Kilimanjaro and COVID – an important update for travellers to Tanzania
The death of Tanzania’s former President, John Magafuli, has also lead to a change in the country’s policy towards COVID – with consequences for those looking to climb Kilimanjaro or go on safari in the country…
Where Magafuli, who died from COVID aged 61, became famous for downplaying the threat of the virus, the current president, Samia Suluhu Hassan, has decided on a much more cautious and, if we’re being honest, sensible approach to the pandemic.
This week her government decreed three measures that travellers need to take in order to enter the country:
STEPS YOU NEED TO TAKE IN ORDER TO ENTER TANZANIA:
- All travellers visiting Tanzania will be required to present a negative COVID-19 PCR test certificate upon arrival. The test should be taken within 72 hours of their arrival into Tanzania
- All travellers flying into any of their international airports (including Kilimanjaro Airport) will be subjected to enhanced screening for COVID-19 including a mandatory rapid test (probably a lateral flow test). In all probability this will delay you from leaving the airport for at least thirty minutes; you will also have to pay US$25 for the privilege too, which must be paid in cash on arrival. The Government of Tanzania is also implementing temperature scanning for all international passengers arriving into Tanzania.If you are tested for COVID-19 on arrival, you may be required to self-isolate for 14 days.
- All passengers travelling to Tanzania must complete an online Traveller’s Surveillance Form. This form must be submitted no more than 24 hours before arrival.”You can find the form here: https://afyamsafiri.moh.go.tz/?mc_cid=58f295e72e
In addition to the above, the government also introduced one other restrictions for travellers from India only, where the Indian variant of the virus is wreaking havoc. If you are travelling to Tanzania from India then you will have to quarantine in a Government designated hotel for 14 days.
Other questions people are asking:
Is there anything I need to do in order to fly out of Tanzania? The above measures introduced by the Tanzanian government are in addition to the existing rules surrounding your departure from the country, which we have talked about in previous posts.
1) To fly out of Tanzania you need a negative PCR test, taken no more than 72 hours prior to your flight out. There are test centres in Arusha, Karatu (on the way to Ngorongoro Crater) and even in the middle of the Serengeti. The price for this test is US$100 (US$130 in the Serengeti) and you need to book and pay for the test online beforehand. Your tour operator will help you sort this out and, if they are as good as us, will take you to the test centre, sit with you while you take the test, and take you back to your hotel afterwards too.
So far the while testing process has, in our experience, been pretty smooth and all of our climbers have received their test results within 48 hours of taking the test, and so have been able to fly home. But you do need to remember, at least if you’re booking your trip for this year, to build in a few days after your trek and before flying home to give yourself time to take the test, and get the result.
What if I’ve already had two jabs and thus am fully inoculated against the virus? Am I exempt from some of these tests? At the moment, there has been no indication that those travellers who can prove that they are fully inoculated will be treated any differently. But we will, of course, keep you posted if there are any developments on that front too.