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Travel Tips

Updated African Travel Restrictions due to Coronavirus COVID-19

 

Written by Julie Graham

— updated 30 March 2021 —

Many countries in Africa are entering a new phase of recovery after the unprecedented COVID-19 pandemic quite literally brought the world to a standstill. Part of this phase is the reopening of airports, removal of curfews, and the slow and steady reintroduction of international tourism, guided by new and improved health and safety protocols.

A renewed sense of hope has brought with it a renewed excitement about travel again, and safari travel has never looked more enticing than it does now. The striking natural landscapes of the continent are more beautiful than ever – the animals are abundant, the bushveld is flourishing, and the land is thriving. It is something one has to experience first-hand to really grasp the magic. As explorer and author William Burchell once said, “Nothing but breathing the air of Africa, and actually walking through it, can communicate the indescribable sensations.”

While there are a number of wonderful destinations in Africa that have been deemed safe and have opened their borders, we have selected some of our favorite Southern and East African COVID safe destinations that are ready to welcome travelers from around the world to experience this magic for themselves. See the new guidelines, protocols and safety requirements needed for your favorite COVID safe destination in Africa below.

It is highly recommended that you regularly check government and airline websites for updates as the requirements are constantly changing.

East Africa 

Kenya

Wildebeest herds in the Masai Mara National Reserve, Kenya

On the 1st July 2020, Kenya was awarded the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC) Safe Travel Stamp in recognition of the country’s adoption of the global health and hygiene standardized protocols dubbed ‘Safe Travels’. International travel to this wildlife mecca resumed on the 1st August 2020, and safari tours to Kenya were able to resume again. As from 26 March 2021, Kenya announced a ban on all inland travel in the capital Nairobi and out four other counties. No road, rail or air transport will be permitted in these 5 areas.

Countries allowed to travel to Kenya

Travelers from the following countries are required to undergo mandatory quarantine for 14 days at their own cost: Brunei, Czech Republic, Kuwait, Spain and Switzerland. There 205 other countries (this list is updated 9 March 2021), however, that are exempt from mandatory quarantine.

Health & Safety COVID-19 Protocols

  • All travelers arriving into Kenya must complete the Travelers Health Surveillance Form prior to disembarkation. Forms must be filled online via this link. Passengers will receive a QR code after completing the form and will be required to display it to a Port Health Official to proceed through immigration.
  • All passengers on international flights must show a negative COVID-19 PCR test certificate on arrival, obtained no later than 96 hours prior to departure and must not display any of these symptoms: body temperature above 37.5° C (99.5°F); persistent cough; difficulty breathing; other flu-like symptoms. 
  • The additional government measures of wearing masks, physical distancing, sanitizing will still be applicable and passengers will be guided by the airline or airport staff where required.

Airlines Flying into Kenya

Kenya Airways, Emirates, RwandAir, Lufthansa, Qatar, British Airways, Ethiopian Airlines.

Our Recommended LuxVenture® Trip in Kenya:

Sub Saharan Kenya Safari Experience

Tanzania

Hot air balloon safari over the Serengeti in Tanzania

Also an approved and recognised user of the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC) Safe Travel Stamp, Tanzania announced its lift on the ban of travel on 18 May 2020, just in time for the great annual migration. International flights arriving and departing from the country began, and travel to Tanzania has been a relatively stress-free affair.

Countries allowed to travel to Tanzania

All countries are allowed to travel into Tanzania and there is no mandatory quarantine upon arrival. The country is open for international travel.

Health & Safety COVID-19 Protocols

  • All travelers whose countries or airlines require them to present a negative COVID-19 test as a condition for traveling, will be required to present a certificate upon arrival in Tanzania. All other travelers do not require a negative COVID-19 certificate, although it is recommended that all travelers have the certificate as a precautionary measure.
  • Travelers displaying symptoms and signs related to COVID-19 will be required to undergo enhanced health screening and may be tested. 
  • While in the country, all international travelers will be expected to adhere to protective safety measures such as hand hygiene, wearing masks and keeping physical distancing as deemed appropriate.

