Frequently asked questions: Visitors under COVID-19 Alert Level 2 conditions

by CapeNature

OVERNIGHT VISITORS

Will visitors be allowed entry onto the reserve for overnight stays?

Overnight visitors traveling for leisure with a valid booking confirmation will be allowed entry to book selected tourism accommodation reopening from 7 August 2020. Conditions, such as 50% occupancy for dormitory-style accommodation, will apply to certain tourism products.

The product selection for re-opening includes self-catering accommodation, selected overnight hiking trails, camping sites and eco-venues. Please visit our website, www.capenature.co.za, to view an updated list of tourism products opening, as per a phased approach.

Are all overnight accommodation units and hiking huts available for bookings?

Selected reserve accommodation and hiking huts will be opened, as part of a phased approach. A phased approach is required to ensure that we have all the hygiene and safety measures in place, in order to welcome back our visitors. Visitors should check announcements on our website or click here to view the list of reserve accommodation open for bookings.

Is camping allowed?

Camping sites will open with accommodation, but selected sites will be closed as it does not meet social distancing requirements.

Are picnic sites available for bookings?

No, these sites have been temporarily closed as they do not meet the national government and global guidelines for social distancing requirements.

Will eco-venues operate differently?

Selected eco-venues will re-open, with conditions. A revised floor plan and 50% occupancy will apply. All Preferred Conference / Meeting Organizers must follow the Government Guidelines specified for conference venues. These guidelines were issued on the 29 June 2020 in the Government Gazette, no. 43487.

Will all on-reserve facilities re-open?

Selected facilities will be open to visitors on reserves. Some communal areas, such as the pool area; kiddies play area and outdoor gym, will be closed until further notice. This guideline aligns with the latest Government Gazette issued, and has been put in place to ensure the safety of our guests.

How do I make a booking for overnight stays?

All visitors wanting to make a booking are encouraged to make use of the online booking portal or speak directly to a customer service agent on 087 087 8250.

Will any tourism products or CapeNature reserves close temporarily?

We have taken the decision to momentarily close some of our tourism products, due to the ongoing situation with the coronavirus and to ensure the safety of our visitors. We apologise for any inconvenience caused. We hope for your understanding during this time.

How do I know if the tourism product I’ve booked will close temporarily?

We will contact all affected visitors that have booked a stay during the closing dates. A list of all closed tourism products until further notice will be regularly updated here.

What new cleaning and hygiene protocols have CapeNature put in place?

At CapeNature, hygiene and cleanliness is always prioritized. We emphasize the importance of good hand hygiene based on recommendations from national health authorities and the South African National Government. Our teams are being trained in enhanced cleaning protocol, both in terms of personal hygiene and new tourism products cleaning routines.

What are the advanced enhanced cleaning procedures?

CapeNature promotes responsible behaviour and stringent cleaning protocols, which include;

  • High frequency cleaning of communal bathrooms, reception areas; kiosks; and outdoor play zones will be disinfected and cleaned with higher frequency
  • Hand alcohol stations are available in high traffic zones and in all cottages, on all our Reserves
  • Accommodation units will be cleaned upon visitor check-out and on every three-day cycle.
  • Accommodation units will be disinfected upon every visitor check-out.
  • All linen and towels will be cleaned intensively with specialised laundry detergent.
  • Visitor marketing and information materials will be removed from the accommodation units and made available digitally.
  • A key drop-off box will be made available for early check-outs to reduce one-on-one human interaction.

What protective clothing will CapeNature officials be wearing?

CapeNature officials will be wearing face masks at all times and have been trained to disinfect their hands regularly. With this, we ask that all visitors arriving to our reserves ensure that they have a (mandatory) face mask and hand sanitizer.

What is the new overnight visitor check-in process?

