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COVID PCR Testing for travelers

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What do you need to know about PCR testing and your travel plans?

Staying up to date with the latest travel logistics around Covid-19 can be time-consuming. However, we have done the hard work for you!

In most cases, this is not as problematic as you may think. And it is getting easier as many countries have done away with Covid-precautions all together. But NOT ALL. So you just need to double-check for peace of mind.

Use the following as a guide but please double check the latest advice at least 2-3 weeks prior to travel.

There have been HUGE improvements in recent weeks and months in the ease of travelling to Southern (and East Africa to a lesser extent). Especially for fully vaccinated travellers. Below we outline the current info by country if you are planning a trip now.


LAST UPDATED 08 AUGUST 2023: This blog is intended to help when planning future travel but it is manually updated. This is a rapidly changing time in international travel and so when rules or advice is changed for a destination, the official Government sources may be updated far more rapidly than this article. Verifying the most up to date information through OFFICIAL channels remains the responsibility of the traveller.

We reference both the UK FCDO and USA CDC travel advice, as these are both promptly updated. Below we give the links for each country. So you should always check that nothing has changed before you travel. This is the traveller’s responsibility.

All travellers should follow the entry rules set out for their COVID-19 status. COVID-19 entry and exit requirements may be announced and altered at little notice.

Safe safari experience in Africa

As of December 22, the need for fully vaccinated clients to produce arrive with a negative PCR test has been drastically reduced. However this is still a requirement for people who are NOT vaccinated, except in the following countries which have removed all restrictions.

NO RESTRICTIONS: South Africa, Namibia, Botswana, Zambia, Tanzania, Ethiopia, Kenya, Rwanda (but restrictions for the Parks), eSwatini, Madagascar, Mauritius (health form completion only), and Seychelles (digital travel authorisation form completion).

At this stage, you may also need an Exit test if travelling to Rwanda or Uganda, as this is required by those destinations, OR if it is required the departing airlines, OR by the next country that you are visiting. So please be aware of what is required by your airline and your onward/home country. Cedarberg Africa assists our clients with requirements and logistics.

Note: There is now no mandatory quarantine requirements for vaccinated travellers for any of our destinations.

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Cedarberg-Africa-Rufiji-River-Camp-sunset-drinks

Tips for Planning NEW Trips:

  • Now that the regulations have changed for every Southern African country, it makes it a lot easier to combine several countries within one itinerary.
  • Rwanda and Uganda may still require an exit test. Allow enough time to get an exit test done without feel stressed. That may mean a final night in the capital city which may not have always been needed. Don’t try to fight the system. Embrace it and enjoy the sights of that city. Every city in the world has something interesting to show you, even if your main love is wilderness and wildlife.

We will assist you with itinerary planning so that any testing is at a minimum disruption to you.

Some airlines may also still require an antigen tests. This is easy to arrange but you need a few hours to spare prior to your departure flight.

We will ensure enough time for any testing need prior to departure (select countries only), and discuss the options with you as we design itineraries with you. If you decide to have a nurse come to you at your game lodge, then we do included that in our itinerary cost.

General info:

  • Mask-wearing and social distancing are mandatory in most indoor areas, except when eating at restaurants or at your lodge. But this varies by country as to how much it is enforced. In our experience, it is mainly enforced at airports and in shops. Much less so in the open air. This is also changing rapidly and so the regulations are NOT covered in detail by this blog article. It really doesn’t impact your holiday much at all.
  • Travellers who recently recovered from Covid-19 will need to present a letter of exemption from their medical practitioner, if they are still testing positive even after recovery.

Read the following info for your destination(s) and follow the Links which are updated on a regular basis.

Traveling in Africa safely

South Africa

South Africa has lifted its coronavirus travel rules. You no longer need to present proof of vaccination status or a PCR test.

Up to date advice

UKhttps://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice/south-africa/entry-requirements            

USA https://za.usembassy.gov/covid-19-information-2/            

More Information:

Frequently Asked Questions by Dept of Health

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Adventurous Self drive - Sani Pass into lesotho

Botswana

The Government of Botswana has removed all entry requirements, including requirements for vaccinations and PCR tests.

