Cheesemans' Ecology Safaris
Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19)
Page Updated: January 26, 2021
Dear fellow travelers,
Cheesemans’ Ecology Safaris has always been a small, family-run business, and we exist to share the world’s wildlife with you and to help protect nature in the process. As you are deeply valued members of our extended family, your safety, security, and overall experience has and always will be our top priority. We’ve faced challenges — political upheavals, injuries, bankruptcy of local companies — but COVID-19 may overshadow them all.
We have rounded the corner of one full year without international tours and are continuing to focus on delivering trips in which we know we can keep everyone as safe as possible amid the pandemic. Many of you are asking great questions about upcoming trips, so we wanted to provide this message to remind you that your safety is still our top priority!
To make sure we can resume our trips and ensure your safety, please note the following:
1. COVID Vaccinations – We encourage you to get the vaccine as soon as you have the opportunity. This will be a requirement to join our trips and governments are considering implementation of a COVID vaccine passport — proof that you’ve been vaccinated (or an exemption certificate if you cannot be vaccinated) — as a new requirement for international travel. Because many countries do not yet have access to the vaccine, this is a consideration in our process of deciding how safe we can keep everyone involved.
2. Travel Restrictions – If destination countries have a travel ban or required quarantine, we will not operate our trip.
3. Mask Wearing – This will likely remain a requirement for the foreseeable future.
4. COVID Tests – When required for return to the US, we will work with our local operators to schedule your test before departure (potentially at additional cost). We are, however, seeing a shift in requirements toward requiring either a negative COVID test OR proof of vaccination.
Requirements are still in flux and we anticipate this to be the new normal, so as a responsible traveler in this new pandemic landscape, you’ll need to have limitless flexibility and patience to adapt to these changes. As you look at your destination’s requirements, note that they may not be the same next week, let alone months from now, so we thank you so much for your patience!
Are you looking for opportunities to help the world move past this pandemic? If so, and you have the means, please consider donating to COVAX who is working to ensure that all countries participating in the facility (currently 190) have equitable access to 2 billion doses of the COVID-19 vaccine by the end of 2021. A donation of $100 could supply a two-dose vaccine to about 27 people. To donate, look for the button at the top right of the webpage.
We are still making a final assessment about whether we can operate a trip about two months before departure. As we begin to operate trips, we will send you detailed information on the current requirements for each country involved in your trip, any logistical modifications we may make to accommodate requirements, how we are going to keep you safe on our trips, and how to keep yourself safe during your travels to and from the trip!
If you are itching to travel, we encourage you to take a look at our scheduled international tours as well as our local Bay Area day trips, as we can arrange private trips in a timeframe that works for you and your bubble of friends and family. A private trip does not necessarily mean it will be more expensive, so please ask us for details!
We very much look forward to sharing the beauty and wonder of the world with you in the near future. For your peace of mind, we are modifying our cancellation policies when feasible. And rest assured we are working hard to keep you, our staff, and the locals safe when traveling with us.
In other news…Thank you to one of our travelers for bringing to our attention some technical difficulties with our phone systems. If you left a message with us during our after hours from 6:00pm to 10:00am Pacific Time, we did not receive it. It is now fixed. If you do not hear from us within 24 hours, please email us to let us know!
I am super excited that Cheesemans’ has received its second PPP and as a result, have Elizabeth and Adam back to full time!
To keep you informed of the latest news about the coronavirus outbreak, we’ve created this page with the latest information relevant to our upcoming trips. As this is an evolving situation, we will periodically email our travelers with important updates that may affect their trips, but please revisit this page for resources and to stay up to date. For current outbreak updates, prevention, and travel recommendations, please visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website and the World Health Organization website.
The CDC is issuing Travel Advisories, using a 1 through 3 Warning Level system. The WHO continues not to recommend travel restrictions based on the current information available, including public health threats and local risk assessments. We are also including links to US embassies for upcoming trips; please note that the US Department of State has its own 1 through 4 Travel Advisory system that takes into account crime, natural disasters, civil unrest, etc. that may not have to do with the COVID-19 pandemic.
For individual country updates
Many airlines are adjusting their change and cancellation policies. Forbes is updating airline policies regularly, but if you have concerns about your purchased flights, please contact your airline directly.
If you purchased an insurance policy for a cancelled trip, check with your insurance company to see if they will let you change the policy to cover you for a future trip if you’re rebooking. Unless you have added a “cancel for any reason” upgrade, most insurance policies will not cover your cancellation because of fear of travel or government travel advisories or bans. For an example, you can read Travelex’s policy in regards to the current outbreak. If you have concerns about your purchased coverage or want to purchase coverage, please contact your insurance company directly.
Tips to Stay Healthy
Cheesemans’ would like to remind you how to best protect yourself and others from COVID-19 by looking into the CDC guidelines here.