Last Updated: Wednesday 13 May 2021
Originally published on November 18th, 2020.
Editor’s note: The following blog post was written just after the national lockdown in South Africa was eased in late 2020, allowing international travel and interprovincial travel once again. We have kept it active as we believe it holds useful information about what you need to know to travel to Londolozi right now. We endeavour to keep this post up to date based on the information that we get from various travel resources and official websites. The latest update includes information about the 501Y. V2 variant as well as information about current international travel restrictions. Please keep checking back to this blog post for future updates.
Important information and misconceptions about the 501Y.V2 variant
There has been much speculation about new Covid-19 variants. One of which is correctly called the 501Y.V2. variant, but it was first genetically sequenced and identified in South Africa which has lead to many misconceptions.
It is important to understand that this 501Y. V2 variant could have originated anywhere in the world and is, in fact, present all over the world, but due to the widely applauded South African scientists, it has been identified first in South Africa. This helps the rest of the worldwide scientific community hugely as it allows for a deeper understanding of how the pandemic is playing out across the globe.
According to Prof Tulio de Oliveira, director of KZN Research and Innovation Sequencing Platform (KRISP): “It could easily have emerged elsewhere but it’s only thanks to our excellent genomic surveillance here in South Africa that we know more and more about it.
Unfortunately, the media has unfairly and irresponsibly categorized this 501Y. V2 variant as ‘The South African Variant’ which has had a hugely negative effect on the perception of our country during this pandemic, which has, in turn, negatively affected the travel industry as a whole.
It’s important to understand that all viruses, including the one that causes Covid-19, constantly mutate into new versions or variants and that there are many new variants that have been identified around the world. As far as our research and advice go, this 501Y.V2. variant is more transmissible (meaning it passes more quickly from person to person than the original variant Identified in 2019) but it has not been shown to produce worse symptoms or more fatalities than the original variant. Age and co-morbidities still increase a person’s risk but this has remained the same from the original variant to the 501Y. V2 variant.
The advice that we have been given is to continue with all the original protocols provided:
- Wear a mask of at least three layers of tightly-woven fabric or an N95 or KN95 respirator
- Wash your hands for at least 20 seconds regularly with soap and running water
- Sanitise with an alcohol-based hand sanitiser
- Maintain physical distance (something we have naturally been doing on safari for years)
- Avoid indoor gatherings (We have always believed dining in the open air is the best way to dine)
Following these guidelines has proven successful in South Africa as, at the time of writing, the overall cases in the country have dropped significantly due to the conscientious manner in which the South African public have followed the protocols set out by our Government.
All of these protocols are strictly in place at Londolozi as we continue to put the safety of our guests and our staff first.
Confirmation for all of our American Travellers
To our American travellers and friends: We wanted to also clear up some misconceptions about travelling to South Africa at this time. We have had some feedback to say that American Travellers are banned from entering South Africa. This is not true and is, unfortunately, another misconception. The ban, in fact, prohibits South Africans from visiting America but not the other way around. Our borders are still open to all US citizens and when you return home you will not be required to quarantine.
A recent TripAdvisor Review from a Swiss Guest written in March 2021:
“And once more we are back home after having spent some amazing days at Londolozi. After having been living in South Africa, my husband and I try to travel back with our children to this beautiful country once a year. We are back home now and I could jump into the next plane and go back… for the third time! Thanks to the good Wifi, my husband could join on this trip and do his business meetings via videoconference directly from our room or sitting in a cosy corner somewhere in the lodge. One important detail I would like to mention: These difficult times affected by the Coronavirus made us hesitate to travel from Switzerland to South Africa. We are very happy not to have cancelled! We were not worried for one moment during our stay. We found that all South Africans are very respectful and strict regarding the Covid sanitary roles. Wearing masks, social distancing etc., even the PCR test you need for your flight back home is organized to be done at the lodge. Maybe it is even more secure than going to the shopping mall in our country!”
We Are Open!
It has been quite a year. One that no one could have predicted, and one that certainly has not gone to plan. And, for many of us, this year has been one of the most trying years of our lives. But perhaps today we can share a little joy…because today, the dreaming of Africa, of adventure and of that family reunion (whether it be with your own family or your Londolozi family) ends and planning can begin because we are finally open to all again and ready for you! (click here to jump to our easy, in-place protocols). We urge our guests to dust off their passports and check their validity. Immigration officials can request that a passport has at least 6 months validity.
After an 8 month national lockdown, South Africa has finally opened its international borders and is ready to welcome guests from all over the world again to our country. For us, this is incredibly exciting as it means that so many of you can come home to Londolozi…there really is nothing like a small, stand-alone family business to make you feel cared for and safe.
So many of you have shared with us that it’s simply no longer about the sheer number of trips that you can fit into a year, but rather about the quality of that trip and the opportunity to travel in a very different way…In a more mindful way. Seeking restoration and space as opposed to over-stimulation and accumulation. Travelling with a difference. And, travelling to a destination that is making a difference, and where your stay can have a positive ripple effect on the wilderness, communities of people and animals that all call this planet home. As the original pioneers of the conservation development model, we have never been more focused on our kinship with the land, the animals and the people that make Londolozi what it is. With almost 100 years of experience reconnecting people to nature, we couldn’t be more excited about the shift from consumptive to more mindful, restorative travel and we are here for all of it!
This year has highlighted more than ever the impact mother nature has on our health, our wellbeing and our ability to cope with all the twists and turns that have come our way. We have seen that a simple walk outside can provide much-needed wellbeing and perspective, that by interacting with animals we have the ability to rewire our brains and that nature really can heal and restore body, mind and soul. All 34 000 acres of Londolozi, right in the true heart of the Sabi Sands, is patiently awaiting your return – reminding you that filling up your own cup and restoring your own spirit surrounded by nature has never been more important than it is right now.
Let the Londolozi Feeling, something that you can experience nowhere else in the world, bring you back to your own true nature…We believe in safari as a journey that immerses the senses and awakens the spirit. To have an encounter with wild animals in the African bush is to discover an essential truth about ourselves and our world. For all of us who live the Londolozi feeling, our deepest wish is to give you the chance to experience this for yourself ~ Shan Varty
After all is said and done, and your feet meet the African soil and the warm summer sunshine hits your face, there is nowhere else in the world that knows how to look after you like the Londolozi family does. Come to a place where we will personalise your sacred time, a place where the leopards of Londolozi roam abundantly and a place where you can truly feel the difference in how a family run business cares about your health and holiday time…
Come to the place where it all started.
Come home to Londolozi… we can’t wait to see you!
If you’re itching to find out about availability and book your upcoming trip to Londolozi, here is everything that we know so far about the best way to travel to Londolozi in light of the COVID-19 restrictions (See Ts & Cs below) as well as some of the ways we have adapted to make your visit safe, easy, comfortable and – above all else – an experience you’ll never forget.
Travel to South African…here’s what to expect
Easy to follow processes are now in place
Last updated: Tuesday 2nd February 2021
BEFORE YOU TRAVEL
- All travellers must obtain a negative COVID-19 (SARS-CoV 2 RT-PCR) test, taken 72 hours before departure. They must travel with the original (not digital) copy.
- Please note that other tests, such as Rapid Diagnostics Tests (RDT), are not accepted.
- While it is not mandatory for international travellers to have in their possession travel insurance covering the COVID-19 test and quarantine costs it is highly recommended.
- Please take note of your own country’s policy for re-entry back home as some countries may differ and policies are ever-changing.
- Please be aware of the policy of countries you fly in transit through as these might differ from both your country of origin and the country you are visiting (South Africa)
- Please ensure that you have completed this mandatory Traveller Health Screening Questionnaire and have it with you, in hard copy, on entrance into South Africa
ARRIVAL IN SOUTH AFRICA
- In public areas, it is mandatory to wear a mask and observe social distancing and hygiene measures at all times. South Africa is very strict about these measures which have been a major contributing factor to our lower COVID-19 case numbers.
- In the airport terminal, you will pause at an infrared thermal scanner to check body temperature and an airport official will request your COVID-19 test certificate.
- Upon arrival at the port of entry, travellers will be asked questions from health authorities and will be screened for COVID-19 symptoms and ensure they have not been in contact with infected persons.
- If the traveller shows COVID-19–related symptoms or has been in contact with an infected person(s), they must take a COVID-19 test at their own cost. If the COVID-19 test comes back positive, the traveller will undergo a 10-day quarantine at a designated site at their own expense.
GETTING TO LONDOLOZI
Once you have made it through the border, the fun of the journey really begins! There are a number of ways that you can get to Londolozi.
Here are a few of the best options:
Private Charters from Johannesburg (highly recommended)
- Available on request – please speak to one of our reservations consultants who will provide our recommended private charger partners who have been fully checked and are committed to all best-practice safety and sanitization practices
- VIP meet-and-greet service is available to usher you through the airport in Johannesburg and transfer you to fly straight to the Londolozi airstrip
Federal Air from Johannesburg Airport:
- A Federal Air VIP meet-and-greet service is available to usher you through the airport in Johannesburg and transfer you to the Federal Air lounge where you will board a Federal Air flight straight to the Londolozi airstrip.
SA Airlink from Johannesburg to Skukuza Airport
- An onward connecting flight from Johannesburg with SA Airlink to Skukuza airport where you will be collected by your private safari guide in open air land rovers direct to Londolozi (roughly 60 minutes drive to the lodge from Skukuza airport)
ARRIVING AT THE CAMP
The health of our guests and of our staff is our top priority and Londolozi has always kept guest health and safety at the centre of everything we do.
- Staff are well trained and adhere to strict hygiene protocols throughout your stay
- Social distancing is followed and outdoor activities are, by our nature, encouraged
- All dining is done in open-air rooms or outdoors under the stars with socially distanced seating and tables
- Some of our dining traditions (like our famous breakfast buffet) have been changed slightly to accommodate new regulations for safe interaction with other guests.
- Sanitizing stations are available throughout the common areas with special attention to high-contact areas and the common areas are sanitized regularly
- All rooms are fully sanitized after each set of guests have left. We use a category 2 antibacterial eco-friendly disinfectant room spray as well as 90-day anti-viral surface defence sanitizer on high touch areas such as surfaces, rails, light switches and books which are given additional attention.
- All safaris are taken in open-air vehicles with at least a seat in between each guest, out in the African sunshine and fresh air. In many ways, we have been running ‘socially distanced’ safaris since 1926 and our team are well practised in showing you around the wide-open spaces of the wilderness in a safe and comfortable manner.
ONSITE TESTING AVAILABLE
- Private COVID-19 PCR testing is available onsite at the lodge through our partners Africa Safe-T.
- The certificate is processed immediately after the test results are received (approximately 48 hours) which will allow you to continue your journey with peace of mind that you have met the requirements for onward travel to future destinations, or to return home. Please take note of the regulations in your next destination or home country as these change regularly.
- World Class private hospitals and medical facilities are accessible in the event of an emergency
- 24-hour Medical assistance is available through our partners Africa Safe-T.