As we speak today the world is under a state of disarray and confusion on what to do and how to curb the ever-increasing spread of Coronavirus (COVID-19). What began as simple flu in a Chinese town of Wuhan has now proven to be a global epidemic with no cure hence living the global village polarized and disorientated on what to do next. We have now dedicated this page to shading light on this disease that has dismantled society in a way that hasn’t been seen for a century now ever since the 1918 Spanish flu by answering all your questions about this still pretty new virus in the human world.
What is Coronavirus?
In the world of pathology, Coronavirus (COVID-19) isn’t a new virus on the scene but rather just a new strain that is part of the larger family of coronaviruses which have existed for quite some time such as MERS (Middle East Respiratory Syndrome) and SARS (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome). However, this new strain of Corona Virus seems to be more serial than the former 2 combined given the number of causalities it has claimed in its wake.
Is Coronavirus a disease?
No, Coronavirus is a virus/germ that causes is an infectious disease known as Coronavirus disease 2019 or shortly abbreviated as (COVID-19).
What is a novel Coronavirus?
A novel coronavirus is a new coronavirus that has not been previously identified. The virus that causes coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), is not the same as the coronaviruses that commonly circulate among humans and cause mild illness, like the common cold.
A diagnosis with coronavirus 229E, NL63, OC43, or HKU1 is not the same as a COVID-19 diagnosis.
Why is the disease being called Coronavirus disease 2019/COVID-19?
Given the fact, there are many types of human coronaviruses including some that commonly cause mild upper-respiratory tract illnesses. The WHO had to come up with a name that was to be used to identify this new disease since this was a new virus altogether that has not previously been seen in humans. The name of this disease was selected following the World Health Organization (WHO) best practice for the naming of new human infectious diseases.
On February 11, 2020, the World Health Organization announced an official name. The new name of this disease is coronavirus disease 2019, abbreviated as COVID-19. In COVID-19, ‘CO’ stands for ‘corona,’ ‘VI’ for ‘virus,’ and ‘D’ for the disease. Formerly, this disease was referred to as “2019 novel coronavirus” or “2019-nCoV”.
What is the definition of a pandemic?
A pandemic is defined as an epidemic disease that is spreading worldwide, or over a very wide area, crossing international boundaries and usually affecting a large number of people”. The classical definition includes nothing about population immunity, virology or disease severity.
By this definition, pandemics can be said to occur annually in each of the temperate southern and northern hemispheres, given that seasonal epidemics cross international boundaries and affect a large number of people. However, seasonal epidemics are not considered pandemics.
Current COVID-19 Coronavirus Updates in Africa
Current Uganda Coronavirus Travel Standard Operating Procedures (SOP’s) While At the hotels and safari lodges
Prime Uganda safaris work only with those hotels and lodges that have proven to uphold the health of our clients and practices in accordance with the guidelines of the World Health Organization, the Uganda Tourism Board, and the Ministry of Tourism.
Also, our partner lodges and hotels foster flexibility in all their operation, such as those that can amend the booking if a client is unable to make it at the suggested time and those that can keep the clients’ credit until when they are fit to travel. The measures and guidelines to follow at the accommodation establishments shall include the following;
Covid-19 Requirements For African Safaris in Uganda, Rwanda, Congo, Kenya & Tanzania
Despite the COVID-9 pandemic, Africa continues to see positive momentum with most African safari destinations now open to international visitors. However, health and safety are on the top of every traveler’s mind, now more than ever. And many of our potential travelers have been inquiring about the Covid-19 Requirements For African Safaris in Uganda, Rwanda, Congo, Kenya & Tanzania.
Through our direct line of communication with our trusted on-the-ground partners throughout these countries, cross-referenced with official government entities, we have compiled an updated Coronavirus Travel Requirements and Restrictions in these five safari countries.
Please note that these COVID-19 travel guidelines change regularly and if you are planning a trip to Africa, please ensure you stay up to date with the latest requirements or get in touch with your Prime Safari Expert for up-to-date advice.
Uganda COVID-19 Travel Requirements & Restrictions
Safaris in Uganda including Uganda gorilla safaris and Uganda wildlife safaris have been operating since October 2021 when the country reopened its international border.
