In Blog, Featured, Medical, Safety, Travel

We understand that the ongoing pandemic involving the novel coronavirus, COVID-19, has caused concern for clients who are booked on trips with us, or are considering booking trips with us. We realize there are those who might avoid travel during these times.

In light of the situation, Peak Planet will allow clients to defer their climbs up to one year from the original date. There is no fee to reschedule as long as we are notified 30 days or more prior to your trip start date. If we are notified within 30 days of your trip start date, there will be a $200 fee per person to reschedule. For safaris, we are restricted by individual booking terms with each of our partner hotels and tented camps. Therefore, clients may incur fees for rescheduling their safaris to cover our fixed costs.

The staff at Peak Planet would like to assure everyone that the safety and well-being of all our clients is very important to us, on and off the mountain. We hope to see you in Tanzania soon.

barranco campFREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

What is the current status of tourism in Tanzania?

Tanzania’s President John Magufuli declared that the country was open for tourism in May 2020. There are no travel restrictions for visitors who arrive from other countries, including no mandatory quarantines. However, thermal screening will be done at arrival points. Airlines have resumed flights in and out of Kilimanjaro Airport.

What precautions is the Tanzanian tourism industry taking during the pandemic?

The Ministry of Natural Resources and Tourism published detailed standard operating procedures for tourism staff, airports, ships, accommodations, and tour operators. These procedures outline common sense directives designed to reduce the risk of infection. These include the regular sanitizing of surfaces, washing hands, wearing PPE, and maintaining social distance. If a guest is found to be positive of COVID-19, arrangements will be made at the advice of the Rapid Response Team.

Please read the standard operating procedures to learn about the safeguards that are in place to reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission while in country.

What is Peak Planet doing to keep its clients safe from COVID-19?

Many operators, including Peak Planet, were involved in the creation of the approved standard operating procedures. We believe in the new measures and will comply with them.

Our mountain staff has been trained on COVID procedures based on World Health Organization (WHO) guidance and the Standard Operating Procedures (SOP) put forth by the Tanzanian government. Below is a brief outline of the procedures.

1. Upon arrival at Kilimanjaro International Airport (JRO), Kilimanjaro National Park, and lodging, clients will be given a temperature check. Individuals showing signs or symptoms of COVID-19 will be directed to a medical team for further consultation.

2. Our mountain crew will wear masks when they are in vehicles, at the park gate, and while they are at camp. Hotel staff will wear masks when interacting with clients.

3. Our mountain crew and hotel staff will maintain a distance of at least three feet (one meter) from clients. However, in dealing with a medical emergency, it may be necessary to be in closer proximity.

4. It is mandatory for all clients to wear a mask when traveling in vehicles and when in public places. Clients are required to supply their own masks. Medical masks (KN95, N95, surgical masks) and non-medical face coverings (cloth mask, neck gaiter, Buff) are both sufficient.

5. Clients are required to supply their own hand sanitizer. They should carry hand sanitizer on their person at all times and use it often, especially after any contact with another person, before eating, and after using the toilet.

6. Participation in a trip is completely voluntary. Clients acknowledge that they may be exposed to COVID-19 during the course of the trip and that there is a risk of infection.

All equipment will be disinfected prior to use. Our staff will wear PPE when in close proximity to our clients. The number of crew members who interact with a client and handle a client’s belongings will be limited. In addition, we have additional opportunities to maintain social distance on the mountain by offering single tents and rooms for single travelers, and serving meals in separate tents if desired.

What do I need to do if I decide to postpone my trip?

Clients may defer their climbs up to one year from the original date. Email us at info@peakplanet.com and let us know you intend to defer your trip. There is no fee to reschedule a climb as long as we are notified 30 days or more prior to your trip start date. If we are notified within 30 days of your trip start date, there will be a $200 fee per person to reschedule a climb. However, some portions or all of the costs for accommodations during safaris and Zanzibar extensions may be forfeited if we cannot get permission from the lodges to change dates.

What should I do if I want to go on my scheduled trip?

