Indulgent exclusivity in Tanzania

Asilia Africa's Jabali Private House in Tanzania's Ruaha National Park.
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Those who are keen to escape the lockdown blues and soak up the freedom of wide-open spaces, experience unique wildlife encounters or just sip cocktails under a palm tree will be happy to hear that Tanzania is once again open for tourism.

Tanzania has become one of the first destinations in Africa to open its borders to international tourists since the Covid-19 pandemic brought global tourism to a standstill. Since mid-June, such leading carriers as Qatar Airlines, Turkish Airlines and Ethiopian airlines have started offering regular scheduled flights to the East African country.

Great news is that Tanzania is not enforcing a quarantine period upon arrival. However, the government has introduced an enhanced screening policy for incoming tourists, which includes a health questionnaire and temperature checks. There will be no mandatory testing, but if travelers are showing symptoms, they will be asked to do a rapid Covid test.

Hospitality establishments and lodges around the country have all implemented stringent health and safety measures to make sure the experience is as safe as possible and that they can welcome travelers once again.

Lemala Camps & Lodges, an authentic collection of intimate tented camps, classic lodges and villas in Northern Tanzania, say they have spent the last few weeks planning how best to manage the Covid situation and training team members to manage guest arrivals, their dining experience, their time on game drives and behavior whilst in camp.

They've recorded their efforts in a video.

Doris Ngemera, Asilia's positive impact and public relations manager in Tanzania, explained that the top priority of lodges is to ensure that guests and staff feel safe without compromising the quality, hospitality and excitement of the trip. Asilia Africa recorded a video of the first travelers to arrive at their lodges.

Although Tanzania has a wealth of rich experiences on offer, industry players have reported that especially the exclusive private-use villas and safari houses are expected to be in high demand during this Covid-19 time.

"We believe that our exclusive-use safari houses will be of increased interest to travelers, and we are working to expand on that offering with increased safety and distancing measures," said Asilia's commercial director, Gordie Owles.

In a private house, travelers have their own space and are completely isolated from other travelers. These properties also tend to offer travelers private vehicles and guides as well as private chefs and daily activities that are tailored to the traveler's wishes. "Whether it's an all-day game drive, more time with a gin and tonic by the pool or a private Swahili cooking lesson, guests will very much feel they are in a home away from home," said Owles.

Jabali Private House in Ruaha National Park is a great option for travelers looking for the privacy of their own house in the wilderness. The house features three bedrooms, a lounge and a dining area as well as a private pool looking out over the dense forest that fringes the bordering Ikuka escarpment. A dedicated team consisting of a private chef and a guide and vehicle are at guests' beck and call to customize the vacation experience. Rates here start from $3,838.

The house is situated in Ruaha National Park, which is known for its healthy herds of elephants, buffaloes and lions. During the night drives, you will be able to spot often-elusive nocturnal creatures, while walking safaris are a great way to catch sight of smaller animals and plants or learn how to track.

Zanzibar also has some fantastic private villas and even some private islands for the ultimate luxury.

Matemwe Beach House is a traditional three-bedroom residence, which is situated just a few steps away from the exclusive Matemwe Beach on the northeastern coast of Zanzibar. Travelers will have the opportunity to go snorkeling, kayaking, take boat trips or go on a diving excursion. Other activities include a reef walk, learning more about the endangered turtles of the island, a tour of the exotic Stone Town, a cultural visit to Prison Island, a fragrant Swahili cooking class and a tour of the local village. Rates start from $1,007 per night.

Taking it one step further, Thanda Island offers visitors their own private island. This secluded spot, which will reopen in July, features just a single luxurious villa and two traditional bandas (beach chalets) off the east coast of Tanzania that are of exclusive use to the traveler booking the island. Guests have their very own marine reserve, where they can swim with the gentlest giant of the ocean, the whale shark, and watch sea turtles nesting. The exclusive use of Thanda Island with its select team of staff members is offered at a rate of $125,000 for a five-night stay.

This report was updated to correct the name of the Jabali Private House.

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