We Got Scammed in Tanzania
We thought we were stuck and never leaving Tanzania.
The past couple of weeks have not gone as planned, which we are very used to by now, but this was way different than other times!
In case you are new here, we are Will and Katy. We are a travel couple that is traveling around the world. The last time we left you, we had just shared our amazing time on our Safari ride! An absolutely amazing experience!
Our original plans were to stay in Arusha for a few days to do a safari and then visit the next city over, Moshi, to get a better view of Mt Kilimanjaro. This was the plan until we got an email from Emirates airlines that our flight that is one and half weeks away was canceled, due to passengers from Tanzania not being allowed to have a layover in Dubai!
We then spent all that day scrambling around coming up with a Plan B, mind you the wifi at our hotel was the worst we’ve ever had, and had to find a local coffee shop to do all this! We not only had to come up with a new plan for our travels, but we had to try and get Emarites to refund our money because even they canceled our trip, we didn’t get a refund we got “reusable tickets.”
We finally got a new flight using Qatar, which was going to be a day earlier than the original flight, which meant we had to cancel our stop in Moshi and head back to Dar Es Salaam earlier so we can prepare to fly out of Tanzania.
This was the easy part… We took a 15-hour bus ride back, which was not much shorter than the train ride we took to get to Arusha! We are thankful that on the way we made a stop in Moshi to pick up passengers and we were able to see some amazing clear sites of Mt Kilimanjaro. We arrived in Dar Es Salaam and the very next day we went to take the PCR tests that we needed 72 hours in advance for our next country. I’ll spare you these details, but this was the most unorganized process of getting a test that we have experienced this far.
The following morning we received our results, well Will did, his text was NEGATIVE, and mine was POSITIVE! WHAT!? I looked at that and there was NO WAY, my test was positive. We had heard rumors of travelers being scammed with the PCR tests, now we were seeing it for ourselves. We originally went to Muhimbili National Hospital, which we do not recommend at all. The person before taking my sample was texting, so it didn't surprise me that they would mess up my results.
So we decided we just need to go take another test even though they were already so expensive! We scrambled around looking for a private lab, instead of a government hospital, hoping they would do a more accurate job. BUT little did we know it was a public holiday and the hospitals were closed. We NEEDED that test today, if not we were not going to get the results back in time for our flight.
So that night we decided let’s change our flight AGAIN, but just by a half-day, in order to get my results done in time and in order for Will’s results to still be valid. The next morning we were the first ones at the lab (Africab - Husain Specialized Polyclinic Limited) to take the test, the nurse was incredibly helpful and wrote “emergency results” next to my name so I was insured to get my results in time for our flight.
FINALLY, the following morning the nurse texted me saying my results were in, I was NEGATIVE and to enjoy my flight! Yayyyy! We were on our way out of here. Friends, I wish I could tell you this was it…. But there’s more.
We arrived to check into our flight, and the attendant looks up at Will and says, “Sorry, but your test is no longer valid.” In shock, again, we asked why, because it was clearly well in the 72-hour window. He claimed the 72-hour window is from the “last flight into the country,” we had a layover in Qatar resulting in a seance flight which THAT is when the 72 hours takes effect.
Which we wanted to say, no way! We have been traveling for a year and to 12 other countries, NOT ONCE has this been the case! But we let him follow up with his next statement, “but no worries Mr. Will you can take a rapid test right here at the airport, and your final destination accepts rapid tests.” Another FALSE statement, they did not. But we complied, and thank God this test was only $10.
As we waited for Will’s results, thinking yup, they are using travelers to scam them out of taking multiple tests…. Which is so unfortunate. We have loved our time in Tanzania, but leaving the country was nearly impossible and it really tainted our experience. While we will still encourage people to visit Tanzania, we are HIGHLY RECOMMENDING to wait until after this COVID era is over!
And now, the ending you’ve been waiting to hear… we got Will’s negative results, we were able to finally check into our flight and go wait to board our flight to our 3rd country in Africa…
The Silver Lining, is we did have another amazing view from the plane of Mt Kilimanjaro! We flew right next to it! Which wouldn't have happened on either of the prior two flights, because this flight stopped in Arusha to pick up more passengers!
We absolutely loved our time in Tanzania and highly suggest it, but we do suggest to wait and visit until after this pandemic era.
Until next time…
What could possibly be next?
Come with us as we shopping the local Maasai Market during our time in Arusha: