Planning travel mid-pandemic is a bit confusing, overwhelming and frustrating, to say the least. And if you’re planning an excursion outside of the country, to places like Africa, it can feel downright scary! That’s why we’re here to help!

If you’ve been dreaming of an African Safari but aren’t sure if it’s safe to plan your travels yet, then review the updates below so you know what’s going on with travel to and from Africa during COVID-19.

Updated 2021/10/12

Notes:

Flying to/from Africa

Most international commercial airlines require passengers to produce a certificate of a negative COVID-19 PCR test that has been conducted within 72 hours of departure. The same may be required when arriving at any transit airport or back in your home country. Many of our trusted suppliers throughout Africa are able to arrange in-lodge/hotel COVID-19 tests or transfer you safely to an authorized testing facility. We are here to help you make your travels as seamless as possible.

Travelling to Africa After Getting the COVID-19 Vaccine

Now that a COVID-19 vaccine is becoming available, many potential travelers are asking if they’ll be required to undergo COVID-19 tests and follow the current health and safety protocols when travelling to Africa after getting the vaccine. The answer remains unclear, as experts still need to learn more about the protection that a COVID-19 vaccine provides under real-life conditions. We are keeping abreast of developments in travelling after being vaccinated and will provide updates when we have clear and conclusive information.

Botswana

Open for international travel via:

  • Airports
  • Land borders

Health screening & COVID-19 protocols on arrival

  • All travellers older than five years must present a printed original test certificate of a negative COVID-19 PCR test result, conducted within 72 hours of arrival in Botswana.
  • Undergo health screening for COVID-19 symptoms.
  • All arrivals (including children) will undergo an additional, cost-free COVID-19 antigen test. Results are ready within 20 minutes.
  • Complete a traveler locator form (handed out on the airplane or on arrival) with accurate contact information while in Botswana so that the local Health Authority can contact you, if necessary, within 14 days.

Mandatory quarantine

  • Any visitor showing symptoms of COVID-19 will be required to undergo a PCR test, and possible isolation and or quarantine for 14 days.

Health screening & COVID-19 protocols on departure

All travellers departing Botswana must present a negative COVID-19 test certificate (paper version only), irrespective of their destination. Tests must be conducted within 72 hours of departure at any of the country’s testing facilities, or:

  • Option 1: Arrange in-camp testing – a qualified practitioner is flown to your camp or lodge to conduct a PCR test. This has to be booked 36 hours in advance, online bookings are essential, and a minimum of two guests is required. Guests are liable for all costs.
  • Option 2: Do the PCR test in Maun, Kasane or Gabarone Airports – bookings are essential. Your Africa Safari Expert can arrange this for you. Test results are available within 24 hours.

Kenya

Approved & Recognised User of the World Travel & Tourism Council’s (WTTC) Safety Stamp

On 6 July 2020, Kenya announced that local air travel will resume operations from 15 July 2020 and that international travel will resume from 1 August 2020.

Open for international travel via:

  • Airports
  • Land borders

Health screening & COVID-19 protocols on arrival

Before departing for Kenya, passengers are required to submit their COVID-19 test certificates to generate a Trusted Travel (TT) code. Visit PanaBios to create a TT account, upload PCR test certificates, and generate a TT code.

  • A negative COVID-19 PCR test certificate is required, obtained no later than 96 hours prior to departure from your home country.
  • Body temperatures must test below 37.5°C (99.5°F) and visitors must have no persistent cough, no difficulty breathing, and no other flu-like symptoms.
  • If there is a reported case of COVID-19 on a flight or if the above symptoms are detected, all passengers within two rows of the passenger with the symptoms will be quarantined for testing at designated airport hotels. If the test results are negative, they will be allowed to leave the facility.
  • It is mandatory for all passengers arriving in Kenya to complete the Travelers Health Surveillance Form by the Ministry of Health online prior to disembarkation. 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.
  • Travellers are expected to submit daily health information to the Jitenge platform (available from Google Play Store) for 14 consecutive days after arriving in Kenya.
  • Strict infection prevention and control measures have to be followed: social distancing, good hand hygiene, and the wearing of masks remain mandatory.

Mandatory quarantine

Health screening & COVID-19 protocols on departure

  • Passengers departing Kenya are required to have a Trusted Travel (TT) code for their COVID-19 test certificates if their destination countries, airlines or transit airports require PCR tests. Visit www.africacdc.org/trusted-travel to check the test requirements of transit and destination countries.
  • See a list of laboratories that have been approved to carry out COVID-19 PCR tests and issue certificates and TT codes.

