Covid-19: Tanzania Safari Safety Measures

Covid-19: Tanzania Safari Safety Measures

We understand that many people around the world are still dreaming and eager to travel to places and they would wish to start making plans. This is the right time to do that as there will be swamping of demands once the whole sky opens up again – Everybody will want to travel…

While we take your safety to heart, we can assist you in planning for your dream safari to Africa. We have given more flexibility on “Our Travel Policy” to allow our esteemed clients to plan their trips with us with less pressure as time goes by.

It is also our primary responsibility to update you on the progress of Covid – 19 in Tanzania so that you become aware of what has been happening since the time the world closed to date.

In December 2019 the world experienced an unexpected invasion of infectious disease caused by the SARS-COV-2 virus (Corona Virus Disease-2019 or COVID-19); the disease was declared by the United Nations World Health Organization (WHO) as a pandemic on 11th March 2020.

However, from the end of 2019 to date, the whole world and the tourism industry have greatly suffered from Corona Virus. From losing members of families to millions of people turned into jobless. It has been a year of being thankful when you got a chance of seeing a new day.

As the world is trying to recover from the death fear and other problem caused by this pandemic, things are slowly getting back to normal after the introduction of Covid Vaccines – There is big HOPE now than the initial days when this pandemic brought a state of panic all around the world. This means you will be able to travel again and enjoy your purpose of being in this world.

The United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) and the World Health Organization (WHO), through a joint statement issued on 27th February 2020 asked countries in the world that, their response to the outbreak of COVID-19 be measured consistently and proportionately to the threat posed for public health (put people first).

In recognition of the importance of health, safety, and security of tourists and the general public, Tanzania’s tourism industry has presented detailed protocols regarding control measures and procedures towards preventing the spread of COVID-19. The protocols referred to as Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) have to be adopted and customized by all tourism entities (companies, authorities, and other related service providers dealing with tourists) to prevent the spread of COVID-19. The Government institutions, tourism business operators, and other stakeholders are under instructions to continuously monitor advisories issued by the Ministry of Health, Community Development, Gender, Elderly, and Children (MoHCDGEC). Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) form a general guideline and have been based on the WHO and other international guidelines.

STANDARD OPERATING PROCEDURES (SOPs)

General Standard Operating Procedures

General SOPs refer to a set of step-by-step instructions to help all tourism operators in the tourism business value chain carry out their day-to-day operations during this time of the COVID-19 pandemic. General SOPs aim to achieve efficiency, quality output, and uniformity of performance while complying with the directives of MoHCDGEC, WHO and reducing the spread of COVID-19 infection in the country. The following are the general SOPs for the tourism sector:

  • Every tourism entity must appoint and adequately train a COVID-19 Liaison Officer who will be the point of contact with the MoHCDGEC. The COVID-19 Liaison Officer should keep abreast of health protocols and preventive measures and be updated on all designated approved hospitals for COVID-19 testing and treatment, medical clinics, and mobile clinics stationed across the country;
  • Every tourism entity should ensure that updated COVID-19 precautionary measures are continuously observed and communicated accordingly with international booking agencies;
  • Every entity must ensure that staff and tourists are aware and reminded to adhere to best protective and preventive practices against COVID-19;
  • Every tourism entity should ensure that all contact surfaces are cleaned and sanitized with approved disinfectants on a regular basis;
  • Every tourism entity should ensure that all staff use recommended protective gears when attending to guests and servicing guest areas;
  • Every tourism entity must provide handwashing and sanitizing facilities such as soap, sanitizers, and running water to both guests and staff;
  • Every tourism entity, place, or vehicles must display emergence shortcode 199 (Free call);
  • Every tourism entity should have in place thermal screening at entrance points;
  • Every tourism entity, mostly guest accommodation facility, must have in place an insurance mechanism for assisting guests to reach a designated hospital as approved by the MoHCDGEC or where possible to enable evacuation arrangements;
  • Every tourism entity must create a disposal mechanism for masks, and other protective gears that comply with recommended national health and safety standards and environmental considerations; and
  • Every tourism entity shall ensure the provision of a user-friendly environment for persons with disabilities.

