Classic

Open Borders

Open Borders

Updated 1st September, 2021 

A significant number of African countries have opened up to international travel.

Each country has its own Covid-19 protocol, as do airlines and countries of origin. This rolling information page has been set up to help travellers make decisions as to when and where they can travel – without undergoing long periods of mandatory quarantine. We have included at the end an overview of protocol exercised in camps and lodges.

Do note that, depending on country:

  • Children below a certain age are likely to be exempt from following certain protocols.
  • Some countries demand that ‘Travel’ is indicated as the purpose of a test.
  • If in doubt, assume that the countdown to a test being invalid begins when your sample is taken.
  • In the rare event that a traveller tests positive on arrival, it’s more than likely they’ll need to quarantine at designated locations at their own cost.

So, do have a browse of the below. And if you’d like to travel, please do get in touch. We can make it happen – now and in the medium and long term. 

Botswana

Botswana opened up to private charter flights from 1st November 2020. As of 9th November, it opened to commercial airlines. Protocol followed, international travellers will not be required to quarantine.

protocol

1. All passenger should be in possession of proof of a negative RT PCR test taken within 72 hours prior to entry into Botswana.

2. Travellers should be in possession of travel insurance in the event that he/she contracts COVID-19 during the period of travel.

3. All travellers are symptom screened on arrival and suspect cases quarantined at an identified location or to health facility – should this be necessary.

4. All travellers are to self-monitor for 14 days, and to be available during this time for contact with a relevant local health authority.

5. All departing travellers must present a paper negative PCR test, irrespective of destination. A fly-in test can be arranged for travellers in the Okavango Delta region or tests are carried out in Maun or Kasane airports the day before travel. Tests are bookable & paid for online.

Please note that Journeys by Design will arrange for travellers to be Covid-19 PCR tested in preparation for their return or onward flights.

Chad

Chad is open to international travel. As long as protocol is followed, all travellers who stay for less than seven days are exempt from quarantine. This does not apply to travellers travelling from countries on Chad’s banned list. 

protocol

1. On arrival, all travellers are required to present Covid-19 PCR negative certificate taken within 72 hours of entry. Travellers arriving by air must take an antigen or RT-PCR test at the airport at a cost of US$40 / 30 Euros.

2. Travellers must take a COVID-19 test on the seventh day.

3. All departing travellers must provide proof of a negative test taken within 72 hours of departure.

Please note that Journeys by Design will arrange for travellers to be Covid-19 PCR tested in preparation for their return or onward flights.

Congo Brazzaville

Congo Brazzaville – Republic of Congo – has opened its airports to international. As long as protocol is followed, all travellers are exempt from quarantine. Odzala camps are closed until September 1, 2021.

Protocol

1. On arrival, all travellers are required to present Covid-19 PCR negative certificate taken within 72 hours of entry.

2. All travellers will be symptom screened upon arrival.

3. On departure, all travellers must provide proof of a negative coronavirus test, taken within 72 hrs prior to departure.

Please note that, if required, Journeys by Design will arrange for travellers to be Covid-19 PCR tested in preparation for their return or onward flights.

Ethiopia

Northern Ethiopia – specifically Tigray area – is undergoing significant unrest. Tensions are such that the FCO and US State Department is advising against all but essential travel. Once it abates, is is supposed that Covid-19 protocol for Ethiopia travel will remain in place, with international leisure travellers exempt from having to quarantine. 

Protocol

1. All travellers must present a negative RT PCR test via the Africa Union Trusted Travel or UNDP Global Haven systems for COVID-19 before boarding a flight. The test must be taken within 120 hours of arrival, starting from the time of sample submission.

2. Travellers will be required to present a digital Trusted Travel reference code – generated by the above systems – on arrival. Paper certificates will not be accepted without a digital reference code from 1 July 2021.