Airlines Flying into Tanzania

Ethiopian Airlines, Qatar, KLM Royal Dutch, Emirates, Kenya Air, Precision Air, Swiss, Turkish.

Our Recommended LuxVenture® Trip in Tanzania:

Great Migration Safari in Tanzania

Zanzibar

Traditional Dhow off the coast of Zanzibar

The iconic tropical spice island of Zanzibar, just off the coast of Tanzania, also reopened its borders to all travelers on the 6th June 2020, welcoming tourism back to its pearlescent sand beaches and warm Indian Ocean waters. 

Countries allowed to travel to Zanzibar

All countries are allowed to travel into Zanzibar and there is no mandatory quarantine upon arrival.

Health & Safety COVID-19 Protocols

  • A negative COVID-19 certificate is not needed on arrival in Zanzibar unless specified by the country of departure. There are extra screening measures and questionnaires in place at the port of entries.
  • All travelers whose countries or airlines require to get tested for COVID-19 and turn negative, as a condition for traveling, will be required to present a certificate upon arrival. Travelers from other countries with symptoms and signs related to COVID-19 infection, will undergo enhanced screening and may be tested for RT-PCR. *Please note: there is only one hospital in Zanzibar mandated to test.
  • All travelers will go through a temperature check at the Point of Entry before they are allowed to enter the country.
  • All travelers are required to have valid travel insurance for the whole period of their stay.
  • While in Zanzibar, all international travelers will be expected to adhere to protective and safety measures such as hand hygiene, wearing masks and keeping physical distance as deemed appropriate.

If a COVID-19 test is required as from 9 March 2021 you can book an appointment for COVID-19 test and obtain your certificate in Zanzibar through the following website www.zanzibarcovidtesting.co.tz . Cost is from $80 for PCR test and from $25 for a antigen rapid diagnostic test.

Airlines Flying into Zanzibar

Mango Airlines, Precision Air, Oman Air, Turkish Airlines, Ethiopian Airlines, Kenya Air, Qatar, Emirates, Kenya Airways, Coastal Aviation, Auric Air.

Our Recommended LuxVenture® Trip in Zanzibar:

Bush & Beach Safari in Tanzania & Zanzibar

Rwanda

Mountain gorilla in Rwanda

Also awarded the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC) Safe Travel Stamp, Rwanda’s airports reopened for commercial flights in August 2020, allowing international travellers back into the country for tourism once again.

Countries allowed to travel to Rwanda

All countries are allowed to travel to Rwanda, and though there is no mandatory quarantine on arrival, travelers are required to be tested at the airport and must wait between 8 – 24 hours for their results in a designated hotel.

Health & Safety COVID-19 Protocols

Travelers from all countries must provide a negative COVID-19 test on arrival.. 

 All travelers must fill out a pre-arrival form and upload your COVID-19 test certificate via www.rbc.gov.rw/travel prior to arrival.

All travelers arriving will be screened upon arrival and take a second PCR test to confirm the negative results of the tests done prior to arrival. You will need to wait at least 24 hours in a transit hotel. There is special rates at transit hotels.

If visiting any national park in Rwanda, you need to visit the parks within 72 hours of receiving a negative PCR test result. Akagera National Park however is different in that they require a Rapid Antigen Test (found in Kigali at various clinics).

When departing Rwanda you must have a negative COVID-19 PCR test within 120 hours before departure. You do not need another test if you have arrived and departed within 120 hours.

Airlines Flying into Rwanda

Private charter flights, Qatar Airways, Kenya Airways, Emirates, Egypt Airways, Ethiopian Airlines, RwandAir.

Our Recommended LuxVenture Trip in Rwanda:

Mountain Gorilla Trekking

Uganda

Uganda landscape

Uganda resumed international passenger flights to Entebbe International Airport on the 1 October 2020, allowing travelers to visit this gorilla trekking destination once again.

