BOOKING TERMS AND CONDITIONS

The following Terms and Conditions, and our private policy and where you have booked your holiday through our website, the terms and conditions of our website use, plus any other pertinent written information that was brought to your attention before confirming your booking, is going to form the valid contract with Virunga Community Programs located in Goma Eastern Democratic Republic of Congo.

In this Booking Conditions, references to “you” and “your” encompasses the first named individual on the booking plus all individuals on whose behalf the booking was made and/or any other individual to whom the booking is transferred or added.

Through making a booking, the lead name (here the first person on the booking) agrees on behalf of other individuals detailed on the booking that:

  1. He/she is conversant with these terms and conditions, and he/she has authority and agrees to be bound by them;
  2. He/she is going to provide full and accurate information to other travelling party concerning the booking, including any alteration changes thereto;
  3. He/she undertakes to provide full and accurate information to other travelling parties concerning booking, and any other pertinent information;
  4. He/she undertakes full financial responsibility for booking payments for all individuals included on the booking;

Our responsibilities to you is going to depend upon whether (1) We act as Package Organiser for selling the tour or (2) as principals  in single-element booking sale (for instance lodge only bookings).

The following are set of our obligations.

  1. Booking Your Arrangements

A booking is considered made with us when a) to confirm to us you accept our verbal or written quotation; b) you pay the deposit and c) our company issues you with your booking confirmation. Note that Virunga Community Programs retains the right to return your deposit or decline to issue confirmation at its discretion.

A binding contract between you and us will come into existence immediately we issue you a booking confirmation confirming your booking details. If you have any reservations or queries about the details, you immediately contact and advise us within ten days of our sending out.

  1. Accuracy

Even though we try to ensure all the information and prices on our website and marketing materials are as accurate as possible, some changes may occur. We reserve the right to make adjustment on the prices and other details. Ensure you check and confirm current price plus other details.

  1. Insurance and Standards

Before booking with us, ensure you have relevant insurance including medical expenses, personal injury, death, and repatriation in case of illness, accident or death, cancellation of the holiday by either side. Activities with greater risk of injury should be covered.

  1. Cutting Your Holiday Short

When forced to cut your holiday short, we will not refund the cost of any unused services. Depending on circumstances, you should contact your travel insurance if they provide cover for cancellation or curtailment and make any claims directly with them.

  1. Fitness to Travel and Medical Conditions

We will take reasonable care to ensure that any disabled person is well catered for. Please ensure you inform us about your or any member of the travelling party disability before confirming your booking. If you or any member has any medical condition, furnish us with full details so that we can make suitable arrangements for you before confirming your booking. When we are not able to adequately accommodate the needs of the person(s) concerned, we will not confirm your booking. Failure to provide us with full details at the time of the booking will lead to cancellation of the booking and cancellation charges imposed.

  1. Behaviour and age restrictions

All guests that have booked with us should conduct themselves in acceptable manner and should not be some to the other guests. We reserve the right to terminate your booking when, in our opinion; we deem it that you are not acting in a responsible way. Your contract with us will become null and void in such events and we will have no further obligations to you and your party, and no refunds on accommodation or other services will be made. In case of damage to property, full payment must be made before departure.

Note also that:

  • Children under the age of 15 are not allowed to track gorillas.
  • Children under the age of 12 are not permitted at Home Stays.
  • Virunga Community Programs does not provide childcare services.
  • Children of all ages are welcome at Virunga Community Programs Activities
  1. Excursions

If you wish to make other tours while you are on holiday, this will not be part of your contracted arrangement with us but with the operator of the excursion tour. We will not be responsible for anything that happens during the course of its provision.

  1. Passport, Visa and Immigration Requirements and Health Formalities

Ensure your travel documents are in order. Check with your relevant Embassies or Consulates for your travel since requirements often change.

We will not accept any responsibility when you are unable to travel, or you incur any other loss since you have not complied with your travel or health formalities. You also agree to reimburse us concerning any fines or other losses that we incur because of your failure to comply with travel and health requirements.

  1. Complaints

We make every effort to ensure that your holiday arrangements run smoothly but if you do have a problem during your holiday, please inform the relevant supplier or representative immediately who will endeavor to put things right. If your complaint is not resolved locally, please contact us as soon as possible on:

  1. Delays, Missed Transport Arrangements and other Travel Information

Contact immediately your flight company for missed or cancelled flights, or if the flight, for any reason, is delayed for over 3 (three hours). You also contact us so that take necessary steps for your late arrival

A delay or cancellation to any flight or travel arrangement which you may decide to book yourself does not automatically entitle you to cancel any other arrangements that you have booked with us.

  1. Low Season Rates

Low season rates are valid on new bookings for accommodation bookings and safaris travelling in low season only, being 1st March to 31st May and 1st October to 15th December.

Low season rates (for accommodation only) are subject to availability.

Low season rates are only available on Virunga Community Programs accommodation and safaris to Virunga Community Programs hotel and lodge partners. Discounts will not be granted on any safari to 3rd party properties. Only one offer may be used on any booking and offers cannot be combined with any other offer or discount. Virunga Community Programs full terms and conditions still apply.

