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Traveling to an African country? Here’s what you need to know

REUTERS/Mohamed Abd El Ghany
To draw in tourists, Egypt dropped its Covid-19 testing entry requirement for travelers with proof of vaccination.
  • Tim McDonnell
By Tim McDonnell

Climate reporter

Published

The coronavirus pandemic has been harsh for Africa’s $50 billion tourism industry, with the fall-off in foreign visitors likely to knock out more than 6% of countries’ GDP on average in 2021, according to the UN.

Last month, tourism officials and industry groups in South Africa launched a marketing campaign aimed at countering the blow to the country’s reputation from its association with a namesake Covid-19 variant. And on June 24, officials in Egypt—the continent’s number-two tourist destination, with more than 11 million annual visitors pre-pandemic—dropped the requirement of a negative Covid-19 test to enter the country for anyone who can show proof of vaccination.

For travelers from the US and Europe, most of Africa‘s top tourist countries are largely open for business, albeit with quarantines and other measures in some cases. In all of these countries except Egypt, South Africa, Tunisia, and Mozambique, overland borders, as opposed to international airports, remain fully closed. Some, including Egypt and South Africa, remain on the UK‘s red list of countries that require a quarantine upon return.

Here’s a breakdown of entry requirements for the top 10 tourist destinations in Africa (ranked by number of pre-pandemic annual visitors). In all of these countries except Egypt, South Africa, Tunisia, and Mozambique, land borders remain closed. This information was compiled from government sources by Shoreland Travax, a Wisconsin-based travel health consultancy, and is current as of July 7.

Morocco

Morocco’s ports remain closed to cruise ships, except ferries from Sète, France and Genoa, Italy. With some case-by-case exemptions, non-citizens arriving from some countries1 are not permitted to enter; those arriving from those countries with an exemption must quarantine at a government-designated hotel for 10 days. Non-citizens arriving from any other country do not need to quarantine, but must present negative results from a PCR test taken within 72 hours prior to arrival, unless they can show proof of vaccination with the AstraZeneca, Covishield, Gamaleya, Janssen/J&J, Moderna, Pfizer, Sinopharm, or Sinovac vaccine.

1
Afghanistan, Algeria, Angola, Argentina, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Benin, Bolivia, Botswana, Brazil, Cambodia, Cameroon, Cabo Verde, Central African Republic, Chad, Chile, Colombia, Cuba, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Eswatini, Guatemala, Haiti, Honduras, India, Indonesia, Iran, Iraq, Jamaica, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Kuwait, Latvia, Lesotho, Liberia, Lithuania, Madagascar, Malaysia, Malawi, Maldives, Mali, Mauritius, Mexico, Namibia, Nepal, Nicaragua, Niger, North Korea, Oman, Pakistan, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Qatar, Republic of the Congo, Saudi Arabia, Seychelles, Sierra Leone, Somalia, South Africa, South Sudan, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Syria, Tanzania, Thailand, Togo, Uganda, Ukraine, UAE, Uruguay, Venezuela, Vietnam, Yemen, Zambia, Zimbabwe.

Egypt

Non-citizens over the age of six arriving from some countries2 must present negative results from a PCR test taken within 96 hours prior to departure; for all other countries, the test must be taken within 72 hours of departure. Travelers with a QR code-based proof of receiving the AstraZeneca, Gamaleya, Janssen/J&J, Moderna, Pfizer, Sinopharm, or Sinovac vaccine, with the final dose received at least 15 days prior to arrival, are exempt from testing requirements. No quarantine is required.

2
North American countries, South American countries, China, France (Paris only), Germany (Frankfurt only), Japan, Thailand, UK (London Heathrow only)

South Africa

Non-citizens arriving from any country must present negative results from a PCR test taken within 72 hours prior to departure. Travelers are required to download the country’s virus tracking app. No quarantine is required.

Tunisia

Non-citizens arriving from any country must present negative results, with a QR code, from a PCR test taken within 72 hours prior to departure. All travelers except those arriving from Libya must quarantine at home or other accommodation for 7 days and undergo antigen testing 5 days after arrival. Travelers with proof of having recovered from Covid-19 within six weeks of arrival are exempt from testing and quarantine requirements, as are those with proof of at least one vaccine dose.

Mozambique

International airports are closed to passenger flights except those arriving from Ethiopia, Kenya, Portugal, Qatar, South Africa, or Turkey. All travelers over age 11 must present negative results from a PCR test taken within 72 hours prior to arrival, and may be required to test again on arrival.

Algeria

International airports are closed to passenger flights except those arriving from France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Tunisia, or Turkey, and non-citizens may enter only from those countries. These flights are few and far between. All travelers over age 12 must present negative results from a PCR test taken within 36 hours of arrival, and must quarantine at a government-designated hotel for five days with a PCR test on the fifth day, or for 10 days without a followup test.

Zimbabwe

Non-citizens arriving from any country except India must present negative results from a PCR test taken within 48 hours of arrival, and quarantine at home or other accommodation for 10 days. Any traveler arriving from India must undergo testing on arrival, and then quarantine. In order to exit the country, all travelers must present negative results from a PCR test taken within 48 hours of departure.

Côte d’Ivoire

All travelers must present negative results from a PCR test taken within five days of departure, and may be required to quarantine for up to 14 days with physical or electronic monitoring. In order to exit the country, all travelers over age 10 must present negative results from a PCR test taken within five days of departure.

Kenya

International airports are closed to passenger flights from India, and ports are closed to cruise ships. Non-citizens who have been in, or had a transit stop in, India in the last 14 days may not enter. All travelers over age 5, including those in transit through a Kenyan international airport, must present negative results, with a QR code, from a PCR test taken within 96 hours of departure. All travelers who have been in Brunei, Ireland, Kuwait, Pakistan, or Thailand within the last 14 days must quarantine in a government-designated hotel for 14 days. All travelers arriving from the UK must quarantine at home or another accommodation for seven days and undergo PCR testing 4 days after arrival. In order to exit the country, all travelers must present negative results, with a QR code, from a PCR test.

Uganda

All travelers who have been in, or had a transit stop in, India in the last 14 days may not enter. All travelers over age 3 must present negative results from a PCR test taken within 72 hours of departure. Except those from designated countries3, all travelers must undergo PCR testing on arrival and quarantine at a government-designated hotel until test results are available. In order to exit the country, all travelers must present negative results from a PCR test taken within 72 hours of departure. Vaccinated travelers from the designated countries3 are exempt from testing and quarantine requirements.

3
Ethiopia, Kenya, South Africa, South Sudan, Tanzania, Turkey, UAE, UK, US.
4

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