3. Children less than or equal to 10 years of age are exempted from the RT PCR test certificate requirement.

4. Proof of a negative PCR test does not apply to travellers in transit. No quarantine is required if flight transit times are less then 72 hours. For transits over 24 hours, travellers will be put up in a designated transit hotel for the duration of their transfer time.

Please note that, if required, Journeys by Design will arrange for travellers to be Covid-19 PCR tested in preparation for their return or onward flights.

Kenya

Kenya opened to international travel from all destinations as of 1st August 2020. As long as protocol is followed, travellers arriving from low and medium risk countries are exempt from quarantine. 

Protocol

1. Travellers are required to complete a Travellers Health Surveillance Form and register with the Trusted Travel Code before departing for Kenya.

2. They must also be in possession of a negative PCR Covid-19 test certificate obtained no later than 96 hours prior to departure from their home country.

3. All travellers are symptom screened on arrival and must follow infection prevention and containment regulations.

4. Travellers travelling from non-exempt countries will have to quarantine for 14 days at government designated facilities or at their place of residence.

5. Travellers will need to sign up to the digital domestic travel locator card system 24 hours prior their domestic flight, which will generate a QR code to present to Port Health Officials at domestic arrivals.

6. Departing travellers travelling by airlines or to countries requiring a negative PCR Covid-19 test must present it on departure. Those not required to present a negative test will need to present proof of this and their Trusted Travel Code.

Please note that, if required, Journeys by Design will arrange for travellers to be Covid-19 PCR tested in preparation for their return or onward flights. Also, if transiting via Kenya, travellers need to ensure that their PCR negative certificate remains in date for the duration of the transfer. Travellers whose certificates expire while in transit will be required to deposit their passport with the airport Port of Health Authorities and be tested in a recognised facility at their own cost.

Madagascar

Madagascar continues suspend international flights to and from Nosy Be. Once the ban is lifted, we assume protocol will resume as shared below, though there will still be no travel to mainland Madagascar. 

protocol

1. All arriving passengers are required to present a return air ticket and a negative result for a Covid-19 PCR test, taken within 72 hours of departure.

2. A letter of commitment must be signed by arriving passengers, acknowledging the Covid-related health measures in Madagascar.

3. All visitors must complete a health form and comply with all airport health procedures, including temperature scans and using the disinfected wayfinding corridor.

4. A PCR test is required to be taken within 72 hours prior to departure from Madagascar.

Please note that Journeys by Design will arrange for travellers to be Covid-19 PCR tested in preparation for their return or onward flights.

Malawi

Malawi is once again open for travel. Travellers will not have to quarantine as long as protocol is followed..

protocol

1. All travellers will be required to present a negative PCR test taken within 72 hours of arrival. Test certificates will need to be authenticated via the Travel Trust framework.

2. All travellers must fill in a health declaration form which includes information about where they are going and staying.

3. Travellers who arrive without a negative PCR test will be tested and expected to quarantine for 48 hours or until the result comes through.

4. Travellers presenting negative tests are free to travel. However, they are required to self-monitor for symptoms for 14 days after arrival, observe current preventive measures in the country. and report to health authorities in their respective districts if they develop symptoms.

5. Departing travellers are required to present a negative PCR test taken within 72 days of departure, and which again needs to be authenticated via the Trusted Travel framework. Mandatory testing may take place at the airport if travellers fail to present a test or are presenting symptoms.

Please note that Journeys by Design will arrange for travellers to take Covid-19 PCR tested in preparation for their return or onward flights.

Mozambique

Mozambique opened to comprehensive international travel November 2020. Protocol followed, all travellers will be exempt from quarantine. 

1. On arrival, all travellers will be required to present a negative Covid-19 PCR test, taken within 72 hours of departure.

2. Travellers without negative test certificates , test positive, or shown to be in direct contact with someone who has Covid-19 will be required to self-isolate for 14 days.

Please note that, if required, Journeys by Design will arrange for travellers to take Covid-19 PCR tested in preparation for their return or onward flights.

