April 1, 2020: Updated information on coronavirus infections and your safari vacation in Botswana.
Disclaimer: We are not doctors, nor are we medical professionals. We are not offering advice or telling you what you should or should not do. If you are at all concerned about your health and safety, you need to do what is best for you and your family. And you should always consult a medical professional with any questions or concerns before planning your safari vacation in Botswana.
That being said, we do want to address traveling with the coronavirus outbreak, including what you need to know about Africa—particularly Botswana. Information is continuing to change at a rapid pace. Every day or two, we are gaining more insight into the COVID-19 pandemic and how it’s affecting Botswana. We will try to keep this post updated weekly, so you have the latest information.
Coronavirus Update – April 1, 2020
New cases of the coronavirus (COVID-19) are being reported daily in countries around the world. Italy and Spain are facing increasingly dire situations in Europe, the United States is rapidly becoming an epicenter for the disease, and Africa’s rate of COVID-19 infections is growing.
Leading authorities such as the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the World Health Organization (WHO) recommend avoiding all travel. So far, there have been over 800,000 confirmed cases and 40,00 deaths in 206 countries. The reality is that few if any countries are allowing in travelers. And those that still have flights are enforcing mandatory quarantines of up to 14 days for all newcomers.
Here is a great myth busters advice column on WHO about COVID-19. You should also watch this video about stopping the spread of the virus.
Should You Postpone or Cancel Your Safari Vacation in Botswana?
Situations are changing rapidly. Almost every country in the world is dealing with the coronavirus right now. This is a serious crisis situation that must be handled carefully.
As of April 1, 2020, this is not a time to travel or continue with your vacation plans. It’s an excellent time to plan for a future vacation during the fall or winter or next year in 2021, but flying into or out of almost any country is incredibly difficult if not impossible as of this moment.
Very simply, when asked if people should POSTPONE their travel plans, the answer is YES. Right now, you cannot continue your safari vacation to Botswana.
Both South Africa and Botswana have many travel or trade restrictions in place, which make it currently impossible to continue your vacation plans for at least the month of April, and most likely May as well.
The Johannesburg international airport is currently under lockdown due to the coronavirus outbreak. The government has banned all entry into the country in order to slow its infection rate. South Africa is currently under a 21-day stay-at-home order, and as of April 1, 2020, it has as many as 1,300 infections and five deaths. Simply put, you cannot fly into South Africa, the main port of entry to get into Botswana.
However, even if you flew into Kenya, Zambia, or Ethiopia, you still could not get into or out of Botswana. According to the U.S. Embassy in Botswana, all borders are closed. The Government of Botswana has BANNED entry for ALL individuals except if you are a Botswana resident. And even if you are a resident, you will be required to go through a 14-day mandatory quarantine at an approved location before heading home.
Who Is at Risk of COVID-19?
Everyone is at risk of contracting COVID-19. It is a highly infectious virus that no one has proven immune to. However, that does not mean all cases are serious.
Around 80% of all infections result in mild, cold-like symptoms. However, these individuals can still infect others. And for the remaining 20% of people, COVID-19 can result in severe symptoms, which may result in hospitalization and/or death.
Individuals at the most risk from the coronavirus are the same individuals who are at most risk for other types of infections, including the common cold and flu. Elderly individuals, those who are immune-compromised, or individuals with pre-existing conditions (such as high blood pressure, heart disease, lung disease, cancer, or diabetes) are most at risk.
This is a dangerous disease that must be taken seriously.
Coronavirus and Botswana
As of April 1, 2020, Botswana has recorded its first three cases of COVID-19, including their first death. This has lead President Masisi to declare a “state of emergency.”
What this means is that extreme social distancing measures will commence on April 2, 2020, at midnight and last for a minimum of 28 days. During this time, all individuals in Botswana are expected to stay at home and are only permitted to travel for essential reasons, such as purchasing groceries or medicine. In fact, travel will be so restricted that only those individuals who gain a government-issued “COVID-19 Travel Permit” will be allowed to travel.
To keep up-to-date on the latest COVID-19 information coming out of Botswana, please visit the Ministry of Health and Wellness Republic of Botswana Facebook page. You can find it here.
Travel Insurance and the Coronavirus
As for travel insurance, the coronavirus may or may not be covered. It depends on your particular plan and your reason for choosing to cancel your trip.
Cancel for Any Reason Insurance policies offer the most protection. They tend to be more around 30-40% more expensive than other types of travel insurance, but they are the only ones guaranteed to cover your vacation. Typically, you’ll be reimbursed for up to 75% of your safari vacation in Botswana.
Standard travel insurance will not cover you if you decide not to travel because of the outbreak. The same goes for travel insurance that comes included with certain credit cards. Instead, these two types of insurance will only cover you if there is a disruption while on your trip, such as a quarantine period.
Safari Vacation to Botswana: Coronavirus Advice
At this time, any safari vacation plans to Botswana that you’ve made or were planning to make should be put on hold, at least for the remainder of April and May as well. At this point, everything in Botswana is under lockdown. You cannot get into the country and all lodges, campsites, and tour operators are under orders not to operate. Individuals in Botswana are expected to take EXTREME social distancing measures for the remainder of April, so this is not a time to travel.
DO NOT CANCEL, POSTPONE!
However, we do not recommend canceling your safari vacation because of the coronavirus in Botswana. That’s because cancelation policies are remaining unaffected for many lodges. You’ll be required to give up your deposit. However, postponing your safari vacation is a great option.
Currently, Brave Africa and many other safari lodges and camps are offering free postponement of your trip to anytime within the next year. For example, if you decide to schedule your trip with us and then need to postpone due to the coronavirus, you do not have to pay any change fees, including increased prices due to a change in season. You can read more about our COVID-19 safari policy here.
Plan Ahead for Your Botswana Safari
This is the ideal time to plan ahead for 2021. And the good news is that you can trust in Brave Africa to still be here. We have worked closely with our team to come up with a game plan to take care of our staff, our bills, and other obligations for as long as needed. All that to say is that we are ready and open to schedule your future safari whenever you are ready.
And to keep you entertained while you social distance and self-quarantine, check out our unique online safari content during the coronavirus pandemic. We’re constantly updating our social media, so stay tuned to Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, Twitter, and Pinterest.