What It’s Like to Safari Now

Travel in these times—where, when, and whether— is a very personal choice, and— just to pile one bit of obvious truth on another—the best choices are informed choices. So: if you’re thinking about safari and would like to chat with some of the Micato staff who’ve recently travelled to Africa, tell us, and we’ll put you in personal touch.

Meanwhile, here’s some good information, prefaced by a quick, illuminative story:

The Happy Logic of Safari

Dennis Pinto, our Managing Director, tells the tale:

I was at a dinner party years ago with the great travel pioneer Lars-Eric Lindblad. “Lars, tell me,” said another guest as dessert was served. “You’ve travelled to, what? Just about every country on earth. Where would you like to go right now?” Lars smiled, pleased that the answer popped up so easily. “To Africa, on safari.” “Really?” said the questioner. “Yes, absolutely. Look, once you’re on safari you don’t have to worry about anything but whether you want to go on a game drive or settle down to a good book. No taxis, no what-am-I-going-to-wear, no check-ins, no dodging traffic, no crowded restaurants and shops and what-have-yous, just a nice, hassle-free time in gorgeous and fascinating places.”

Lars’ words are truer today than when he said them. And we’ll update his list of safari’s accessible charms with a rhetorical question: Which other journey offers such a high degree of safety, so much excitement mixed with repose, such a lack of hassle as safari?

Open Countries

As this is written, in early 2021, Micato has scores of guests happily on safari. We—and they— think this is an unusually great time to visit the great game lands, where the air is clear, the breezes beneficent, and the animals are going about their business as they have for millennia.

Here’s a link to a number of five-star Google Reviews by Micato guests, some of whom went on safari after the pandemic’s appearance in January of last year.

Digging deeper: Kenya, Tanzania, and Rwanda have been open to travellers—very much including Americans —for many months. Our Southern African destinations, Namibia, Botswana, and South Africa are also open and welcoming. Frankly, many thought Africa would be particularly devastated by the pandemic. That didn’t come close to happening. The continent has experience in these things and has met the challenge with humanity and efficiency.

Here’s a link to a New York Times Covid world map that shows how very well Micato’s African countries have fared.

And: If you research Covid cases per 100,000 population, you will be amazed at how low our African countries rank. (Including South Africa, which has had some bad press lately. Its infection rate is far lower than the US’, and Germany’s, France’s, Sweden’s, Switzerland’s, and sixty other countries.)

It’s worth noting: Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania, Namibia, Zambia and South Africa have all received the Safe Travel certification from the World Travel and Tourism Council, an indication that these countries “have met or exceeded standards set out by the WTTC to ensure safe travel during this time.” You can see our extensive Covid-19 Protocols here.
Safe Travels Logo

Testing

We’re ready to go over with you the various pre-arrival and departure testing requirements and any and all etceteras. And we are arranging for technicians to administer Covid tests in the most convenient location possible – whether it be in the bush during your safari, or in your departure city. Taking care of details like this is part of Micato’s core mission: to ensure your peace of mind in lands that so generously inspire it.

“I knew beforehand that should any surprises be thrown our way that Micato could handle it, and they did, including a pre-departure Covid test conducted as I watched zebras graze behind the airstrip, followed with a glass of local beer.”

— Elisabeth Brown

“Our decision to travel during a pandemic was not made lightly. We thought long and hard about the risks and took many precautions before we traveled. We were so relieved that everyone involved in this trip (guides, concierge, hosts, etc) took things as seriously as we did. We felt very safe every step of the way.”

— Andrea Guerrero

“We were traveling in March 2021, and we felt incredibly safe and completely looked after even during the pandemic. Our guide Peter watched over us the entire time as we visited three stunning safari camps, over which time we saw the big five and much more! An unforgettable bucket list trip, seamlessly arranged so all I had to do was enjoy the views.”

