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Travel Tips

No cancellation fees for Ebola

No cancellation fees for Ebola

The Ebola outbreak in West Africa has been in the news a lot lately and has understandably caused some concern among travellers who are considering or have booked a trip to Africa. We want to first of all put your mind at ease. As we explained in our previous blogs, the media has greatly hyped up people’s fears and exaggerated the risk of Ebola. We put things in perspective in these blog posts, and below you will find another short summary regarding why it is completely safe to travel to Tanzania or Kenya  and even book a trip for any time in the future without any worries about Ebola.

We are so confident that there will be no Ebola outbreak in Tanzania or Kenya that we are prepared to amend our standard terms and conditions to offer a guaranteed 100% refund to all clients who have booked with us in advance, and end up having to cancel or postpone in the unlikely event that the Ebola outbreak spreads to Tanzania or Kenya .

This amended cancellation policy will apply to any new or existing bookings if the sole reason for cancellation or postponement is an Ebola outbreak, which we define as follows:

An Ebola outbreak must be called and confirmed by the WHO. It is not one or two isolated, imported cases of Ebola from people arriving from affected areas, and merely being treated or quarantined locally. An Ebola outbreak is when there are multiple (two or more) confirmed cases of NEW INFECTIONS that have occurred WITHIN Tanzania or Kenya  (or any adjacent destination on your itinerary booked through us), excluding direct family members or health care workers who have had direct contact with isolated Ebola victims, where the spread of the virus remains contained within the treatment facility and does not affect the general public.

(It is important to stress that many countries including the US have already had one or two isolated cases of imported Ebola victims being treated, and in some cases infection has spread to direct family members or health care workers who have had careless, close personal contact with the victim. In none of these cases has this resulted in an Ebola outbreak amongst the general public. In the recent American case, all 48 people who had contact with the victim were monitored and NONE of them contracted Ebola, apart from the original nurses who treated him before they realised he had Ebola. Again, this puts the risk in perspective.)

Should an Ebola outbreak occur in Tanzania or Kenya  as per above definition, you are entitled to cancel or postpone your trip at no charge, subject to the following conditions:

  1.  That there is a genuine and confirmed Ebola outbreak in Tanzania or Kenya or other adjacent destination on your itinerary as booked with Nature Bound Africa .
  2.  That a trip postponement is subject to availability for the new travel dates. Your trip can be postponed without penalty for up to 1 year from original date of travel.
  3.  That you have paid by credit card (this is advisable since most credit cards automatically also include basic travel insurance) since we will simply reverse the transaction on your credit card to process the refund. This avoids unnecessary foreign currency conversion fees and bank charges associated with refunds by bank transfer. If you have paid by bank transfer, we can still refund you but your refund amount will be subject to deduction of the applicable bank charges and foreign currency conversion fees.
  4.  All clients are required to take out comprehensive travel insurance, and should first claim from their travel insurance in case of an Ebola outbreak. This protects us in the highly unlikely event of an Ebola outbreak, because some third party suppliers may not have the same generous cancellation policy in place and will charge us cancellation fees. We will then refund whatever amount is not covered by your travel insurance.
  5.  That you understand a change in dates may result in a minor change in rates if third party rates have been increased, and fall in a new season or new year. Our own rates will not be affected (for up to 12 months) but third party suppliers such as accommodation providers may implement annual increases or seasonal (high and low season) rates that may affect your amended travel dates. Flight costs may also be subject to change.
  6.  Flights can only be covered by this agreement if you allow us to book refundable or amendable flight tickets for you. With most airlines, their cheapest ticket class is not refundable and allows no changes, so if we are asked to book any of your flights and you insist that we book you on the cheapest available flights, the cost of flights will be excluded from this refund offer. Our advice is that you book your own flights online and book the slightly more expensive airfares or ticket option, with more flexible booking terms and a full refund policy in place. Most airfares (even low cost airlines) also allow a cancellation insurance option at a small extra cost. If we book your flights and you opt not to take the cancellation insurance or more flexible ticket option, your flights will not be covered by this agreement.
  7.  This applies only to cancellations or postponements due to a confirmed Ebola outbreak in your travel destination as booked by Nature Bound Africa . For all other cancellations or postponements, our regular terms and conditions and standard cancellation policy will apply.

We hope this offer of a 100% refund will set your mind at ease, that you are not taking a financial risk by booking a trip to Africa during this time.

Why are you so confident? Isn’t Ebola very serious?

