At its peak, the pandemic was very much on the minds of everyone and many felt it was not safe to venture out. Now with more and more vaccinations taking place every day, the whole world is practically itching to travel again, especially wildlife lovers who are missing the open spaces.
Yes, it is true that only a handful of countries have opened their borders again, but this is the time that most safari companies will offer flexibility. So pack your bags, book your favorite safari via www.naturetrek.co.uk, don a hat, and check out these spectacular safari destinations that are welcoming visitors back post-pandemic.
Tanzania was one of the few African countries to welcome tourists back with open arms before any other. Visitor count is low, but for a country that relies solely on wildlife tourism, the start has been encouraging. With such iconic destinations like the Serengeti, Ngorongoro Crater, and Ruaha National Park having reservations at an all-time low, be assured that the game drives are going to be exclusive and the safari experience intimate.
After all, the country is said to be home to 20% of the large mammal population in Africa. Moreover, Covid safety norms are strictly adhered to by the lodges and there is no worry about entry restrictions, as there are none in place, except for the earlier mandatory ones.
Kenya lies just across the border from Tanzania and accepts visitors for safaris, albeit with one important condition-a Covid negative report of not later than 96 hours prior to departure from the home country. You will find Amboseli and Masai Mara, the firm favorites, practically deserted.
As such photographers and naturalists will find no difficulty on game drives since animal viewing would be unhindered without the usual hordes of vehicles that tend to jostle with each other for vantage positions, lugging huge superzoom cameras, during a sighting.
3. Rwanda and Uganda
Both these countries usually attract visitors in large numbers for their mountain gorilla and chimpanzee trekking tours. A massive plus point is that the trekking permit of Uganda is $750, while that of Rwanda is $1500 as it targets the luxury traveler more.
Covid protocols warrant a negative report and a second mandatory test on arrival before the holiday can commence as normal. Gorilla treks normally have eight persons, but there is every likelihood that should you travel now, you may enjoy a gorilla sighting all by yourself.
A Covid negative certificate not older than 72 hours at your boarding point is all you need to enter Namibia. The country has many tourist hot spots like Etosha National Park which can get extremely busy in normal times.
However, as safari travel has not yet picked up, the lack of visitors can make the whole experience different and interesting. Imagine having the wonderful Skeleton Coast and the dunes of Sossusvlei all to yourself.
5. Zambia and Zimbabwe
While countries like South Africa and Botswana are still closed (or open to a select few), Zambia and Zimbabwe have recently allowed entry of visitors to their respective countries. With just a few standard operating procedures in place, travelers can be assured to be reunited with their favorite animals in no time at all.
From the authentic camps at the Mana and South Luangwa pools to the majestic roar of the Victoria Falls, nature lovers can be assured of incredible animal views and boat and walking safaris.
Nestled in the shadows of a volcano, the Katmai National Park in Alaska covers an area of five million acres. The park is so remote that it is only accessible by plane or boat. Even before the pandemic, entry to Katmai was severely restricted, as such, it enjoys the largest concentration of brown bears in the world who throng to the 1.2-mile long fishing hole.
Katmai is also known for its unique diversity where several different types of landscapes, from volcanic to desert, can be found in one park alone.
7. Costa Rica
For those wildlife enthusiasts who have remained cooped up in their homes with limited TV and board games, the Manuel Antonio National Park in Costa Rica provides the perfect place to break the shackles. Here you can relax on a beach one moment or clamber up the hilltop the next, scanning the canopies for spider monkeys.
Another way of experiencing the legendary biodiversity of Costa Rica is by opting for a wildcat conservation safari. Join hands with the local communities to monitor the movements of pumas, jaguars, margays, and ocelots. Plus there are ample birding opportunities in Costa Rica to keep you entertained.
The heart of Incredible India, the central state of Madhya Pradesh will gradually open up after the pandemic with various safety measures in place as a step towards the revival of the wildlife tourism of the state. With the core safari zones set to open on October 1st, it is the perfect time to plan a trip to the world-famous Bandhavgarh National Park known for its high density of Bengal tigers. Spotting this stately animal in its natural habitat is said to be an experience like no other.
If you are lucky you may come across a leopard or a sloth bear foraging for roots in the vast grasslands of the park. Bird lovers can enjoy quality time here because as many as 200 different species have been recorded in Bandhavgarh.
9. Galapagos and Ecuador
Located 600 miles from the coast of Ecuador, the Galapagos Islands are the perfect place to visit post-pandemic for wildlife lovers. With a huge emphasis on conservation and restrictions on the number of visitors, a visit to this region opens up access to some of the most remote islands that can be reached only by an overnight sailing trip.
The staggering array of wild animals which can be spotted here include iguanas, sea lions, turtles, and birds like boobies, frigate birds, and cormorants. Interact with ancient Andean communities in the jungles of Amazon while looking for caimans and jaguars with howler monkeys calling from the canopies.
For those craving, the outdoors and a chance to see animals roaming free, the Torres del Paine National Park in Chile abounds in wildlife including guanacos, condors, foxes, and pumas. These 500,000 acres of pristine forests are home to snow-capped peaks, glaciers, granite towers, and turquoise blue waters.
Further north is the Atacama desert, the highest and driest in the world. Home to geysers, salt lakes, and moon-like formations harboring animals like llamas, grey fox, alpacas, huemul deer, and the viscacha, the largest species of the chinchilla family. Rare Andean birds such as the Chilean Woodstar and slender-billed finch can be seen here.