Keeping you inspired and informed as we navigate COVID-19 together
When humankind rallies in the face of adversity; we have proved our resourcefulness, our courage and, most of all, the ability to showcase the empathy that defines our humanity.
The spread of COVID-19 (the coronavirus) has once again tested our resilience, and we would like to take this opportunity to extend our thoughts to those who have been affected. The rapidly changing situation with regards to COVID-19 has affected people, businesses and economies everywhere. It is difficult not to be overwhelmed with impact on such a massive scale and our thoughts go out to all those affected, whether in terms of health or their daily income.
In troubling times such as this, we can take to heart that we have faced challenges like coronavirus before – and we have prevailed.
SO, HOW DO WE MOVE FORWARD AND CONTINUE TO PROVIDE EXTRAORDINARY TRAVEL EXPERIENCES?
In this context, &Beyond’s priority remains the wellbeing and safety of all our guests and staff, as well as the communities surrounding our lodges. While it is difficult to plan in the long term, as things remain in a constant state of flux, we have put together a plan that we believe allows our guests a measure of certainty for the future, while still allowing us to care for the land, wildlife and people that depend on us.
A virtual care package from our family to yours
Fernweh. Literally translated, it means ‘far-sickness’ (‘fern’ meaning ‘far’ and ‘weh’ meaning ‘pain’). As opposed to homesickness, fernweh is an ache for distant places and a constant, insatiable craving for travel.
Nothing feeds our fernweh and our need for meaningful connections more than travel. So, while the exhilarating world of travel remains (temporarily) on hold, &Beyond Connect is our virtual care package to you. So, what’s in this virtual collection?
- A weekly TV guide of what’s up and coming on &Beyond TV
- The ability to book some quality time (online) with our &Beyond guides
- A travel-inspired digital magazine to feed your insatiable wanderlust
- A podcast channel with four exciting shows that bring our fireside stories to life
Made with love by a tribe of travel addicts and wildlife enthusiasts, we hope this virtual ‘pick-you-up’ will keep you entertained, make you smile and encourage you to dream until we can reconnect again in person.
We're bringing the wilderness to you
New bookings with &Beyond – Our Certainty promise
While much remains uncertain, we believe that the deep human desire to learn and explore means travel will endure. In order to cultivate that desire we have created certainty for new bookings received from 5 May by:
- Re-working our COVID-19 terms and conditions to provide agility and flexibility around new bookings for &Beyond lodges and camps; by allowing 100% refunds on cancellations up to 48 hours before travel.
- Guaranteeing prompt advice and certainty of trip delivery in an uncertain environment.
NEW BOOKING POLICY AS PER OUR REVISED COVID-19 T&C’s
For new &Beyond lodge and camp bookings:
- We have removed our provisional hold periods allowing bookings to hold space for up to 30 days. You will only be contacted to make a decision when there is a confirmed booking asking for the same dates.
- In order to confirm a booking, a deposit will be requested and the &Beyond accommodation portion will be 100% refundable for cancellations up to 48 hours before the date of arrival.
- Final payment will be requested 60 days before travel and the &Beyond accommodation portion will also be 100% refundable for cancellations up to 48 hours before the date of arrival.
- All our 2020 rates and offers have been extended into 2021.
- These flexible terms will only apply to COVID-19 related reasons for cancellation as listed in our revised COVID-19 Terms & Conditions
Where possible we are encouraging our preferred suppliers (accommodation, partners, airlines, ground-transport, National Parks etc.) to agree to similar terms as ours. We will advise new bookings of any non-refundable services at the time of deposit request.
CERTAINTY OF TRIP DELIVERY
Due to our size, scale and financial strength, as both a tour and lodge services operator, we are able to guarantee prompt advice and certainty of trip delivery in an uncertain environment. This is managed and ‘underwritten’ by our expert travel services, provided by a superbly qualified team of 200 Travel Specialists, across 3 continents.
As a result we can guarantee, (where the full itinerary is booked with us), that the trip will be able to travel even though it may not be the itinerary originally booked. If a product originally quoted is not able to render the service at time of travel then we will find an alternative as follows:
- If, as an alternative, we are able to accommodate the traveller in one of &Beyond’s lodges and camps, then the traveller’s booking will be amended at no charge (even if it comprises an upgrade) but may incur additional costs for logistic changes if the &Beyond lodge is not in the same destination as the product originally booked.
- If the alternative product is of a lower standard than originally booked then the traveller will receive a refund of the difference in product less any deposits lost.
- If the alternative product is of a higher standard than originally booked then the traveller will be quoted the difference in cost and may still chose to cancel. Deposits refundable on cancellation will depend on the product booked in the itinerary and their cancellation policies. Any deposits paid on &Beyond accommodation will be refundable as per our Covid-19 T&C’s detailed above .
