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COVID PCR Testing for travelers

Cedarberg-africa-Simbavati Hilltop Lodge

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 by the month! But you will need to be mindful of what is needed.

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 in the ease of travelling to Southern (and East africa to a lesser extent) if you are fully vaccinated. Below we outline some crucial tips for planning a trip now. And how it differs in each country.


LAST UPDATED 22 NOVEMBER 2022: 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 May/June 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 South Africa which has removed all restrictions.

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. However some (Ethiopia and Mauritius) do require a 7 day quarantine period for non-vaccinated travellers.

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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, as we used to do prior to Covid-19
  • If you do need a PCR test at the end of your trip, to head home (or to enter another country), we recommend trying to not end with your safari. As that is more of a hassle to get a nurse to come to your game lodges. The easiest option is simply allow enough time to test at Johannesburg or Cape Town Airport (Express PCR tests take only 2 hours) as this is also simple and hassle-free.
  • Rwanda and Uganda 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.
Note: No-go countries for those who are unvaccinated against Covid-19: Botswana, Kenya, Malawi, Mauritius, Ethiopia

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 doesnt 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

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

Not fully vaccinated: 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

Fully vaccinated: If you are fully vaccinated, you do not need to take a coronavirus test to travel to Botswana. You will need to present your vaccination certification during travel and on arrival.

Not fully vaccinated: Unvaccinated people must present proof of a negative COVID-19 PCR test, which was obtained not more than 72 hours before the date of travel. You may also be asked to undertake an additional PCR test at the port of entry at your own cost. If the test is positive, you will be permitted to isolate within the district of the port of entry at your own cost.

People who refuse to be subject to the above provisions are liable to a fine, imprisonment or both.

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

All travellers should familiarise themselves with the entry rules for Namibia before travel. You do not need to show a vaccination card or certificate to enter Namibia.

Fully vaccinated: Fully vaccinated travellers are not required to produce a negative PCR test result on arrival.

Not fully vaccinated: You do not need to show a negative PCR test result in order to enter Namibia. No special requirements are in place for any person who was previously infected with COVID-19.

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

Fully vaccinated: If you’re fully vaccinated, you can enter Zimbabwe by presenting a vaccine certificate (2 doses) for one or more of the World Health Organisation-approved vaccines. Alternatively, you can present a valid negative test certificate of a COVID-19 PCR test taken no more than 48 hours prior to departure. You will be required to complete track and trace information on arrival in Zimbabwe.

Not fully vaccinated: If you’re not fully vaccinated, you must possess the result certificate of a negative COVID-19 test taken no more than 48 hours before your departure to Zimbabwe.

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.

Regardless of vaccination status, you are required to complete a health declaration form and undergo thermo-scanning. If you enter Zambia with a body temperature equal to, or above 38.0 C you will be tested for COVID-19 at your expense on arrival and be required to quarantine (at your home, a hotel or government facility) until your test results are known.

Fully vaccinated: If you are fully vaccinated, you can enter Zambia without providing any form of negative COVID 19 PCR test.

Not fully vaccinated: If you are not fully vaccinated, you’ll need to show proof of a negative SARS-CoV-2 PCR test. Zambian Government guidelines state tests should be taken within 72 hours before departure from the country of origin.

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 to Kenya over 12 years of age will be, at all ports of entry, required to show proof of either COVID-19 vaccination or a negative COVID-19 PCR test conducted no more than 72 hours before departure.

Those travellers with no proof of vaccination or a PCR test, or with flu-like symptoms, will be required to undergo a rapid antigen test at their own cost of 30 USD. Those who test positive on antigen RDT will be required to take a PCR test at their own cost of 50 USD and self-isolate as per Ministry of Health guidance on isolation.

Any traveller 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 regardless of age or vaccination status. If the antigen test is positive, they will be required to undergo a COVID-19 PCR test at their own cost.

Fully vaccinated: Most adults require a full dose of a COVID vaccine to enter Kenya. You must present proof that you have been fully vaccinated to enter Kenya. Vaccination means having received the prescribed doses of specific vaccine latest shot at least fourteen (14) days before arrival (not including the day of vaccination).

Not fully vaccinated: Unvaccinated individuals must show a negative COVID-19 PCR test conducted not more than 72 hours before departure.

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

All travellers including Tanzanians, returning residents and members of the crew/layovers are required to truthfully fill in an online Traveller’s Health Surveillance Form for Tanzania mainland.

