Tanzania Airport COVID Testing

COVID-19 Testing On Arrival to Tanzania



LAST UPDATED: September 14, 2021

2021 has been a big year for the country of Tanzania so far, with the ongoing struggle with COVID-19 combined with the death of the former president Dr. John Magufuli in March. Since the former head of state’s death, his Vice President, Samia Suluhu, has gone on to become the country’s first female president.

Along with the change in leadership came a change in how the country deals with the ongoing Coronavirus epidemic. The former president was known throughout Africa and the world as being a bit of a COVID-denier, and because of that Tanzania was quite lax in enforcing many of the tactics that other countries had been using to stop the spread of the disease (quarantines, mandatory testing, etc.). This has all changed very rapidly since the new president became head of the country, and now the government is taking a much harder stance on preventing any outbreaks in the country, as detailed below.

Pre-arrival COVID Testing

All airlines flying into Tanzania require you to have a negative RT-PCR COVID-19 test (and results delivered back to you) within 72 hours of boarding the first leg of your flight.

Rapid COVID tests are not acceptable, so check with your testing provider to make sure that the test is the right type, and that you will definitely get your results back before your flight is scheduled to leave. At the airport, one of the airline staff will ask to see your test results, which you can show them on your phone (the PDF of your results will be sent to your email), or via a printed copy of the test results.

For the most up-to-date information, please consult your airline directly, as they each have different policies regarding required tests.

COVID Testing On Arrival (New)

The government of Tanzania, via enacting Travel Advisory #7 (May 4, 2021), has started implementing mandatory Rapid COVID-19 testing, which will be done on arrival for all passengers entering the country. The cost for this test is $10/person (reduced as of August 2021 from the previous price of $25/person) and may be paid via cash or credit/debit card (remember to contact your card issuer before heading to Tanzania to let them know you will be traveling abroad). Once tested via a nasal swab, your results will be given to you within an average of 10 minutes or so, after which you will be allowed to collect your baggage and proceed through customs.

This will undoubtedly slow down the arrival and immigration process, so plan to spend a bit of extra time when entering the country.

Please note that the testing is mandatory regardless of whether you have been vaccinated or not. At present, proof of vaccination is not checked at any point to enter the country.

Passport Copies (New)

All guests arriving coming to Tanzania that plan on visiting any of the national parks will be required to submit a scan, photo, or copy of their passport photo page to your tour provider (us) before entering the country so that we can upload it into the TANAPA (Tanzanian National Parks) database in order to process your entry permits.

We will be asking all guests that currently have reservations with us for a photo/scan of their passport photo pages going forward in order to comply with the new rules.

Pre-departure COVID Testing

All airlines flying out of Tanzania require you to have a negative RT-PCR COVID-19 test (and results delivered back to you) within 72 hours of boarding the first leg of your flight onward.

We have various clinics throughout the country (Serengeti National Park, Arusha, etc.) that provide test results back within 24 hours. The cost for this test is $50/person (reduced as of August 2021 from the previous price of $100/person) and is payable via cash or credit/debit card. We will make sure that your itinerary allows for the required amount of time at the end of your journey with us in order to take the test and have the results delivered before your flight home.

SEPTEMBER 2021 UPDATE: the turnaround time for Serengeti testing (both Kogatende in the north, and Seronera in the central area) has been extended to up to 72 hours because of unspecified “delays” (most likely an influx of visitors that is overwhelming testing facilities. While the local authorities work to extend their capacity, we will be sure to remain in contact with current wait times in order to make sure all of our guests successfully test for COVID-19 and receive results before their flight out of Tanzania. In the meantime, tests should be done prior to 10:00 am in order to allow the maximum amount of time to send the test to the testing facility and receive results back ASAP.

For the most up-to-date information, please consult your airline directly, as they each have different policies regarding required tests.

COVID-19 Testing in Zanzibar

As of late, some of our guests have asked whether or not they need a separate COVID test in order to go to Zanzibar (as about half of our guests do after a safari trip or Kilimanjaro trekking adventure). If you have already flown into Tanzania and have tested negative for Coronavirus, you do not need an additional test to fly to/enter Zanzibar.

If your final port of call within Tanzania is Zanzibar, and you need to take a COVID test in order to board your international flight back home, you can get one at the Lumumba COVID-19 Testing centers (multiple locations), which are located near both Stone Town and Zanzibar’s Abeid Amani Karume International Airport (ZNZ). If flying into Zanzibar as your first port of call in Tanzania, you will take a rapid COVID-19 test at the airport (USD$10).

Turnaround time is currently listed at up to 72 hours, so be sure to do the math and take it as soon as possible before your flight to satisfy the 72-hour window that all international providers are requiring (e.g. if your flight leaves Thursday at noon, be sure to get the test in the early afternoon [after 12:00 pm] on Monday).

Appointments may be scheduled online here.

Additional Safety Precautions

In addition to the testing procedures detailed above:

  • All of our guides are tested within 48 hours of receiving guests at the airport
  • All vehicles are completely disinfected before guest arrival
  • Temperatures will be taken at regular intervals, and hand sanitizing/washing will also be required at points during the trip
  • Masks must be worn when interacting with members of any local tribes (Maasai, Hadza, etc.)

All of our partner lodges and activity partners are also trained in the detection of COVID-19 symptoms and how to prevent the spread of the disease. All lodges are disinfected before guests arrive, and common spaces are cleaned regularly.

Because of the scarcity of high-quality facemasks and portable hand sanitizer in Tanzania, guests are encouraged to bring enough supplies of each for the duration of their time in the country.

For more about our Safe & Clean Commitment, please look here.

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In summary, all visitors will need to undergo three separate COVID tests in order to visit Tanzania—one before arrival (required by the airlines), one on arrival (required by the Tanzanian government), and one pre-departure (required by the airlines).

We’ll be sure to keep this page updated with the most recent information, so be sure to bookmark it if you’re heading to Tanzania anytime soon!

Have any questions regarding entry procedures and COVID testing for entering or exiting Tanzania? Just let us know here.

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