Specific Standard Operating Procedures

The Specific SOPs are guiding instructions to specific tourism business operations aimed at achieving efficiency, quality output, and performance while complying with the directives of MoHCDGEC and align with WHO recommendations to reduce the spread of COVID-19 infections in their respective business premises and the country as a whole. The following are the specific SOPs for the tourism sector:

Standard Operating Procedures for Staff in Tourism Entities

  • All employees should be trained, exercise, and adhere to COVID-19 preventive and control measures as advised by MoHCDGEC including Maintaining a distance of at least one meter from one person to another whilst interacting with each other; Handwashing with running water and soap or use hand sanitizer; Wearing mask as appropriate.
  • Contact COVID-19 liaison officer while on duty if having any respiratory symptoms associated with COVID-19. If at home, call emergency shortcode 199 (free call) for further health care assistance

Standard Operating Procedures for Airports

  • All arriving flights must have Advance Passenger Information System (APIS) compliant so as to allow Airport Authorities to receive and interrogate the flight manifest for possible high-risk passengers and crews. Non-APIS compliant flights or airlines should be notified that their passengers and crews will be either subjected to MoHCDGEC (port health) pre-screening or may ultimately have their entry denied. However, passengers and crews showing signs or symptoms of COVID-19 will be directed to the medical team upon arrival for consultation.
  • Airlines should ensure that all passengers and crews are screened for Coronavirus prior to boarding the flight as they may be subjected to testing by the MoHCDGEC officials on arrival if the need arises;
  • Ensure that all airports have required equipment approved by the MoHCDGEC to assess passenger’s physical condition. Equipment such as non-contact thermometers shall be put in proper places in all terminals;
  • Ensure that posters with information about COVID-19 preventive measures are placed in the visible part of the passenger’s check-in area;
  • Ensure that enough disinfectant is placed at the Check-in counters and passengers’ waiting areas for passengers to disinfect their hands and that check-in areas are clean and regularly disinfected;
  • High touch areas such as armrests, seats/chairs, rails, wheelchairs, trolley should be frequently disinfected;
  • Ensure that all staff working in the areas such as security, check-in counter, boarding, immigration, restaurants, shops, health care, ground cleaning, etc., use proper protective gears;
  • Airports should as much as possible practice “physical distancing” during passenger check-in, transfer, and gate handling. This includes: Using portable boarding scanners for passengers where possible to avoid the need for personnel to handle boarding cards; Marking signs should be indicated in congestion prone areas and Arrangement of chairs in the waiting lounges as per requirements of MoHCDGEC;
  • Airport ventilation should be enhanced. Air-conditioning systems and natural ventilation in public areas such as terminals must be enhanced while observing local climate, terminal layout, and structure of the airport so as to improve air circulation within the building;
  • Security inspection in key areas such as document verification counters, baggage packing areas, baggage plates, hand-held metal detectors, and security screening facilities should be disinfected regularly, and hand sanitizers should be provided in screening isles; and
  • Service providers at airports to ensure compliance with Aeronautical Information Circulars (AICs) and Notice to Airmen (NOTAMs) as may be published and updated from time to time by Tanzania Civil Aviation Authority.