Namibia

Namibia opened to international travel as of 1st September 2020. Protocol followed, all travellers arriving at Hosea Kutako International Airport in Windhoek will be exempt from quarantine. The land border between Namibia and South Africa has been opened at two key checkpoints. 

protocol

1. All travellers are required to complete a short health questionnaire prior to departure.

2. All travellers are required to arrive with a negative SARS-COV-2 PCR test taken within 7 days of arrival. The Antigen Rapid Diagnostic Test is not accepted.

3. Upon arrival, travellers will have to submit a very short Covid-19 Surveillance Form, which is simply a synopsis of the planned trip with contact numbers and a declaration of health.

Please note that, if required, Journeys by Design will arrange for travellers to take Covid-19 PCR tested in preparation for their return or onward flights.

Principe

São Tomé and Principe opened its borders to international travel 16 July 2020. As long as protocol is followed, all travellers are exempt from quarantine.  

protocol

1. All travellers are required to have proof of a negative Coronavirus test taken in the 72 hours prior to their arrival. 

2. Upon arrival, travellers will be symptom screened.  Symptomatic travellers will undergo rapid testing.

3. Travellers departing from São Tomé must also undergo a COVID-19 PCR test within 72 hours before departure

Please note that, if required, Journeys by Design will arrange for travellers to be Covid-19 PCR tested in preparation for their return or onward flights.

Rwanda

Rwanda opened up to commercial international flights 1st August 2020. All travellers must quarantine for 24 hours upon arrival. The below protocol applies to international travellers scheduled to stay in national parks.   

protocol

1. All arrivals must present a negative Covid-19 PCR test result taken within 72 hours of departure. It must be a SARS-CoV 2 Real Time PCR test. Other tests are not accepted.

2. Prior to arrival, travellers must complete a Passenger Locator Form, which includes uploading their PCR test. Upon submission, all travellers are issued a Unique Health Code, to be presented on arrival.

3. Upon arrival, travellers must have a second PCR test and quarantine at a government designated hotel while awaiting its results. The test takes 8 hours to return for tourists.

4. Having tested negative, all travellers irrespective of country of origin are free to travel. However, note that travellers are required to take a PCR test 72 hours prior to visiting Rwanda’s National Parks, apart from Akagera National Park. If visiting visiting Akagera National Park, travellers are required to take a rapid antigen test.

5. In preparation for departing Rwanda, all travellers must present a negative Covid-19 PCR test result taken within 72 hours of departure.

 Journeys by Design will arrange for travellers to be Covid-19 PCR tested in preparation – if necessary – for park entrance, and certainly for their return or onward flights.

Seychelles

 Seychelles welcomes travellers irrespective of their vaccination status, subject to the below protocol.  

protocol

1. All travellers must apply for a Health Travel Authorisation form 72 hours before the day of their day of departure to Seychelles.

2. Upon arrival, all travellers must present a negative Covid-PCR test taken within 72 hours of departure.

3. Visitors must ensure that accommodation bookings are made only at licensed establishments or liveaboards that have been certified by the Public Health Authority. Refer to the list of certified accommodation.

Please note that, if required, Journeys by Design will arrange for travellers to be Covid-19 PCR tested in preparation for their return or onward flights.

South Africa

South Africa borders are open to all international travel. As long as protocol is followed, travellers from all countries will be exempt from quarantine.

Stop press: 13.8.21 The SA Covid-19 travel information website’s still down. All the below protocol stands.  For any information, see Arrival Traveller Health Questionnaire, Departure Traveller Health Questionnaire  and Airport FAQ Guidance.

protocol

1. All travellers will be required to fill in an Arrival Travel Health Questionnaire before disembarking. International travel is restricted via three international airports: OR Tambo, Cape Town and King Shaka.

2. All travellers to arrive with a negative PCR test taken within 72 hours of departure.

3. Upon arrival, all travellers will be screened and those showing symptoms will be quarantined until they test negative for Covid-19.

