Covid-19 Travel Guidance
At last, Africa is back! As from 11th October, 2021, travel to all African countries is permitted from the UK, which joins many other countries around the world in having greater travel freedoms. Travel is of course still subject to certain entry protocols for each destination, as well as conditions for the return home, although these are becoming increasingly straighforward and manageable. The information on this page is intended to help you navigate general questions relating to entry requirements, booking terms, security of travel monies and insurance. We STRONGLY recommend you consult the UK government’s country-specific advice on their Foreign Travel Advice pages and speak to your travel insurer about their travel policy terms, particularly in relation to cancellation for a covid reason.
Most in-country suppliers have revised their standard booking terms and conditions and made them more flexible in response to the pandemic.
Whilst the specific terms of each supplier differ, most are offering EITHER the ability to transfer a booking to a future travel date without penalty OR very favourable cancellation terms. A good many are offering to hold provisional reservations for longer than the standard 2 weeks.
The vast majority are offering the ability to postpone trips to future dates (up to either 12 or 18 months ahead), and this is mostly without the imposition of additional costs (eg. administrative charges or rates increases).
All bookings must have the required non-refundable deposits paid in order to be postponed.
Those offering special cancellation terms are fewer in number, but as the coronavirus situation evolves the travel industry is continuously adapting its response to try and address the concerns of international travellers, who do not wish to lose money.
For those offering special cancellation terms, cancellation can usually be made without penalty up to 30 days before travel (some 45 days). Depending upon the provider, up to 80% can be recovered should cancellation then be made within 30 days of travel. A deposit is required to make the booking.
Sometimes terms can be more generous, allowing for provisional bookings to be rolled forward up to 60 days before travel, at which point payment will need to be made. However, you can subsequently elect to obtain a full refund (less bank charges) up to 48 hours before travel, or transfer the booking to a future date.
When making a booking with Walks in Africa, we will be able to inform you of the precise terms being offered by the in-country hosts supporting your itinerary. Each tailormade holiday is unique and usually involves more than one in-country supplier – we will flex our terms and conditions to reflect the itinerary we agree to put into place for you, according to the terms being offered on the ground by hotels, safari camps, guides etc.
Of course, we will be able to advise you on which service suppliers (eg. specific portfolios of safari camps) are offering the most flexible cancellation policies and can help you build an itinerary around those should you wish to avoid being tied into a commitment which only offers the ability to transfer your booking to the following year in the event of border closures.
Most major international airlines are offering the ability to transfer tickets to a future date if your travel is affected by Covid-19, typically for up to 24 months, and make clear statements on their websites about their Covid-19 policy. If you need to postpone, you can either re-book your flight on a future date or claim a voucher which can be redeemed later. It is also possible to purchase flexible tickets which are eligible for refunds from some airlines. These tickets are more expensive than standard fares and you are advised to read the fare conditions carefully before you make a purchase.
As regional flights will not be affected by international flight corridor closures, expect less flexibility when making a reservation. As and when you need to book, aim to purchase a flexible ticket if you can. Note that flight schedules which are strongly driven by safari tourism should ideally be booked when you book your safari, as schedules have been reduced and availability could be a problem. An example of this is Proflight in Zambia, which is relied upon to connect international arrivals and departures with regional safari centres around the country. Proflight is currently offering a reduced schedule and flexible tickets are currently very limited. Their schedule will be ramped up as visitor numbers increase.
The following is intended as a general summary of key points of cover that you can expect to find in respect of travelling during the pandemic. We recommend that you look at more than one insurer and check back at intervals as terms and conditions continue to evolve.
Events / items that are usually covered:
- You are diagnosed with Covid-19 before you travel, preventing travel.
- Medical expenses should you be diagnosed with Covid-19 whilst travelling.
- Additional accommodation and travel costs incurred if you are asked to quarantine whilst travelling.
- Being denied boarding an aircraft as a result of a temperature check.
Events / items that are usually NOT covered:
- Choosing to travel against FCO advice.
- If the UK goes into lockdown before you travel.
- If the country you are travelling to goes into lockdown before you travel.
These are all general themes and may be subject to specific terms and conditions issued by your insurer – do read the fine print.
- International airports open: Yes
- Pre-departure requirements: All travellers must take a Covid-19 PCR test within 72 hours prior to entry into Botswana – All visa requirements must be met prior to departure
- On arrival: Presentation of COVID-19 PCR negative certificate – Temperature screening – Additional cost-free COVID-19 test at Botswana border points to gain entry (children must also have this test) – Remain in contact with local health authority for 14 days
- On departure: A traveller exiting Botswana will be tested for COVID-19 only if: the airline(s) require it; the country of origin / next destination requires it
- Other details: Curfew between 8pm and 4am
International airports open: Yes
Pre-departure requirements: All travellers must take a COVID-19 PCR test no more than 7 days prior to arrival in Zambia – All passengers must fill out a traveller’s health questionnaire on board and present the completed form to the health staff at the airport
On arrival: Presentation of COVID-19 PCR negative certificate – No quarantine will be required for travellers if this negative test is provided – All travellers will be subject to temperature & symptom screening – If a traveller’s temperature is 38 degrees or above or they show symptoms, they will be subject to a COVID-19 test – If the test is positive, they will be taken to government facilities for treatment and quarantine
On departure: Travellers whose destination or airline requires a COVID -ve test certificate must obtain a Travel Certificate from the Ministry of Health, originating from Zambia only – To obtain the Travel certificate customers must present their passport along with their COVID 19 test results at one of these offices: University Teaching Hospital (UTH) | District Health Office (DHO) | Public Health Office (PHO) | Zambia National Public Health Institute (ZNPHI) | Adult Infectious Disease Center (AIDC) at UTH
International airports open: Yes
Pre-departure requirements: All Travellers must take a COVID-19 PCR test within 72 hours prior to departure
On arrival: Presentation of COVID-19 PCR negative certificate – Those without a negative certificate will be required to remain in mandatory quarantine at their own cost for the period of ten days – All travellers will be subject to screening by Port Health Officials – All travellers with symptoms 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
On departure: All travellers will be subject to screening by Port Health Officials – All travellers to complete Traveller Health Questionnaire prior to departure
Other details: Restaurants must close by 22:00 – Curfew between 23:00 and 04:00
International airports open: Yes
Pre-departure requirements: All tourists must take a PCR COVID-19 test within 7 days at the time of entry into Namibia – Children under 5yrs are exempt
On arrival: Presentation of COVID-19 PCR negative certificate – If the test is older than 7 days the traveller will be placed in quarantine and tested on the same day at own cost – If the result is negative they will be released – If positive, they will be isolated at own cost according to Namibia’s isolation protocols – Travellers will go through health screening and will also need to complete a short health questionnaire
Other details: Curfew between 21:00 and 04:00 (lodges exempt) – Mandatory mask wearing in public spaces or where requested.
Government list of Private Providers of Covid-19 Testing:
British Airways’ information on pre-departure testing: