Covid-19 Information

African Portfolio Covid-19 Updates


To our valued clients: 

Step into the future with us!  We will travel again, and when we do, the untouched open spaces and vast, exclusive wilderness on safari will offer a blissfully private, yet wonderfully wild experience  far removed from crowds and contagion concerns.

As the world starts easing into its new way of life, we suspect there are some travelers itching to plan a getawaywhile others are not yet confident in the safety and security of travel 

We are extremely empathetic and appreciative of both your desire to pursue an adventure as well as your travel trepidations.  We recognize that the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic will remain throughout 2020 and will probably also reach into 2021 Therefore health, safety and the well-being of our valued clients, the travel community and our partners continues to be our top priority.  In an effort to alleviate your concerns we want to keep you well informed and provide you with as many tools of encouragement as possible. 

Our safari partners have carefully assessed every risk – from touchdown in country to wheels-up homeward bound – and tailored preventative measures that ensure the health and safety of all guests and staff.  In line with the latest recommendations from leading authorities like the World Health Organization and the CDC, strict protocols have been implemented to ensure safe environments and experiences throughout your stay.  We are ready to welcome you back to our partner safari camps and lodges as soon as travel bans and lockdowns are lifted. 

International travel is continuing to evolve, and we recognize that the resulting uncertainty raises many questions around planning a trip to Africa.   In an effort to minimize your worry and provide some security and peace of mind, we’ve created more flexible travel terms and alternative options for booking a safari to East and Southern Africa.  

  • Refundable deposit for new bookings for travel from January – December 15, 2021 should travel not be possible due to coronavirus related travel restrictions *(see Flexible Booking Conditions) up to 65 days prior to travel. 
  • If you are unable or unwilling to travel due to COVID fears/restrictions, we will postpone your existing booking at no charge for travel until December 15, 2021.  Note: price may increase depending on seasonal changes.
  • Invest now with the purchase of travel vouchers at special rates to be applied to future travel when you are ready.

COVID-19 may have done away with handshakes, hugs and kisses but our partners and colleagues are anxious to welcome you with a warm African smile instead! 

Sincerely, 
Diane

African Portfolio would like to assure all our valued clients and future prospective clients that we are financially strong and secure and continue to operate in a conservative, fiscally sound manner as we have done since the inception of the company in 1993  We have had an A+ rating with the Better Business Bureau since 1999a further testament to the reputation and professional business management of African Portfolio.  

At African Portfolio, we have taken several steps to solidify our multi-year financial planning, including securing funds to allow us to withstand a potentially prolonged period of reduced travel.  The result is that you can book your future travel with African Portfolio with confidence.  During these uncertain times, we understand that clients may be more concerned than ever about the safety of their payments.  In order to address these concerns, African Portfolio has implemented further measures to ensure all client payments are safeguarded. 

It is important to us that our clients have peace of mind knowing that their payments are kept separately to the cashflow of our company’s day-to-day operations.  African Portfolio continues to maintain a separate, protected, ring-fenced account with Citibank where client payments are deposited until such time as payment is due to the suppliers.  This is in compliance with procedures monitored by our independent accountants, Mazars USA 

As you begin to think about travelling again, you can book with confidence that African Portfolio will be there to make your trip as safe, secure and comfortable as possible.  

International travel is continuing to evolve, and we recognize that the resulting uncertainty raises many questions around planning a trip to Africa.   In an effort to minimize your worry and provide some security and peace of mind, we’ve created more flexible travel terms and alternative options for booking a safari to East and Southern Africa.  

  • Refundable deposit for new bookings for travel from January – December 15, 2021 should travel not be possible due to coronavirus related travel restrictions *(see qualifying conditions) up to 65 days prior to travel. 
  • If you are unable or unwilling to travel due to COVID fears/restrictions, we will postpone your existing booking at no charge for travel until December 15, 2021.  Note: price may increase depending on seasonal changes. 
  • Invest now with the purchase of travel vouchers at special rates to be applied to future travel when you are ready. 


