5 reasons to take a family safari after COVID-19
Family safari after COVID-19: People around the world have experienced fundamental life changes as a result of the COVID-19 epidemic. We were immersed in a new “normal” which, for most of us, is very different from what we were used to. These lifestyle changes have made us realize how much we can take for granted, including the freedom to travel wildly freely and safely.
Chances are you and your family have already adapted and settled into your new daily routines. The many platforms from which to travel allow us to virtually imagine that we are somewhere other than our living rooms, at least for a while. But the entertainment of the wheelchair safaris cannot last as long and no number of wildlife documentaries can prepare you for the exhilarating experience of being in the African bush.
So once this pandemic has eased – because, yes, it will also pass in time – and the lifting of travel bans will make regional and international family vacations safe again, there are good reasons to go to the desert to enjoy the great outdoors and a refreshed perspective. In fact, we found at least five reasons to go on a family safari in Africa after COVID-19 ended.
Connect deeply with nature
Considering what we know about the consequences of trade and sale of wildlife for human consumption – highlighted once again by an epidemic of coronavirus – the emphasis on true enhancement and respect for nature is more important than ever. Cultivating a sense of wonder and appreciation for the natural environment and the myriad wild animals that depend on it has always been one of the effortless results of a safari, for adults and children.
An immersive experience in nature can rekindle imagination and creativity, giving you a new pair of eyes with which to take you to a new place. Discovering the unexpected wonders of the bush helps to cultivate a curious mind for adults as well as for children, who are often already naturally interested and curious. Going on a safari gives you and your family a special chance to really awaken your senses by connecting with nature, yourself and others.
Make a positive difference
One of the sectors of the world hardest hit by the pandemic is that of travel and tourism. Unfortunately, millions of people lost their jobs almost overnight and there has been a huge decrease in funding for wildlife conservation and community empowerment work. In fact, a large part of the resources come from guest visits to national parks and game reserves as well as to safari camps and lodges.
The vacuum of funds resulting from local and international travel bans – all perfectly understandable and necessary – means fewer guards on the ground to patrol parks and reserves, leaving Africa’s endangered species very vulnerable to poaching and theft for the illegal wildlife trade. Communities are left without the support that helps them manage both economically and socially, which, if it relates to health care, is a major concern during this period. So, choosing to go on a family safari after COVID-19 is to contribute to these projects which are essential to the survival of the continent’s animal and human communities.
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Whether it’s learning a culture different from your own and starting to see the world through the eyes of others, or observing wild animals in their natural habitat where they should be, these are experiences that remind you that there is more to life than your daily routine. They wake you up by offering you a possibly different and broader perspective than what you are used to.
Without being able to escape even in the countryside of our region, we have realized how much we miss and need nature in our lives. The stories of animals making their own journey through the now quiet cities remind us of who our other “neighbors” are. Being in the remote desert on an African safari is a great way to expose your children to the interdependence of nature, wildlife, and humans while enjoying downtime together as a family.
In an age when we have been socially distant from each other, we have always bonded with our loved ones in another way. As the world collectively navigates this difficult experience, we have all become firmly citizens of the global community. The acts of joyful creativity and deep compassion that have been shared in various ways around the world have shown us how powerful shared experiences can be for building resilience and mutual support.
If you have never visited an African country or gone on a desert safari, this could ask you and your family to get out of your comfort zone. Taking the leap and doing it, however, is worth it because it will help you build your children’s courage, resilience and, and perhaps more importantly, adapt to difficult circumstances. Something they and you already know from having this life-changing experience.
Celebrate life fully
Going on a family safari is a transformative experience. Spending time in a famous destination like Maasai Mara in Kenya teaches you how to celebrate life and live it to the full. After months of various limitations that have affected many aspects of our lives, the days spent following big cats on safaris, floating over the wildebeest plains in a hot air balloon and being driven through the bush to foot by Masai warriors in red dress, will be simply epic.
The desert becomes a huge outdoor classroom with the bush guides among the most inspiring and insightful teachers you and your children will ever have. Whether for a safari adventure or to learn the bush language of those who know it best on foot, the whole family will be captivated and engaged throughout a safari. It is also a time when the family can find beauty, tranquility and joy in nature.
Bust myths of Africa
Unfortunately, as far as Africa is concerned, misconceptions and generalizations have long been perpetuated with the public through the media and popular culture. These stereotypical representations are not only unfair but lack factual evidence. It’s worth visiting a country or region on this continent to truly understand how incredibly versatile it is.
Geographically, the landscapes within countries and between regions are so diverse and reflect the habitats and inhabitants of the ecosystems that fill them. There are dozens of independent nations, each with a completely different history, culture, cuisine, and identity. Cultural nuances, international influences, and immense environmental diversity are best felt up close.
If traveling in the African bush arouses the interest of your family, especially during this period when you are locked inside for most of the day, then consider a safari for your vacation after COVID-19 together.
Calvin Cottar is director and owner of Cottar’s 1920s Safaris. Cottar’s 1920s Safaris is an award-winning 1920s luxury safari camp and private bush villa located in the world-famous “seventh” natural wonder, the Maasai Mara in Kenya, owned and operated by the oldest established safari family and continues in Africa.