I’ve been asked numerous times this week whether or not I’m afraid to go on my upcoming trip to Namibia and South Africa with the current Ebola outbreak on the African continent. My answer is no, for the following reasons.
- The distance between Sierra Leone and other affected countries and South Africa is approximately 3,500 miles. In comparison, I’d have to go from Denver to the North Pole to travel the same distance. So, the outbreak is very far away from where I will be visiting.
- I follow The Namibian (@thenamibian) on Twitter. This is one of the Namibia media outlets. Yesterday they quarantined a flight because of rumors that a passenger might be infected with ebola. The alarm was false. The country is taking the risk seriously and that increases my confidence and willingness to travel.
- Thermal scanners have been installed at airports in South Africa to detect travelers with higher than normal temperatures. This will allow early detection and immediate quarantine of any travelers suspected of carrying the disease.
- The Center for Disease Control has advised limiting travel to the affected countries only.
- I have visited South Africa and Botswana before. The people, wildlife and environments of the countries in that area are incredible. I am looking forward to expanding my African travel to Namibia and can’t imagine missing this opportunity.
I spoke with Ian from the Africa Adventure Company yesterday to finalize a few details on my trip. I asked him what impact they have been seeing. At this time, he isn’t aware of any travelers who have cancelled their plans, but people are asking if there are specific things they should be aware of while they travel.
Many countries in Africa rely heavily on tourism and if the ebola virus spreads or if travelers panic and refuse to visit, it will be a financial catastrophe for each of those countries. I’m not surprised they are taking it seriously. Not just because of the financial implications, but because they want to protect their citizens.
Will I be taking some precautions? Yes.
- I’ll be wiping down hard surfaces on the airplane with anti-bacterial wipes. I’m still doing research on which wipes I’ll purchase. I’m not sure if it will help, but it certainly won’t hurt.
- As always, I’ll be vigilant about washing my hands throughout the trip.
- There are experts in all these countries that have far more knowledge than I do, so I’ll be listening and acting on the instructions provided at the airport and other locations.
I can’t even begin to imagine the horror and sadness of those impacted by the Ebola Virus in Sierre Leon, Guinea and Liberia. Just following the headlines will tell some of the story. My thoughts and prayers are with everyone suffering from this terrible virus.
As I write about my trip, I’ll be including what I’m seeing and experiencing relating to the impact of this outbreak in the countries I’m visiting. Please sign up to be notified of new posts if you are interesting in following along.