Up to date advice

UKhttps://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice/botswana/entry-requirements#entry-rules-in-response-to-coronavirus-covid-19

USA https://bw.usembassy.gov/covid-19-information/

Safe Botswana safaris

Namibia

Namibia has lifted its coronavirus travel rules. You no longer need to present proof of vaccination status or a PCR test.

Up to date advice

UKhttps://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice/namibia/entry-requirements

USAhttps://na.usembassy.gov/covid-19-information/

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Zimbabwe

All Covid-19 entry protocols have been removed. Travellers are no longer required to provide evidence of vaccination or a PCR test result.

Up to date advice

UKhttps://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice/zimbabwe/entry-requirements  

USAhttps://zw.usembassy.gov/covid-19-information-2/

Plenty of Outdoor activities in Zimbabwe

Zambia

Travellers to Zambia are encouraged to be fully vaccinated but this is not mandatory. As of 21 March 2023, the Zambian Ministry of Health announced the lifting of all COVID-19 travel-related restrictions at points of entry with immediate effect.

All travellers to Zambia are no longer required to show proof of vaccination, recovery or testing against COVID-19.

Up to date advice

UKhttps://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice/zambia/entry-requirements#entry-rules-in-response-to-coronavirus-covid-19

USAhttps://zm.usembassy.gov/covid-19-information/

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Kenya

All travellers arriving in Kenya through any port of entry are no longer required to show proof of COVID-19 vaccination or a negative pre-departure COVID-19 test.

Only travellers entering Kenya with flu-like symptoms will be required to fill the passenger locator form on the ‘jitenge’ platform: https://ears.health.go.ke/airline_registration/ and to undergo a rapid antigen test at their own cost. If the antigen test is positive, they will be required to undergo a further COVID-19 PCR test at their own cost. Those with severe symptoms shall thereafter be allowed to self-isolate as per Ministry of Health guidance on isolation.

Persons travelling out of the country will be required to abide by the particular travel, health and COVID-19-related requirements of their destination country. Pre-departure RDT or PCR testing may be considered at the discretion of any of the airlines departing from or terminating in Kenya.

Up to date advice

UKhttps://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice/kenya/entry-requirements 

USA https://ke.usembassy.gov/covid-19-information/  

Memorable and unique destinations

Tanzania

You do not need to show a COVID vaccination certificate or negative PCR test to enter Tanzania or Zanzibar, unless required by your airline, transit destination, or final destination. However, health officials may screen you for COVID symptoms on arrival. They may also randomly select travellers for rapid antigen testing, free of charge.

Up to date advice

UK – https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice/tanzania/entry-requirements

USA https://tz.usembassy.gov/covid-19-information/

Beautiful beaches in Tanzania

Uganda

You are no longer required to show proof of vaccination status or to provide a negative PCR test upon arrival. However, if transiting or departing, you should be aware of entry requirements at your final destination.

Arriving passengers will be subject to temperature checks and will be screened for infectious diseases by the Port Health authorities. If your temperature is above normal or you display COVID-19 symptoms, you may be required to take a COVID-19 test. If a foreign national tests positive for COVID-19 and wishes to be repatriated for treatment outside of Uganda, they will be expected to cover the costs themselves.

Only passengers with valid tickets and airport officials will be allowed into the terminal building.

Up to date advice

UK – https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice/uganda/entry-requirements

USA https://ug.usembassy.gov/covid-19-information-page/

Bwindi Mountain Gorilla

Rwanda

Rwanda no longer requires proof of a negative COVID-19 test before arrival into Rwanda. Completing a Passenger Locator Form is also no longer required.

The Government of Rwanda has removed all requirements for guests to present negative PCR Covid-19 and Rapid Antigen tests when visiting National Parks.

However, all travellers over the age of 5 years due to visit primates in Volcanoes National Park, Nyungwe Forest National Park and Gashwati-Mukura National Park are required to wear face masks during the experience.

