2021 Re-Bookings and Beyond
Herewith our latest Zim travel update:
What is the situation in Zim right now?
It is now mid-September 2020 and life in Zim has returned to normal in many ways, albeit with everyone wearing masks and lots of hand-washing. Official Covid figures remain very low with 7,531 cases & 224 deaths as of 16 Sep. Anecdotal evidence support this with hospitals remaining pretty much empty and our weakened health system under no more strain than usual by all accounts. Zim is a small country and if there was a dramatic cover-up on hospitalizations or deaths, we would definitely be hearing about it “through the grape-vine”, believe me!
Scientists predicted a peak in Aug/Sep but for some reason we seem to have been spared the worst of Covid in Africa generally. Our average age of just 19 yrs (vs 47 in Italy), outdoor working conditions, and generally healthy lifestyles (no money for fast food!) may be working in our favor for once. Its about time we got some benefit to my mind!
The economic lock-down bill is now coming due and many Zimbabweans are struggling more than ever. Spirits in Zim are always lifted by the onset of Spring however, and it is phenomenal how trees are pushing out new leaves despite the extreme dryness. Tourism for 2020 appears to be a washout as predicted but campsites are now open for locals and we expect foreign visitors may be allowed back in a phased approach during October. All going well, Safari season 2021 will be very do-able .
What about my 2020 Camp Bookings?
Zimparks have promised to credit 2020 bookings for re-booking in 2021. Their offices have been closed since March so the actual process of crediting and re-booking sites is yet to start. We expect this may commence next week. When it does, we expect two years of demand at once and a bun-fight for exclusive sites. We are working very closely with Zimparks to try get every one of our clients the sites they want, or as good as possible alternatives.
What will 2021 hold?
Your guess is as good as ours but from here it seems 2021 will be a lot closer to “normal” than we had dared hope for. The next big test will be the return of foreign visitors and flights during the remainder of 2020. All going well, Self-Drive in Zim will be a low-risk holiday option for 2021 with guests in control of their own Covid precautions and limited reliance on the precautions of others.
What are we doing to pass the time?
With quarantine restrictions loosening, Sunbird Guesthouse is reverting from being a Min of Health quarantine center for returning residents to “regular” guesthouse. We are keeping most of the sanitation protocols in place and our layout is great for social distancing and ventilation. We continue to develop our indigenous bird gardens with the planting or more and more local fruit trees and grasses. Long-crested eagle and Meyers Parrots now regularly pop in, as well as less showy, but more-exciting to us LBJs such as Lazy Cisticollas and Common Waxbills. We are adding water features, food plants and nesting boxes in every corner of the garden to maximise our value to wild birds with the aim of becoming an un-fenced aviary.
In our personal capacities, we are taking advantage of the lull in guests to see our own country again, we did Mongwe a month ago and are doing Chitake Springs in 2 weeks time. We hope you are all keeping busy and looking forward to a better 2021. Please do pop us a mail if you need any advice or on-the-ground assistance in Harare.
Much love and hang in there.
Ant and the Manapools.com Team