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Planning Your Safari in Africa in COVID-19 Era

by Cris Puscas

The go-to resource for planning your safaris. Find all you need to know about the top destinations and make your wildlife travel dreams come true.
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The pandemic has changed the world in ways no one could have predicted...

Lockdown orders across the world and closed borders had travel coming to a standstill.

While some countries have already started to welcome travelers again, we still don’t know when travel will be back to pre-COVID-19 numbers. The same rings true as to when all African safari destinations will open their borders to travelers.

That said, all of us need something to look forward to and we mustn’t lose hope.

Why not use this time to plan that magical safari you’ve been dreaming about? This way, you’ll have a head start and it’ll make the preparation less hectic and a whole lot smoother when it’s possible to travel again.

And even though we are still living in uncertain times, there’s no better time than now to focus on your future adventures.

We know that planning any safari is quite daunting and it’s even more so under the current circumstances. That’s why, in this article, we’ll answer some of the questions you might have about planning your trip.

How Will Travel Look Like Post-COVID-19?

passenger in airport wearing a mask

Much has already changed since the onset of the pandemic.

With the reopening of countries for travel, we already have a general idea of what travel in these new circumstances entails.

And while each country has its own rules, you could expect the following:

  • A negative PCR COVID-19 test or a negative Rapid Antigen test (RADT) must be provided upon entry;
  • If you are unable to take one before you leave home, you may opt to be tested upon arrival and wait out the results in quarantine;
  • Some countries have eased their restrictions for immunized travelers – if you’re fully vaccinated and are able to provide a valid COVID-19 vaccination certificate, you will be exempt from quarantine requirements (if you’ve received the second dose of the coronavirus vaccine less than 10-14 days before traveling, you may still need to quarantine);
  • Quarantine may be imposed for up to 14 days;
  • Wearing masks might be mandatory in all public spaces, including at common spaces at camps and lodges;
  • Travelers showing symptoms of infection will be placed under quarantine;
  • Physical distancing is required at all times and in all places;
  • Providing proof of travel plans (accommodation, tours, etc) might be required upon entry;
  • Providing proof of medical insurance might be required.

Also, don’t forget to check the rules for re-entering your country. As the situation continues to evolve around the world, countries have started imposing restrictions on their own nationals returning from abroad.

For example, all airline passengers entering the United States (including U.S. citizens and Legal Permanent Residents) must present a negative COVID-19 test (taken within 72 hours of departure) or proof of recovery from the virus within the last 90 days​.

Whereas if you are flying back to Canada, you’d be required to take a COVID-19 molecular test 72-hour prior to departure and must quarantine for 14 days. A negative test taken at any point during your quarantine does not exclude you from the requirement to quarantine. And you need to have a quarantine plan to submit to the authorities.

If you are flying into the UK, a negative COVID-19 test is required before boarding the plane. From February 15, anyone arriving in the UK will have to self-isolate for 10 days and get a PCR test on days two and eight of the quarantine. If any of these tests comes back positive, they’ll have to quarantine for an additional 10 days from the date of the test. Returning residents, who’ve been in red-list countries in the last 10 days, will have to quarantine in an assigned hotel room for 10 days from the time of arrival (and pay for the quarantine package, which costs £1,750 and includes the tests).

Other European countries have introduced similar requirements and returning citizens must now provide a negative COVID-19 test to return home. Some countries allow you to skip quarantine if you are fully vaccinated. Read more here.

Most importantly, make sure to always check the official information for the country you plan to visit. The first point of contact should be their embassy in your country of residence (or which issued your passport). Some countries also provide general entry rules on their government sites.


When Should I Start Planning?

elephant in amboseli national park

Photo credit: Monkey Adventures

While it might not appear so, there’s no better time to start than this very moment.

Yes, only a handful of African countries are already open for travel*, but if done with an open mind, there’s a lot of value in starting planning for your African safari sooner rather than later.

This is an unprecedented time in travel, so you ought to take advantage of the fact that airlines, safari organizers, and travel companies offer a lot of flexibility.

You should know that BookAllSafaris also offers a flexible cancellation policy. Should you not be able to travel as scheduled, we’d be happy to help you alter your booking with the same organizer or a different organizer.

It is also very important to check the airlines’ policy in advance and choose a fare that includes flexible rescheduling.

Now is the best time to get into the habit to purchase travel insurance – both medical and to cover for any cancellations. In some cases, it is even mandatory to have medical insurance to enter a country.

Lastly, because safari operators are eager to welcome visitors back, there are many special offers available, which will make for a more affordable safari experience.


When Can I Travel to Africa?

guest filming a lion on an african safari

Photo credit: Kruger Park Tours

As situations are changing rapidly, it’s difficult to predict when all African safari destinations will be open for travel again. However, it is already possible to travel to some of those that are most popular.

Kenya and Rwanda have already been welcoming visitors again since August 1, 2020, while Tanzania was the first to open its doors to foreign travelers (since May 18, 2020). Zambia, Namibia, and Seychelles are also currently open.

