Safari Travel News – How Coronavirus is affecting African Safaris

To the relief of many Africa has been largely spared by Coronavirus… as an example Botswana has reported 1 death (yes I cherry picked this one).

 

As of late July 2020 Africa continues to  reopen for safaris… some countries such as Tanzania are fully open for business (with no quarantines for travelers) while other countries, such as Kenya are opening August 1, 2020. South Africa has been hit hardest and is looking to open January 1, 2021.

 

While airlines are making statements in the media that they plan to relaunch flights from a certain date (such as London Heathrow to Johannesburg aboard Virgin from September 15, 2020 and Delta direct from the USA to Cape Town on October 1, 2020) that is very much dependent on when and whether the relevant governments open the borders to international travel. According to ACSA (the Airports Company South Africa) they concur that these are plans only and there are no flights actually operating at this time except for cargo and repatriation.

 

Here is the latest:

 

Scheduled commercial passenger flights to Seychelles will resume with effect from August 2020. Visitors will be required to take a PCR Test (Covid) 72 hours prior to their departure date – by doing so, visitors will not have to go into quarantine upon arrival and will then have the opportunity to enjoy a normal holiday experience whilst in destination.

 

Global airlines are keen to return to South Africa – Lufthansa, British Airways, KLM, Ethiopian, Emirates, Qatar, United and Delta are all on standby, saying they want to come back to South Africa as soon as possible. Delta has noted it wants to start flying to Cape Town as of October 1, 2020.

 

Cape Town International Airport  is pushing for resumption of international air travel by 1 September, 2020. All international carriers that serve Cape Town are planning to resume service once the international travel ban is lifted. In addition Virgin and TAP want to start flying to Cape Town, with United wanting to return for a second season. Qantas has postponed its Sunrise Project, which would have included Cape Town.

 

The Tourism Business Council of South Africa is still pushing for inbound tourism to open by September 2020 and to open domestic tourism even sooner. We just heard South Africans can now travel within provinces for leisure so that is a good step in the right direction. The South African government is saying international travel may not resume possibly until January 1, 2020.

 

Bio-security protocols – new bio-security protocols at the Cape Town Airport will result in longer processing time of flights: up to 45 minutes for domestic flights, while flight turnarounds will maybe take 30 minutes longer, lasting up to 60 minutes. No massive issues as we all know how flying has never been as smooth and trouble free as one wants it to be, but good to know we need to budget for a little extra time between flights and for getting to/away from the airport. New requirements of 1.5 meters social distancing will reduce the capacity of Cape Town’s domestic arrivals terminal from 1,800 passengers per hour to 1,100 passengers per hour, which is a reduction but shouldn’t have a major impact on access versus demand. Passengers have to adhere to social distance markers and wear masks.

 

Zambia is open and there are flights from Ethiopia to Lusaka (via Addis).

 

Namibia seems to be gearing up for an opening sooner than September while Botswana and Zimbabwe seem to be in a similar boat to South Africa and possibly following South Africa’s timeline.

 

In Tanzania international flights officially resumed on May 18, 2020, so far the following airlines have indicated that their passenger flights will resume:

 

QATAR AIRWAYS
o Doha – Dar es Salaam effective 30th June 2020 operating every 3 days;
o Doha – Zanzibar returning to scheduled operations on the 2nd July 2020;
o Doha – Kilimanjaro returning to scheduled operations on the 2nd July 2020;
o New York – Dar es Salaam operating 3 weekly flights, with daily flight resuming on 1st July 2020;
o Boston (BOS) – Dar es Salaam operating weekly from 1st July 2020, via Doha;
o Chicago (ORD) – Dar es Salaam operating weekly from 1st July 2020, via Doha;
o Dallas (DFW) – Dar es Salaam operating weekly from 1st July 2020, via Doha;
o Los Angeles (LAX) – Dar es Salaam operating weekly from 1st July 2020, via Doha; and
o Washington (IAD) – Dar es Salaam operating weekly from 1st July 2020, via Doha.

 

EMIRATES/ FLYDUBAI
o Resuming normal schedule to Dar es Salaam and Zanzibar effective 1st July 2020.

 

KLM ROYAL DUTCH AIRLINES
o Amsterdam – Dar es Salaam resuming 3 weekly flights effective 4th July 2020.

 

TURKISH AIRLINES
o Resuming daily scheduled flights to Dar es Salaam, Zanzibar and Kilimanjaro effective 1st July 2020;

 

Tanzania is noting the following:
o All arriving passengers are free to move within Tanzania;
o There are no self-quarantine requirements for travelers arriving into the country;
o All arriving passengers are to provide proof that they are COVID-19 negative upon arrival;
o All arriving passengers will undergo screening and must complete a Health Declaration form to be submitted upon entry;
o All arriving passengers are to wear masks for travel and dispose of them when exiting the airport;
o Sanitizers are to be placed throughout airports and all airport staff are to be monitored for symptoms of COVID-19;
o Face masks are to be worn by all people at all times in public places; and
o Social distancing of 1.5 m apart is required at all times

 

In Kenya:
• International flights will start August 1, 2020 and there are no quarantine requirements for travelers arriving into the country;
• Face masks are to be worn by all people at all times in public places;
• Vehicles must carry only 50% of their passenger capacity;
• Random temperature checks will continue to be conducted in public places; and
• Social distancing of 1.5 m apart is required at all times.

 

In Uganda:
• International flights were banned on 22 March 2020, a reopening date has yet to be announced;
• Local private and public vehicle movement is allowed with passenger numbers limited;
• Hotels, restaurants and shops were permitted to reopen from the 4 June 2020, with social distancing measures in place; and
• Face masks are to be worn by all people over the age of 6 years at all times in public places.

 

In Rwanda:
• Scheduled international flights will start on August 1, 2020 with the requirement of a negative COVID-19 test of each passenger within 72 hours of arrival;
• On arrival in Rwanda, guests are required to undergo a second COVID-19 test at Kigali International Airport. Guests are to remain at their hotel in Rwanda until the COVID-19 test results are obtained (average waiting time of 8 hours), following a negative test result, tourists are free to move within Rwanda;
• The first test results are to be emailed to lab@rbc.gov.rw prior to departure and the second results are to be submitted following results on arrival in Rwanda;
• Departing visitors will be offered a COVID-19 test at the airport; the cost of the COVID-19 test is to be covered by the guest;
• Guests are to maintain a minimum of 10 meter distance while visiting primates in Nyungwe and Volcanoes National Park;
• Gorilla experiences are limited to a group of 6 guests for a maximum of 1 hour per visit;
• Golden monkey experiences are limited to a group of 12 guests for a maximum of 1 hour per visit;
• Chimpanzee experiences are limited to a group of 8 guests for a maximum of 1 hour per visit;
• Movement between cities is permitted for tourism purposes;
• Face masks are to be worn by all people at all times in public places.

 

As governments and the airlines are starting to focus their efforts on lifting travel restrictions, our African partners are working hard to assure travelers they will be safe (fortunately wildlife safaris are one of the best travel options with lots of wilderness, fresh air, and easy social distancing. They are keeping abreast of the latest international cleaning measures, social distancing policies, information apps. Most camps, lodges, and tour operators now have extremely comprehensive Covid practices in addition to special pricing and even offers of private safari vehicles at no extra cost several properties.

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