B
ooking Procedures: 

  • African Portfolio Inc. requires a $500 per person, non-refundable reservation fee (fully applicable to the tour price) to make provisional reservations on your behalf. 
  • A further 30% non-refundable deposit (fully applicable to the tour price) is required to maintain your reservation until your final payment is due.  Please note we have negotiated that this deposit may be refundable if any of the following conditions are met *(see qualifying conditions).   Travel during peak holiday periods or for groups of 10 travelers or more may be subject to additional deposit or early payment requirements.  
  • Gorilla and Monkey trekking permits must be paid in full to confirm your requested travel dates.  Permits are not refundable but can be re-booked for up to 2 years.  
  • Final payment is due 65 days prior to departure. 
  • Deposit and final payments are payable by check or wire transfer only.  

*Qualifying coronavirus related conditions(occurring 65 days prior to arrival):   

  1. The Country of Destination prohibits international travel from abroad or domestic travel between regions included in the traveler’s itinerary;  
  2. The Country of Destination closes its borders and/or international airport to all international travelers, or to travelers from their Country of Residence;
  3. The Country of Destination imposes a mandatory quarantine period on arriving travelers from Country of Residence; 
  4. Any other reason for cancellation will be subject to our standard Terms and Conditions (Click Here).

PLEASE NOTE:  

  • Cancellations due to fear of contracting COVID-19 or the prevalence of comorbidities will not constitute legitimate grounds for waiver of cancellation fees. Should the qualifying criteria listed above not be present, African Portfolio’s standard Terms and Conditions will apply.  
  • If one of the qualifying conditions occurs between 65 days and 7 days prior to travel, we would work with suppliers to amend your travel dates and transfer payments made to a future booking. 

With all the rules and regulations, figuring out where Americans can travel at the moment is no easy task, so we’ve compiled list of the latest travel status of African countries we book travel to. 

Please note that this is an evolving situation. We will continue to update as the world changes. For the latest information on traveling during the coronavirus outbreak, visit the websites of the Centers for Disease Control and Preventionthe World Health Organization and the International Air Transport Association .  

Botswana 

Kenya 

Malawi 

Mozambique 

Namibia 

  • Borders – Open
  • Entry Requirements: Negative COVID-19 PCR test within 72 hours of travel.
  • Quarantine: On Day 5 travelers will be tested and results will be provided by Day 7.  Travelers must make themselves available for both the test on Day 5 and results on Day 7. If the results are negative, the traveler will be allowed to continue with their itinerary. If the results are positive the traveler will be taken to a quarantine facility.
  • https://na.usembassy.gov/covid-19-information/  

Rwanda 

  • Borders – Open 
  • Entry Requirements:  Negative COVID-19 PCR test, from a certified laboratory, done within 120 hours of arrival.
  • Quarantine: A second test will be administered by health authorities on arrival at a designated hotel. Guests must wait in a quarantined room for the results, expected within 24 hours. Accommodation and testing all at traveler’s own expense.
  • Departure Requirements: All travelers departing from Rwanda must test negative for COVID-19. The only accepted test is a SARS-CoV 2 Real Time Polymerase Chain Reaction (RT-PCR) performed within 120 hours before departure. Testing at traveler’s own expense.
  • https://rw.usembassy.gov/health-alert-covid-19-information/

Seychelles 

South Africa 

Tanzania 

  • Borders – Open 
  • Entry Requirements: No fever or symptoms on arrival, a negative COVID-19 certificate only if it is required by the traveler’s airline or departure country
  • Quarantine: If symptomaticat traveler’s own expense 
  • https://tz.usembassy.gov/covid-19-information/ 

Uganda

  • Borders – Open for international travel on 1 October and international flights expected to resume on that date.
  • Entry Requirements: All travelers will be required to have a negative COVID-19 PCR test issued by a recognized facility within 10 days of departure from their home country.
  • Quarantine: All travelers will be required to quarantine for 14-17 days at a property pre-approved by the government.  A COVID-19 test is required upon arrival and at the end of the quarantine period.  Accommodation and testing all at traveler’s own expense.
  • https://ug.usembassy.gov/covid-19-information-page/

