We went to sleep in one world and woke up in another. Life was normal, families were celebrating together just as the biblical times before the great flood or the raining fire of Sodom and Gomorah. No one expected doom or tragedy. Aero planes were crowding the air space, vehicles traversing country borders, ships docking at the sea ports, trade booming and tourism at its peak as the world became a global village where different cultures and societies interacted freely in harmony.
Alas, we woke up to a warning bell of terror, a call about the imminent danger that was coming our way. Life was no longer to be normal; it was a whistle for everyone to take cover as a big danger was approaching mankind. It was a reminiscent call of the Biblical Prophet Amos’ warning to the Israelites about the fall of the mighty Jerusalem at the hands of the Babylonian empire.
The whistle was blown from the Chinese city of Wuhan about a deadly influenza that was soon to sweep across the globe and threaten humanity’s long existence. Could humanity have been brought to an end? could the human race have been at the verge of extinction? thoughts thronged our minds as we trembled and watched in confusion and terror. Dead bodies were dropping suddenly, hospitals were getting filled to capacity, what began as a small matter, would soon be a global concern. Believers looked at it as a possibility of the foretold judgement day, the human race was once again facing a threat that only the creator could help evade.
Believers locked themselves in their inner chambers to seek divine intervention while doctors scratched their heads and spent sleepless nights in laboratories to find a remedy for what was bringing the entire world to a standstill.
At this time, the scourge continued to ravage and spread from town to another, from country to another and from an individual to another. The human race was not anywhere closer to safety. The doctors only managed to give a name to this plague, behold; it was named ‘Covid 19’. Soon the World Health Organization declared it a pandemic and issued guidelines (SOPs) to enable the world evade this monster that showed neither remorse nor sympathy to the human race.
The wave spread from Asia to Europe, nations whose health sectors were robust and gigantic were not spared either as Spain, Italy, UK and Germany among others recorded overwhelming daily death tolls. It wasn’t long before the plague spread to the American continent as Africa bowed in prayer for divine protection.
Governments struggled to take care of their citizens; lock downs were instituted to curb the spread of the pandemic as the economies of the world went to their knees. The skies were empty of planes, the running noisy engines of industries and factories were no more, vehicles were no longer allowed to leave the parking yards unless you were an essential worker, hospitals over flooded with patients and the world became gloomy and dark.
The airline industry crumbled; tourism went into recess as darkness engulfed us all. All hopes and prayers were rested into the mercies of the scientists to help and discover a cure or vaccine to deal with this deadly virus. Companies closed business, workers lost their jobs, house hold incomes were greatly affected as we turned to seek divine redemption. Wave after wave, the scourge continued to ravage the earth like wild fire as families were engulfed by terror of losing their loved ones. Streets became quiet as graveyards began to fill. Mourning and weeping for the losses became normal as people resorted to living only for a day at a time. No one seemed sure about the following day, visiting friends and family became a taboo, hand sanitizers became like an extra body part while parties and celebrations were no longer acceptable. Face masks became essential movement passes and travel was only for essential duties. School children were sent back home as the future of the world seemed to hang in balance. It was all completely a different world as life ceased to have real meaning.
Tourism being a great contributor to the world economy, the global economy was to be equally affected. As the sector went down to its knees, the pinch was to be felt across all other sectors since a significant amount of revenue was being lost as a result. According to World Travel and Tourism Council, WTTC, 2017, receipts from international travel contributed to 10.2% of the global GDP by 2016 and employed about 9.6% of formal jobs.
In 2019, tourism contributed about $60.8bn to the Australian Economy, accounting for about 3.1% of the national GDP according to Australian Industry 2020 Travel research and statistics report. For Uganda, the Tourism sector contributed about 7.9% of the total GDP in 2019 (https://knoema.com/atlas/Uganda/topics/Tourism/Travel-and-Tourism-Total-Contribution-to-GDP/Contribution-of-travel-and-tourism-to-GDP-percent-of-GDP#:~:text=In%202019%2C%20contribution%20of%20travel,)%20for%20Uganda%20was%207.9%20%25.), and in Rwanda it contributed about 15.1% of the country’s GDP (https://knoema.com/atlas/Rwanda/topics/Tourism/Travel-and-Tourism-Total-Contribution-to-GDP/Contribution-of-travel-and-tourism-to-GDP-percent-of-GDP)
As the plague continued to scorch the earth, all this was lost in a blink of an eye, what remained was only a thread of hope that a cure or a vaccine would be discovered sooner to save the situation.
With the whole of 2020 in total local downs, given such a pivotal role and contribution of Tourism to countries’ GDPs, the scar on the economies was to be significantly felt. With Foreign earnings completely going down, jobs lost and market for consumable goods affected, there couldn’t have been any darker time than this.
Fat bank accounts could no longer save lives, neither could the most highly trained doctors or the highly equipped medical centers. People continued to be devoured by this unforgiving scourge as believers beseeched their creator for divine intervention. Sports activities were suspended world over and national parks closed their gates as travel turned out to be a complete myth. The world just descended into a deep and endless night. Days became months, months became a year, before we woke up, we were concluding the year 2020 without knowing how we even started it.
As the sun casts its rays across the horizons in the early morning and birds sing sweet melodies, so was the ray of hope as scientists announced the manufacture of a vaccine against the monster that was holding the world at stake. Several pharmaceutical companies put their efforts together and a number of vaccines were produced. AstraZeneca, Janssen, Pfizer, Covax, Sinovac among other covid 19 vaccines brought a ray of hope to the threatened global population, although they were on emergency use authorization as more studies into them continued.
