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If Covid-19 Postpones My September Safari

Old Jul 30th, 2020, 07:04 AM
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Zambia just announced that borders are open and tourist visas are being issued. You just can't get there through South Africa. Test needs to be negative 14 days prior to arrival which is doable in the USA. Yah!
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Old Jul 30th, 2020, 12:47 PM
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Thanks for the update, Craig.

Given the state of US COVID cases, any nation would be out of their minds to let us in. Seriously. I also wouldn't fly with any of my fellow Americans until this is long over.

Initially I asked for a reschedule for next year, but I ended up cancelling entirely. I will get my Emirates fare back because it was Business Class and because my flights between Dubai and Lusaka were moved to make my original itinerary almost worthless (presumably when they start up again, they will be on a reduced schedule). Waiting on that refund. And I'm applying for a medical exemption because my father fell very ill last week and is in hospice care. His physician is filling out that paperwork as we speak. We'll see if I get my deposit back using TravelGuard.

TravelGuard was not willing to refund my unused policy costs if I cancelled outright and didn't file a claim. They said that was available for a very small window of time only.
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Old Jul 30th, 2020, 02:04 PM
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Wow Amy, that sounds like a lot. I am sorry to hear that about your Dad. My father in law just moved into assisted living and my wife has to fly to GA every 4 weeks to look after him and take him to appointments. So, she can't go with me and has to be super careful. My Dad is in MN for the summer so I will just avoid him and his gf (both 83) when I get back.

I don't really have a choice about going as we have a lot of people that are depending on me to go so they will then go on their trips this fall. I'm 49 and based on my research, the Newsweek article about Delta's employees having only a .5% infection rate (lower than general population), and a great podcast on airline covid safety from The Atlantic (the series is called The Social Distance), I am feeling relatively safe.

As long as you did not have a previous claim with Travel Guard on that policy it sounds to me like your claim might work.

Good luck with all and prayers for Dad to be comfortable.

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Old Jul 31st, 2020, 12:44 PM
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Thanks, Craig! Good luck with your trip. Say hi to Kenya for me!
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Old Jul 31st, 2020, 05:43 PM
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AmyB, I had a somewhat similar situation when my brother, with a chronic health condition, needed acute-care hospitalization prior to my trip departure. Under basic travel insurance, I was reimbursed. Even without knowing all your details, I'd expect Travel Guard will reimburse for your deposit. Meanwhile, very best wishes for your father, and you.

SafariCraig, we await your report! Safari njema!
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Old Jul 31st, 2020, 08:15 PM
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I postponed my Sept. 11th trip several weeks ago. Gamewatchers will allow me to apply my deposit to another date within a year. They stated that Kenya (and the camps I had booked) would be open and that things were quite safe. But ... in the past week I heard a news report that numbers were rising dangerously Africa--including in Kenya.

As amyb said, there's no way I would feel safe going through multiple airports and flying with people who need to remove masks in order to eat and drink. There are just too many people who don't take this virus seriously and they act in ways that could get me infected. Being in my 60s and having diabetes, I am not willing to take even a slight chance for any traveling that is non-essential.

Safari_Craig: I hope everything goes smoothly and safely for you. I'll look forward to hearing about your trip.

Question: I will likely rebook between mid-July and early September 2021. Are there reasons to book during one of those months, as opposed to others?

amyb: I feel for you re: your father.
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Old Aug 1st, 2020, 05:34 AM
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Songdoc, in addition to my personal health and safety, I really worry about an influx of irresponsible COVID-carrying Americans making their way to Africa, which doesn't have nearly the capacity to deal with this that we do. They've just managed to keep this under control with borders closed. I think opening now, particularly to the US, is a really bad call. I hope beyond hope that I'm wrong.

As for when to go, you might be tight on options at this point. As you know July-August is migration season and many people may have booked a year or two in advance for next season in the Mara, then there are all those who may have already rebooked from this year. It depends though on if you have an interest in seeing it. It's not just the crossings (which are a crapshoot anyway) but the massive herds on the savannah. Personally I have seen the herds in Tanzania in calving season (which was impressive but I wouldn't book a trip around them) and have no desire to camp out for hour on end for the rare chance to see a river crossing, so I'd opt for after August. Crowds will be lighter once the migration moves on.

Thank you CaliNurse and songdoc for your thoughts. This is just another blow in 2020 for us.
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Old Aug 1st, 2020, 11:51 AM
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SongDoc – I think you made the right decision for yourself.



Quick update. Kenya shut their borders to people from CA, FL and TX yesterday and with no warning. I was supposed to travel to Kenya with a friend from CA. So, I am now going to Kenya on my own Aug 3-8 then meeting him in Tanzania on Aug 9.



