African Safari Experts can assist you with safe travel to Africa today!

As we ride the storm of this global COVID pandemic, safe travel to Africa has been uppermost in our minds. Nearly every industry, no matter where you are, has been severely financially impacted in the last few months. Airlines are no exception.

Ethiopian Airlines was one of the first airlines to resume flights to Africa followed quite quickly by Emirates and several others. Brooke Berlin, a US marketing executive for Africa reported that travelers to Kenya are in very safe hands. She interviewed Simon Penfold of Scenic Air Safaris who said that Kenya is very serious about their safety protocols. All safari lodges must undergo a health certification process which includes a health official in residence. Standard Operating Procedures for health and safety are only valid for 3 months when the official will return and conduct another inspection. This is reassuring for safe travel to Africa.

The WTTC or World Travel and Tourism Council represents tourism globally and the experts there have assisted African countries to keep guests safe while traveling. The council carefully researches the measures in place within each country and when the health and safety measures are in place the country is awarded a Safe Travel Stamp. This stamp applies to every facet of the experience from airports to vehicles, light aircraft, the lodge kitchen, guest accommodation and much more.

The following countries have been awarded Safe Travel Stamps: Kenya, Tanzania, Rwanda, South Africa and Zambia. Zimbabwe is currently being audited and will soon receive her Safe Travel Stamp.

COVID Testing at Brussels Airport

Brussels Airport announced on 14 September 2020 that travelers can take a COVID PCR test at the airport before departing. The test is internationally recognized and the test center is operated by Ecolog. It is open daily from 03H30 to midnight. Travelers can register at the test center or make an appointment online before departing their homes.

Most African safari travel experts agree that with a bit of planning and good on the ground arrangements guests will enjoy some of the most desirable game viewing ever. Your safari to Africa in 2020 will also give you a great sense of well being knowing that you are making an incredibly positive impact on the rejuvenation of the tourism industry. Each guests stay, anywhere, supports conservation, anti poaching and directly benefits local communities.

Heathrow Airport

There is additional monitoring in place for all flights and this includes written information, social distancing, hand sanitizer stations and the wearing of face masks. Doctors are on site at Heathrow as has been the case for many years and all passengers will be temperature screened as well. If you do not have a face covering when arriving at Heathrow, one will be given to you on entering.

All flights are operating out of Terminals 2 and 5. 

John F. Kennedy Airport

A face covering is required for any person entering the airport, making use of buses or the AirTrain. Only ticketed passengers may enter the airport terminals unless you are accompanying a passenger that requires special assistance. Passengers are required to maintain a physical distance of 6 feet from one another.

The airport recommends you check in prior to arriving making use of touch less technology such as your mobile device. If possible, make payments for anything else in the airport with the same technology.

The airport has increased the frequency of their cleaning on all touch points such as hand rails. Protective plexiglass barriers have been installed throughout their facilities.

Kenya Passenger Entry Requirements

For passengers arriving in Kenya the following entry requirements are in place:

1 – A body temperature not above 37.5°C or 99.5°F

2 – The passenger does not have a persistent cough, difficulty with breathing or other flu-like symptoms

3 – The passenger has a negative PCR based COVID-19 test result conducted within 96 hours of arrival

4 – Complete a Travelers Health Surveillance Form prior to entering the country available here.

Kenya Airways and Emirates Airlines are currently flying to Nairobi. Lodges that our African safari experts recommend are Loisaba Star Beds, Kicheche Mara Camp or for a luxurious safari camp book at Mahali Mzuri.

Tanzania Passenger Entry Requirements

For passengers arriving in Tanzania the following entry requirements are in place:

1 – A body temperature not exceeding 37.5°C or 99.5°F

2 – The passenger does not have a persistent cough, difficulty with breathing or other flu-like symptoms

3 – The passenger has a negative PCR based COVID-19 test result conducted within 96 hours of arrival

4 – Complete a Health Surveillance Form on the aircraft and present this to immigration officials

Airlines flying to Tanzania are KLM Royal Dutch Airlines, Qatar Airways, Ethiopian Airlines and Emirates Airlines. In our expert opinion a safari to Africa and Tanzania would not be complete without staying at The Emakoko close to Nairobi, Sarara Treehouses or Mahale Lodge for some incredible experiences with the forest chimpanzees.

Namibia Passenger Entry Requirements

All passengers arriving at Hosea Kutako International Airport in Windhoek must present a negative COVID-19 PCR test result conducted within 72 hours of boarding the aircraft. You will be required to submit your full itinerary on arrival to immigration officials.

You will need to be available to health officials on day 5 of your holiday for a swab test and then be contactable on day 7 to receive the results. If this test is negative you are free to continue with your holiday. However, if the test result is positive you will be treated at an isolation facility that has been authorized by the Ministry of Health and Social Services at their cost according to the Namibian national case management guidelines.

The following airlines are flying to Namibia: Ethiopian Airlines, Air Namibia, Lufthansa, Eurowings and Qatar Airways. Namibia is famous for her deserts and dunes and our expert African safari planners can booking you in at Little Kulala, Desert Rhino Camp or Sossusvlei Lodge.

