• Tippy Brewitt

Planning Your Next Safari: An African Travel Update

With an ever changing travel climate, its important to know what the different travel restrictions and COVID-19 updates are before planning your trip to Africa. Many countries have started to roll out their vaccines and have issued proposed deadlines as to when most of the the adult populations will been vaccinated. This is certainly an exciting prospect for the travel and tourism industry, and naturally the conservation of wildlife.


We have put together details pertaining to travel in each country that we regularly operate in. Below you will hopefully find a helpful guide to booking your next African Safari. If you have any questions please don't hesitate to reach out to the Escape Safari Co. team.


The below information is accurate at the time of writing (18 March 2021) and we will endeavour to update this as frequently as possible to ensure the information is accurate and in line with all relevant government press releases.



Botswana


Botswana has started a phased reopening of international borders from 9 November 2020. Air travel will resume at Sir Seretse Khama International Airport in Gaborone, Maun and Kasane International Airports.


Date of Reopening:

  • 09 November 2020

Countries able to visit:

  • All countries

Health Screening and Quarantine protocols:

  • Present a valid negative COVID-19 PCR test result, conducted within 72 hours of departure for Botswana.

  • Undergo health screening for COVID-19 symptoms and update local health authority for two weeks while self monitoring.

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

  • Travellers will also have to present a negative PCR test on departure from Botswana.

Republic of Congo


The Republic of the Congo has reopened its borders and airports for international visitors.


Date of Reopening:

  • 24 August 2020 - Borders are currently open (air borders only)

  • Odzala-Kokoua National Park due to open 1 April 2021

Countries able to visit:

  • All countries

Health Screening and Quarantine protocols:

  • All visitors are required to complete a negative COVID-19 test within a maximum of seven days prior to arrival and submit the test results within two days of departure for Congo.

  • All arriving passengers will be required to undergo body temperature scans and may be requested to take another COVID-19 test.

  • Self quarantine or isolation is required for 14 days upon entry.

Kenya


The Kenyan government announced in July that local air travel will resume operations and that international travel will resume from 1 August 2020. Kenya has been awarded the World Travel and Tourism Council 'Safe Travel Stamp'.


Date of Reopening:

  • 1 August 2020 - borders are currently open.

Countries able to visit:

  • All countries

Health Screening and Quarantine protocols:

  • All passengers arriving on international flights are required to quarantine for 14 days at a government-designated facility or at their Kenyan residence. Here is a list of 147 countries that are exempt from the 14-day quarantine period.

  • All passengers on international flights must show a negative COVID-19 certificate on arrival, obtained no later than 96 hours prior to departure from their 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. 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. The form is found here and must be completed 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.

  • If you're returning destination or airline requires a negative PCR based COVID–19 test before you depart Kenya, you must get tested with a certified clinic that can issue the Trusted Travel Code. This is required in conjunction with your negative test result. Once the test is done, the result is uploaded to the Panaboios System by the clinic. Travellers are then sent the test result and Trusted Travel Code from the clinic.

  • Strict infection prevention and control measures have to be followed: social distancing, good hand hygiene, and the wearing of masks remain mandatory.

Namibia


The Namibian government has announced new implementation protocols that will guide the country's international tourism revival initiative. These protocols will come into effect from 1 September 2020, which will signal the reopening of Hosea Kutako International Airport in Windhoek to international visitors. Entry to Namibia will only be allowed via this airport.


Date of Reopening:

  • 1 September 2020 - Gradual reopening of borders.

Countries able to visit:

  • All countries

Health Screening and Quarantine protocols:

  • All passengers arriving on international flights must present a negative COVID-19 PCR test result, conducted within 72 hours of boarding the plane.

  • All arriving travellers must submit their full itinerary on arrival.

Rwanda


Tourism activities across Rwanda resumed from 17 June 2020 and Rwanda's airports reopened for scheduled commercial flights on 1 August 2020. Rwanda has been awarded the World travel and Tourism Coucil's 'Safety Stamp'.


Date of Reopening:

  • 17 June 2020 - borders are currently open.