Yes and no. It is serious in three, small, West African countries called Sierra Leone, Liberia and Guinea. In the rest of Africa, the risk of Ebola is not serious at all. Here is a summary of some points that will explain why we are so confident. If you have not read our previous blog posts or still have doubts about travelling to Tanzania or Kenya , these points will hopefully help to put things in perspective and ease any concerns you may have regarding Ebola:

  • Ebola is not airborne and does not spread very easily. The only people who get infected are those with direct contact with Ebola victims or bodies, such as direct family members or health care workers. You won’t get Ebola from someone on a plane – if someone has contagious Ebola they won’t even be on a plane. And simply being close to someone with Ebola will not spread the virus.
  • Tanzania or Kenya has been denying entry to all visitors from the three affected nations in West Africa, and actively screens all incoming passengers at all airports. The same is true for Uganda and Rwanda. This means it is highly unlikely that we will see Ebola cases entering East Africa.
  • At the time of writing, in over 10 months since the start of the outbreak (the first 5-6 months with no screening measures in place) absolutely no cases of Ebola have occurred in Tanzania or Kenya (nor anywhere else in Southern or East Africa). This shows how low the risk is and how exaggerated the media-generated fears have been.
  • Those countries that have had isolated cases of Ebola (usually imported cases of health workers returning from West Africa) have all successfully contained the virus and it is has not led to an outbreak of Ebola in any of these countries, including third world countries like Nigeria and Senegal, which are now completely Ebola free after successfully containing their few isolated cases.
  • In the first 10 months since the outbreak, 4500 deaths and 9000 cases of Ebola have been reported, almost exclusively in West Africa. This sounds like a lot, but during this same time, up to 40,000 Americans are estimated to have died from the common flu, and up to 500,000 people are estimated to have died from malaria worldwide. This is not to trivialise the deaths due to Ebola but puts the crisis and figures in perspective. Ebola remains a tiny, insignificant blib on the list of the world’s most serious diseases to worry about.
  • Geographically, cities like Miami, London, Paris, Lisbon, and many other European and American destinations are situated much closer to the center of the Ebola outbreak than Tanzania, Kenya or South Africa . Africa is not one country but a huge continent and the distances are massive. Nairobi, Kenya has one of the most modern airports in East Africa, with excellent screening and quarantine facilities. You will be thousands of miles from the nearest Ebola case, and there is no more risk of being infected with Ebola by travelling to East Africa as there is from travelling to Europe or the US.
  • With the world’s airports and health care systems on high alert now, the chances that this Ebola outbreak will spread to other countries (beyond isolated, imported cases as we have already seen in many countries and have all been contained) is virtually zero. Ebola is nothing new, it has been with us for many years and we have seen many previous outbreaks. It is much less serious than the bird flu epidemic we saw a few years ago, simply because it is not airborne, not very contagious and easy to prevent infection with even the most basic precautions.

Where is Ebola?

ebola map No cancellation fees for Ebola

May we also point out that most of the  Nature Bound Africa’s team happen to live in Tanzania or Kenya  with our families and we can honestly say that we have zero fear of contracting Ebola. Not because we are ignorant, but because we are informed. To date, EVERY SINGLE Ebola-related travel postponement or trip cancellation has been entirely pointless and an unfortunate waste, not just for us and the local tourism industry in terms of lost revenue, but for the travellers concerned, who have missed out on a fantastic trip, and may end up spending more money later on to do a similar trip (for example, the Shilling-USD exchange rate is very favourable for foreign tourists at the moment – Tanzania or Kenya  currently offers the best value for money that it has in many years).

In closing, our advice regarding Ebola is well-researched and based on WHO fact sheets, not media hype. We’ve had endorsements from healthcare experts with experience in infectious diseases and public health care in the UK as well as in Tanzania and Kenya . Don’t believe the media hype, and don’t let the fear of Ebola spoil your African adventure.

We look forward to welcoming you to safe, sunny, Ebola-free Tanzania or Kenya  for the safari of a lifetime!

What wonders of nature throughout Rwanda do you recommend?

What wonders of nature throughout Rwanda do you recommend?

strech Mountain Gorillas What wonders of nature throughout Rwanda do you recommend?

wonders of nature throughout Rwanda

If all you think about is the movie ‘Hotel Rwanda’ when you think of this country, then you are missing out. Volcanoes National Park which is home to mountain gorillas is only a taste of the wonders of nature Rwanda delivers to visitors. Is Volcanoes National Park the best wonder of nature in Rwanda? Does it deserve to be one of the 7 natural wonders of Rwanda? If not, what should be in its place.

What are the 7 Natural Wonders of Rwanda?

What wonders of nature throughout Rwanda do you recommend? Rwanda has mountains, jungles, volcanoes, rivers and more. This country is home to the mountain gorillas which makes for one of the most iconic encounters in nature. What are your nominations for the 7 wonders of nature for Rwanda?
Now, you can share your opinion and help determine the 7 Natural Wonders of Rwanda. Voting is free and only takes a few minutes.

VOTE NOW

1. Email your vote or nominations to vote@sevennaturalwonders.org
2. Place Rwanda in the SUBJECT field of the email address:
3. Please record up to 7 votes ranking for #1 (best) down to #7 (you can vote for as few as 1, but no more than 7)

Notable Natural Wonders of Rwanda

Check back here to see what nominations have been made. You will also find pictures and captions talking about the wonders of nature from Rwanda.