Namibia

UK Air Bridge Approved Since 12 December 2020

Namibia announced new implementation protocols that will guide the country’s international tourism revival initiative. These protocols came into effect from 1 September 2020.

As of 1 August 2021, Namibia has lifted all travel restrictions between regions. A curfew between 22:00 and 04:00 still remains in place.

Open for international travel via:

  • Airports
  • Land borders (Katima and Mulilo)

Health screening & COVID-19 protocols on arrival

  • All travellers older than 5 years must present a negative COVID-19 PCR test result no older than 7 days from when the test sample was taken.
  • Undergo health screening and temperature testing.
  • Submit your full trip itinerary.

Mandatory quarantine

  • Not required, unless a traveller’s PCR test is older than 7 days.
  • If PCR test is older than 7 days, a traveller will be placed in quarantine for 7 days and required to take a COVID test at own cost.

Health screening & COVID-19 protocols on departure

  • A negative COVID-19 test certificate, conducted within 48 hours of departing Namibia, if your country of origin requires it.

Rwanda

Approved & Recognised User of the World Travel & Tourism Council’s (WTTC) Safety Stamp

Tourism activities across the country resumed from 17 June 2020 and Rwanda’s airports reopened for scheduled commercial flights on 1 August 2020. Kigali International Airport is a member of the Airport Health Accreditation Programme by Airports Council International (ACI).

As of 23 September to 13 October 2021, movement in Kigali is prohibited between 23:00 and 04:00. For the rest of the country, movement is prohibited between 21:00 and 04:00, except in the districts of Gicumbi, Karongi, Kirehe, Ngoma and Nyagatare, where movements are prohibited between 20:00 and 04:00. Tourism still continues in line with COVID-19 regulations.

Open for international travel via:

  • Airports

Countries allowed to travel to the destination

  • All tourists will be allowed to visit Rwanda’s attractions and destinations after testing negative for COVID-19 in two consecutive tests.

Health screening & COVID-19 protocols on arrival

  • All travellers older than 5 years must provide a negative COVID-19 PCR test certificate, performed within 72 hours of departure for Rwanda.
  • Complete the Passenger Locator Form and upload your COVID-19 test certificate via www.rbc.gov.rw/travel prior to arrival. On completion of the form, you will be provided with a Unique Health Code (UHC) which you must present on arrival. Note: this can only be submitted within 72 hours before your departure. 
  • Complete a short health questionnaire on arrival.
  • If you are visiting any national park in Rwanda, except Akagera, you are required to schedule your visit within 72 hours of receiving a negative PCR test result. Tourists visiting Akagera National Park are required to take a Rapid Antigen Test (about USD 5), available at numerous clinics in Kigali. If your visit/s are more than 72 hours after the initial test on arrival in Rwanda, you will be required to take another COVID-19 test before visiting the parks.
  • Follow preventive measures while travelling in Rwanda: physical distancing where possible; the wearing of masks is mandatory; and temperature screenings before entering certain buildings are mandatory.

Mandatory quarantine

  • All travellers arriving in Rwanda will be screened upon entry and take a second RT-PCR test (USD 60 per person) to confirm the negative results of the test done prior to arrival. You will be required to wait about 24 hours for these test results in a designated transit hotel. The Government of Rwanda has negotiated special rates at designated transit hotels for the 24-hour waiting period.

Health screening & COVID-19 protocols on departure

  • All travellers departing Rwanda must test negative for COVID-19 after taking a PCR test within 72 hours of departure. Allow 48 hours for results from when the sample is collected.

South Africa

Cape Town is an Approved & Recognised User of the World Travel & Tourism Council’s (WTTC) Safety Stamp

South Africa announced on 16 September 2020 that the country’s borders will reopen for tourism on 1 October 2020.

OR Tambo, King Shaka and Cape Town airports are members of the Airport Health Accreditation Programme by Airports Council International (ACI).

Open for international travel via:

  • Airports
  • Land borders (partially)

Health screening & COVID-19 protocols on arrival

  • Download, print and complete the Traveller Health Questionnaire (Entry) not more than 2 days before arrival. The same applies when leaving South Africa.
  • Provide a valid, printed certificate of a negative COVID-19 PCR test, obtained not more than 72 hours (3 days) from the time of departure for South Africa. The test must be conducted by a certified medical practitioner and the certificate must have the name and signature of the practitioner who conducted the test.
  • Undergo screening for any COVID-19 symptoms and/or for contact with people who have been infected with the virus.
  • Download the COVID Alert South Africa mobile app.

Mandatory quarantine

Not required unless:

  • Arriving passengers fail to present a valid and negative COVID-19 PCR test. This will require quarantine at own cost.
  • Travellers display any symptoms of COVID-19 or have been in contact with an infected person. A mandatory COVID-19 test will be required at their own cost. If this test result is positive, travellers will be subjected to a 10-day quarantine at a designated site, at their own cost.

