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A Change of Plan

Just over a month ago, I defiantly stated I would still travel to West Africa, despite the ebola outbreak. I weighed up the risks and they were low for travellers, so I was adamant that I would still go. It was hoped that the disease could be brought under control.

I’ve been glued to the news and you’ll probably have seen that the situation has worsened. So far there have been 2,127 cases reported, and 1,145 confirmed deaths. But the actual totals are likely to be higher, as some cases will go unreported. In light of the developments, the organisers of my trip have decided to cancel all of their trips to West Africa. I completely understand their decision to do so and think it is for the best. The trip would have taken me right through the heart of Sierra Leone and Guinea and some of the worst affected areas, so it’s just not worth the risk.

I know a few of you have been in a similar predicament, wondering what to do. In fact, from the searches done on Google that come through to my site and from discussions I’ve seen in various Facebook forums, I can see that a lot of people are asking if they should cancel their trips to other parts of Africa too, like Kenya or Botswana because of ebola. My answer to that, would be absolutely no. The distance between say, Sierra Leone and Kenya or Botswana, is actually a similar distance between Sierra Leone and the UK, so the risk to anyone contracting the virus in East or Southern Africa is very slim.

For those who are travelling to other unaffected countries in West Africa, I don’t think it’s necessary that you cancel your trips just yet. West Africa is a big place, and in other countries the risk to travellers is still very low, so I think it’s still a case of monitoring the situation very carefully by keeping an eye on the FCO and WHO websites, as per my advice for any kind of travel.

But for me, going where I was going, that’s unfortunately the way it has to be. For those who are still wanting to go to the affected countries, I will just say to ask yourself, is it worth the risk? Both to yourself, and others who you might spread it to? For me, it’s not. Plus, I don’t want to be taking up a hospital bed that for someone who really needs it and the worry for my parents is just not something I want to put them through. It’s a personal choice, and one that should be carefully considered.

I am really sad that I don’t get to fulfil this particular dream of mine. But I’m more sad for the many people who are affected by this, who unlike me, do not have a choice. I just hope the governments of the world can end this soon. My thoughts and prayers go out to those who are suffering, as well as the dedicated medical professionals who are risking their own lives to save others.

So, where am I going?

I am now going to be going to East Africa instead, where my trip will take me from Tanzania to Kenya and back to Tanzania again. I’ll be going to the magical island of Zanzibar, the great plains of the Masai Mara and the Serengeti, to Amboseli and slopes of Kilimanjaro (no I’m not climbing it again…), the historic town of Bagamoyo and the cities of Nairobi and Dar es Salaam – all the while, bringing you lots of advice on where to stay, what to see and how to get from A to B!

I’ll get the chance to revisit places I’ve been, see old friends, as well as travel to completely new places and make new friends, new memories. This trip is shorter than my other trips, so it will be a little different, but as always, it will be epic, diverse and of course, filled with adventure!  I won’t be travelling alone for all of it this time either…

Zanzibar

Zanzibar

The Serengeti

The Serengeti

The Masai Mara

The Masai Mara

Masai Mara

Masai Mara

Bagamoyo

Bagamoyo

I hope that you will enjoy following my journey through Kenya and Tanzania.

What would you have done? I’d love to know your thoughts and suggestions in the comments below. 

About Author

I'm a travel blogger and tour operator with a passion for Africa travel. I love the great outdoors, going on epic trips around the world and helping others travel!

20 Comments

  • Colleen Brynn
    August 18, 2014 at 2:48 am

    I don’t think there’s any need to be a hero and go somewhere risky. At the end of the day, you have to be comfortable with your decision (any traveller does), and it sounds like you are in this case. Zanzibar is a big dream for me, so I am excited for that!
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    Reply
    • Helen
      August 20, 2014 at 10:40 pm

      I am definitely comfortable with my decision. It was rubbish at first but if Africa has taught me anything and it’s to always have a backup.I’ve been to Zanzibar a couple of times already, but looking forward to going back for a real in depth look! Hope you go to Zanzibar soon!

      Reply
  • Laura
    August 18, 2014 at 4:52 am

    I’m sorry you’ve had to cancel your plans. Hopefully they are able to get this under control very soon, it’s a very sad thing that is happening there. I look forward to following along with your new plans!
    Laura recently posted…Weird WednesdayMy Profile

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    • Helen
      August 20, 2014 at 11:18 pm

      Hey Laura, Aw, don’t feel sorry for me, I can go another time. I’ve got a great trip sorted. I just feel so sad for those who are living in the affected areas. Can’t even imagine what life must be like right now. 🙁

      Reply
  • Rachel of Hippie in Heels
    August 18, 2014 at 7:26 am

    Bummer you had to cancel but it seems like you’ve made the right decision. What group were you going with that canceled? Are you going with the same group to East Africa or did you have to change plans completely and go solo?
    Rachel of Hippie in Heels recently posted…Step by Step: How to Apply for Indian Tourist Visa from USAMy Profile

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    • Helen
      August 20, 2014 at 11:20 pm

      I was going with Overlanding West Africa. They’ve been great. They don’t do trips to East Africa, so I’ll be going solo in East Africa.

