Coronavirus (COVID-19) update:
September 2020

Originally posted 17th March, updated 29th September 2020:

We understand that in these times of unprecedented global travel restrictions, travellers already booked onto one of our projects, and those who would like to join a project in the future, would like peace of mind about their booking. 

We would like to thank all our supporters and volunteers who have remained patient with us as we navigate the current uncertainty of international tourism. The travel industry has suffered enormously worldwide from the Covid-19 pandemic, but we are looking forward to the future and working together again.

From the 1st October, South Africa, Zimbabwe, Mozambique and Namibia will all be open to international tourists. Most of our projects in those countries will be open to receive volunteers once flights have restarted. We are working with our partners, planning for the reopening of projects in accordance with local government policies, the latest travel advice for each country and any local border restrictions or quarantine periods that might remain in place in that country.

**September 1st** Namibia is open! Visit our Namibia page to book a project in a country already perfect for social distancing! 
**October 1st** Zimbabwe, South Africa and Mozambique are open! Visit our destination pages to find out which projects are opening up. 

The safety of our volunteers, project teams and local communities are our highest priority.

We will try to be as flexible and open-minded as possible to help you safely achieve your travel plans.

We know that a trip to volunteer in Africa is for most people, the trip of a lifetime. We very much want you to experience the magic that Africa has to offer, and for you to know that your contribution on our projects will be of increasing importance as time goes on, and the global situation develops. 

Once this crisis abates and we take stock of where we are, Africa’s wildlife, environment and communities will need your support more than ever.

The global travel shutdown has given us time to reflect on how travel can be more sustainable. Almost zero air traffic has led to clearer and cleaner skies; crowded tourist destinations have been given the time and space to breathe again, and many places have seen wildlife return. However, the overnight halt in tourism to Africa has presented a continent-wide crisis, one that is affecting both humans and wildlife. Volunteer travel in Africa, done right, is a very sustainable way to travel – small groups, high impact and low footprint. We cannot wait to have you back!

With this in mind, we have introduced new booking terms, giving you the opportunity and flexibility to postpone your trip to a later date, so that you don’t lose out on your life-changing experience in Africa, and so that we can continue to help preserve the continents people, wildlife and economy. View our updated booking policy.

We thank you again for your patience and understanding in these unusual and uncertain times. We will continue to keep you as informed throughout this ever-changing situation.

Please read through these Frequently Asked Questions below for more information:

1. My programme has been suspended – what does this mean for me?

If your volunteer project has been suspended and you are due to travel during the period of suspension, you will be given a credit of 100% of the price paid for your programme. This will be valid for a future trip at a time convenient for you (subject to project availability at the time).

Please note, due to the unforeseen circumstances of projects being suspended, we are unable to offer refunds on these bookings.

2. My programme has been suspended, but I am only due to arrive later in the year. What does this mean for me?

We will continue to monitor the global travel situation, and will contact volunteers individually should the suspension period need to change due to continued travel restrictions.

If your project begins outside the suspension period, but you do not wish to travel, you may:
– Change programme dates; or
– Cancel your programme and receive a credit for the project, travelling within 12 months.

View our updated terms and conditions.

3. I am unable to travel due to travel restrictions being put in place. What does this mean for me?

If your project location is designated a travel advisory 3 or 4 (‘Avoid all travel’) by the US Department of State, or the UK FCO implements a ‘Advise against all / non-essential travel’ warning on the grounds of Coronavirus:

– You may change your dates or cancel your programme with a credit, up until your date of travel. The new trip can be taken at any point.
– If you would prefer a refund, this must be done through your travel insurance company.

If the government in your country of departure implements a quarantine whereby you are unable to fly to your project:
– We are happy to work with your travel insurance company to organise a refund. In this case, your travel insurance company must be your first point of contact.
– Alternatively, you may cancel your programme with a credit and we will hold this amount for a future trip with us. The new trip can be taken at any point.

If the local government in your project location halts inbound flights and you are affected:

– You may change your dates or cancel with a credit, up until your date of travel. The new trip can be taken at any point. If you would prefer a refund, this must be done through your travel insurance company.

Volunteers who have not secured comprehensive travel insurance will receive a credit to the value they have paid for their project, and will be able to use this credit for the same project in the future. This new trip can be taken at any point.

4. I want to cancel my placement but there are no travel restrictions in place. What are my options?

If you choose not to travel and cancel your programme within 1-30 days of your project start date, and the project country or your country of origin have no travel restrictions in place, you will not be eligible for a refund. You will be able to postpone your programme for 12 months, subject to paying any increases in project fees at the new time of booking. If your project is not due to start for 31 days or more, please view our updated postponement policy.

5. I want to leave my project early. What can I do?

If you are already at your project, and you decide to leave early, we will work with our partners to secure a credit for any full weeks remaining on the programme. This credit can be used against a future booking. The new trip can be taken at any point. If you would prefer a refund, this must be done through your travel insurance company.

6. What if I am already on my project and I can’t get home at the end of my stay? 

If you are on your project and are unable to get home, some of our programmes will be happy to let you extend your stay on the volunteer project (subject to availability), or can offer you alternative accommodation (at an additional cost).

These projects include:

  • Namibia Wildlife Sanctuary
  • Carnivore Conservation Programme
  • Rhino & Elephant Conservation
  • Horse Riding & Conservation
  • Nature Enthusiast Course
  • Marine Conservation
  • Humpback Whale Research
  • Primate Conservation
  • Wildlife Warriors
  • Greenline Community Outreach

Please get in touch if you would like to know more about the costs and accommodation options should you need to extend your stay after you arrive at the programme.

Your deposit and your volunteer payments are the lifeblood of our programmes, who rely heavily on your support to help vulnerable wildlife and communities. These people and animals will need your help even more in the coming months, as Southern Africa implements their own lockdown to restrict the spread of the virus. 

 

Sub-Saharan Africa has health services that are often inaccessible, a lack of running water and sanitation, and shortages in medication, meaning rural communities will turn to projects and charitable organisations for even the most basic of care.

One of the most important ways to overcome the global threat hanging over Africa, is to work together to support each other. We hope that from this crisis comes a world that is more understanding, caring and compassionate to vulnerable people.

Useful links:

For the most recent updates on the virus, please look at the World Health Organisation’s Situation Reports, updated daily. Other important sources of information are the CDC Travel Health Notices (USA) and Foreign & Commonwealth Office Travel Advice (UK).

WHO situation reports (currently updated daily): https://www.who.int/emergencies/diseases/novel-coronavirus-2019/situation-reports
WHO International travel and health updates: https://www.who.int/ith/en
FCO (UK) advice:
https://www.gov.uk/guidance/travel-advice-novel-coronavirus
CDC (USA) advice: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/index.html

We will update you should our position or the situation in any of our operating countries dramatically change. We will continue to work tirelessly with you and our tourism partners against the challenges that await us.

Our team are currently working remotely, so email is the best way to contact us for any questions. 

info@conservationtravelafrica.org – booking enquiries, postponements and other questions (GMT+10)
jane@conservationtravelafrica.org – partner enquiries, emergency questions (GMT+1)

Booking terms and conditions

For our full booking terms and conditions please click here. This covers our position on things such as visas, travel insurance, behaviour, accommodation and health and safety. Note that this cancellation policy is superseded by our updated postponement policy.