Safari in a time of coronavirus: where can I go in Africa now? (Nov 2020)

We’re utterly delighted that people are heading out to Africa once again. And a bit jealous. Travelling to Africa during coronavirus is certainly not as easy as it once was, with the sort of logistical and bureaucratic challenges that would be all too familiar to travellers of 50 or 60 years ago. But likewise, you have the sense of adventure, astonishing discounts, and the sort of empty game reserves and beaches that people experienced in times gone by.

Our guests stayed at Oliver’s Camp in October 2020

We’ve only turned slightly green as our guests told us about virtually empty reserves, game drives that moved them to tears and a virtually deserted crossing of the wildebeest migration.

Winter sun

For those looking up at darkening skies and plummeting thermometers, The Seychelles are now welcoming travellers from across the world.  You will need to arrive with a negative PCR test taken within 48 hours of travelling (this can be stretched to 72 hours if you come from a low risk country). If you are from the UK you will need to spend your first 5 days in one designated hotel. However, these include places like Constance Lemuria, Ephelia, and Denis Island Lodge so this isn’t much of a hardship!

Hotels are operating largely as normal, however you will tend to find staff wearing masks, you may have your temperature taken, and some facilities (mainly kids clubs and some spa facilities are closed). But with warm weather, cold cocktails and some of the best beaches in the world, that’s a compromise we’re very happy to make! On the 5th day you will need to take a Covid test, and then, provided that your test result is negative, you’re free to head off and explore the Seychelles.

Zanzibar is also open to travellers and does not require a negative PCR test, however UK travellers will need to quarantine for 14 days on return.

Safari during coronavirus

Borders are now open for Kenyan safaris and we are trying not to feel too jealous of our guests heading off this month to explore. A negative PCR test is required to travel and UK visitors will need to quarantine on return. But if you get to stay at say- Rekero and enjoy the world-class game viewing of the Masai Mara largely undisturbed, we’d be seriously tempted.

Game drives from Rekero- we are seriously tempted by an empty Masai Mara.

Hot off the presses- Botswana will be opening borders on the 9th of November. Guests will need to arrive with a negative PCR test, and will be checked for symptoms on arrival. Access is tricky without travelling via South Africa (more of which below), so we’d recommend arriving via Victoria Falls for ease of access. For the Zambia side of Vic Falls, as with a Zambian Safari, you will need to show a negative PCR test on departure as well as on arrival.

If you are concerned about the uncertainty of needing to arrive with a negative PCR test, Tanzania does not have a test requirement and travellers over the last few weeks report the sort of safaris we can only dream of. As with safari in Botswana and Kenya, you will need to quarantine if you are returning to the UK from a safari in Tanzania.

Such a lovely photo of the Ngorongoro Crater from the Highlands- this tiny park is so often jam-packed, so intrepid travellers will see it at its best while numbers are low.

We should also throw in a mention for Namibia. You can take a private road trip in your own vehicle and this is the 2nd least densely populated country in the world, so social distancing is not a problem. A negative PCR test is required for travel. UK travellers will need to quarantine on return, but we are hopeful this will change soon.

See- we told you it was empty! Hot Air Ballooning over the Namib, courtesy of our friends at Kulala Desert Lodge

Our travellers, like us, love visiting South Africa, however for now, residents of the UK and US aren’t able to enter South Africa unless they’ve spent at least 10 days in a low-risk country first. So for the really determined, a 10 day trip in say, Namibia, would be more than do-able, and with the temptations of Cape Town and safari in Kruger National Park at the other end, we can quite understand why you might take this option.

So for now, we’d say the most straightforwards places to visit would be the Seychelles, Kenya, Tanzania and Zambia, however we love a challenge and can help you make most things work!

Please note that the UK is current under lockdown until the 2nd of December so UK based travellers are not able to travel until then, though we know that many of our Africa-lovers are based all over the world. Ozzie friends in particular, we know you won’t be in Africa for a while, and you are missed!