Zambia 

Zimbabwe 

  • Borders – Open for international travel on 1 October and international flights expected to resume on that date.
  • Entry Requirements: All travelers will be required to have a negative COVID-19 PCR test issued by a recognized facility within 48 hours of departure from their home country.
  • https://zw.usembassy.gov/covid-19-information-2/ 

Due to pre-payment requirements and substantial cancellation fees imposed by suppliers, as always, we strongly recommend trip cancellation insurance to protect your investment against unexpected changes or termination of your travel arrangements.    

For 20 years we have partnered with Allianz Global Assistance, who offer a range of travel protection plans that include different benefits and benefit limits.  Travel insurance can protect you from certain financial risks and losses that can occur while traveling. These losses can be minor, like a delayed suitcase, or significant, like a last-minute trip cancellation due to a natural disaster or to trip interruption due to a medical emergency overseas.  

Please note, Allianz travel protection plans generally do not cover losses related to COVID-19 (as is true of the majority of insurance policies). Additionally, given the rapid rise in travel bans, please ensure that no travel ban is in place during your dates of travel prior to purchasing a travel protection plan. Allianz plans do not cover losses directly or indirectly due to government-imposed travel bans or similar restrictions related to COVID-19, and we therefore highly recommend that you do not purchase a travel protection plan for such conditions. 

Claims due to known, foreseeable, or expected events, epidemics, government prohibitions, warnings, or travel advisories, or fear of travel are generally not covered, and coverage can vary by state. However, until further notice, although not covered under most plans, Allianz are currently accommodating claims for: 

  • Emergency medical care for a client who becomes ill with COVID-19 while on their trip. 
  • Trip cancellation and trip interruption if a client becomes ill with COVID-19 either before or during their trip. 

Allianz travel protection plans include up to 28 covered reasons for trip cancellation, depending on the plan. To learn more, go to www.etravelprotection.com 

Cancel Anytime Coverage 

While many travel insurers have reacted to recent spikes in risk by pulling certain types of products from the market altogether, Allianz has worked to make carefully considered modifications to their Cancel Anytime planenabling us to be able to offer you this more flexible option for coverage in the coronavirus world of travel.  

The Cancel Anytime plan provides the extra flexibility of knowing you can cancel your trip for almost any unforeseen reason (not COVID-19) that the Classic plan does not already cover at 100% and receive 80% of your non-refundable trip cost back in cash.  Travel benefits are capped at $10,000 per trip cost and importantly, you must purchase this plan on the same day you make your initial trip payment.  So while you would be unable to cancel your trip due to a travel ban, a government imposed restriction or fear of coronavirus, you could cancel due to another unexpected reason not requiring the same documentation and ‘covered reason’ criteria as the Classic plans. 

Before arrival

Should I avoid flying altogether? 

Health authorities, including the CDC, maintain that the risk of infection on airplanes is low. Contrary to popular belief, cabin air is less of a concern; virtually all commercial jetliners are equipped with High Efficiency Particulate Air (HEPA) filters, similar to those used in hospital operating rooms, capable of blocking 99.7% of airborne microbes. Cabin air is circulated vertically, from ceiling to floor, and refreshed every two to three minutes.  Have a look at this video for a detailed description of airflow in cabins .  It might just make you want to jump on a plane tomorrow. Between flights, airplane cabins are scrubbed down with anti-microbial disinfectants.   However, it can be difficult, if not impossible, to keep 6 feet of distance between yourself and others in the confined quarters of an airplane, especially now that flights are fuller than they’ve been in the last few months, which is why most airlines now require passengers to wear masks during the entire flight. Airlines are also drastically curtailing in-flight food and beverage service to limit contact between customers and crew.

Should travelers get a visa in advance?

It is possible to get a visa on arrival for most of the countries we travel to, but we recommend getting one in advance for entry to Kenya, Rwanda, Uganda and Tanzania.   Visas can be applied for online at least four weeks before travel. You will be required to complete an online form, make payment and submit your application online.  We will provide guideline instructions in your pre-departure documents.

