The year 2020 started with myself, Ronel, Nicus, Heinz and Chris doing our annual marketing trip to the USA. All exited, looking forward to the best season ever, in the 37 years of offering African safaris, for JANNIE OTTO SAFARIS!!. Spending 3 moths with friends, new clients talking Africa! In the USA, Mexico and Canada!
Arriving back in Africa, the first week of March, it was organizing getting concessions, staff camps etc ready for this upcoming, promising season. Started of with two safaris in Limpopo and one in the Northern Cape, first week of March. Then suddenly the whole world change. Cover 19 has hid the world. Our lives suddenly changed and will never be the same. The normal of tourism, taking people, from over the world, to experience the wonder of the African outdoors, will never be the same. This just got a complete different meaning.” Lock down” was the new word on every ones lips. We had to adapt to the not moving around, not going out with friends, clients into the African bush. Enjoying the beauty. The emotions of something very special. Experiences that words can’t described!! Missing the joy of sitting with friends around a African campfire, driving in a safari vehicle looking at lion, elephant, birds and all the creatures that you found only here in the Africa bush. Not be able to give someone a big hug because that mutual feeling of understanding the wonder and beauty of the Africa bush. A friend returning for his “again” African safari because he could not stay away. The voice of Africa was calling. That hug to welcome him back, not allowed anymore!!
Suddenly we had to sit down, all of us with a new look into what the season of 2020 will hold in for us. The season than was so promising, changed into a season of despair! What the future of the safari and tourism industry will be. We made plans, contacted clients, changing dates, trying to motivate one another to be positive, to know that we have been through bad times before and that we have survived! We here in Africa, our history is one of hardship, joy, understanding respect and hope. So we walk away from this meeting knowing that we will make the best of the worst situation we had in our lives!! We are now exactly 5 months away from the day the lockdown was announces and we still do not know what the future will hold in for us!! But we are still positive that things will soon change for the best!
We hope this find you all doing well during these strange and difficult times. For sure the worst in history of safaris in Africa. Our borders have now been closed since middle of March for any international travel making it impossible for us to have clients visiting and enjoying an African safari.
Here in Africa we are still in part lockdown, now on level 3 out of 5 levels. We are now allowed to travel over provincial borders. Hotels and Guest Lodges opened up, under regulation though. Commercial flying are going ahead and some of the international flights already started flying from Johannesburg and Cape Town to the USA and Europe but, only for business people and students. Started hunting with South African hunters in beginning of July, but only for meat!
We did three promising meat hunting safaris with local hunters, this creating a small income for us, the staff and the land and concession owners on whose areas we operate. Then, suddenly it was on the news, we got mails from the different professional hunters organizations, the different South African hunting and conservation associations, informing us that the Minister of the Environment just decided, this Monday the 27th of July, to change all regulations. No crossing provincial borders for any hunters, no overnighting in a hunting camp, sitting around a campfire. Supporting the Safari outfitter, their staff and families, so, no hunting for meat hunters. Again taking away the constitutional right of people to earn a living!!! To manage and protect wildlife. Politicians, they are just making it impossible for us to try and make a living in the tourist and hunting safari industry. They did this without discussing any of these regulations and the influence this will have on our wildlife industry with any organization representing the Safari industry! Well, we will stay positive and we know that things will change for the better.
Tanzania just opened up their 2020 season for hunting. Ethiopian airlines are flying from Europe to Tanzania and a great airline , no problems with rifle imports etc. We are very positive that things will now go down fast to level one and then everything will be back to normal around the end of August.
Mozambique will also open their doors for international tourist in August but are waiting to see what will happen with international tourist going through South Africa. At least some very good news for us!!!
We as safari outfitters here in Africa need the support of all hunters now in the world. Without your support wildlife and hunting will not survive here in Africa. Our staff, their families, especially in the real rural areas are suffering the most. They all make their income just from safaris in these areas. Salaries from Safari Outfitters but also tips from safari clients. We had to lay off 50% of our staff. Remaining skeleton staff, we had to put on a 50% of their normal salary. This to make sure that the doors of JANNIE OTTO SAFARIS stay open and ready to accommodate all our loyal clients/friends of the past. To welcome the new ones and to give them a “TASTE “ of the high standard, exceptional quality, affordable safaris JANNIE OTTO SAFARIS has to offer. We will be ready to welcome you back here with us in Africa the moment our International borders reopen again. We know that will be soon!
As we did not take of our allocated quota and still have to pay certain cost for the privilege of having these quota and areas we are offering really low price safaris for the 2020, late season as well as 2021 season. As a result of Covid 19 we offer some excellent photo safaris to South Africa, Namibia, Mozambique, Zambia, Botswana and Tanzania in 2021. This at prices you will never be able to get it for again. . Please see this on our Website, www.jannieotto.com .
We want to thank you all for your support and loyalty to the hunting in Africa. We promise you an outstanding safari, good areas, lots of animals, great trophy quality, hard hunting lot of fun and memories to take back home, a real “Taste of Africa” JANNIE OTTO SAFARIS has been in the safari business for 37 years and we know and promise you that we will still be here after this Covid 19 nightmare to take you on the “less travel” bush roads, to the untouched wilderness of Africa or if you preferers to stay and enjoy one of our 5 star ocean and city resorts. We offer tailor made safaris for all your needs. Just tell us what you want to see or do and we will makes sure that you will experience the trill of an unforgettable African safari!
Jannie Otto Safaris will honour all safaris booked for 2020 and 2021. If you cannot make it in 2020 let’s just postponed to 2021. We really need this now! We are looking forward to welcome you here with us in Africa !
Jannie Otto Safaris also wants to thank all frontline workers. People who fight the Covid 19 Virus every day. Doctors, nurses, The Police, National Defence Force, Fire fighters every one putting their lives on the line to safe ours. Those persons working long and hard hours under very difficult and stressful circumstances. We really appreciate all the sacrifices you go through for all of us. Thank you very much!!
We just had a wonderful day with the Sydney On Vaal Communal Property Associations exco at our Newlands Safari Lodge last week Wednesday, 22nd of July. Covid 19 regulations were followed very strictly and it was good for all at JANNIE OTTO SAFARIS”S and the SOVCPO exco to come together, plan, motivate each other to keep on going, marketing and make sure that we are still and will stay one of the finest Safari Companies in Africa!!
Please visit our website www.jannieotto.com and visit us on Face Book and Instagram for news and information.
Looking forward to see you all next year at Dallas Safari Club, Safari Club International and all the shows in Europe. We are exited about the 2021 season and looking forward to welcome you here in Africa again!
Jannie, Ronel Otto and the JOS team!