This temporary COVID-19 Policy has been crafted in response to the unique circumstances and risks posed by the COVID-19 pandemic, to give guests peace of mind and allow you to book with minimal risk to you. We know the situation will improve again in the future, but until then this COVID-19 policy with its more relaxed cancellation policy will supplement our existing terms and conditions.
This policy should be read in conjunction with our standard updated booking Terms and Conditions, and in conjunction with each supplier's own cancellation policies, which may supersede our own.
Temporary COVID-19 Policy
These terms and conditions shall apply to all new bookings made from 11 November 2020, while COVID-19 remains a global concern and pandemic, as defined by the World Health Organisation.
We are aware that the COVID-19 pandemic has deeply impacted travel and tourism, poses new risks for travellers and continues to cause concern and uncertainty among travellers. We understand that travellers are hesitant right now to put large amounts of money at risk in the form of advance payments for a future trip.
The purpose of these COVID-19 terms and conditions are to address these concerns and reduce the risk of booking in advance. We do this by requiring the minimal possible deposit amount to confirm a booking, flexible payment terms, and generous cancellation and refund policies in case of a COVID-19 cancellation. Similar COVID-19 policies have been introduced by most of our partners and suppliers, although the actual terms and conditions vary from supplier to supplier. Some are more strict that ours, in which case the supplier's cancellation policies will supersede our own.
Additionally, the purpose of our COVID-19 policy is to outline our cancellation and refund policies, highlight our COVID-19 protocols and your responsibilities as a traveler, and explain our policy with regard to vaccination.
10% Refundable Deposit
While COVID-19 remains a concern and many borders remain closed, and travel advisories remain in place for many countries, it is difficult to predict when it might be safe and possible to travel again. For this reason, we have waived the standard requirement of a 30% deposit as First Advance Payment, of which half is non-refundable. In order to confirm a booking with Wild Wings Safaris, unless you are booking at short notice, all we ask for from our side is a 10% fully refundable deposit as a commitment fee, along with a completed booking form. The 10% deposit will confirm your booking to ensure availability, and remains fully refundable in case of a COVID-19 cancellation (as outlined below), unless a supplier has more strict policies in place.
Supplier Deposit Requirements
One caveat to the 10% refundable deposit is that some suppliers will require a higher deposit amount. Typically, we have seen deposits of between 10% and 30% requested by suppliers – most of them fully refundable in case of an unavoidable COVID-19 cancellation, but some still insisting on a non-refundable deposit. If a supplier’s deposit requirement is more than 10% to confirm a booking, or is non-refundable, you will be given three options:
- At your own risk, pay the higher deposit amount as required to ensure availability at that supplier (subject to the supplier’s own cancellation and refund policy)
- Leave the booking on provisional status for as long as possible (at the risk that someone else who is willing to pay could book that room if availability is limited)
- Opt for a different supplier with a more flexible approach and lower deposit requirement, if possible.
For bookings that have been confirmed with a 10% refundable deposit, a further 20% second payment will be requested either at 90 days before travel, or as soon as applicable restrictions or travel advisories are lifted and the relevant international borders are opened again. This additional amount shall remain fully refundable in case of an unavoidable COVID-19 cancellation, subject to applicable supplier cancellation policies.
The remaining balance (or full amount, for short notice bookings) is payable 49 days (7 weeks) before travel as per our standard terms and conditions, and again remains fully refundable in case of an unavoidable COVID-19 cancellation, subject to supplier cancellation policies.
What is a valid COVID-19 cancellation?
While the exact definition differs from supplier to supplier, a COVID-19 cancellation is broadly defined in similar wording by most suppliers. To avoid unnecessary cancellations, a valid COVID-19 cancellation can only be effected 30 days or less before travel. Valid reasons for a cancellation or postponement due to Coronavirus include if you or a member of your family or travel group have tested positive for Coronavirus within 14 days of your travel start date, or if you have been in contact with a positive case and have written proof from a health professional that you’ve been instructed to quarantine or self-isolate. You need a negative COVID-19 PCR test certificate less than 72 hours old to be able to fly, so if your test and retest are both positive, that will cause a valid and unavoidable cancellation. Another valid reason is if your home country or destination country has imposed or maintained government-mandated travel restrictions which make it impossible for you to travel, or your airline has cancelled your flight due to COVID-19 and there are no alternative routing options available to get to your destination. You will need to submit proof that your cancellation is due to a valid COVID-19 related reason. A disinclination to travel or personal choice to cancel, without a valid medical or verifiable logistical reason related to COVID-19, does not constitute a valid reason for a COVID-19 cancellation, and will fall under the standard cancellation policy. Similarly, personal concerns over case numbers or variants of concern in your home country or destination country, without a government restriction or advisory against travel, does not constitute a valid reason for a COVID-19 cancellation. All other non-COVID cancellations will fall under our normal cancellation policy.
In case of a valid COVID-19 related cancellation and refund request, the supplier refund and cancellation policies may supersede our own. The following options will be explored in consultation with you, in order of priority: Postponement; Travel Insurance Claim; Refund.
If COVID-19 prevents you from travelling on the planned dates, our first priority, and the trend among tourism suppliers, is to offer a flexible postponement voucher which will allow you to postpone your trip without loss or penalty to a future date. Postponement remains the best and preferred option to deal with temporary COVID-19 travel restrictions, and helps to minimise losses to all parties. Certain suppliers have indicated on their COVID-19 policies that they will only offer postponement, not refunds. If postponement is possible, this will always be the preferred option. The terms of postponement may differ from supplier to supplier, and postponements may be subject to seasonal and annual rates increases.
