Kenya: An Important Update

Old Apr 24th, 2021, 07:02 PM
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Kenya: An Important Update

I am posting excerpts (below) from an the email I received from Gamewatchers Safaris & Porini Safari Camps, through which Iíve booked my safari. I am now much more hopeful. My actual safari begins September 2nd, but I will (hopefully) leave Hawaii on August 30th

Greetings from all of us here at Gamewatchers Safaris & Porini Safari Camps. It is now over a year since the pandemic reached Kenya and following prompt action back in March 2020 by the Kenya government to prevent its spread, this country, with a population of over 50 million, fortunately has had a comparatively very low rate of hospitalisations and deaths, so that for deaths per million it is ranked at 147th, well below most other countries in the world. Kenyaís rate of under 50 deaths per million is much lower than very many other countries which are more than 20 times higher.

Vaccinations are now being rolled out in Kenya too. The Kenya government has also prioritized vaccinating staff working in the tourism industry and this was launched this week for safari companies, tour operators, drivers, safari guides, airport reps, camp, hotel and airline staff. It is starting with Nairobi and our Gamewatchers drivers and reps are getting vaccinated today.

With Porini Camps operating within WHO Covid-19 safety protocols and guests able to access Covid tests 48 hours before homeward flights (even in the Masai Mara), we have welcomed many guests on safari following international flights being allowed back into Kenya once again last year. In fact, for many the safari experience has been better than ever due to fewer tourists and thus a more personal and exclusive experience!

The Porini Camps temporarily closed earlier this month for the rainy season (as they do each year) and, as usual, they will reopen to guests from 1 June.

As is the case in many countries, currently additional restrictions on tourism are in place and at present there are greater controls on movement between different regions of the country, requiring us to obtain prior authorisation for our guests to travel between some of the parks. It is anticipated that these regulations will be relaxed by the end of May before our camps re-open.
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Old Apr 25th, 2021, 01:31 PM
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Yes, that’s what I reported on your earlier post Let’s hope their infection numbers go down so that the restrictions can be lifted and there isn’t horrible loss of life.
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Old Apr 25th, 2021, 06:28 PM
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<Let’s hope their infection numbers go down so that the restrictions can be lifted and there isn’t horrible loss of life.>

YES!

On Tripadvisor, there was discussion about whether tourists are actually able to obtain passes to travel between camps. Apparently, the answer is "yes." But I wonder if the bush flights are operating. Still, I'm finding this encouraging. Hopefully, they will be able to turn the tide. Who would have imagined we would live through a pandemic?
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Old Apr 25th, 2021, 11:21 PM
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Originally Posted by Songdoc View Post
On Tripadvisor, there was discussion about whether tourists are actually able to obtain passes to travel between camps. Apparently, the answer is "yes." But I wonder if the bush flights are operating.
Bush flights are not currently operating. And Iím quite friendly on social media with a guide who is currently ďstuckĒ in Nairobi with clients. As late as Friday he told me the ďpassesĒ are not legal (bribery goes a long way even with police) and those who are using them are just asking for trouble. There are plans to have something legal at some point if they canít lift the lockdown, but the wheels turn slowly. On TA donít you find it funny that those who say there are passes donít seem to be able to explain how one obtains one?? And not a single tour operator or safari planner is sharing that info either, when normally they are quite useful there with logistics.
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Old Apr 26th, 2021, 02:34 PM
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<And not a single tour operator or safari planner is sharing that info either, when normally they are quite useful there with logistics.>

It's hard to believe that Gamewatchers is putting in writing and advertising:
additional restrictions on tourism are in place and at present there are greater controls on movement between different regions of the country, requiring us to obtain prior authorisation for our guests to travel between some of the parks.

Seems like asking for trouble if these passes cannot be obtained legally. And besides, they're not much help if there are no flights!

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Old Apr 26th, 2021, 03:11 PM
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To be clear, songdoc, itís not that all travel is restricted, itís really just a zone of 4 counties around Nairobi, but that means if you land there, you canít leave the ďred zoneĒ around Nairobi. You can freely travel amongst the other counties though, if you find a way to get there. But I have it on very good authority that there are presently no passes legally obtained, from more than one source. Again, there are 5 or 6 very reliable, reputable safari planners who usually post to TA, and not one has spoken up about these passes. One in fact has called it into question and asked for instructions on how to obtain one, and no one seems to know. I share this only as a warning. Proceed at your own risk.

And you can do drive-in safari in lieu of flights. Thatís how some are moving around on these illegally obtained passes.
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Old Apr 26th, 2021, 11:08 PM
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Thanks, amyb. Very interesting!
I'm optimistic that things will change for the better in the next four months. If not ... there will be bigger problems than my vacation!
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Old May 2nd, 2021, 07:33 AM
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The restrictions are lifted as of May 1.
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Old May 2nd, 2021, 11:51 AM
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That's great news. Thanks for sharing, amyb!
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