We welcome continuing good news for travellers to Africa, Asia and Latin America and bring you news of countries that are now open to welcome visitors. We also include our favourite vacation experiences in each country to inspire you. But don’t delay, dates for 2021 are filling up fast!
We are thrilled that a number of the countries to which we operate have just opened for UK travellers and of course, US travellers are free to travel to all the countries mentioned below!
**We urge our UK and European clients to contact us for further information regarding each country’s entry requirements as the official guidelines for the UK and Europe are changing continuously. The information featured is correct as of 28th September 2021.**
Kenya is open and welcoming visitors – and has been for a while, as it is a land of wide-open spaces and the most stunningly diverse scenery. A 96-hour PCR test is required. A ‘safari’ - translated from Swahili meaning ‘going on a journey’ is top of most people’s bucket list – and here you can find wildlife that even beats the imagination. Spend time under the stars in age-old tented camps or luxurious private villas, and gaze across the savannah landscapes that stretch from horizon to horizon. Then retreat to the warm turquoise Indian Ocean for some relaxing time on the white sandy beaches of the south coast or fascinating Lamu. A good time to visit is between July and September for a chance to see the great migration crossing of the Mara River.
Kenya is good to visit most of the year apart from the rainy months of April and May.
Tanzania is open for travellers from all countries, and most restrictions have been lifted domestically. A 72 hour PCR test is required. Boasting the highest freestanding mountain in Africa, Tanzania is also home to almost every kind of ecological system there is, from infinite savannah plains, to rainforest, alpine desert, and arctic summit. From incredible game reserves teeming with wildlife to glorious beaches, luxurious accommodation and incredible culture and food – this is a favourite safari destination.
A good time to visit is between December through March for a chance to see the Great Migration on the Serengeti plains which fill up with wildebeest as far as the eye can see. If one is lucky, one can also see crossings in June, and of course, there is the opportunity of seeing the overspill of the migration from the Masai Mara in Kenya during August and early September. We suggest avoiding April and May - the time of the heaviest rains.
Open to visitors for much of this year, Botswana is a land of contrast and evocative beauty, with the vast silent expanse of the Kalahari Desert - and the incredible water wilderness of the Okavango Delta (with copious options for private camps and lodges) where Africa’s biggest oasis fans out through palm groves and papyrus swamps. On the northern border lies the great Chobe River, where elephant and buffalo can be found in their thousands.
Botswana is unusual in that some of the rivers are in flood at the height of the dry season - adding an extra dimension to a Botswana safari. The peak time to travel to Botswana is during the winter months of May through to September but there are areas that attract herds of game in the summer months when the grass is lush and there is plenty of water about. At this time all the antelope give birth and the migrant birds have arrived. The migratory birds arrive in December and stay breeding and raising their young until April. This is one of the most beautiful times to visit Botswana.
Botswana has opened an online e -visa application form and all tourists must take a PCR test within 72 hrs prior to arrival.
Zambia is one of the best safari destinations in the world! It is open and visitors must show proof that they have tested negative for COVID-19 in the 72 hours before their arrival. Famous for amazing walking safaris – Zambia has that wonderful undiscovered feel of raw unspoilt Africa, with world-class guides and the opportunity to get close to the abundant animal life by exploring on foot with a private mobile walking safari. One third of the country is made up of national parks! It is also home to the mighty Victoria Falls (bordering Zimbabwe) where adrenaline junkies can also abseil, white water raft and bungee jump from the 111m-high Victoria Falls Bridge.
The best time to visit Zambia is during the dry season between June and November. The skies are cobalt blue, the days are hot, and the nights are cool. Temperatures can sit anywhere from 73°F to 97°F across the country.
Rwanda has opened its borders for international flights, and tourists are allowed to travel around the country. Visitor numbers to each site has been reduced to 6 or 7 people per primate group visited.
Rwanda, with its vibrant culture, rich history, and diverse landscape is a conservation and wildlife success story, with amazing wildlife encounters. The Virunga Mountains, spanning Rwanda, Uganda, and the Democratic Republic of Congo, are home to over half of the world's population of mountain gorillas Rwanda is also home to rhino, lions and chimpanzees.
