Written by Julie Graham
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 (as of 20 October2020), protocols and safety requirements needed for your favorite COVID safe destination in Africa below.
Map Updated 12 November 2020
Note this information is changing on a daily basis. For further updates affecting COVID safe destinations in Africa and other travel changes, get in touch with one of our LuxVenture® Designers who are ready to help you.
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.
While all countries are allowed to travel to the destination, there is a mandatory 14-day quarantine at a government-designated facility or Kenyan residence. There are some countries, however, that are exempt from mandatory quarantine.
Kenya Airways, Emirates, RwandAir, Lufthansa, Qatar, British Airways, Ethiopian Airlines.
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.
All countries are allowed to travel into Tanzania and there is no mandatory quarantine upon arrival.
Ethiopian Airlines, Qatar, KLM Royal Dutch, Emirates, Kenya Air, Precision Air, Swiss, Turkish.
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.
All countries are allowed to travel into Zanzibar and there is no mandatory quarantine upon arrival.
Mango Airlines, Precision Air, Oman Air, Turkish, Ethiopian Airlines, Kenya Air, Qatar.
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.
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.
Travelers from all countries must provide a negative COVID-19 test within 72 hours of boarding. Another test will be done on arrival into Rwanda.
All travellers must fill out a pre-arrival form.
All tourists must be tested before visiting any tourist attraction or embarking on any tour/trek, even if they have tested negative at the airport on arrival. The cost of these tests will be included in tour prices.
Private charter flights, Qatar Airways, Egypt Airways Ethiopian Airlines and RwandAir
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.
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.
All travelers to Botswana are required to present a valid negative COVID-19 test result, conducted within 72 hours of departure.
Strict health screening for COVID-19 symptoms will be conducted on arrival.
Private charter flights, Airlink, Air Botswana, Air Namibia
Our Recommended LuxVenture Trip in Botswana:
After slowly reintroducing domestic travel back into the country, Zimbabwe officially opened its borders and international airports on the 1st October 2020. Tourists are now welcome, once again, to experience the country’s colourful combination of Big Five wildlife, diverse landscapes, and warm welcoming culture.
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.
Emirates, Ethiopian Airlines, Kenya Air, Air Tanzania, SA Airlink.
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.
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.
Ethiopian Airlines, Lufthansa, Air Namibia, Eurowings, Qatar, SA Airlink.
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.
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.
Ethiopian Airlines, RwandAir, Kenya Airways, Emirates, Turkish, Oman Air, SA Airlink.
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!