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5 Things You Need To Know About Maasai Culture Before Visiting

5 Things You Need To Know About Maasai Culture Before Visiting

The Maasai are a semi-nomadic tribe of people who have lived in the region of Southern Kenya and Northern Tanzania for hundreds of years, and are easily identifiable by their distinctive traditional red style of dress, ornate beaded jewelry, and lively spirit. For many travelers, visiting a Maasai village to experience their culture and traditional way of life is a highlight of their trip. But there are a few things you should know about the Maasai culture before you leave home.

The Maasai Greeting

The typical greeting between two Maasai people would be “Kasserian Ingera” which in Swahili translates to “How are the children?”. This demonstrates the high importance that the Maasai people place on their family, and the well-being of the next generation. The Maasai people are traditionally a nomadic society, the main source of wealth being the cattle that they raise. However, a man with many cattle and few children is none-the-less seen to be poor. 

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How are the Children?
Photo by: CanAssist African Relief Trust

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Travel scams

By Emma Hill | 22 Nov 2012
Travel Scams
Depending on where you travel to, scamming can be fairly common, especially in big cities. Travellers can be easy targets, but if you know what to look for then this can be avoided.

Gold ring

I Personally experienced the common gold ring scam, in which someone claims to find a golden ring in front of you and makes a massive fuss. In our case the woman gave it to us then asked for money, snatching it back and running away when we said we didn’t have any. At the time we didn’t think anything of it, we just thought she was a bit odd. However two days later a father and son did the exact same thing—this time we completely ignored it. Although common, this scam may be performed slightly differently. If you see this, just ignore them and pretend not to notice.

Chinese tea ceremony

Another infamous scam is the Chinese tea scam. In this young Chinese girls, who pretend to be on holiday or students, approach unsuspecting (usually male) travellers and ask if they want to experience ‘real’ Chinese culture at a traditional Chinese tea ceremony. Obviously most people travelling would want to fully experience the culture, so they go for the tea only to find the bill ¥200 rather than ¥2. The travellers make a fuss but reluctantly pay up. Little do they know that these girls are hired by the tea shop in the first place.

Unlicensed taxis

If you’re flying to your destination, watch out for fake airport taxis. It happens all too commonly when people jump into a taxi that isn’t official and end up paying an extortionate amount. Usually this is because they’ve taken a scenic route which, although costly, is not the worst thing to happen. Alternatively, they can hold your luggage ‘hostage’ and make you pay a ransom to get it back. To avoid this make sure your taxi is licenced (licence and photo should be visible),try to get a fixed rate, and never pay before you get there.

Short-changed

Another taxi-related scam is when the taxi driver short changes you. This is usually performed by them hiding the money you just gave them and swapping it for a smaller note, then demanding more money.  This can also happen in smaller shops, restaurants, etc. To avoid this, clearly state what money you’re handing them and mentally prepare what change you’re expecting before the transaction.

Out of gas

A common New York trick is the out of gas scam. For this, someone, usually with children, will tell you a sob story and ask for cash for gas to get to a funeral or wedding or suchlike. In this situation just say no, but if you do feel guilty you could always tell them you will if they walk to the gas station with you. The likelihood is this will make them scram anyway.

Jet skis

Asia’s jet ski scam is well known. People hire jet skis only to be later fined for apparent damages which they haven’t caused. Keep an eye on the organisers and see if they are trying to pull this scam on customers before you jump right in, and check the skis in advance.
Of course, all this doesn’t mean you trust no-one while away. Use your judgement and just remember, if it seems too good to be true, it probably is!
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wonders of nature throughout Kenya

wonders of nature throughout Kenya

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Kenya is one of the first countries that come to mind when people think of Africa. Mount Kenya is the tallest mountain in Kenya and the second tallest mountain in all of Africa behind Mount Kilimanjaro. Mount Kenya is one of the candidates for the 7 Natural Wonders of Africa and is included in the Seven Natural Wonders of Kenya. The Masai Mara features part of the wildebeest migration and is also home to The Big 5.
Visitors are greeted by wildlife as the flyintothecapitol city of Nairobi. A national park borders the city and airport delivering wildlife immediately to those just arriving. Kenya has many other wonderful national parks and encounters with nature. What are the best seven natural wonders of Kenya?

What are the 7 Natural Wonders of Kenya?

What wonders of nature throughout Kenya do you recommend? Kenya features Mount Kenya, the Masai Mara and so much more. Mountains, waterfalls, national parks, nature reserves and more – what are your nominations for the 7 wonders of nature for Kenya?
Now, you can share your opinion and help determine the 7 Natural Wonders of Kenya. Voting is free and only takes a few minutes.

VOTE NOW

1. Email your vote or nominations to vote@sevennaturalwonders.org
2. Place Kenya in the SUBJECT field of the email address:
3. Please record up to 7 votes ranking for #1 (best) down to #7 (you can vote for as few as 1, but no more than 7)

Notable Natural Wonders of Kenya

Check back here to see what nominations have been made. You will also find pictures and captions talking about the wonders of nature from Kenya.

African and Kenya Resources

African resources for conservation, tourism, safaris, wildlife and more are located on the African Resources page of the Seven Natural Wonders site. Kenya Resources will be located there too. You will find access to UNESCO and other professional resources along with leading tour guides, travel programs, and more.

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