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Coronavirus response

Answers to your questions about COVID-19

Latest update: 23 July 2020

Due to the ongoing situation regarding COVID-19, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office have advised against all but essential travel to Southern Africa. We’re sure you’re keen to find out what this means for your booked trip or for your plans to travel with us. You’ll find all the information you need to know below.

African Conservation Experience closely monitors the impact of the COVID-19 virus on global travel and follows updates from the World Health Organisation (WHO), the UK government travel advice, which is the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO), and the local government health advice from our operational locations. As a member of the trusted travel brand ABTA, we are able to provide you with up-to-date advice and information on how the virus and government restrictions might affect your travel plans. We continue to keep the health and safety of our travellers, staff and community members at the forefront of all of our decisions.

How are our partner conservation projects affected?

Without the support of our hard-working volunteers and the financial support we normally provide, many of our conservation projects are having a tough time right now.

Thankfully some of our projects are being supported by donations or sponsors, while we provide them with as much financial support as possible. Where necessary their dedicated teams have been temporarily supplemented by extra people from within their own networks including ex staff members that have joined the teams for the duration of the lockdown.

The projects have adapted their protocols to ensure the safety of their staff and animals in their care.

How is African Conservation Experience affected?

We are currently following government guidelines and we are not in our offices. Both our UK and South African staff are working from home providing you with all the usual support and some staff are currently on paid leave until travel picks up again. You can still call and email us during this period, and we would like to thank you in advance for your patience and understanding if our response time to any queries is not as quick as normal.

We have been around for 20 years and are certain that we will survive this crisis.

Can I still apply for future projects and book my conservation travel now?

Yes! To give you total peace of mind when booking with us, we have introduced the following policy to give you maximum flexibility with your travel dates:

  • At any time up to 7 days before you are due to start your trip with us, you can change the dates of the trip to any available date in 2020 or 2021 at no extra cost. You can even change the dates as many times as you like for travel between now and the end of 2021.
  • All money paid to us is financially protected either through ABTA or ATOL, giving you full peace of mind when booking with us that your money is safe.

Can I change the dates of my booked trip?

Yes! To give you total peace of mind when booking with us, we have introduced the following policy to give you maximum flexibility with your travel dates:

  • At any time up to 7 days before you are due to start your trip with us, you can change the dates of the trip to any available date in 2020 or 2021 at no extra cost. You can even change the dates as many times as you like for travel between now and the end of 2021.
  • All money paid to us is financially protected either through ABTA or ATOL, giving you full peace of mind when booking with us that your money is safe.

Can I still travel if there is coronavirus in southern Africa?

Your health and safety is our biggest priority. Throughout your booking process and before you depart, we will advise you if and when you can travel. We follow the advice of the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office and the local government health advice from our operational locations.

Will I be able to get into my destination country?

Southern African countries are temporarily limiting incoming international flights. When booking your flights, check with the airlines to see when you can book flights for.

You may well require a visa to travel to, and between countries within, southern Africa. This will depend on the nationality of your passport and the country (or countries) you’re travelling to. Prior to travel, please be sure to contact your local embassy for the country you will be visiting in order to receive updated travel information. Please be aware that it is your responsibility to check your visa requirements and arrange all the necessary paperwork before travelling, as we cannot take any responsibility for you not being able to enter the country. With updates changing often, we encourage everyone to receive the most up to date information from embassies directly. The most correct information can be supplied by your local embassy.

Currently, South Africa has tightened up their entry requirements, temporarily requiring visas from countries with high levels of coronavirus. Although we expect these requirements to be lifted in time, if your project is in South Africa it is important that you check your entry requirements at the South African government’s home affairs website – visa page. If necessary, you can apply for a visa at www.vfsglobal.com/dha/southafrica/.

Currently, there are no equivalent government websites for Botswana, Zimbabwe and Namibia, so checking with your local embassy is essential.

If you do find that you need a visa, please ensure that you apply for a tourist visa and not a volunteer or work visa. As this is a paid experience, you are considered to be a tourist.

What happens if I travel and the coronavirus situation changes in my destination?

Your health and safety is our biggest priority. We would follow the UK government travel advice which is the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) and the local government health advice from our operational locations, taking any recommended actions necessary. We have an experienced and capable team in Johannesburg, South Africa who will be in touch with you to help and support you in making the best decision about your individual situation.

More Questions?

If you still have any questions, please feel free to reach out to us.

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