African Safaris  – COVID-19 Entry requirements by country

The sheer expanse, diverse beauty, wide open spaces, fresh air, sunshine and open vehicle game drives,  make the African bush the best post-lockdown destination for travellers who are looking for a much needed breakaway well away from large crowds and all the stress from the last year.  An African Safari is just what the doctor ordered.

It can be exceptionally overwhelming trying to keep up with the constant changing entry requirements and protocols for each country, and we would like to assist with taking the stress out of your travel planning by laying out each countries current COVID-19 entry requirements.  We’ll keep this post updated as the requirements change.

Updated 17.05.2022

South Africa 

Table Mountain, Cape Town

All international travellers from around the world can now visit South Africa and will be allowed entry. South Africa has lifted almost all lockdown restrictions. The only remaining COVID-19 restrictions are as follows:

Health screening and COVID-19 protocols

  • Unvaccinated visitors entering South Africa will need to present a negative COVID-19 PCR test not older than 72 hours or a negative antigen COVID-19 test not older than 48 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. In order for the antigen COVID-19 test to be considered valid, it must be performed by a medical practitioner, registered public health authority or accredited/approved laboratory.
  • Your test result must be printed (not on your phone) and in English.
  • Vaccinated arrivals who have at least one dose of a vaccine approved for use by the World Health Organization must present their valid vaccination certificates and are not required to present a negative PCR or antigen COVID-19 test.
  • Travellers who can produce a valid certificate of a positive PCR COVID-19 test for a test date less than 90 days prior to the date of arrival and more than 10 days prior to the date of arrival, along with a signed letter from a registered health care provider stating that the traveller (1) has fully recovered from COVID-19, (2) is not experiencing any new symptoms and (3) is fit to travel will be allowed entry to South Africa.
  • International travellers who don’t comply with the above regulations will need to undergo antigen testing for COVID-19 upon arrival. Travellers who test positive for COVID-19 in the antigen test will be allowed entry to South Africa and will have to self-isolate for ten days only if they are experiencing COVID-19 symptoms.
  • All travellers who are under 12 years of age are exempt from the above.

The wearing of face masks in all public indoor places is required but masks are no longer required when people are outdoors.


Damaraland, Namibia

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

Health screening and COVID-19 protocols

  • Fully vaccinated arrivals will NOT require a negative PCR test. They will, however, be required to present their valid vaccination certificate on arrival.
  • Fully vaccinated is defined as two weeks since the second dose (or one dose in the case of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine) of a vaccine approved by the World Health Organisation.
  • All unvaccinated arrivals (including children five years of age and older) must present a valid negative COVID-19 PCR test that is not older than 72 hours at the time of entry into Namibia.
  • Antigen Rapid Diagnostic Test results are not accepted for entry into 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

Trusted Travel System for PCR test results

  • Namibia uses the Trusted Travel Platform to approve the COVID-19 PCR tests taken by unvaccinated visitors 72 hours before travelling to Namibia.
  • Go to the Trusted Travel website to find a list of accredited laboratories.
  • Unvaccinated travellers to Namibia with test results from non-Trusted Travel compliant laboratories must upload a copy of their COVID-19 PCR test results on the Global Haven System for authentication.
  • Make sure you have a hard copy of your test results in case you encounter technical difficulties at your ports of entry or departure.
  • If you need assistance with the Trusted Travel and Global Haven systems, send an email to

Mandatory quarantine

Mandatory quarantine is not required, unless:

  • an unvaccinated visitor’s PCR test is older than 72 hours. In this event, the traveller will be required to quarantine at their own expense pending the negative result of a PCR test.

Other measures

There is a nationwide curfew from 22h00 and 04h00.


Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe

Zimbabwe’s international airports are open to leisure travellers from all countries.

Health screening and COVID-19 protocols

  • Unvaccinated or partially vaccinated arrivals 12 years of age and older 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.
  • Arrivals who can provide proof of being fully vaccinated are not required to present a negative PCR COVID-19 Clearance Certificate.
  • Fully vaccinated is defined as one dose of a single dose vaccine such as Johnson & Johnson or both doses of a two-dose vaccine such as Astra Zenica or Pfizer.
  • Children below the age of 12 are exempt from vaccination and PCR test requirements.


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 African Welcome Safaris travel consultant for details.

Health screening and COVID-19 protocols

  • Currently, fully vaccinated passengers arriving in Zambia are exempt from pre-departure COVID-19 testing certification requirements. Passengers must provide proof of a valid vaccination record, i.e. certification of a completed programme of approved vaccination.  Passengers will be required to complete a health declaration form upon arrival and will be subject to screening and temperature checks at point of entry.
  • Arrivals who are not fully vaccinated, will need to present a certificate demonstrating a negative COVID-19 PCR test for a sample collected within 72 hours before departure. Tests must be issued by a designated and accredited laboratory in the country of origin. Failure to present such a certificate may result in passengers being denied boarding by the airline or refused immigration clearance in Zambia.
  • In case of a positive result, self-quarantine at the passengers cost will be mandatory in accordance with local health guidelines.
  • Children under 12 years of age are exempt and will not need to produce a negative COVID-19 test on arrival.


