Corona virus update Botswana, Zambia and South-Africa

Jul 14, 2020

In this blog we provide you with an update with regards to the Corona virus in Botswana, Zambia and South-Africa. Corona basically stopped all travel to Botswana and Zambia, but we all desperately want to travel again to our beloved countries. If and when we can travel again depends on the situation in Botswana and Zambia, but also on the situation in South Africa.


Unfortunately an increase in cases made both Botswana and South Africa to adjust their regulations.


Next to a 72 hour old negative PCR test, Botswana officials will perform a Covid test on the border for anybody above the age of 5 who enters the country. If you are found positive, you will be placed in quarantaine. Furthermore, there is a curfew between 19h and 4h daily between 24-12-2020 and 3-1-2021.

South Africa:

No additional restrictions on arrival, but there is a curfew in place between 21h and 6h, and the sale of alcohol has been banned to avoid any additional pressure on the health system. Pickups from the airport to the hotel is still possible.


As of 13-11-2020 the limitations of travel from certain countries were lifted. This means that if you can show a negative PCR test not older than 72 hours, and have no symptoms, you will be allowed entry. This is great news, as this effectively enables travel to Botswana through South Africa again.


Finally, borders are opening up in Botswana. Which means that South Africa, Zambia, Namibia and now Botswana are all open for tourists.

  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Furthermore, international air travel will resume on the 1st of December, 2020 at Phillip G. Matante International Airport in Francistown.
All arriving travellers will be expected to meet the following requirements:
a) Present a valid 72 Hour negative COVID-19 Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) result from time of departure.
b) Screened for COVID-19 symptoms upon entry.
c) Symptomatic clients upon arrival will be required to undertake mandatory testing and possible isolation and or quarantine.
d) The traveller will be required to remain in contact with the local health authority for a period of 14 days doing self-monitoring.
e) Non-citizen travelers not meeting the requirements will NOT be allowed entry into Botswana.
h) Travellers exiting Botswana are expected to comply with travel regulations of the destination country at their own expense.
The remaining Points of Entry will be considered in due course subject to disease burden and harmonization with other neighbouring countries.


Baby steps, that is what Botswana is currently practising regarding opening their borders. But steps are steps nevertheless. As of 1st of November Botswana opens up two of their tourist airports, Maun and Kasana, for private chartered flights. In other words, for the more wealthy people in this world. Although the logic behind this decision is questionable, I guess we should be happy that a new step is taken in finally opening up their borders. Now if only we can start gaining control of this virus….


As of today you are allowed to travel into South Africa again. Travellers (tourists) from certain countries however are not permitted entry yet. The list of countries from which you are not allowed to enter is currently stil quite extensive, and we can only hope countries will be deleted from the list as soon as we are able to control the virus.

In Botswana the state of emergency is extended with another 6 months. This does not mean however that borders remain closed for another 6 months. We expect to get more news about this in the coming weeks.


Following Zambia and Namibia, South Africa moves to Alert Level 1 as of 21-9-2020 and is opening her borders as of 1-10-2020. Which in effect means that we can travel to this beautiful country again.

Covid-19 alert levels South Africa

There are some restrictions and requirements that international travellers need to meet.

  • On arrival you need to present a negative Covid-19 test result not older then 72 hours from your time of departure
  • All travellers are screened on arrival and those with symptoms require to have a Covid test done.
  • Where necessary, travellers need to enter mandatory quarantine facilities at their own costs
  • Travellers are asked to download the Covid Alert South Africa mobile app.
  • Travel may be restricted to and from certain countries that are deemed high risk
  • Only Cape Town and Jo’burg airports are open for international flights and only a few land border posts are opened.

With this a new step has taken towards travel to Botswana. It is now depending on the government of Botswana to open their borders and resume to a sort of normal state. As soon as we have more news about this, you will read it here.


The last update we gave was almost a month ago. As it is of little added value to just mention the latest numbers, we will only give an update if something substantial has changed in South Africa, Botswana or Zambia.

And although nothing has changed there, there is good news from one of the neighbouring countries. Namibia has just like Zambia opened its borders for tourists. We now all wait in anticipation for Botswana and South Africa to follow suit. There are talks about end of september, but until this is formalised, the borders remain closed for tourists. The moment there is more news, we will update this blog.


South Africa

As the number of infections and deaths is increasing less rapidly than before, the government has decided to lower the alert level to Level 2. You can travel inside in the country and certain restrictions are removed. But it is still not possible to travel to South Africa. For this, alert level 1 needs to be in effect.

Covid-19 alert levels South Africa

The latest numbers:

  • Inhabitants: 56 million
  • Positive cases: 592.144
  • Number of deaths: 12.264



Some restrictive measures are released in Botswana, but travel from high-risk countries (unclear which they are, but for sure South Africa) is still not allowed.

