Photo: Sopotnicki/Shutterstock

Everywhere Americans Can Travel to in Africa Right Now

by Jacqueline Kehoe Jan 26, 2021

THE novel coronavirus’s 15 minutes of fame are far from over. Areas across the world — and the US — are spiking yet again, and local and federal policies are stopping and starting like a faulty radiator. But life does what life does best: It goes on.

While travel — and international travel especially — is a definite risk, certain countries are opening back up to US citizens, with various protocols in place from temperature checks at airports to mandatory two-week quarantines. Travel to Africa is still severely limited, but the following countries are open to Americans, and the below outlines what to expect for COVID-19 restrictions. Travel, too, goes on.

1. The Democratic Republic of the Congo

Virunga National Park, Democratic Republic of the Congo

Photo: Marian Galovic/Shutterstock

All travelers 11 and older must provide proof of a negative COVID-19 test taken within seven days of departure to the DRC. This same age group must also take a COVID-19 test at the airport upon arrival — it costs $45. Quarantine is required until negative test results are received, usually within 24 hours. Travelers must also provide a World Health Organization (WHO) card with proof of yellow fever vaccination.

To exit the DRC, travelers 11 and older must present negative COVID-19 test results taken within three days of departure — the cost of this test is $30. In certain situations, you may be required to quarantine at a government-nominated hotel for up to a week. Visit for registering and paying for testing before you start traveling.

2. Egypt

Camels near the pyramids in Cairo, Egypt

Photo: Kanuman/Shutterstock

US citizens over the age of six must have paper copies of negative test results (not digital), taken within 72 hours of departure for Egypt. Proof of health insurance is also required. Expect health screening procedures in place at airports and at other various ports of entry. Though it has been so in the past, US citizens do not need to quarantine as of early November 2020.

Most businesses in Egypt — including restaurants and bars — are operating at 50 percent capacity. Masks are required on public transit.

3. Kenya

African elephant roaming the Maasai Mara National Reserve in Kenya

Photo: pornpoj/Shutterstock

US citizens must have proof of a negative COVID-19 test taken 96 hours or less before arrival and pass a standard health check — temperature, flu symptoms, etc. — in order to enter the country with ease; those with symptoms will be referred for a secondary assessment by Port Health staff. Visitors from California, Florida, and Texas must quarantine for 14 days at either a government-designated facility or at their Kenyan residence, regardless of health.

4. Namibia

sand dune, namibia

Photo: Fabio Lamanna/Shutterstock

Americans are allowed into Namibia with negative PCR test results taken no more than seven days before their flight. Those with negative test results more than seven days old are asked to quarantine for a week at their hotel. Travel insurance, a completed health declaration form, and a completed health surveillance form are required.

Note: Most land borders are closed for tourism purposes.

5. Tanzania


Photo: Volodymyr Burdiak/Shutterstock

COVID-19 restrictions are lightest in Tanzania: International visitors must complete a health surveillance form and undergo screening, usually a temperature check and a possible COVID-19 test depending on which airline you’re flying with. Masks are required in public spaces and social distancing is enforced.

6. Rwanda

Lake Kivu, Rwanda

Photo: Petr Klabal/Shutterstock

To enter Rwanda, you must have a negative COVID-19 PCR test taken within five days prior to your flight. Rapid tests are not accepted. You are required to take a second PCR test at the airport and quarantine at your hotel until negative results are received, usually within 24 hours.

You must have negative COVID-19 test results taken within the past 72 hours to enter any of the country’s national parks. Private test centers have been set up; the cost is $50.

7. Uganda

Gorilla in Ugandan forest

Photo: GUDKOV ANDREY/Shutterstock

For entry into Uganda, you must have negative Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) COVID-19 test results from within five days. Upon arrival, visitors undergo health screenings — those who show symptoms will be transferred to an isolation center.

To exit the country, you must have negative PCR test results from within 72 hours of departure. An additional health screening will take place prior to boarding. Masks and social distancing are enforced in all airports.

To enter the country’s national parks, travelers will undergo temperature screening and will be required to wear a face mask and wash/sanitize their hands. Social distancing will also be enforced — visitors must stay 6.5 feet away from each other and a minimum of 32 feet away from primates they may encounter in the parks.

8. South Africa

South Africa

Photo: michaeljung/Shutterstock

South Africa is open to US citizens who show proof of a negative COVID-19 test taken 72 hours prior to departure. Health screenings will be in place at the airport, including temperature checks. Travelers will also need to download the South Africa coronavirus mobile tracing app. It’s important to note that 20 land border crossings were closed on January 11, 2021, including Beitbridge, Lebombo, Maseru Bridge, Oshoek, Ficksburg, and Kopfontein. Given the new, more transmissible strain of COVID-19 originating in South Africa, US travelers are heavily discouraged from visiting except for essential purposes.

9. Botswana

Botswana safari

Photo: THPStock/Shutterstock

US citizens can enter Botswana with a negative COVID-19 PCR test taken no more than 72 hours before departure. If you don’t have test results, or demonstrate symptoms of COVID-19, you will be forced to quarantine for 14 days at your own expense. If your trip extends beyond 10 days, you must take another test on the 10th day.

10. Ethiopia


Photo: Aleksandra H. Kossowska/Shutterstock

US citizens are required to have a medical certificate with negative COVID-19 PCR test results before departing on a flight to Ethiopia, and the test must not be more than five days old. There is also a mandatory seven-day quarantine, regardless of test results.

11. Ghana


Photo: Sopotnicki/Shutterstock

Ghana is open to US travelers with a negative PCR test that’s less than 72 hours old. Upon arrival you must also take a second test at your own expense ($150) and undergo a temperature screening.

12. Senegal


Photo: Vytenis84/Shutterstock

Senegal allows US tourists to visit as long as they present a certificate of a COVID-19 PCR test taken no more than five days before arrival. No quarantine is required for those with negative tests.

13. Morocco


Photo: Vixit/Shutterstock

US travelers must follow a specific set of guidelines to visit Morocco. You are required to have reservations with a Moroccan hotel or travel agency, or be invited by a Moroccan company, before visiting. A printed, negative PCR test result taken within 48 hours is also required, as well as a serological test (does not have to be within 48 hours). No mandatory quarantines are in place, but expect to undergo a health screening.

14. Zambia

Elephants in Zambia

Photo: paula french/Shutterstock

Zambia is allowing all US travelers to enter, as long as they show the results of a negative COVID-19 test taken at least 14 days before arrival. You should also expect to undergo a mandatory 14-day quarantine.

15. Seychelles


Photo: Jakub Barzycki/Shutterstock

The Seychelles is now open to all visitors who have been vaccinated against COVID-19. Previously, only travelers from a list of approved nations — which did not include the US — were allowed to enter. Now, anyone with proof from a certified health authority of their COVID-19 vaccine will be allowed to visit. Note that travelers must have had their second dose at least two weeks before departure.

A version of this article was previously published on November 5, 2020, and was updated on January 26, 2021, with more information.

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