Travel as we knew it preceding 2020 is what we would all call olden-golden times, yet this is just Mid-2021! You will hear one or more people wonder how we got here! Tourism was laid-back to say the least. Decision making has now shifted from simple factors to consider while choosing a destination to critical preparedness & readiness coupled with consciousness of mind. Post Covid travel is going to be different by all means.
The world was moving too fast, and there was need for humans to step on the breaks. If there’s anything this pause-period has taught us, it is that the bucket-list cannot wait! At the earliest convenience, it has to be accomplished. In 2020, traveling-again would have been viewed at as burdensome, but there’s hope for better times now with manageable measures to include PCR tests, rapid tests, proof of covid-19 vaccination and SOPs to adhere to. We continue to build optimism that traveling will definitely get better- even if it may take longer than anticipated. Otherwise, the new normal includes consistent cleaning, sanitation, reduced touch-points, shielding gear such as masks, screening tools, and less-and-less of this-and-that.
Post covid travel is most definitely going to get better. Cities & Skies will now be less polluted; National Parks & Reserves will be much quieter and less crowded. One distinct outcome of the lock down is the regeneration of wildlife in Uganda especially the mountain Gorillas. The year 2020, was gorilla baby boon year with fourteen births in the forest. Five of these were in a period of just six weeks!
This period has stirred up local tourist interest, with an increased number of Ugandans and Kenyans taking on the national parks and appreciating the gifts Mother Nature has bestowed upon them. Things have shifted more towards meaningful travel, centered on restoring our mother planet, giving back to local communities, and not forgetting sustainability now is a major driving force.
In the past, the professed busy seasons attracted vast tourists to East Africa. This led to certain activities like gorilla trekking being fully-booked on given dates or the swarming of Masai Mara during the croc-fest wildebeest migration. Perhaps, we should get ready to see a shift in patterns where safari bookings are equally distributed throughout the year, regardless of season.
“This pause gives us the gift of time to consider how we can travel more consciously.” – Bruce Poon Tip
Since the opening a few destinations, we have seen a rise in conscious travelers who are far more appreciative of the world around them and more discerning in travel choices. In the future, when one decides to travel it’s got to be fulfilling, impactful in their lives and the ones whom they visit. Safari experiences are going to be versatile, wildlife views will be coupled with community visits geared towards bonding with locals. Also, greater involvements in cultural activities like a local dance in Kidepo Valley National Park or even the Masai Mara in Kenya.
In the past, especially for African Safari enthusiasts, multiple-location holidays have been a-thing and we feel this trend will continue, however this time there is going to be longer stays in specific places. Post covid travel will encourage new routines such as workstations (a combination of Work & Holiday). More than ever, there’s need to just cut out time and space to do both work & play. And, in order to allow the busy people travel more, safari itineraries will have to be flexible to include work-time in-between activities/days. With a complete shift in Lifestyles, more travelers are going Gorilla & Chimpanzee trekking with work laptops at hand; since it’s really possible if a few extra nights are catered for. Up until recently, a tourist would sign up for a 6 Days trip combining Gorilla Trekking in Bwindi Impenetrable Forest with a Masai Mara safari, however we are yet to see this being an 8 day trip (or more) with 2 days allotted to work-while-safari. Say, the 2 days spent in a relaxing resort like the Munyonyo Common Wealth Resort by Lake Victoria.
In the end, after all is said and done, we have just been taking time off to reflect on our travel options and also prepare for upcoming jaw-dropping safari experiences. Cheers to us doing the things we always wanted to, but held off.