How to Get a PCR Test in Arusha

How to Get a PCR Test in Arusha

This following information is provided to reassure prospective climbers that there is a straightforward way to enjoy the incredible tourism and adventurous opportunities that Tanzania offers, while ensuring that returning home afterwards is stress-free.

Where to get a PCR test in Arusha

Mount Meru Referral Hospital in Arusha

What does it cost?

  • USD 100 per person for residents, non-residents and citizens (payable in local currency - 230,000 TZS via M-Pesa or deposited in cash at NMB or CRDB banks).
  • Free of charge for licensed Tanzanian safari and mountain guides 

Simplifying the test procedure

Since 4th January 2021 in principle you now need to register to be tested by providing your passport number and mobile phone number on the official test site: However, we have received frequent feedback that patients are not receiving SMS messages that contain the payment control number and which notify them that the testing is complete and that they should now pay via M-Pesa. This situation can create unnecessary stress at the end of an otherwise restful and enjoyable holiday in Tanzania.

To combat both the issues of uncertainty related to communication with the hospital, and the challenge of reported confusion navigating the sample submission procedure at the hospital, we have trained guides to assist travellers and oversee the whole process, and to liaise with the senior doctor in charge of testing. We hope that using our guide will eliminate most of the stress and hassle.

To use the services of our guide, we recommend a voluntary payment, or tip, of USD 20 per person paid directly to the local guide. The company itself does not invoice any payment - TK offers this service to help to promote tourism to Tanzania, generally.

If you wish to use our guide please contact us on WhatsApp and let us have your full name and passport number, details of the hotel you're staying at in Arusha, and your return flight date and time. We'll then arrange for the guide to visit you at your hotel at an agreed time. Your guide will then assist you in going to the clinic, submitting your sample, paying for the test, and receiving your results.

How long does it take to get the result?

72 hours. The fastest results we have witnessed have been delivered in 52 hours, but since the certificate is a vital addition to travel documentation for some countries, we strongly recommend allowing 72 hours.

Why does it take so long to get a result?

Once clients are tested, the sample is sent, usually the following day, by road to a laboratory in Dar es Salaam - a journey of 620km that takes more than 10 hours.

Within what times can I get tested?

  • Monday to Saturday: between 0900 and 1600
  • Sunday: between 0900 and 1300

What should TK clients do while waiting for the result?

Of course, the notion of finishing your Kilimanjaro climb and then having to wait around for 3 days in Arusha is an unacceptable waste of time. Our recommendation therefore is for us to transfer you to Mount Meru hospital either the same day your climb ends or the morning after your climb.

Depending on tour interests and available budgeting, climbers may either consider a 3 days safari, or a succession of day trips within or near Arusha.

This safari is a popular way to spend 3 days. And here are some ideas for some day trips from Arusha.

Important to remember

Please don't organise any activities following your receipt of the test results as most airlines and immigration officials need to see that the results of your test were obtained within the last 72 hours and a further day's delay may mean that more than 72 hours has elapsed before you reach your home border.

How do I book an appointment?

If you send us your passport details (image of photo page) and your departure details and country of destination, we'll book your appointment for you, obtain your control number, and liaise with the laboratory to ensure you obtain your results in time..

How do I pay?

We'll send you a "control number" (a unique one for each person being tested) once we've successfully booked your appointment. You need to use this control number to pay the government fee of USD 100 (TZS 230,000) via M-Pesa, or at NMB or CRDB banks.

If paying via Vodacom M-Pesa, select the options Move money > Make payment > Pay government. Then paste-in the control number and input the amount of 230,000. Then press Continue and confirm by entering your M-Pesa PIN code. Paying via Vodacom Mpesa will incur a charge of TZS 4,000 per TZS 230,000.. Keep the digital copy of your receipts for presentation in case these are requested when boarding.

As from March 2021, PCR testing (or rather, sample-taking) is now available at Seronera and Ndutu airstrips in the Serengeti. This facility has been implemented to prevent clients having to either curtail their safaris or dissect their safaris with a journey to Arusha or, more recently, Karatu (FAME Hospital), mid-safari - so as to satisfy the "less than 72 hours old" validity rule that most airlines are required to enforce. 

How to Get a PCR Test in Zanzibar
Thursday, December 3rd 2020

Although there is no requirement to have a PCR test for COVID in order to enter Tanzania, many climbers are nonetheless required by their airline to show evidence of a negative COVID test before boarding the flight home.

How to Get a PCR Test in Arusha
Wednesday, November 4th 2020

This following information is provided to reassure prospective climbers that there is a straightforward way to enjoy the incredible tourism and adventurous opportunities that Tanzania offers, while ensuring that returning home afterwards is stress-free.