Without trying to pass ourselves off as experts on the disease, we have been keeping a close eye on the developments, and are naturally looking for as much information as we can. Our clients' safety is of utmost importance to us, and it would be foolish of us to promote areas which we know are unsafe, or which put our travellers at risk.
Having said this, it would also be foolish of us to be swept along with the mass hysteria and panic regarding travel to Africa, when we know for a fact that the areas we deal with pose no risks to travellers with regards to ebola.
Ebola is a terrible disease, and our hearts go out to those who have been affected by this dreadful outbreak. However, it is very important to understand the size and geography of Africa before becoming terrified that the virus has spread throughout the entire continent, and before jumping to any rash decisions about the safety of travelling to East and Southern Africa, which are the regions we deal with.
Below are a few points we would like to highlight:
- At the time of writing (22 October), there is NO EBOLA OUTBREAK in East or Southern Africa.
- Africa is an enormous continent, made up of 54 countries, with over 1 billion people. At this time, 3 countries are affected by ebola, which means that 51 countries (or 95% of them), are not.
- The countries affected by ebola are in the far corner of West Africa, at least 4,500 kms from the nearest country which we deal with.
- To give an example, Rwanda, the nearest country to West Africa which we deal with, has 9 countries in between itself and Liberia. This means, for someone to travel by land, with the ebola virus, they would need to cross 18 border posts, pass through jungles, a couple of civil wars, and find roads where there are none. Air travel from the affected countries is strictly monitored, and strict screening processes are happening in all African countries.
- Ebola is not an airborne disease. To contract ebola you need to have physical contact with bodily fluids of someone already showing the symptoms of ebola. The chances of any tourist coming into this type of contact is incredibly unlikely.
- Nigeria has managed to stop their ebola outbreak, and is now considered ebola free. This shows it is possible to stop, and difficult to spread.