4. All travellers will be asked to download the government’s contact and alert app.

5. Departing travellers will be required to complete a Departure Traveller Health Questionnaire.

Please note that, if required, Journeys by Design will arrange for travellers to be Covid-19 PCR tested in preparation for their return or onward flights.

Sudan

Sudan opened to very limited international travel 13 July 2020. This has improved, but commercial options remain limited. As long as protocol is followed, all travellers are exempt from quarantine. 

protocol

1. All travellers are required to have a negative COVID-19 test certificate issued within the last 72 hours prior to their arrival.

2. Upon arrival, travellers will be symptom screened. Suspected COVID-19 cases will need to quarantine for 14 days.

3. All travellers must provide details of their original place of travel, transit, onward destination(s), and contact details.

4. All departing travellers must take a PCR test within 72 hours of departure.

Please note that, if required, Journeys by Design will arrange for travellers to be Covid-19 PCR tested in preparation for their return or onward flights.

Tanzania

Tanzania opened its borders to international travel 18th May 2020. As long as protocol is followed, travellers from countries with no new Covid-19 variants will not have to quarantine. 

Protocol

1. All  travellers (including children) are required to complete a Travellers Surveillance Form, to be submitted online within 24 hours of arrival. Upon submission you will receive a Unique Health Code which will be requested during primary screening on arrival.

2. All travellers are required to present a negative COVID19 PCR test certificate taken no more than 72 hours before arrival into Tanzania.

3. As part of an enhanced screening policy, all travellers will be subject to a rapid test on arrival at a cost of USD10pp.

4. Travellers coming from countries with new COVID-19 variants will also be subject to mandatory quarantine at own expense for 14 days.

5. Travellers on transit in other countries for more than 72 hours will be required to be re-tested by rapid test upon arrival in Tanzania.

Please note that Journeys by Design will arrange for travellers to be Covid-19 PCR tested in preparation for their return or onward flights.

Uganda

Uganda opened its borders to international travel 1st October 2020. Travellers are divided into three categories of risk: 1, 2, and 3, depending on country of origin. As long as protocol is followed, all travellers are exempt from quarantine.   

protocol

1. If arriving at Entebbe International Airport, all travellers will need to have completed their Test and Fly form.

Upon arrival, all travellers must present a negative Covid-19 PCR test taken within 72 hours of departure – countdown begins when the sample is taken. All certificates must indicate TRAVEL as the intended purpose of test.

2.  As well as present their own negative tests, all travellers – including children, irrespective of country of origin and vaccination status  –  will be required to undergo a PCR test at their own cost at the point of entry. (Note that the Test and Fly document is in error when it stipulates that this is only the case for non-vaccinated travellers.) The wait time for results is 4-5 hours. Travellers testing positive will be further quarantined or medically evacuated at their own cost.

3. Tour operators are instructed to ensure that their travellers proceed directly to their place of stay.

4. All travellers departing Uganda are required to present a negative PCR test taken within 72 hours of departure. There are a number of local test centres to support the requirement.

Please note that Journeys by Design will arrange for travellers to be Covid-19 PCR tested in preparation for their return or onward flights.

Zambia

Zambia is open to international travel. As long as protocol is followed, all except travellers from High Risk countries are exempt from quarantine. Travellers from High Risk countries who can prove full vaccination are also exempt. Otherwise, High Risk country arrivals will be given a PCR test and expected to self quarantine until a negative result is returned. For details of High Risk countries, see here

Protocol

1. All arriving and leaving travellers will need a PanaBios account to generate a Trusted Travel Code.

2. Upon arrival, all travellers must present a negative PCR test taken within 72 hours of departure. If travellers arrive without one, they will be refused entry. Travellers with results from non-trusted travel compliant laboratories will soon be required to upload test results to the Global Haven System for authentication. Even though not mandatory for now, the advice is that travellers upload information to the system anyway.

3. Travellers will fill out a Traveller Health Questionnaire prior to disembarking from their plane.

4. All travellers will be symptom screened. Those with temperatures equal to or above 38C will be tested. If exhibiting a cluster of symptoms, they will be quarantined to await the outcome of their test.