Countries able to visit:

  • All countries

Health Screening and Quarantine protocols:

  • All travellers arriving in Rwanda must have a negative COVID-19 certificate. The only accepted test is a SARS-CoV 2 Real-Time Polymerase Chain Reaction (RT-PCR), performed within 120 hours of departure for Rwanda. Other tests such as Rapid Diagnostics Tests (RDT) are not accepted.

  • All travellers must complete the Passenger Locator Form prior to their arrival and upload their COVID-19 test certificate via www.rbc.gov.rw/travel

  • All travellers arriving in Rwanda will be screened upon entry and take a second RT-PCR test 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.

  • If your itinerary includes a national park, you will have to take a PCR test no later than 72 hours before visiting the park.

  • All travellers departing from Rwanda must test negative for COVID-19, with the RT-PCR test performed within 120 hours before departure. The Rwanda Development Board has advised that as long as travellers depart within 120 hours of their RT-PCR test on arrival, they do not require another test.

  • Preventive measures must be followed while travelling in Rwanda: physical distancing where possible; the wearing of masks is mandatory, and temperature screenings before entering certain buildings are mandatory.

  • when departing Rwanda, travellers will need to present a negative PCR test within 120 hours of their departure.

Seychelles


There has been a gradual reopening of the borders of Seychelles since 1 June 2020. After successfully implementing this first phase, Seychelles reopened for commercial flights from 1 August 2020.


NB: Visitors must ensure that accommodation bookings are made only at licensed establishments or liveaboards that have been certified by the Seychelles Public Health Authority. The list of certified establishments is available on www.tourism.gov.sc. All booking vouchers reflecting the entire duration of stay in Seychelles must be presented at Immigration for verification.


On 14 January 2021, the Minister for Foreign Affairs and Tourism announced that the Seychelles will review its entry requirement procedures following the launch of the COVID-19 vaccination campaign in the island nation. The campaign is expected to have about three quarters of the local adult population vaccinated by mid-March 2021. This being said they will be open to all visitors from all countries (except South Africa), irrespective of their vaccination status from the 25 March 2021.


Date of Reopening:

  • 1 August 2020 - borders are currently open.

Countries able to visit:

  • As of 25 march 2021 all countries, regardless of vaccines, are welcome except South Africa.

Health Screening and Quarantine protocols:

  • Before the 25th of March: Vaccinated visitors will need to provide a complete course (two doses) of COVID-19 vaccine and two weeks would have needed to pass after they received the last vaccine.

  • They will need to submit an authentic certificate from their national health authority as proof of COVID-19 vaccination as well as a negative COVID-19 PCR test certificate, obtained less than 72 hours prior to travel.

  • Category 1 & 2 lists of permitted countries travelling to the Seychelles will need to provide a negative COVID-19 PCR test certificate, obtained within 72 hours (category 1) or 48 hours (category 2) before departure.

  • It is mandatory to apply for Health Travel Authorisation from the Seychelles which can only be done after receiving a negative PCR test result.

  • Visitors must submit their negative PCR test results, flight and accommodation details before departure for Seychelles. The submission form is available here. Completed forms should be submitted via email to visitor@health.gov.sc.

  • All visitors will undergo temperature checks and health screening. Any visitor with fever and respiratory symptoms such as cough, runny nose or shortness of breath will be isolated from other travellers and subjected to further assessment.

  • Additionally, visitors may be required to undertake a COVID-19 test upon disembarkation.


There is no mandatory quarantine for vaccinated travellers, however unvaccinated travellers from Category 1 & 2 are required to spend a minimum of 6 nights in a designated COVID-19 certified establishment (however this will fall away after 25 March).

South Africa


The South African government announced on 01 March 2021 that the country will move to 'Alert Level One', this is the lowest restriction level that the country has seen since March last year. Currently twenty land border posts and five international airports – including OR Tambo, King Shaka and Cape Town – will be open to international travellers.The easing of lockdown regulations has also meant an extended curfew and easing on the restrictions of alcohol sales.


Date of Reopening:

  • 1 October 2020

Countries able to visit:

  • All countries

Health Screening and Quarantine protocols:

  • Travellers must present complete a health questionnaire not more than 2 days before arrival and departure.