Standard Operating Procedures for Lake and Sea Ports

  • All arriving vessels must be Advance Passenger Information System (APIS) compliant so as to allow Port Authorities to receive and interrogate the maritime manifest for possible high-risk passengers and crews. Non- APIS compliant maritime vessels should be notified that their passengers and crew will be either subjected to MoHCDGEC (port health) pre-screening or may ultimately have their entry denied. However, passengers and crews showing signs or symptoms of COVID-19 will be directed to the medical team upon arrival for consultation.
  • Port authorities should ensure that all passengers and crews are screened for Corona virus prior to disembarking or boarding the vessel as they may be subjected to testing by the MoHCDGEC officials on arrival if the need arises;
  • Ensure that all ports have required noncontact thermal scanners in all terminals as approved by the MoHCDGEC;
  • Ensure that posters with information about the COVID-19 preventive measures are placed invisible parts of the passenger’s lounges, ticketing offices, and check-in areas;
  • Ensure that enough disinfectant is placed at the Check-in counters and passengers’ waiting areas for passengers to disinfect their hands and that check-in areas are clean and regularly disinfected;
  • Ensure that all staff working in the areas such as security, check-in counter, boarding, immigration, restaurants, shops, health care, ground cleaning, etc., use proper protective gears;
  • High touch areas such as armrests, seats/chairs, rails, wheelchairs, trolley should be frequently disinfected;
  • Ports and their public areas should as much as possible practice “physical distancing” during passenger check-in, transfer, and gate handling. This includes: Using portable boarding scanners for passengers where possible to avoid the need for personnel to handle boarding cards; Marking signs should be indicated in congestion prone areas and Arrangement of chairs in the waiting lounges as per requirements of MoHCDGEC;
  • Air ventilation should be enhanced in the lounge area and in the vessels. Air-conditioning systems and natural ventilation in public areas must be enhanced while observing local climate, terminal layout, and structure of the areas so as to improve air circulation within the building and vessel; and
  • Security inspection in key areas such as document verification counters, baggage packing areas, baggage plates, hand-held metal detectors, and security screening facilities should be disinfected, and hand sanitizers should be provided in screening isles.
  • In case a crew onboard a ship test positive for the virus while the vessel is in port, the port state authorities in collaboration with MoHCDGEC will decide on appropriate actions in consultation with the ship-owner.

Standard Operating Procedures for Ground Crossing Tourists

  • Tourists will be checked their temperature at Point of Entry (PoE) before they are allowed to enter the country and other tourist destinations in the country;
  • Tourists should adhere to COVID-19 preventive and control measures as advised by MoHCDGEC including Maintaining a distance of at least one meter from one person to another whilst interacting with each other, Handwashing with running water and soap or use hand sanitizer, Wearing mask as appropriate.
  • All travelers are supposed to provide trustworthy information for their destination including phone numbers and hotel for easy follow-up.

Standard Operating Procedures for Accommodation Facilities

  • Screening for guests/staff for the temperature at hotel facilities should be done at entry;
  • All accommodation facilities should frequently clean and disinfect surfaces in the workplace, such as workstations, countertops, light switches and doorknobs;
  • Dinning and breakfast facilities should limit the number of guests to adhere to the safe physical distance required;
  • All accommodation facilities should avoid buffet-style meal services instead opt for plate service or English service;
  • While serving guests social distancing as recommended by the MoHCDGEC should be observed;
  • Items that guests handle regularly must be sanitized regularly; and
  • In all places possible, clean with a set of disposable cleaning equipment.

Standard Operating Procedures for Tour Operators

  • All effort must be made by all tourism operators who are required to interface with guests, to protect themselves by using sanitizers, gloves and face masks or any other item(s) required for personal safety.
  • All tourism operators should maintain a safe physical distance with guests with whom they interact with.
  • All vehicles should be sanitized with recommended solutions between each transfer.
  • Surfaces and objects such as car door handles, seats, binoculars, or guide books used by guests during and after the tour are sanitized with a recommended disinfectant;
  • Immediately contact designated authorities of any suspicious cases.

