game controlled areas, one special conservation area (the Ngorongoro) and three marine parks.
It is home to the tallest mountain in Africa, the legendary Mt Kilimanjaro, the Serengeti, home to the “Great Animal Migration” that was named the New 7th Wonder of the World, by US Today and ABC TV’s Good Morning America; the world acclaimed Ngorongoro Crater, often referred to as the “Eden of Africa” and the “Eighth Wonder of the World”, Olduvai Gorge, the cradle of mankind:
Most important for visitors, the Tanzanian people, with a rich history and diverse blend of cultures, are warm and friendly. Tanzania is regarded as an oasis of peace and stability with a democratically elected and stable government.