Will South Africa be safe? The Holiday Guru solves coronavirus-related traveller queries
The Holiday Guru is always on hand to answer your questions.
This week his advice is directed at issues around visiting South Africa, travel insurance for UK holidays and Covid restrictions on camping.
Q. I hold a UK passport, live in Spain and visit South Africa each year for three months. In the past I have been granted a visa on arrival. Is this still possible?
David Harold, via email.
Serene: The Victoria & Alfred Waterfront in Cape Town, with Table Mountain behind it
A. Spain is not yet on the high-risk list of countries for South Africa; see dha.gov.za. This means you can visit under the visa-waiver scheme, but you will need a negative Covid test taken less than 72 hours before going.
South Africa reviews its high-risk list every fortnight, and the next update will come on Wednesday.
Q. My husband and I want to go to South Africa. As the UK is on the high-risk list, can we first travel to a low-risk country and enter South Africa from there?
Karen Jefferies, via email.
A. Yes. As above, you should be fine to enter from a low-risk country under the visa-waiver scheme, but you would need to prove you have been there for ten days: an airline ticket is sufficient for this.
You would also require a negative Covid test taken no more than 72 hours before departure. As Spain could soon be added to the high-risk list, Germany — with its lower Covid rates — is a better bet. There are regular flights from Frankfurt.
You should bear in mind, however, that the UK Government is currently advising against non-essential travel to South Africa. You would have to quarantine on return to the UK.
Q. My friends and I have booked a coach tour around Cornwall for June. We’ve been asked by the coach firm to buy insurance. Is this necessary as we’re in the UK and covered by the NHS?
Dawn Floor, via email.
One reader asks if it is necessary to buy travel insurance for a coach trip to Cornwall. Pictured is the Cornish fishing village of Port Isaac
A. Insurance is necessary for more than just health reasons. Lost or stolen baggage would be covered by most policies, as would delays caused by transport, the coach company going bust, or you falling ill beforehand and having to cancel, for example (though it is unlikely that Covid-related illness would be included). In such events, your cash would be protected. Just be sure to check the policy details carefully before buying.
Q. I applied to the Association of British Travel Agents (Abta) for a refund for a cancelled trip with Cruise & Maritime Voyages after it went into liquidation. I have supplied all the requested documents and, since early August, regularly asked for an update. Can you help?
Dave Atkings, via email.
A. Abta apologises, blaming the ‘sheer scale of enquiries’ for the delay; there have been more than 20,000 Cruise & Maritime Voyages claims. Your money will be with you on Monday.
Q. I plan to take a holiday to Crete in early November. Would you please advise on the current restrictions?
M. Reid, via email.
One reader asks the Guru to advise on the current restrictions around visiting the Greek island of Crete, pictured
A. Official advice is to avoid non-essential travel to Crete, but you can visit other islands where the risk is currently lower.
If travelling now, you would need to complete a Passenger Locator Form and you may be asked to take a coronavirus test on arrival. On return you’d have to quarantine. Visit gov.uk for details.
Q. Last December I bought a camping pitch for summer 2020, only to find there was no access until July due to Covid restrictions. Now we have been told there will be no rebate or extension. Can you help?
Richard Smith, via email.
A. How frustrating, as seasonal camping pitches can be costly (sometimes more than £3,000). The Camping and Caravanning Club has refunded fees on a pro-rata basis — other sites should follow its lead, in line with guidance from the Competition and Markets Authority. Your best bet could be with the small claims court or, if you paid on a credit card, try your bank for a chargeback.
WE’RE HERE TO HELP
If you need advice, the Holiday Guru is here to answer your questions. Email them to [email protected] — and include your contact details.
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