27 March 2020: Summary of Current Events – Covid-19 Southern Africa

Activities and Entertainment

Featherbed Closure

The South African Government’s decision to declare a National Disaster has resulted in the Featherbed Company’s decision to temporarily suspend all Featherbed Eco Tours and Lagoon Cruises as well as trading at Cruise Café Restaurant until further notice.

Hluhluwe-iMfolozi Game Reserve Closed

Hluhluwe-iMfolozi Game Reserve has closed until further notice.

Shearwater Operations – Suspended

After careful deliberation amongst stakeholders and senior management, in this rapidly changing pandemic environment, it has been decided to close all Shearwater operations from 01 Apr 20.  The key reason for this decision is the health and safety of our staff, guests, families and local communities.  We anticipate this closure will continue until 01 Jul 20 but a decision to reopen will be guided by the advice of the Zimbabwe Ministry of Health and the World Health Organisation, the removal of travel restrictions and the resumption of air travel to our destination.  If circumstances change Shearwater can be fully operational within 24 hours.

Companies and Divisions that will be affected are:

  • Shearwater Explorers Village.
  • The Rainforest Café and shop.
  • Shearwater Cruises.
  • Shearwater Rafting & Jetboat.
  • The Bungee operation in Zimbabwe and Zambia.
  • Zambezi Helicopter Company.
  • Shearwater transport in Zimbabwe and Zambia.
  • All Tours and Game-drives
  • Shearwater Aviation Services in Zimbabwe and Zambia.
  • Chobezi.


Emirates – Flights Suspended

As per the UAE government’s directive, Emirates will temporarily suspend all passenger services for two weeks starting from 25 Mar 20.

Some Passenger Air Travel Banned

Airports Company South Africa (Acsa) has – together with other aviation authorities – implemented air travel restrictions as detailed by the Minister of Transport, Fikile Mbalula, in the International Air Services (Covid19 Restrictions on The Movement Of Air Travel) Regulations, 2020.  The regulations, published today (March 20), ban passenger air travel from countries deemed high risk as per the President’s National Disaster declaration on Sunday (March 15).  Countries affected are: South Korea, Italy, Spain, Iran, Germany, and United State of America, Switzerland, the United Kingdom, France and China.

An Acsa spokesperson said the following measures were being implemented:

  • Should an airline from a high-risk country land in South Africa Air Traffic Navigation Services (ATNS), together with Acsa, will redirect the affected aircraft to a remote parking apron and the relevant authorities will be notified.
  • Foreign nationals from high risk countries will not be allowed to disembark the aircraft.
  • Inbound crew will be screened and quarantined.
  • South African citizens returning from high-risk countries will be clinically assessed and immediately quarantined.

The following Acsa airports will manage scheduled flights from high risk countries – OR Tambo International Airport, Cape Town International Airport and King Shaka International Airport.

Charter operators will be re-routed to international airports:

  • OR Tambo International Airport
  • King Shaka International Airport
  • Upington International Airport
  • Bram Fischer International Airport
  • Port Elizabeth International Airport
  • Cape Town International Airport

Since the travel ban announcements, some airlines have already started cancelling their scheduled flights and have notified the affected passengers accordingly.  The travel trade is encouraged to contact the airlines for details related to specific flights.

Airlink Revised Schedule

The COVID-19 pandemic which has resulted in the temporary closure of many Private Game Lodges in the Lowveld, Kruger and Botswana combined with travel restrictions to and from Airlink’s important source markets which are under lockdown and travel bans, has resulted in a high number of no shows and substantial decline in demand for air travel.  Airlink will be making additional schedule adjustments further reducing capacity and frequency across its network.  These will commence during the week of 23 Mar 20.  “Whilst we have already implemented numerous schedule changes and suspended several routes, Airlink is still currently servicing more than 35 routes out of our 55 route network, said Airlink Managing Director and Chief Executive, Rodger Foster.  Airlink will temporarily suspend flights between Cape Town – Skukuza, Upington, East London and Maun and from Johannesburg – Nampula as well as from Nelspruit to Vilanculos and Livingstone.  For customers holding tickets for travel between 18 Mar 20 and 30 Sep 20 wishing to make changes to their travel dates, Airlink will facilitate one free date change to their reservation, for new dates of travel between 18 Mar 20 and 31 Dec 20, subject to Airlink’s standard terms, conditions and fare rules.

Rovos Rail Suspends Services

In view of Covid-19 Rovos Rail have suspended all services until end Apr 20.

British Airways, Comair and Kulula Suspend Flights

In line with the directive from President Ramaphosa, Comair is suspending all its British Airways (operated by Comair) and kulula.com flights, effective 26 Mar 20.  They will resume with their scheduled flights, Sun 19 Apr 20.

Ashtons Transport

Due to the nationwide Lockdown announced by President Cyril Ramaphosa on 23 March, as well as the devastating impact of the COVID-19 virus on local & international travel, Ashtons regrets to announce the suspension of all daily shuttle departures during the period 27 Mar 20 to 30 Apr 20.

Air Namibia Suspension of Flights

Air Namibia have temporarily suspended all flights, both regional and domestic.  This will take effect 27 Mar 20 until Apr 20.

Property Updates

theLAB Collection Closure

theLAB Collection have decided to close with immediate effect until further notice.  They are anticipating a closure for at least 6 – 8 weeks until Jun 20 and will have staff remaining on site available for all questions over phone and email.

Mongena Private Game Lodge Closure

Mongena Private Game Lodge will temporarily suspend operations from 23 Mar 20 for a period of 8 weeks.  Emails will be monitored during office hours Monday – Friday for enquiries.

Mlilwane Wildlife Sanctuary – Rest Camp – Closure

After potential exposure to Covid-19, Mlilwane Wildlife Sanctuary – Rest Camp has closed until further notice.

Ellerman House – Closure

This week Ellerman House close their doors on a temporary basis until further notice in our attempt to do as much as we can to slow the spread of the COVID-19 Virus and to fulfil our civic duty by acting responsibly and in accordance with our President’s guidelines.

Sun International – Closures

The following Sun International properties and facilities are closed.  Sun City is also not accepting any day visitors until further notice.

Bush Bungalows, Cabanas (including pool bar) and Cascades Hotels
The Shebeen
Lily Asian Kitchen
Casino Bar (Prive)
Sundowner Bar (non-smoking casino)
Luma Bar and Lounge
Bocado and Cascades pool bar
Peninsula Restaurant
Sun Central (kiddies play area)
Casino Creche

Ghoha Hills & Nogatsaa Pans Lodges Closure

Ghoha Hills and Nogatsaa Pans lodges have closed with immediate effect to reopen on 01 May 20.

The Andros Deluxe Boutique Hotel – Closure

The Andros Deluxe Boutique Hotel will be closing until further notice.

Kariega Game Reserve Closure

Kariega Game Reserve will close on 26 Mar 20 until further notice.

Africa Albida Tourism Closure

Africa Albida Tourism will close their properties and experiences on 31 Mar 20 and reopen on 01 Jul 20 (or earlier if able).  This will include Victoria Falls Safari Lodge, Victoria Falls Safari Club, Victoria Falls Safari Suites, Lokuthula Lodges – Victoria Falls and The Boma – Dinner & Drum Show.

Tswalu Kalahari Reserve Closure

Tswalu Kalahari Reserve will be closing its doors on 01 Apr 20 to assure a protected environment for all guests, residents and staff on the property.  Property is scheduled to reopen on 30  Apr 20.

Views Boutique Hotel & Spa – Closure for Maintenance

In view of Covid-19, Views Boutique Hotel & Spa have moved their annual closure from June to 25 Mar 20 until 27 Apr 20.

Amakhala Closure

In light of Covid-19, Amakhala will close their lodges as follows:

Woodbury Lodge : 25 March – 7 July
Woodbury Tented Camp: 25 Mar – 7 Jul
Bush Lodge : 25 Mar – 31 May
HillsNek Safari Camp : 25 Mar – 31 May
Safari Lodge : 24 Mar – 30 Apr
Quartermain’s Camp : 25 Mar – 30 Apr
Hlosi Lodge: 25 Mar – 31 May

Bukela Game Lodge: 25 Mar – 30 Apr


Fairlawns Boutique Hotel & Spa – Closure

The Fairlawns Boutique Hotel & Spa will be closing on 26 Mar 20 and re-opening on 01 May 20.

Winchester Mansions – Closure

In view of Covid-19 and the country shutdown, Winchester Mansions is closed for renovations until 02 Nov 20.

 L’Ermitage Franschhoek Chateau & Villas – Closure

In view of Covid-19 and the country shutdown, L’Ermitage Franschhoek Chateau & Villas is closed until further notice.

La Plume Guest House – Closure

In view of Covid-19 and the country shutdown, La Plume Guest House is closed until further notice.

Belvidere Manor – Closure

In view of Covid-19 and the country shutdown, Belvidere Manor is closed until further notice.

Elephant Plains Game Lodge – Closure

In view of Covid-19 and the country shutdown, Elephant Plains Game Lodge is closed until further notice.