 12. Paying for your Safari, Package Holiday

To book your tour or safari you will need to pay a non-refundable deposit of 20% of the cost of the safari (or the value of your permits, whichever is greater). If you are booking within 45 days of arrival, full payment will be required at the time of booking.

The balance of the cost of your safari (including any applicable surcharge) is due not less than 45 days prior to scheduled arrival. If we do not receive this balance in full and on time, we reserve the right to treat your booking as cancelled by you in which case the cancellation charges set out in the relevant section below will become payable.

Please Note that: Gorilla permits can only be purchased upon receipt of deposit and are subject to availability.

  1. Pricing

The price or cost of travel arrangements is quoted (and purchased by ourselves) in US Dollars.

We reserve the right to amend the price of unsold holidays at any time and correct errors in the prices of confirmed holidays.

The price of your confirmed safari or holiday is subject to variations in:

(a) transportation costs including the cost of fuel; or
(b) dues, taxes or fees chargeable for services; or
(c) the exchange rates used to calculate your arrangements.

Such variations may include (but are not limited to) changes which are part of our contracts with transport providers.

  1. Changes by You to Your Holiday Package

Should you wish to change your booking arrangements after issuance of our confirmation invoice, immediately inform is in writing. Whereas we are going to do our best to help, it is not guaranteed by us that you will be able to meet the requested change. Where we can help, all the changes are subject to additional costs incurred by us and our suppliers. Where we are unable to assist you and you do not wish to proceed with the original booking we will treat this as a cancellation by you. A cancellation fee may be payable. If you are prevented from travelling it may be possible to transfer your booking to another suitable person provided that you give us a written document or confirmation. An administration fee will be charged, details available on request.

  1. If You Cancel Your Holiday Package

Should you or any member of your party wish to cancel your confirmed booking, you should immediately notify us. The cancellation notice is going to take effect when it is received by us in writing and effective from the date it is receivedSince we incur costs in cancelling your arrangements, you will have to pay the applicable cancellation charges up to the maximum shown below. The cancellation charge detailed is calculated as per the total cost payable by the person(s) cancelling excluding insurance premiums and amendment charges which are not refundable in the event of the person(s) to whom they apply cancelling:

                                                               Cancellation
Period before departure within which notice of Cancellation by you is received Amount of cancellation charge
More than 45 days prior to departure Loss of Deposit
44 to 15 days prior to departure 50% of total holiday cost
Less than 15 days prior to departure 100% of total holiday cost

We will deduct the cancellation charge(s) from any monies you have already paid to us. A 2% admin fee is charged on all refunds due to cancellations.

 16. Change and Cancellation of Your Travel Arrangement

We plan your travel arrangements several months in advance and circumstances may sometimes force us to make some changes or even cancel your booking. We reserve the right to do so at any time.

Changes: Should we make any changes concerning your booking, we are immediately going to inform you. Minor changes may include accommodation to another place of the same or higher standard.

Sometimes we may make major changes to your arrangements and we will duly inform you. These changes may include:

  •  A change of accommodation area for the whole or a significant part of your time away.
  •  A change of accommodation to that of a lower standard or classification for the whole or a significant part of your time away.
  •  A change of overall length of your arrangements of twelve or more hours.
  •  A significant change to your itinerary, missing out one or more destination entirely.

Cancellation: We will not cancel your travel arrangements less than 30 days before your departure date, except for reasons of force majeure or failure by you to pay the final balance. We may cancel your booking before this date if, e.g., the minimum number of clients required for a particular travel arrangement is not reached.

If we must make a major change or cancel, we will inform you immediately and if there is time to do so before departure, we will offer you the choice of:

  1. (For major changes) accepting the changed arrangements;
  2. Having a refund of all monies paid; or
  3. Accepting an offer of alternative travel arrangements of comparable standard from us, if available (we will refund any price difference if the alternative is of a lower value).

You must notify us of your choice within 7 (seven) days of our offer. Failure to do so we will assume that you have chosen to accept the change or alternative booking arrangements.

  1. Compensation

Should we make a major change or cancel less than 30 days before your departure, the following are our compensation schedule. But compensation is not limited so does not exclude you from claiming more should you be entitled to do so.

                                                                     Compensation
Period before departure within which notice of Cancellation or major change is notified to you Compensation payable per person booking
30 days or more Nil
29 – 14 days prior to departure $20
Less than 14 days prior to departure $40

IMPORTANT NOTE: We will not pay you compensation in the following circumstances:

  • Where we make a minor change;
  • Where we make a major change or cancel your arrangements more than 30 days before departure;
  • Where we must cancel your arrangements due to your failure to make full payment on time;
  • Where the change or cancellation by us arises out of alterations to the confirmed booking requested by you;

Should there be a cancellation or change, we regrettably cannot reimburse you for any incidental expenses incurred by you like as visas, vaccinations, equipment, transport, insurance or similar costs.