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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

As we start to have our postponed clients travel again in 2021, and a few new clients as well, we are working through the logistics of having PCR tests. In many cases, this is not as problematic as you may think.

But there are challenges, especially if the postponed trip involves 2 or 3 countries. Below we outline some crucial tips for planning a trip now. And we outline how it works in each country.

In future we may have vaccine passports. But the reality is that PCR testing, or perhaps later on only a rapid antigen test if you have been vaccinated, is here for a while. Just like getting a Yellow Fever certificate or some extra jabs for an exotic trip. ALL of our Destinations currently require a negative PCR test for anyone arriving into the country. This usually needs to be completed within the previous 72 hours – but there are some country variations below.

At this stage, you will most likely need an Exit test if this is needed by the airline, your home country or or by the next country that you are visiting. So please be aware of what is required by your airline and your home country.

Tips for New Trips:

  • At this stage, we recommend that you try to focus on ONE country so that the testing is simple: one test on the way in. And one test on the way out. If you are up for more testing, especially if it’s planned well, you could include a second country. But three countries will probably involve more testing than you would want.
  • Discuss the “exit strategy” with our consultant when you start planning your trip. For example, in the past, we may have started in Cape Town. But now we recommend finishing there as the testing is very quick and easy and will hardly take any time out of your holiday.
  • Allow enough time to get an exit test done without feel stressed. In some countries 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.
  • In many destinations, a nurse can come to you at your game lodge. This is perfect in many ways. But naturally comes with a price tag.
  • Similarly, in some countries you may be able to choose to have a standard or an express test. So perhaps decide upfront whether you are happy to pay for the convenience. Or whether you want to plan the trip to reduce testing costs.
  • Ideally, have an idea of which international airline you are taking, and the routing, as soon as possible. Each airline has testing requirements and then you can discuss this with your Cedarberg Africa consultant.
  • We will assist you with itinerary planning so that testing is at a minimum disruption to you.

Note: Each airline has their own Covid testing requirements. It is your responsibility to check your airlines requirements before travel. 

Some airlines also require an additional antigen tests. For example KLM also requires all passengers to have a negative rapid antigen test within 4 hours of their departure flight.

Straight-forward PCR test costs are not included in our quotes. But we will ensure enough time for testing prior to departure, and discuss the options with you as we design itineraries with you. If you decide to have a nurse come to you, then we do included that in our itinerary cost.

General info:
  • Mask-wearing and social distancing are mandatory in all public areas, except when eating at restaurants or at your lodge

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

Needed for Arrival:

COVID-19 PCR test within 72 hours prior to departure with name and signature of the conducting certified medical practitioner.

On Arrival:
  • Presentation of COVID-19 PCR negative certificate
  • Temperature & health screening
  • All travellers to complete Traveller Health Questionnaire prior to arrival or upon arrival at the Ports of Entry.
  • Vaccinated people currently still need a PCR test on arrival.
  • All travellers with symptoms, or who has not done COVID-19 test will remain in quarantine until a negative COVID-19 test is conducted at their own cost.
On Departure and PCR testing
  • There are numerous clinics and drive-through facilities available for testing in South Africa.  You may also be able to get a PCT test done at your hotel or game lodge prior to departure (to be pre-booked).  The standard test costs between R850 to R900. But if the nurse is coming to your hotel/game lodge then the cost is currently being quoted at R2,000 per person plus the test.
  • PCR Test Results currently can take up to 48 hours, depending on the location, but are usually around 24 hours in the big cities.
  • Rapid Antigen tests (needed by KLM and some airlines) are available in good facilities in Cape Town and Johannesburg. These take 15-20 minutes for the results to come back.
  • As said above, we recommend ending with a few days in Cape Town. But if you need to fly out from Johannesburg, we recommend staying overnight or having the test done at your game lodge.
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Adventurous Self drive - Sani Pass into lesotho

Botswana

Needed for Arrival:

COVID-19 PCR test within 72 hours prior to departure

On Arrival:
  • Presentation of COVID-19 PCR negative certificate
  • Temperature & health screening
  • All travellers with symptoms, or who have not done COVID-19 test, will remain in quarantine until a negative COVID-19 test is conducted at their own cost
  • Additional complimentary COVID-19 test at Botswana border points on arrival. (Children must also have this test). This is a rapid antigen test and only takes 15 mins.
On departure and PCR testing:

Each airline has their own Covid testing requirements. It’s your responsibility to check your airline’s requirements before being tested.

