Fresh air. Sunshine. Wide-open spaces. Open vehicle game drives. The sheer expanse and diverse beauty of the African savanna make the region a great post-lockdown destination for travellers looking for somewhere safe, remote, and away from large crowds, to enjoy a well-earned vacation. An African safari is just what the doctor ordered.

However, trying to keep up with the ever-changing entry requirements and travel protocols for each country can be rather overwhelming. We'd like to help you take the stress out of planning your trip by laying out each country's current COVID-19 entry requirements and health screening protocols. We'll keep this post updated as the requirements change.

[Last update: 01.10.2021]

South Africa

Cape Town South Africa by Wim van den Heever D3 S6433

Cape Town, South Africa

(Image: Wim van den Heever)

South Africa has moved to Adjusted Level 1 lockdown which means restrictions with regards to public gatherings, trading hours and the sale of alcohol have been eased. All interprovincial travel is permitted but visitors should note that there is a curfew in South Africa between 00h00 and 04h00. If your flight arrives within the curfew hours and you are stopped by law enforcement officials en route from the airport to your hotel, all you need to do is present proof of your boarding passes or tickets for your flights.

Health screening and COVID-19 protocols

  • Arrivals must present a valid negative COVID-19 PCR test that is not older than 72 hours from the time of departure for South Africa. In order for the PCR test to be considered valid, it must have the name and signature of the certified medical practitioner who conducted the test. Your test result must be printed (not on your phone) and in English.
  • Arrivals will be screened for signs of COVID-19 symptoms or for contact with people who have been infected with the coronavirus.
  • Arrivals will be asked to download the free COVID Alert South Africa mobile app. You can find out more about how the app works here.
  • All foreign nationals must have travel insurance. Make sure that your travel insurance covers the cost of any coronavirus testing or quarantine measures.

Mandatory quarantine

Mandatory quarantine is not required, unless:

  • you fail to present a valid negative COVID-19 PCR test. Should this be the case, you will be required to enter mandatory quarantine at your own cost and remain there until (1) you have either tested negative for COVID-19 or (2) the quarantine period of 10 days has been completed.
  • you show any COVID-19 symptoms or have been in contact with an infected person in which case you will be required to take a mandatory COVID-19 test at your own cost. If the test result comes back positive, you will be required to enter a 10-day quarantine period at a designated site at your own cost.

Other measures

The wearing of face masks in all public places is mandatory and social distancing is required at all times.

Namibia

Wim van den Heever D517766 ethosa

Etosha, Namibia

(Image: Wim van den Heever)

Namibia is open for international travel, including travel between regions across the country.

Health screening and COVID-19 protocols

  • All arrivals must present a valid negative COVID-19 PCR test that is not older than seven days at the time of entry into Namibia.
  • Upon arrival in Namibia, all travellers will go through a health screening and temperature testing procedure and will be required to submit their full travel itinerary.

Mandatory quarantine

Mandatory quarantine is not required, unless:

  • a visitor's PCR test is older than seven days. In this event, the traveller will be required to quarantine for seven days and take a COVID test at their own cost.

Other measures

There is a nationwide curfew from 22h00 and 04h00.

Zimbabwe

Blog Southern Africa Travel Update Zimbabwe Gorges Lodge Sunset cruise on the zambezi

Sunset cruise on the Zambezi River, Zimbabwe

(Image: Gorges Lodge)

Zimbabwe has loosened entry requirements for tourists. Victoria Falls and Kazungula land border posts are open to fully vaccinated tourists and Zimbabwe's international airports remain open subject to certain protocols.

