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Open Borders

Open Borders

Updated 13 January, 2022 

Most 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:

  • Entry-exit protocol is adjusting to the new variant Omicron, with the introduction of temporary measures. This will eventually settle down. See ‘stop press’ for updates in each country section below.
  • 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 is open to international travel. Protocol followed, international travellers will not be required to quarantine. 

protocol

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

2. All travellers should have completed COVID-19 self-declaration form & traveller locator form, which are handed out in-flight or on arrival.

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 a pre-identified location or to a 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. Departing travellers are required to comply with travel regulations of airlines and destination country. For those requiring PCR tests, 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.

Central African Republic

Central African Republic (CAR) is open to international travel. However, there is contradictory information with regards to quarantine protocol for airport entry. Often, we will access CAR from the Republic of Congo via the land border town Kabo, but we’re still awaiting definitive information on that too. In the meantime:  

protocol

1. Fully vaccinated travellers with documentation can enter without the need to quarantine.

2. Depending on country of origin, travellers will also require evidence of a negative PCR test. There is some confusion as to who, so the advice is arrive with one.

3. For onward travel, PCR tests are available in Bangui, but the processing time means that an overnight stay in the city is required.

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, and depending on country of origin, all travellers 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 PCR 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 travel. As long as protocol is followed, all travellers are exempt from quarantine. Children under 11 are exempt from protocol. 

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

Democratic Republic of the Congo

The Democratic Republic of the Congo is open for international travel. So long as protocol is followed, travellers will not have to undergo protracted quarantine procedures. Under 11-year-olds are exempt. 

Protocol

1. All travellers will need to provide proof of a negative PCR test upon entry to DRC and/or proof of vaccination against COVID-19. The PCR test will need to have been taken within 72 hours of departure.

2. All travellers will be test on arrival. The test  is mandatory and costs US$45. For ease of travel, register online at on the National Institute of Biomedical Research website to obtain a QR code to be presented on arrival at the sampling centre at the airport.

3. COVID 19 tests in DRC can take up to 48 hours to be processed. Depending on their requirements, travellers should anticipate their tests for before the departure to their lodge of choice, after their return from Nyiragongo or on the way to Tchegera.

4. All travellers trekking gorilla or chimpanzee at Virunga national Park must provide a certified negative PCR test for COVID 19 taken in the last three days or a COVID vaccination certificate.  A rapid COVID-19 test prior to departure for Kibumba or Mikeno Lodge will be compulsory for all travellers and administered at Grande Barriere.

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

Ethiopia

Ethiopia – specifically Tigray area – is undergoing significant unrest. Tensions are such that the FCO is advising against travel, except for the main airport.  The US State Department has the country at its do-not-travel Level 4. We will update this page once we have new information. For now, the below protocol stands, though we are not recommending anyone travel to Ethiopia at the moment.   

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. According to some advice, unvaccinated travellers must complete 7 days mandatory self isolation on arrival, at an address of their choice. The same advice stipulated that this does not apply to vaccinated and Covid recovery travellers. In practice, we are yet to hear of anyone having to self-isolate, so long as they follow the above protocol.

5. 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 is open for international travel, depending on country of origin. As long as protocol is followed, travellers arriving from low and medium risk countries are exempt from quarantine. It is entry-on-condition-of-vaccination country.

Stop press 15/12/21: All passengers 18 years+ arriving into Kenya from South Africa must show physical proof of full vaccination.
From 21st December, protocol for entry to Kenya will change to only allowing entrance to vaccinated travellers.
From 21st December: For those 18yrs+, a full vaccination certificate must be shown to enter National Parks, Reserves and many government facilities

Protocol

1. Travellers are required to complete a Travellers Health Surveillance Form and register with the Trusted Travel Code before departing for Kenya. Upon submission of the Trusted Travellers Surveillance Form, travellers will receive a QR code. As well as presenting their TT code, travellers are required to upload test results and proof of vaccination on the Global Haven System.

2. All travellers must take a negative PCR Covid-19 within 96 hours prior to departure from their home country. All passengers 18 years+ arriving into Kenya from affected countries must show digital proof of full vaccination.

3. Travellers are symptom screened on arrival; are required to present PCR negative test result, TT code, and QR code; 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 is open to limited commercial and charter flights and to regional flights. So long as protocol is followed, travellers will not have to quarantine for long periods.  

