Botswana is reopening to international visitors

A Giraffe (Giraffa camelopardalis) running across a flooded area in the Moremi Game Reserve, with a small oxpecker flying nearby..
Botswana is one of the most notable safari destinations in Africa © Mario Moreno/500px

Botswana has begun the phased lifting of international travel restrictions, and is welcoming visitors back again, having closed its borders when the COVID-19 pandemic struck. Air travel has resumed at several major airports, and the country is expecting to reopen its land borders with neighboring countries, including South Africa, Namibia and Zimbabwe on 1 December.

Botswana is one of the most notable safari destinations in Africa, and it has the world’s largest elephant population. Travelers enjoy staying at the sumptuous lodges and remote tented camps of the Okavango Delta, which is one of the world's last great wildernesses. It came in at number four in Lonely Planet's "Ultimate Travel List", which ranks the world's top 500 unmissable travel experiences. Another popular destination is the Kalahari Desert, the largest unbroken stretch of sand on the planet, which encompasses the salt pans of Makgadikgadi and the baobab trees of Nxai Pans.

The floodwaters of the Okavango River in Botswana
The floodwaters of the Okavango River sustain vast quantities of wildlife © Vadim Petrakov/Shutterstock

International air travel has resumed at Sir Seretse Khama International Airport, Kasane International Airport and Maun International Airport. Ground crossing will resume on 1 December at the commercial border points at Kazungula, Ngoma, Ramokgwebana, Martins Drift, Ramatlabama, Tlokweng, Mamuno, Pioneer and Mohembo. International air travel will resume on the same date at Phillip G. Matante International Airport in Francistown. The remaining points of entry will be considered in due course, subject to the virus situation and harmonization with other neighboring countries.

Spotlight on: Botswana adventure safari

As part of its new measures, Botswana will require travelers to show a negative COVID-19 PCR test taken within 72 hours of their departure. They will also be screened for symptoms upon arrival and will have to self-monitor themselves and remain in contact with health authorities for 14 days. Anyone exhibiting symptoms upon arrival will be re-tested and will potentially be subject to quarantine. Returning citizens and residents not meeting the requirement will undergo 14-day mandatory quarantine and testing at their own cost.

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