Can I use my negative COVID-19 PCR test certificate for mountain gorilla and chimpanzee trekking?
Can I use my negative COVID-19 PCR test certificate for mountain gorilla and chimpanzee trekking? : Since the reopening of the tourism industry late last year, tourists have had safaris under strict observation of the COVID-19 SOPs which are wearing of a face mask always, washing hands with soap regularly or sanitizing the hands regularly and keeping at 2 meter distance between you and the other persons. These SOPs are to be observed at all times during your safari.
On top of these SOPs tourists have be asked to fulfil certain requirements before they access the country or take part in some tourism activities. These requirements are, possessing a negative COVID-19 PCR test certificate for a done 72 hours prior to travel or entering the country this on top of doing a PCR test at the point of entry. These requirements apply to any one from any country accessing Uganda, vaccinated or not.
The negative COVID-19 PCR test certificate has been extended to primate trekking especially in Rwanda where it’s mandatory you to have a negative COVID-19 PCR test certificate for a test 72 hours before mountain gorilla trekking. This should be the case in Uganda those it’s not very clear as per the time of writing this article. Because mountain gorillas and chimpanzees are similar in almost 90% of their being and both share DNA with humans they can contract the Coronavirus from human beings; that’s why it’s advised that any one trekking any of these primates be free of the coronavirus.
However the tricky question here is if someone is doing a mountain gorilla trekking safari combined with a chimpanzee trekking safari, will the negative COVID-29 PCR test certificate used for mountain gorilla trekking be acceptable for chimpanzees trekking or vice versa depending on which primate species you trek first.
At the time of writing this article we really cannot answer this question adequately because the concerned authorities have not said much about it, but also not a lot of travellers have done the combined safaris of trekking both the mountain gorillas and the chimpanzees on the same safari trip, since the reopening of the tourism sector.
However, what we can say is possibly you can use the same negative COVID-19 PCR test for both trekking experiences if you were doing them back to back and if you were strictly observing the recommended SOPs. This is because; even if you have a negative COVID-19 PCR test certificate for a test done 72 hours prior to trekking, if you are not observing the recommended SOPs you can still catch and spread the virus to others and the primates themselves. So, basically strict adherence to the SOPs is very key.
However this may be different if your trekking safaris are far apart like if you are trekking gorillas at the start of the month and then trekking chimpanzees is mid-month or several weeks later. You may be required to have another COVID-19 test done, to be certain.
Overall during the mountain gorilla trekking safaris and the chimpanzees trekking safaris in this COVID-19 era, all trekkers are required to observe the COVID-19 SOPs while on the trek on top of the unusual primate trekking rules. Our thoughts are that for as long as you are able to adhere to these SOPs you can have a safe trekking experience for you and the primates.
That said, we hope in the near future we can be able to answer this question clearly and accurately but for now, all we can say is make sure you have a negative COVID-19 PCR test certificate when you are going primate trekking for the safety of the primates and you. And since COVID-19 tests are done at the point of entry, if you plan your dates well, you are able to use the results from the point of entry COVID-19 tests.
Mountain gorilla trekking in Uganda is done in Bwindi National Park and Mgahinga National Park, In Rwanda mountain gorilla trekking is done in Volcanoes National park.
Chimpanzee trekking in Uganda is mainly done in Kibale National Park and in Nunygwe National Park in Rwanda.