The latest numbers:

  • Inhabitants: 2,3 million
  • Positive cases: 427
  • Number of deaths: 3


As indicated in the previous update, the borders are open. Both air and land borders. At the border control you must provide proof that you tested negative for Corona in the past 14 days. You need to show them a PCR test result which you obtain from at a travel clinic. They check your temperature upon arrival. If it is higher than 38 degrees and you show other symptoms, you will be tested for Covid-19 and quarantined.

The latest numbers:

  • Inhabitants: 17 million
  • Positive cases: 9981
  • Number of deaths: 264




Let’s start with the good news. All tourists are allowed to enter the country through the airports if they are able to provide a negative covid-19 testresult. The test has to be conducted less than 14 days before entry. It is not yet known if this also applies to the landborders. But as most of the EU countries still advise against travelling to Zambia, there could be an issue with getting the proper insurance.

The latest numbers:

  • Inhabitants: 17 million
  • Positive cases: 5249
  • Number of deaths: 146



Unfortunately there is no decrease yet in number of cases or deaths.

The latest numbers:

  • Inhabitants: 56 million
  • Positive cases: 471.123
  • Number of deaths: 7497



Numbers in Botswana are still very low, but they remain very vigilant and careful with easing of measures.

The latest numbers:

  • Inhabitants: 2,3 million
  • Positive cases: 804
  • Number of deaths: 2




No major change yet in approach or easing of measures, but rather a substantial increase of cases and deaths.

The latest numbers:

  • Inhabitants: 56 million
  • Positive cases: 381.800
  • Number of deaths: 5368


Botswana remains the bright spot in the region, although it registered an increase in cases. The number of deaths remain the same. Botswana introduced a inter-zonal permit system, allowing for online application. This registration is mainly meant for screening and tracing purposes.

Tourists are not yet granted access to the country, masks are obligatory in public spaces and gatherings with more than 75 persons are not allowed. In addition, parties independent of the number of persons are not allowed.

The latest numbers:

  • Inhabitants: 2,3 million
  • Positive cases: 522
  • Number of deaths: 1



Zambia suffers from a substantial increase in cases, but also deaths. Tourists are not allowed entry in the country yet, and if you are allowed entry, a self-quarantine of 14 days in a residence of your choice is mandatory. Unfortunately, that measure practically implies that a holiday in Zambia is not yet possible.

The latest numbers:

  • Inhabitants: 17 million
  • Positive cases: 3386
  • Number of deaths: 128

14 July 2020


Even if you are not travelling to SA, Johannesburg is usually the hub through which you fly towards Botswana or Zambia. South-Africa is hit the hardest of all African countries by the Corona virus. Although in comparison to many european and american countries, it could have been much worse.

The latest numbers:

  • Inhabitants: 56 million
  • Positive cases: 287.800
  • Number of deaths: 4172

The approach

The government of SA defined an approach that consist of 5 levels of alert. Level 1 being a “back to normal” level. In the last few weeks it seems that they might be releasing some of the measures and maybe even downgrade to alert level 2, but recently there has been a significant rise of positive cases. It is therefore unlikely that we will see a decrease in alert level in the next week.

Covid-19 alert levels South Africa


As of June 1, SA is in alert level 3, which means that no international traveller are allowed entry to the country. There are currently no international flights to and from Johannesburg.

Source of excellent information is



Botswana very swiftly enforced a total lockdown, which if you look at the numbers, worked for Botswana as it seems hardly effected by Corona. But they remain extremely cautious.

The latest numbers:

  • Inhabitants: 2,3 million
  • Positive cases: 399
  • Number of deaths: 1

Notable, but not surprising, most cases have been identified in the Gabarone area. The rest of the country, among which the touristic hotspots like the Okavango Delta and the Central Kalahari Game Reserve is practically Corona free.

The approach

The Botswana government defined 5 phases of lockdown, where phase 5 is defined as ” back to normal”. On top of that, a state of emergency is declared, giving the president the power to rule by decree. The state of emergency started in March and will last for at least 6 months.

Covid-19 lockdown fases Botswana

To date, Botswana still is in phase 3, meaning that movement of the Batswana is allowed, national parks are open, but international tourists and travellers are not yet allowed entry.

The best source of information is or the Facebook BW government page


Zambia, just as Botswana, declared a lockdown swiftly and the numbers reflect that as well. Although there is some doubt about the correctness of these numbers.

The latest numbers:

  • Inhabitants: 17 million
  • Positive cases: 1895
  • Number of deaths: 42

The approach

Zambia has not chosen a phased approach, but rather a day-to-day decision making process in releasing or restricting measures. Somewhat comparable to the approach in for example The Netherlands.

At the end of June, the president of Zambia announced that the lockdown should be lifted, economic activities should start and the borders need to re-open. Tourist travellers from abroad should be allowed entry into Zambia as well.

Although you can read that statement in many newspapers, the actual allowance of tourists (granting of visa) has not been made possible yet. It is however possible to fly from and to Lusaka airport.

It is extremely difficult to find reliable information about the latest situation and measures taken or lifted. 2 reliable sources are and .


Disclaimer: Although we always check and recheck the information given in this article, we can not rul out mistakes in numbers or measures.








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