Reopening Africa’s borders for tourism

Destinations & Associations using the Safe Travels Stamp

The below information was updated Updated 20 November, 2020.

Many African nations are starting to reopen borders, remove curfews, and slowly resume international tourism. Most countries in Africa have been very strict on containing the spread of the virus, with most of them going into complete lockdowns earlier this year. That means nobody in and nobody out. Now that case numbers are relatively low across the continent, some nations have already reopened, with others making plans on how to reopen responsibly.

Many of our current guests, as well as future travellers interested in booking a safari, have been asking about border closures and flight schedules. Thanks to our direct line of communication with our trusted on-the-ground partners throughout Africa, cross-referenced with official government entities, we’ve compiled a one-stop informational resource with real-time updates on travel restrictions due to COVID-19.

Destinations in Africa using the World Travel and Tourism Council Safe Travels Stamp.

East Africa


Tanzania unconditionally welcomed tourists from all nations in May, one of the earliest countries to do so. The Airport is open and ready for regional and international visitors. If passengers’ body temperatures test normal, they will be able to enter the country without being quarantined.  All travellers entering or leaving Tanzania will be subjected to enhanced screening for COVID-19. There will be no 14-day mandatory quarantine.  All travellers, whose countries or airlines require them to get tested for COVID-19 with a negative test result as a condition for travelling will be required to present a certificate upon arrival. Travellers from other countries with symptoms and signs related to COVID-19 will undergo enhanced screening and may be required to undergo COVID-19 RT-PCR testing.
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Kenya has been awarded the ‘Safe Travel Stamp’ by the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC) in recognition of the country’s adoption of the required global health and hygiene standardized protocols.

Kenya reopened its borders on 1 August and published a list of countries from which visitors are not required to be quarantined.  All travellers must present a negative COVID-19 PCR test certificate issued no more than 96 hours before departure at check-in. All travellers must present a completed Kenya Travelers Health Surveillance form online and present the corresponding QR code to Port Health authorities upon arrival.  A 14-day self-quarantine is mandatory for travellers arriving from certain countries as determined by the Ministry of Health. Travellers arriving from specified countries are currently exempted from self-quarantine measures.

From 1 January 2021 all travellers requiring a visa will need to apply for an e-visa in advance. your Safari Expert will help with every step. For more information visit 
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Rwanda reopened on 1 August. All travellers arriving in Rwanda must have a negative PCR COVID-19 certificate. Prior to arrival, all travellers must complete the Passenger Locator Form and upload their COVID-19 test certificate via. Upon arrival all international travellers will undertake a mandatory COVID-19 test and wait 24 hours for the result in one of the 17 certified hotels in Kigali – stays will be offered at a reduced rate.
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Uganda will reopen on 1 October 2020. Travellers must have a negative COVID-19 PCR test done within 72 hours before departure to Uganda, and must not display any signs and symptoms of any infectious disease before boarding.  The COVID-19 PCR test must be taken at a laboratory approved by the country where the travellers journey starts.  There is no mandatory quarantine requirement for travellers who have a valid negative COVID-19 PCR test certificate on arrival and do not show any symptoms of COVID-19.
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Zanzibar is one of the Indian Ocean islands but classified as part of Tanzania. Please see travel restrictions above.

Southern Africa

South Africa:

South Africa’s borders are open for tourism from 1 October 2020. Travel to and from certain high-risk countries will be limited and an updated list is released by the South African Government every fortnight. Although our friends in higher risk countries will have to wait a little longer to visit South Africa, we are optimistic that soon all visitors will be able to travel again. Only one land border post and three international airports – OR Tambo (Johannesburg), King Shaka (Durban) and Cape Town International Airport – will reopen to international travellers.

Travellers will need to present a negative COVID-19 test on arrival, conducted within 72 hours of departure for South Africa. Travellers arriving without a negative COVID-19 test will be required to quarantine at their own cost.


Zimbabwe’s government announced on 3 September the resumption of domestic tourism and all tourism activities. International flights into the Harare and Victoria Falls will resume from 1 October 2020. All travellers will be required to have a PCR COVID-19 Clearance Certificate issued by a recognised facility within 48 hours from the date of departure.
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Namibia’s Hosea Kutako International Airport outside Windhoek is open and international flights are arriving. All tourists must have a negative PCR result not older than 72 hours before boarding their flight to Namibia. Tourists must be tested again for Covid-19 on day five of their visit. The tourist must be available for swabbing at the closest medical facility OR make use of the service at their lodge or camp.
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Zambia’s borders remain open but under tight screening. Travellers will have had to have a negative COVID test within 14 days of arrival, and carry a certificate to prove so. We strongly advise applying for your visa prior to your arrival to Zambia.
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Only partially possible until further notice. The country is divided into different COVID 19 zones. A special permit is required for trips between these zones. A negative COVID test may be required for travel to, from or through zones particularly affected by the virus.
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The Malagasy government has announced that the island of Nosy Be will reopen for international travel on 1 October 2020. Travel will be limited to Nosy Be and the surrounding archipelagos – no travel to the mainland of Madagascar will be allowed.  All arriving travellers are required to present a return air ticket and a negative result for a COVID-19 PCR test carried out 72 hours before arriving in Madagascar. A letter of commitment must be signed by arriving travellers, acknowledging the COVID-related health measures in Madagascar, complete a health form and comply with all airport health procedures like temperature scans and using a disinfectant corridor.
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