This is our blog which we try to keep updated about the Covid19 entry requirements for African countries, as well as any other rules and regulations.
What has emerged as standard in Africa is that all countries require a negative PCR test before you are allowed to travel to them. This means that if you are visiting multiple countries, you generally have to get a new PCR test every time you depart one country and head to the next.
For other popular countries and destinations, we will tell you how it easy to get tested inside each country, but first, we have made a table to show what the requirements are for you to enter the various countries in the first place.
A useful tool we have found for telling you the latest requirements to enter a country is this one:https://klm.traveldoc.aero/?WT.mc_id=L_DE_Email_ExactTarget_Newsletter_UPDATEJANUARY2021_null_SmartFun&WT.tsrc=Email&WT.i_vid=61577889
But the requirements can change without warning and should always be checked on each country's government website.
South Africa is the biggest country in Southern Africa and the economic hub of the region. It is also the transit hub for Southern Africa as many flights to Botswana, Zimbabwe, Namibia and Mozambique transit through Johannesburg. This means that these other countries are often dependent on South Africa for getting travellers through to them and back out again, which made it important for South Africa to be able to offer speedy and easily accessible PCR tests.
Travellers departing from OR Tambo Intl airport in Johannesburg may now get tested and collect their PCR certificate at the airport prior to departure. Next Pathology has opened a rapid PCR testing lab in the Kafue Room of the Intercontinental Hotel, just outside the international arrivals hall. The lab promises a turnaround time of only 2 hours for test results and is open between 16:00 - 22:00 as it is specifically targeting those doing overnight international flights. The price of the tests is ZAR2,000 per person.
One of our preferred guesthouses in Johannesburg, Safari Club SA, is now offering day rooms to all travellers waiting for their PCR test results. Guests will be allocated a room for the time they are at the hotel and will have access to all the hotel amenities including bar services, swimming pool, use of the garden and ordering of meals. Transfers are included in the day room rate.
For guests heading to Cape Town, the situation is a bit different. Of course, you can book your flight home via Johannesburg in order to get tested at OR Tambo Airport, but it is also possible to take a few hours out of one of your days in Cape Town to head to the nearest clinic and get tested. Rates differ depending on the clinic, but prices of between ZAR600 – 1000 can be expected. We will be happy to show you where the nearest clinic is to your hotel.
In the Greater Kruger Park, South Africa’s wildlife gem and one of its most popular destinations, PCR testing is also possible now. A PCR clinic has been set up in the town of Hoedspruit, which is the nearest town to many lodges within the Greater Kruger Park. Lodges are able to transfer guests in between safari activities to the town of Hoedspruit to get a PCR test done. The cost of the test is ZAR850 per person, while the cost of the transfer will differ depending on the lodge you are staying at. Some lodges have gone a step further and are able to offer PCR tests in your room. Please ask us for an updated list of which lodges can do this.
Botswana is one of the most popular destinations for a wildlife safari due to the exquisite unspoilt nature of its wilderness. However this vast wilderness and lack of infrastructure which many people fall in love with also originally meant that getting a PCR test done would be difficult.
Several luxury bush camp and lodge operators have come together and are now able to fly clinicians into camps to take samples for testing. The samples will then be sent to the nearest major town for testing, with results to be expected back the following day. The results will then be e-mailed to the camp and can be printed out for you to take with you. The cost of this service ranges from +-USD275 - USD330 depending on the camp you are staying at.
If you do not wish to be tested in camp, it is possible to be tested at the airports of Maun and Kasane at a cost of BWP850 - 1100 (+-USD110.) The test results will be ready in 24 - 48 hours, so it is recommended to spend a night in Maun or Kasane while waiting for results.
Please note that you need to have a negative PCR test in order to depart Botswana, irrespective of where you are travelling to. It is not officially in the regulations, but the overly efficient border guards are asking all travellers for them and it is not wise to start an argument with a border guard.
The testing will be offered between 07h30 - 16h45 every day and Sundays from 10h00 – 12h45
Due to limited testing on weekends, the timing of your journey is important.
The primary destination of choice for any traveller to Zimbabwe is Victoria Falls, so this is where the government has focussed most of its efforts. PCR testing is now possible upon arrival or departure at Victoria Falls Airport, with a waiting time of 3-6 hours for the results. Alternatively, several luxury lodges offer in-house testing now. The cost of the test is US$60 per person, but this can change without notice.
Zimbabwe has re-entered hard lockdown on 08 January 2021 and travel is therefore banned at the moment.
The majority of itineraries to Namibia only include one or two nights at each destination, which makes finding the time to have tests done difficult. In addition, Namibia is a vast, sparsely populated country. Namibia has come up with an ingenius solution. As all safaris typically start and end in Windhoek, PCR test roadblocks have been set up on the two main highways into Windhoek. This means that as you return to Windhoek, you can stop off and get tested. Results take 7 - 14 hours, which means you will likely need a night of post-tour accommodation before departing, but this has to be the most simple testing solution we have come across in Africa so far. You can view more details and book an appointment here: https://www.covidtestnam.com/
Zambia updated their entry requirements in May 2021 due to increasing infections in certain parts of the world. To enter Zambia, you must have a negative PCR test not older than 72 hours prior to arrival.
Passengers arriving from a "high-risk" country will be given a PCR test upon arrival and will have to quarantine until a negative result is returned. If you can produce proof of vaccination, you will not have to test or quarantine. This rule does not apply to those simply transiting through a high-risk country.
To leave Zambia, you will only need to get another PCR test done if the country you are travelling to requires it. For some reason, in addition to a negative PCR test certificate, you also have to get a Ministry of Health certification which is a separate document with an additional cost.