Whereas Uganda, South Africa, and Zimbabwe opened their borders as of October 1, 2020.

That said, the situation across the continent is still unstable and closures may happen at any time. The list of nationalities allowed to enter a certain country might change often, too, so make sure to keep an eye out for the updated travel advisories.

However, experts agree that, if you are itching to go back on the road, planning for a safari around the Holidays (December 2020/January 2021) is a great idea.

And if you travel with children, there’s no better time to plan for a bucket list vacation than June/July/ August 2021.

Many travelers who have booked for 2020 but couldn’t travel to see this year’s Great Migration, are deferring their dates to 2021. This makes the availability change rapidly. Therefore, make sure to book way ahead of time, keeping flexibility in mind.

No matter what the experts tell you, deciding when it is optimal to travel depends a lot on when you feel comfortable and believe that it’s safe to go back on the road.

Previous experience tells us that most people will return on the road (or in the air) when they feel confident that the crisis is under control.

In the current case, it’s likely that travelers would feel more comfortable to travel when the countries manage to flatten the curve to keep the pandemic under control, and the border restrictions are lifted.


How Do I Start Planning?


We highly recommend starting by perusing through our website.

On BookAllSafaris.com, we offer a variety of safaris across Africa’s best destinations.

For each safari package, you’ll find details about the itinerary, accommodation, and reviews from travelers like you!

Since the reopening of destinations post-COVID-19, we’ve also introduced the “clean & safe” tag which designates organizers that follow the COVID-19 prevention rules at their accommodation and during their tours so that their guests can feel completely safe.

safari packages with the clean & safe tag on bookallsafaris

The rooms are disinfected between guests, cashless payment is available, physical distancing is observed, masks are mandatory for their staff and clients, and activities take place outside.

If you are unsure of anything or you have any questions about the itinerary or destination, you are welcome to contact our helpful customer service team and inquire more about the trip you want to book.

On our blog, On & Beyond Wildlife, you’ll find useful articles to help you choose the right destination, as well as the type of safari that suits you & your needs.

There is an African safari for everyone, and we can help you make your safari dreams a reality, no matter your budget or preferences!


What Would Be the “Safest” Safari Type I Can Book?

on a private safari in africa

Photo credit: Unlimited Safari

We understand that safety is a major concern, especially during this time.

As safety is your priority, we recommend to start looking into safaris that include the above-mentioned “clean & safe” tag.

Also, private safaris in Africa have always been the ideal choice for those who want to enjoy the trip together with their family and/or friends.

During such a safari, you have the option to choose the activities you want to try, being able to take a break at any time. You won’t be sharing the safari vehicle with anyone outside your party and, better yet, you have full control over your itinerary.

» Read more: Group or Private Safari: Which One Best Suits Your Travel Style?

Fly-in safaris have kept increasing in popularity even before the pandemic. They allow you to make the best of your trip by conveniently flying you directly into the airstrips of the parks or reserves you are visiting. Thus, you are reducing transfer time (and the number of people you interact with).

Looking for Some Safari Recommendations?


Here are three great African safaris to consider adding to your bucket list:

7 Day Amboseli, Maasai Mara, Hell's Gate, Lake Naivasha, and Lake Nakuru Safari in Kenya

amboseli, masai mara, lake naivasha and lake nakuru safari

Experience game drives in safari vehicles with pop-up roofs and get up close and personal with the African iconic wildlife in Amboseli National Park and Maasai Mara National Reserve. You’ll get a chance to witness the Big Five animals, as well as cheetahs, crocodiles, giraffes, and zebras.

In addition to accommodation, this safari also includes:

  • 9 game drives,
  • A boat ride on Lake Naivasha,
  • 3 meals /day.

5 Days Tarangire, Lake Manyara and Ngorongoro Crater Budget Lodge Safari Tour in Tanzania

tarangire, lake manyara and ngorongoro crater safari

This is a great safari for those who only have a few days available to travel and want to visit some of the most famous national parks in Tanzania: Tarangire National Park and Ngorongoro Crater.

You’ll get a glimpse of the Big Five animals and plenty other African wildlife. Balloon rides are also available for an extra fee.

In addition to accommodation, this safari includes:

  • 3 meals /day,
  • All park fees,
  • Airport transfer.

6 Days Namib Desert and Etosha Camping Safari in Namibia

namib desert and etosha safari

This incredible safari comprises game drives in Etosha National Park, a morning desert walk, and a tour of the Namib Desert and Sesriem Canyon.

You’ll stay at both camps and lodges.

In addition to accommodation, this package also includes:

  • 2 or 3 meals /day (depending on the accommodation),
  • All park fees,
  • Camping equipment.

Note: * At the time this article was written (Oct 6, 2020)

Do you want to explore the best of what Africa has to offer? Book a budget safari in Africa and have an adventure of a lifetime without burning holes in your pocket! 

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