All overnight visitors entering the premises is subject to mandatory screening and a 5-step check-in process:

  1. Face masks are checked and visitors with no face masks will not be checked-in.
  2. Disinfect hand and spray hand sanitizer onto the hands of each visitor
  3. An unobtrusive temperate check of each visitor.
  4. The completion of the “Visitor Access Register” by a CapeNature official
  5. A clipboard and pen sanitised for visitors to complete the “Customer Screening Questionnaire”. An accompanying adult will be able to complete this questionnaire for all guests, below the age of 18. All pens and clipboards used will be sanitized before and after use

What process do I follow if I leave the reserve during the day to run an errand and return the same day? 

Every visitor already checked in, returning to the reserve, will need to be screened as per the 4-step process day visitor check in process. If a visitor’s temperature reading is high (exceeding 38 degrees Celsius) and/or they have symptoms of the virus, the visitor will not be allowed to return to the accommodation unit and will be referred to a medical facility.

Can I make additional purchases on reserve?

All visitors are encouraged to make purchases for food and clothing items prior to arriving at the reserve. At selected reserves limited items will be on sale. Please refer to your booking confirmation reserve information sheet for more information.

What do I do if I have checked into my overnight stay with CapeNature, and it turns out that I or another guest has flu-like symptoms?

If a visitor has symptoms, they will be asked to return home where possible, and asked to contact their healthcare professional. If they cannot for any reason (i.e. they are not in their hometown) return home, then they will be moved to the designated COVID-19 holding room for a maximum of 48 hours. Thereafter, the Visitor will be required to leave the reserve in order to seek further medical assistance.

A visitor with suspected COVD-19 will be provided with a surgical mask. The following steps will be taken;

  • The Visitor with symptoms must stay in the Covid-19 holding room
  • The Visitor will be required to isolate, i.e., not participate in activities. A temperature reading will be recorded three times a day, by our Covid-19 Ambassador. If symptoms are severe, worsen or persist more than one day, the Visitor will be requested to check-in with a medical professional immediately.

What social distancing needs to be adhered to?

You will find distancing floor markers in our reception area, camping sites and communal spaces, as well as signs reminding all visitors and CapeNature team members to keep their 1.5 metre distance. In addition, designated communal areas may have a maximum per person capacity which will need to be adhered to. This process has been put in place to ensure the safety of our visitors to avoid groups from gathering and will be clearly marked.

Can I postpone my booking during the pandemic?

In order to accommodate the impact of this pandemic, resulting in an international and national travel ban, we have amended our standard terms and conditions.  This will allow visitors to postpone their existing travel once subject to an extension of the lockdown period up to 30 November 2020 after the original travel date.  The future booking will be at 100% of the original booking’s value* but, subject to availability of any new dates. Should a guest elect to postpone the booking a second time or cancel a booking after the initial postponement, then our standard cancellation policy applies.

How do I cancel my booking?

Electing to cancel a booking based on the current level of uncertainty is understandable. CapeNature has therefore elected to offer our visitors a zero-rate cancellation fee up to 30 November 2020 to postpone or cancel your existing booking. This date is subject to change and at the discretion of CapeNature. All visitors have an option to either reschedule to a different date, which is the preferred option or apply for a full refund.

How long will my credit be valid for?

Where a full refund is not requested, but rather a credit, this will be at 100% of the value of the original booking. All credits must be used within 12 months from date of cancellation. Failure to utilise the credit amounts to forfeiture. Credit is non-refundable as cash and may only be used towards an alternative future booking with CapeNature.  Future bookings are subject to availability.

Will Tour Operators be allowed to operate?

Tour operators will be allowed to conduct guided tours once regulations pertaining to their operations are gazetted; All operators need to be registered with CapeNature before they are permitted to enter the reserves. Tour operators wanting to sign up are to contact Thandi Mneno at rmneno@capenature.co.za.

DAY ACCESS & ACTIVITIES

Which activities will be open at reserves?