Mid-May to mid-October is the long dry season with perfect conditions for tracking gorillas. The weather in Rwanda is fairly temperate and good for year-round travel with average daytime temperatures of 30°C or 86°F. December through March is a good time to visit.
Uganda is open to all travellers and is known as the Pearl of Africa. This small landlocked country in the heart of the continent is the place to go for life-changing encounters with the gentle mountain gorillas who roam the misty ancient impenetrable forests of Bwindi, and then you can trek to see the enchanting chimpanzees in Kibale Forest National Park and other forests too. In Queen Elizabeth National Park, for a donation you can spend time with a wildlife vet, monitoring leopard and lion – an opportunity of a lifetime! Cruise beside wallowing hippos and crocodiles or enjoy the thrill of white-water rafting along the Nile. Explore volcanic crater lakes where vanilla and coffee grow, as well as woodlands, tropical rainforests and, dramatic waterfalls. Discover some of Africa’s friendliest people!
The best time to go to Uganda is during its two dry seasons: between December and March, and between June and August, when conditions are particularly good for trekking to see mountain gorillas and chimpanzees.
All tourists must take a PCR test within 72 hrs prior to arrival
Zimbabwe has re-opened its international airport and its Kasane/ Victoria Falls land border post. Travellers are allowed to enter on presentation of a negative COVID-19 PCR test result issued within the previous 48 hours.
From the stunning Eastern Highlands to the spectacular Zambezi River with its thundering curtain of water plunging over the Victoria Falls, this is an iconic safari destination. As well as the Big Five – there’s a host of other wildlife to see - from wild dog and hyaena to giraffe, zebra, wildebeest, crocodile and even pangolin. Hwange National Park is the country’s largest, playing host to one of the greatest elephant populations in Africa, as well as over 100 mammal and 400 bird species. Further afield, Gonarezhou is one of the most rugged, beautiful and unexplored parks in southern Africa where one can enjoy fantastic walking safaris.
As one of the main attractions of visiting Zimbabwe is incredible game-viewing, then one should visit in the dry season when the game is easiest to see. Rain in Zimbabwe falls predominantly between December and March, but the further north you are in the country, the sooner it begins. However don’t let a little rain put you off; the green season is one of the most beautiful and productive times to visit this incredible country!
South Africa has re-opened its airports and land borders, and domestic restrictions are being lifted. Many flights to South Africa have resumed already and all arrivals must complete a registration form before traveling and have a negative PCR certificate within 72 hours of entry.
Stylish cities, excellent infrastructure, enticing cuisine, winelands, the Drakensberg mountains and accessible national parks make South Africa a great place to start a love affair with this continent. You can explore its varied wildlife and gorgeous landscapes without leaving your creature comforts behind – whilst allowing that excited buzz of new experiences all whilst interacting with the friendliest of people whose motto is “Unity in Diversity”.
With varying regional climates, you can travel to South Africa most months. May to September’s cooler winter months in the northern regions bring superb conditions for viewing big game, as well as the migration of the southern right whale which you can see calving in the bay. It can be rainy from November to February, but this is a fabulous time for birding and temperatures are still between 22°C-33°C. The Cape has beautiful, hot, dry weather in its summer months (between November and February).
Namibia has opened to international travel (with a negative PCR test result taken within 72 hours). This is a country with stunning stark landscapes where horizons meet the end of the earth. You can see bright orange sand dunes and untamed wilderness of the Namib Desert, the famed Skeleton Coast, dramatic and scenic Damaraland in the north and the untamed wilderness of the Fish River Canyon in the far south. The most breath-taking way to experience all the country has to offer is by a private fixed-wing safari with private guide.
Lying beneath a star speckled night sky you can truly feel to the depths of your soul. Namibia is also home to the friendliest of people including the shy San or Bushmen and the Himba tribe who cover themselves in red ochre. This is a wonderful county to experience immense and breath taking landscapes, extraordinary culture and desert dwelling species. There are some wonderful conservation opportunities too, allowing you to get close to wildlife. A good time to visit is from March to October, when the temperatures are just above 20°C and the chance of rain is low, and wildlife viewing is good. However one can visit at any time of the year and the green season can be magical if rain arrives in the desert.
