Coronavirus (COVID-19): Update on Travel to Kenya

On 6th July the Kenya government announced the easing of measures instituted back in March to stem the spread of the virus after the first few cases were detected. 

A phased re-opening of the economy was announced by President Kenyatta on 6th July during his monthly briefing to the nation, bringing to an end months of restriction on movements in and out of the key cities of Nairobi and Mombasa. The President further announced the resumption of domestic air travel from 15h July, 2020 with international flights to resume from 1st August 2020.

This welcome news of the phased re-opening follows the development of very elaborate Protocols to govern business operations in various sectors including tourism. The Protocols developed specifically for tourism operations were endorsed by WHO and have led to Kenya being awarded the “SafeTravel” stamp by WTTC.

Tourism industry stakeholders have been undergoing sensitization on the various measures which they need to adopt to comply with government protocols with emphasis on customer health and safety.

Kenya has been fortunate to have experienced a much lower level of fatalities as compared to most other countries in the world to date. This is attributed to the fact that Kenya has a relatively young population with 97% aged under 65, and to the effectiveness of a number of containment measures which have been enforced over the last four months. With a Covid-19 fatalities rate of 12 per one million people, Kenya is ranked behind over 130 other countries that have rates that are much higher.

With the resumption of flights to Kenya we look forward to welcoming visitors back into the country and in a safe travel environment.The Porini Safari Camps were among the first in Kenya to be checked and certified to re-open with new Covid-19 safety standards in line with the World Health Organization and Kenya Ministry of Health requirements. Various measures are in place based on their recommended protocols, including temperature screening of guests on arrival, regular health checks of staff, social distancing, deep cleaning of camp / vehicles and more. To view full details please click here: Porini Camps Covid Protocols

Arrival procedures for our customers flying into Kenya:

1. Health Form

All international airline passengers flying into Kenya  are required to complete an online  Health Information form which needs to be submitted after check-in and prior to arrival:
https://ears.health.go.ke/airline_registration/

Guests should complete and submit this form online once they have checked in and have their seat number prior to boarding and they should receive a confirmation QR code by email once submitted.

In addition to submitting the forms electronically, it is recommended that they also print out a copy of the form in advance and fill it in by hand before landing, to speed up the clearing process at JKIA as port health officials may require this form before screening.

 

2. Covid-19 PCR Test Certificate

All arriving passengers are required to have Covid-19 PCR Test Certificate showing a Negative test result. There has been some confusion regarding the validity period and whether this is prior to travel or prior to arrival. Some guidelines on airline or embassy websites for the Covid-19 PCR test indicate that this is required 96 hours before travel. However it has been made clear by the Kenyan Ministry of Health officials that the 96 hours is from the date shown on the certificate when it was ISSUED (and not from the date when the test was actually carried out) but that the 96 hours is from the date of issue until the date of ARRIVAL at JKIA  and not the time of departure on a flight to Kenya.

Most of the certificates now have the time of issue also shown on the certificate in addition to the date of issue, making it easier to calculate 96 hours up to arrival time at JKIA. (In the absence of a time shown on a certificate from the US then it is assumed that 0700 in Kenya time on the issue date applies, as any earlier would be before midnight on the previous day in the US.)

So it is important that you do not have the test done until just a couple of days before travel, but leaving enough time to receive the results and the negative test certificate, giving 96 hours validity up until arrival at JKIA.

 

3. Countries exempted from quarantine

The Ministry of Transport has published a list of places which are exempt from any quarantine requirement for passengers arriving in Kenya. The latest list of exempted countries can be seen online but it has not yet been updated by the Kenya Civil Aviation Authority to include Taiwan which is also exempted from the quarantine requirement.

https://www.kcaa.or.ke/sites/default/files/docs/covid_19/exempted_states.pdf

All passengers coming from the USA and those from the list of 146 other exempted countries are permitted to enter if these conditions are met:

1) The passenger does not have a body temperature above 37.5°C (99.5°F);
2) The passenger does not have a persistent cough, difficulty breathing or other flu-like symptoms;
3) The passenger has a negative PCR-based COVID-19 test certificate issued within 96 hours of arrival.

 

Flexible booking terms for our customers:

We understand the anxieties that many prospective travellers may have at this time and are fully sympathetic to those concerns. We continue to  monitor the situation closely and follow the advice of the World Health Organisation, international governments and the Kenyan authorities.

We have introduced flexible booking terms so that once you have booked you can amend your travel dates to be postponed until later with no penalty so long as the pandemic continues and if the situation warrants this because of disruptions to travel.

For those making travel plans for this year we are committed to being flexible regarding amendments / postponement where necessary, and we will continue to update customers as the situation changes. For the latest details or to discuss your booking please get in touch with the Gamewatchers Safaris consultant who arranged your trip or contact one of our helpful team

No Amendment Fee Guarantee for 2020

In order to alleviate any concerns we are offering a new flexi-booking policy for our customers with relaxed Terms & Conditions regarding future changes / postponement should their travel plans be adversely affected by COVID-19:

• Those booking a 2020 safari staying at our Porini Camps can opt to postpone their travel dates if they have any concerns relating to COVID-19 and no amendment fee will be charged.

• We will allow any payments already made for travel dates in 2020 to be carried forward to later dates in 2021 or 2022.

• The new travel dates will be subject to availability and any added cost if there are any price differences from the date originally booked (apart from Porini Camps and Nimali Camps where the same price will apply to the new date so long as travel is in the same season as the original booking)

New bookings for 2020 and 2021
In addition to allowing existing bookings to be postponed to next year, for all new bookings for travel in the remaining months of 2020 and in 2021 we will be offering our Flexi-booking terms while the uncertainty over the Pandemic continues.

For all NEW bookings that are made with us in the months of September and October for subsequent travel dates, we can agree that the deposit of 25% is fully refundable up until 30 days before date of travel if customers decide to cancel in the event that any of the following restrictions apply due to the Pandemic:
Suspension of international flights to Kenya or Tanzania from the customer’s country of residence.
Entry restrictions (including mandatory quarantine) inbound to Kenya or Tanzania from the place where a customer’s flight would depart.

Change to outbound government/state/regional travel advisory which prevents travel to Kenya or Tanzania from the customer’s country of residence.

Click here for Our latest selection of Special Offers

 

Concerned about the security of your booking and your own safety while on safari?

We fully appreciate your concerns when it comes to booking a safari in Africa and you can rest assured that your financial security when booking and your own personal safety when on safari is our highest priority. Gamewatchers Safaris is a member of the Kenya Association of Tour Operators bonding scheme, backed by a leading insurance company, to ensure your payments are fully protected if a bonded KATO member ceases trading.