On 1 Oct 2020, South Africa’s borders officially opened. There are of course many questions around visiting South Africa .. The Southern African Tourism Services Association (SATSA), of whom we are proud members has posted an excellent FAQ document around this. This is a fluid document and will be updated as & when info is changed.
Peace of Mind
African Travel Gateway has for many years run a business model based on sound & conservative principles. As a result we thankfully remain in a position of financial strength, and with a full staff compliment able to operate fully effectively.
We have close on 30 years experience in creating African safari experiences, and keep our ear close to the ground with what’s new, what’s changed and what’s important for our travellers.
Mental Health, Positivity and the Importance of Planning
Anxiety, negativity and fear is being traded globally, like never before. We encourage a positive and pro-active approach, and the advanced planning your African Safari is free of cost, distracting in a good way and ensures you get the best our of your holiday to Africa. Your best vacation is yet to happen.
“The only man I envy is the man who has not yet been to Africa – for he has so much to look forward to.”
― Richard Mullin
Ourselves and our many suppliers that make up our diverse safari experiences, take the Covid-19 protocols seriously. They align with all legal requirements including among other measures, mask wearing in public spaces, the availability of alcohol based sanitizers (min 70% proof) in public areas of hotels & lodges and transport facilities. Social distancing is maintained at 2 meters. On the open air game drive vehicles at safari camps & lodges, the measures include allocating a maximum of 4 – 6 passengers (unless a group is travelling together). The vehicles are sanitised before & after each game drive.
To Travel to South Africa
The arrivals policy for foreign tourists is as follows:
• Arrive with a valid certificate of a negative COVID-19 PCR test, no older than 72 hours (3 days) from the time of departure for South Africa. The test must be conducted by a certified medical practitioner and the certificate must have the name and signature of the practitioner who conducted the test.
• Undergo screening at the point of entry for any COVID-19 symptoms and/or for contact with people who have been infected with the virus.
• Download to your mobile phone the COVID Alert South Africa mobile app
Covid-19 related postponements & cancellations
For Bookings Confirmed on or after 30 Mar 2020
When the reason for cancelling meets the following criteria, the cancellation is deemed a Covid-19 cancellation:
• The Government of your country of residence and / or the goverment of the countries in your itinerary closes or keep their borders closed due to Covid-19
• Your booking was confirmed on or after 30 Mar 2020
Then the following cancellation / postponement fees apply:
- Trips maybe deferred to any date in 2021 and deposits rolled on for no cost, other than any particular supplier’s rate change due to new dates.
- With the exception of flights (*), trips can be cancelled due to Covid-19 up to 60 days prior to travel without cancellation fees
- Covid-19 Cancellations made less than 60 days prior to travel are subject to the individual supplier’s Covid-19 cancellation policies.
(*) Air Ticket Cancellation – Air tickets rules and restrictions carry their own rules and will be fully communicated to you before paying so you can select a fare best suited to your peace of mind. Air tickets are linked to contracts (‘Air T&C’) which are very complex and can entail very strict requirements regarding change, airport and departure taxes and cancellation provisions and the Client MUST enquire about ALL the applicable conditions BEFORE you pay for the ticket. The Client should also take note that if your flight/itinerary consists of more than one flight/coupon/ticket, the Client is not allowed to use such tickets/coupons out of sequence or to ‘skip’ one (& e.g. opt for train, bus or car transport) as this will VOID the entire balance of the journey/itinerary. ‘No-shows’ may result in the ticket being voided and/or the Client being charged a cancellation fee. Note that the Air T&C shall constitute the sole contract between the airline and the Client and any right of recourse the Client may have, will be solely against the airline in terms of the Air T&C. The Client’s rights of recourse as a consequence of over-booking are prescribed by the CPA. Loyalty programs are governed by strict rules of which the Client must be aware and retention of boarding passes and other documentation pertaining to such programs is the sole responsibility of the Client. Consult the Company about refunds for unused tickets as strict deadlines apply.
For Bookings Confirmed before 30 Mar 2020
Given the unprecedented nature of the crisis, the responses from suppliers across the board varies. This means that each postponement / cancellation is addressed individually. Below is the general pattern:
- For Covid-19 related postponements, just about all suppliers are allowing postponing to end of 2021 for no charge, save a change in rate due to the change in period (where applicable).
- Air tickets are governed by the restrictions in place at the time of ticketing, but many airlines are offering a free change (voucher) for travel despite restrictions that may have been in place prohibiting changes
- For Covid-19 related cancellations, we engage each supplier individually and motivate for a full waiver of cancellation fees, and in the instances where suppliers have already been paid deposits or in full, we motivate for a full refund.
- In many cases they agree, and at times charge an admin or cancellation fee. The main factor influencing to these charges is the time between the date of travel and the requested cancellation.
- Whenever any charge is levied we engage the supplier vigorously on behalf of the client to try and have these waivered.