Mokoro Safari, Okavango Delta

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

  • Travellers must present proof of full vaccination. Travellers who are overdue for a booster shot are not considered fully vaccinated.
  • Travellers who have not been fully vaccinated must present a valid negative COVID-19 PCR test result that was conducted within 72 hours of departure for Botswana and will be vaccinated at their port of entry free of charge.
  • Travellers who are are unable to provide a valid negative PCR test upon arrival will be required to undergo COVID-19 PCR testing at their port of entry and, in the event they test positive, will be required to isolate within the district of the port of entry at their own expense.
  • Children under the age of 12 are exempt.


Great Migration, Serengeti

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

  • 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 upon arrival in Tanzania.
  • All fully vaccinated visitors are no longer required to present a negative Real-Time Polymerase Chain Reaction (RT-PCR) test or Nucleic Acid Amplification Test (NAATs). They will be asked to present their valid vaccination certificate with a QR code upon arrival. Only WHO-approved vaccines are recognised.
  • Visitors who are not fully vaccinated or who are unvaccinated must present a negative COVID-19 RT-PCR or NAATs test result with a QR code taken 72 hours before departure.
  • Children aged five years and younger are exempt from RT-PCR and Rapid Antigen Test requirements.
  • Visitors originating from countries listed at are required to undergo a COVID-19 Rapid Antigen Test on arrival at their own expense. If their rapid antigen test yields a positive result, a follow-up RT- PCR test will be conducted for confirmation. While they wait for their results, they will be allowed to self-isolate.
  • We advise visitors who require a Rapid Test to avoid delays on arrival by paying for the test prior to their arrival in Tanzania. They can do this by using the automatically generated control number they receive after completing the Traveller Surveillance Form.
  • On arrival, all visitors will undergo temperature screening and must complete a Health Declaration Form.
  • Arrivals will also 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.

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 ($60 per person per test). Test results are available between 24 and 48 hours.
  • Serengeti Seronera ($75 per person per test and availability depending on the guest’s location and logistics). Test results are available between 48 and 72 hours.
  • Karatu ($60 per person per test and $15 per person per test payable directly in cash). Test results are available between 48 and 72 hours.
  • Arusha ($60 per person per test). Test results are available between 48 and 72 hours.
  • Zanzibar ($150 per person per test). Test results are available between 48 and 72 hours.


Masai Warriors, Masai Mara

From 1 December 2021, all inbound travellers to Kenya who are 18 years and older will be required to present proof of full vaccination. The following travellers are exempt:

  • Travellers with medical conditions that preclude vaccination must provide a letter from an accredited medical practitioner specifying the medical reason for preclusion.
  • Travellers who have recovered from an active COVID-19 infection in the preceding 90 days must provide a letter from an accredited medical practitioner detailing their recovery.

Fully vaccinated travellers are not required to provide proof of a negative PCR test. Their vaccination certificate is sufficient.

However, if you are travelling to Kenya from or transiting Botswana, Eswatini, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa, Zimbabwe, Zambia, Ghana and Nigeria, you will be required to take a Rapid Test which will be provided to you free of charge upon arrival in Kenya.

For unvaccinated travellers, the following applies

  • You will need to obtain a negative COVID-19 PCR test result taken within 72 hours of flying. Arrivals below the age of five are exempt.
  • On arrival in Kenya, you will need to take a rapid antigen test at your own cost.

Health screening and COVID-19 protocols

All arrivals in Kenya, regardless of where they are travelling from, are required to:

  • Go online and upload their vaccination certificate or negative PCR test certificate (depending on their vaccination status) onto the Trusted Travel or Global Haven website before arriving in Kenya. They will receive a QR code which, together with their vaccination certificate or negative PCR test certificate, they need to present to the Kenyan authorities upon arrival in Kenya.
  • fill out an online “Travelers Health Surveillance Form” for the purposes of contact tracing 24 hours before arriving in Kenya. Make sure you print the QR code here, too, so you can show it to the authorities on arrival in Kenya.
  • undergo health screening for flu-like symptoms on arrival.

Mandatory quarantine

Travellers whose rapid test shows a positive result will be required to take a PCR test and isolate pending the result. If the PCR test is positive, the traveller will need to quarantine for 10 days at a government-approved isolation facility at their own cost.

Other COVID-19 safety measures

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


Kigali International Airport remains open.

Health screening and COVID-19 protocols

  • Negative rapid antigen test results taken within 72 hours of departure are required to board a plane to Kigali, and an additional rapid test will be taken upon arrival at own cost.
  • Travelers departing Rwanda must test (rapid or PCR depending on requirements at destination) negative for COVID-19 within 72 hours before departure. All departing Rwandans must be vaccinated.  Please note that if your destination is the United States, you will need to receive a rapid test one calendar day prior to your departure (stricter than Rwandan exit requirements).
  • Masks/face coverings are not mandatory outdoors but are recommended indoors.
  • The Government of Rwanda has a zero-tolerance policy for exporting positive COVID-19 cases. If you test positive for COVID-19 upon arrival or during your time in Rwanda (even if you are fully vaccinated), the severity of your symptoms will determine whether you are isolated in a government-run treatment center or a hotel at your own cost. You will not be permitted to leave Rwanda until you receive a negative test result.
  • All requests for visa extensions for residents and/or tourists should be addressed to the Rwanda Directorate General of Immigration and Emigration. Their website is here.
  • Standard social distancing protocols, regular hand sanitisation and the wearing of masks are mandatory.

In Africa, we always have time …

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 relax and enjoy “African time “- which operates in much slower and more relaxed pace

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 that you are on holiday….there is no rush…… it is Africa and it is waiting for you  !!


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