— Amy Ferreira

Air Travel

Our Micato colleague Emily Baldwin recently returned from an extensive East Africa safari.“It’s a bit counter-intuitive,” she says, “ but I really felt safer on the plane flights than I felt in my favorite bistro at home. Better air filtration, more exact care, better masking all around. And, I was happy that every one of our fellow passengers had been tested before boarding. The airlines are clearly going all out to provide Covid-free flights to make passengers feel safe, confident, and comfortable.”

(According to the United States Transportation Command, an arm of the Department of Defense, the current generation of jets remove particulate matter five to six times faster “than the recommended specification for modern hospital rooms.” And, according to Dr David Powell, medical advisor to the International Air Transport Association, your odds of contracting the Covid virus are about the same as the odds of getting struck by lightning.)

In Country

Travel + Leisure says Micato “treats its guest like well-loved out-of-town relatives.” And so:

* You’ll be met immediately by Micato personnel upon arrival, let’s say in Nairobi’s modern airport, and taken by scrupulously cleaned vehicles for your overnight in one of our carefully vetted hotels in the capital before heading out to the bush.

* Every Micato safari has its own highly-credentialed Safari Director, backed up by our 8,760- hours-a-year Concierge Service, and every member of our large staff in Africa and America. We don’t depend on contractors; we are our own contractor, and for 55 years we’ve been expert at ensuring your comfort and health at every single safari step. This is a pledge our family-owned, family-founded, family-operated company is happy to make and keep.

* Kenya is our homeland. More than 200 people are at full-time work in-country making sure Micato guests enjoy hassle-free safaris. We have long relationships with all our camps, lodges, and hotels. and we and they are up-to-the-minute on every state-of-the-science health precaution, from hand washing and sanitizing stations at every turn to imaginative ways to make social distancing less a duty and more an experience of the relaxing privacy we try to build into each Micato safari.

“Micato Safaris was easily the best and most luxurious vacation I have ever taken! From being greeted as soon as we departed the plane, having hand written notes and gifts in our rooms, to the incredibly knowledgeable Safari Director and drivers, we were made to feel as though we were the only guests on safari. Even with recent concerns of COVID, there were regular
temperature checks, hand-washing stations, hand sanitizer and every staff member wore a mask and was superb at making us feel welcome while maintaining safe distancing protocols. I would highly recommend anyone book with Micato if they’re considering going on safari!”

– David Stone, travelled with Micato Safaris in October 2020

Private Safari Vehicles

* On a Micato Custom Safari you will have private safari vehicles for you and your group. The same goes for our Private Classic Safaris. Seating on our small-group Classic Safari game drives is well-spaced, with each guest assured of a window-seat. And the Driver Guide and your Safari Director will, of course, be masked and attentive to our extensive safety protocols.)

* But if you opt for a Classic Safari and want private safari vehicles for you and your travel-mates, we can easily arrange that.

Lodges and Camps

* As we said, we constantly vet our lodges and camps, we have long and familial relationships with all of them, and we simply wouldn’t accept anything but the highest standard of care and precaution from any of them. This is a matter of good business sense for us and for them, but it most importantly makes human sense for our well-loved, out-of-town guests.

* Safari is largely an engagement with the vast and beautiful African out-of-doors. Our lodges and camps are designed for privacy and airiness. Outside dining is delightfully common, and— thanks to Africa’s gentle climes—even indoors areas (and our tents and rooms) are very usually open to the outside air.

* And if you wish, all your meals can be served in the open (and well-shaded) air.

A hand washing station

Bottom Line

We can’t claim to be unbiased, but: We believe that of all the world’s travel possibilities, safari offers one, if not the most simultaneously reposeful and exciting—and safe—choices. And, currently, one of the most private and uncrowded. And, always, a magic engagement with what we think of as a world apart, a world of millennial calm and beauty, far from the other, sadly jangled world. This is, simply, an ideal time to realize the dream of safari.

We are at the ready to discuss all of this with you, answer questions, share our experience and enthusiasm, or just to chat about safari now or in the future.