[Updated September 21, 2020] We care deeply about the safety of our guests, safari guides and employees who are more than simply individuals to us, but members of a worldwide family whose enthusiasm for exploring Africa is heartwarming. With this in mind, we'd like to share with you how we are managing the Covid-19 crisis.
As a safari and African destination tour operator that people come to for travel guidance and honest advice, we are closely monitoring the progress of the pandemic, the latest travel news and advisories, and international best practice guidelines for managing the risk and keeping travelers safe.
We are open!
Wild Wings Safaris was fortunate to enter this pandemic in a strong financial position, without debt. While we've felt the pain on many levels, we remain optimistic and full of hope. We are open, and our team of consultants remains on hand to answer enquiries and take new bookings. There are many people out there who, like us, are confident we will weather this storm and are intent on booking that safari of a lifetime they've always dreamed of! They, too, believe it's a matter of time before COVID-19 is either contained or a vaccine becomes available. Now is a great time to book your next safari trip.
Here at Wild Wings Safaris, we are keeping a very close eye on World Health Organization updates and travel alerts. At the same time, we are also cheering on the international community of researchers as they race against time to develop a vaccine. Meanwhile, doctors all around the world have made enormous progress in treating patients with Covid-19, and as a result the fatality rate has dropped significantly. The vast majority of people who get Covid-19 have no symptoms, and over 99% survive the disease.
Covid-19 Safety Protocols
South Africa has developed a world-leading set of Covid-19 safety protocols which all hotels, lodges and tourism companies adhere to. These protocols include measures such as detailed screening and briefing upon arrival, thorough sanitizing of public spaces and surfaces, including vehicles, compulsory mask wearing by staff and guests, social distancing requirements, capacity limits for vehicles and restaurants, hand sanitizer and hand-washing stations, plated meals instead of buffet meals, and much more. The goal of these risk mitigation efforts is to ensure that travel and tourism can happen safely and that guests are not exposed to high levels of infection risk. We are committed to making your trip as safe and hygienic as possible.
International borders reopening
South Africa has moved to our lowest alert level, lockdown level 1 (we started on level 5). International borders will open to low risk countries from 1 October 2020. The Kruger National Park is open, and domestic travel is possible. We have already been conducting some safaris again. Namibia, Zimbabwe, Tanzania and Kenya are also open to international tourists. The approved list of countries that are able to travel to South Africa will be published here in due course.
Plan and book now without risk
Can you risk booking now for 2021? Absolutely!
To accommodate the current uncertainty, we have waived our cancellation fees on all future bookings, at least up to 7 weeks (49 days) before your travel date. What's more, we have reduced the deposit amount to confirm a booking, and all payments remain 100% refundable if you have to cancel due to Covid-19.
Relaxed terms and conditions
Our temporary, relaxed terms and conditions will apply while Covid-19 remains a threat, and allow you to make a provisional booking now for a future safari date with minimal risk. We will review this policy monthly, until it becomes clear that it is safe to proceed with normal booking procedures.
This means it is 100% safe to proceed with your future safari plans right now and you won't have to face any financial risk during the current uncertain circumstances. You can then re-evaluate the situation as you get closer to your travel date.
When will it be safe to travel?
In our view, from a risk perspective it is already safe to travel. It is probably safer to visit Africa than to use public transport to go to work, or go a local supermarket. Airports and airlines around the world have introduced strict Covid-19 safety protocols. Many countries and airlines require a recent negative Covid-19 test before they will allow you to board. In Africa, Covid-19 was well managed and our death toll was comparatively low, fortunately. All the numbers are moving the right direction now. The nature of African safari travel also makes it very safe. Would you rather be in a crowded museum in a big city, or enjoy Africa's vast landscapes, remote wilderness areas, lots of sunshine and fresh air, and game viewing from open vehicle game drives?
But from the perspective of travel advisories and government regulations, we believe 2021 will be best time to travel again. It may be tempting to wait until shortly before your intended trip dates before planning and booking your trip. However, please keep in mind that many thousands of people have postponed their trips from 2020 to 2021 so availability may a challenge if you wait until shortly before your trip. We strongly recommending planning and booking well in advance to ensure availability.
We look forward to hearing from you and welcoming you on safari!
About the author
Dianne Kokkonidis was born in Johannesburg, grew up in the Transkei and spent years exploring Europe. She returned to South Africa to live on a farm in the Outeniqua Mountains when the call of Africa got too loud to ignore. She comes from a family of storytellers, so it’s no surprise she’s now found her way into writing about one the oldest stories known to mankind - the lure of Africa.