The Ministry of Health set out COVID-19 health measures and guidelines regarding what testings is required for arriving and departing passengers which have been revised depending on the pandemic situation.
The most recent guidelines, which took effect on September 3, 2021, require all arriving passengers (including children), regardless of vaccination status or country of origin, to arrive with a negative PCR test done 72 hours before travel to Uganda and to undergo mandatory screening and a PCR test at their own expense at all points of entry, including Entebbe International Airport.
Travelers allowed to enter or depart Uganda include;
- Travelers arriving from Category 2 countries include India, USA, UK, UAE, Turkey, South Africa, Ethiopia, Kenya, Tanzania, and South Sudan.
- Travelers arriving from Category 3 Countries which include all countries, not in Category 2. These will not be subject to the COVID-19 PCR test.
- All travelers whose body temperature is not higher than 37.5°C (99.5°F)
- All travelers who do not have a persistent cough, difficulty breathing, or other flu-like symptoms
- All travelers who have a negative COVID-19 Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) test certificate were obtained within 72 hours of sample collection.
Travelers who are not allowed to enter or depart Uganda includes;
- Travelers from Category 1 countries. Currently, there is no country in this category.
- Travelers from Category 2 and 3 without a negative COVID-19 PCR test certificate were undertaken within 72 hours from the time of sample collection.
COVID-19 Protocols at Entebbe International Aiport
- Entebbe International Airport Port Health must approve a negative PCR COVID-19 test certificate for arrival or departure undertaken within 72 hours of sample collection.
- In addition to the negative COVID-19 PCR test certificate taken within 72 hours from the time of sample collection to the first embarkation, all arriving passengers from category 2 countries will be subjected to a COVID-19 PCR test upon arrival in Uganda.
- Travelers will be transferred by bus to a government-approved testing facility, located about 1.2 miles (2 kilometers) from the airport, where PCR testing is done.
- The PCR test will cost USD 30 per traveler, payable in cash.
- For travelers presenting with COVID-19 signs and symptoms or another infectious disease will be subjected to secondary screening and will be taken for further management.
- If found to have an infectious disease, travelers will be taken for further management at the infectious disease hospital.
- If you show signs and symptoms of COVID-19 or another infectious disease you will be subjected to further screening and be taken for further management.
- If found to have an infectious disease, you will be taken to the infectious disease hospital for further management.
- Passengers arriving in curfew time (7:00 pm – 5:30 am), and/or from districts beyond Kampala with a valid Air Ticket and Boarding Pass shall be allowed to proceed to their hotels and/or residences.
Uganda COVID-19 Protocols For Departing Passengers
- Passengers departing Uganda via Entebbe Airport must have an authenticated negative Covid PCR test certificate provided within 72 hours of the time of sample collection to boarding aircraft.
- All PCR test certificates for departing passengers must indicate travel as the intended purpose of the test.
- Passengers departing Entebbe Airport are required to know, understand, and interpret the COVID-19 requirements of the country they are traveling to.
- Passengers departing in curfew time, and or from districts beyond Kampala with a valid air ticket shall be allowed to proceed to their destination airport by the presentation of the passenger ticket to the authorities as evidence of going to the airport.
- Individuals who test positive for the COVID-19 test shall be treated according to the Ministry of Health protocol for COVID19.
Where And How Can You Do Your Covid-19 Departure Tests While On Your Uganda Safari?
Regardless of where the test center is located or a sample is collected, all PCR Co tests are processed at the Uganda Virus Research Institute in Entebbe.
Before a result is released, all the tests must make their way to Entebbe for processing. Based on this there are three options available to people who want to get tested while on an Uganda tour.
Adding one extra night to your existing Uganda safari vacation is the safest and most secure option to take the COVID test and receive your results in time to catch your departing flight hours.
This allows you to take your test in Entebbe on the day you return from your Uganda safari activities such as Uganda gorilla trekking, Chimpanzee trekking, wildlife game viewing, birding, and others to stay an additional night in Entebbe, pick up your test the next day, and then fly back home.
In Kampala and Entebbe, several testing centers have sprung up, each with a different fee and varying wait times for test results.