      Reply
  • Katie
    August 18, 2014 at 9:17 am

    I’ve been following the news on the Ebola outbreak, and was wondering if you would still be travelling to the region. It’s such a sad situation, hopefully it can be brought under control soon.

    Although your West Africa plans have fallen through, your East Africa adventure sounds amazing! I went to Kenya for the first time this year and absolutely fell in love with the country. We had to leave early when the FCO travel advice for Mombasa changed (I’d have happily stayed, but we weren’t given the option), so I’m desperate to go back. Can’t wait to see what you get up to!
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    • Helen
      August 23, 2014 at 3:04 pm

      Hi Katie, thanks for your kind comment! Sad not to be going to West Africa, but it’s definitely for the best, considering where I was going. I too hope they’ll get it under control soon!

      And sorry you had to leave Mombasa, feels like the world is a crazy place at the moment!

      Hopefully I’ll have some great stories to tell! 🙂

      Reply
  • kami
    August 18, 2014 at 1:52 pm

    That’s a really wise decision Helen! You will be able to conduct your original plan eventually and now it’s better to be on a safe side! And I already can’t wait for your stories and updates from Kenya and Tanzania!
    kami recently posted…Sunday with Pictures: touristy Athens, GreeceMy Profile

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    • Helen
      August 20, 2014 at 11:22 pm

      Thank you Kami! I will go another time if I can! I’m sure there will be plenty of stories from Kenya and Tanzania too! 🙂

      Reply
  • Stephanie
    August 18, 2014 at 2:02 pm

    I think that you made the right decision. The medical systems in affected countries are overwhelmed right now. Even if the chances of catching ebola were very slim, there’s still a chance that you might need medical attention for something completely unrelated – and seeking out medical attention would put even more strain on a very limited resource. I also think that it’s important to take your loved ones concerns into consideration – within reason, of course. 😉 Enjoy your trip to East Africa – my favourite place in the world!
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    • Helen
      August 23, 2014 at 3:06 pm

      Thanks Stephanie. Totally agree!

      And thank you, very excited for East Africa! Lots of adventures to be had there too. 🙂

      Reply
  • christine @thetraveloguer
    August 19, 2014 at 8:21 am

    That’s a shame you had to cancel your trip! But it’s definitely not worth dying for. I think I’ddo the same, my parents would be freaking out if I was going there now, and imagine if you brought it back home with you!
    It’s great you’re still going to Africa though, have a fab time!
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    • Helen
      August 23, 2014 at 3:07 pm

      Thanks Christine! Yes, the last thing I want is to catch it or bring it back home. Plus my parents worry enough. I am all for taking the odd calculated risk, but I think this is something too far out of my control.

      Very happy to go to East Africa, especially as I will see friends!

      Reply
  • Debbie
    August 19, 2014 at 9:38 am

    I dont think it worths the risk! Good choice! I love your Zanibar photos! What a great place to visit!
    Enjoy your trip and discover new things!
    xx

    debsbug.blogspot.com ✿
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    • Helen
      August 23, 2014 at 3:10 pm

      Thanks Debbie!

      And I can’t take credit for the Zanzibar pic, my friend Lisa took that! I was there though! 🙂 Hopefully with my new super duper camera, I’ll get a similar one!

      Thank you, and enjoy your trips too!

      I was over reading your blog and it’s awesome. Do you have comments open? Couldn’t see them!

      Reply
  • Kara
    August 19, 2014 at 6:08 pm

    I think in your case I would not have traveled. I’ll be going to Ghana in a week, but it has not had any reported cases (unlike the countries you mentioned, of course) and so for the same reasons that you are find going to Kenya and Tanzania I feel safe going to Ghana.

    How were you able to switch trips so quickly? What was your experience with the tour company – did they reimburse you in any way or help you plan the trip to East Africa?
    Kara recently posted…Why watching soccer is a cultural activityMy Profile

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    • Helen
      August 23, 2014 at 3:18 pm

      Hi Kara, Yeah, I thought it wise, plus the company cancelled anyway. I think in Ghana though, you’re pretty ok at the moment! You’ll have a great time! Just take all the necessary precautions!

      The tour company were Overlanding West Africa. They reimbursed me and have been wonderful throughout the entire process. I will 100% be going to West Africa with them when they re-open the trips. They haven’t helped me plan anything else, but I know East and Southern Africa pretty well so I’ve not really needed any help really! 🙂

      Reply
  • Vic Philpott (@VickyFlipFlop)
    August 24, 2014 at 6:12 pm

    Watching the news it’s absolutely horrendous what ebola is doing. You’re definitely doing the right thing for your own health and for potentially taking resources of people who may actually need it. I love Zanzibar, you love Zanzibar, you’ll have a great time! Not long now!

    Reply
    • Helen
      August 25, 2014 at 10:41 pm

      Thanks Vicky! Yeah, it wouldn’t be sensible to go where I was going.

      I’m really excited to go back to Tanzania and Kenya – it’s been far too long! I may head over to that place where you stayed in Zanzibar, as I’ve only visited the northern beaches and Stone Town before, and not the east coast.

      Reply

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