Updated 27th February 2023
FAQs: Vaccination roll-out, travel in a time of Covid-19 and our operational procedures.
Tourism has now fully resumed and we welcome our guests on safari however, we continue to focus on the current and post-COVID travel reality. We have a dedicated team of professionals constantly monitoring the rapidly changing environment, especially with regard to vaccinations and test requirements. In this latest version, we address some of the frequently asked questions we have received to date.
These will continue to be expanded on and should you have any additional questions, please do not hesitate to reach out. The health and safety of both our guests and our staff remains a top priority. Our Covid-19 preventative measures plus health and safety protocols are of a high standard at all our camps. Our detailed standard operating procedures are available on request.
Please rest assured we are totally satisfied with the Covid-19 protocols that we have in place to ensure that our clients have an enjoyable holiday and that our staff also remain safe at all times.
Q 1, What is our employee vaccination status? We are actively supporting and engaging with all Governments in their vaccine roll-out programs. All our staff are fully vaccinated and they continue to receive education surrounding general health and hygiene and the vaccine and booster vaccinations.
Q 2, What is the recommended process should a guest test positive prior to departure i.e. for mandatory country entry requirements? In general, if a traveller tests positive (including without showing symptoms), one should assume they are positive until another test can be conducted. Although rare, it is possible that the first positive result could turn out to be non-significant e.g. remnants of a past infection.
Q 3, Are Governors’ camp staff screened/tested for Covid-19? Throughout the worst of the pandemic, our staff were screened prior to returning to camp for duty. Depending on the area and camp, staff are rotated usually every second to third month. Routine swabs are no longer taken but we have a very robust Covid-19 prevention and testing process, to help recognise and isolate anyone with at risk symptoms. This process also involves our medical consultation team who are available 24/7. Furthermore, we are constantly educating and monitoring staff around Covid-19, vaccines and keeping themselves and others safe. To date our Covid-19 measures have been highly effective. It’s important to understand that infection rates remain very low in these regions compared to other parts of the world and the camp environment lends itself to a very low risk environment to spread Covid-19.
Q 4, If the traveller tests positive for Covid-19 in the weeks before travel, has completed the obligatory quarantine period and is showing no symptoms – will a doctor’s note to this effect be acceptable, as they can still test positive just prior to travel? Unfortunately, Immigration officials will not accept a doctor’s note, regardless of quarantine and time of recovery, or if there are no obvious symptoms.
Q 5, If the traveller has been fully vaccinated prior to departure, do they have still need to do the RT-PCR testing? Please see our international traveller updates for the latest information on entry requirements into Kenya and Rwanda. All guests are encouraged to be fully vaccinated before travelling abroad.
Q 6, How does the timing of RT-PCR and rapid tests work? Due to queries received, we have removed any attempted interpretation of Covid-19 test requirements from our collateral and will simply use the terms described by governments verbatim going forward. Guests and agents can interpret them as they are read. Each country provides clear description of the timing and tests required. We understand the frustration in trying to arrange itineraries whilst taking timing of RT-PCR tests into account, but under no circumstances should one take a chance in testing the strictness of the immigration authorities. The consequence of doing so will be far worse than incurring the costs and/or inconvenience of including an additional overnight or two.
Q 7, Can we complete the Covid-19 testing forms in bulk for groups of travellers, or on behalf of guests? Please remember that a Covid-19 test is a medical procedure and as with any medical procedure, the informed consent and signature of the individual undertaking the procedure is always required. While anyone can complete the very basic information i.e. name and flight details, the traveller must read and sign the form, adding their specific contact details. We do not wish to take responsibility of receiving and communicating guest test results unless they specifically request this, but we shall always assist with this as far as we possibly can.
Q 8, What happens if a guest tests positive while travelling and has moderate to severe symptoms? The guest will be asked to isolate in their room or tent while the camp managers contact our Medical Advisor. The condition of the guest/s will dictate what the next steps will be. In milder cases, the guest/s will have a choice of quarantining in-situ at that camp or moving by road to Nairobi or Kigali for quarantine where suitable accommodation can be found. In the event that symptoms are more serious, we would motivate to have them medically evacuated to a private hospital in Nairobi or Kigali for quarantine where suitable accommodation can be found. This would be done directly from camp with medical staff. Most travel insurers cover the costs associated with medical care and trip interruption on the basis of a positive COVID19 test result. It’s therefore important for travellers to ensure their insurance policies cover COVID-19 related incidents.
Q 9, What if one member of a party tests positive but the other(s) are negative, can the negative members continue with their travel plans or do they also have to quarantine because they were exposed to a positive? In the matter of the other guests in the same group all testing negative, this is plausible, but we would suggest that they receive two tests to confirm the result before continuing their trip. We do not often see small groups leaving each other behind, but if they are negative and wish to continue, they may do so. We will always endeavour to find the most suitable option for the guest/s and the situation, however it may depend on where they are, how serious the symptoms are, what the government or health authorities want to do, etc.
Q 10, How do you handle the rest of the guests and staff in camp plus contract tracing? Any staff who would have had contact with the guests will be isolated and tested over the week to monitor possible transmission. Where possible, we keep groups of guests separate (own vehicles, dining, waitressing staff, etc), thereby limiting the possibility of spread to the rest of the camp. If we find that two groups of guests have been socialising, we would of course, inform them of the situation and arrange for a test. Our medical team along with the health officials will assess the medical risk and likelihood of spread, and advise accordingly. We will communicate this information to the guest and the agent throughout so that there is agency in the decision-making and understanding of options/processes.
Q 11, What happens if a guest tests positive whilst at a 3rd party establishment that we have booked? Our Governors’ Safaris incident management team does not override the medical response processes of third party operators. So, if a guest tests positive while staying at a third party establishment, that property will activate their own response to the situation. The response depends a lot on the degree of symptoms the guest is showing i.e. if the guest’s symptoms are severe, they are deteriorating fast etc, then the third party would activate their own emergency response providers. However, if the guest is asymptomatic/mild symptoms (majority of cases) and they do not want to continue their stay at the third party property, then we or the booking agent can step in to look at options. Transport-wise, a private charter or vehicle could be arranged to take them to alternative or more affordable accommodation. Note that most travel insurance policies now cover trip interruptions and associated expenses for Covid-19, but only if you test positive.
Q 12, How is health and safety ensured on small aircraft flights with Governors’ Aviation? Stringent safety measures have been applied, based on IATA and WHO recommendations for aircraft travel. Pilots will provide an additional brief to passengers on all pre-flight cleanliness measures taken, as well as on-board hygiene actions. The entire aircraft will be disinfected each day.
If you have any additional questions or concerns that we have not answered in this document, please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org