Wondering what it’s like to travel whilst the COVID-19 pandemic is still active? How will it be handled? What are the pro’s and con’s?
Read below for testimonials from some of our travel partners that have travelled in the last few months (October – November 2020)
From Alistair, MD of Machaba Safaris (late Oct 2020)
“I have just returned from an amazing trip to our camps in Zimbabwe. I was overwhelmed to see the support we have received from the local Zimbabwe travellers who are making the most of the camps and getting to see them during the height of peak season, usually a very full time with international travellers. I won’t go on about the incredible sightings and soaking in the raw African ambiance of a campfire, but needless to say, it was food for my soul after a long absence.
The process was simple, and both to and from South Africa, I felt everyone from airport officials and customs/immigration were there to help the process not hinder it. Sometimes one gets the feeling that these officials are trying to catch you out, but this was completely different and everyone was helpful and encouraging, even expressing their gratitude that I was travelling. This was very apparent in Zimbabwe and many times I was thanked for visiting their beautiful country. The message from all was clear, we want you and please send us lots of tourists.
Zimbabwe needed a 48 hour or less covid negative PCR test. I did the throat one. We are lobbying to get it extended to 72 hours like South Africa but they did not seem to be too concerned with a few hours here or there. Airlink flew me from Johannesburg to Harare, which they fly once a day as do Fastjet. I connected in Harare to Victoria falls on Fastjet. Two-hour wait between flights, very easy to do.
Victoria Falls was quiet guests wise but had a great evening thanks to Ross at Victoria Falls Safari Lodge. There were three families there; one from Europe and two from Harare, all loving it and having the Falls to themselves. I then went around our camps and spent an amazing week meeting lots of local travellers and enjoying the bush.
I went back to Victoria Falls and had a Covid test done by Lancet, easy and painless (tried the nose this time), it took 20 minutes then flew to Harare for the night as I had some work to do there. Collected my results the next day and flew back to Johannesburg. Lancet did say they would have a team at the airport and could get the results there but I was not so keen to leave it to the last minute.
Flight back to Johannesburg was painless, usual flying and aside from wearing a mask on the plane it was normal. Through the whole trip there were the odd thermometers and at the airport, a sort of spray tunnel but it all seemed kind of normal now and everyone just gets on with it, sanitise, mask, smile.”
From Bruce Simpson, GM Time + Tide travelling to Madagascar (Oct 2020)
Here is a quick video of Bruce explaining the process on arrival in Nosy Be in Madagascar and transferring on to the stunning private island of Miavana
From Caroline Culbert, Wilderness Safaris, travelled from Johannesburg to Windhoek and return (Oct/Nov 2020)
“Everything was very straightforward and easy, with no major delays or hassles.
A PCR Covid-19 test was done in Johannesburg, the procedure was very efficient. For departure, a manual temperature check done by security before even entering the OR Tambo airport building . At the airline check-in, Airlink asked for my negative PCR Covid-19 test. At pre-immigration departures, passengers were asked to fill in a health question form/declaration, asking about symptoms, along with address and contact person. I then proceeded through a full size body scanner machine at the security check point prior to having my passport stamped. Everything on the plane was pretty normal, lots of empty seats for social distancing, but a very small plane due to the low yield of travellers. Meal and drinks were served as usual, but they did allow us to remove our masks while eating and drinking, otherwise masks were required at all times.
On arrival in Windhoek, they gave us a health questionnaire and arrivals form and manual temperature check. They also did a temperature scan with what looked like a portable video camera.
Airport Immigration was normal, passengers were being asked for the reason of their visit, but due to the barriers and social distancing the questions were hard to hear and slowed things down a little. Before claiming my bag, I had to hand in the second form for checking, and then collect my bag, and drop off the form at the booth. It was a bit difficult having to handle your luggage (no trolley allowed) and hand in the form etc…
On arrival, the transfer guide Mervin was very good and prepared, he had a trolley ready, cold water in the car, but kept social distancing and wore his mask. Sanitiser was available in the vehicle.
For my departure from Namibia, I did my PCR test in Windhoek in the later part of the afternoon, and received my results via email by 6.30am. I printed out the certificate prior to leaving for the airport. Check-in at Windhoek was restricted as they did a temperature test prior to entering and going to the check-in desk. PCR test was requested, and temperature testing and social distancing adhered to. On the flight we were handed a health questionnaire to complete, this was collected prior to passport control. The usual heat scan was done at immigration and they checked that the Covid test was done and authentic.
All covid test in SA and Namibia were very similar and efficient, cost was R850 each time and I received the results overnight.
It was truly wonderful to travel again!…and I would do it again in a minute!”
Should you have any questions or queries about travelling during COVID-19 or would like further information on protocols and procedures, please don’t hesitate to contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org