Standard Operating Procedures for Protected Areas

National Parks, Game Reserves, Ngorongoro Conservation Area, Forest Reserves, and Museums
  • Screening for guests/staff for temperature in the protected areas should be done at entry.
  • COVID-19 Rapid Response Team and ambulance at different hot spots in the protected areas should be established;
  • Selected Health Centers in the protected areas should be enhanced to provide emergency services for COVID-19 cases;
  • All high-touch surfaces should be decontaminated with recommended disinfectant.
  • Bathrooms, toilet bowls, and basins must be cleaned regularly with approved disinfectant solutions and regularly sanitized. Where applicable paper towels/disposable towels and sanitary bins for safe disposal shall be made available for guests and staff;
  • All staff should use recommended protective gears when attending guests and servicing guest areas;
  • Hand washing and sanitizing facilities such as soap, sanitizers, and running water should be made available and accessible to both guests and staff;
  • All employees should be trained on COVID-19 preventive and control measures as directed by MoHCDGEC including: Maintain a distance of at least one meter from one person to another whilst interacting with each other, Handwashing with running water, and soap or use hand sanitizer, Wear a mask as appropriate.
  • Where applicable in public campsites, all tourists and camp crew should pitch their tents at a reasonable distance of not less than three meters apart;
  • Ensure that all cultural practices are performed while observing preventive measures such as avoiding shaking hands, hugging and touching objects;
  • Ensure preventive measures are taken during an exchange of artifacts and visiting designated cultural tourism enterprises.
  • Work closely with accommodation service providers and other operators of tourism facilities to ensure that safety procedures and protocols are observed as guided by MoHCDGEC.
  • Each camping site should not exceed the number of visitors and crews recommended.
  • Dining facilities provided in the camps should limit the number of guests to adhere to the safety distance recommended.
  • Ensure that visitor registration system for signing in and out observes social distancing;
  • Ensure that Information, Education, and Communication (IEC) materials about COVID-19 preventive measures are placed in the visible part of the entry point;
  • Ensure mountain climbing equipment are disinfected before climbing and all crew handling mountain climbing equipment perform handwashing with running water and soap or hand sanitizers; and
  • Weighing scales used for mountain climbing activities should be disinfected with recommended disinfectants.

Standard Operating Procedures for Mountain Climbing Operators

  • All operators should ensure mountain climbing equipment are sanitized or disinfected before climbing;
  • All operators should ensure that crew handling mountain climbing equipment perform handwashing with running water and soap or hand sanitizers before climbing;
  • The all-mountain crew should be trained and exercise COVID-19 preventive and control measures as directed by MoHCDGEC;
  • All food packing facilities and equipment should be cleaned and disinfected with approved disinfectants to avoid COVID-19 contamination;
  • All fresh food should be cleaned and packed under hygienic conditions.
  • All-mountain crews should maintain at least one-meter physical distance with guests whom they interact with;
  • All-mountain crews should be screened for temperature and where it exceeds normal body temperature (37.5 0C) should get medical advice prior to entering the park;
  • Weighing scales should be frequently disinfected with approved disinfectant to prevent contaminations;
  • The all-mountain crew should ensure bathrooms; toilet bowls and basins are cleaned regularly with approved disinfectant solutions; and
  • Where applicable paper towels and sanitary bins for safe disposal shall be made available for guests and staff.

Standard Operating Procedures for Public Areas and Transport

  • The Government of the United Republic of Tanzania assures guests, that the general public has been made aware of all precautions to be taken against COVID-19 and advises on the general public transport vehicles to adhere to the safety and hygiene standards as directed by MoHCDGEC; and
  • All guests are encouraged and advised to ensure that, they utilize public areas and public transport that adhere to the general standard operating procedures as outlined herein.

Some of the countries, including Tanzania have already opened their borders, allowing tourists and other businesses to continue while taking care of all the necessary covid-19 precautions as advised by the World Health Organization (WHO).

Sample Collection Centers for Covid Test

The Ministry of Natural Resources and Tourism in collaboration with the Ministry of Health of the United Republic of Tanzania has designated places where tourists can access the service of Covid – 19 Test while on safari before they leave Tanzania as an international requirement. This service is rolled out to the furthest remote places such as Serengeti National Park where the test can be done to assist those clients who wish to leave the country right away from such remote areas of Tanzania. Those who drive or fly back to cities like Dar es Salaam, Mwanza, or Arusha can use such services directly from the designated hospitals in the cities. Your safari guide will have all this information in hand to ensure that you are not stranded, and our company will always make such a plan ahead of time.

