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A Guide to How African Countries Are Reopening

November 4, 2020 According to AAC's Consultants

Can you travel to East and Southern Africa right now? The answer is absolutely yes – but with varying requirements on a country by country basis. The following is a condensed version of the Condé Nast Traveler’s article A Guide to How African Countries are Reopening, focusing on countries in East and Southern Africa.

East Africa

One of the first African countries to open widely for tourism—way back in June—was TANZANIA. At the time, there were no testing or quarantine requirements. That was changed in August to require a negative PCR test taken within 72 hours of travel, but the rule was later lifted in September. Now only enhanced screenings (and testing on arrival, if deemed necessary) are required. That said, your airline will likely require a negative PCR test to board, so it’s best to get tested regardless of changing rules.

KENYA reopened its borders to international travelers—Americans included—in August. Travelers must have a negative PCR test taken within 96 hours of arrival in Kenya, and those with a temperature above 99.5 Fahrenheit, or with persistent cough or flu-like symptoms, may be denied entry. Group gatherings of more than 15 people are banned throughout the country, and restaurants and bars must close at 10 p.m.

AAC Managing Director Alison Nolting will be leaving for Kenya on Friday – stay tuned for updates!

RWANDA is open to travelers, but you’ll have to jump through some hoops before you can go gorilla trekking. First, fill out Rwanda’s passenger locator form online—you’ll have to upload a negative PCR test taken less than 120 hours before departure, along with your hotel reservation. A second PCR test is administered upon arrival in Kigali (at a cost of $50, plus a $10 medical services fee), and you’ll quarantine in your hotel room at your own expense until the results come back within 24 hours. To enter Volcanoes, Nyungwe, or Akagera national parks, you’ll have to submit a registration and indemnity form prior to arrival, and also test negative within 72 hours of your park visit. Travelers must test negative once again before departure.

UGANDA reopened borders October 1 with new safety measures in place: A negative PCR test issued within 120 hours of travel, and another test within 72 hours of departure are required. Officials recommend arriving at the airport four hours prior to your flight to clear all medical screenings. In addition to regulated social distancing around other people, visitors to Uganda’s national parks must stay at least 32 feet away from gorillas during sightings.

Visitors to ETHIOPIA can fly into Addis Ababa Bole International Airport’s brand-new $300 million contactless, biosafety-focused airport terminal—but to do so, you’ll need to present a negative PCR test taken within five days of arrival in Ethiopia. Even with the negative test, all visitors must self-isolate at a hotel for seven days.

Southern Africa

SOUTH AFRICA began reopening its borders to some countries in October. We are keeping a keen eye on when United States will come off the banned list!

U.S. citizens are permitted to enter ZAMBIA upon presenting a negative PCR test result taken within 14 days. You can apply for an e-visa online.

Travelers to ZIMBABWE must present a negative COVID-19 PCR test taken within 48 hours of departure. The country has also set up testing facilities at the three major airports, where tests cost $60.

For NAMIBIA, a negative PCR test taken 72 hours before arrival is required.

On November 1st, BOTSWANA, will resume private scheduled charters to arrive and depart from Kasane.

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Do you have questions about a particular country’s entry requirements? Interested in seeing some sample itineraries? Let an AAC Safari Consultant know by filling out the form below!

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