The above scenarios are possible for any new bookings received from the 5th May 2020 for travel dates into the future.
Existing bookings with &Beyond
BOOKINGS TRAVELLING 01 MAY – 30 SEPTEMBER 2020
As per our Covid-19 terms and conditions (last revised 30 April 2020) and in order to accommodate this recognised Global Force Majeure* event and the resulting varying worldwide travel restrictions, we have amended our standard terms to allow guests to postpone travel up to a year after the original travel date. Should a guest elect to cancel the booking then our standard cancellation policy applies.
We are communicating with all affected guests and trade partners to advise them on government restrictions on travel.
BOOKINGS TRAVELLING AFTER 1 OCTOBER 2020
Given the fluidity of global events, we recommend guests wait until the 15th AUGUST 2020 to make a decision to postpone or continue travel after 1 OCTOBER 2020. Should guests elect to cancel or postpone the booking prior to 15th AUGUST 2020 then &Beyond’s standard terms and conditions apply.
Should the same global conditions (varying worldwide travel restrictions) exist at 15 AUGUST 2020, then guests may consider postponing their bookings travelling between 01 OCTOBER 2020 to 01 DECEMBER 2020 up to a year after the original travel date. and carry forward 100% of their booking’s value to the future booking (as per our Covid-19 terms and conditions)
*Against the backdrop of various restrictive interventions that have recently been imposed by not only the South African government but also various governments within our source markets in an attempt to stem the spread of COVID-19, all of which measures fall entirely beyond the control of &Beyond (i.e. border closures, restrictions on international flight schedules, travel bans and lockdowns), &Beyond has had no option other than to invoke the provisions of force majeure under its trading terms resulting in the suspension of all obligations by the parties under the trading terms until such time that the force majeure events have been lifted or cancelled by the various governments.
Our guests around the world are feeling the effects of various restrictions imposed by an increasing number of governments to stem the spread of COVID-19, including border closures, restrictions on international flights, travel bans and lockdowns. In the face of these events, all of which are beyond our control, we are currently unable to accept guests at any of our African lodges.
A core team of staff will remain at each lodge and will continue to carry out training and maintenance, as well as work on any current refurbishment projects. Conservation activities will also carry on as normal. All other lodge staff will be placed on fully paid leave until the end of June.
Community Resilience to COVID-19
COVID-19 is on the move – at warp speed – and Africa’s vulnerable communities need our help: none more so than those situated in the remote areas surrounding our lodges. We are supporting our community development partner, Africa Foundation, in its call for assistance.
The various restrictions imposed by the countries where we operate in the context of COVID-19 have forced most of our projects with Africa Foundation to be temporarily suspended. While these will restart as soon as possible, we believe that, in the meantime, it is critical to increase the resilience of rural communities to the threat posted by COVID-19. For this reason, they have re-prioritized a number of projects, particularly those to do with the provision of water. We are also supporting Africa Foundation with their fundraising efforts for:
- Borehole creation, which will provide clean, safe and accessible water
- The provision of Hippo Water Rollers, 90 litre barrels that roll easily over the ground, providing an easy means of transport and storage for large volumes of fresh water
- The provision of basic supplies to clinics in rural areas
To find out more about these initiatives and to donate please click here
While we believe that protecting rural communities is one of the best things that we can currently do to protect the land and the wildlife, the wildlife-management and conservation activities are continuing at &Beyond lodges during the COVID-19 crisis.
Many of our lodges throughout Africa are situated within national parks, which are run according to government regulations. Recognizing that the security of these reserves will be one of the main challenges faced during this time, we have retained skeleton staff at all our &Beyond lodges and camps. While strict social distancing measures are being applied to ensure the health of these staff members, their presence in the field serves a vital security function. With no tourists and far fewer numbers of vehicles moving through the reserves at the moment, there is currently a far higher risk of poaching, something that we can go a long way towards offsetting by keeping a basic number of staff moving around the reserve.
At private reserves such as Phinda Private Game Reserve in South Africa, where the land is owned and managed by &Beyond, additional security measures have been implemented. In addition our teams are working closely with local community leaders to bring accessible, clean water to rural clinics, orphans and vulnerable children, care centres and homes.
It’s important that you get the latest information from reputable sources. The World Health Organisation’s Situation Reports are our resources for all things COVID-19 related.
For your convenience, please bookmark the following useful reference for the latest Travel Advisories from Global Rescue – our travel insurance provider
TALK TO US IF YOU ARE CONCERNED
This page will be kept updated