Many people visit Zambia to see the mighty Victoria Falls. There are testing facilities in the town of Livingstone, but is very difficult to arrange the testing on an individual basis, especially since you cannot pay for the tests with cash or credit card. Only EFT bank transfers are accepted. For this reason, hotels have stepped up to help guests arrange tests. You can pay the hotel for your PCR test and they will then transfer the payment to the Zambian health authorities. Private testing can be conducted at the hotel and the hotel will help to arrange this. The test costs between USD100 - USD150.
If you are going on a wild and remote safari in Zambia, to places such as Kafue, South Luangwa and Lower Zambezi, it is possible to get tested there and have your swabs flown to Lusaka for processing. This incurs quite a cost, you are looking at US$250 - US$320 and it might be cheaper just to spend a night in Lusaka at the end of your holiday and get tested there.
All test results take 24 - 48 hours to be delivered. Therefore, if you are only visiting Victoria Falls for 2 nights, it would be a good idea to get tested on the day you arrive.
Tanzania has updated it's entry requirements recently to be more in line with global trends. Travellers require a negative PCR test not older than 72 hours before arrival. In addition, you will have to do rapid antigen test when you land, at a cost of US$25pp. You also have to fill out a Traveller Surveillance Form within 24 hours of arrival in Tanzania. Filling out this form will give you a Unique Health Code which must be presented upon landing in Tanania. The form can be filled out here: https://afyamsafiri.moh.go.tz/ You may need a negative PCR test to depart, depending on the country you are departing to, or the airline you are travelling with. It is possible to get a negative PCR test in Dar Es Salaam, Arusha and Zanzibar. Tests cost between USD100 - 120 and results can take up to 96 hours. Please note that the current government advice is for travellers to undergo Covid19 testing a minimum of 5 days prior to departure to allow enough time for results to be delivered.
*UPDATE - All travellers coming from India have to quarantine for 2 weeks upon arrival.
Kenya has perhaps done the best job of handling the pandemic out of all major African countries. Their testing facilities appear to be world class.
All arriving passengers on international flights must show a PCR COVID-19 negative certificate carried out within 96 hours before travel to Kenya (before departure) that has been digitally verified through the Trusted Travel (TT) Initiative or Global Haven. This will produce a QR code which travellers will be required to display to port health officials for them to be allowed to proceed to arrival immigration. From 01 January 2021, all travellers requiring a visa will need to apply for an e-visa in advance. No visas shall be issued on arrival in Kenya. For more information visit www.evisa.go.ke
UPDATE. On 27 May, the Kenyan government introduced a mandatory quarantine for all visitors travelling from the UK. If you are a UK citizen, the mandatory quarantine period is 14 days. If you are a non UK citizen, but just happen to coming via the UK, the quarantine period is 7 days.
When departing Kenya, it is possible to be tested in your hotel in Nairobi at a cost of US$120 per person. Results will be ready within 24 hours. It is also possible to be tested in some safari destinations, including the Maasai Mara. The collection point for testing in the Maasai Mara is in Mararienta, close to Musiara Gate and it costs US$110. Alternatively, the test can come to your camp, for US$140 per person (*min 2 guests.) Testing in the Mara his is subject to availability and results will take 48 hours. You only need to get a PCR test done on departure if the country you are travelling to requires it.
Uganda recently updated their rules in response to a spike in infections. You now require a PCR test not older than 72 hours in order to enter the country. If you are travelling from a high risk country, being South Africa, England, USA, Turkey, Kenya, UAE, Tanzania or South Sudan, you will have to undergo a second PCR test at a cost of US$65 upon arrival.
When departing Uganda, you also need a negative PCR test not older than 120 hours, but please bear in mind the entry requirements of the country you are travelling to from Uganda. PCR tests can be obtained in either Kampala or Entebbe. There is a 24 hours test which currently costs between US$65 - US$85, or you can pay more to have an express test done. The express test costs US$150 per person and results will be ready in 6 - 8 hours. It is probably safer to book a night in Entebbe and wait for your results.
Rwanda has a complicated set of testing standards. There is one testing standard for entering Rwanda and another one for entering Rwanda's national parks. Rwanda is implementing double testing standards. This means that you need a negative PCR test not older than 120 hours, but that once you arrive, you will be given a second test to confirm the results of the first test. The cost of this test is USD 60. In addition, you will need to upload your first test certificate to the passenger locator form link, here: www.rbc.gov.rw;
While waiting for the result of your second test, which will take 24 hours, you will need to quarantine in a hotel at your own expense.
To enter Rwanda's national parks, you need a negative PCR test not older than 72 hours. Happily however, you can use the test results from the second test you did upon arriving in Rwanda.
To depart Rwanda, you need to undergo another PCR test, which you are encouraged to book and pay for online at least 2 days prior to departure, here: www.rbc.gov.rw;
Seychelles is open to the world again from 31 March (except for visitors who have recently travelled to South Africa.) All you need to visit this tropical island paradise is a negative PCR test not older than 72 hours prior to departure. Visitors are strongly advised to get vaccinated before travelling, although it is not required. You may only stay in certified tourism establishments, although this shouldn't be a problem as anyone who travels to the Seychelles wants to stay in a hotel on the beach which offers a plethora of water activities.
You only need to get a negative PCR test to depart Seychelles if it is a requirement of the country you will be travelling to.
We have been working hard updating our website during lockdown and have added new pages specially dedicated to multi-country itineraries. If you are looking to explore as much of Africa as possible in one go, or tick off the biggest highlights, check out our pages for Southern Africa Combo Itineraries and East African Combo Itineraries.
Please remember that you will have to adhere to the lockdown rules of any country you are travelling to, such as curfews and mandatory mask wearing.
If you are unsure about anything, send us an e-mail or give us a call and we’ll do our best to make your ideal trip happen.
Photographer, conservationist, dive and field guide, teller of bad jokes.