As an enthusiastic fan of Southern Africa and especially of the Kruger National Park in South Africa, which I have visited countless times since 1991, it never occurred to me that I should be worried about the Ebola crisis in West Africa spreading that far away (over 3,500 miles) any more than I should be worried about the botched Ebola case in Dallas, which is only 1,000 miles away from me in Raleigh, or the Maryland Ebola case, just 300 miles distant.
Naturally I continue to watch the Ebola situation to be prudent, but not out of fear of traveling to South Africa or any other country in Southern Africa. My family and I will be flying once again to Johannesburg in December for an extended stay in the Kruger National Park, and the Ebola outbreak is simply not a factor.
Apparently, however, many uninformed tourists have panicked and cancelled their trips. Reports are that tourism in East Africa (Kenya and Tanzania) and Southern Africa (South Africa, Botswana, Mozambique, Zimbabwe, and Namibia) is off by 40-50%. The Daily Telegraph in England recently published this article about the phenomenon, accompanied by a map illustrating how distant the Ebola cases are to the tourist destinations in Africa:
We are eagerly anticipating our trip next month to South Africa. The Kruger is always fun, the perfect place to take the family. It is also easy to get to, easy to use (it’s a self-drive safari), and relatively inexpensive compared to safaris in Botswana. As I reported some months ago, camping safaris in Botswana now run up to $500 per person per day or more. Or at least they were that high before the Ebola hysteria set in, and the prices will again be that expensive once Ebola is under control. I read that airfares to East Africa and South Africa have dropped, too, as bookings have been cancelled. If you ever dreamed of seeing African wildlife at bargain prices, now may be the time.