Africa – where can I go on safari?

It’s been several months since we were able to travel freely and, like me, you are probably itching to get back out on safari. But which countries can you visit?

The short answer is ‘not many’. The UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) currently advises against all international travel, apart from designated safe corridors. There are no African countries that currently have a safe air bridge with the UK.

What that means is that if you do choose to travel you will almost certainly find that you are not covered by travel insurance.
But if you are prepared to overlook this and travel anyway what can you expect?

We’ve prepared a summary of the current requirements and restrictions for visiting our most popular destinations. Please bear in mind that these are the current requirements, they can, and do, change without notice.

Updates to travel policies will be posted, as we hear about them, in the Comments section at the end of this post.


  • FCO advises against all but essential travel
  • Open to international visitors
  • Choice of airlines
  • Travellers arriving from the UK are not required to enter mandatory quarantine for 14 days, as long as they have a negative COVID-19 test
  • Travellers must have a medical certificate confirming they are free from coronavirus. All travellers will be screened on arrival; anyone displaying symptoms of COVID-19 will be required to quarantine in the place they are staying for the first 14 days of their stay
  • 14 days quarantine upon return to UK


  • FCO advises against all but essential travel
  • Open to international visitors
  • Choice of airlines
  • Testing/screening on arrival
    • The Government of Tanzania is implementing temperature scanning for all international passengers arriving into Tanzania. If you show symptoms of COVID-19 on arrival, you may be required to take a test.
  • Quarantine requirements
    • If you are tested for COVID-19 on arrival, you may be required to self-isolate for 14 days.
  • 14 days quarantine upon return to UK


  • FCO advises against all but essential travel
  • Entry to Malawi is prohibited except for Malawian nationals and foreign nationals with valid residency visas for Malawi.

04 Sep 2020
It has just been announced that Lilongwe airport will be opening for a limited number of flights, as from 01 Sep 2020.


  • FCO advises against all but essential travel
  • Zambia’s borders are open, but under tight screening.
  • Tourist and business visit visas are available, but must be obtained in advance, not on arrival in Zambia.
  • All visitors to Zambia must have proof that they have tested negative for COVID-19 in the 14 days before their arrival. This does not apply to returning residents. Visitors are responsible for monitoring their condition for 14 days after arrival, and should report any occurrence of COVID-19 symptoms to medical authorities.
  • Testing/screening on arrival
    • Anyone entering Zambia with a body temperature equal to, or above 38.0 C will be tested. Any other arrivals may be randomly selected for testing. These tests are in addition to the requirement for visitors to show proof that they have tested negative for COVID-19 in the 14 days before their arrival.
    • Quarantine Requirements
      • If your body temperature is equal to, or above 38.0, and you have other symptoms of COVID-19 (a cough, shortness of breath, a headache or a sore throat), you will be tested and taken to a government facility for treatment and quarantine until your tests results are known.
  • Choice of airlines – All airports are open to flights, though availability of international flights remains limited.
  • 14 days quarantine upon return to UK


  • FCO advises against all but essential travel
  • Zimbabwe’s borders are closed to non-residents.
  • Most commercial airlines have reduced or suspended flights to Zimbabwe.


  • FCO advises against all but essential travel
  • Entry to Botswana is open only to Botswana nationals and foreign nationals with valid residency permits.
  • Those eligible for entry will be subject to a 14-day mandatory quarantine period in government facilities at their own expense and compulsory COVID-19 testing.
  • 14 days quarantine upon return to UK


  • FCO advises against all but essential travel
  • Update 19 August – A trial programme of allowing in a limited number of international visitors was halted due to an increase in infections. Borders are currently closed to tourists and only open for essential transportation.

South Africa

  • FCO advises against all but essential travel
  • Lockdown restrictions restrict entry into South Africa, except for South African nationals and foreign nationals with valid residence permits. South African airspace is closed to commercial airlines as part of efforts to contain the spread of COVID-19. Land Borders to neighbouring countries are closed except for essential trade.
  • 14 days quarantine upon return to UK

So there you have it.
Right now the only three countries you can visit are Kenya, Tanzania and Zambia, with certain conditions. And, you will need to be willing to go into a 14 day quarantine upon your return to the UK.