Countries allowed to travel to Uganda

Uganda is open to all international travelers and there is no mandatory quarantine required. However, passengers who exhibit signs and symptoms of an infectious disease will be transported to an isolation centre for a COVID-19 test. The results will be available within 24 to 48 hours.

Health & Safety COVID-19 Protocols

All travelers must provide a negative COVID-19 PCR test result issued within 120 hours of departure for Uganda. 

All travelers will undergo temperature checks and health screening on arrival and departure.

While in the country, all international travelers will be expected to adhere to protective safety measures such as hand hygiene, wearing masks and keeping a physical distance of 1.5 metres as deemed appropriate. If a foreign national tests positive for COVID‑19 he/she will be taken to a COVID‑19 treatment centre, or repatriated for treatment outside Uganda at their own cost following COVID‑19 medical evacuation procedures.

On departure from Uganda, all travelers are required to arrive at the airport at least 4 hours before their flight and present a negative COVID-19 PCR text result issued within 120 hours of departing from Uganda.

Airlines flying into Uganda

Emirates, Turkish Airlines, Qatar Airways, Uganda Airlines, KLM Royal Dutch Airlines, Air Tanzania, Kenya Airways.

Our Recommended LuxVenture Trip in Uganda:

Bwindi Gorilla Trekking Safari

Southern Africa

Botswana

Charter flight over the Okavango Delta, Botswana=

On the 9th November, Botswana lifted its international travel restrictions in a phased manner, resuming air travel from Sir Seretse Khama International Airport in Gaborone, Kasane International Airport, and Maun International Airport.

Countries allowed to travel to Botswana

 All countries are allowed to travel into Botswana and there is no mandatory quarantine upon arrival. Travelers will, however, be required to remain in contact with local health authorities for a period of 14 days doing self-monitoring. They are required to fill in a traveler locator form.

Health & Safety COVID-19 Protocols

All travelers to Botswana are required to present a valid negative COVID-19 PCR test result, conducted within 72 hours of departure for Botswana.

Strict health screening for COVID-19 symptoms will be conducted on arrival.

If arriving at Maun International Airport, a rapid antigen test (complimentary) is required. Results are provided within 15 minutes. Please factor this in when booking light aircraft flights from Maun.

For departure out of Botswana you will need to present a PCR test 24 hours before. We can arrange in-camp testing or you can do a PCR rest in Maun or Kasane Airport (bookings essential) and results are required within 24 hours so then you will need to overnight in Maun or Kasane. Your Ker & Downey Africa travel specialist will arrange these for you.

Airlines Flying into Botswana

 Private charter flights, Airlink, Air Botswana, Qatar Airways, Ethiopian Airways.

 Our Recommended LuxVenture Trip in Botswana: 

Best of Botswana Safari

Zimbabwe

Elephant in Mana Pools, Zimbabwe

As from 1 March 2021 air travel remains open for international travelers, but land borders are only open to returning residents and essential services. If traveling from Victoria Falls  to Kasane (Botswana) we can arrange a light aircraft scheduled flight for you so you don’t need to go through the land border, this means then that you can still travel between Victoria Falls and Kasane/Chobe area.

You can visit national parks and designated tourism facilities as long as you are within curfew hours (20h00 to 5.30). Hotels and lodges are exempt from the mandatory business closures. Your Ker & Downey travel specialist will be arranging this for you.

Countries allowed to travel to Zimbabwe

All countries are allowed to travel to Zimbabwe and mandatory quarantine is not required unless travelers display symptoms of COVID-19. If symptoms of the virus are apparent, travelers are required to stay at a designated isolation facility for 7 days, then self-isolate for another 7 days.