I do think traveling right now can be a little controversial. For me, my family, my business and for the people + animals in the places I am going, I think the benefits outweigh the costs. I have had two covid tests in the past 7 days and have been in isolation for almost 4 months other than grocery stores and grab-and-go from Starbucks. My wife takes care of her parents in southern GA so she drove down there today from MN to be in synch with me. She will be able to isolate with me for 14 days when I get back before needing to go again. He Mom is home along and her Dad in one of those dreaded congregate living centers!



My only area of mild concern is the actual airports and I cannot "enter" Holland or the UK so I have to stay security-side in Heathrow and Amsterdam. I will wear an N95 in the airports and a blue mask or buff on the plane. Of all public places where you might need to be inside during covid, I believe planes are one of the safest. Here is a good podcast on the topic from The Atlantic. This is episode 73 from The Atlantic “show” called The Social Distant. I am not sure if you need to be a subscriber to listen: https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcas...=1000485118976



Delta has had about 500 employees diagnosed with covid-19 but that rate of infection is 1 in 200 (500 of 90,000) which is less than the general population infection rate in Delta’s hub cities of MSP and ATL where a lot of them live. So, I would like to believe they did not get it at work. I got the number 500 from this Newsweek article https://www.newsweek.com/500-delta-a...0-dead-1513016 and I am getting my 1 in 200 number from the NY Times on this page: https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/...gtype=Homepage



A rate of 500 in 90,000 leads me to believe planes are as safe as The Atlantic says in the podcast.



Anyway, I will let you all know how it goes!

Last edited by Safari_Craig; Aug 1st, 2020 at 11:53 AM.
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Old Aug 3rd, 2020, 06:47 PM
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<Kenya shut their borders to people from CA, FL and TX yesterday and with no warning.>

That is one of the reasons why I would be so hesitant to travel right now. I don't want to take the chance of my destination closing its borders, or flights being canceled, or being somewhere and having the U.S. close its borders. As it is, if I were to leave Hawaii I would be subject to a 14-day quarantine upon return, at least through Sept. 1st and I expect that to be extended. I walk, hike, or go to the beach every day and I would hate being under what is essentially house arrest.


amyb: <I really worry about an influx of irresponsible COVID-carrying Americans making their way to Africa, which doesn't have nearly the capacity to deal with this that we do. They've just managed to keep this under control with borders closed. I think opening now, particularly to the US, is a really bad call. I hope beyond hope that I'm wrong.>

I couldn't agree more.

Unless Gamewatchers extends the period during which I can apply my deposit to a new date, I would need to begin my Safari no later than Sept. 11. With weather concerns, I think that leaves July, August, or the beginning of September. I can only book with my AA FF miles 11 months in advance, so I will begin checking flights and camp availability in about 2 weeks. My planner at Gamewatchers warned that it might be tough because of so many people rebooking -- in addition to the new bookings.

Being there during the migration would be a bonus, but it's not important.
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Old Aug 4th, 2020, 12:47 PM
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Originally Posted by Safari_Craig View Post
Quick update. Kenya shut their borders to people from CA, FL and TX yesterday and with no warning.
Just curious. How is this even enforced, and is it an honor system? US Passports don't specify an address, let alone a state.

By the way, this just says people from those three states have to quarantine, but doesn't answer how they know what state you're from: https://ke.usembassy.gov/covid-19-information/
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Old Aug 4th, 2020, 02:51 PM
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LAX_Esq: I'm just guessing ... maybe they require a driver's license or other form of ID.
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Old Aug 4th, 2020, 03:42 PM
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Originally Posted by LAX_Esq View Post
Just curious. How is this even enforced, and is it an honor system? US Passports don't specify an address, let alone a state.
it is on your visa application, both the paper form and the electronic.
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Old Aug 4th, 2020, 05:08 PM
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Originally Posted by amyb View Post
it is on your visa application, both the paper form and the electronic.
I suppose one who lives in one of the three banned states and has an alternative address in one of the other 47 states could just list an alternative address. Also, the US State Department uses the words "coming from California, Florida and Texas" -- it's not even clear what "coming from" means, and it could mean a host of different things other than the state of your primary residence.

Seems like a rather incoherent and ill thought out policy, not that anyone should want to be traveling there at this time anyway.
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Old Aug 5th, 2020, 04:10 AM
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Originally Posted by LAX_Esq View Post
I suppose one who lives in one of the three banned states and has an alternative address in one of the other 47 states could just list an alternative address.
And those would be the people who are the reason why this is never going away.
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Old Aug 5th, 2020, 03:23 PM
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