How to travel safely to Tanzania on COVID

How to travel safely to Tanzania on COVID

With coronavirus travel restrictions easing, Tanzania has opened its borders and is fully prepared to welcome tourists again.

Leaving Home

Your international airline may have pre-boarding testing requirements. Please study the requirements of your airline and international airport(s) carefully. Most of our guests travel through Amsterdam and currently if you have a transfer in Amsterdam, you only need a NAAT (PCR) test result based on a sample that’s taken within 72 hours before arrival in Amsterdam. Please make sure to check the entry requirements of your final destination.

Tanzania’s vast open spaces and small safari camps make it an ideal destination for those seeking out remote, crowd-free travel experiences. With careful planning and adherence to protocols, it is possible to enjoy a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity and experience Tanzania at its best. Why at its best? Because safaris will be cheaper and the most iconic destinations will be far less crowded than usual. 

Arriving into Tanzania

Tanzania requires filling out a Traveler’s Health Surveillance Form within 24 hours prior to arrival. Follow this link: https://afyamsafiri.moh.go.tz/.  Once completed the traveler will receive a completion notification containing their Unique Health Code (UHC) which they will present upon arriving.

Additionally, all travelers are required to present a negative COVID-19 test certificate upon arrival. The test must be a Real Time Polymerase Chain Reaction (RT-PCR) test, with the sample collected within 72 hours before arrival in Tanzania.  Travelers in transit more than 72 hours will be required to be tested by rapid test upon arrival in Tanzania.  The rapid test cost is $25 per traveler.

All travelers entering Tanzania may be subject to enhanced screening for COVID-19 and a rapid test. The rapid test cost is $25 per traveler.

How to travel safely to Tanzania post-coronavirus

When you arrive in Tanzania you should know that while no mandatory quarantine period is currently in place, procedures such as temperature and health checks are now mandatory, social distancing is in effect and everyone is required to wear masks in designated places.

We believe these rules are a good thing as there is significant evidence from the World Health Organisation (WHO) that these precautions reduce the risk of infection:

  1. Maintaining social distancing.
  2. Washing your hands regularly and thoroughly.
  3. Wearing face masks.

Luckily, none of these safety measures will detract from the incredible experience of visiting Tanzania. Whether you are on safari in the Ngorongoro Conservation Area, experiencing the exhilaration of the annual Wildebeest Migration in the Serengeti National Park or relaxing on the white-sand beaches of Zanzibar – you are sure to have an idyllic experience.

Is it safe to travel to Tanzania yet?

The Tanzanian Ministry of Natural Resources and Tourism has left no stone unturned in their preparation to open the country’s borders safely post COVID-19 lockdown.

Tourism is an important industry in Tanzania. It contributes substantially to reducing poverty and safeguarding conservation. Thus, all the necessary measures are in place to make your trip to Tanzania as safe as possible. Did you know that a significant portion of the park fees you pay go towards anti-poaching and conservation programmes?

The government has put in place stringent policies to reduce the risk of Covid-19.

These measures seek to ensure that tourists who enter the country do not bring the virus into the country and do not contract coronavirus while in Tanzania. The policies are designed to ensure that Tanzanian service providers remain safe, whilst not negatively impacting on your holiday experience.

Our teams on the ground in Tanzania have assured us that they are adhering to the Covid-19 safety policies and view these as the ‘new normal’.

They have used the lockdown period to properly prepare their accommodation. All their teams have been carefully trained on the policies and procedures. Working through the procedures our partners have developed for the lodges, our team can see that many are even going beyond what is recommended by the Government to ensure the well-being of all visitors and staff.

What are Tanzania’s Covid-19 tourism safety guidelines?

In essence, what you need to know is that an enhanced screening policy is in place for all incoming tourists.

This includes a health questionnaire and temperature checks upon arrival. When in Tanzania you will be required to wash your hands frequently, stay at least 1-metre away from others, and wear face masks. Tourists are also asked to give information about their accommodation during their stay so that should the need arise you can be contacted. All tour operators have to follow the policies as part of their license to operate.

For more information read the detailed government document about health and safety for tourists and tourism providers

Here’s a short summary of the health and safety document:

  • Tourists need to apply for e-Visas before travelling.
  • At the borders, airports, banks and national parks, every person has their temperature scanned with a thermal scanner and must wash or sanitise their hands before gaining entrance.
  • Wearing a face mask is mandatory where indicated.
  • Social distancing rules apply.
  • Medical clinics have been set up with facilities specifically for tourists. Mobile and tented health centres have been established in the national parks and along the main tourist routes for the potential quarantine, isolation and initial treatment of any traveller if required.
  • Dedicated Covid-19 ambulances are stationed in tourist hotspot locations.

Must-do essentials, before you travel to Tanzania

Ready to travel to Tanzania? Hang on. Before you hit the road, it is crucial to take out travel insurance that covers you for Covid-19. Make sure you buy ‘cancel for any reason’ travel insurance, this will give you peace of mind if, for any reason, you need to postpone your trip. 

We also recommend booking flexible flights so that you can adjust your travel dates should you need to.