On the day you return from your Uganda trip, these test centers could be used for a Covid test. However, this is an unreliable option of getting results from test centers after the test has been completed, and it may cause you to miss your flight home.
Upcountry, in Mbarara and Fort Portal, there are testing centers that can perform a COVID test. These tests, however, must be sent to Uganda Virus Research Institute in Entebbe to be processed and a result determined. This means that even if you were tested upcountry, you will have to wait for your results in Entebbe.
Therefore, we recommend staying an extra night in Entebbe after your tour in Uganda to guarantee that you have enough time to complete the COVID – 1 9 test and get your results before flying home.
Status of the Coronavirus Pandemic in Uganda
President Yoweri Museveni in his televised speech on 22nd September 2021 said the COVID-19 transmission rates in Uganda have continued to decline.
He noted that the daily average number of confirmed cases over the last month has declined and stabilized at 124 cases countrywide, from an average of 1,445 cases at the peak of the second wave in June 2021.
Similarly, the daily average number of deaths has declined to 6 from 57 deaths at the height of the peak of the second wave.
As of 22nd September 2021, the country has registered 122,502 confirmed cases and 3,135 deaths. Additionally, the current admissions stand at 340 in both public and private facilities (272 in public, 66 in prisons, and only 2 in the private facilities), of whom 144 (38%) are in the severe and critical category.
But to prevent the third wave and importation or emergence of new variants in Uganda, Mr. Museveni directed the Ministry of Health to enhance surveillance at the airport and all the 53 land ports of entry.
“Government will establish testing facilities at the airport and all land border points of entry. In the interim (not more than 2 weeks), the private laboratories will continue to test the incoming travelers,” he said.
The president further said the UPDF and Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) will support the Ministry of Health to complete the modifications necessary for the installation of the testing facilities and to carry out the surveillance processes.
“I am aware of the limitations of the current Public Health Act. Cabinet will fast track its amendment to facilitate the enforcement of SOPs and include among others, the on-spot and court fines of those who fail to adhere to SOPs,” he added.
If you have any questions about the Uganda safari, please get in touch with us.
Rwanda COVID-19 Travel Requirements & Restrictions
Safari activities in Rwanda including Gorilla trekking in Rwanda, Chimpanzee trekking, Wildlife Game Viewing, Kigali city tours, and others have resumed in line with COVID-19 regulations. As of 22 September 2021, Rwanda has imposed a curfew from 22:00 to 04:00.
What Countries are allowed to travel to Rwanda?
Currently, international visitors arriving by flight can visit Rwanda safari destinations. These travelers can enter Rwanda on the condition of satisfying the health and safety requirements below;
Countries allowed to travel to the destination
All tourists are allowed to visit Rwanda’s attractions and destinations after testing negative for COVID-19 in two consecutive tests.
Rwanda COVID-19 Requirements for Arriving Passengers
- All travelers older than 5 years must provide a negative COVID-19 PCR test certificate, performed within 72 hours of departure for Rwanda.
- A second PCR test will be conducted upon arrival, with results delivered after 24 hours during which time they will remain in designated hotels at their own cost.
- Travelers arriving from India and Uganda are required to complete 7 days in mandatory quarantine upon arrival at the designated hotels of Ubumwe Grande Hotel, Landmark Suites, Corina K. Guesthouse, and Colours Club SPA & Garden Resort at their own cost.
- Complete the Passenger Locator Form and upload your COVID-19 test certificate via www.rbc.gov.rw/travel before arrival. On completion of the form, you will be provided with a Unique Health Code (UHC) which you must present on arrival. Note: this can only be submitted within 72 hours before your departure.
- Complete a short health questionnaire on arrival.
- If you are visiting any national park in Rwanda, except Akagera, you are required to schedule your visit within 72 hours of receiving a negative PCR test result. Tourists visiting Akagera National Park are required to take a Rapid Antigen Test, available at numerous clinics in Kigali. If your visit/s are more than 72 hours after the initial test on arrival in Rwanda, you will be required to take another COVID-19 test before visiting the parks.
- Follow preventive measures while traveling in Rwanda: physical distancing where possible; the wearing of masks is mandatory, and temperature screenings before entering certain buildings are mandatory.
