"Gonna take some time to do the things we never had." ~Africa by Toto
In recent years, Africa's safari regions have made incredible strides to promote conservation and combat poaching. Tour operators on the ground, led by some of our preferred travel partners, have committed to fostering wildlife preserves and taking care of the local communities in which they operate within by making sure they benefit from tourism dollars. Due to the COVID pandemic, business has slowed significantly which has resulted in fewer jobs for locals, less funding for animal sanctuaries, and a surge in poaching due to its opportunity to earn money.
Going on an African safari is a life-changing experience and is definitely something that will stay with you long after you return. If a Safari is on your wish list, many countries in Africa’s safari areas are now accepting American travelers. In addition to seeing some of the world’s most stunning wildlife, you'll get to stay in some of the world’s most beautiful lodges while having the properties practically to yourself.
The first time you see an animal in the wild is like receiving the best Christmas gift. It's beyond amazing! And that feeling repeats itself every time you spot another animal during your game drives! The vast grasslands of Kenya and Tanzania in East Africa are open to travelers. Kenya requires a negative COVID-19 PCR test taken within 96 hours of arrival, along with a health screening upon landing. Tanzania might test you on arrival depending on your screening. Once you're there, you'll have the breathtaking majesty of Kilimanjaro, the vast Ngorongoro Crater -- this is where we saw the Big 5 -- m and the expandisve the Olduvai Gorge open to you, along with cultural visits with the Maasai people, and wildebeests following zebras, silly warthogs running around, and super-fast cheetahs and ostriches.
Neighboring Rwanda is also open to visitors with a negative test within five days of arrival in addition to a negative test on arrival (you’ll have to spend a day in quarantine at your lodging to await results). Once cleared, travelers can go gorilla trekking and birding in the country’s verdant national parks. Uganda is also open, with a negative PCR test taken within 72 hours of arrival required.
Moving south, Zambia allows visitors in with a negative PCR test taken within two weeks of arrival. You will also need to inform officials of where you will be staying for potential follow-up screening. You can still go on safari there and visit Victoria Falls, though anyone crossing to Zimbabwe not only needs a negative test taken within 48 hours, there is a 14-day quarantine.
Namibia’s dunes, wildlife and birds are open to you if you have a negative test taken at least 72 hours but no more than seven days before your departure. Going to South Africa is more complicated but possible as part of a longer itinerary as you’ll need to spend at least 10 days in a low-risk country (the U.S. is high-risk) first. You’ll also need a negative PCR test within 72 hours of departure, a government contact tracing app, mandatory travel insurance and a health screening on arrival.
In the wide open spaces of Africa’s safari areas, you’ll be able to go on private or small group tours with a feeling of safety and security, see amazing animals and cultures up close and help spur the local economies. And you’ll easily avoid the crowds too.