Here’s What You Need To Know About Going On A Wildlife Holiday During Covid
For the person who’s passionate about nature and wildlife, there can be nothing better than going on a wildlife holiday. A walk through the wilderness would be just what you need to escape the trappings of urban life. However, with the coronavirus pandemic still around, you’ll need to think it through. Granted, the number of cases might be dropping now, the government’s relaxing the restrictions and places are opening up. But that doesn’t mean that the threat is over yet. So we urge you to exercise caution before setting out on a trip now.
Going on a wildlife holiday is ideal during Covid – you’ll be away from crowded tourist spots and the hustle and bustle of city life. Observing the animals as they’re supposed to be – roaming freely in their natural habitat – is both fun and a bit dangerous. But how to prepare to leave for this adventure during the Covid pandemic?
Choosing Your Destination And Accommodation
The first thing you want to do before going on a wildlife tour is choosing where you go. In a normal scenario, you could choose practically any place around the world. But in this new normal, you’ll need to have few extra things on your mind.
Preferably, you can look for destinations close to your house because unlike international trips, you won’t be bogged down by the quarantine rules of the country you choose to visit. Also, a nearby destination would mean that you can easily drive there instead of using public transport (there’s a higher risk of Covid transmission when traveling with a large number of unfamiliar people). In either case, make sure that you’re fully up-to-date on the Covid restrictions.
Whether you’re traveling alone or in a group, look for wildlife resorts or camps which can ensure that you’re isolated from other people. Wherever you choose to stay, ensure that they’re Covid-ready. Those below 10 years and above 65 are generally not allowed in national parks as they’re more susceptible to infection.
Packing For The Trip
Keeping the pandemic in mind, in addition to the usual wildlife holiday paraphernalia like cameras, flashlights, waterproof clothes and the likes, you’ll have to carry a few extra things for your holiday:
Masks And Sanitizer
Yes, you’ve heard this over and over for the past 8 months, and still we’ll reiterate this. Covid primarily spreads through the droplets produced by an infected person coughing or sneezing. While social distancing definitely helps, having a mask on ensures added protection.
Common touch points can also have the virus on them for days together. So the way to protect yourself from infection is regular washing of your hands with soap and water. Alternatively, you can use a hand sanitizer with over 60% alcohol.
Keep in mind that Covid-ready locations outright wouldn’t let you enter without a mask on. So make sure that you have a mask on and pack some extra with you if you’re on a long trip.
Food And Water
Given the current scenario, it’s not a great idea to go to restaurants and eateries while on the way to your destination (which, again, has to be Covid-ready). Covid doesn’t spread through food and water, but being amongst many people in a restaurant increases the risk of transmission. So it’s recommended that you pack enough food and water for your trip.
While the government has done away with most restrictions for intrastate and interstate travel, it won’t hurt to carry copies of Covid travel-related documents. Have the Aarogya Setup app installed on your phone and carry a valid Covid negative certificate issued by an authorized medical facility. As an added precaution, get travel insurance so that in the unfortunate event that you do fall sick, the medical expenses get covered.
The Covid rules are likely to change all of a sudden, so make sure that you know all the rules and what needs to be carried while traveling.
For a wildlife explorer, a medical kit is a given. But during Covid, be sure to add extra medicines for cold, flu and pain relief. Add a thermometer as well because self monitoring your health is at an all-time importance now.
Many national parks across India have opened and taken up measures to ensure that they’re Covid ready. Along with the usual rules that are to be followed when among wild animals in their natural habitat, the authorities now adhere to the standard operating procedures in accordance with Covid safety. Wearing masks, regular sanitizing and social distancing are compulsory and enforced by the park staff. In addition to these, the wildlife safaris have started but in a limited number and they’ll be subject to regular sanitation.
Sure, there are many rules in place to minimize risk of Covid transmission, but even you have a responsibility to follow these rules to a T. You shouldn’t be flouting rules or doing anything that could endanger yourself or those around you. If there are locals and/or tribals living in the park, you’ll have to keep your distance from them. Especially if a village in the park has zero Covid cases, simply avoid going there so as to not unwittingly spread the pandemic there (a person carrying the virus may be asymptomatic). It goes without saying that you must keep the park clean. Littering and spitting increase the chances of the virus spreading. To put it shortly, you and the park taking all the precautions would make your wildlife holiday as safe as possible.
The long lockdown period has adversely affected the tourism industry. By visiting these places, you would give them a much-needed breath of life. Just keep in mind your responsibility to the place you’re visiting, and you can have a wonderful adventure in the wilderness.