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. Travellers will be PCR tested on arrival and required to quarantine as they await results. The advice is that to make an advance hotel booking for two nights and pay in advance for at least one night for quarantine after your arrival. Tests cost $25, payable by cash or card.

3. All travellers must complete a declaration to confirm they will abide by quarantine rules until the result of your arrival test, and a locator form to indicate movements after quarantine.

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.

Stop press 30.11.21: According to an ATTA release, from 10th December 2021 all travellers and residents Malawians must show a valid electronic COVID-19 full vaccination Certificate at point of entry. Arriving travellers without an electronic certificate at point of entry shall be expected to access a COVID-19 vaccine available for free at the point of entry before entering the country, as a preventive measure. Travellers without a valid electronic COVID-19 certificate, and refuse to access COVID-19 vaccine offered at point of entry, must undergo institutional quarantine for 10 days at their own cost.

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. As well as presenting their TT code, travellers with results from non-trusted travel compliant laboratories may be required to upload test results the Global Haven System for authentication. The advice is to do so anyway, whatever the source of test result.

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

3. Travellers without a valid negative PCR COVID-19 certificate must take a Rapid Antigen Test on site, before immigration, at their cost. Those testing positive on the Rapid Antigen Test must take a PCR test at their cost and will be conveyed to the District Health System where they will be managed according to standard national protocols.

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 is open to international travel. Protocol followed, all travellers will be exempt from quarantine. Children under 11 exempt from protocol.  

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 is open to international travel. 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 arrive with a negative SARS-COV-2 PCR test taken within 72 hours of arrival. The Antigen Rapid Diagnostic Test is not accepted. Random COVID-19 PCR testing will be conducted on persons permitted entry into Namibia at Points of Entry.

2. Travellers must use Trusted Travel Platform to verify COVID-19 tests taken before travel to Namibia. Accredited laboratories are found on the same site. Those with test results from non-Trusted Travel compliant laboratories will be required to upload a copy of their results on the Global Haven System for authentication. The advice is to do so anyway, whatever the source of test result.

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

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. There is no testing for travel between the islands.  

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. More information here.    

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. Tour operators must submit a facilitation request accompanied by guest identification details and their itineraries to visitrwanda@rdb.rw.

3. Upon arrival, all except international tourist visiting parks must have a second PCR test and quarantine at a government designated hotel for 3 days. Another PCR test will be conducted on while awaiting its results, and then again on day 7.

4) Upon arrival, international travellers visiting parks must have a second PCR test and quarantine at a government designated hotel. The test takes 8 hours to return after which they will be free to travel, though further mandatory PCR tests will take place on day 3 and day 7 of the trip, while Rapid Antigen tests will be required to be taken everyday.

4. Having tested negative, all travellers irrespective of country of origin are free to travel. However, note that all 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. Travellers are encouraged to book and pay ahead of getting their tests.

 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, and depending on country of origin. 

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: 5.11.21 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 – arriving or transiting – to arrive with paper copy evidence of a negative PCR test taken within 72 hours of departure. Children under 5 are exempt.

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 are temperature screened. Depending on airline and destination country, some travellers will be required to present a PCR test, usually taken 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 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 96 hours before arrival into Tanzania.

3. As part of an enhanced screening policy, all travellers arriving from countries experiencing new variants and rising numbers of positive cases will be subject to a rapid test on arrival at a cost of USD10pp. This includes travellers arriving via Zanzibar, unless they can present a certificate of having taken the test when entering Zanzibar. Children 5 years and under are exempt.

4. Traveller transiting in other countries for more than 72 hours will be required to be re-tested by rapid test upon arrival in Tanzania.

5. Until advised otherwise, we stipulate that our departing travellers present PCR tests, 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.

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. 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 point of entry. All travellers must register details for the on-arrival PCR test in advance using the online registration system, at their own cost. 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 travellers are exempt from quarantine.  

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. As well as presenting their TT code, travellers with results from non-trusted travel compliant laboratories may be required to upload test results the Global Haven System for authentication. The advice is to do so anyway, whatever the source of test result.

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 is open to international travel. As long as protocol is followed, and depending on country of origin, all international travellers are now exempt from quarantine.

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.