After months of lockdown, many African countries are beginning to reopen their borders to tourism.
In contrast to those destinations in Europe and the Caribbean, African nations have been cautious to restart flights and loosen border restrictions through fear of Covid-19 rising with the increase of foreign tourists. But many are starting to invite visitors once more in the hope that they can increase the tourism revenue on which so many of these countries depend.
Here we’ve outlined exactly which African countries are open for tourism and what the entry restrictions are for each.
While land and sea borders remain closed, international flights resumed to Burkina Faso in August. Visitors must present proof of a negative PCR test taken no more than 5 days before departure on arrival.
A 14-day quarantine is mandatory for all arrivals to Burkina Faso, taken at a location of your choice and at your own cost.
Democratic Republic of the Congo
The DRC’s land and air borders reopened on 15 August. All visitors must present proof of a negative PCR test taken no more than 3 days before departure on arrival.
We have heard reports that visitors must quarantine for 14 days on arrival, but this is not confirmed.
Egypt restarted tourism and international flights on 1 July.
All travellers must have valid medical insurance, which they must submit to the Egyptian health authorities before departure. Travellers must also submit proof of a negative PCR test on arrival, although those travelling to the resorts of Hurghada, Sharm El-Shiekh, Taba, and Marsa Allam are exempt from this.
Ethiopia reopened to visitors in August. All passengers must bring proof of a negative PCR test taken no more than five days of arrival, and will be tested again on arrival.
A 14-day quarantine remains mandatory for all travellers, taken at a location of your choice at the visitor’s own cost. If proof of a negative PCR test is not given on arrival, travellers must quarantine for 7 days at a government-approved hotel before taking a PCR test on day 7.
Ghana reopened its international airports on 1 September, allowing foreign tourists to travel in the country for the first time since 22 March. Land and sea borders remain closed until further notice.
All visitors must fill out a Health Declaration Form before arriving, and bring proof of a negative PCR test, taken no longer than 72 hours prior to departure. Another test must be taken on arrival, to be paid for by the passenger (reportedly US$150pp). Results are given within 30 minutes.
No quarantine necessary unless you test positive on arrival.
Kenya reopened its borders on 1 August. All countries are welcome, so long as they fill in a form prior to arrival and present proof of a negative PCR test no more than 92 hours’ old.
International borders reopened on 1 July. Visitors must present proof of a negative PCR test taken no more than 72 hours before departure, and will undergo temperature checks on arrival. There have been reports that passengers must undergo another test on arrival, but this in unconfirmed.
Malawi‘s airports reopened on 1 September. All visitors must present proof of a negative PCR test taken within 10 days of arrival in the country. Passengers will also be required to self-isolate for 14 days, during which time they will be checked up on by the health authorities.
Click here for more information.
Namibia has reopened – but only for a trial period. Between 3 and 17 September, passengers from a small number of countries will be allowed to enter. All arrivals must submit a negative PCR test taken no more than 72 hours before departure.
It is hoped that this trial will help the Namibian government to determine whether it is safe to open the borders to a wider number of arrivals in the long term.
Rwanda was one of the first African countries to reopen its borders, allowing visitors to travel from 17 June.
All passengers must submit a Passenger Locator Form and take a PCR test in their own country within 120 hours of departure. The negative test must be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org before departure and a copy of the results brought to show upon arrival.
Passengers will then be tested again on arrival, with results given within 8-24 hours. While visitors are not expected to quarantine upon arrival, all travellers must stay in a designated hotel while they await their results.
One additional safety measure that is unique to Rwanda is that all visitors must take a test before entering any tourist attraction or embarking on a trek. The cost for this test will be included in any entrance/tour prices.
São Tomé and Príncipe
São Tomé and Príncipe has reopened its borders to all visitors, and despite mixed reports we can confirm that quarantine is not necessary on arrival. Visitors must bring proof of a negative PCR test, but they will not need to isolate for 14 days unless they show symptoms on arrival.
Senegal reopened its airports on 15 July, although land and sea borders remain closed.
Passengers must complete a health declaration form before departure, and present proof of a negative PCR test no more than 7 days’ old on arrival. Temperature checks are also taken on arrival.
International flights to the islands resumed on 1 June, initially only to a small number of low-risk countries but this list has since been expanded to include 29 destinations (sadly not the UK).
Countries are categorised as low-risk and medium-risk. Passengers from low-risk countries can present either a PCR or rapid test on arrival, but those from medium-risk countries must present a PCR text no more than 72 hours’ old. Temperature checks and symptom scans will also be undertaken on arrival.
Flights to Sierra Leone resumed on 22 July, but land borders remain closed. All passengers must obtain a travel authorisation card from the government before travelling, and must present a negative PCR test no more than 72 hours’ old on arrival.
Arrivals must also pay for another test on arrival.
Tanzania (including Zanzibar) has been open to tourists since June, and despite a brief period where arrivals needed a PCR test, there are no quarantine or testing measures in place. Temperature checks are taken on arrival.
No further restrictions are in place across the country, although tourists are encouraged to wear face masks and keep 1m distance.
Despite the fact that the airport reopened on 1 August, only a very limited of commercial flights are currently operating. Land borders remain closed.
All travellers must complete a registration form before departure and present proof of a negative PCR test no more than 72 hours’ old on arrival.
International borders reopened on 27 June, allowing travellers to enter based on a colour-coding system.
Those arriving from green destinations can enter without testing or quarantine; those coming from orange destinations (such as the UK) must present a negative PCR test taken within 72 hours of departure and must quarantine for 14 days on arrival; and those coming from red countries are not permitted to enter.
Click here to see the lists.
From 1 October, international flights will resume to Uganda. All travellers are welcome, so long as they provide proof on arrival of a negative PCR test no more than 72 hours’ old.
International flights to Zambia resumed on 26 August. All arrivals must present proof of a negative PCR test taken no more than 14 days before departure, and those displaying symptoms on arrival will be required to quarantine.
As of 1 October, borders will reopen to all. All arrivals will need to bring a negative PCR test with them, taken no more than 48 hours before departure.
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