What is different about procedures at the airport?

We recommend arriving 3 hours before departure due to increased procedures at check-in including the required completion of health and contact tracing forms and the provision of a PCR negative certification.  The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) has increased cleaning and disinfecting equipment and surfaces at screening checkpoints. If you haven’t flown since the pandemic began, you’ll notice some changes:

  • TSA officers wearing masks and gloves and practicing social distancing.
  • TSA officers changing gloves after each pat-down.
  • Plastic shields at document checking podium, bag search and drop off locations.
  • Fewer travelers and, as a result, fewer open screening lanes.

Also be aware that the TSA has made a number of changes to the screening process:

  • Travelers may wear masks during screening. However, TSA employees may ask travelers to adjust masks for identification purposes.
  • Instead of handing boarding passes to TSA officers, travelers should place passes (paper or electronic) directly on the scanner and then hold them up for inspection.
  • Each traveler may have one container of hand sanitizer up to 12 ounces (about 350 milliliters) in a carry-on bag. These containers will need to be taken out for screening.
  • Food items should be transported in a plastic bag and placed in a bin for screening. Separating food from carry-on bags lessens the likelihood that screeners will need to open bags for inspection.
  • Personal items such as keys, wallets and phones should be placed in carry-on bags instead of bins. This reduces the handling of these items during screening.
  • Be sure to wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds directly before and after going through screening.

What happens if you are found to have a temperature?

If you have a fever—considered by medical professionals to be a temperature of 100.4 degrees or higher—you likely won’t be permitted to board a flight, or, if you are arriving somewhere from another country, you’ll be referred to local health authorities.  Those who might have been exposed to a suspected case but aren’t exhibiting signs of illness may be sent to quarantine.

Do travelers need to have proof of a negative Covid-19 test before departure?

Please visit our Current Travel Status webpage for updates on requirements by country but also note that your air carrier will likely have their own procedures as well.  Where countries or airlines require a negative Covid-19 PCR test as a condition for traveling, certificates will need to be presented upon arrival; and there will be enhanced screening for Covid-19 infection upon arrival in country. There will be no mandatory quarantine on arrival unless a traveler presents with symptoms. Anyone with symptoms and signs related to Covid-19 infection will undergo enhanced screening and may be tested via a PCR test.  Travelers are encouraged to observe adherence to infection prevention measures, such as good hygiene, wearing a mask and keeping a physical distance from others.

What luggage should travelers bring?

For all shared charter flights, it will still be necessary to bring a soft-sided luggage bag meeting the specified weight restrictions. Please note however that luggage will be regularly wiped and cleaned so we’d recommend not bringing anything too delicate or which may stain easily.  In addition to our regular suggested packing list consider including these essential safe-travel supplies:

  • Cloth face masks
  • Alcohol-based hand sanitizer (at least 60% alcohol)
  • Disinfectant wipes (at least 70% alcohol) for surfaces

Is there any point in buying travel insurance if coronavirus isn’t covered by it?

We strongly advise against insuring your trip because of Covid-19; most trip-protection policies won’t refund you for cancellation of an upcoming trip because you’re afraid to go. But there are plenty of other reasons to insure your trip; you might get a partial refund if your policy includes trip interruption coverage and you fall ill while traveling (this is currently covered by Allianz, African Portfolio’s recommended insurance provider), or have to return home earlier than expected, depending on the circumstances.   For more details, read our updated discussion on Travel Insurance on our website.  Another option is to buy a much more expensive “cancel for any reason” policy. These CFAR plans, as they’re known, frequently cost 40% more than basic insurance, and the coverage often pays out only 60% to 80% of your total expenses, compared with the full cost paid by regular policies.  Travelers should make sure to check the fine print for any exceptions.

Arrival in Country

What experience can travelers expect when arriving into both East and Southern Africa International Airports?

