The Africa Regional Offices are enjoying quiet days as the volcano in Iceland has not only stopped international flights, but in doing so the number of tourists coming into the Serengeti National Park has dropped drastically.
The morning hum of small aircrafts arriving and departing with new visitors has ceased, leaving only sounds of cicada, flies and doves to fill the air. Most small charter companies are joining forces to bring in one or two flights per day, rather than one or two flights per day per company.
The evening rumble of Land Rovers driving past the office as they head out packed with tourists for evening game drives has turned into a low murmur. The few that do pass by are more of a surprise than a normal occurrence.
And apart from impacting just the Serengeti, the entire tourist industry will likely begin to feel a huge strain from the lack of visitors. Luckily, travelers from South Africa are still able to make the trip, but this is only a small fraction of the market.
With my own flights to Frankfurt cancelled I had a bit of breathing space and was cruising around the lush and yellow flower dotted Seronera circuit. I only met a single tourist vehicle which reminded me of the good old days in the early eighties when there was only a trickle of visitors to the Park.
Though we are enjoying having this piece of paradise to ourselves, we do hope that things turn around quickly.
Photos by Laura Hartstone
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