Travel Tips

COVID safe destinations in Southern and East Africa to visit right now

 

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.

Countries in Africa open to US citizens

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. 

COVID safe destinations in 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. 

Countries allowed to travel to Kenya

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

International travel to this wildlife mecca resumed on the 1st August 2020, and safari tours to Kenya were able to resume again.

Maasai warrior in Kenya

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.

Wildebeest crossing the Mara River
 International flights arriving and departing from the country began, and travel to Tanzania has been a relatively stress-free affair.

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.

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.

Airlines Flying into Zanzibar

Mango Airlines, Precision Air, Oman Air, Turkish, Ethiopian Airlines, Kenya Air, Qatar.

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 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.

Airlines Flying into Rwanda

Private charter flights, Qatar Airways, Egypt Airways Ethiopian Airlines and RwandAir

Our Recommended LuxVenture Trip in Rwanda:

Mountain Gorilla Trekking

COVID safe destinations in 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.

Health & Safety COVID-19 Protocols

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.

Airlines Flying into Botswana

 Private charter flights, Airlink, Air Botswana, Air Namibia

 Our Recommended LuxVenture Trip in Botswana: 

Best of Botswana Safari

Zimbabwe

Elephant in Mana Pools, Zimbabwe

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. 

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.

Aerial view of Victoria Falls
Tourists are now welcome, once again, to experience the country’s colourful combination of Big Five wildlife, diverse landscapes, and warm welcoming culture. 

Health & Safety COVID-19 Protocols

  • All travelers will be required to present a negative COVID-19 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. 
  • The additional mandatory measures of wearing of masks, social distancing, and sanitisation will be applicable for the whole duration of your stay. 

Airlines Flying into Zimbabwe

Emirates, Ethiopian Airlines, Kenya Air, Air Tanzania, SA Airlink.

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. 

This renowned safari destination is characterised by the endless desert landscapes and sand dunes that disappear into pristine coastlines, and is definitely worth experiencing. 

A waterhole in Etosha National Park, Namibia

Health & Safety COVID-19 Protocols

  • Travelers must show proof of a negative COVID-19 test taken within 72 hours of boarding the plane from their point of origin. If the test presented is older than 72 hours, then travelers will go into a seven day supervised quarantine.
  • 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.
  • International travelers must have valid insurance that covers medical care or an unexpected extended stay, and must submit their full itineraries on arrival. 
  • A COVID-19 swab test will be conducted on day 5 of your trip, and travel in Namibia will only be permitted if a negative result is produced on day 7. If the result is positive, travelers will be treated at isolation facilities authorised by the Ministry of Health and Social Services at their cost. 

Airlines Flying into Namibia

Ethiopian Airlines, Lufthansa, Air Namibia, Eurowings, Qatar, SA Airlink. 

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. 

Elephant in the Zambezi River
All countries are allowed to travel into Zambia and there is no mandatory quarantine unless travelers display symptoms on arrival after being screened.

Health & Safety COVID-19 Protocols

  • All arriving visitors will need to carry proof of a negative COVID-19 test conducted within 14 days of arriving in 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.

Airlines Flying into Zambia

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

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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