Coronavirus in Tanzania
“Can I Climb Kilimanjaro During the Coronavirus Pandemic? COVID-19 in Tanzania (Updated May 18, 2020)“
On May 17, 2020, Tanzania’s President John Magufuli announced that there would be no more restrictions against travelers coming to the country. He called for the airlines to resume flights into Tanzania immediately.
Previously, the government subjected foreigners to a mandatory 14 day quarantine, effectively eliminating tourism for the East African destination for mountain climbing and safaris. This measure has now been lifted.
The high season for tourists normally begins in July and lasts until October. However, it is estimated that the country will experience a 76% drop in visitors this year due to the novel coronavirus. Employment in the tourism industry is expected to fall from 623,000 jobs to 146,000 jobs.
The Ministry of Natural Resources and Tourism released National Standard Operating Procedures for management of the COVID-19 threat. The comprehensive seven page document detailed the rules put in place to continue operations while at the same time protecting visitors.
Who’s Responsible for Your Safety on Mount Kilimanjaro? You Are.
To be a top Kilimanjaro operator, one must be focused on safety.
After all, being at extremely high altitude has its risks. And leading people up the mountain, some of whom have little to no experience in the outdoors, means the outfitter is required to look after their clients.
We at Karibu Adventure put our client’s safety first. More than anything, we want everyone to come home in good health. You might even say we go overboard with safety. Therefore, the precautions we take are very, very robust.
Every climb is staffed with a team of professional guides. Because we handle over 1,000 climbers per year, our guides have extensive experience in the field. They have seen everything and know how to prevent, detect, and treat altitude related illnesses. And because there is approximately one guide to every three clients on our trips, we have enough eyeballs on the climbers at all times to observe and evaluate everyone throughout the trek.
What are the guides looking at? Many things.
- Are you finishing meals or hardly eating?
- Are you asking for water refills or barely drinking?
- Are you strong on the trail or laboring through?
- Are you stable on your feet or losing balance?
- Are you breathing normally or out of breath?
- Is your personality the same or has your behavior changed?
Additionally, twice daily, our guides conduct health checks. Using a pulse oximeter, they measure oxygen saturation and pulse rate. Also, they administer a questionnaire to evaluate whether someone has symptoms of altitude sickness and their severity. Taken as a whole, our guides can make a reasonable determination on whether someone should or should not continue climbing.
Some of the items included in the procedures include:
- thermal screening for arriving passengers
- all contact surfaces are cleaned and sanitized on a regular basis
- staff members must wear personal protective equipment (PPE) when attending to guests and servicing guest areas
- hand washing and sanitizing facilities must be provided to guests and staff
- staff members should maintain a distance from one another and from guests
Our staff on Mount Kilimanjaro are required to take extra precautions when packing, transporting, and preparing food and equipment for climbers. The number of staff who interact with guests and the frequency of those interactions will also be limited accordingly.
Rescheduling Trips Due to Coronavirus (COVID-19)
Due to the travel concerns, Karibu Adventure has implemented a new policy regarding the cancellation of trips which will remain in effect as long as the coronavirus pandemic continues.
The policy is as follows:
- Clients can defer their trips for up to 12 months from the original trip start date with no fees, provided notification is given at least 30 days prior to the trip start date.
- Between 14 and 30 days, there is a $50 fee per person to reschedule a climb and a $100 fee per person to reschedule a safari.
- Within 14 days, there are no cancellations.
This new policy supersedes the old terms, which stated that trip dates were firm. The intent is to offer some flexibility to our clients to adapt to rapidly changing and ongoing events.
Coronavirus in Tanzania
The coronavirus, or COVID-19, was officially declared a pandemic on March 11, 2020 by the World Health Organization (WHO). The outbreak was declared a global health emergency in January 2020.
As of May 18, 2020, more than 318,000 people globally have died from the coronavirus, with over 4,800,000 infections confirmed. Every country in Africa has reported cases of coronavirus totaling more than 84,000 cases and 2,764 deaths.
The first confirmed case of coronavirus appeared in Tanzania on March 16, 2020. Since then, the number of cases has grown not unlike the rest of the world has experienced.
As of May 18, 2020, Tanzania has had 509 cases of coronavirus and 21 COVID-19 related deaths.
This interactive site created by researchers at Johns Hopkins University shows the confirmed cases, deaths and number who have recovered.
Karibu Adventure would like to remind our clients that travel insurance is mandatory to participate on our trips. Our preferred provider is Travel Guard. Travel Guard has published Frequently Asked Questions Regarding Coronavirus and Travel Insurance that explains what is and is not covered by their policies.
Fear of travel due to coronavirus is not covered by standard travel insurance policies. However, Travel Guard offers Cancel for Any Reason coverage that will reimburse a percentage of your trip cost if you cancel for any personal reason. Unfortunately, this option is available only at the time of purchase and within a specified time frame (ie. 14 days) of booking your trip. So if this time has elapsed or you already purchased your travel insurance, it cannot be added. We encourage new clients obtain Cancel for Any Reason coverage when they book.
Finally, we would like to express our gratitude to all of our clients who have continued to book trips, are currently traveling with us, or are scheduled to travel with us in the coming months.
During these trying times, we count on your business more than ever to remain the #1 guide service on Mount Kilimanjaro.
From all the guides, porters and staff at Karibu Adventure, we thank you for choosing us.