NEW NORMAL TRAVEL GUIDELINES (SOPS)
New Normal Travel Guidelines(SOPS)-Ebola and Covid-19. At Pamoja Tours and Travel, our core value is to provide you with an authentic safari experience during these new and changing times. This is when the whole world is alert about the pandemic of Coronavirus and Ebola outbreak in Uganda. Our Travel SOPS have been put in place to ensure the well-being, safety and health of our clients and as such guidelines and measures have been put in place. All these are in line with advice, guidelines and procedures for a post-covid-19 traveler put in place by WHO, UNWTO, UWA, AUTO, UTB and Civil Aviation.
General recommendations for personal hygiene, cough etiquette and keeping a distance of at least one meter from persons showing symptoms remain particularly important for all travelers and even those without symptoms. These include:
Perform hand hygiene frequently.
Hand hygiene includes either cleaning hands with soap and water or with an alcohol-based hand rub. Alcohol-based hand rubs are preferred and are not easily soiled. All travelers are advised to carry with them.
Cover your nose and mouth with a flexed elbow or paper tissue when coughing or sneezing
Refrain from touching mouth, eyes and nose, in general areas of the face.
Postponing travel plans in cases of illness
Also avoiding contact with people suffering from acute respiratory infections. Also, those showing signs and symptoms of Ebola. Ensure social distance of at least one meter apart and if you are not sure of your health then postpone travel until you feel well.
On arrival at the airport or any entry point
Mandatory temperature screening using non-contact infra-red thermometers at the key tourism gates at the Airport.
Clients are required to have tested for the Virus prior to travel dates and should carry medical documents supported by medical evidence and consistent with health best practices.
A non-contact system (digital travel) has been introduced at the Airport for clients to check in and out and at visa points, you will be attended to by someone behind a glass shield and they will also wear face masks and protectors to maintain as little contact as possible.
It’s now a must for all travel bags to be wrapped in plastic bags for travelers who are checking in at the Airport.
Mandatory hand washing / sanitizing at all entrances of the Airport for all travelers and staff.
Face masks are a must for all travelers, the recommended mask is an N95.
Tours should not exceed more than 4 in a group to maintain social distancing and walk marks in place around the airport.
In the vehicle while traveling.
Regular communication of safety protocols and responsibilities to clients, and to keep them informed and reminded to stay vigilant while enjoying.
Onboard sanitizing tissues and/or fluids to clients (travelers) and staff (driver guides and the like) will be available and we encourage you to use them.
Making stops along the way for gas, food, or bathroom breaks can put you and your traveling companions in close contact with other people and surfaces. Hence, we will minimize the stops and set designated stopping areas that we prove to be safe for our health and we will encourage a takeaway food system to seating in hotels during stops. We rather encourage picnic eating along the way.
Cleaning all surfaces more frequently, using products and disinfectants that meet requirements with special attention to high-touch surfaces like vehicle door knobs, picnic boxes, hand rests, refrigerators, etc.
Redesigning all processes towards a more digital and touchless approach in all possible touch-points. Like cashless payment points as money has been found to spread the virus.
Reduce the number of objects on board. Limit luggage quantities while traveling to only what is enough for your tour.
At the lodge.
Pamoja Tours and Travel is working with only those lodges that have proven to uphold the health of our clients first and practice as per the guidelines of WHO as below;
Our partner hotels, lodges, and restaurants are those that have increased the frequency of cleaning in common areas and contact surfaces and rooms. The lodges have also gone further to put hand sanitizers in both the common room and in bedrooms.
Social distancing is a must in lodges we use of at least one meter which is the standard around the world.
Standard safety protocol
Upon arrival, standard safety protocols will be in place. Also,how the lodge is practicing them to prevent the spread of the virus in case a person is sick with ebola or covid virus.
Our partner hotels and lodges keep spare rooms for possible sick or quarantine guests that have the virus and later inform authorities about it.
The hotels and lodges we use have been implementing contactless check-in and providing guests with a hygiene welcome kit where possible (this may include gloves, masks, and sanitizers).
Where possible temperature will be in place using a contactless infra-red thermometer as a basic standard for checking the common symptom of covid-19.
The partner lodges have new services such as room service or picnic takeaway to reduce convergence in the common dining area at the lodge. Also, avoid buffets while ordering meals as these attract many people.
Our partners’ lodges and hotels foster flexibility in all their operations, such as those that can amend bookings if clients are not able to make it at suggested times and those that can keep credit for the client until when they are fit to travel.
At the national parks.
All Staff and visitors shall wear the right face masks that have been prescribed by Ministry of Health (Visitors will carry their own masks an N95).