  1. PCR Test can be taken in Maun. But then you may need to overnight in Maun.
  2. PCR Test can be taken in Kasane on arrival, before taking your transfer to your Chobe lodge.  Results take 24 hours, or slightly longer if positive as results need to be confirmed.  So we recommend at least 2 nights in your Chobe lodge.
  3. A nurse can be flown to your camp for test and then results are emailed to be presented at airport on departure in both Maun and Kasane.  The cost for this varies between $340 and $360 per person. This includes the cost of the test and the nurse to fly to your camp.
General tips and info:
  • We recommend you start your Botswana safari in Maun and finish in Kasane.  This way you can get your PCR testing done in Kasane, proceed to your Chobe lodges without disrupting your holiday.
  • If not going to Kasane then we recommend paying for a nurse to fly to your camp.

Safe Botswana safaris

Namibia

Needed for Arrival:

COVID-19 PCR test within 72 hours prior to departure

On Arrival:
  • Presentation of COVID-19 PCR negative certificate.
  • Temperature & health screening.
  • All travellers to complete Traveller Health Questionnaire prior to arrival or upon arrival at the Ports of Entry.
  • Vaccinated people currently still need a PCR test on arrival.
On departure and PCR testing

You may need to produce PCR testing before boarding your return flight.   Each airline has their own Covid testing requirements- it is your responsibility to check your airlines requirements before being tested.

There are numerous laboratories in the capital and town where the test can be done.  Results are generally guaranteed via email at 48 hours. There is a rapid testing facilities which gives a 5 hour turnaround. (But this costs 3 x normal price).

You can also take tests at Tsumeb, Keetmanshoop & Swakopmund en route back to Windhoek during weekdays only. However please allow 48 to 72 hours prior to departure in order to guarantee the results are back in time.

A nurse can also come to your camp to conduct the test and then results are emailed to be presented at airport on departure in Windhoek.

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Zimbabwe

Needed for Arrival:

COVID-19 PCR test within 48 hours prior to departure

On Arrival:
  • Presentation of COVID-19 PCR negative certificate.
  • Temperature & health screening.
  • All travellers with symptoms or who has not done COVID-19 test will remain in quarantine until a negative COVID-19 test is conducted at their own cost.
  • All travellers to complete Traveller Health Questionnaire prior to arrival or upon arrival at the Ports of Entry.
  • Vaccinated people currently still need a PCR test on arrival.
On departure and PCR testing:

You may need to produce PCR testing before boarding your return flight.   Each airline has their own Covid testing requirements- it is your responsibility to check your airlines requirements before being tested. 

You can take PCR test at Laboratory in Victoria Falls.  Results generally available 4 – 6 hours, so we recommend and overnight in Victoria Falls before departure.  Some hotels can arrange the test done at the hotel. 

General info & tips:

Due to the 48 hour turnaround, we recommend NOT starting your itinerary with Zimbabwe at this stage.

Outdoor activities in Zimbabwe

Zambia

Needed for Arrival:

All Travellers must take a COVID-19 PCR test within 72 hours prior to departure

On Arrival:
  • Presentation of COVID-19 PCR negative certificate.
  • Temperature & health screening.
  • All travellers with symptoms, or who have not done COVID-19 test, will remain in quarantine until a negative COVID-19 test is conducted at their own cost.
  • All travellers to complete Traveller Health Questionnaire prior to arrival or upon arrival at the Ports of Entry.
  • Vaccinated people currently still need a PCR test on arrival.
On departure and PCR testing:

You may need to produce PCR testing before boarding your return flight.   Each airline has their own Covid testing requirements- it is your responsibility to check your airlines requirements before being tested. 