Activities are not allowed to open, under the current level, except for – recreational fishing; hiking; walking and guided tours. Selected 3rd party Concessionaire guided tour activities will open momentarily.

 Is it safe to hike?

Yes, as part of COVID-19 risk-adjusted strategy tourism sector response measures and directions that hiking to be done in compliance with exercising guidelines and not in groups.

If “no groups” are allowed entry, must visitors hike individually?

Hikers are encouraged not to hike alone, for safety purposes. No organized groups will be allowed access to the trails, visitors are encouraged to hike in pairs.

Are all reserves and trails open?

No, selected reserves and trails have re-opened. Longer trails will open, momentarily.

How do I purchase a hiking permit?

For paying visitors, trails can be booked via;

  • Online Booking System available, www.capenature.co.za. Bookings for a particular day closes at 10am. Future bookings can be made.
  • Call Centre: Contact us on 087 087 8250 (weekdays between 08h00 – 16h00) / (Saturday between 08h00 – 12h00)
  • Call Centre: On Sunday’s the emergency contact numbers are 074 936 2139 or 062 318 4987 (08h00 – 10h00).
  • Email: Sending an email to – reservation.alert@capenature.co.za
  • Purchases at the Reserve Gate: Only card payments accepted, depends on availability of the trail at time of purchase.

For Wild Card members, trails can be booked via;

  • Email: Sending an email to – reservation.alert@capenature.co.za
  • Call Centre: Contact us on 087 087 8250 (weekdays between 08h00 – 16h00) / (Saturday between 08h00 – 12h00)
  • On Sunday’s the emergency contact numbers are 074 936 2139 or 062 318 4987 (08h00 – 10h00).
  • At the Reserve Gate: Depends on availability of the trail, once the visitor arrives at the gate. Nil value permit will apply.

Will fishing activity be allowed?

Yes, all fishing, including recreational fishing, is permitted with the exception of charter fishing.

What are the rules for fishing?

Fishers must ensure that they have a valid permit and carry it with them at all times.  All regulations relating to social distancing, health protocols, movement and the prohibition of groups and gatherings apply.

Will “unlimited access” apply to visitors at the Reserve Gate?

No, a daily limited capacity on selected hiking trails and a reserve maximum day capacity will apply.

What are the daily Reserve closing & opening times?

  • Opening time: 08h00
  • Closing time: 16h00

Will CapeNature refund my WILD CARD?

Wild Card refunds must be submitted to wildcard.refunds@sanparks.org to review and manage.

NATIONAL GOVERNMENT REGULATIONS

Are there any new COVID-19 rules, which will apply to visitors?

Yes, all  visitors need to comply with the relevant government regulations. CapeNature encourages responsible behaviour for the safety of our visitors to abide to our “rules of engagement”, which are;

  • Small groups will be allowed, excluding organized groups
  • Keep a social distance of 1.5 meters between themselves and other people where possible
  • All visitors must wear a mask at all times
  • All visitors must adhere to the full 4 or 5-step check in process
  • All visitors must have a valid permit
  • All visitors must ensure that they leave the Reserve, by latest 16h00 (4pm)

Will all visitors need to wear a mask?

Yes, all visitors will need to wear a mask, upon entry and through-out their visit to the reserve. No mask = no entry.

What happens if I am found in a reserve, without a hiking or fishing permit? (Specifically at unmanned gates)

Spot checks will be implemented by the reserve law enforcement team. Any hikers and fishermen, found without a valid permit, will be fined accordingly.

If my temperature is over 38 Degrees Celsius, can a CapeNature official deny me entry to enter the reserve?

No visitors will be allowed entry, if their temperature is over 38 Degrees Celsius, as this is regarded as a “fever”.

My questions have not been answered, how do I log my query?

For enquiries, please contact the Customer Call Centre at info@capenature.co.za. For urgent enquiries call us on 087 087 8250.

We look forward to welcoming you back into our reserves.

 

Published in Eco-Tourism

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