It’s an understatement to mention that the travel industry is in a crisis that will have consequences for years to come. This has affected each and every one of us, and we share the same challenges and concerns. In the safari context, the incremental conservation gains achieved over the years could be eroded unless we remain focused and committed to our long-term vision of preserving wilderness for the next generation. Every new or returning guest of yours will continue to contribute to the sustainability of our conservation legacy.
What sets Tswalu apart is the unique safari experience, which is sometimes difficult to quantify. As this is the largest private game reserve in South Africa, space is an unexpected luxury for many of our guests. Then there is the guarantee of a private vehicle and guide, and with that the flexibility and freedom to explore the reserve at your own pace and shape your safari around specific interests – it’s part of our commitment to a high-value, low-impact safari model. Reserving a private vehicle comes at a considerable additional cost in other safari destinations and on other reserves, and is never guaranteed. Now more than ever, sharing exclusive access with just a handful of other guests, while enjoying the freedom of movement we offer, is something that you can’t put a price on. We also have a clinic and a doctor on the reserve, for added peace of mind.
At Tswalu we take the welfare of our community very seriously. Due to the reserve’s remoteness, we consider the housing, education and health needs of every member of the Tswalu family. Distance does not allow us to draw from a local community or from other properties in the area. We accommodate every staff member on site.
Given the impact of Covid-19 on South Africa’s economy, recovery is a long way off. It remains to be seen whether more economically developed countries will bounce back quicker than South Africa. That being said, our target market also has the means and desire to travel as soon as airlines are permitted to start flying again. We need to be in a position to deliver on their expectations and to go above and beyond to make them feel taken care of and secure.
Lockdown in South Africa has been extended to 30 April 2020, and we will continue to assess the situation and the way forward in the coming weeks based on the WHO recommendations and our government’s stance. For any new bookings for 2020, while the travel ban is in effect, we have applied ‘Coronavirus terms and conditions’. In effect, your client only needs to confirm 30 days prior to arrival – without penalty prior to 30 days from arrival. This takes the pressure off you, also gives your client some breathing space, and will assist immensely with your forward book.
In conclusion, Tswalu will remain closed until it is safe to reopen our doors. We are currently postponing May and June bookings and will reassess July once we get further directive on the status of the current lockdown and travel bans. The safety and health of our entire Tswalu community and all our guests remains top priority.