Looking ahead

Over the coming weeks we are confident that other destinations will relax their entry requirements but the reality is that until the FCO gives these countries the ‘all clear’ the number of visitors they will receive from the UK is likely to be small.

Now is the time to plan

That doesn’t mean you should not be planning your next safari; quite the opposite. Demand for safari places and accommodation in 2021 is already very high; especially with such a large number of safaris from 2020 having been deferred.
If you hope to travel on safari in 2021 you need to plan it now. We’re ready and eager to help you.

You can reach us by email or phone

Click here to Email Us
give us a call on    +44 7918162984


  1. Malawi update – 20 August 2020

    Lilongwe airport is scheduled to re-open in the first week of September.
    Passengers arriving will need to have documentation confirming a negative COVID-19 test taken within 10 days of arrival.
    You will then be re tested on arrival and sent to a designated hotel to self isolate for 48 hours as you await the test results.
    You will need to adhere to social distancing rules which include the wearing of a mask whilst on public transport (this includes private vehicles, I.e. you will need to wear a mask with your guide in the vehicle). The lodges will then inform you of the rules they have in place to help keep you safe.

  2. Eswatini (formerly Swaziland)
    In light of all that has been happening in regards to COVID-19, the Kingdom of Eswatini has implemented Health and Safety protocols that have gotten the Safe Travels Stamp of approval from the World Travel & Tourism Council.

    The guidelines have been brought in to give travellers the confidence to travel to and around the Kingdom as safely as possible when borders re-open.
    Click the link below to read more about the guidlines. If the link does not work, just paste the URL into your browser.

  3. Malawi’s Airports Reopen!

    Malawi has taken the first step towards the return of tourists to the Warm Heart of Africa as the Department of Civil Aviation announced the lifting of the suspension of international flights as from 1 September. A limited number of flights can now operate to and from Lilongwe airport.

    There remain certain restrictions & regulations surrounding entry to Malawi but the first step has been taken and we are confident that that others will follow on soon, so as to allow the proper return of international visitors.

  4. Zimbabwe is opening up

    Following Cabinet Meetings held in Harare today, cabinet have approved the opening up of the country’s skies to both domestic and international flights effective 10th September and 1st October, 2020, respectively.
    Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) have been put in place for the reopening of international and some domestic airports.
    In addition, the National Guidelines for Aviation Safety and Security have been developed by the Civil Aviation Authority of Zimbabwe (CAAZ) to ensure the safety of both the travellers and airport staff.
    These guidelines will be placed on the website as soon as possible along with all requirements for travellers.

    1. Zimbabwe will open its airports to international travellers on 1st October 2020. Emirates Airlines will be among the first to return and start flying into Zimbabwe from October.

  5. South Africa has now opened its airports for international flights and is welcoming international tourists back to the country. But NOT if you are coming from the UK.

    Entry to South Africa
    South Africa has classified countries into high, medium, and low-risk. A list of high-risk countries is here.

    The UK has been classified as a high-risk country. The South African authorities will not grant entry to anyone travelling from a high-risk country for tourism or leisure purposes.

    Business travellers can apply to the South African authorities for permission to enter South Africa. You should send your reasons for applying to enter South Africa for business purposes to You should include:

    a copy of passport and /or temporary residence visa;
    proof of business activities to be undertaken in the South Africa;
    proof of travel itinerary;
    proof of address or accommodation in the South Africa.
    You should not travel to South Africa before approval has been granted by the South African authorities.

    Whilst the UK is classed as a high-risk country, the Foreign Minister has said that if you are travelling from a low-risk country and your passport indicates that you have spent 10 days or more in a low-risk country before departure, then you will be considered to be arriving from a low-risk country.

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