Coronavirus has changed the face of global travel hugely, in a way that none of us had ever anticipated or experienced. After a hectic couple of weeks or so in March, which included bringing our own staff home from Kenya at 24hrs notice, we started making plans for the coming months.
If you have a trip booked with us:
We have been contacting all of our travellers to see how they would like to proceed when the final balance for their trip falls due. Broadly speaking, we’ve been able to offer clients a choice of three options: initially this was cancelling or postponing their trips, and more recently, as skies and international borders have reopened, the chance to take their adventures as planned.
It would be fair to say that in this time of Covid, we can’t guarantee any specific outcomes. As always, we have gone into battle for our clients in each and every scenario, be it filling out paperwork for insurance companies, pestering airlines for refunds, or charming safari camp owners into alterations. We haven’t had a perfect solution every time (some airlines have only offered vouchers, not refunds, some safari camps are already full for postponed dates), but we are here to help in any way we can.
If I have a trip booked, can I travel?
In general, yes! A few countries still have firmly closed borders, but most are now open. We have a small number of intrepid travellers who are away at the time of writing, and some flying out to various African destinations over the coming months. This is not without complications. It may mean some form of quarantine on return or arranging specialist travel insurance. However, for those who are travelling, the rewards are huge – we’re hearing about virtually empty game reserves, lodge staff who are pulling out every stop to spoil guests in any way they can, and the sort of extra special experiences that just aren’t possible in a busy safari camp in peak season.
Ah, but SHOULD I travel?
Understandably, several people have asked about this. We’d say a cautious, but firm, yes. Clearly the ability to travel depends on each person’s circumstances, and we all need to take our Covid protocols seriously. However, our friends and partners on the ground tell us they’re crying out for visitors. Covid cases and deaths in Africa have thankfully been relatively low. On average, each person working in a safari camp feeds 8 mouths, and without guests, there are no jobs. Plus, as anyone who’s been on one of our trips knows, tourist income is vital to funding community and conservation projects. So for us, where we have adventurous travellers who can’t wait to get away, we are keen to keep supporting our camps and lodges and the amazing work that they do on the ground.
What about if I’m thinking of booking a trip?
Well, it’s fair to say that going to Africa is substantially less easy than it once was. However, we spend a lot of time reading boring regulations, and we’ll do our best to guide you through the process. You should come armed with the same spirit of adventure that African travellers had 100 years ago: be prepared for bureaucracy, last minute changes and the odd moment of chaos, with us and our local partners here to support you throughout. It’s crucial that you make sure you have adequate travel insurance, and have a proper understanding of the FCDO advice for your destination.
Before you book, we’ll be straight with you about where we think potential challenges (sorry, we meant to say – adventures) might arise, and when they happen (it’s better to assume when, not if), we’ll be here to help you through them.
If we don’t answer your questions here, please call us or click on the link below.