Botswana’s borders reopen to international tourists

Botswana has announced the lifting of international travel restrictions from the 9th  November 2020, eight months after borders closed as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic.  The opening of Botswana’s borders comes with a just a few travel entry requirements. Namely, arrivals into Botswana will be screened for Covid-19 symptoms and be required to present a negative COVID-19 (PCR) test result, issued 72 hours before arrival. Children under 5 years are except from the test but will still be screened for symptoms.

As a result international scheduled flights will shortly resume, with SA Airlink reinstating flights to Gaborone resume on 16 November and to Maun and Kasane on 1 December.

Botswana’s borders open again after closing on 2 April 2020 as a result of the global pandemic. Following a rapid and strict lockdown and extensive preventive measures the country has recorded very few cases, a total of 6,642 positive cases and 24 deaths to date. However travel restrictions have had a devastating impact on tourism, a major pillar of the local economy and employment provider, so this comes as very welcome news to the local safari industry. As a result a number of special offers have been released to encourage visitors back to the Okavango Delta and surrounding region.

For those requiring another COVID-19 (PCR) certificate for their return journey will be able to do this in Maun Airport. Plans are underway to test and process results within a few hours, which will allow travellers to continue with their journey through to South Africa and beyond.

International travel restrictions have been lifted to allow tourists back to the Okavango Delta

The full government statement on the lifting of international travel restrictions and opening of borders is noted below:

All arriving travellers will be expected to meet the following requirements at the border:

a) Present a valid 72 Hour negative COVID-19 Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) result taken 72 hours before arrival in Botswana. Children under 5 years are exempt from the PCR test requirement but will still be screened for symptoms. Certificates must be produced as hard copies, electronic copies will not be accepted.

b) Travellers who have been outside Botswana for less than 36 hours will be allowed entry using the negative COVID-19 test obtained upon exit.

c) Complete a COVID-19 self-declaration screen form and undergo temperature checks upon entry in Botswana.

d) Symptomatic clients will be required to undertake mandatory testing and possible isolation and or quarantine.

e) Complete a traveler locator form, providing accurate contact information while in Botswana. The local health authority may contact the traveller within 14 days of arrival.

f) Returning citizens and residents not meeting the requirement will undergo 14-day mandatory quarantine and testing at their own cost (as assessed by local authority).

g) Children aged under 5 years are exempt from the 72 hour negative COVID-19 PCR test result requirement but should undergo screening for COVID-19 symptoms.

f) Non-citizen travellers not meeting the requirements will NOT be allowed entry into Botswana.

g) Travellers exiting Botswana are expected to comply with travel regulations of the destination country at their own expense.

The below relates to the opening of specific border entry points

  1. On the 9th of November, 2020, air travel will resume at Sir Seretse Khama International Airport in Gaborone, Kasane International Airport and Maun International Airport.
  2. On the 1st of December, 2020, Ground Crossing will resume at the commercial border points of Kazungula road, Kazungula ferry, Ngoma, Ramokgwebana, Martins Drift, Ramatlabama, Tlokweng, Mamuno, Pioneer and Mohembo.
  3. Furthermore, international air travel will resume on the 1st of December, 2020 at Phillip G. Matante International Airport in Francistown.

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