Health screening and COVID-19 protocols

  • Arrivals must present a valid negative COVID-19 PCR test that is not older than 48 hours from the time of departure for Zimbabwe. The PCR test must be obtained from a recognized facility in order for it to be considered valid.
  • Upon arrival, all travellers will undergo health screening, temperature testing protocols and must complete a contact tracing form.
  • Travellers who present symptoms will be tested for COVID-19, regardless of a pre-arrival negative PCR test. If a traveller tests positive, they will need to go into quarantine at a government-approved facility for 10 days if they are asymptomatic. Quarantine lasts 13 days for travellers who test positive for COVID-19 and who are also symptomatic. Quarantine is at the traveller's expense.
  • Travellers must be retested after quarantine before they are permitted to proceed to their next destination.
  • Standard social distancing protocols, regular hand sanitisation and the wearing of masks are mandatory.
  • Travellers leaving Zimbabwe will not be permitted to enter the airport unless they can provide airport officials with a negative PCR test obtained within 48 hours of departure. We strongly advise travellers leaving Zimbabwe to get tested the day before their flight departs.

Mandatory quarantine for arrivals from India

  • Visitors arriving from or transiting through India are required to quarantine for 10 days and get tested on the first, third, fifth and tenth day at their own expense.

Other measures

There is a curfew between 18h30 and 06h00 and intercity movement is currently prohibited. As of 27 July 2021, tourists who are fully vaccinated are permitted to use the Victoria Falls and Kazungula Border Posts.

    Zambia

    Blog Southern Africa Travel Update Zambia South Luangwa Lion Camp

    Bushwalk in South Luangwa National Park, Zambia

    (Image: Lion Camp)

    Zambia, like Zimbabwe, is also open to all foreign visitors. Depending on nationality, some travellers to Zambia can enter without a visitor visa while others can either obtain a visitor visa on arrival or apply for an e-visa before travelling to Zambia. Consult the Zambian Department of Immigration website for more information or ask your Wild Wings Safaris travel consultant for details.

    Health screening and COVID-19 protocols

    • Arrivals must have a negative PCR COVID-19 Clearance Certificate obtained within 72 hours before arrival in Zambia.
    • All arrivals from High-Risk Countries have to undergo another PCR test at their own expense (cash payments only) on arrival. They will be required to isolate themselves at their accommodation pending the outcome of the COVID test (24 to 48 hours) and are permitted to continue with their itinerary if a negative result is issued. If arrivals from High-Risk Countries can present proof they are fully vaccinated against COVID-19, they will not be required to isolate pending their test results.
    • Arrivals will be screened for COVID-19 symptoms upon entry and are required to adhere to standard COVID-19 infection mitigation protocols like social distancing, wearing face masks, and personal hygiene for the duration of their stay in Zambia.
    • Travellers must complete a COVID-19 contact-tracing document on arrival.

    Mandatory quarantine

    Mandatory quarantine is required:

    • if a traveller tests positive for COVID-19. The quarantine will take places at the traveller's own expense at an isolation centre for 14 days or until a negative test is returned.

    High-Risk Countries as of 28 May 2021

    1. Argentina
    2. Italy
    3. Brazil
    4. Kenya
    5. Egypt
    6. Russia
    7. Ethiopia
    8. South Africa
    9. France
    10. Tanzania
    11. Germany
    12. Tunisia
    13. India
    14. Turkey
    15. Iran

    Botswana

    Blog Southern Africa Travel Update Botswana African Bush Camps Linyati

    Mokoro safari in Botswana

    (Image: African Bush Camps Linyati)

    On 9 November 2020, air travel resumed at Sir Seretse Khama International Airport in Gaborone, Maun, and Kasane International Airports. Airlines servicing these three airports are Airlink and private charter flights.

    Health screening and COVID-19 protocols upon arrival

    • Travellers must present a valid negative COVID-19 PCR test result that was conducted within 72 hours of departure for Botswana.
    • Upon arrival in Botswana, all travellers (including children) will undergo health screening for COVID-19 symptoms and an additional cost-free COVID-19 test.
    • The wearing of face masks in public is mandatory.

    Mandatory quarantine

    If the additional cost-free COVID-19 test upon entry is positive or if you show COVID-19 symptoms, you may be required to:

    • self-isolate and or quarantine at a designated site at your own expense for 14 days or until you test negative.

