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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!

Spotlight On: Tarangire National Park

Tarangire National Park, traversed by its lifeblood – the Tarangire River, is one of the treasures of Tanzania’s northern safari circuit.

Eleph Tarangire river 1024x682 Spotlight On: Tarangire National Park

During the dry season thousands of animals migrate into the park as the retreating river continues to provide one of the few drinkable water sources for local wildlife.

The park’s striking landscapes are full of diversity, and unique to Tarangire. The gently undulating hills are dotted with vast numbers of surreal looking Baobab trees, patches of thick bush, and tall grasses, which seem to shimmer when the sunlight hits their tips.

Bird-watchers will be absolutely delighted by a visit to Tarangire. The swamps, tinged green year round, are the focus for 550 bird varieties, the most breeding species in one habitat anywhere in the world. Even in the dry season, you can expect to see dozens of unique East African birds.

Disused termite mounds are often frequented by colonies of the endearing dwarf mongoose, and pairs of red-and-yellow barbet, which draw attention to themselves by their loud, rhythmic, duets.

Tarangire’s pythons climb trees, as do its lions and leopards, lounging in the branches where the fruit of the sausage tree disguises the twitch of a tail.

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Tarangire features the greatest concentration of wildlife outside the Serengeti ecosystem, and the start attractions are the elephants, huge mobs of which are easily encountered, wet or dry season.

African elephants are the largest land animals on Earth. You’ll see a lot of ear flapping going on, and one of the main reasons for this is to assist with heat loss. An elephant’s trunk is actually a long nose used for smelling, breathing, trumpeting, drinking, and also for grabbing things—especially a potential meal. The trunk alone contains about 100,000 different muscles.

African elephant societies are arranged around family units. Each family unit is made up of around ten closely related females and their calves and is led by an older female.

Tarangire’s elephants love water! They enjoy showering by sucking water into their trunks and spraying it all over themselves. Afterwards, they often take a dust bath, covering their skin with a protective coating, which explains the dried mud that is often caked onto their skins.

Elephants eat roots, grasses, fruit, and bark, and they eat a lot of these things. An adult elephant can consume up to 136 kilograms (300 pounds) of food in a single day. This is hardly surprising given that a male elephant can weigh more than 6,000 kg (13,340 lb).

Both male and female African elephants have tusks they use to dig for food and water and strip bark from trees. Males use the tusks to battle one another, but the ivory has also attracted violence of a far more dangerous sort.

Because ivory is so valuable to some humans, many elephants have been killed for their tusks. This trade is illegal today, but it has not been completely eliminated, and some African elephant populations remain endangered.

slide7581 Spotlight On: Tarangire National Park

Elephant slaughter in Tanzania declined sharply after 1987 when the government launched a major anti-poaching operation. But the poaching has revived in recent years, driven by fast-rising demand for ivory in Asia. Organised and intricate poaching networks in and outside of Tanzania sustain this illegal trade, making it difficult for Tanzania alone to win this battle. Much of it takes place in the reserves of Southern Tanzania, where there has been a massive decline in elephant numbers over the last ten years. The elephants of Tarangire, while still under constant threat of slaughter, have not been affected as greatly as their cousins in the South.

As the premier safari destination, new strategies are being developed to stem elephant poaching in Tanzania. Some estimates suggest that if these efforts are not successful, the population of elephants in Tanzania could be wiped out within 10 years.

Wildlife hunting is big business – a recent 2013 estimate valued the illegal poaching trade in Africa as being worth $17 billion dollars a year and growing.

Poverty is the primary driver of poaching in Africa. But increasingly, poaching is being carried out by heavily armed criminals who operate like gangs. Crime networks in both Africa and China are behind much of the poaching activity.

In China such a tusk sells for more than $2000, its value increasing tenfold by the time it is shipped out of Africa and arrives in Asia. There is also a market for illegal ivory in Thailand, Vietnam, and the Philippines, where it is carved into religious items, such as rosaries and crucifixes. Some researchers estimate that as much as 90 percent of the ivory for sale in Asia is illegal.

slide31 Spotlight On: Tarangire National Park

Tanzania’s elephants draw tourists from around the world, providing a legal, sustainable source of income for people living in communities where elephants range. Tourism not only provides an important source of alternative income to local people, it also demonstrates the international value attached to elephants and other wildlife, and ensures that someone is always keeping an eye on what is going on. And the money the government earns from tourism fees and taxes helps fund anti-poaching operations. So your visit to Tanzania will have many benefits beyond great experiences, lasting memories, and stunning photos.

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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4 Off the Beaten Path National Parks in Tanzania

When planning a trip to Tanzania, there are certain places which are high on everyone’s list to visit. Serengeti National park is by far the most famous, followed by the Ngorongoro Crater Conservation Area, Mt. Kilimanjaro, and Tarangire National Park, but where should you go if you want to get away from the hoards of tourists on safari and experience the untouched natural beauty of Africa? Here’s a list of 4 off the beaten path National Parks in Tanzania which offer pure unspoiled nature, and a one-of-a-kind adventure for those drawn to the wild unknown.

Mahale Mountain National Park

Mahale Mountain National Park is home to a unique spectacle, Africa’s most studied populations of wild chimpanzees. But that doesn’t mean that Mahale Mountain is easy to get to. During the peak tourist season here (June to October) you can reach the park by road from Arusha which usually takes 2 – 3 days depending on the conditions of the road which vary from 4-wheel accessible to impassable during the rainy season. Alternatively, you can take the train which departs 2 – 3 times a week from Dar es Salaam and takes 2 or 3 days. You can also hire a private aircraft to take you from Arusha and arrive in a brisk 3 hours. Anyway you come though, the experience of being amongst the wild chimpanzees with views over the jungle to the Congo are worth it.

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Photo by Nils Rinaldi

Photo by Richard Toller
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Photo By Richard Toller

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Top 5 Tented Camps in the Masai Mara

Top 5 Tented Camps in the Masai Mara

The Masai Mara is one of Africa’s most spectacular places to visit, and a can’t miss location on any trip to East Africa. That’s why it’s so important to make sure your Masai Mara tented camp is not only top-notch, but fits your own personal travel style. Here are the top 5 tented camps in the Masai Mara, each with its own unique charm that will make you want to come back to visit year after year to try them all.

Kicheche Bush Camp

The Kicheche Bush Camp is a tented camp which will make you think you’ve stepped back into the era of exploration, when the vast plains of Africa were as mysterious and unknown as the depths of the ocean. Of course, you won’t be sacrificing any of the modern amenities either. You’ll be sleeping on a luxury tented bed, surrounded by the fresh African air, and wake up to a cup of dark roasted local coffee as you sit watching the sunrise over the savannah horizon. It doesn’t get much better than this.

bush camp twin bed Top 5 Tented Camps in the Masai Mara bush camp mess copy Top 5 Tented Camps in the Masai Mara

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