With regional lockdowns being extended time and again, simply hearing the word “safari” can induce feelings of spite.
Yet, with the vaccine rollout progressing much faster than most people expected, the odds of a holiday abroad grow more realistic with each passing day.
And if you’re looking for some prime outdoor fun, Kenya is the place to be.
Kenya might not seem like the first destination that comes to mind for a holiday post-pandemic, yet the country has taken full advantage of the momentary lull in tourism.
Kenya has greatly improved domestic safety and security measures to prevent the spread of the virus and, as a result, Covid numbers have continued to drop.
All this was managed without widespread access to vaccines, which makes Kenya’s response even more impressive. With vaccines now also becoming widely available to African nations, their Covid cases are expected to drop even further.
While Kenya has opened its borders, the country continues to impose strict rules, both for foreign travellers and the domestic population. These include curfews and mandatory mask usage in public areas.
Incoming foreign travellers are required to have a negative PCR test result, taken at maximum 72 hours before their date of arrival. Travellers must also register in a special system which confirms that they do not have Covid.
Once in Kenya, they will be subject to another test, and depending on how long they are staying, several more tests may be administered. Suffice to say, Kenya takes its safety seriously.
This is also a sign that the country is doing whatever it takes to ensure the health of not just its own population, but also that of potential visitors.
Do I need a visa?
To encourage tourists to visit their country, some governments, such as Egypt, decided to temporarily abolish the visa requirements for foreign travellers.
Kenya decided to keep its visa requirement in place, simply because it is a source of income that the country sorely needs.
Yet Kenya has not been idle in this regard either. In January 2021, it completed an ambitious multi-year project to fully digitize its visa system. In the past, people could apply for different types of visas, either online, at the embassy or even at the airport in Kenya after arriving.
Kenya decided to abolish all the other visa types because it felt that they carried too much security risks. The e-visa, the Kenyan government said, allows for better screening of incoming travellers, to ensure the safety of the domestic population.
Safaris back on the menu?
Kenya has first and foremost always been known as Africa’s prime safari destination. The country has a wide variety of wildlife to admire, including the legendary “Big Five”, the five historically most-difficult to hunt animals in Africa.
Safari companies are once again accepting bookings, though they too naturally have their own rules and safety measures to prevent the spread of coronavirus.
One thing is certain: Kenya is in prime position to take advantage of the re-opening of the world after the coronavirus pandemic.