FLEXIBLE BOOKING POLICY
All our arrangements are 100% tailor-made and we have excellent long-standing relationships with our partners throughout Africa. This means that we can offer you a high degree of flexibility so that you can take your safari at the right time for you, as soon as international restrictions allow. We have arranged the postponement into 2021 for clients’ holidays which were booked for early summer 2020 and deposits and payments have been re-allocated to the new dates.
We are also having conversations with each client booked to travel later in 2020 and are giving the option to “wait and see” in case restrictions are lifted which will enable travel, or to investigate the possibility of early postponement and carry forward their payments, subject to individual property/airline policies.
WHEN MIGHT I BE ABLE TO TRAVEL TO AFRICA?
At present the UK Government has imposed a ban on all non-essential travel and most African Governments also have severe restrictions on who can enter the country. We are monitoring these positions daily. Of course, no-one wishes restrictions to be lifted until it is reasonably safe to do so. However, there are powerful economic pressures to re-open borders, not least because tourism is a vital source of income for many African countries. It accounts for over 10% of GDP in most.
Safari holidays of the kind that we arrange are usually to remote locations using very small scale accommodation and transportation by light aircraft, so once national border restrictions are lifted, these areas would likely be among the first to open up and be accessible again.
WHEN SHOULD I BEGIN PLANNING MY NEXT SAFARI?
As soon as you are ready. Most people plan a major holiday well in advance and right now you may have more time on your hands, and perhaps the inclination to ponder your next holiday. The holiday design process starts with a conversation to establish your parameters, timescales, interests, wish lists and budget and can take a while as we discuss possibilities with you and refine them. We believe that it would certainly be appropriate to plan a safari for this coming winter or any period in 2021. Any deposit that you pay will benefit from our flexible booking policy.
HOW HAS THE PANDEMIC AFFECTED AFRICAN SAFARIS?
The current bans on international travel and on much internal travel within countries has “turned off the tap” of visitors to safari lodges. Most have temporarily closed and, while we have been inspired by efforts of lodge owners to continue supporting their staff, inevitably some have been laid off until travellers return. Some countries like Zambia which have a narrow travel season of April to October may see most of the 2020 safari season vanish.
We are keeping in touch with our partners throughout Africa. Things are eerily quiet and in the Serengeti the wildebeest migration thunders northwards with no sign of safari vehicles. Safari lodges play a vital part in combating poaching and we are increasingly concerned at signs that in some areas poaching is on the increase. We can’t wait to get travelling again!
HOW HAS THE PANDEMIC AFFECTED AFRICA EXCLUSIVE?
Over 30 years we have seen our fair share of events which have disrupted travel and we have built-in resilience. At the end of April, our ATOL was renewed for a further year as was our voluntary financial insurance cover for those holidays not covered by ATOL. A few staff have been furloughed but most are hard at work keeping in touch with clients and our partners in Africa, while others are working on improving our websites and researching new travel ideas for when we are all able to travel once again.