Health & Safety COVID-19 Protocols

  • All travelers will be required to present a negative COVID-19 PCR test certificate, obtained from a recognised facility within 48 hours of departure for Zimbabwe.
  • There will be enhanced health screening and temperature testing on arrival.
  • Complete a Health Questionaire detailing where they have traveled to and providing personal details for tracking purposes.
  • The additional mandatory measures of wearing of masks, social distancing, and sanitisation will be applicable for the whole duration of your stay. 
  • On departure obtain COVID-19 certificates from approved laboratories if required.

Airlines Flying into Zimbabwe

Emirates, Ethiopian Airlines, Kenya Airways Air Tanzania, Airlink, Fastjet (as from 15 March 2021).

Our Recommended LuxVenture® Trip in Zimbabwe:

Hwange to Vic Falls & Mana Pools Safari

Namibia

The dunes at Sossusvlei, Namibia

Namibia reopened its borders to international travelers wanting to holiday in the country from the 1st September 2020 and announced its new implementation protocols to revive the country’s tourism initiative. Entry to Namibia will only be allowed via Hosea Kutako International Airport in Windhoek. This renowned safari destination is characterised by the endless desert landscapes and sand dunes that disappear into pristine coastlines, and is definitely worth experiencing. 

Countries allowed to travel to Namibia

All countries are allowed to travel into Namibia and there is no mandatory quarantine upon arrival. Quarantine is required if a swab done in the country displays a positive test result as stipulated below.  Entry is only allowed into Namibia at the Hosea Kutako International Airport in Windhoek.

Health & Safety COVID-19 Protocols

  • Travelers must show proof of a negative COVID-19 PCR test taken within 72 hours of boarding the plane from their point of origin.
  • There is no mandatory quarantine for arriving travelers (unless the PCR test is positive).
  • Passengers will be subject to temperature checks on arrival, and anyone showing symptoms or with a temperature above 38ºC will be tested for COVID-19.
  • On arrival travelers will go through a health screening and will also need to complete a short health questionnaire, which can be found here.
  • International travelers must have valid insurance that covers medical care or an unexpected extended stay, and must submit their full itineraries on arrival. 
  • If your country requires a negative COVID-19 test, this can be conducted within 48 hours of departing Namibia.

Airlines Flying into Namibia

Ethiopian Airlines, Lufthansa, Eurowings, Qatar Airways, Airlink, Mack Air.

Our Recommended LuxVenture® Trip in Namibia:

African Photo Safari

Zambia

Sunset safari cruise down the Zambezi River

Zambia opened its borders to safari tours and experiences earlier this year to all foreign nationals. There are limited domestic flights happening twice a week between Kaunda International Airport and Mfuwe International Airport, and between Kenneth Kaunda and Harry Mwanga Nkumbula International Airport in Livingstone so travel within the country is easy. 

Countries allowed to travel to Zambia

All countries are allowed to travel into Zambia and there is no mandatory quarantine unless travelers display symptoms on arrival after being screened. If signs of COVID-19 are evident, travelers will be required to quarantine for 14 days. 

Health & Safety COVID-19 Protocols

  • All arriving visitors will need to carry proof of a negative COVID-19 test conducted within 72 hours of arriving in Zambia.  This must be a SARS CoV-2 PCR test certificate result from the country of departure. Except for children below five years entering Zambia.
  • All travelers are expected to monitor themselves for possible signs of infection and report to the nearest medical facility if they discover any.
  • Social distancing, hand sanitisation and the wearing of masks are mandatory.
  • Travelers leaving Zambia will need to produce a negative COVID-19 test certificate when flying with an airline or to a country that requires this. You can obtain this from the Ministry of Health.

Airlines Flying into Zambia

Ethiopian Airlines, RwandAir, Kenya Airways, Emirates, Turkish Airlines Oman Air, Airlink, Proflight. 

Our Recommended LuxVenture® Trip in Zambia:

Liuwa Plain & Kafue National Park Safari

It is time to rediscover wonder in some of most breath-taking COVID safe destinations in Africa. Get in touch with one of Ker & Downey® Africa’s expert LuxVenture® Designers today to plan your dream safari or beach escape that showcases the very best of this magical continent!

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