  1. Some Lower Zambezi & Luangwa camps: A nurse can be flown to your camp for test and then results are emailed to be presented at airport on departure.  The cost is approx $360 per person. This includes the cost of the test and the nurse to fly to your camp.
  2. Tests can also be done in Mfuwe at a local doctor. There is an additional cost of US$250 (on top of the above costs) per test to cover procedures and transport, and the results are guaranteed within 72 hours (although normally less than that).
  3. PCR Covid tests can be done in Lusaka with a turnaround time of 48 hours.
  4. PCR Testing is done at the Livingstone Teaching Central Hospital.  Testing times are subject to availability. Results will be available in 48 hours.  Approximate cost: $260 per person including transfer to and from the hospital.
  5. Livingstone lodges: A qualified practitioner is able to go to selected lodges and camps to conduct the required PCR test. Test results will be emailed to the guests. Payment is made on check-out.
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Kenya

Needed for Arrival:
  • All Travellers must take a COVID-19 PCR test within 96 hours prior to departure with name and signature of the conducting certified medical practitioner.
  • All travellers (incl. those in transit) must complete the Travellers Health Surveillance Form. On submission, travellers will receive a QR code to be presented to Health Officials on arrival.
  • All travellers must register for a Trusted Travel Code (TT Code) prior to arriving in Kenya. This is an online process to be actioned as soon as the negative PCR test results have been received.
On Arrival:
  • Presentation of COVID-19 PCR negative certificate, TT code & QR code from Traveller Health Surveillance Form.
  • Temperature & health screening.
  • All travellers with symptoms or who has not done COVID-19 test, will remain in quarantine until a negative COVID-19 test is conducted at their own cost.
  • Vaccinated people currently still need a PCR test on arrival.
On departure and PCR testing:

You may need to produce PCR testing before boarding your return flight.   Each airline has their own Covid testing requirements- it is your responsibility to check your airlines requirements before being tested. For those that do need a COVID-19 test pre boarding, this must also be digitally verified and a TT code obtained.  Testing need to be done 24 hours before departure.

Mara lodges: A qualified practitioner is able to go to selected lodges and camps to conduct the required PCR test. Test results will be emailed to the guests. The price approx. $150-$180 per person plus the test costs ($100)

General:

An e-visa is required before entering Kenya. 

Luxury safari destination

Tanzania

On Arrival:
  • COVID-19 PCR negative certificate is not required to enter Tanzania.
  • Temperature & health screening.
  • All travellers to complete Traveller Health Questionnaire prior to arrival or upon arrival at the Ports of Entry.
On departure and PCR testing:

You may need to produce PCR testing before boarding your return flight.   Each airline has their own Covid testing requirements- it is your responsibility to check your airlines requirements before being tested. 

Currently tests can be done in Dar es Salaam, Arusha, Karatu (near Ngorongoro Crater) and at Seronera in central Serengeti.  Testing needs to be done 72 to 48 hours before departure.  Price varies around $150 – $180pp.

Currently tests can be done in Dar es Salaam, Arusha, Karatu (near Ngorongoro Crater) and at Seronera in central Serengeti.  Testing needs to be done 72 to 48 hours before departure.  Price varies around $150 – $180pp.

General:

An e-visa is required before entering Tanzania. 

Beautiful beaches in Tanzania

Uganda

On Arrival:
  • COVID-19 PCR negative certificate is not required to enter Tanzania.
  • Temperature & health screening.
  • All travellers to complete Traveller Health Questionnaire prior to arrival or upon arrival at the Ports of Entry.
On departure and PCR testing:

You may need to produce PCR testing before boarding your return flight.   Each airline has their own Covid testing requirements- it is your responsibility to check your airlines requirements before being tested. 

Currently tests can be done in Dar es Salaam, Arusha, Karatu (near Ngorongoro Crater) and at Seronera in central Serengeti.  Testing needs to be done 72 to 48 hours before departure.  Price varies around $150 – $180pp.

General:

An e-visa is required before entering Tanzania. 

Bwindi Mountain Gorilla

Rwanda

On Arrival:
  • COVID-19 PCR negative certificate is not required to enter Tanzania.
  • Temperature & health screening.
  • All travellers to complete Traveller Health Questionnaire prior to arrival or upon arrival at the Ports of Entry.
On departure and PCR testing:

You may need to produce PCR testing before boarding your return flight.   Each airline has their own Covid testing requirements- it is your responsibility to check your airlines requirements before being tested. 

Currently tests can be done in Dar es Salaam, Arusha, Karatu (near Ngorongoro Crater) and at Seronera in central Serengeti.  Testing needs to be done 72 to 48 hours before departure.  Price varies around $150 – $180pp.

General:

An e-visa is required before entering Tanzania. 

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