Rwanda COVID-19 Protocols For Departing Passengers
All travelers departing Rwanda must test negative for COVID-19 after taking a PCR test within 72 hours of departure. Allow 48 hours for results from when the sample is collected.
Cost Of The COVID-19 Tests In Rwanda
The cost of the Real-Time Polymerase Chain Reaction (RT-PCR) test is Rwf 47,200 (USD 50) for travelers departing Rwanda and Rwf 57,200 (USD 60) for arriving visitors.
The cost of a Rapid Antigen test is Rwf 10,000 and results are typically available within 15 minutes of the test being taken.
If you have any questions about the Rwanda safari, please get in touch with us.
DR Congo COVID-19 Travel Requirements & Restrictions
The Democratic Republic of Congo has reopened its borders and airports for international visitors who would like to undertake a gorilla trek in Virunga National Park and visit other amazing Congo safari destinations.
General Requirements to visit Virunga National Park
If you planning to visit Virunga N Park on a gorilla trekking tour in Congo, you must provide a certified negative PCR test for COVID 19 taken in the last three days or a COVID vaccination certificate.
Virunga is home to three types of great apes including the endangered Mountain Gorillas, the Eastern Lowland Gorillas, and Chimpanzees.
If you are traveling into this park, you have the possibility of coming into contact with two of these apes.
As is now apparent and had been suspected for a while, Great Apes can contract COVID-19. Thus, the Virunga National Park authority has put together the following requirements for all travelers planning their tours to Virunga National Park.
- All visits are required to provide a certified negative PCR test for COVID 19 taken in the last
three days or a COVID vaccination certificate.
- A rapid COVID-19 test before departure for Kibumba or Mikeno Lodge will be compulsory for all visitors and administered at Grande Barriere.
- On arrival at all locations and daily whilst they are in the park, visitors will have their
temperature taken. If they have any symptoms of COVID 19 or stomach issues, they are
requested to please inform the management.
- Visitors are asked to bring their facemasks and hand sanitizer.
- Visitors will have to maintain social distancing during all treks and throughout their stay
in the park.
- All rangers and trackers who will accompany clients on gorilla treks will have a rapid
COVID-19 test every two weeks or will receive vaccines as soon as possible.
COVID 19 testing for Departure.
- All visitors should be aware of the COVID 19 test requirements to leave DRC ahead of
- PCR testing is available in Goma at Hospital General. There is a fast track line at a cost of
- COVID 19 tests in DRC can take up to 48 hours to be processed.
- Depending on your requirements, you should anticipate your tests before the departure to your lodge of choice, after returning from Nyiragongo, or on the way to Tchegera.
Tanzania COVID-19 Travel Requirements & Restrictions
Tanzania announced on 18 May 2020 that it will lift the ban on international flights arriving and departing from the country.
Countries allowed to travel to Tanzania
- Travelers from all countries are allowed to visit Tanzania’s safari destinations.
Tanzania COVID-19 Requirements for Arriving Passengers
On 19th September 2021, the Government of the United Republic of Tanzania (URT) through Ministries responsible for Health Mainland and Zanzibar elevate and enhance prevailing preventive measures against COVID-19 especially those about International Travel to accommodate measures as follows;
- All travelers including Tanzanians, returning residents, and members of the crew1/layovers are required to truthfully fill in an online Traveler’s Health Surveillance Form available at https://afyamsafiri.moh.go.tz/#/home for Tanzania mainland and https://healthtravelznz.mohz.go.tz for Zanzibar within 24 hours before arrival to URT`.
- All travelers including Tanzanians will be required to present a negative COVID-19 RT-PCR test certificate upon arrival done at a nationally approved laboratory using sample tested within 96 hours of departure to URT.
- All travelers, arriving from countries experiencing variants of concern, the highest number of COVID-19 cases based on WHO epidemiological updates or those who have traveled through those countries in the last 14 days regardless of the route taken shall be subjected to rapid tests at Points of Entry at their own cost.
- The cost for COVID-19 rapid test shall be 10 USD or TZS.23,000 of which is non-refundable and testing fees apply to travelers arriving in Tanzania Mainland by Air or Marine Vessels.