The international requirement of this test is to ensure that a tourist is tested and result certified within 72hours before she or he gets into another country. This has really smoothened operations in tourism immensely.

What if I fall ill while on safari in Tanzania?

The Ministry of Natural Resources and Tourism and the Ministry of Health of the Government of Tanzania collaboratively managed to set-up a containment and evacuation system for tourists in the Northern Circuit (Serengeti/Tarangire/Manyara/Arusha/Kilimanjaro). This has been achieved by converting four bush-ready Toyota Land-cruiser ambulances and a modern, tented medical facility in Seronera (Serengeti National Park) all of which are fully equipped to an international standard and able to handle COVID-19 cases (early stage).

Furthermore, there are medical evacuation organizations (such as AMREF Africa and the Flying Doctor’s Societies) in place to ensure that their services would seamlessly integrate with this system in order to evacuate those cases that require hospitalization to the nearest centers of medical excellence, such as FAME in Karatu, Arusha Lutheran Medical Centre or elsewhere.

All our clients are always given a Flying Doctor’s Membership to guarantee serious medical attention/service when the need be, when on safari with us. We do not take chances with any of our clients and this is traditional even before the outbreak of this pandemic.

Our Stance on Covid – 19

Maasai Magic Safaris would like to take this opportunity to also welcome you to Tanzania. Your visit doesn’t mean you are going to have an excellent experience only, it means a lot to the local community, especially those who depend on tourism 100%. This pandemic has taught us that traveling also improves the body’s immunity system. We recommend that our clients get a boost of their body immunity from the approved vaccines in their home countries and let the body do the rest while enjoying the world. Safety is paramount and we would like to ensure this with all our clients.

As a Tanzanian safari company, we have adopted all the government procedures and measures that will be applied to all our company operations to prevent the spread of this pandemic. We also work so closely with all the stakeholders (such as airports, immigration department, accommodation properties, parks’ managements, ministries of tourism and health, et cetera) in our chain of service to ensure that our clients have the best of experience in Tanzania and other countries that linked up with our services.

There have been trainings on the management of Covid – 19 all across the tourism industry as a prerequisite for tourism operations during this critical time and the time beyond.

Preventive measures on a Safari

Most of your safari will be spent in a vehicle (s) with our safari guide (s) and in the wilderness areas where there are fewer chances of interacting with many people. Wilderness areas are some of the best places that are safe from the pandemic.

When you are on safari, our safari guides will ensure your safety, from the moment you arrive at the airport to the day of your departure.

All our safari guides have been trained about the awareness of this pandemic as well as taking some recommended safety measures for preventing the spread of the virus. So they have a well understanding of Covid-19, from its transmissions, preventive measures to identifying the symptoms of the infected person.

Your designated safari guide will ensure all the precautions are observed throughout your safari as directed on the Standard Operating Procedures & Guidelines above.

Our vehicles have been equipped with sanitizers, extra face masks, water, soap, and a first aid kit. Before the start of your new trip, our safari vehicles will be sanitized with proper and recommended sanitizing solutions.

Each of our vehicles will have an electronic thermometer for temperature checks of our clients daily.

These guidelines listed above have been adopted by all lodges and camps that you will be staying in during your trip to Tanzania. To ensure your safety, we have visited all the camps and lodges that we have partnered with to check how they have adopted these procedures. We take our clients to accommodation properties that are also safe.

Our Travel Policy

Our company has made it more flexible for clients to book their safaris with us. You can book you safari well in advance but you are not compelled to send in your final deposit until 60days before the commencement of your trip. You have further flexibility that when you feel like you are not ready to travel, you can postpone your trip 35days before the start date of the tour to a later date.

Do you have more questions?

Maasai Magic Safaris would like to warmly welcome you to visit our beautiful country. If you have anything that you need to ask about this pandemic or anything else that will help you make right decisions for your dream safari, feel free to contact us and we will be happy to assist.

We are wishing you a very pleasant and safe travel with us!