With lockdown in the UK officially starting on 23 March 2020, the global Coronavirus pandemic has made 2020 a tough year for small businesses.
During this pandemic, one of the hardest hit sectors has been the travel industry. With almost all countries imposing some form of lockdown and closing of borders, tourism has taken a nosedive, incomes have plummeted, and some tour operators haven’t survived.
As a niche adventure travel business focussing on small group trekking and mountaineering, we too have been hard hit.
Eight months on however, and we are still here, surviving and planning for the future. We have been encouraged and supported by all our wonderful customers as well as our friends and followers, liking, commenting and sharing our social media posts – thank you, it is very much appreciated, please keep up the good work.
Being a Veteran Owned business, we understood the importance of resilience and this was built into our business operations from the outset, a factor that we have been extremely thankful of over the last few months. The way we fund our trips and manage our customer payments brought dividends from the outset allowing us to quickly deal with postponed trips, cancellations and keeping our customers happy without experiencing crippling cashflow issues. We also avoided the negative publicity that beset many tour operators and airlines by making full and immediate cash refunds where trips were cancelled. Reflecting on our performance through the crisis has allowed us to learn lessons and strengthen our resilience measures. You can rest assured that if you book with us in the future, your payments will be safe, we will take a human approach to cancellations, postponements and refunds and that our booking conditions will match our actions and promises.
To survive tough times, businesses need to be flexible and adapt to their new environment. Whilst unable to run any overseas trips we have focused on and strengthened our UK activities. We have added a new section to our website showcasing our UK based climbing courses and, in the background, we have been working on new UK and overseas trips which will be available on our website once the travel sector starts to return to normal.
Focusing on our overseas trips, we are as keen as the next person to get travelling again but unfortunately the global situation is not currently conducive to overseas travel. Many, if not all, of our destination countries are still closed to tourism and much like the UK, experiencing second waves of Covid-19. Below you can find a detailed summary of the restrictions affecting our destination countries.
The prospect of a vaccine is encouraging and will help return society back to some form of normality. We are confident that this will enable travel to resume in the second half of 2021 and when that happens, we will be ready and waiting to make your dreams come true with small group adventure travel.
Finally, we’d like to encourage you to keep your travel dreams alive – dream now, travel later! We’d love to help you achieve your travel goals in 2021 so please get in touch to book your dream trip. Please help to keep small businesses going by continuing to follow us on social media, commenting on our posts, sharing our content and recommending us to family and friends.
Detailed Summary of Current Travel Restrictions in our Destination Countries
Argentina – for Aconcagua
FCDO Advice. The FCDO advises against all but essential travel to the whole of Argentina based on the current assessment of COVID-19 risks (https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice/argentina).
Covid-19 Entry Restrictions. Argentina’s borders are closed to foreign nationals and non-residents.
Covid-19 Cases. Argentina has had 1,359,042 confirmed cases of Covid-19 and 36,790 deaths. Analysis of the WHO data suggests the peak of their second wave has passed and that cases are now declining (https://covid19.who.int/region/amro/country/ar).
Flight Availability. Flights are available from the UK to Mendoza.
Aconcagua National Park. The National Park is closed and climbing on Aconcagua is not currently permitted.
Return to UK. Argentina is not on the UK Government’s travel corridors list so as well as filling in an on-line passenger locator form before arriving back in the UK, anyone returning from Argentina is required to self-isolate for 14 days.
Monkey Mountaineering Assessment. Current restrictions mean it is not possible to offer Aconcagua ascents at this time. We are looking forward to being able to resume Aconcagua trips from January 2022.
Greenland – for the Arctic Circle Trail
FCDO Advice. The FCDO advises against all but essential travel to Denmark based on the current assessment of COVID-19 risks. However, they are not advising against travel to Greenland (https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice/denmark).
Covid-19 Entry Restrictions. Only people from ‘Open’ countries may enter Denmark. The UK is currently ‘Banned’ and as such British nationals are not permitted to travel to Denmark without a ‘worthy purpose’. Travel for holidays/vacations is not considered a ‘worthy purpose’ by the Danish authorities (https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice/denmark/entry-requirements).
Covid-19 Cases. Greenland has only had 18 confirmed cases of Covid-19 and no reported deaths (https://covid19.who.int/region/euro/country/gl). However, Denmark has had 68,362 confirmed cases and 778 deaths and is firmly in a second wave like much of Europe https://covid19.who.int/region/euro/country/dk).
Flight Availability. Flights are available from Copenhagen to Kangerlussuaq and also to/from Sisimiut.
Return to UK. Denmark is not on the UK Government’s travel corridors list so as well as filling in an on-line passenger locator form before arriving back in the UK, anyone returning from Denmark is required to self-isolate for 14 days.
Monkey Mountaineering Assessment. Owing to the fact that to reach Greenland passengers must transit through and stay in Copenhagen, Denmark for around 24 hours on both the outbound and return legs of our Arctic Circle Trail trip current restrictions mean that we cannot currently offer this trip. That said, our next Arctic Circle Trail trip isn’t scheduled until 27 June – 7 July 2021 and we are hopeful that restrictions will have been relaxed by then and that this fantastic trip will be able to go ahead as planned.
