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Kruger National Park.

South African National Parks (SANParks) is sadly bracing itself for mass booking amendments from residents of various countries across the world, following announcements by several regions – including the UK, US and EU – that they will be imposing travel restrictions in and out of South Africa due to the newly discovered Covid-19 Variant of Concern (VOC) B.1.1.529, named today as Omicron by the WHO.

SANParks Managing Executive of Tourism Development and Marketing, Hapiloe Sello, said in a statement that these “unfortunate developments” call for a proactive approach to minimise adverse impacts on clients.

No fees or penalties for amendments

“We have decided that booked clients from the countries that have introduced travel bans to South Africa will not be charged fees or penalties for amendments and postponements for a 12 month period from the date of 26 November 2021 until such time as the travel bans are lifted.

“Affected clients are welcome to contact our reservation offices to postpone their reservations to later dates. We encourage guests to opt for SANParks to retain their deposit payments until they are certain about their travel plans and to only consider cancellations and refunds as a last resort.”

She said cancellations due to other reasons outside of travel bans will continue to be subjected to the standard cancellation terms and conditions. “We want to assure our visitors, particularly local travellers that our national parks remain open and quite likely amongst the safest destinations to travel to.”