As the world was engulfed in this whole confusion, nature on the other hand had taken a breather to refresh and regain its glory. Humans had retreated into their hiding places, as the wildlife and tree species were left uninterrupted in the protected areas allowing them great restoration and recovery.
Governments started to secure vaccines for their populations as the world slowly started to overcome the trauma. By close of 2020, a significant number of people in USA and Europe had received both shots of the vaccine and slowly the world was starting to open again.
Hope increased as we entered 2021 and soon schools began to reopen as governments eased lockdowns and put their efforts into vaccinating their populations. Travel was slowly resuming as restrictions eased with a number of SOPs put in place. As we entered a new era, it became a requirement to take a PCR test 72hrs before flying and some nations instituted a requirement of taking a PCR test upon arrival like Rwanda.
Sports activities resumed as football stadiums welcomed mammoth clouds back into the galleries of the game. The world was able to see light again after a long dark tunnel. As a soccer fan and wildlife enthusiast, nothing would bring me more joy than seeing huge crowds in the stadiums at the Euro 2020 championship and being able to hit the track again for a refreshing game drive in a savannah park or looking into the eyes of a mountain gorilla on your gorilla trekking safari in the misty mountains of Bwindi NP (Uganda) and Volcanoes NP (Rwanda).
Thanks to the vaccines and humanity’s combined effort to follow SOPs, that we can now gather and travel to discover the untamed environments and uninterrupted nature
As of 14th Sept, the global total covid 19 vaccine doses administered stood at 5,534,977,637 doses according to the World Health Organization Covid 19 Dash board which has made the world relatively safe to travel again due to hard immunity so far attained.
Everyone now looks hopeful and ready to live life again. It is indeed a new birth of life, a renewed hope for a great future ahead. Planes taking off into the smiling skies, gorillas thumping their chests and calling out in their vocalizations at the excitement of seeing their relatives visit them again in their dense misty forests, lions taking down their hunt in the savannah grasslands of East Africa, elephants trumpeting as they dance to a new tune of satisfaction and Christian Ronaldo reeved in Red at the theatre of dreams again, surely the world is returning to normal.
The African jungles and endless horizons are calling again, it is a time to visit and shed off the stress and trauma of the covid 19 pandemic. It is a call for celebration, the joy of seeing a new environment after a full year in lock down. As you explore the internet in search for where to take your vacation, look no further, an African safari in Uganda crowned with an unmatched experience of looking in the face of the mountain gorilla will make you forget that there was ever a pandemic that shook the world.
So refreshing and adorable, some visitors have had to shed tears after looking into the eyes of the gentle giants. Gorilla tracking should be top on your list of what you must do as you escape the boredom of a lock down in search of a more refreshing environment to cheer your spirit up.
The name Gorilla is derived from the Greek word; ‘Gorillai’, meaning ‘hairy woman’. The mountain gorilla, scientifically known as beringei beringei, is a subspecies of the Eastern gorilla that inhabits mountainous environments as its name suggests at an elevation of about 8,000 to 13,000 feet. This great ape is one of the world’s largest living primates with muscular arms, a gigantic chest and broad hands and feet. Their hairy bodies are an adaptation to live in the cold misty mountains and dense forest covers.
It is one of the most revered wildlife species on planet earth possibly due to its endangered status as per the IUCN red list and its unique nature of existence. The mountain gorilla can only be found in 3 countries (Rwanda, Uganda and D R Congo) in the whole world and has no record of surviving in captivity. As such, it has become one of the most sought-after creatures on the planet and a trip to see this creature in the wild leaves you with cherished and unforgettable memories.
The mountain gorilla is listed on the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) red list as endangered and its population is estimated at about 1,004 individuals as of 2018. The population has experienced a great recovery from about 880 individuals by 2008 to 1004 individuals in 2018, thanks to the conservation efforts by governments and conservation bodies across the globe.
The population of the mountain gorillas has survived through threats to reach such a promising population. An age of civil conflicts in the Congo area, poachers, diseases and habitat loss due to human activity had at one time decimated the population to near extinction until conservation efforts were stepped up.
Mountain gorillas are currently living in two populations; one in the Virunga massif (Volcanoes NP in Rwanda, Mgahinga NP in Uganda and Virunga NP in DRC) and the other half in Bwindi NP in Uganda. A gorilla trekking package to any of these countries remains one of the most precious and rewarding safari experiences any one can ever have.
To visit these gentle giants, one needs to book a gorilla package which includes buying a gorilla permit through a reliable tour operator or directly through the respective conservation bodies that sell these permits ahead of time. A gorilla permit alone costs USD700 in Uganda, USD500 in D R Congo and USD1500 in Rwanda and there is always a specific number of permits available per day depending on the gorilla families available to be tracked in a given location.
A maximum of only 8 people are allowed to visit a specific gorilla family per day and even these are only allowed a maximum of 1hr to spend in the presence of these magnificent creatures. All this is done to ensure their safety and comfort. During high travel seasons, gorilla permits sell out, hence booking a gorilla package needs to be done ahead of time since there are always limited slots for the lucky few to visit these highly treasured primates.
Vintage beyond valuation, above imitation or forgery, Gorilla Trek Africa is once again ready to offer you unmatched gorilla trekking experiences in this new normal era. Drop an inquiry and our team of expert tour consultants will be at your service to help you turn your dream safari into lasting memories.