UPDATE: Due to the Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak, all businesses and tourism attractions in South Africa cease operating until the 17th April 2020. AWOL Tours will cease touring on request and resume private guided tours in small numbers taking all possible measures to keep our guests and staff safe when the travel bans are lifted. We will continue to monitor the circumstances and follow the guidance of the World Health Organisation.
Due to the Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak, the South African President Cyril Ramaphosa has declared a national state of emergency. The government is imposing a travel ban on many foreign nationals. Click here to read more . As South African Airways (SAA) has announced that it will immediately suspend all international operations until 31 May 2020 in response to a government travel ban. The last Cathay Pacific flight out of South Africa is on the 28th March 2020! No flights scheduled from the 29th until June 1st.
Then in addition on the 23rd March President Cyril Ramaphosa announced a countrywide lockdown, part of which is that only certain categories of businesses can remain open. Click here to read more
As AWOL Tours are battening down the hatches and doing everything possible to commit to our guests, tourism colleagues, partners, and employees during this international crisis.
Navigating the way forward
Please be advised that we have implemented the following safety protocols on our tours with immediate effect for the duration of the travel ban . As the safety of all our guests, our guides, and the communities that we work with is always our priority, we will cancel any tours that pose a potential health risk.
The community of Masiphumelele is especially vulnerable to COVID-19. Residents live in close proximity to each other, have no alternative but to use public transport and have limited access to clean running water. There is a risk of transmitting the virus to immunoccompromised community members and other high risk individuals. This includes the elderly or those with medical conditions such as HIV, TB, amongst others. Thus all AWOL Bicycle township tours are cancelled until further notice. To donate to those unemployment to community members as well as your support of informal crèches in Masi. click here.
Our popular city cycle tour normally visit the Bo-kaap community; as well as the Greenpoint park and Company Gardens which are now closed to visitors.
For tours that remain operational the following protocols remain in place:
- Providing only private tours to immediate families and friends.
- Avoiding crowded spaces by focusing our tours in the wild outdoors. As the Table Mountain cableway is suspended we are still able to offer Table Mountain hikes on a privately guided basis
- Exemplary hygiene of all vehicles, bicycles and equipment
- As Pedal Power campaign is “Stay wider of the rider” of at least 1.5 meters away. To slow the spread of the corona virus we ask that all tour participants stay 1.5 meters away from others during all hiking and cycling tours (Wider of the Virus)
Last minute bookings
We understand that guests may have various factors influencing their travels at the moment and AWOL Tours is very much available to assist on last minute bookings. On our private day tours, AWOL Tours can assist with availability up until close of office the day before at 6pm.
Flexible cancellation policy.
AWOL Tours is dedicated to our guest’s overall experience and we know that our flexible cancellation policy provides additional security and confidence in our services. On Cape Day tours (excluding groups over 6 guests) cancellation notification needs to be made 24 hours prior to the day tour for a full refund to be given. For group bookings over 6 guests’ cancellation notification needs to be made two weeks prior to departure.
AWOL Tours commends SATSA and the Western Cape & National Governments in providing up to date and relevant information on COVID-19. The Western Cape government’s website is very informative and the public have been urged to be vigilant; the hotline number is 0800 029 999 and the operators have a checklist of symptoms and a support system in place. SATSA has published frequently asked questions relating to travel insurance and general advice for current travelers.
The good news.
Cape Town has water; the dams are full and we are looking forward the winter waterfalls on Table Mountain. Visiting International families, no longer require unabridged birth certificates for children under the age of 18, and during load shedding we light the fire and connect with our loved ones under the resplendent stars of the Southern Hemisphere.
AWOL Tours really want to support you during this challenging time and we know that our services will complement the care and attention to detail that you provide to your guests. We are open for business and dedicated to providing excellence; we are working closely with our partners and tourism colleagues to ensure that Cape Town and AWOL Tours remains open for business. We are online 7 days a week from 7am to 9pm to assist on any last-minute bookings or general queries you may have and we look forward to hearing from you.
At conclusion of this challenging period we look forward to emerging stronger and better than ever in order to showcase our wonderful nation and to continue to be the #highlightofyourholiday
“May your choices reflect your hopes, not your fears.“(Nelson Mandela)
Written by Helen Baker