Rest assured international airports are well prepared for the arrival of visitors. Locals, residents and the first foray of international tourists have been arriving since the borders opened in Tanzania in June, followed by Kenya and Zambia in August — and the measures in place appear to be working well. These measures include:

  • Travelers must wear masks throughout the airport and surrounding perimeter
  • Travelers must adhere to social distancing measures of a minimum of 3 feet
  • There are hand sanitizer dispensers throughout the airports for travelers’ use
  • Travelers will be asked to fill in a form regarding their recent travel history
  • Travelers will have their temperature taken at immigration
  • Once travelers exit the arrivals terminal they will be met by their safari representative
  • Luggage will be disinfected before being put into the transfer or safari vehicle

What happens On Safari?

In addition to the below questions and answers please read the News & Updates section on our website for Sample Safari Lodge COVID-19 FAQs and Sample Safari Lodge COVID-19 Safety and Hygiene Protocols

When and where will travelers be asked to wear masks?

  • All travelers must wear masks in public places including airport grounds, at park gates and on any domestic flights.
  • If travelers want to explore a village, town or city we recommend you wear a mask.
  • If travelers prefer to do so they can remove masks while inside a private vehicle.
  • If travelers are in a shared game viewing vehicle, they will be required to wear masks. For any travelers who don’t want to wear a mask we recommend you arrange for a private vehicle and guide.

Will safari camp staff be wearing masks and safety equipment?

Safari operators are cognizant of the negative effects of wearing masks for too long and therefore want to ensure they are looking after staff welfare as well as maintaining sensible safety measures. Referencing local government guidance, the majority of camps and lodges have implemented the following measures within Covid-19 protocols:

  • On transfers or game drives, drivers and guides will wear a mask however will need take regular breaks to get fresh air.
  • While in camp, staff attending to guests will adhere to social distancing (6 feet as far as possible) and waiters will wear masks when serving guests.
  • Back-of-house staff will adhere to social distancing with other staff members and will not wear masks unnecessarily.
  • Housekeeping staff will wear Personal Protective Equipment when cleaning rooms

What happens if a traveler becomes ill while on safari?

If you think you may have contracted the virus it is advisable to self-isolate as priority.  Should symptoms develop and medical assistance is required, either camp/lodge personnel and/or our local representatives will source the nearest specialist center /testing facilities to identify appropriate health support.  All travelers must be covered for emergency medical evacuation. Any transportation and medical costs incurred would be for the traveler’s own account.

What happens if a traveler tests positive for COVID-19 while on safari?

Anyone who tests positive will immediately be notified and put into quarantine at the current property or a designated facility to manage the outbreak. You will remain in self-isolation/quarantine unless further testing shows you no longer have the virus. Some properties have indicated that if space is available and there is zero impact to remaining guests or staff, they can choose, at their own cost, to isolate in-property.

What will happen if there is a sudden outbreak of the virus in the country while I’m traveling and the borders are closed?

It is best to contact your national embassy, insurance providers, our local ground operator and African Portfolio who will assist you with the best course of action. Any quarantine or extended stay costs would be for your own or your insurance provider’s cost.

What will happen if any of the pre-booked services on my itinerary are forced to shut or no longer operating while we’re in country?

You will be provided with a 24-hour emergency number and our local representatives will assist any travelers that may need help with their change in arrangements and negotiations on cost implications with the cancelled service.

Before returning home

Can travelers get a Covid-19 test done before returning home if required?

Safari operators have identified reliable local testing centers and will work with us to put arrangements in place for PCR testing where this is absolutely necessary.  Please note this may result in additional night(s) in your departure city to conduct the test and wait for the results. Testing upon departure will be a function of your airline policy and/or requirements for re-entry to your country of origin.

As I am sure you are all well aware, the pandemic situation around the world is fluid, so please note that information and rules and restrictions may change.   We are doing our best to stay up to date and to keep you as informed as possible.  Needless to say we will provide detailed, customized information to all clients who have booked travel with us now and clients who are booked with us, and getting ready to travel …

Covid-19 General Resources