Unless you told us you wanted to defer your trip, we have you scheduled on your original date. But we would appreciate that you confirm your intent if we have not discussed it already. We want to make sure everything is in place for your Kilimanjaro expedition and Tanzanian safari. Note that balance payments are due 60 days before the trip start date.

What is the outlook of the pandemic in Tanzania today?

On June 9, 2020, the President declared that the country was free of coronavirus. However, similar to many countries, there has not been widespread testing. In short, these claims must be taken with a grain of salt. But at this time East Africa as a whole and Tanzania do not appear to be hotspots. We will continue to monitor the situation on the ground.

Is there anything else I need to know about flying to Tanzania?

The US Government requires air passengers to get a viral test within the 3 days before their flight to the U.S. departs, and provide written documentation of their laboratory test result (paper or electronic copy) to the airline. Airlines must confirm the negative test result for all passengers before they board. If a passenger does not provide documentation of a negative test or recovery, or chooses not to take a test, the airline must deny boarding to the passenger. Read more here.

The Government of the Netherlands requires people travelling to the Netherlands from a high risk area outside of the EU to present TWO negative COVID-19 test results – a PCR test and a Rapid Test. The countries currently on the EU list of safe countries are Australia, Japan, New Zealand, Rwanda, Singapore, South Korea, Thailand and China. Those flying from these countries are not required to present a negative COVID-19 test result.

However, this requirement applies to passengers traveling from the USA to the Netherlands to connect with a flight going to Kilimanjaro Airport. Many of our clients from the USA take KLM or Delta flights to Kilimanjaro International Airport (airport code: JRO), which normally have a layover at Amsterdam Airport Schiphol (airport code: AMS).  These travelers must comply to this regulation or risk being forbidden to fly. Read more here.

Be sure to regularly check the regulations surrounding travel for your home country as well as for flight connections pertaining to your international travel. We cannot be responsible for clients who are not allowed to travel due to failure to comply with travel requirements.

Can I get a COVID-19 test in Tanzania?

COVID-19 PCR testing is available in the two gateway cities from where we begin our Kilimanjaro climbs and safaris: Moshi (Mawenzi Hospital, KCMC Hospital) and Arusha (Mount Meru Hospital, Arusha Lutheran Hospital, Fame Medical Health Center).

Testing is also available in the areas we visit during safaris: Mayara (Manyara Regional Hospital), Karatu (FAME Medical), Serengeti (Seronera Covd-19 Sample Collection Centre).

There is also a testing center in Zanzibar (Emergency Response Unit in Stone Town).

PCR testing is considered the gold standard in COVID-19 detection. This test detects RNA or genetic material that is specific to the virus and can detect the virus within days of infection, even those who have no symptoms.

Currently the turnaround time for results can be up to 48 hours. However, on December 27, 2020, the Government Chief Medical Officer directed the health laboratory to improve the turnaround time to less than 24 hours. We will report if this occurs. The cost is $100 (USD).

The clinics are open from 9:00AM to 3:30PM on weekdays and from 10:00AM to 12:30PM on weekends. To schedule a test, reservations must be made online at https://pimacovid.moh.go.tz/#/booking.

Here are some translations of a few questions on the form:

  • Tarehe ya kuzaliwa – birthdate
  • Mwisha wa safari – destination of travel
  • Tarehe ya kusafiri – date of travel

Our staff will help you get to the PCR test sites and obtain the lab results if you need assistance.

There is no publicly available COVID-19 Rapid Test in Tanzania. However, KLM staff are conducting Rapid Testing for its passengers only at JRO, DAR and ZNZ.

Should I get travel insurance?

Travel insurance is mandatory for participation on our trips. However, during this time it is even more important for you to obtain travel insurance soon after booking to protect you from unforeseen circumstances. For US residents, we recommend Travel Guard’s Preferred Travel Insurance Plan with the upgrade for cancellation for any reason. For non-US residents, we recommend World Nomad’s Explorer Policy.

Are you taking new bookings for climbs and safaris?

Yes, we continue to book clients for trips in 2021. See Dates & Prices.

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