South Africa is ready to welcome visitors again.

The South African government’s “risk adjusted strategy” has meant that we had no idea when international travel would be allowed again, since it was all dependent on the number of new infections per day and the available capacity of our hospitals. And so, it was with great relief that I listened to our president announce that our infections rates have dropped rapidly, to a level where we can open new parts of our economy, such as travel. 

When looking forward to how travel may restart, I was until recently, hoping for a quickly delivered vaccine, but it seems a vaccine is not in our near future. This means that we will have to live with the risk of the virus for some time more.

Bearing this in mind, I think it is important to make the necessary risk adjustments to our routine, but to continue living. After all, nobody wants to put their lives on hold indefinitely. Like fastening your seatbelt and not driving under the influence of alcohol in the case of driving, we will need to wear a mask in public places and wash our hands regularly to reduce our risk of being infected by the virus.

My children started their new school year this month and I was impressed with how adaptable they are, despite their very young age. They run the gauntlet of thermometers and hand sanitisers with aplomb. 

In South Africa, we have developed world class hygiene protocols for hotels, tourist attractions, restaurants and bars. If you are interested, you can read them here. In summary, the protocols set out procedures for screening of guests, staff and suppliers; collecting of customer information; ensuring the correct use of face masks; physical distancing of at least 1.5 m; sanitisation of hands and surfaces; and, extensive staff training. I am confident that the implementation of these protocols by reputable organisations will ensure your safety and that of the people you encounter while on holiday here. The protocols are designed to protect both visitors and South Africans.

If you are thinking of travelling again, South Africa, with its excellent protocols, remote wilderness areas and great weather for the outdoors, will be one of the best and safest places to visit. We are safe, we are ready and we are open!

This month, I am writing to you from Southbroom, a tiny seaside town on the east coast of the country. We have rented a house near the beach with two other families, our close friends. The weather is glorious, as it so often is here in South Africa, and the children love playing together and are they making the most of the time at the beach. It is wonderful to reconnect with other people after months of lockdown and isolation, I highly recommend it to you all.

Happy travelling!

P.S. See previous newsletters on our blog here

P.P.S. If you use Netflix, I absolutely loved the documentary film My Octopus Teacher, a remarkable story by South African filmmaker, environmentalist and naturalist, Craig Foster about an octopus that lives in the kelp forests off the Cape coast. It is much more exciting and interesting than it sounds, I promise! 

P.P.P.S Below, an infographic on why South Africa is a great place to visit, in case you needed any convincing! 

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