Up to date advice

UKhttps://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice/rwanda/entry-requirements

USA https://rw.usembassy.gov/health-alert-covid-19-information/

Choice of Beach Destinations

Mauritius

Travellers do not need to present a negative PCR test before flying to Mauritius. Health or travel insurance covering COVID-19 related expenses is no longer mandatory for travellers but is recommended.

Regardless of vaccination status, there is no longer a requirement for travellers to test or self-isolate on arrival in Mauritius. However, travellers need to complete the Mauritius All-in-One Travel Form prior to arrival.

Up to date advice

UKhttps://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice/mauritius/entry-requirements

USAhttps://mu.usembassy.gov/covid-19-information/

Mozambique

Fully vaccinated: You must produce an electronically verifiable full vaccination certificate at the point of entry.

Not fully vaccinated: You will need to provide a negative PCR test if you have not been vaccinated against COVID-19. The PCR test result must have been issued in the departure country within 72 hours prior to the time of arrival. You should not use the NHS testing service to get a test in order to facilitate your travel to another country. You should arrange to take a private test.

A negative PCR test is valid for up to 7 days for travellers using the South Africa land border.

Children:

Children 11 and younger are exempt from the requirement to present a COVID-19 PCR test on arrival in Mozambique.

Children 11 and older must follow the entry requirements in accordance with their vaccination status.

Up to date advice

UKhttps://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice/mozambique/entry-requirements

USA https://mz.usembassy.gov/covid-19-information/

Seychelles

Seychelles no longer require proof of COVID-19 vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test from visitors. However, all visitors need to complete a digital Travel Authorisation, which serves to determine visitors’ travel eligibility to Seychelles prior to the start of travel. This digital form also replaces the paper disembarkation form that was previously completed pre-arrival. There is a fee associated with the application for a Travel Authorisation, which can be paid from 10 days prior to arrival. In case of an emergency or unplanned departure to Seychelles, an express application is available for an additional fee.

You must have a valid Travel and Health Insurance to cover potential COVID-19-related costs.

Up to date advice

UK – https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice/seychelles/entry-requirements

USA – https://mu.usembassy.gov/covid-19-information/

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Honeymoons in Africa - Seychelles

Madagascar

The Malagasy government have lifted all COVID-19 health restrictions for travellers to Madagascar. Pre-departure PCR tests and testing on arrival are no longer required for entry to Madagascar. Proof of vaccination status is not required for entry. Further details and travel alerts can be found on the Madagascar Tourism website.

Entry requirements for Madagascar are the same for all travellers, regardless of COVID-19 vaccination status.

Up to date advice:

UK – https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice/madagascar/entry-requirements

USA – https://mg.usembassy.gov/u-s-citizen-services/security-and-travel-information/covid-19-information/

Ethiopia

The Ethiopian government has removed all COVID-19 vaccination restrictions for travellers.

Up to date advice

UK –  https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice/ethiopia/entry-requirements  

Malawi

A COVID-19 vaccination certificate or a negative COVID-19 PCR test result is no longer a mandatory requirement for incoming travellers entering Malawi. However, all outgoing travellers are responsible for checking and complying with entry requirements in the countries of their destination and/or transit.

Up to date advice

UKhttps://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice/malawi/entry-requirements

USA – https://mw.usembassy.gov/covid-19-information/

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Ethiopia - Southern Turmi village
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Eswatini

Eswatini has lifted its coronavirus travel restrictions. You no longer need to present proof of vaccination status, or a PCR test.

Up to date advice

UK – https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice/eswatini/entry-requirements        

USA https://sz.usembassy.gov/covid-19-information/           

Travel with a contented heart


This article is courtesy of Cedarberg Africa

Cedarberg Africa is a travel and safari company specializing in Southern and East African tailor-made itineraries. As we have special rates with all the hotels and game lodges, booking through us will cost no more than booking directly, and sometimes less. So our expertise and knowledge come at no extra cost to you!

Feel free to contact us if you want us to plan a trip that will revitalise your body and mind for you!

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Milandi Joubert

Africa Travel Specialist

Hi I’m Milandi, I’m here to help you plan your ideal holiday experience

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