- For Zanzibar, the cost for a rapid test shall be 25 USD or equivalent to TZS. 58,000. The updated list of countries for the Rapid Antigen Test is available at https://www.moh.go.tz website or Points of Entry.
- Travellers to Mainland Tanzania are advised to pay for COVID-19 rapid test online to avoid unnecessary queue upon arrival through an automatically generated control number obtained after filling online Traveler’s Health Surveillance Form and for Zanzibar through https://zanzibarcovidtesting.co.tz
- Children aged 5 years and below, Travelers in transit, Aircraft crew are exempted from both RT-PCR certificate and COVID-19 Rapid Antigen Test.
- Travelers with positive COVID-19 Rapid Antigen Test shall be allowed to isolate themselves at their residencies for 14 days or more until they test negative using the RT-PCR test and will be subjected to strict surveillance procedures.
- All arriving conveyances must provide in advance passenger information to allow the Authorities at the Points of Entry to scrutinize the manifest for identification of possible high-risk passengers and submit duly filled conveyance health declaration forms (Health Part of Aircraft General Declaration, Maritime Health Declaration, and Ground Transport/Vehicles Health Declaration Form).
Tanzania COVID-19 Requirements for departing Passengers
All departing travelers are advised to seek information before departure from the travel agent regarding COVID-19 requirements of their country of destination or conveyance to be used.
Kenya COVID-19 Travel Requirements & Restrictions
On 6 July 2020, Kenya announced that local air travel will resume operations from 15 July 2020 and that international travel will resume from 1 August 2020.
Open for international travel via:
Health screening & COVID-19 protocols on arrival
Before departing for Kenya, passengers are required to submit their COVID-19 test certificates to generate a Trusted Travel (TT) code. Visit PanaBios https://panabios.org/ to create a TT account, upload PCR test certificates, and generate a TT code.
A negative COVID-19 PCR test certificate is required, obtained no later than 96 hours before departure from your home country.
Body temperatures must test below 37.5°C (99.5°F) and visitors must have no persistent cough, no difficulty breathing, and no other flu-like symptoms.
If there is a reported case of COVID-19 on a flight or if the above symptoms are detected, all passengers within two rows of the passenger with the symptoms will be quarantined for testing at designated airport hotels. If the test results are negative, they will be allowed to leave the facility.
It is mandatory for all passengers arriving in Kenya to complete the Traveler Health Surveillance Form https://ears.health.go.ke/airline_registration/ by the Ministry of Health online before disembarkation. Passengers will receive a QR code after completing the form and will be required to display it to a Port Health Official to proceed through immigration
Travelers are expected to submit daily health information to the Jitenge platform (available from Google Play Store) for 14 consecutive days after arriving in Kenya.
Strict infection prevention and control measures have to be followed: social distancing, good hand hygiene, and the wearing of masks remain mandatory.
Passengers arriving on international flights from Brunei, Thailand, Kuwait, and Qatar are required to quarantine for 14 days at their own cost at a government-approved facility. Follow the link below to see the list of facilities and additional travel requirements;
Travelers arriving from the United Kingdom (irrespective of nationality, residency status, and route of travel) are required to self-isolate for 7 days and take a subsequent PCR test 4 days after arrival, and submit daily health information to the Jitenge platform (available from Google Play Store) for 14 consecutive days after arriving in Kenya.
Travelers arriving from approved countries are exempt from mandatory quarantine. Please follow the link below to see the list of countries exempt from mandatory quarantine;
Health screening & COVID-19 protocols on departure
Passengers departing Kenya are required to have a Trusted Travel (TT) code for their COVID-19 test certificates if their destination countries, airlines or transit airports require PCR tests.
Please follow the link below to see the laboratories that have been approved to carry out COVID-19 PCR tests and issue certificates and TT codes.
Health and safety protocols are excellent in Uganda, Rwanda, Congo, Tanzania, and Kenya: sanitizer stations, temperature checks, social distancing, and the wearing of masks are standard practices. If you feel ready and comfortable, Africa is ready for you.
Get in touch with our safari experts to help tailor-make a trip that’s right for you: