Virtuoso Africa Safaris – Terms of Service
Dear Client, you will see that we have comprehensive terms of service, as we try to cover all issues relating to your holiday. As you know from our terms and conditions (a copy of which I give below), our terms and conditions require that at the time of booking, all gorilla permits need to be purchased or a deposit equivalent to 40% of the cost of a safari paid, whichever is higher, both to buy the permits and to get a commitment from clients/agents to the purchase of their safaris. For all bookings therefore, we would need the full deposit to be paid at time of booking and balance 60 days to departure, as our terms state.
INTRODUCTION: We always want to be helpful and respect agents’ methods of working. If for some reason clients do not travel after you have paid the deposit, we would then discuss exactly what we do about the deposit. The cost of permits is only refunded if we get the refund from the park authorities. For the remainder of the money, we would be as helpful as possible although our approach will depend on the exact circumstances. Hope that reassures you about your travel with us!
Our terms and conditions of service
GENERAL: Virtuoso Africa Safaris (the company) organizes safaris in Uganda, in Rwanda, Burundi, Congo and in neighbouring countries. Safaris may be booked by our partners in Africa, Europe or USA and organized by us or by our registered agent in Congo, Rwanda and Burundi. Please read the Terms and Conditions and the Travel Notes carefully as together they set out our respective obligations and form the basis of your contract with us.
In these terms and conditions, “you” means all persons named on the booking (including anyone who is added or substituted at a later date) and “we” and “us” means Pinnacle Africa Safaris. These terms are amended from time to time due to changing circumstances; the terms at the time of booking are the terms that are valid. Conditions in Africa are not the same as those in developed countries and standards of service, medical facilities, safety and security may often be lower than those in your home countries. Please note that it is the laws and regulations of the country in which services are provided which apply to your holiday arrangements and not those of your home country.
ACCURACY OF INFORMATION: The descriptions, information and opinions given by us in respect of national parks, animal sightings, accommodation, itineraries, gorilla permits and security are given in good faith, based on the latest information available to us. Every care has been taken to ensure the accuracy of the information provided. We cannot accept any responsibility or liability for any errors or omissions caused by matters beyond our control.
CANCELLATIONS BY US: Occasionally we have to cancel confirmed bookings. We always endeavour to avoid cancelling, but we must reserve the right to do so. We shall not cancel your confirmed holiday less than 30 days before departure unless you fail to make all payments due in full and on time or we are forced to do so as a result of unusual and unforeseeable circumstances beyond our control, the consequences of which we could not have avoided even with all due care.
If we cancel your holiday (except where you have failed to make payment or as a result of force majeure) we shall offer you the choice of purchasing an alternative holiday from us of a similar standard to that originally booked if available. If the chosen alternative is less expensive than your original holiday we shall refund the difference but if it is more expensive, we shall ask you to pay the difference.
Alternatively you are entitled to a full refund of all monies you have paid to us save that paid for gorilla permits which can only be refunded if the refund has been made available to us by the government Authority concerned. Except where we cancel for reasons other than those mentioned in this clause, we shall have no further liability to you. We regret we cannot pay any expenses, costs or losses incurred as a result of any cancellation. If we cancel for a reason that is not mentioned in this clause, we shall pay a maximum compensation of $100 depending on the circumstances.
We reserve the right, without prior notice, to terminate the holiday of any person in your party if, in our opinion or in the opinion of any other person in authority, the persons concerned behave in such a way to cause or be likely to cause danger, annoyance or distress to any third party or damage to property.
In this situation, the person(s) concerned will be required to leave the accommodation or other service immediately. We shall have no further responsibility towards such person(s). No refunds will be made and we shall not pay any expenses or costs incurred as a result of the termination.
CANCELLATIONS BY YOU: Should you or any member of your party be forced to cancel, you must advise us or your travel agent in writing. A cancellation is not effective until we receive a copy of your written notice. To cover our estimated loss caused by the cancellation and as we may be unable to resell your holiday, cancellation fees, excluding insurance, will be levied per person as follows:
Period before departure Cancellation charge
(as percentage of total price paid where applicable)
More than 45 days Deposit
44 days – 15 days 50%
Less than 14 days 100%
COMPLAINTS: Complaints must be reported immediately to our representative and to the supplier of the service(s) in question, who will do their best to resolve any problem. If you remain dissatisfied, a written report should be submitted to the Safari manager in Kampala as soon as possible after the incident and not later than 28 days after completion of your holiday, to enable us to investigate them fully. Regrettably, liability for any complaints not notified in accordance with this procedure cannot be accepted.
FORCE MAJEURE: We regret we cannot accept liability or pay compensation where the performance or proper performance of our obligations is prevented or affected by any event which we or the supplier of the service(s) in question could not, even with all due care, foresee or avoid. Such events include war or threat of war, riots, civil strife, border closures, unexpected government acts, terrorist activity, industrial disputes, natural or nuclear disaster, extreme weather conditions, fire, technical and/or mechanical problems to transport, road closures, disease and all similar events beyond our control.
GORILLA PERMITS: Only when payment has been received can permits for gorilla tracking in the relevant National Park be purchased. Getting a gorilla permit is not a guarantee of seeing a gorilla. Local conditions sometimes mean that access to the gorillas is made impossible at short notice. We are unable to accept liability for any circumstance that might lead to gorilla viewing being cancelled, whether it is closure of the National Park or borders; absence of the gorillas; security changes. Refunds are at the discretion of the relevant authority (Uganda Wildlife Authority in Uganda, UWA; Office Rwandais du Tourisme et Parcs Nationaux, ORTPN; or Institut Congolais pour la Conservacion de la Nature, ICCN in Congo) and we cannot accept liability for them. We shall use our maximum endeavours to obtain a refund and if a refund is paid by the relevant authority, we shall pass it on to the client,
INSURANCE: Your attention is drawn to the section in the Travel Notes regarding insurance. It is a condition of booking that you must have appropriate insurance for the type of holiday being taken with us. Such insurance should fully cover personal injury, medical expenses, death, repatriation in the event of accident or illness or death, cancellation or curtailment of the holiday by either side and loss of, damage to, or theft of the clients’ personal property. Activities with a greater inherent risk, such as mountaineering, animal tracking on foot, vehicle accidents, theft and/or loss of property, white-water rafting should be covered. Evacuation cover is provided for clients doing mountain climbing in the Rwenzoris.
JURISDICTION: The principal company is incorporated in the Republic of Uganda and it operates under the laws of Uganda. Your contract with us and matters arising out of it will be governed by the laws of Uganda, save for contracts made through our associated agents abroad or in any other country, which will be governed by the laws of those countries.
LIABILITY: We shall make every reasonable effort to ensure that (a) all component parts of the holiday are supplied as described in the brochure and to a reasonable standard; and (b) our employees, agents, suppliers and sub-contractors exercise due care in carrying out our obligations under the contract. We accept responsibility for what our employees, agents, suppliers and sub-contractors do or do not do (provided they were at the time carrying out work authorised by us).
If any part of your holiday is not provided as advertised or otherwise communicated and to a reasonable standard, we shall pay you appropriate compensation if your enjoyment of the holiday has been affected and you have followed the complaints procedure set out in these terms and conditions. This acceptance of responsibility is subject to the clause relating to “Force Majeure” above and these Terms and Conditions generally.
Our maximum liability in respect of complaints (except where death, personal injury or illness results, or where claims relate to loss or damage to possessions or luggage, which are dealt with below) is limited to an amount equal to the cost paid by or on behalf of the person affected for the relevant services. The maximum amount will only be payable where the person affected has derived no benefit from the holiday and none of the services contracted have been provided. Liability for loss or damage to luggage or personal possessions (including money) will be compensated to a maximum of US$30 on the basis that the client is assumed to have taken out adequate insurance cover in respect of such losses at the time of booking.
