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

COVID-19 LATEST UPDATE:  

International flights have been coming into Nairobi again since August 2020 when we were delighted to be able to re-open our camps and we have been welcoming visitors ever since flights started up once more.

Kenya, Tanzania & Rwanda have all been awarded the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC) “Safe Travel Stamp” after adopting its global health and hygiene protocols. International flights resumed to Tanzania a few weeks ago, and started again into Kenya and Rwanda from 1st August.

Airlines including Kenya Airways, Ethiopian Airlines, KLM, Qatar Airways, Emirates Air, Lufthansa, British Airways, Air France, Turkish Airlines and Egypt Air are now operating to our key locations and we have re-opened all of our Porini Safari Camps, Rhino River Camp and Nairobi Tented Camp.

Our teams have been happy to welcome guests and to share with them some unsurpassed wildlife-viewing in and around our conservancies.

Here in Kenya the government took early measures intended to avert the spread of the virus by restricting international arrivals, early testing of anyone with a temperature or flu symptoms and promoting hygiene, hand-washing and social distancing. Kenya has been fortunate to have experienced a relatively low 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 the containment measures which have been enforced over the past few months. With a Covid-19 fatalities rate of less than 65 deaths per one million people, Kenya is ranked below 146 other countries globally that have rates that are much higher, typically 20 times higher than Kenya in most countries of America and Europe.

On Friday March 26th 2021, our President announced further stricter measures to curb the infection rates of Covid-19 in some parts of Kenya.  As part of the ongoing measures to prevent the spread of the virus, Kenya has had a curfew in place from 10pm every evening until 4am and this continues to stay in place. However in order to bring down infections in key areas like the Nairobi environs the government has created a zone that goes from Nakuru (including Nakuru National Park), Naivasha (including Lake Naivasha and resorts there), Nairobi (including Nairobi National Park) and all the way to Amboseli (including Selenkay Conservancy and Amboseli National Park) with restricted movements in or out of this block.

For the whole year since the Pandemic began, from March of last year (2020) to date June 2021, out of a population of over 50 million in Kenya the deaths attributed to Covid have been at comparatively extremely low levels, with the elderly and those with underlying co-morbidities being the most affected.  Kenya as of March has also started rolling out free vaccination of Astrazeneca vaccine to all the front line workers and all those above 58 years of age or with any underlying conditions. The hospitality sector was also being prioritized in this first phase with a high percentage of safari guides and staff in hotels, lodges and camps being vaccinated already.

International flights are still operating into and out of Nairobi as usual and with the normal requirements of guests having to have a negative PCR test of no more than 96 hours before travel.   Limited movement is allowed for international guests by road or charter flights with special written exemptions from the authorities and we have been arranging authorisations for our international guests at present in Kenya and arriving in the weeks ahead so that they can continue on their safari as planned.

The re-opening of tourism into Kenya follows the development of very
elaborate Protocols to govern all business operations including tourism.
The Protocols developed specifically for tourism were endorsed by WHO
and have led to Kenya being awarded the “SafeTravel” stamp by WTTC.
Tourism industry stakeholders  underwent sensitization on the various measures which they needed 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 under 40 per one million people, Kenya is ranked behind over 146 other countries that have rates that are much higher.

With the resumption of flights to Kenya we have been 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 transiting and arriving passengers are required to have a Covid-19 PCR Test Certificate showing a Negative test result. The test must have been carried out within a maximum of 96 hours before travel to Kenya and preferably should be in English.So it is important that you have the test done just before travel but leaving enough time to receive the results and the negative test certificate, giving 96 hours validity before you travel.

The Kenya Airports Authority has advised that 96 hours before TRAVEL means before the time of departure on a flight to Kenya. However it appears that some airlines are insisting that it means 96 hours before ARRIVAL in Kenya, so we recommend that you check with your airline in advance of having the test, to clarify exactly what their boarding requirements are so that you can ensure that you comply.

We can arrange for Covid-19 tests to be carried out whilst in Kenya before travelling back home should your airline / destination require this.

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 their international flight departure time.

 

Flexible booking terms for our customers:

No Amendment Fee Guarantee for existing bookings

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 safari staying at our Porini Camps in 2021 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 2021 to be carried forward to later dates this year or in 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 2021
In addition to allowing existing bookings to be postponed, for all new bookings for travel 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 from now up to 31 July 2021 for subsequent travel dates, we can agree that the deposit of 25% (or any other pre-payments of the balance or amounts greater than 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 all international flights to Kenya or Tanzania from the customer’s country of residence.
  • Entry restrictions on arrivals inbound into Kenya or Tanzania from the visitor’s country of residence (including mandatory quarantine regardless of whether a visitor has a valid PCR certificate) imposed by the governments of Kenya or Tanzania.
  • Change to outbound government/state/regional travel advisory which prohibits travel to Kenya or Tanzania from the customer’s country of residence.

 

These flexible conditions apply to Porini Camps in Kenya  and Nimali camps in Tanzania; other accommodation bookings will be subject to the terms and conditions of the relevant supplier(s).  Your Travel Consultant can advise on these at the time of booking.  

 

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.