LuxeGetaways recently had the pleasure of getting in some time with the Founder and Executive Chairman of The Mantis Collection, Adrian Gardiner, to get his thoughts and insight on the travel industry in Africa. The Mantis Collection is known to have one of the world’s finest portfolio of luxury hotels, game lodges, resorts and eco-friendly accommodations not only across Africa, but the world. However, we also wanted to chat about the current situation with Covid-19, and the future of tourism and safaris in Africa. We were grateful he took the time out of his insanely busy week to discuss the industry, and his opinion on the future of travel.
LuxeGetaways: How do you think the COVID-19 pandemic will affect future travel in Africa, especially for the safari industry?
Adrian Gardiner: Post COVID-19 travelers are likely to seek out remote accommodation such as safari lodges and camps more than other types of travel experiences because of the outdoor attractions and activities and their remoteness. We believe that that the conscious traveler is likely to emerge from the COVID-19 pandemic with more care for the environment and rural communities.
The safari industry is well-primed to give this post-COVID-19 traveler fulfilling experiences. Safaris, in their nature, are a great balance between socializing and privacy, and this will change only slightly to fit the health and safety needs of the travelers. Traditionally social times such as meals, boma experiences, community visits and sundowners will be more regulated while there isn’t a vaccine.
LuxeGetaways: What is starting to open, and are any of the Mantis Collections properties ready for travelers?
Adrian Gardiner: Tanzania, Zambia, Rwanda and Nigeria have reopened their tourism industries, and some have opened their borders. Mantis properties in Tanzania and Rwanda are open. Lion Camp by Mantis in the South Luangwa will reopen on the first of September. We will then reopen South African properties when we are confident that it is feasible, and the government has indicated when the borders will open.
LuxeGetaways: What will Mantis Collection properties be doing to provide a safe environment for guests?
Adrian Gardiner: Mantis properties are upgrading their already stringent health & safety protocols to adhere to the ALLSAFE Program, which has been developed and initiated by our partner, Accor, the second largest hotel group in the world. These are some of the most stringent cleaning standards & operational protocols in the world of hospitality.
LuxeGetaways: What Mantis property is best suited for those wanting a very private luxury getaway?
Adrian Gardiner: All Mantis eco-escapes are ideal for travelers that yearn for private luxury getaways. If large families want to take over an entire lodge or hotel, we have the likes of Mantis Founders Lodge and Oceana Beach & Wildlife Reserve by Mantis in the Eastern Cape of South Africa.
Lion Camp by Mantis in the South Luangwa, Zambia, and Siringit Camp in Tanzania’s Serengeti along with the Siringit Villa are all prime exclusive-use destinations. The Zambezi Queen Collection of luxury houseboats traverses the Chobe River in Namibia, and each boat is ideal for large families that want an exclusive river safari.
LuxeGetaways: Which of your properties are you most wanting to visit again once the travel ban is lifted across Africa?
Adrian Gardiner: Well, just before lockdown my team and I went on quite the African adventure on a private charter, round-trip to Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda, and the Zambezi Queen on the Chobe River. I think this type of trip will undoubtedly be a fantastic experience to enjoy once the travel bans are lifted across Africa.