Travel Companies Responding to COVID Show Their True Colors

ETrip Africa’s Kilimanjaro mountain crew. Credit: Aurelie Sivadier

When five of the six travelers who were signed up to climb Mount Kilimanjaro in January backed out a month prior citing COVID-19 concerns, most travel companies would have cancelled the departure. But eTrip Africa took a different approach. Its founder, Ben Jennings, was adamant that the trip run — with just one client and at the price originally quoted when it was a larger group. Yes, the company would lose money, but nine mountain crew in Tanzania who would otherwise not have had income that week would have work.

Since COVID-19 struck and tourism came to a grinding standstill…

Photo: Mana5280 / Unsplash

“Look!” I said, pointing. “There’s one right there!” We’d just shoved off from the dock and paddled our two-person kayak to the other side of the tiny harbor when we spotted our first otter. The furry bundle was stretched out on its back, completely relaxed, its whiskered face and flippered feet poking out of the water. “Wow, that didn’t take long,” my partner remarked, and I agreed, a smile spreading across my face. Suddenly I felt lighter, as though a weight I didn’t know I was carrying had been lifted off my shoulders.

Earlier that morning at home, I’d caught…

KPAP Partner Companies Carry the Load to Support the Mountain Crew During Covid-19

Mount Kilimanjaro towers over the equatorial plain. (Photo by Sergey Pesterev on Unsplash)

In a normal year, some 50,000 adventurers of all ages and abilities flock to Tanzania to climb Mount Kilimanjaro, the massive savannah-to-sky volcano in northern Tanzania that tops off at 19,341 feet above sea level — the highest point in Africa. Of course, this year is anything but normal, and as Covid-19 forces travelers to cancel or postpone their climbing trips and subsequent safaris, the communities of Moshi and Arusha — gateways to Kilimanjaro and the Ngorongoro Conservation Area — are facing a staggering loss of income on top of the unpredictable health concerns brought by the novel coronavirus.


Amanda McKee

Writer and content specialist. Adventure traveler and former guide who has summited Kilimanjaro, explored Lima’s food scene, and communed with monks in Bhutan.

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