Covid-19 Vaccine and travel to Africa

Although the COVID-19 entry requirements vary from country to country, most commercial airlines flying to/from and within Africa require that passengers produce a negative COVID-19 PCR test. This test needs to have been conducted within 72 hours of their departure.

As the COVID-19 vaccine becomes more widely available, we are hoping that those who have received the vaccine will be able to travel with greater ease. However, as the roll-out is still in its early stages and experts are assessing the vaccine’s effectiveness. No decisions have yet been made as to whether vaccinated travellers will be allowed to enter African destinations without a negative COVID-19 PCR test. As always, we are closely monitoring the situation and will provide updates when we have clear and conclusive information about travelling after being vaccinated.

Many countries in Africa are rolling out their vaccination program. Deliveries of vaccine supplies under the Covax programme started in February, and most countries in Africa have signed up and already received their first round of vaccine doses. The programme – backed by the World Health Organization (WHO) and other multilateral bodies – aims to supply 600 million doses to Africa, enough to vaccinate at least 20% of the population. The Covax initiative has so far delivered more than 16 million vaccine doses to 31 African countries, according to the Africa CDC.

Victoria Falls – the first tourism destination in the world to target 100% vaccination

In March 2021 Victoria Falls started a destination-wide vaccination program to make it the first COVID-free tourism hotspot in the world.  

  • The government of Zimbabwe prioritised the tourism sector (Victoria Falls) to begin a mass vaccination roll out the initiative.  
  • Tourism is the lifeblood of Zimbabwe’s economy and so the government has put the sector centre of its health and economic recovery plan, aiming to get Victoria Falls to be the first city in the world to be fully vaccine compliant. 
  • Most hotels, lodges, camps and B&B’s have had their entire staff vaccinated. In addition, organisations such as the Victoria Falls Anti-Poaching Unit who have worked tirelessly to protect the wildlife are now protected themselves. 

What does this mean for the tourism sector?  Tourism was a major revenue generator for Zimbabwe pre-covid. This unique approach to prioritising the vaccination of the residents of Victoria Falls will be a game-changer for the destination, building confidence in the international tourism markets and assisting in the recovery of tourism to the destination, and as a result, will help recover the livelihoods of the residents here who were severely impacted by the pandemic.