    Visitors from India or visitors who have transited through India within the past 14 days are required to:

    • quarantine at a designated site for 10 days at their own cost.
    • take a mandatory COVID-19 test at their own expense between days 5 and 7 of their quarantine.

    Health screening and COVID-19 protocols upon departure

    Travellers need to take a PCR test at their own expense 72 hours before departing Botswana via:

    • in-camp testing whereby a qualified practitioner is flown to your camp or lodge to conduct a PCR test. It is essential that this is booked online 36 hours in advance for a minimum of two guests. Guests are liable for all PCR testing costs.
    • Maun or Kasane Airport. Please note that bookings are essential and that test results are available within 24 hours.

      Tanzania

      African Travel Advice Tanzania Ngorongoro Crater

      Ngorongoro Crater in Tanzania

      (Image: Ngorongoro Crater Camp - Tanzania)

      Tanzania has been open to travellers from all countries since 18 May 2020. When the ban on international flights into and out of Tanzania was lifted, the government directed all tourism entities to designate and adequately train Covid-19 officers to liaise with the country's Health Ministry. All hotels and tourist facilities went through a COVID-19 certification process and new standard operating procedures were introduced to provide a safe environment for locals and tourists.

      Health screening and COVID-19 protocols

      • All visitors six years of age and older are required to present a negative Real-Time Polymerase Chain Reaction (RT-PCR) test or Nucleic Acid Amplification Test (NAATs) carried out within 96 hours before arrival.
      • Tests must be carried out at a nationally accredited or approved laboratory.
      • Within 24 hours before arriving in Tanzania, all visitors must complete an online Traveller Surveillance Form. Upon completing the online form, visitors will receive a confirmation code, including a Unique Health Code, which they will be asked to present during primary screening when they arrive in Tanzania.
      • Arrivals aged 6 years and older from the following countries (including arrivals who have travelled to the following countries in the last 14 days) are required to undergo a Rapid Test on arrival:
        • the Democratic Republic of the Congo
        • Egypt
        • France
        • India
        • Malawi
        • Uganda
        • the United Kingdom
        • the United States of America
        • Rwanda
        • and South Africa
      • The Rapid Test costs $10 per person per test for the Tanzanian mainland and $25 per person per test for Zanzibar.
      • We advise arrivals who require a Rapid Test to avoid delays on arrival by paying for the test prior to their arrival in Tanzania. They can do this by using the automatically generated control number they receive after completing the Traveller Surveillance Form.
      • On arrival, all visitors will undergo temperature screening and must complete a Health Declaration Form.
      • Arrivals will also receive health information cards with toll-free numbers. They will be advised to self-monitor for symptoms and signs.
      • In the event a visitor to Tanzania develops COVID-19, they will be tested and treated at designated health facilities at their own cost.
      • Face masks are mandatory in all public places and social distancing is required at all times.

      Mandatory quarantine

      Arrivals whose Rapid Test shows a positive result will be permitted to self-isolate at a location of their choice for 14 days or more until they test negative on a Real-Time Reverse Transcription Polymerase Chain Reaction (RT-PCR) test.

      Departing Tanzania

      Travellers who need to undergo COVID-19 testing before leaving Tanzania should plan to get tested 5 days prior to departure to allow enough time for test results to be received.

      COVID-19 PCR testing is available in

      • Dar Es Salaam ($60 per person per test). Test results are available between 24 and 48 hours.
      • Serengeti Seronera ($75 per person per test and availability depending on the guest's location and logistics). Test results are available between 48 and 72 hours.
      • Karatu ($60 per person per test and $15 per person per test payable directly in cash). Test results are available between 48 and 72 hours.
      • Arusha ($60 per person per test). Test results are available between 48 and 72 hours.
      • Zanzibar ($150 per person per test). Test results available between 48 and 72 hours.

          Kenya

          African Travel Advice Kenya Maasai Mara

          Masai Mara, Kenya

          (Image: Onne Vegter)

          Kenya reopened its borders for international travellers on 1 August 2020. Depending on the country of origin, some travellers may be required to quarantine (see the section "Mandatory quarantine" below for further details).