Staff of Uganda Wildlife Authority will inform the visitor of the general government-approved covid and Ebola operational guidelines.
They will explain to the visitor the UWA safety COVID and EBOLA measures (DOs and DONTs) during their tour and stay within the protected areas.
Temperature screening will be at the key tourism gates of the different National Park. Those with temperatures above 37.6 degrees Celsius shall not be allowed into the protected areas. Also, they shall be advised to seek medical help through the mechanisms set up by authorities to get to the nearest quarantine location.
Every tourist shall have to wash and disinfect their hands at all entry points to the protected areas. Sanitary alcohol sanitizer dispensers as well as hand washing facilities with soap shall be installed at all entry points.
There will be regular disinfecting of common areas with heavy tourist contact before, during and after visiting hours. These include information counters, service desks, waiting areas, park offices and toilets. Toilets in particular should be cleaned at least every 2 hours
Where applicable, transparent screens will be fitted at all, park gate counters. The staff manning the gate will only allow visitors who have the prescribed face masks and who have washed/ sanitized to enter the park
Tourist vehicles and boats within the national parks
The National guidelines issued by MoH shall be enforced by tourists while in visiting the National Parks i.e
Saloon cars – 3 persons (This does not include the guide, where one is requested and paid for)
Buses, mini buses and omnibuses – Half capacity
Overlanders – Half capacity
Concessionaire delivery vehicles, pick-ups and lories – 2 persons
Private boats and launches – Half capacity
Tour operator game drive vehicles and UWA owned game drive vehicles – 6 persons
Social distancing should be in the vehicles
Tour operators and service providers will regularly disinfect their cars regularly
They wash UWA vehicles every day before use and disinfecting will take place daily through spray pumps.
Every area shall provide a safe location where this spraying can be. Also, it shall provide where the tour operators can also park their cars to disinfect them.
All tour operators shall provide their drivers with an alcohol rub/hand sanitizer for frequently or alternatively wear gloves. Caution should however be in place to remove this sanitizer whenever the car is parking.
Key Tourism Activities
Briefing of tourists
Before engaging in any tourism activities, the tourists shall have the usual briefing regarding the activities they are about to engage in. In addition to this, the guides shall remind the tourists about the risk / looming dangers of ebola and covid. Later, brief them on the general preventative measures the government has put in place and the measures they will abide by while in these Areas, and remind them that it’s both for their safety and that of the wildlife.
Gorilla and Chimpanzee Tracking
The existing gorilla and chimpanzee tracking rules and guidelines (see annex) will remain in force to prevent any human-to-animal transmissions. These include:
The tourists must keep 7m away from the gorillas and chimpanzees.
Tourists who during the briefing are overly coughing shall not track.
Tourists who during the briefing are sick shall not track.
These include tourists with signs like flu and those who report having diarrhea and stomach upsets, malaria, etc
While the forests are dense and don’t have any specific trails for tracking, the assigned UWA guides shall try as humanly possible to ensure that there is social distancing among the tourists while the tracking takes place.
The tourists shall carry light equipment to minimize the need for potters while they undertake the tracking. This will be through potential tourists through the tour operators.
Due to the side effects of putting on masks for long periods and in high altitudes, the number of breaks during the tracking shall be double so as to give tourists time to breathe fresh air.
During these breaks, social distancing should be follow.
The regular park rules shall apply.
The vehicle guidelines above shall also apply.
Where a guide is necessary, the guide shall sit at the front and shall continuously remind the tourists about the need to social distance.
Tourists shall wear masks at all times.
Where a tourist gets side effects due to putting on a mask for a long time, the tourist shall inform the guide who will find a safe and secure place to park the vehicle and allow for the tourists to get fresh air while maintaining social distancing.
The regular park rules shall apply.
The boat and launch guidelines above shall also apply.
The UWA boats must be clean and disinfecting should be every day before any boat cruise activity.
The concessionaire shall also clean and disinfect their boats every day before any boat activities.
The guide shall enforce social distancing while on the boat.
Masks shall be on at all times while on the boat
When a tourist gets side effects due to putting on a mask for a long time, the tourist shall inform the guide who will find space within the boat for this client to get some fresh air for a few minutes. This shall be away from the other tourists.
Anticipated travel needs for anyone traveling
Bring enough of your medicine to last you for the entire trip.
Pack enough alcohol-based hand sanitizer (at least 60% alcohol) and keep it within easy to reach.
Bring a cloth face covering to wear in public places. Mask N95 is what we recommend while traveling to Uganda.
Prepare food and water for your trip where possible and avoid eating at places providing buffets.
Limit the number of people you get in contact with while on safari.