Morocco – for Toubkal and trekking in the High Atlas Mountains
FCDO Advice. The FCDO advises against all but essential travel to the whole of Morocco based on the current assessment of COVID-19 risks. (https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice/morocco).
Covid-19 Entry Restrictions. Only British Nationals resident in Morocco (and their families), foreign nationals conducting official government business or those with an invitation from a Moroccan company can enter the country. Foreign nationals who are not subject to visa formalities in order to enter Morocco, and who have a confirmed hotel reservation in Morocco, will also be permitted entry.
Internal Travel. Travel within Morocco is subject to restrictions and is not possible without a local authority exception certificate of movement.
Covid-19 Cases. There have been 311,544 Covid-19 cases in Morocco since 3 Jan 2020 with 5090 deaths. Current reporting shows that cases are still rising. (https://covid19.who.int/region/emro/country/ma).
Flight Availability. A limited number of flights are available from London to Marrakech.
Return to UK. Morocco is not on the UK Government’s travel corridors list so as well as filling in an on-line passenger locator form before arriving back in the UK, anyone returning from Morocco is required to self-isolate for 14 days.
Monkey Mountaineering Assessment. Current restrictions mean that we cannot currently offer any trips to Morocco. We are keeping a close eye on developments in Morocco and hope to be able to resume trips to Toubkal from June 2021.
Nepal – for Everest Base Camp treks
FCDO Advice. The FCDO advises against all but essential travel to the whole of Nepal based on the current assessment of COVID-19 risks (https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice/nepal).
Covid-19 Entry Restrictions. Nepal remains closed to general tourism; however, local trekking and mountaineering agencies are permitted to take tourists into the mountains. A visa and confirmed arrangements for trekking made with a local agent must be obtained in advance. Anyone arriving in Nepal must also present a Covid-19 Negative PCR test taken within 72 hours of travel. Trekkers and mountaineers are also required to remain in quarantine for 7 days in Kathmandu and take another PCR test before heading into the mountains.
Covid Cases. Since 3 Jan 2020 there have been a total of 215,020 confirmed cases of Covid-19 and 1,276 deaths in Nepal which appeared to peak on 22 Oct 2020 and is now falling (https://covid19.who.int/region/searo/country/np).
Flight Availability. Flights are available from the UK to Kathmandu International Airport transiting through Dubai and/or Doha.
Return to UK. Nepal is not on the UK Government’s travel corridors list so as well as filling in an on-line passenger locator form before arriving back in the UK, anyone returning from Nepal is required to self-isolate for 14 days.
Monkey Mountaineering Assessment. Nepal is open for trekking and mountaineering only but with an internal quarantine requirement on arrival. Whilst this is great news for the Nepalese economy, we are not currently advertising trips to Nepal. We would be happy to arrange bespoke trekking and mountaineering trips for anyone with sufficient time available to manage the quarantine requirements. We hope to be able to resume trips to Nepal from summer 2021.
Tanzania – for Kilimanjaro
FCDO Advice. The FCDO advise against all but essential travel to any area within 20km of the Tanzanian border with the Cabo Delgado province of Mozambique, due to attacks by groups linked with Islamic extremism. It also advises against all but essential travel to the whole of Tanzania based on the current assessment of COVID-19 risks. (https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice/tanzania).
Covid-19 Entry Restrictions. The Government of Tanzania is implementing temperature scanning for all international passengers arriving into Tanzania. Travellers showing symptoms of COVID-19 on arrival may be required to take a test and to self-isolate for 14 days. Anyone entering Tanzania should be aware of possible health risks posed by inadequate protocols and facilities within the quarantine locations but should comply with any additional screening measures put in place by the authorities. The Government of Tanzania is also collecting tracking information for all international passengers on arrival.
Covid Cases. Since 3 Jan 2020 there have been a total of 509 confirmed cases of Covid-19 and 21 deaths in Tanzania. It should be noted that Tanzania last released figures relating to Covid-19 on 29 April 2020 (https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice/tanzania/coronavirus).
Flight Availability. Flights are available from the UK to Kilimanjaro International Airport (JRO) transiting through Amsterdam and/or Doha.
Return to UK. Tanzania is not on the UK Government’s travel corridors list so as well as filling in an on-line passenger locator form before arriving back in the UK, anyone returning from Tanzania is required to self-isolate for 14 days.
Monkey Mountaineering Assessment. Tanzania is open for tourists but with the FCDO advising against all but essential travel and the lack of clarity relating to the Covid-19 situation in Tanzania we are not currently offering any trips to Kilimanjaro. We will be reviewing the situation in early 2021 and hope to be able to resume Kilimanjaro trips from June 2021.
 Restrictions in force as at 20 November 2020.
 Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office
 Travel insurance policies often do not cover you if you travel to place where the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO) advise against all but essential travel or all travel.