          Health screening and COVID-19 protocols

          • If you travel to Kenya, you will need to obtain a negative COVID-19 PCR test (NOT a negative rapid test) result taken within 96 hours of flying.
          • Upon receiving your negative COVID-19 PCR test result, and before arrival in Kenya, you will need to go online and upload your negative test certificate onto the Trusted Travel or Global Haven website. You will receive a QR code which, together with your negative test certificate, you need to present to the Kenyan authorities upon arrival in Kenya.
          • Prior to travel, you also need to fill out an online "Travelers Health Surveillance Form" for the purposes of contact tracing. Make sure you print the QR code here, too, so you can show it to the authorities on arrival in Kenya.
          • You will be screened for flu-like symptoms on arrival.
          • If a traveller displays the symptoms associated with COVID-19, they and all passengers seated in the two rows around them will be directed to quarantine for testing at designated airport hotels. Those with negative test results will be allowed to leave the facility.

          Mandatory quarantine

            • Travellers arriving on international flights from Brunei Darussalam, Kuwait, Qatar or Thailand will be required to quarantine for 14 days at a government-approved facility at their own cost.
            • A list of the 206 approved states and territories whose travellers are exempt from quarantine or self-isolation can be found here.

            Other COVID-19 safety measures

            • There is a nationwide curfew is in place between 22h00 to 04h00.
            • Face masks must be worn in public places and social distancing etiquette must be observed.
            • Passengers leaving Kenya for destinations and transit airports that require PCR tests must have a Trusted Travel (TT) QR code for their COVID-19 test certificates.

            New E-Visa protocols

            Kenya's Immigration Services is in the process of fully automating its visa issuance process. As such, from 1 January 2021, visas will no longer be issued at the airport or any immigration border. Instead, all passengers from countries that require a visa to enter Kenya will be required to apply for and obtain an e-visa online before boarding their flight.

            In Africa, we always have time ...

            Southern Africa Travel Update Mozambique Take time Dimitry B

            Time is on your side in Africa.

            (Image: Dimitry B)

            We are looking forward to welcoming overseas visitors to our shores and we can't wait to take you on that bush-break safari or island-style getaway you've been dreaming of. In light of the global pandemic and the changing face of how we travel and interact, we would like to remind you to 'take it slow' the African way.

            Visitors can expect to be asked to follow standard Covid-19 protocols such as social distancing, wearing face masks in public places, regular hand washing and sanitising. They, like all citizens of the country they are visiting, may also be asked to complete health questionnaires and submit to temperature testing and health screening on arrival at airports and on checking into their safari lodge or boutique hotel, when visiting shops, entering restaurants and taking in tourist attractions.

            This may lead to delays. Our suggestion is to take a deep breath, enjoy the moment and remind yourself of a saying we have here in Africa: "You may have a watch but we have the time."

            If you have any concerns about how COVID-19 entry requirements might impact your African safari, please feel free to share them with us. While many agencies offer a standard one-size-fits-all safari package, most of our itineraries are tailor-made to your budget and travel requirements. You can rely on our experience in designing flexible itineraries to put a trip together for you that runs like clockwork, from start to finish.

            You may also want to look at
            Panorama Route, South Africa
            Covid-19 travel: What to expect from travelling to South Africa
            September 29, 2020 by Dianne Kokkonidis

            South Africa is reopening its borders to international travellers from low risk countries on 1 October 2020. Which countries are deemed high risk? What restrictions can visitors to the country expect and what measures have been put into place to ensure their safety?

            Share

            About the author

            Dianne
            Dianne

            Dianne Kokkonidis was born in Johannesburg, grew up in the Transkei and spent years exploring Europe. She returned to South Africa to live on a farm in the Outeniqua Mountains when the call of Africa got too loud to ignore. She comes from a family of storytellers, so it's no surprise she's now found her way into writing about one of the oldest stories known to mankind - the lure of Africa.