  • Travellers must present a negative PCR (polymerase chain reaction) COVID-19 test on arrival, that is not older than 72 hours from the time of departure from the country of origin to South Africa.

  • This test must be conducted by a certified medical practitioner and should have the name and signature of the practitioner who conducted such a test.

  • Travellers arriving without a negative COVID-19 test certificate will be required to quarantine at their own cost.

  • Upon arrival in the port of entry, the traveller will be screened for any COVID-19 symptoms or for contact with people who have been infected with the COVID-19 virus. 

  • Travellers will also need to provide proof of accommodation address should they need to self-quarantine at the time of arrival in the country.

Tanzania


The Tanzanian government announced on 18 May 2020 that it will lift the ban on international flights arriving and departing from the country. All hotels and other tourist facilities in the country had to go through a COVID-19 certification process. The Tanzanian government directed all the country’s tourism entities to appoint and adequately train COVID-19 liaison officers to be the point of contact with its Health Ministry. Tanzania has been awarded the World Travel & Tourism Council's 'Safety Stamp'.


Date of Reopening:

  • 1 June 2020 - borders are currently open.

Countries able to visit:

  • All countries

Health Screening and Quarantine protocols:

  • As of 1 August, 2020 Tanzania updated their entry requirements and is now requiring a 72-hour negative PCR test to enter the country.

  • If you are travelling with an airline that requires a negative COVID-19 certificate, or if your country of origin requires a negative COVID-19 certificate upon departure, then Tanzania will also request the certificate on arrival.

  • Arriving passengers showing any symptoms or signs of COVID-19 will be required to undergo enhanced health screening and may be tested for COVID-19.

  • While in Tanzania, visitors will be expected to adhere to full protective measures against the spread of COVID-19.

Uganda


The Ugandan government has released a tentative phased reopening schedule for the resumption of international passenger flights to Entebbe International Airport, effective 1 October 2020.


Date of Reopening:

  • 1 October 2020

Countries able to visit:

  • All countries

Health Screening and Quarantine protocols:

  • Arriving passengers need to present a negative COVID-19 PCR test, issued within 120 hours before departure, from an accredited laboratory from their country of origin. There are normal temperature checks and social distancing protocols on arrival.

  • Departing guests will have their temperature check and will need to arrive at the airport at least four hours before departure from Uganda.

Zambia


Zambia is currently open to foreign nationals and the country is issuing visitor visas upon entry into the country. 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.


Date of Reopening:

  • 27 June 2020 - borders are currently open.

Countries able to visit:

  • All countries

Health Screening and Quarantine protocols:

  • All arriving passengers must have a certificate of a negative COVID-19 test that has been conducted within 7 days of arriving in Zambia.

  • Visitors will be expected to adhere to COVID-19 regulations like physical distancing, wearing face masks, and personal hygiene. They will also need to monitor themselves daily for 14 days for symptoms of the virus and report any occurrence to the nearest health facility.

  • Departing travellers will only be required to present a negative COVID-19 certificate if their airline or destination country requires it. However those needing to take a test on departure will also have to hand in a Travel Certificated from the Zambia Ministry of Health. Travel Certificates can be granted when travellers present their passports and a negative COVID-19 test results at a number of different offices.

Zimbabwe


The Zimbabwean government has recently announced the reopening of the country's local tourism sector on 3 September 2020. Domestic flights will resume well in advance of 1 October 2020 (the date for Zimbabwe's international airports to reopen). Land borders remain closed until further notice. There is currently a lockdown curfew in place between 10pm to 5:30am. Travel is permitted within the curfew restrictions.


Date of Reopening:

  • 1 October 2020

Countries able to visit:

  • All countries

Health Screening and Quarantine protocols:

  • All travellers will be required to present a PCR COVID-19 clearance certificate issued by a recognised facility within 48 hours of departure for Zimbabwe.

  • All travellers will undergo health screening and temperature testing.

  • Social distancing, hand sanitisation and the wearing of masks are mandatory.

**Please note: The information in this blog is correct at the time of publication. Information will be updated accordingly as it is made public by each government across the continent.**

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