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: 05.05.2021]

South Africa

Cape Town South Africa by Wim van den Heever D3 S6433

Cape Town, South Africa

(Image: Wim van den Heever)

All international travellers from around the world can now visit South Africa and will be allowed entry, subject to certain conditions. Visitors should note that there is currently 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 to the airport, hotel or home, 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.


Wim van den Heever D517766 ethosa

Etosha, Namibia

(Image: Wim van den Heever)

Namibia's borders are open to travellers from all countries.

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 boarding their international flight to 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.
  • Visitors to Namibia are NO LONGER required to retake the COVID-19 PCR test five days after entering the country.

Mandatory quarantine

Mandatory quarantine is not required, unless:

  • a visitor's PCR test is older than 72 hours but less than seven days. In this event, the traveller will be required to submit to a supervised quarantine of seven days.


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

Sunset cruise on the Zambezi River, Zimbabwe

(Image: Gorges Lodge)

While land borders remain closed, Zimbabwe's international airports are open to leisure travellers from all countries.

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 and temperature testing protocols.
  • A fee of $60 will be levied on travellers tested at ports of entry.
  • Standard social distancing protocols, regular hand sanitisation and the wearing of masks are mandatory.

Mandatory quarantine

Mandatory quarantine on arrival is not required, unless:

  • arrivals show symptoms associated with COVID-19.
  • arrivals don't present a negative COVID-19 PCR test certificate upon arrival.
In both these cases, the traveller will be required to (1) quarantine at their own cost at a designated isolation facility for seven days, and then (2) self-isolate for a further seven days at their own cost.

Other measures

The current 30-day national lockdown which came into effect on 2 January 2021 has very little impact on holidaymakers and leisure travellers. Inter-city and inter-provincial holiday travel are permitted between 06h00 and 18h00. National parks and designated tourism facilities are open from 06h00 and 18h00, too. If you are travelling between destinations, you may be asked to provide documentation of your accommodation or national park bookings. While there is mandatory lockdown business closure, hotels and lodges in Zimbabwe are exempt.


    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 certificate of a negative COVID-19 test that has been conducted within 7 days of arriving in Zambia.
    • 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.
    • Visitors will be asked to monitor themselves daily for two weeks post-arrival in Zambia for coronavirus symptoms and, if they start showing signs, report to the nearest health facility.
    • Visitors leaving Zambia will need to produce a negative COVID-19 test certificate only when flying with an airline or to a destination that requires such a certificate.

    Mandatory quarantine

    Mandatory quarantine is not required, unless:

    • an arrival is exhibiting signs of COVID-19 infection, in which case, they will have to quarantine for 14 days.


    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.
    • All incoming passengers disembarking at Maun Airport are required to take a Rapid Antigen Test (free of charge) before entering the airport building. The test results take 15 minutes.
    • Upon arrival in Botswana, travellers will undergo health screening for COVID-19 symptoms.

    Mandatory quarantine

    Visitors showing COVID-19 symptoms will be required to:

    • undergo a PCR test, and possibly self-isolate and or quarantine for 14 days.

    Health screening and COVID-19 protocols upon departure

    Travellers need to take a PCR test 24 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.


      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 are required to present a negative Real-Time Polymerase Chain Reaction (RT-PCR) test carried out within 72 hours before arrival.
      • 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.
      • Upon entry, all visitors, including visitors arriving in Tanzania following a transit period of longer than 72 hours, will undergo enhanced screening for COVID-19 infection. This includes:
        • taking a Rapid Test ($25 per person per test)
        • having temperatures scanned and
        • completing and submitting a Health Declaration form.
      • Upon arrival, all visitors will 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.

      NOTE: Please make sure you have $25 per person per test in cash to make payment for the Rapid Test on arrival.

      Mandatory quarantine

      Visitors arriving from India and visitors who have travelled through India in the last 14 days are required to:

      • take a Rapid Test ($25 per person per test) upon arrival,
      • follow stringent contact tracing protocols and
      • quarantine for a period of 14 days at their own cost. The visitor can select their mandatory quarantine location from a list of government-approved locations.

      Visitors from all other countries are not required to quarantine.

      NOTE: All flights to and from India are banned in Tanzania until further notice.

      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 ($100 per person per test). Test results are available between 24 and 48 hours.
      • Serengeti Seronera ($150 per person per test and availability depending on the guest's location and logistics). Test results are available between 48 and 72 hours.
      • Karatu ($100 per person per test and $15 per person per test payable directly in cash). Test results are available between 48 and 72 hours.
      • Arusha ($100 per person per test). Test results are available between 48 and 72 hours.
      • Zanzibar ($120 per person per test). Test results available between 48 and 72 hours.


          African Travel Advice Kenya Maasai Mara

          Masai Mara, Kenya

          (Image: Onne Vegter)

          ** NOTE: From midnight on 9 April 2021, all commercial and charter passenger flights between Kenya and the UK will be suspended until further notice.**

          ** NOTE: On 29 March 2021, all domestic flights into and out of the zoned areas of Nairobi, Kajiado, Machakos, Kiambu, and Nakuru ceased operating until further notice. **

          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. If on arrival, you present the Kenyan authorities with a negative rapid test result, you will need to enter mandatory or voluntary quarantine for 14 days, depending on an assessment of your ability to quarantine.
          • 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 will 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 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.
          • If there is a reported case of COVID-19 on a flight, the same procedure as in the bullet point above applies.

          Mandatory quarantine

            • Travellers arriving on international flights from countries that are not on the approved list exempt from quarantine will be required to quarantine for 14 days at their own cost.
            • A list of approved states and territories whose travellers are exempt from quarantine 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.
            • Social distancing rules apply when using private vehicles. This means that anyone driving a car may fill only 50% of the vehicle's seat capacity.
            • 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?


            About the author


            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 the oldest stories known to mankind - the lure of Africa.