Given the alarming coverage of the Ebola outbreak in West Africa, it is not surprising that we have had a number of people asking if it is safe to travel to South Africa, Tanzania, Kenya, Botswana and other destinations in Eastern and Southern Africa.
The short answer is ‘yes – you can still safely travel to Africa’, and there are three key points that lead us to this conclusion at the moment.
- Africa is huge, and the outbreak in West Africa is over 3500 miles away from Kenya, Tanzania and South Africa, and over 3,000 miles from Botswana and Namibia. To put this into context, London is about 3000 miles from the affected area, so many of these places are further from the centre of the outbreak than the UK is.
- The disease is not airborne and can only be contracted by contact with body fluids from an infected person – this means that it can be more easily contained than airborne deseases, and will spread more-slowly.
- Most countries in Africa have not had a single case of the disease since records began. According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), there have been no reported cases of Ebola since records began in 1976 for Kenya, Tanzania, Botswana, Namibia, Zambia or Zimbabwe amongst others. The only case in South Africa since 1976 was a medical professional came into contact with the virus whilst treating Ebola-infected patients in Gabon and then flew to Johannesburg where the disease was diagnosed. You can see a full history of outbreaks since 1976 here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Ebola_outbreaks
Our thoughts and prayers are with all those currently fighting the the outbreak of Ebola in West Africa, however the safari and beach destinations of Southern and Eastern Africa are unaffected at present, and history suggests that they may well remain unaffected througout this outbreak.
Travel Butlers will continue to monitor the situation and the FCO travel advice, and if we have people travelling to an area that is considered unsafe for travel by the FCO then those people will be entitled to alternative travel arrangements or a refund.
You can read more about this on the SATOA website: Ebola – is it still safe to go to africa?