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COVID-19 African Safari Travel Update: South Africa & Botswana

By November 30, 2020 No Comments
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Botswana and South Africa have both opened borders (air and land) to regional and international travellers – but what does travel to these countries look like now?

Where regional and international travel is allowed, there are health screening and COVID-19 protocols that are being followed for the safety of all travellers, airport staff and those beyond the airport terminals. It is not as complicated as you may think and while we know that things can change quickly, for now, we have listed below the protocols you can be prepared for when travelling into South Africa and Botswana.

South Africa

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Whales off the coast of De Hoop Nature Reserve, South Africa © Natural Selection

South Africa reopened for international tourism on 1 October. OR Tambo, King Shaka and Cape Town international airports are now welcoming all travellers. International airlines flying into South Africa are KLM, Air France, Ethiopian Airlines, Emirates, Lufthansa and Edelweiss Air.

We have been delighted to find out in Travel News that “travellers departing South Africa from OR Tambo is that they can get COVID-19 PCR-tested and collect their certificate at the airport prior to departure… The service is available 24/7 according to Port Health Services, at a cost of R600 (EUR33) (cash, cheque cards and credit cards are accepted, except American Express).”

Here is what you need to know for when flying into one of these airports in South Africa:

  • Upon arrival, you will be required to provide a valid negative COVID-19 PCR (polymerase chain reaction) test, obtained no more than 72 hours (three days) from the time of departure for South Africa. The certificate must have the name and signature of the health practitioner that conducted the test. The certificate is valid from time of test, not time when certificate was issued.
  • You will have to undergo screening for any COVID-19 symptoms and/or for contact with people who have been infected with the virus.
  • South Africa’s COVID Alert app will need to be downloaded and functional on your mobile device.
  • If you do not have travel insurance that covers the cost of any testing or quarantine, this would be for your own expense.
  • A 10-day mandatory quarantine is only required if you fail to present a valid negative COVID-19 PCR test certificate, show any symptoms of the virus and/or have been in contact with a person infected with the virus.

Botswana

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Mokoro ride in the Linyanti, Botswana © African Bush Camps

In Botswana, a phased reopening of international borders began on 9 November and international air travel has resumed at Sir Seretse Khama (Gaborone), Maun and Kasane airports.

Here is what you need to know for when flying into one of these airports in Botswana:

  • Upon arrival, you will need to present a valid negative COVID-19 PCR test result, which needs to have been conducted within 72 hours (three days) of departure for Botswana. The test certificate is valid from time of test, not time when certificate was issued.
  • You will also need to undergo mandatory health screening for COVID-19 symptoms by health officials before being allowed to leave the airport.
  • Any visitor showing symptoms of COVID-19 upon arrival or has been in contact with someone infected with the virus will be required to undergo a PCR test as well as possible isolation and/or quarantine for 14 days.

Contact us for more information on the COVID-19 health and safety protocols when travelling into Botswana and South Africa. Or let’s chat about planning your dream 2021 African safari adventure.

Feature image courtesy of Natural Selection.