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Multiple PCR Covid Tests Prior to Mashatu, Ngala Tent & Kirkman's

Multiple PCR Covid Tests Prior to Mashatu, Ngala Tent & Kirkman's

Old Jan 7th, 2021, 02:14 PM
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Multiple PCR Covid Tests Prior to Mashatu, Ngala Tent & Kirkman's


Any advice would be greatly appreciated! Traveling to JNB from ATL on 5/12/21, arriving 5/13 needing a Covid test prior to departing US. Overnight at JNB City Lodge and departing to Madi a Thavha Mtn Lodge, Limpopo for overnight stay on 5/14. On 5/15, drive to Mashatu which requires another Covid test prior to entering. Spending 4 nights at Mashatu and will need another Covid test prior to re-entering S. Africa. Driving to Tzaneen X 2 nights, staying at King Walden Garden Manor. Then driving to Ngala Tented Camp x 3 nights, and then to Kirkman's Camp x 4 nights which again may require Covid testing. Returning to JNB on 5/28 and will need another Covid test prior to departing on that afternoon for US.

I'm exhausted just writing this thinking about all these tests! How can I simplify this trip so I can still have a quality Safari trip to see the animals, yet not be subject to so many Covid testing’s? This can potentially ruin our trip with so many requirements. BTW, I am a healthcare worker and have had 2 doses of Phizer Covid Vaccine... hubby NOT.

Would you skip Mashatu and go to another lodge in S. Africa? All my lodgings were done through andBeyond.

Please help me as I don't think I can get my $4500 deposit back. I made these reservations in April, 2020 and they are upholding this as a Global Force Majeure event. I may have the option of changing these reservations at their discretion 90 days prior to departure. What would you suggest?

Many thanks, Susan
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Old Jan 8th, 2021, 04:31 AM
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I have no personal experience with the PCR tests but there are many folks on Trip Advisor Africa forums who do, many who have traveled in the last few months. I would pose your questions there.

Yes, you are unlikely to get the deposit back, even with trip insurance a pandemic is not a covered event. Personally I'd reschedule for at least a year out, but I'm very risk averse and already lost one trip to Africa in 2020 that I'd booked in early 2019. I'm not booking any trips, including a return to Africa, until the vaccine is widely distributed.
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Old Jan 11th, 2021, 12:33 AM
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Guess there is little that anyone on the forum can advise a health care worker. I suppose you have been/ are in the thick of things related to the pandemic. What can happen in the immediate future is anybody's guess. Countries are going into the 2nd and 3rd shutdown. SA is said to have an even more contagious strain. With all this uncertainties, my advise to you would be to postpone the trip to the end of the year.
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Old Jan 24th, 2021, 09:13 AM
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Hi Susan,

Sorry for the super slow reply. I am not getting alerts to new posts at the moment.

Let me start by saying I love Mashatu. My I ask how you heard about it as it is a hidden gem in my mind? I have been there many times including a visit in May 2019. So, as much as I hate to say this, I think you should consider just dropping and replacing Mashatu from the plan to eliminate the headache caused by two tests if there is not way to mitigate. I am not even sure if the land border is open at the moment?

&Beyond may try to bind you to their booking terms which they have every right to do but if you had booked direct with a US safari agent that works directly with Mashatu, we only have a 5% penalty up to the 60 day point prior to arrival at Mashatu. I bet &Beyond can match this but you may need to point it out to them. This penalty on a 3-night stay should amount to about $75 per person. I will attempt to upload the Mashatu Information Manual to this post so you can see it and show it to them if &Beyond pushes back on you should you make such a request. There is no way they have paid them more than $75 per person for your visit at this point in time.

In place of Mashatu, you could look at Outpost or Phinda. I stayed near Outpost at the Old Pafuri on a self-drive back in 2010. The other three lodges I drove to on that trip were Mashatu, Ngala and MalaMala. MalaMala is right next to Kirkmans. When coming down from Outpost you can drive through the heart of the national park and pop out at the Orpen gate right where Ngala is located. You could go to Phinda which is also owned by &Beyond.

If they tell you they have a 5% penalty on Mashatu, I would ask them to apply it as a discount to the rate at Phinda. That sounds reasonable to me. The problem is driving. I have not driver from Kruger to Phinda in many years but the normal route goes through Swaziland which is a separate country with separate covid rules. I am not even sure the land borders are open. In this case, I suggest you fly from between Kruger and Durban or Kruger and Richard’s Bay and road transfer to Phinda IF the normal method on Airlink is not operating.

Anyway, good luck. It sounds like small tweak to the plan could salvage the trip.

Shout if you have more questions.

Craig Beal – owner – Travel Beyond
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Old Jan 24th, 2021, 09:16 AM
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I can't load the entire Mashatu Info Manual due to file size limits. Here is an excerpt from Page 40 showing the 5% cancel penalty.
Attached Files
File Type: pdf
Mashatu Info Manual page 40.pdf (286.4 KB, 47 views)
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