It is now more important than ever to purchase comprehensive travel insurance that includes COVID-19 cover or Cancel For Any Reason cover. It is a condition of booking with Wild Wings Safaris that you purchase comprehensive travel insurance with sufficient cover. Failure to do so puts everyone at risk of loss, and will limit our ability to refund you. If postponement is not possible, you will then be asked to claim from your travel insurance company. More and more insurance companies are offering 100% cancellation cover in case of a COVID-19 cancellation. These include AXA Assistance USA, HTH Worldwide, Trawick International, April International, TravelSafe, Hollard, SafetyWing and many others. However, it is difficult to obtain insurance that includes COVID-19 cover while existing travel advisories or restrictions exist for your intended destination. Please compare quotes and discuss your plans to find out if you can get COVID-19 cover. If not, it is best to purchase Cancel For Any Reason cover which allows you to get up to 75% of your trip costs back if you decide to cancel for any reason. NO refund will be offered without first attempting to claim back from travel insurance. Failure to purchase comprehensive travel insurance will void your right to a refund. Typically, travel insurance has to be purchased immediately, within 48 hours of confirming your trip and making your first payment.
In case of a valid COVID-19 cancellation, if postponement is not an option and your travel insurance claim is not successful, you will receive a full refund, subject to the individual supplier refund policies and possible cancellation fees. A refund can only be processed back to the same credit card that you paid with, or into the same account you paid from if you paid by bank transfer. Since credit card companies never refund the merchant transaction fees on credit card payments, all refunds will be subject to a 5% transaction charge to cover our costs. Refunds can only be made in the currency in which we received the funds (typically ZAR, USD or GBP), and due to exchange rate fluctuations you may receive a lower amount back than you expected.
From Wild Wings Safaris side there will be no cancellation fees for a valid, unavoidable COVID-19 cancellation, up to 48 hours before travel. However, third party suppliers that we have paid already (including hotels, lodges, airlines, transfer companies, activity operators, etc.) may still impose cancellation fees. The cancellation policies of third party suppliers will supersede our own, if they are more strict than ours. You will be informed about the applicable supplier cancellation policies in the process of making your booking, so you can make an informed decision. No refund can be offered unless we have received a refund from the relevant supplier(s).
Package Travel Regulations
For UK-based customers who book through our UK office, the Package Travel Regulations protect you in case you are unable to travel due to COVID-19. However, they do not protect us as the travel organiser. And the PTR’s make it impossible to claim from travel insurance for a COVID-19 cancellation. For this reason, in the event of a valid COVID-19 cancellation and refund request where suppliers have been paid already and we face unavoidable cancellation fees from our suppliers, we will be unable to offer you a refund with money we do not have. All refunds under the Package Travel Regulations will be paid only once we have secured refunds from the relevant suppliers. Until all supplier refunds have been received, the best we can offer you is a financially protected Refund Credit Note or postponement voucher, which allows you to reschedule or rebook your trip for a different date, at no penalty.
COVID-19 safety protocols
Wild Wings Safaris strives to comply with all government mandated COVID-19 safety protocols, and has taken extra steps to ensure the safety and health of our guests, and to help prevent the spread of the virus. This includes regular sanitising of our vehicles, compulsory use of masks (except while eating and in your own hotel room), hand disinfectant (you are welcome to bring your own hand sanitiser but we will have sanitiser available on our vehicles), practical social distancing (for example maintaining open seats between passengers where possible, open air dining, plated rather than buffet meals, etc.)
Currently, being fully vaccinated against COVID-19 is strongly encouraged but is not a legal requirement in order to visit any of the African destinations we sell. It may however be required by your home country in order to return without having to quarantine. Vaccination is strongly recommended, and while many African countries still have some way to go in their vaccination campaigns, many tourism companies have been proactive in getting their staff vaccinated. As a result, most front line tourism staff you will come into contact with (including reception staff, guides, drivers, porters and waiters) are likely to have been vaccinated. Our own guides have also been vaccinated. However, at this point Wild Wings Safaris cannot guarantee or confirm the vaccination status of fellow tourists or of staff members at lodges, hotels and other third party suppliers.
Liability and Indemnity
General public liability insurance policies no longer cover pandemics, and COVID-19 is not covered under our liability insurance policy. Wild Wings Safaris accepts no liability for any COVID-19 related claim or loss suffered as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, included but not limited to death, hospitalization, infection or illness, disability, repatriation, trip cancellation or curtailment, missed flights, financial loss or costs incurred, as well as any subsequent mental anguish or distress. By booking with us, you accept the inherent risks of travel during the COVID-19 pandemic and agree to indemnify Wild Wings Safaris, its directors and shareholders, staff and partners from any claim or liability arising as a result of COVID-19, whatever the nature and cause.
Validity and Duration of our COVID-19 Policy
This COVID-19 policy will remain in place for every booking that was made under this policy. Once the pandemic is over, we will stop referring to our COVID-19 policy but the policy will remain in force for all bookings that were made during the pandemic.
Agreement and Acceptance
By agreeing to our standard Terms and Conditions, (which you do by making payment via our website, or by returning your completed booking form), you automatically also agree to this temporary COVID-19 Policy as part of our booking terms and conditions.
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