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Can I climb Kilimanjaro during the coronavirus pandemic?


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There are no bans or restrictions in place for travel into Tanzania. Commercial flights to and from the East African nation are in operation.

With international travel back in motion, many tour operators (including us at Twende Africa Tours) are once again in the swing of things and running Kilimanjaro climbs. Our mountain crew is fit and raring to go, and have already led quite a few groups of climbers to the roof of Africa since August 2020.
* We regularly update the information in this blog post to reflect the latest coronavirus-related news and developments pertaining to travel to Tanzania.
Robert, James, Roger and Andrew at the summit of Kilimanjaro this October!

The coronavirus in Tanzania
Tanzania, like many countries, closed its borders to tourists in early 2020 in a bid to slow the spread of Covid-19. For a while, there were no climbers on Mt Kilimanjaro. This hit mountain crews hard, as they had no work during this time.
Midway through 2020 Tanzania’s President John Magufuli lifted the travel ban, and the country has remained opened to foreign visitors since.

A quiet Kilimanjaro climb 
Climbers have been trickling back into northern Tanzania to attempt to summit Mt Kilimanjaro ever since Tanzania reopened her borders.
That said, the slopes of Kilimanjaro are still relatively quiet. For those eager for an uncrowded Kilimanjaro climb, the conditions right now are uniquely favorable. Even the usually busy routes up the mountain, like the Lemosho and Machame, are relatively empty.
Take a look at this short, inspiring video showing the unusually quiet climb experienced by our friend Nick while climbing Kilimanjaro in July 2020.

Get your Local Kilimanjaro guide!
All you need to know for a successful Kilimanjaro climb.

Tanzania and Covid-19 test requirements
Tanzania doesn’t require you to take a coronavirus test prior to flying into the country. That said, please be sure to check for any requirements in place from your home country, any transit country, as well as the airline (or airlines) you’re flying with.

Coronavirus testing near Kilimanjaro
If you require a Covid-19 test while in Tanzania, no problem. You can have a test done for about $100 at Selian Hospital in Arusha or Mawenzi Regional Hospital in Moshi (the two towns closest to Kilimanjaro and Northern Safaris). The current turnaround time for tests results is 72 hours.

We can organize testing for you!
We’re happy to arrange this test for you. We’ll also drive you there, of course, and organize to receive your results.
Please note, however, that the onus is on you to request a coronavirus test if one is needed. This means checking with your airline and home country to see if a test result is required prior to travel (as well as the timeframes involved).
Both Arusha and Moshi have hospitals where you can get a coronavirus test if you decide you need one
Safety precautions when travelling to Tanzania during the pandemic
The Government of Tanzania has put certain safety measures in place to help prevent the spread of coronavirus through the tourism sector:

  • All travellers are advised to wear a face mask that covers their mouth and nose (though this isn’t mandatory).
  • Everyone is advised to sanitize their hands regularly – and properly!
  • You are given a Health Surveillance Form to fill in on the airplane.
  • Upon arrival in Tanzania, all travellers will have their temperature taken in the airport – those with symptoms of the virus will be taken to a government-sanctioned hotel for a 14-day quarantine (at your own expense).
  • Kilimanjaro climbers can also anticipate temperature checks at their local hotel and at the gates to Kilimanjaro National Park.

If you’d like to know more, please read the Government of Tanzania’s Standard Operating Procedures for the management of Covid-19.

Face masks and hand sanitizer
Please bring your own protective face masks for your time in Tanzania. You won’t wear them on the mountain, as there’s already limited oxygen. But it’s a good idea to wear a face mask during your travels before and after the climb. Face masks aren’t compulsory in Tanzania, but we do advise wearing them, in keeping with the recommendation set forth by the World Health Organization.
While hand sanitizer is provided at most establishments and we provide it for you during our climbs, we still recommend having your own personal hand sanitizer that you carry with you at all times.

How Twende Africa Tours is protecting staff and climbers from the virus
Safety has always been a top priority with Twende Africa Tours. Accordingly, all of our Tanzania lead staff have undergone specialized Covid-19 prevention training. And we follow all of the new standard operating procedures set out by the Tanzanian authorities in terms of Covid-19 prevention. These measures include:

  • Temperature checks
  • Mask wearing (not on the mountain, as breathing is already too difficult at high altitude)
  • Social distancing (especially on the mountain, when face masks can’t be worn)
  • Regular hand sanitization

Twende Africa Tours climbers can be confident that we take all necessary precautions to protect the health of our staff and clients. Our cooks wear protective face masks when preparing your food. And we implement social distancing wherever possible – an easy thing to do when actually trekking!

“I climbed Kilimanjaro in October 2020 during the pandemic difficult times and it was a great break after being locked down for weeks in my home country (France). Tanzania is luckily a very safe place in this regard.” Steve,
For further client feedback, please take a look at our Trustpilot score and reviews.

Tanzania’s coronavirus statistics
As of June 2020, the Government of Tanzania stopped publishing official data on the number of coronavirus cases in the country. This means we do not have any coronavirus stats for Tanzania at this time.

Twende Africa Tours’s amended booking policy
This year has been a real doozy! So much has been (and remains) up in the air, making travel somewhat difficult to plan. We want to enable you to book your adventure with confidence. With that in mind, these are our assurances in terms of all existing and new travel bookings …

1. Flexibility
For all bookings, we’ve reduced the number of days before your departure that you must give notice in order to make changes. Our notice period was initially six weeks, but now it’s just three weeks. This means you can change your trip, for any reason, up to three weeks before your scheduled departure date. No hassle, no questions asked, and no charge. If you choose to amend your booking, you can select any new departure date. We’re very flexible, and will work on a case-by-case basis to ensure the best solution is found for you!

2. Support from your trip manager
Your dedicated trip manager is always on hand to help with any questions you have prior to your trip. We want you to feel confident and safe before leaving for your trip. Your trip manager is always up to date on local travel regulations and restrictions, and so is equipped to guide you through your travel process as smoothly as possible.

3. Reduced booking deposit
To give you even further confidence to book, we’ve reduced our booking deposit amount by half. It was $5250 and is now just $100.

4. Financial protection
Rest assured that your money is protected when you make a deposit with Twende Africa Tours. We don’t sub-contract, which means that the money you spend with us, stays with us.

5. Small groups
Our travel groups are always small. This offers security, access, camaraderie, and a better connection with your destination. For social distancing efforts its a real plus. If you want it to be just you and your mates, chat to us for more information about making your trip private!

6. Want your own room? We got you!
If you’re joining one of our small group trips on your own, good on you! Solo travelling is all the rage right now. It’s up to you if you want to have your own room or share with someone else. If you do opt to share a room, your roommate won’t change for the entire journey to support social distancing efforts.
As always, please feel free to contact us at any time! We’d love to connect with you and talk adventure travel.

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