The H1N1 (swine flu) outbreak in 2009, the eruption of Mt Agung in Bali in 2017 and the Ebola outbreak of 2018 all have one thing in common with COVID-19 – they caused major disruption in the travel industry, with devastating, far-reaching effects.

However, there is also something else all of these events have in common – something we can take comfort in and remind ourselves of – the fact that we came out the other side. Perhaps a little battered and bruised, but we made it through, building ourselves up again in the process.

The Coronavirus has made its way around the world, wreaking havoc in its wake as it spreads from one area to the next –resulting in where we find ourselves today, with an ever-growing and evolving global pandemic. We can debate the way this whole crisis has unfolded, but the reality is, all we have is the present, and as such, we’re all in this boat together – riding out the storm as one.

Where South Africa is at the moment

On Sunday, March 15th, President Cyril Ramaphosa announced a National State of Disaster, denying entry to those traveling from high-risk countries. Furthermore, he discouraged domestic travel, and amongst other things, banned gatherings of more than 100 people, in an effort to limit the infection and subsequent spread of COVID-19 in the country.

The infection rate now stands at 274 positive cases with an increasing pattern of internal transmissions.

On a positive note, our President and the National Command Council he formed in response to the virus outbreak, have been commended by both opposition parties and leading civil society organisations for the transparent and hands-on approach he has undertaken to tackle this pandemic. We applaud our government for rising to the occasion and take solace in and inspiration from their unwavering dedication to overcome this challenge.

How do we move forward in such uncertain times?

Thornybush is dedicated to sticking to the facts, endeavouring to be well-informed and even hopefully optimistic. While we may not know what tomorrow, next week or next month will bring – we’ve chosen to commit to our guests, our trade partners, our staff and those who rely on our support.

Uncertainty calls for a degree of flexibility, which we are bringing to any bookings which may want to be deferred, cancelled or queried. Our reservations team, is working tirelessly to answer questions, process refunds and commiserate with people whose trips have suffered as a result of recent travel bans and restrictions.

Our door is always open! Please reach out to us, should you have any questions.

Thornybush and COVID-19

Tackling this virus requires us to focus on hygiene, education, social distancing and taking responsibility for what we do, if we become ill.

In this regard we’ve engaged in the following:

  • Intense, on-going education with all our staff, their families and the surrounding communities.
  • Rigorous hygiene protocols are in place to protect guests and staff at all our lodges
  • Social distancing rules have been implemented – even though not being able to shake a guests hand is proving very uncomfortable for us.
  • We’ve partnered with Africa SAFE-T, a safari-focused emergency medical team, to manage any suspected cases. We’ve worked with them to create a detailed action plan, should a guest or member of our team become ill (this plan is available on request).

What can you expect in the coming weeks & months

We don’t know what to expect moving forward in terms of this virus, the global reaction to it and our government’s efforts to contain it. But, what we can promise is that we will keep you informed on a weekly basis of new travel advisories, changes in our business or offering, and any special deals we may have for those who are still traveling.

Resilience is built through adversity, there are countless examples of this being true – so let’s put this down to resilience building, hold on for the ride, and look ahead to a future that is brighter than what it may seem at this moment.

Sending you strength and hope through these trying times.

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