This article originally appeared in Travel+Leisure.

Like many people, Craig Beal has had a bad year. He and his wife, Kay, operate a travel agency that specializes in safaris, largely in East Africa, a place that just about nobody is going because of the coronavirus pandemic. “Kay and I have put our heart and soul into Travel Beyond for 15 years and we have had some of our darkest days since March,” he said in a recent note to clients. But when Kenya announced this summer that it would reopen its borders — along with a number of other East African destinations — he realized that while the pandemic may not be over, his lockdown was about to be.

So Beal did what he does best: He planned an epic safari for himself and his friend Chris Liebenberg, another safari expert who runs Piper & Heath in San Diego. (Both are experts recognized on T+L’s A-List of top travel advisors.) The pair planned to visit Kenya and Tanzania to determine whether or not clients could follow in their footsteps — and whether or not the travel industry was ready for a rebound, after months of near-total lockdown.