SCI members will be happy to know that international flights to Namibia are again available following a confusing September 1st reopening of the country’s borders and airport. South Africa, unfortunately, remains closed to foreign nationals.
Namibia had announced an opening of its borders and requirements for self-quarantine by visitors at the beginning of September, but airlines were not scheduling flights into the country at that time. Hunters and safari operators were at a loss when they were unable to book travel into the country despite the announced reopening. As of September 11, however, airlines are once again conducting commercial flights and cargo operations into Windhoek’s Hosea Kutako International Airport.
Four airlines have been authorized to fly into Namibia:
- Ethiopian Airlines begins flights on September 11
- Lufthansa/Eurowings begins on September 19 with three weekly flights from Frankfurt
- Qatar Airways has been approved but did not have flight schedules at this writing
- Air Namibia has been approved and will begin international flights on September 30 (regional flights begin on September 20)
Requirements to Enter Namibia
When the reopening was first announced earlier this month, the government wanted tourists to self-quarantine for seven days when they arrived. That requirement has been scrapped; however, visitors must submit to a PCR test on the fifth day of their stay and be reachable on day seven to get their test results. If the test is negative, they may continue with their trip. If the results are positive, tourists must go into quarantine at their own expense in an approved facility cleared by the Ministry of Health and Social Services. Social distancing and wearing of masks in public areas is required at all times.
Advice on Travel
Hunters with safaris booked to Namibia should contact their operators about moving forward with scheduled trips and to discuss how they will make clients available for their Day-5 PCR tests. It may be a good idea to invest in a Namibian sim card for cell phones. This will ensure trouble-free communication with health authorities regarding testing and results.
When booking flights, travelers must ensure they understand all policies for cancellations, refunds and flight changes. Also, when purchasing travel insurance, travelers should read all the conditions of coverage and be certain it includes COVID-19 testing, quarantine costs, hospital costs, doctors, etc.
South Africa Extends State of Emergency Lockdown
In South Africa, the cabinet has extended the national state of disaster until October 15. The country is currently at Level 2 lockdown, which maintains a closure of the international border while allowing citizens to travel between the country’s provinces. International travel is allowed at Level 1.
South Africans were hoping to see the lockdown drop to a Level 1 this month after Health Minister Zweli Mkhize said the continuing decline in infection rates could see a downshift in restrictions within a few days. Mkhize said the worst was over and that President Cyril Ramaphosa may soon approve a Level 1 Alert that would reopen the country. While that downgrade has been delayed another month, it is still possible that the country will reopen next month. Stay tuned.