The Port Elizabeth Hotel Group – Closure

In view of Covid-19 and the country shutdown, The Port Elizabeth Hotel Group is closed until 18 Apr 20.  Properties are Pumba Private Game Reserve, The Sands @St Francis, The Beach Hotel and Hacklewood Hill Country House.

Azura Retreat Boutiques – Closure

Azura Retreat Boutiques have closed until further notice with limited staff on the ground.

Delaire Graff Estate – Closure

In view of Covid-19 and the country shutdown, Delaire Graff Estate has closed until further notice.

Mont Rochelle – Closure

Mont Rochelle will temporarily close until 31 May 20 and will provide updates as available.

Ulusaba Private Game Reserve – Closure

Ulusaba Private Game Reserve will temporarily close until 31 May 20 and will provide updates as available.

Sun International Closure

Such is the urgent need to curb the pandemic, and the severity of the social measures required to do so, that Southern Sun support the call from our President to introduce a 21 Day National Lockdown.  With that in mind, Sun International has suspended all Hotel, Resort and Casino operations.

aha South Africa – Closures

AHA hotels and lodges within South Africa will be closing from check out on 26 Mar 20 until 30 Apr 20. This will allow all employees to return home and be safe during this period. The closure period will be reviewed during the lockdown and may be shortened or extended depending on the state of the region.  This will be communicated as and when it is required.

aha David Livingstone Safari Lodge – Closure

The David Livingstone Safari Lodge in Zambia will be closing from 01 Apr 20 until 30 May 20.

Legacy Hotels & Resorts and South Africa – Closures

Legacy Hotels & Resorts and South Africa will be complying with the South African Government request for a national shutdown beginning 27 Mar 20 until 16 Apr 20.  During this time, the following operations remain functional with essential staff available to assist.


Michelangelo Towers

Raphael Penthouse Suites

Manhattan Hotel – Closure

Manhattan Hotel is closed from 26 Mar 20 until 16 Apr 20.

Rainbow Group – Closure

Victoria Falls Rainbow Hotel and A’Zambezi River Lodge in Victoria Falls have closed, initially for one month, from 26 Mar 20.

Marriott International – Closure

Following President Cyril Ramaphosa’s announcement of a 21-day nationwide lockdown with effect from 26 Mar 20, Marriott International has closed their properties until further notice.

Samara Private Game Reserve – Closure

During the 21 day lockdown that has been implemented, Samara Private Game Reserve will be closed.

Hunter Hotels – Closure

Tsala Treetop Lodge, Hunters Country House and Gorah Elephant Camp are closed until 30 Apr 20.

Seolo Africa – Closure

Rhino Post Safari Lodge and Plains Camp @ Rhino Walking Safaris will be closed from 26 Mar 20 to midnight 16 Apr 20.

Wild Hospitality – Closure

Wild Hospitality will be suspending operations for all of their properties and service providers within their portfolio from 27 Mar 20 until further notice.  Properties included are Mongena Private Game Lodge, Little Mongena, Lions Rock Rapids Tented Camp, Lions Rock River Lodge, The Dunes Hotel & Resort, Sundown Ranch, Safaris Direct and Bakgatla Safaris.

Vineyard Hotel Group – Closure

The Vineyard Hotel Group will be closed as of today 27 Mar until the lockdown period has come to an end.

AC Hotel and The Westin – Closure

The AC Hotel and The Westin will be on complete lockdown with no services rendered as of today, 27 Mar 20.  They remain strongly positive that their doors will re-open on 20 Apr 20.

Tsogo Sun – Closures

Tsogo has advised that on 26 Mar 20, all hotels will be deactivated to meet the requirements laid out by the President – with the exception of those operating under the exemption requirements, servicing essential services as directed by Government.  At the end of this 21-day period, if regulations permit, a selection of hotels in various locations will re-open.  Details will be advised once known.

One&Only Cape Town – Closure

One&Only Cape Town is closed until further notice.

Bateleur Safari Camp – Closure

Bateleur Safari Camp has taken the difficult decision to close temporarily until 30 Apr 20.

Cape Royale Luxury Hotel & Spa – Closure

Due to Covid-19, Cape Royale Luxury Hotel & Spa will be closed from today until 20 Jun 20.

Mantis Hotels South Africa – Closed

All Mantis hotels in South Africa will be closed from midnight 26 Mar 20 to midnight 16 Apr 20.

Newmark Properties – Closed

All Newmark Hotels, Reserves, Lodges and Residences will be closed until 16 Apr 20.

Thanda Safari – Closure

In light of Covid-19 and the South African government decision to lockdown the nation, Thanda Safari will close its doors from 27 Mar 20 to 16 Apr 20.

Contact us at any time for assistance or further information.

Email: info@thompsonsafrica.co.za

Tel: +27 31 275 3500


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