Health screening & COVID-19 protocols on departure

Tanzania

Approved & Recognised User of the World Travel & Tourism Council’s (WTTC) Safety Stamp

The government of Tanzania announced on 18 May 2020 that it will lift the ban on international flights arriving and departing from the country.

Open for international travel via:

  • Airports
  • Land borders

Countries allowed to travel to the destination

  • All

Health screening & COVID-19 protocols on arrival

  • All travellers (including children) are required to complete a Traveller’s Health Surveillance Form, to be submitted within 24 hours before arrival in Tanzania. Upon submission, you will receive a Unique Health Code that will be requested during primary screening on arrival.
  • Present a negative RT-PCR COVID-19 test certificate, obtained within 96 hours of departure to Tanzania.
  • Undergo enhanced screening for COVID-19, including rapid testing at USD 10 (USD 25 in Zanzibar) per traveller.
  • While in Tanzania, visitors will be expected to adhere to full protective measures against the spread of COVID-19.

Mandatory quarantine

  • All travellers arriving from India, or those who have travelled through India in the last 14 days regardless of the route taken, must undergo a Rapid Test upon arrival at own cost (USD 10). This is followed by stringent contact tracing, and a 14-day mandatory quarantine at an approved hotel at their own cost.

Uganda

Uganda released a tentative phased reopening schedule for all its land borders and the resumption of international passenger flights, effective 1 October 2020.

Open for international travel via:

  • Airports
  • Land borders

Countries allowed to travel to the destination

  • Travellers arriving from Category 2 & 3 countries are allowed entry into Uganda. No countries are currently listed under Category 1.

Health screening & COVID-19 protocols on arrival

All arriving travellers (Category 2 & 3):

  • Provide a negative COVID-19 PCR test result from an accredited laboratory in your country of origin, issued within 72 hours of departure for Uganda.
  • Undergo temperature checks and health screening on arrival.
  • Wear masks, maintain a social distance of 1.5 metres (5 feet) where possible, and practice good personal hygiene.

Category 2 travellers:

  • All travellers (except children under 3 years) arriving from India, USA, United Kingdom, United Arab Emirates, Turkey, South Africa, Ethiopia, South Sudan, Kenya and Tanzania will have to undergo a PCR COVID-19 test at their points of entry, including Entebbe International Airport.
  • Travellers will be transferred by bus to a government approved testing facility, located about 1.2 miles (2 kilometres) from the airport, where PCR testing is done. The Ministry of Health has signed an agreement with the private sector to carry out this exercise in a comfortable environment, and provide test results within 5 hours. The PCR test will cost USD 65 per traveller, payable in cash.

All travellers – except passengers arriving from India – who can produce proof of completing a full COVID-19 vaccination course (within a minimum of 2 weeks before entry) are exempt from additional PCR testing on arrival.

Category 3 travellers:

  • All passengers with no COVID symptoms arriving from countries not in Category 1 and 2 are exempt from additional COVID-19 testing.

All departing passengers: 

  • Arrive at the airport at least four hours before their scheduled flights.
  • Present a negative COVID-19 PCR test result, issued within 72 hours of departing from Uganda, even if the destination country does not require it. If the destination country requires a negative test result in less than 72 hours, the destination country’s time frame takes priority.
  • Undergo temperature checks and health screening.

Mandatory quarantine

  • Not required. Passengers who exhibit signs and symptoms of an infectious disease will be transported to an isolation centre for a COVID-19 test. Results will be available within 24 to 48 hours. If foreign nationals test positive for COVID-19 and wish to be repatriated to another facility outside Uganda, they can do so at their own cost and according to COVID-19 medical evacuation protocols.

Zambia

Zambia is open to foreign nationals and issuing visitor visas upon entry into the country. Depending on your nationality, travellers can arrive without a visa, obtain a visa on arrival, or apply for an e-visa before travelling to Zambia – visit the Zambia Department of Immigration website for more info. Limited domestic flight schedules are operating twice-weekly between Kenneth Kaunda International Airport and Mfuwe International Airport, and between Kenneth Kaunda and Harry Mwanga Nkumbula International Airport in Livingstone.

Open for international travel via:

  • Airports
  • Land borders

Health screening & COVID-19 protocols on arrival

Before arriving in Zambia, passengers are required to submit their COVID-19 test certificates to generate a Trusted Travel (TT) code. Visit PanaBios to create a TT account, upload PCR test certificates, and generate a TT code. Travellers with test results from non-recognised laboratories are required to submit their test results to Global Haven for validation.

