There is no doubt that Covid-19 has greatly affected travel around the world. With each country and region at a different stage of fighting this pandemic, there are many different rules for entry and traveling.
Tourism for African countries is a huge part of the economy and as such there are multiple tourism revival programs happening to help get tourism back on track.
While some countries fight off the second wave of Covid-19 others have dealt well with the pandemic and are starting to open.
The team at Mat-Travel are constantly monitoring travel restrictions for our favorite African safari destinations in order to provide travelers with the most up to date and relevant information to plan their safari holidays.
Namibia, Botswana, and South Africa are all currently open for travel with different levels of restrictions and entry requirements. Below we detail the latest requirements and restrictions to best help you plan your trip.
The information provided below is for reference only and before booking a holiday or traveling to the country you should double-check requirements with your travel agent or embassy.
- 1 Namibia – Travel and Entry Requirements
- 2 Botswana – Travel and Entry Requirements
- 3 South Africa – Travel and Entry Requirements
Namibia – Travel and Entry Requirements
Namibia is currently one of the better countries to travel to for a safari holiday. With its wide-open spaces and sparse population, it’s ideal for social distancing on your tour.
Entry requirements to Namibia are also easy while protecting the population. Direct flights from Europe, with ticket prices on the cheaper side, also contribute to making Namibia a preferred destination. While there are some restrictions currently in the country it won’t interfere too much with your holiday.
Entry Requirements for Namibia
Travelers entering Namibia will need to provide a negative Covid-19 PCR test upon arrival at a border, be it land, sea, or international airport. The test results cannot be older than 7 days. This has made travel to Namibia slightly easier than previously, when the test couldn’t be older than 48 hours.
Namibians or residents returning to Namibia can enter without a negative Covid-19 PCR test but will be placed in quarantine and be tested. Only once the person tests negative will they be released.
Health screening at airports is conducted and traveler details are documented to keep track of possible exposure.
Current Restrictions in Namibia
Public gatherings of more than 50 people are not permitted at the current time. Masks have to be worn in public.
Alcohol sales are permitted between 12:00-18:00 on weekdays. However, there are no alcohol sales permitted on Saturdays and public holidays.
Currently, Namibia has a nationwide curfew in place between 21:00 – 4:00. This curfew doesn’t affect travelers too much because you would be enjoying some well-deserved sleep after your adventurous Namibian safari.
The demand for Covid-19 testing is reaching capacity for laboratories in Namibia. Should you need a Covid-19 test before returning to your home country it is best to plan and book for it well in advance.
COVID-19 Call Center Namibia
Namibia has opened a Covid-19 Call Center as part of its response to the pandemic. For information about Covid-19 in the country, you can contact the call center on the number below.
Contact: Namibia Covid-19 Toll-Free Call Center on 0800 100 100
Botswana – Travel and Entry Requirements
When the coronavirus (Covid-19) reached Botswana, the government acted quickly and closed all borders for travel, remaining closed longer than their neighbors.
This has helped Botswana keep their infections very low compared to surrounding countries.
Botswana relies primarily on tourism, meaning an extended lockdown of the country could have had devastating effects. However, having locked down the country longer, the Botswana government made sure it was safe to open when they did and are now ready to welcome travelers.
Flights to and from Botswana can be harder to get as international flights usually have a layover or transit through neighboring countries. This also makes flights more expensive compared to Namibia. But, the country is open for tourism and remains a world-class safari destination that should be on everyone’s bucket list of travel destinations.
Entry Requirements for Botswana
Travelers entering Botswana will need to present a negative Covid-19 test not older than 72 hours from the date of arrival.
Health screening will take place at the port of entry and if you show symptoms consistent with Covid-19 you will need to take mandatory testing and may need to go into isolation or quarantine at your own cost.
Returning residents to Botswana who do not present a negative Covid-19 test result will need to go into a mandatory 14-day quarantine and get tested at their own expense. Additionally, if you are not a resident of Botswana and don’t meet the requirements, you may be denied entry.
Face masks in public are mandatory in Botswana.
For extra information and to stay up to date with information for Botswana, we recommend the Botswana Government Facebook page.
COVID-19 Call Center Botswana
For information on Covid-19 in Botswana, the government has set up a 24 hour COVID-19 Call Center that can be reached on the numbers below.
Contact Botswana Covid-19 Call center on 0800 600 111 / 16649
South Africa – Travel and Entry Requirements
South African land borders have been closed until the 15th of February.
South Africa has a much larger population (around 60 million people) than its neighboring countries Namibia and Botswana. Early on experts knew the spread of the coronavirus would be far greater.
With a new strain of Covid-19 in South Africa that is believed to be far more transmissible, the country is considered very high-risk to visit. With new restrictions being introduced far more often than other safari destination countries, traveling to South Africa should only be done with extreme caution.
With the new strain of the coronavirus detected in South Africa and the rapid spread of the virus, some countries have banned arrivals from South Africa. It is important to check with your embassy before traveling to or from South Africa.
If you still wish to travel to South Africa see the entry requirements below, entry requirements can change rapidly so it is always important to double-check before traveling.
Entry Requirements for South Africa
Note that not all land borders to South Africa are open. It is advisable to contact the border post before departing on your trip if you intended to travel by road.
International travel to South Africa is permitted. Travelers will need to produce a negative Covid-19 test result to border control upon arrival that should be no older than 72 hours at the date of arrival.
If a traveler fails to produce a negative test result an antigen test will be conducted at the traveler’s cost.
Should a traveler test positive they will be expected to quarantine at a registered facility at their own cost.
The following countries have banned travel from South Africa, which could complicate returning home. It is always important to check with your embassy and your own country’s rules on returning.
- United Kingdom
- Saudi Arabia