Fully vaccinated: If you can prove that you’re fully vaccinated, you do not need to take a COVID-19 test before you travel to Tanzania or a Rapid Antigen Test on arrival.To prove you’re fully vaccinated, you must show a valid vaccination certificate upon arrival.

Not fully vaccinated: You must present a negative COVID-19 RT- PCR or NAATs test certificate or take a Rapid Antigen Test on arrival. If you’re not fully vaccinated and arrive without a RT-PCR or NAAT test certificate, you will be tested for COVID-19 upon arrival using a Rapid Antigen Test. The test will be at your own expense and costs 10 USD (TZS 23,000) on the Tanzania mainland. Children aged 12 and under and aircraft crew are exempt.

If you test positive, the authorities will test you with a RT- PCR test for confirmation. You will need to pay 50 USD for the test.

For Zanzibar, you can pay for the test before arrival.

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

A negative COVID-19 PCR test certificate is no longer required for fully vaccinated inbound and outbound travellers. Children under the age of 6 are exempted from providing a negative COVID-19 PCR test certificate whether vaccinated or not.

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.

Fully vaccinated: If you are fully vaccinated (and for children under the age of 6) you are now able to enter Uganda via air and land border points without showing a negative COVID-19 PCR certificate. You will be required to show evidence that you are fully vaccinated.

Not fully vaccinated: If you are not fully vaccinated you will need to show a negative COVID-19 PCR certificate issued no more than 72 hours before departure on arrival by land or air.

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.

Certain meeting venues and national parks still require Covid tests. Testing is available at health facilities and other designated sites for 5,000 RWF (or US$5) for rapid antigen tests, and 50,000 RWF (or US$50) for PCR tests (required to access Virunga National Park). Rwandan citizens pay a subsidized cost for PCR tests of 30,000 RWF (or US$30)

Fully vaccinated: Entry requirements for Rwanda are the same for all travellers, regardless of COVID-19 vaccination status.

Not fully vaccinated: Entry requirements for Rwanda are the same for all travellers, regardless of COVID-19 vaccination status.

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

Fully vaccinated tourists can enter without a negative PCR test. Full details are on Mauritius Now.

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.

Fully vaccinated: Entry requirements for Mauritius are the same for all travellers, regardless of COVID-19 vaccination status.

Not fully vaccinated: Entry requirements for Mauritius are the same for all travellers, regardless of COVID-19 vaccination status.

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.

Up to date advice

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

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

Seychelles

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.

Up to date advice

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

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

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Honeymoons in Africa - Seychelles

Madagascar

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.

Up to date advice

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

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

Ethiopia

Fully vaccinated: Passengers age 12 and over who have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19 more than two weeks before the date of entry are required to show evidence of this. Accepted vaccinations are a single dose of Johnson and Johnson, or two doses for Astra-Zeneca, Sinopharm, Sinovac, Moderna and Pfizer. Travellers under the age of 12 do not need to show proof of vaccination.

Not fully vaccinated: If you’re not fully vaccinated, you’ll need to show proof of a negative COVID-19 RT PCR test result issued within the 72 hours (3 days) before departure, or a rapid lateral flow test up to 24 hours before arriving in Ethiopia. A lateral flow test must be certified by a testing centre and not self administered. Pre-departure tests are not required for passengers under the age of 12 or diplomats. You may need to demonstrate you have such a test certificate before boarding your flight.

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. See information on getting a test before entry.

Up to date advice

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

Malawi

Fully vaccinated: You are not required to show proof of a negative PCR test if you are fully vaccinated.

You may be tested for COVID-19 on arrival at your own expense. Passengers may be required to remain at the airport or a testing centre until their COVID-19 test results are known, usually within 24 hours. Individuals testing positive for coronavirus on arrival may be taken for treatment at a government facility. All other individuals will be required to self-monitor for COVID-19 signs and symptoms for 14 days after arrival. This allows the traveller to interact with others but they will be required to strictly observe physical distancing and hand hygiene, and must always use a mask in public. You should not use the NHS testing service to get a test in order to facilitate your travel to another country.

Not fully vaccinated: You must produce an electronically verifiable full vaccination certificate at the point of entry. You may not be allowed to board your plane, or be turned back at the border if you are not fully vaccinated or cannot provide proof.

Up to date advice

We reference both the UK FCDO and USA CDC travel advice, as these are both promptly updated and so you should always check that nothing has changed before you travel. This is the traveller’s responsibility.

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

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

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Ethiopia - Southern Turmi village
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Eswatini

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

Not fully vaccinated: 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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Tasha Eygelaar

Africa Travel Specialist

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