Posts by Mandy Richards for Cycle Tour News:
Alex is our ‘Senor Informacion’ with extensive knowledge on history, politics, geography and actually pretty much everything in Colombia. Formally a Colombian policeman with the anti-narcotics special division (yikes!)… Alex has been with Escape Adventures (in Colombia) from the beginning providing guidance and support when we were researching our Colombia cycle tour and on the ground for our cycle tours since!
To buy an Escape Adventures shirt or cup and help out our in-country crew... email Mandy with your shirt or cup choice, size and your mailing address. We'll get back to you with availability and payment details.
Joseph (sometimes affectionately known as “Yopsie”) is our man on the spot in Kenya. For those of you who have not yet met him, Joseph has been on the Escape team since 2008. For up to five months a year, he drives support in Kenya & Tanzania while we are biking and also keeps tabs on everything on the ground in East Africa when we are not there so that our tours run as smooth as silk during our season.
Outside our cycle touring season, Joseph works guiding private tours within East Africa and is part of a community volunteer group working with urban villages in Nairobi sharing ideas on how to clean up, plant trees, unblock waste from water ways etc.
So how is life in Kenya right now? In Joseph’s own words "2020 has been a unique year, first locust plagues, terrible flooding and now Covid 19”.
Currently travel within Kenya is restricted to local only. Nightly curfews from 7pm to 5am are in place and all public meetings are cancelled, churches, mosques and schools are closed. On the positive side most of Joseph's extended family live within Nairobi so keeping in touch has been possible and his daughter Cynthia has moved back home during the pandemic. Joseph has been keeping busy homeschooling their son Michael. He says it has been great as he is picking up what he missed the first time round!
Reported cases of coronavirus in Kenya are low. Unfortunately though, with Kenya’s borders closed and the tourism industry at a standstill, both Joseph and his wife Susan are not currently working and have been hit hard economically. They say that worry and uncertainty is what is affecting most people and they are living in hope that a cure will soon be found.
The economic effects of the absence of tourism and of the lockdown in East Africa are huge. There is no government support and for many people what they earn today will feed the family tomorrow - so staying home from work is not an option.
Another big concern facing Sub-Saharan Africa, with tourism at a standstill, is the protection of it's wildlife and National Parks. Unemployment and desperation leads to more poaching and the lack of tourist dollars means less rangers and anti-poaching teams on the ground.
The hope is for tourism to return in the near future to bring back those precious dollars that the wildlife, environment and people need.
April's been a crazy month all right. We thought we were going to be putting the final touches on our newest cycle tour while biking and camping in the deserts of Namibia. Instead, the day Jacinda announced we were going into lockdown we made a quick decision and moved into our unfinished house and new Escape HQ. So we've had plenty to do to keep us distracted from feeling sorry for ourselves! We postponed the bulk of our cycle tours to next year and began brainstorming ways to get through the next year with a positive bank balance and sense of humour intact! I am sure this sounds familiar to some of you?
If you have been on tour with John then there is a good chance that during one of your post ride rehydration sessions you may have heard the "Hippo Story". So by popular demand here it is in its reduced form......
Isn't it just incredible how this virus is affecting absolutely everybody and every industry in the world right now? I'm sure everyone in business is asking themselves a lot of questions about how they are going to get through the next month, the next year or in the case of tourism, we don't know how long... and come out stronger on the other side.
There is currently a whole heap of uncertainty and concern surrounding corona virus and world travel. Like everyone we are watching World Heath Organisation’s reports closely and waiting to see how it will play out. It is a really fluid situation and things are changing not even weekly, but day-to-day. We hope that people stay smart and continue to look out for each other and wash their hands!! And we remain positive that the spread of the disease will soon slow.
If you are a family who.... like a bit more adventure than camping in your backyard, like to get out for adventures together and prefer things a little out of the ordinary... our Kenya & Tanzania Family Cycle Tour is the thing for you! Our KT family tours usually book out pretty early, and with our 2020 and 2021 KT family tours already fully booked - we have added an extra tour and will now be leading TWO KT family tours in 2021!! Ideal for families with kids from 10+.
So what do cycle tour leaders do when they are not leading cycle tours??? Go cycle touring of course!!!