What has 2020 really been like for Jenman Safaris?

2020. A time of loss. A gift of perspective. A series of disappointments. Reminders perhaps? The Jenman team have been thinking about this – along with the rest of the world – and in its mystery, sometimes feels like a tale beyond our understanding.

With the extreme devastation and heartache the world has experienced this year, it has also unveiled hope, the experience a mirror to an old Greek myth – Pandora’s Box. 2020 seemed to open the box, releasing pain and disease – all unexpected visitors in our lives. In the midst of the chaos, the world pulled together in order to end the turmoil, the remaining entity of the box: hope.

Hope is leading the way for the army of new words on the street. Storms and turbulent seas. Unprecedented. Adaptation. These uncertain times. Pandemic. Often we feel simultaneously alone and together in our collective experience – however there are some absolutes which we share, especially in the business realm.

Each and every industry has been tested, turned upside down, reassessed, revalued, some broken, and a few lucky ones, rebuilt. Our characters have been questioned, showcased and measured, some left wanting in our own eyes and some in the eyes of others. Whatever the case – we have certainly learnt – through the luxury of positivity or through adversity. Or by floundering through an existence which we simply do not understand – dodging or catching the next curve ball – some decisions an accolade of the times, others deeming absolutely pointless.

In the Jenman office, while dancing the daily dance of confusion, Shakespeare’s tale of a Comedy of Errors comes to mind – the story ironically opening with a violation of a ban against travel between two cities. While attempting to keep the travel dream alive, a series of curveballs and mishaps are dealt with continuously, keeping us on our toes, or sometimes, flat on our faces.

Read on for an insight in just a few of these questionable actions…

Our product team had created guidelines for operating our safaris (social distancing, sanitising, etc.) for destinations which were 24 hours later no longer accessible. Bans may be lifted for one month – but not the next – and for some nationalities yet not others. Marketing and sales have curated, scripted and filmed online webinar series on these implemented changes, which deem invalid, longevity proving to be a pipe dream. On the cusp of lockdown, when the world was different, our operations team set up an entire camp, to then equip it with sanitary products and hygiene protocols, only to be shut down entirely – at that point believing in 21 days we would return to business as normal. Ironically, it is now the sanitary products which are in lockdown, going into hibernation with the camp itself.

We re-routed clients, providing alternative accommodation and tour options. We postponed. We drafted and released free covid tests partnered with newsletters and policies, which were then retracted days later. 2021 rates were calculated and discarded, terms and conditions proved a weekly challenge, projected budgets went out a window which closed along with a variety of doors as we waited in futility for others to open. Business cards have become relics, in antiquated office spaces which house dusty brochures and travel plans. However, all is not lost.

We have laughed with bewilderment and cried with frustration. Gratitude has been shared in solidarity and empathy equally distributed throughout our team and beyond. Prayers have been whispered and words of comfort globally gifted. In falling apart, we have come together, and as our social media guru deposited words of wisdom in light of it all,

“The comedy of errors are only comedic in hindsight,” and hindsight is indeed a wonderful place to be, even if it’s only half way through and we may have partially lost our minds.

Oh, and we all still have hope with borders slowly opening and travellers carefully starting to plan their next journey. We are here and believe in the return of the safari travel.

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