Go on safari

As many of you will have heard, the Ebola virus has claimed more than 4,000 lives during the current epidemic in West Africa. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), nearly 9,000 people have been infected during the outbreak.

Even though the outbreak has only affected three countries out of 54, Arusha and the whole of Africa has seen a major decline in visitors due to the media coverage and because there isn’t a widespread understanding of the size and diversity of Africa.

Some people have contacted us wanting to know if it is safe to travel to Tanzania and The School of St Jude. We want to explain why it is still safe and why visiting us helps us continue fighting poverty through education.

Some important facts about Ebola

  • While the outbreak is undoubtedly serious, it is important to understand the reality of the situation as far as Tanzania is concerned. There have been no reported cases of Ebola in Tanzania to date or in East Africa (i.e. Kenya, Rwanda, Uganda, Burundi, Tanzania).
  • In reality, only five countries in Africa have had Ebola cases in the current outbreak. All of them — Guinea, Liberia, Nigeria, Senegal and Sierra Leone — are located in the western part of the continent, and Nigeria and Senegal have since been declared Ebola-free by the World Health Organization after going six weeks without any new cases.
  • Africa is big. Really big. It’s much bigger than the United States and China combined. If you look at the below map it will help paint a picture as to how big it is.
  • As a continent not so widely understood, it is easy to misunderstand its geography.  In terms of geographic distance, however, West Africa is approximately 5,300km from Arusha – to put that in perspective, Brisbane to Perth is approximately 4,000km, and Brisbane to Tanzania is approx. 12,000km. Below is a map showing the distance of the outbreak area to other large nations
  • It is also important to appreciate that travel between West Africa and Eastern Africa is generally done in a very limited capacity.
  • Unfortunately, the Ebola outbreak has had a negative impact on many African nations that are free from the disease. Many tourists have been canceling safaris to countries in East and Southern Africa, and academic institutions in the United States have postponed visits. SafariBookings.com surveyed 500 safari tour operators in September and found more than half had experienced drops in bookings ranging from 20% to 70% since the Ebola outbreak. This is despite the fact that the West African suffering from Ebola are closer to European cities like Madrid, Paris and London than they are to safari destinations such as Kenya, Botswana, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Namibia and Tanzania in the continent’s south and eastern areas.
  • There have been many inaccurate claims since the beginning of the Ebola outbreak, with certain news sources stating that Ebola can be spread through the air, water, or food. The truth is that Ebola is a low risk for travelers as it is spread through direct contact with the blood or other body fluids of a sick person. It is not a casual contact-acquired infection. There is no known Ebola transmission through coughing or sneezing as there is with diseases such as common flu.
  • The health of St Jude’s students is monitored regularly and all volunteers and visitors are required to have medical insurance which includes emergency evacuation in the event they need emergency care. The school takes all reasonable measures to ensure the health and safety of all its students, employees, volunteers and visitors and you can contact the Human Resources team at any stage if you have any questions or need medical assistance. You are also encouraged to keep up to date with your government’s travel advice and warnings. No current travel restrictions exist for travel to Tanzania according to the Australian Smart Traveller website as at 25 October 2014.

We understand that many people are worried about Ebola however we want to assure you that Tanzania, and East Africa, continues to be a safe destination to travel to. Your support during this time is greatly appreciated since without visitors, volunteers and word of mouth it is harder for us to find funds to keep fighting poverty through education.

If you are thinking about visiting us in Tanzania and you have any concerns please feel free to contact our friendly Visitor Team who are on the ground and well equipped with useful information to ease your mind. visitor@schoolofstjude.co.tz. We’d love to see you over here soon!

CDC (Centres for Disease Control and Prevention) 

10 Essential Facts About Ebola

Fear, Misinformation, and Social Media Complicate Ebola Fight 

Map: The Africa without Ebola

Americans Are Really Confused About Which African Countries Have Ebola

Why I am Afraid of the African Disease of Ebola

‘Epidemic of ignorance’: Tourists avoid Africa, all of it 

The School of St Jude is just minutes from the centre of Tanzania’s safari capital, Arusha. This town is the gateway to popular East African National Parks and game reserves such as Ngorongoro Crater, the vast plains of the SerengetiLake ManyaraTarangire and Arusha National Park. From a thrilling, but safe position in the back of a safari 4-wheel drive, visitors can experience close encounters with the wildlife that Africa is famous for. Spotting the most popular ‘must see’ animals such as lions, leopards, cheetahs, elephants, rhinos, zebras and giraffes has visitors clicking cameras and brandishing binoculars all day long. But no less exciting are the sightings of comical warthogs, graceful antelopes and migrating wildebeest.

On top of these great national parks, Zanzibar Island is only a short plane ride away and is great for swimming and diving. The East African countries of Rwanda (for gorilla trekking) and Kenya (to see the Masai Mara) are also accessible from Arusha.

If you are interested in going on a safari, be sure to check out www.safaris-r-us.com – Gemma and Richard Sisia’s safari company. Emails can be sent info@safaris-r-us.com. safaris-R-us will get back to you with a personalised itinerary to suit your needs and a quote for your safari. Note that for every person who books through safaris-R-us for their East African holiday $50US is donated to St Jude’s. Safaris-R-us can organise camping and lodge safaris in Tanzania, Rwanda and Kenya. They can also organise transport, flights within East Africa, guides, cooks, accommodation, food, tents, mattresses, parking fees etc. All you have to do is bring your camera!

Visit their website at www.safaris-r-us.com

Ngorongoro Crater
Ngorongoro Crater