Zambia Passenger Entry Requirements

All international tourists entering Zambia will be screened on arrival. Should you show any symptoms of COVID-19 you will be required to quarantine for 14 days.

All passengers are required to have a negative COVID-19 PCR test result conducted within 14 days of arrival.

Airlines currently flying to Lusaka are Ethiopian Airlines, Kenya Airways and Emirates Airlines with ProFlight being the preferred domestic airline for flights to Livingstone.

Our African safari experts recommend the following lodges, Chinzombo, King Lewanika Lodge or Nanzhila Plains Camp.

Zimbabwe Opens for tourism on 1 October 2020

Zimbabwe will reopen her borders on the 1st of October 2020. On arrival at any of her international airports you will be asked to present a COVID-19 PCR clearance certificate that was issued 48 hours prior to departing your home country. You will also undergo health screening and a temperature test and face masks, distancing and hand sanitation are required.

As this time of year is ideal for a safari to Mana Pools, make your booking now for Kanga Camp, Ruckomechi Camp or Nyamatusi Mahogany. These are great destinations for safe travel to Africa.

South Africa Opens for tourism on 1 October 2020

South Africa has recently been moved from a high to medium risk and has been taken off Switzerland’s mandatory quarantine list. The health and safety efforts by South Africa’s tourism industry are being internationally recognized.

Where once the tourism industry was witnessing extensive forward planning by travelers, the norm now seems to be travel decisions being made in shorter time periods. This bodes well for South Africa as her peak summer and tourism season is fast approaching! South Africans typically live outdoors and this has been crucial in mitigating the spread of the virus.

Health officials the world over have agreed that being outside in open spaces is one of the safest places to be and more so in sparsely populated countries.

As it has now been made official that South Africa will open for tourism at the beginning of October we are feeling very positive about safe travel to Africa.

The following countries citizens will not be allowed into South Africa until further notice, the United States, Great Britain, Spain and Italy. These countries are considered to be very high risk and the government of South Africa has learned that a resurgence of the virus is possible if proper caution is not exercised. Should you begin to show symptoms during your visit you will be required to quarantine at your own cost.

Passengers will have to present a COVID-19 PCR test within 48 hours of arriving in South Africa. Temperature monitoring will also take place.

Before making any flight bookings please make sure you are aware that your country is not one of those banned from entry into South Africa. Only three airports will be open being O R Tambo in Johannesburg, Cape Town International Airport and King Shaka International Airport outside Durban.

Safari 2020 Experiences

Despite all that has happened, we at African Safari Experts have seen some of our clients travel this year. Tanzania was first to open followed quite quickly by Kenya. By the end of August and early September we had been receiving some very encouraging news on the experiences our guests had. From leaving their homes, arriving at the airport, boarding, flying and arriving at their destination has been super easy. And safe!

We had constant contact with these guests via instant messaging as I was somewhat concerned but I also wanted to be supportive of their bravery in this difficult time of travel. Well, it was seamless for them. From the moment they entered the airport at JFK they found the experience to be very reassuring. Contact less check-in’s, masks everywhere and hand sanitizer available at nearly every step of the way.

At Heathrow Airport four of our guests experienced similar COVID health and safety protocols. Their conclusions were unanimous – the process was smooth, safe and very reassuring. Our guests also reported that their aircraft were only booked at about 40% of the total capacity making physical distancing on board the flight very easy.

Considering that all aircraft are fitted with highly sophisticated HEPA (High Efficiency Particulate Arrestance) filters the chances of inhaling any sort of airborne virus is extremely small.

Several of these couples were elderly – over their 60’s – and I was amazed at their courage. This trip to East Africa had been a safari in the making for several months now, it was their dream safari to Africa and the Great Migration. While many of my clients postponed to next year, these eight people chose to stick to their plans and forge ahead.

And they are so happy they did. They have experienced Africa and the migration like no other in many years. The wide open plains of Africa were all but deserted save for the wildlife. Where migration river crossings could be lined with vehicles, theirs was the only safari vehicle on the river banks.

Staff at each and every camp were wearing safety masks, instead of the large communal evening dinner table guests had separate tables. Though, this did not stop some lively conversations over the days game sightings. As the camps have been closed for so long the wildlife have literally taken over and Elephants were in camp – all the camps – nearly every single day.

At Namiri Plains the local Lion pride – that has some 20 odd cubs – could be heard roaring late into the night and fresh kills were easily found in the morning.

Our guests had all booked a three week safari and at the end, on boarding their flights back to Nairobi and Dar es Salaam, reported that the aircraft were cleaned and sanitized before they boarded. Both airports were ever easier than before to navigate, check in and with their boarding. Once again their flights were not full and one of my clients, Dorothy, could even stretch out over three seats and sleep.

It’s now clear, from first hand reviews and experiences that we have resumed safe travel to Africa. The world of travel to Africa, safari experiences, camps and lodges, light aircraft, boats, vehicles and guest accommodation has adjusted to the new normal of travel in Africa.

Come and experience Africa for yourself now. You have been confined and quarantined enough, spread your wings and book your dream safari to Africa today. Contact the African safari experts.


CEO – African Safari Experts