Africa Safe, Open for Tourism

The recent international Ebola scare has left ripples around the globe. And the epicenter of these ripples is centric on the entire continent of Africa. Genuinely, this is not a fair culmination, given it is truly only impacting the western part of the continent. And far from the heart of West Africa’s Ebola outbreak, the safari industry is taking a serious hit.

Big game safaris are conducted in such southeastern African countries as Namibia, Tanzania, Zambia and Zimbabwe. The West African countries impacted with the Ebola virus include Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia. The closest distance between these groups of countries is over 4,600 miles, most of which consists of nothing but untouched wilderness.

To give you some perspective on the immense distance between these two groups of countries, it is greater than the entire lateral distance across the continental United States. Moreover, the entire continent of Europe can fit between the two groupings. It is safe to say these two parts of the world are separated by no marginal distance.

Not only have there been no incidents of Ebola documented in any of the popular destinations for big game safari hunts, but it is very unlikely it will make it to these eastern areas. Regardless, tourism has unfairly grinded to a halt on the entire continent of Africa, costing tourism dollars the World Bank estimates at $36 billion.

If Africa was densely populated, it is much more likely the disease would spread. But Africa is very sparsely populated, especially on the interior. Without any population through which to transmit from host to host, Ebola simply can’t cross a 4,600 mile divide full of nothing but steppe, savannah and desert.

So why are these countries, with completely different geography, culture and people being associated with countries where there is Ebola and no big game? The answer is simple; because they share a continent. The reaction on the global stage essentially makes no sense. Not going on big game hunts in Namibia because there are cases of Ebola in Sierra Leone can be likened to not visiting South Carolina to avoid a virus in British Columbia, Canada.