Now is the time to resist the lure of the open road for once. With the Coronavirus confining many of us to our homes, we encourage you to stick to the protocols and travel virtually instead. Here in South Africa we have been placed on a nationwide lockdown starting at midnight of Thursday 26 March 2020. The lockdown period is set for 21 days, however, we expect authorities may extend this period if required. We also expect our neighbours in Southern Africa to follow the same path very soon.
How does the lockdown effect Tracks4Africa?
We have to close our office and send all our staff home. We paid salaries earlier and have given everyone off on Thursday in order to prepare for the lockdown period. Our telephone will not be answered during the lockdown, but we will be available to provide email-based support – we invite you to use our sales and support email if you need any help.
Our online shop will be set to sell only downloadable products. Courier companies will not be able to deliver physical products and our staff will not be available to prepare any packages during this time. App sales via the Google and Apple app stores will not be affected in any way.
What are we working on?
We have two products which we are excited to get ready for publication. The one is our Zambia guide book and the other a new paper map which will cover Southern and Eastern Africa on a scale of 1:4 million. We will use the time at home to work on these two products.
In addition to this, we will invite lodge and camp owners to use their downtime to update their details on our database. Our research team will send out emails to this effect and we will start processing the data received.
We do envisage that the release of GPS map version 20.05 will be delayed based on the lockdown period. More on this closer to the time.
What can you do?
We urge all Tracks4Africa users to follow the protocols issued by the authorities in order to stay safe and avoid putting others at risk. While travel is restricted by Coronavirus, we’ll continue to bring you stories of great African destinations and tips to make your time on the road better.
Therefore we want to invite you to send your travel stories, together with photos, to firstname.lastname@example.org. If we can work this into a blog article, we will share it on the Tracks4Africa blog site for others to read. We hope this will keep you from going completely bonkers and provide others with much needed inspiration. We would love to hear from you!
Another initiative we would like to start during the lockdown is to work on our maps – and for this, we need your help. If you have any GPS data from previous trips and you have not yet submitted this to us, now would be a good time to do just that. Every bit of data helps us to update maps, be it new roads or speed indexes.
If you know of any errors and have not yet notified us, then please do so. This kind of data can be sent to email@example.com.
You might not be able to go on your overland trip right now, but there’s nothing to stop you from planning that next adventure. Read up on the places you’ve always longed to visit and start plotting the routes on your maps and atlas. After all, to those who can dream there is no such place as far away.
Tracks4Africa is a community of like-minded travellers and in our time travelling Africa we’ve met some great people. Tourism provides vital income across the continent, even more so in the less-visited corners that T4A travellers frequent. When it becomes possible to take to the open road again, we’ll be heading out there and hope you will too.
We look forward to exploring Africa together again. For now, please keep safe and help where you can.