  • Provide a PCR-based SARS-CoV-2 certificate of a negative COVID-19 test result no older than 72 hours prior to departure from country of origin.
  • Complete a Traveller Health Questionnaire from the Ministry of Health on board the flight before landing in Zambia.
  • Undergo temperature and symptom screening, which could lead to further COVID-19 testing (at your own cost) and quarantine in designated facilities until test results are available.
  • Travellers arriving from high risk countries are required to undergo a PCR test at own cost. If the test result is positive, travellers will be required to quarantine for 14 days. Travellers who transit through high risk countries are not considered high risk if the transit time is less than 24 hours. The list of high risk countries is reviewed and updated regularly.
  • Adhere to COVID-19 regulations like physical distancing, wearing face masks, and personal hygiene. You will also need to monitor yourself daily for 14 days post arrival for symptoms of the virus and report any occurrence to the nearest health facility.
  • Travellers leaving Zambia will only be required to produce a negative COVID-19 test certificate when flying with an airline or to a country that requires said certificate.

Mandatory quarantine

  • All international visitors are screened on arrival. If you show any signs of COVID-19, you will have to quarantine for 14 days.
  • Travellers from high risk countries will have to quarantine for 14 days if their PCR test result on arrival is positive.

Health screening & COVID-19 protocols on departure

Obtain a Travel Certificate from the Ministry of Health, originating from Zambia, if your destination or airline requires a COVID-19 test certificate. To obtain a Travel Certificate, travellers must present their passports and COVID-19 test results at one of these offices:

  • University Teaching Hospital (UTH)
  • District Health Office (DHO)
  • Public Health Office (PHO)
  • Zambia National Public Health Institute (ZNPHI)
  • Adult Infectious Disease Center (AIDC) at UTH

Zimbabwe

Zimbabwe announced the reopening of the country’s local tourism sector on 3 September 2020. Domestic flights resumed on 21 September 2020 with Air Zimbabwe and Fastjet, in advance of 1 October 2020: the reopening date of Zimbabwe’s international airports.

As of 1 July 2021, the government instituted a national lockdown and a curfew from 18:30 to 06:00. Air travel remains open for leisure travellers, but land borders are only open to returning residents and essential services – including commercial and transit cargo carriers. Inter-city and inter-provincial holiday travel, as well as visiting national parks and designated tourism facilities are allowed, but will be bound by the country’s curfew hours. Visitors who are travelling between destinations are required to provide documentation of bookings at national parks and other designated tourism facilities.

Open for international travel via:

  • Airports
  • Land borders (Victoria Falls and Kazungula for fully vaccinated travellers only)

Health screening & COVID-19 protocols on arrival

  • Present a negative COVID-19 PCR test certificate, obtained from a recognised facility within 48 hours of departure for Zimbabwe.
  • Undergo health screening and temperature testing.
  • Social distancing, hand sanitisation and the wearing of masks are mandatory.
  • All travellers older than 18 years who arrive via the Kazungula and Victoria Falls land borders must produce proof of COVID-19 vaccinations, as well as negative PCR test results no older than 48 hours. Children under 18 years are only required to have negative PCR test certificates. Children younger than 5 years do not require PCR test certificates.

Mandatory quarantine

  • Travellers showing COVID-19 symptoms on arrival may be tested at their own expense (USD 60 per test) at a facility available at the airport. If necessary, travellers will be required to undergo a mandatory 7-day quarantine at their own cost.
  • Travellers arriving from (or through) India will be tested for COVID-19 on arrival and, if positive, will be taken to an isolation centre. If the test result is negative, they will need to quarantine in a hotel at own expense for 10 days from date of arrival in Zimbabwe.

Although the government has stated that all arriving travellers are required to quarantine for 10 days, this statutory legislation is not being practiced or enforced. This is verified by our key safari partners on the ground in Zimbabwe, as well as other international travellers. The tourism industry has requested the Zimbabwean government to update its official website accordingly.

Ready to Start Planning Your Trip of a Lifetime?

For 17 years we have successfully navigated various crises and global disruptions, and are committed to creating once in a lifetime trips while supporting conservation, communities and sustainability in Africa, now more than ever. Health and safety protocols are excellent throughout the continent: sanitizer stations, temperature checks, social distancing and the wearing of masks are standard practices. But the real beauty of Africa lies in its remote safari destinations, far away from any crowds.

If you feel ready and comfortable, Africa is ready for you. Get in touch with us to help tailor-make a trip that’s right for you!

Check back for updates! And feel free to contact us directly if you want to book your next trip, but have questions first.

Information credit: go2africa.com