5. Travellers from high risk countries will be subject to an additional PCR test  and are required to quarantine for 14 days. Quarantine can take place in hotels and camps once the test result is back, which can take 48 hours. Travellers who transit through High Risk countries are not considered high risk if the transit time is less then 24hrs.

6. Travellers must adhere to the country’s infection mitigation and control procedures, monitor themselves for 14 days maximum following arrival, and report any symptoms during this time to the nearest health facility.

7. Travellers who’s destination or airline requires a COVID -negative test certificate must obtain a Travel Certificate from the Ministry of Health, originating from Zambia only.

Please also note that if required, Journeys by Design will arrange for travellers to be Covid-19 PCR tested and obtain a Travel Certificate in preparation for their return or onward flights.

Zimbabwe

Zimbabwe opened to international travel as of 1st October 2020. As long as protocol is followed, all international travellers are now exempt from quarantine.

Stop press: Travellers travelling from or through India will be re-tested on arrival. Those testing positive will be taken to an isolation centre. Those testing negative will still be required quarantine for 10 days.

Protocol

1. All arrivals must present a negative Covid-19 PCR test result taken within 48 hours of departures.

2. Upon arrival, all travellers will be subject to symptom screening. Travellers exhibiting symptoms will be tested. Tests – $60 fee – are available at the airport with a two-hour turn around. If positive, travellers are monitored by a Rapid Response team. Symptomatic travellers are quarantined in a medical facility. Asymptomatic travellers are quarantined at a designated lodge or private home.

3. Travellers leaving Zimbabwe are required to present a negative test for COVID-19 taken within the previous 7 days.

Please note that Journeys by Design will arrange for travellers to be Covid-19 PCR tested in preparation for their return or onward flights.

Camps

As well as following country directives, camps and lodges have developed their own complementary protocol. While it’s impossible to share what individual camps and lodges are doing, the below gives an overview of what is being done on the ground to ensure safety when travelling to Africa.

1. Many a ground operator advises that travellers always apply for visas in advance. This will limit contact on arrival at the airport.

2. Wherever it is required, we can arrange for a negative PCR test. In some areas, we can fly out a doctor to the camp. Otherwise, we will arrange for camps and lodges to transport guests to local clinics.

3. On arrival, camps and lodges will carry out basic symptom screening, including taking guests’ temperatures.

4. Across the camp, both shared areas and rooms will be sanitised regularly. Hand washing and sanitisation stations will likely be located throughout the camp for use by both staff and guests.

5. Depending on individual camps, camp crews will be operating their own test, isolate, and engage protocol. For example, some camps work on a two-week isolation rota. Here, incoming teams will have no access to other teams, front of house, or guests until they have completed their two-week isolation and have passed daily temperature checks.

6. In our experience, camp staff are equipped with PPE to keep them safe when cleaning and handling guest items, such as laundry, baggage, and emptying dustbins from rooms.

7. Unless otherwise directed, guests can generally wear masks at their own discretion. However, camp staff will wear masks throughout camp.

8. Generally speaking, unless catering for a private group, all meals in camp will be served separately to each group. Meals are usually plated or brought to tables in individual serving dishes.

7. Pools, gift shops, spas, gyms, and other activity-based spaces will likely remain open. Use of the areas are generally at the guests’ discretion. However, camps will either limit numbers or ask that only one group of guests travelling together use these spaces at any one time.

8. All safari vehicles will be cleaned and sanitised before each activity and kitted out with disinfectants and hand sanitisers. Camp game drive cars are allocated on a private basis where possible. Shared safari drives will only be done on the basis that standard social distancing can be applied.

Information sourced from ATTA and individual country tourist boards. When planning to travel, please find further information with your country of origin’s government travel advice. This is a fast-moving landscape. Any inaccuracies, please let us know. In the meantime, please do have a browse (below) of the open border countries’ areas and accommodation.