COVID-19: Is it time to start planning your Kilimanjaro trip once more?

It’s been a little while since we last updated you on developments in Tanzania. The reason being that there haven’t been that many developments over the past month or so.
However,  with the arrival of the first KLM flight for several months at Kilimanjaro Airport, we think it safe to say that Kilimanjaro is open for business once more.
Of course, things can change quickly, and there is no guarantee that there won’t be a second wave that will mean we’ll all have to go into lockdown again.
But for the moment, we are, tentatively, optimistic about developments in Northern Tanzania. The mountains – both Meru and Kilimanjaro – safari locations and beaches are now all open for travellers. But as you may be expecting, there are new rules that need to be followed.
As organisers of treks on Kilimanjaro,  as well as safaris on Tanzania’s Northern Circuit (Serengeti, Ngorongoro, Manyara, Tarangire and Arusha National Parks), trips to Zanzibar etc, we have a whole raft of new measures that we have to take in order to comply with the new legislation.
But we are very confident that, not only will we be able to comply with these new rules, but that the impact this will have on your trip ill be fairly minimal. In other words, apart from our crews and your hotel staff wearing face masks, and there being less contact between yourself and the crew, you should still have a holiday to remember too.
But there is also  one important rule that you will have to obey too if you want to enter the country…..

What do travellers have to do if they want to visit Tanzania?

The Tanzanian government require travellers to provide a negative Covid-19 test 72 hours prior to their arrival in the country. This can be free, or it can cost several hundred dollars, depending, of course, on where you’re coming from.

In addition to this requirement, travellers will, of course, also have to abide by any travel restrictions that are in place in their home countries, for most countries have some sort of quarantine rule for travellers returning from Tanzania. 

So what does the situation look like in Tanzania at the moment?

In all honesty, there is not too much happening –  yet – on Kili. Flight services have been patchy and changing constantly. (We have some clients who are due to come next month and in October whose flight schedules are changing regularly, sometimes by a few hours, sometimes by several days).
But as we said above, airlines are at least beginning to fly to Kilimanjaro Airport again. In addition to KLM,  who will for at the moment be operating four flights per week, and are advertising a daily service in October,  both Qatar Airlines and Ethiopian Airlines are look to follow suit.

Our advice

Really, the ball is now in your court. With the arrival of the first regular flight back at Kilimanjaro Airport, there are now no major obstacles to your Kili plans. 

You do have to get a certificate in order to get into the country, which is of course a faff. And you have to obey the quarantine rules and other laws that your own country has imposed if you want to be able to return home.  

But once you’ve organised that, and you’ve managed to get into Tanzania, well then we’ll pick you up from Kilimanjaro Airport, and take over the running of your trip from there – and you can just relax. 

Well, apart from the fact that you have to climb a really big mountain! 

Of course, there is still the possibility that the world will go into a second lockdown, even though there are many countries that haven’t emerged out of the first yet. And it’s a fair assumption that the longer you wait, the more likely it will be that COVID and lockdown won’t impact on your trip. So if you want to delay your trip until next year or beyond, well that’s a very sensible approach. 

Alternatively, of course, you can book a trip for this year, and, using our flexible approach to cancellations (where, as long as you let us know a month in advance that you wish to delay your trip, you’ll lose nothing), you can postpone your trip without penalty.