On Monday, March 23rd South Africa’s President, Cyril Ramaphosa announced a National Lock-Down, restricting the movements of citizens within the country in order to try and limit the infection and subsequent spread of COVID-19.
This came after denying travellers from high-risk areas entry into the country, and other local initiatives – however it wasn’t effective enough in curbing the spread of the virus that had already hit our shores.
This latest announcement will see the closure of most businesses and industry, and no social engagements of any kind, until midnight on April 16th – possibly longer.
All of this will bring our economy to a grinding halt, but which is inline with what other countries around the world are doing, in order to flatten the curve and prevent the rampant spread of COVID-19.
What Thornybush is Doing
The tourism industry has been hard hit by COVID-19. Our view is that this will prevail whilst COVID-19 remains a global pandemic and for a period thereafter as people recover emotionally and financially from the impact.
Airlines, one of the hardest hit industries, are critical in enabling travellers to journey from their home country to holiday destinations. We are uncertain of their ability to resume services in the short term.
With this in mind we have decided to temporarily close all of our lodges.
We will re-evaluate the situation towards the end of June 2020, and will re-open when we’re certain that we would be able to sustainably maintain the business.
This is primarily to ride out whatever COVID-19 still has to throw at us, however we’re also viewing this as a much-needed period of hibernation.
As a business that operates year-round, a temporary closure is a great opportunity to rest and in some cases re-skill our staff, engage in necessary maintenance and take the time to consider what our next step forward will be, as we remain committed to #LifeAfterCovid19!
The Thornybush Commitment
With many countries adopting the lockdown approach, all we can promise at this point, is inspiration in the form of wildlife. We still have teams on-site, capturing the entertainment that nature offers, free of charge and around every corner.
For your feel-good-fix, make sure you’re following us on Facebook and Instagram. Nature has a funny way of lifting our spirits, and science is proving that it makes us happier, healthier and even smarter…
To our team…
As a business which employs more than 300 staff members across 12 lodges – our commitment extends to our people and to the broader communities which we serve.
During this time of hibernation, we’ll be taking the opportunity to offer training and development within our teams that reside at the lodges, as well as those that are interested in honing a specific skill.
We’ll also be maintaining connection, because the reason Thornybush gets such great reviews is because we operate as a family, and while we may all now be sequestered in our individual homes, it’s important to keep connected to each other for emotional support through these challenging times, offering inspiration for what lies ahead, post shut-down.
To our community…
Our #BUYlocal initiative is still in place, as is our support of those who rely on us. Many of our community projects’ external funding has dried up, however we will continue to offer mentorship support for the small businesses which we engage with, for as long as what it will be needed.
We’ve also partnered with other NGO’s to share knowledge, insight and skills regarding the projects we all work with, in order to make sure that our communities are informed about COVID19, and that they have the necessary information and tools in order to stay safe. We’ve translated countless documents and infographics to display at schools, community centres and gathering points, to help in this regard.
If you feel the pull to get involved in any way – then we encourage you to contact our Community Projects Manager, (Candicommunity@thornybush.com ) – any help at this point for our projects will be most welcome.
To the future…
We may all be confined to our homes for now, but there will be #LifeAfterLockdown, and when it comes, we will be waiting here for you – with open arms, wide open spaces and the magical, healing properties of the bush!
“There is something about safari life that makes you forget all your sorrows and feel as if you had drunk half a bottle of champagne — bubbling over with heartfelt gratitude for being alive.”– Karen Blixen
What Can You Expect From Us In The Coming Weeks & Months
In the office…
During the temporary closure our reservations department will be operating ‘business as usual’ albeit via home-offices, so please remain in touch – your email or call will be answered!
Our contact details remain unchanged:
- Sales & Reservations: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Marketing: email@example.com
- Phone: +27 11 253 6500
Monday to Friday from 08h00 to 16h30
(Closed on weekends and public holidays)
At the lodges…
During the shut-down we have a core team that have chosen to remain at the lodges in order to keep company assets secure and well maintained, so that we can be up and running as quickly and easily as possible, when conditions improve.
Guides are making sure that animals which might damage infrastructure are kept out of the lodge grounds, and are also undertaking regular patrols of perimeter and internal roads, in both vehicles and on foot. This ensures we keep up to date on animal movements and to make sure that a physical presence is shown to deter potential poaching activities in the area.
We are all committed to looking after our lodges and the surrounding Thornybush Nature Reserve, it’s home to many members of our team, and it holds a very special place in our hearts as well as many of yours.
So while the future remains uncertain, we’re settling into this time of rest, trying not to dwell too much on the profound impact this virus has had on our business and the lives of our team – and acknowledging how grateful we are that we have a supportive community of past guests, wildlife enthusiasts and safari lovers who we can entertain and draw support from, during this temporary shutdown.