An outbreak that has no cure and cause yet to be known, one that has turned out to be a global pandemic claiming lots of lives, Corona-virus and its impact on the country are visible. Indeed the COVID-19 has had a significant effect on the tourism of Uganda and more so on gorilla tracking being the major tourist attraction in the country. Now in more than 152 countries, including Uganda recently means all precautionary measures have to be taken to avoid widespread. The major ban being on people from countries with high numbers of infected people like China, Italy, the UK, Iran, USA, Spain, German, France, Switzerland and North Korea
With many emails, phone calls and messages coming through for either cancelling or postponing of trips, this has left the industry on life support and many risking to run out of business with the government losing out a lot on revenue from the industry.
All travel into the country in and out has been cut off for at least 32 days until April 20th April 2020, meaning all trips that were scheduled between this time have to be either cancelled or postponed to a later date and after the April 20th 2020 the situation in Uganda and globally will be assessed to see if it’s safe for travel again.
With the confirmation of the virus in the country with 14 cases so far, there has been a ban placed on any visits to a primate in the country including, Gorillas, Golden monkeys and chimpanzees among other primates to prevent any chances that the virus can be transmitted to the primates. Primates have a very close DNA to that of Human being. As such, they can contract some of the diseases prone to human being and being that COVID-19 is flu-like and are some of the common diseases transmitted from humans to these primates the total ban to visit the primates until 30th April 2020 has been put in place to contain the situation.
As a company during the outbreak, we encourage you to stay home and stay safe as this is the only way we will be able to end this outbreak and also put a stop on the spread of the virus.
The main question on everyone’s mouth is what happens to my trip that I booked months ago? Well, sadly, you will not be able to travel for your trip as you had initially planned this trip, but Uganda Wildlife Authority has put in places measure to ensure that you do not lose out on your trip.
Trips that were scheduled during this time. Tourists have been advised to postpone trips they had planned to a later date when the situation has cleared, and tour companies have been encouraged to keep clients credit for the safari until when it’s safe, and they are ready to travel. And even then measure to safeguard both the clients and tour operators should be effected. Hand sanitizers in the vehicles and at the lodges carry face masks until it’s approved that the outbreak is entirely no more.
Gorilla permits reschedule. Good news only awaits, for those who booked trips during the outbreak and those that are uncertain if they will be able to make their trips before the outbreak ends have a chance to reschedule the tour when it’s all clear, and you can reschedule to as far as 2022. Before one could only reschedule once but with the uncertainty around the COVID-19 pandemic, you can reschedule the Gorilla permit twice. You can reschedule your gorilla permit at the same price as had secured it says those who bought permits for the period before 1st July when the price will be increased to USD700.00 will stay reschedule at no extra cost.
With the ban on travel in and out of the country, we will be able to manage the outbreak and we will encourage anyone who exhibits signs of the virus to take a precautionary test to find out your status. With the outbreak in place and staying how to take this opportunity to look at our safari packages and look out for one that suits you and send through an inquiry and book a trip for late 2020 or 2021, we are happy to work with you and we will manage these tough times together.
The Government has put up some precautionary measures for you to consider when planning to travel to Uganda after the travel ban is lifted.
Travel recommendations to the Uganda travel trade
Therefore the ministry and the country as a whole advises all those from affected countries that have planned trips now and in the upcoming days to either delay their travel or reschedule to a later date when the situation calms down. We will keep your credit and services postponed to when the time becomes convenient to travel again. More information that anyone intending to travel should put into consideration;
- All tour operators, travel agencies, and accommodation facilities provide handwashing facilities with soap at their premises and on-board travel vehicles and vessels.
- Uganda is currently under lock-down for 32 days until the 30th April, and the situation will be assessed to see if it’s safe to travel and once this is done then-new guidelines will be released to let you know how the situation will be handled.
- To improve preparedness as a sector, tour operators, agencies and accommodation facilities are encouraged to maintain a stock of recommended masks (N95) for their clients.
- All tour operators and travel agencies should encourage clients who intend to visit Uganda to carry their own recommended masks (N95)
- All tour operators, travel agencies and accommodation facilities should educate their staff and clients (visitors) on preventive measures for the mitigation of contracting Coronavirus
- These measures include; avoiding handshakes and body-hugging, washing hands with disinfectants, regularly cleaning and disinfecting frequently touched objects and surfaces such as door handles
Our commitment is to keep both you and the country you are visiting safe, and we will be able to work with you again once all reverts to normal and the situation cools down. Stay safe and stay healthy.