We will take all due care to prevent your death, injury or illness being caused by the animal or insect life of the destinations. It is your responsibility to take proper medical and practical precautions in this regard and your attention is drawn to the section in the Travel Notes relating to Health. Medical advice should be sought well before travelling.
Subject to these Terms and Conditions, we accept responsibility should you or any of your party suffer death, personal injury or illness as a result of any failure to perform or improper performance of the contract by any of our employees, agents, suppliers or sub-contractors (provided they were at the time carrying out work authorised by us) except in the following situations. We will not be liable where any failure to perform or improper performance was due to:
(i) the acts or omissions of a third party not connected with the provision of the holiday under the contract and which were unforeseeable or unavoidable;
(ii) an event which we or the supplier of the relevant services could not have foreseen or avoided even with all due care. Any claim must be notified to us in accordance with the complaints procedure set out above. Any person to whom any payment is made (and their parent or guardian if that person is a minor) must assign to us any rights they may have to pursue any third party in connection with the claim and provide all necessary assistance to us and our insurers that be reasonably required.
QUOTATIONS/BOOKINGS/PRICES: Please ensure that the quotation given with details of number of clients, dates, accommodation, transportation, permits, park fees and all other services to be provided is clear and accurate before confirming the booking in writing. All references to quotations in writing shall include reference to correspondence by facsimile and electronic mail. The price of your chosen holiday will be confirmed at the time of booking. We reserve the right to correct errors in both advertised and confirmed prices and will do so as soon as we become aware of any such error.
Once the price of your holiday has been confirmed, subject to the correction of errors, a surcharge will only be payable if transportation costs, taxes, accommodation costs or gorilla permits increase in total to over 5% of the holiday price. If you are required to pay more than 10% of the original holiday price, you will be entitled to cancel your holiday with the full refund of all the money paid to us except for any premium paid for insurance and fees paid for gorilla permits. Should you decide to cancel under these provisions, you must exercise your right to do so within 14 days of notification to you of the surcharge. We reserve the right to increase or decrease the prices of unsold holidays at any time.
PAYMENT: At the time of booking you must confirm acceptance of these terms and conditions and pay a deposit of 25% of the price of your holiday including fees for gorilla permits. (See also section on gorilla permits.) If written acceptance is not received from you, we shall assume acceptance of the Terms and Conditions. The balance must be paid in full not later than 45 days before departure. Bookings made within 30 days of departure must be paid in full at the time of booking. All monies you pay to one of our authorized agents for your holiday with us will be held by the agent on our behalf until it is paid to us or refunded to you.
SAFARI TERMS: Prices INCLUDE airport transfers; accommodation; meals as stated; the services of an English-speaking driver/guide and a safari vehicle; porterage of two items of baggage per person; boat trips; park fees; gorilla and chimpanzee permits where appropriate. Prices EXCLUDE all items of a personal nature such as entry visas, tips, telephone calls, laundry, gifts, airport taxes and all drinks. In Kampala, Entebbe, Kigali or Burundi the prices include bed and breakfast only. On safari the prices cover full board. The company reserves the right to vary the safari services agreed with the client in the event of unforeseen circumstances, such as road closures, bad weather, problems with national parks or hotels, security considerations. In such cases alternative arrangements will be made as circumstances permit.
TRANSPORTATION: Every effort is made to ensure that vehicles are provided in a roadworthy condition but no liability can be accepted for breakdown, or any damage or delay. Our guides are instructed to follow our code of conduct for Guides (available on request), which you must not ask them to break in any way. In the event that a Guide does not follow the code, please inform the Safari Manager in Kampala. Company vehicles must only be driven by the company’s Guide whose decision on all matters, such as the route taken, is final. You will be liable for any damage caused to a vehicle by any interference by you with the vehicle, including legal costs.