Similarly, make sure that the lodges, camps and hotels you book offer refunds or allow you to change your travel dates if needs be. The same applies to the tour company you book with–ensure they will allow you to make changes to your travel plans if necessary.

Get advice and help planning your trip

We understand that Covid-19 is a concern for everyone, so we will provide you with policies for the lodges and camps should you be keen to travel. This way you can be sure that you are happy with the safety measures they have in place before you book.

Now that you know how things will work in Tanzania post-COVID-19 lockdown.

Departing Tanzania

Prior to departing Tanzania, Covid-19 testing (PCR and/or Rapid Test) will be required for most travelers. Please study the requirements of your airline and international airport(s) carefully. Covid-19 testing costs (PCR Test $100+facility fees pp / Rapid Test $25 pp) are the responsibility of the traveler. As your tour operator, we will help coordinate proper test timing, location, and test payment.

PCR Test Procedures:

  • PCR Tests should be administered no more than 3 days prior to your scheduled departure.
  • Your Final Summary Schedule will indicate the date when your test should administered.
  • Scheduling – A2T will register you for your PCR test no less than 5 days prior to the test date on https://pimacovid.moh.go.tz/#/booking (for mainland / northern safari circuit locations) or  https://zanzibarcovidtesting.co.tz/app/home (for Zanzibar)
  • Testing sites will vary based on your specific travel itinerary
  • Testing Fee Payment (Mainland) – Once your appointment has been made, our staff in Arusha will receive your testing payment Control Number (unique number for each traveler). We will make the payment on your behalf and you will reimburse this cost to your guide ($100 per person – cash). Since test requirements are subject to change, reimbursement on site will be the most accurate approach.
  • Testing Fee Payment (Zanzibar) – Once your appointment has been made, we will forward your test scheduling confirmation on Zanzibar. Payment for your test on Zanzibar can be made directly the day of your test. Credit card accepted onsite. We are booking tests at Global Hospital in Stone Town which is $120 per person (inclusive of facility fee).
  • Facility Fee Payment – You will be responsible for the facility fee that will be paid on site. This fee will range from $10-20 per person depending on the testing facility.
  • Testing Procedure (day of) –
    • Masks are required at the testing sites.
    • Have your passport available for check in as well as payment confirmation (provided by your guide).
    • Sample collection will take place in the morning. Test collection hours vary at each site.
    • Please expect the process to take anywhere from 30 minutes to 1 hour.
  • Results – Once the testing process is complete and the certificate is ready, a notification with your results and certificate will be sent from the National Public Health Laboratory – Tanzania (covid19certificate@afya.go.tz) to the email address on file with A2T (usually in about 48 hours – check your junk mail). You may also check https://pimacovid.moh.go.tz/#/booking (for mainland / northern safari circuit locations) or  https://zanzibarcovidtesting.co.tz/app/home (for Zanzibar) for updates using your passport number to pull up your results. Please note that once the sample leaves the testing site, the testing site will not receive information about results. Should you have any concerns please ask your guide to contact the Regional Laboratory Technologist at +255 713 819 450 (Warda) or +255 715 361 518 (Nangai).
    • For travelers departing JRO, a printed copy of your test result will be given to you in Arusha. We will also email you a PDF of the certificate.
    • For travelers departing DAR or ZNZ,we will email you a PDF of the certificate.

 

Rapid Test Procedures (updated May 19, 2021)

  • If you are departing on an airline that requires a Rapid Test prior to boarding you need to arrive at your international airport of departure 5 hours prior to departure.
  • All international airports (JRO, DAR and ZNZ) have Rapid Test capacity.
  • Pre-registration is not required
  • Payment of $25 USD can be made in cash by depositing into the on-site bank.
  • Results are provided within 15 to 20 minutes of taking the test.
  • UPDATE: currently a Rapid Test is NOT required if you are just transiting through Amsterdam (AMS). You still need to be traveling with a valid NEGATIVE PCR test.

Common PCR Testing Sites in the Northern Circuit

  • Arusha Region
    • Arusha Lutheran Center Referral Hospital – daily
      • 50,000 Tshillings (approx $21.50)
      • You can request to have someone come to you to administer the test (this should be pre-arranged)
    • Mt. Meru Regional Referral Hospital – 8 am – 3:30 pm daily
    • FAME Medical Health Center – 8:30 am – 11:30 am daily
      • $15 USD (cash or credit accepted)
  • Mara Region
    • Seronera Airstrip (Musoma Regional Referral Hospital) – 7:00 – 10:00 am daily
      • 20,000 Tshillings (approx $8.60)
    • Kogatende Airstrip (TBD)
  • Zanzibar 
    • Global Hospital (Stone Town) – 7:30 am – 2:30 pm M-Sat, 8 am – 12 pm Sun

There’s always something exciting to experience on a safari in East Africa. If you can make the most of your East African safari by doing some pre-planning, you’ll have the adventure of your life!

Yes, a safari isn’t the most budget-friendly activity — but it is a once in a lifetime chance to see some of the most amazing wildlife and landscapes in the world. By following the tips and advice above you’ll be able to make the most out of your next safari in East African — all while saving some money too!