Morocco, which is now open for travel, is such a wonderful destination; a land of vibrancy, culture and passion. You require either a double vaccination or a negative PCR test taken within 72 hours. Children under the age of 11 are exempt from tests.
From the medinas – with their explosion of colour and exotic smells - and the cacophony of street merchants and their call to prayer - the contrast of experiences abound. Take to the rolling dunes of the Sahara or ascend the snow-capped peaks of the High Atlas, immersing yourself in Berber tradition and culture.
The best time to go is in the spring from March to June and then in the autumn as it cools down again from September to November.
Ethiopia’s borders are open and foreign citizens can apply for an Ethiopian visa and travel to the country, dependent on their own country's travel rules. All passengers must take a COVID-19 RT PCR test via the Africa Union Trusted Travel or UNDP Global Haven systems within the previous 120 hrs, starting from the time the sample is given, before arrival into Ethiopia.
Ethiopia is one of the most awe-inspiring places to visit in Africa. Known as the ‘Cradle of Mankind’, it has an ancient history, a rich and diverse culture, breath-taking landscapes, unique wildlife, and the people are what really makes this place so fascinating. From the dry Danakil Desert and Erta Ale shield volcano to the highest peaks of the Simien Mountains, Ethiopia is incredible, especially if you embark upon a private helicopter safari to see it from the air as well as exploring on the ground!
Overall, the best time to travel to Ethiopia is in the dry season (between October through to June) as the highlands are green and lush, and excellent for hiking. However, because the country's weather and climate is incredibly varied across the country, you can visit at any time of the year.
Malawi's borders have opened to international travel and we encourage one to start making plans to visit in 2022! This ranks as one of the world’s least developed countries, with some of the friendliest people! Best visited between April through November, Malawi is a bird watcher's and botanist’s paradise.
The country is dominated by Lake Malawi which runs almost the entire length of the country. Snorkelling with thousands of multi-coloured cichlids is a fabulous experience in this freshwater lake. In the north, eland, roan and leopard roam the plains of the impressive Nyika Plateau which is dotted with gorse and protea. In the far south lies traditional safari wilderness areas and parks with the Big 5.
Egypt is open to visitors (PCR tests are required 72 hours prior to arrival). The best time to visit is between October through May.
Egypt is a land of fascinating ancient civilisations, with ancient artefacts and great temples, 5000-year-old pyramids, expansive desert and the emerald band of Nile River cutting through the eastern side. We recommend snorkelling in the Red Sea, exploring Cairo’s blend of culture, seeing the Giza Pyramids and its Great Sphinx then continuing to Luxor. Visit Aswan and the impressive Abu Simbel. A cruise on the Nile River in a dahabiya must be one of the greatest and most romantic journeys and is recommended for all!
Mozambique airports are open. All tourists must take a PCR test within 72 hrs prior to arrival. Children under 5 do not require tests.
Mozambique is a fabulous country to visit, especially its southern coastline and surrounding archipelago. With powder white sands, high-end luxury properties and super diving, fishing and snorkelling. Mozambique is a wonderful place to spend time relaxing after a safari. Step off your villa’s verandah onto the sands, indulge in gorgeous seafood, fine wine and breathe. Gorongosa National Park is a fabulous park where there is rustic accommodation at present and fabulous, adventurous fly camping.
Not to be confused with the DRC, the Republic of Congo is another country which should be on everyone’s bucket list! It’s the best place to see the western lowland gorilla, affording fabulous viewing and the solution to anyone who might struggle with the arduous trekking to see mountain gorillas in Uganda or Rwanda.
With incredible, first-class accommodation and fabulous walking within other regions of Odzala National Park, this place deserves spending at least a week! It can also be combined, for the adventurer, with the Central African Republic where one can see the greatest concentration of forest elephant in the extremely beautiful Sangha Bai area. A negative PCR test taken 72 hours in advance is required.
Chad is a bucket list country for any discerning traveller looking to eschew the crowds and mass tourism in favour of pristine, fascinating experiences with the perfect blend of history, culture and wildlife. Why not visit both Zakouma National Park, one of the finest wildlife regions on the African continent and the Ennedi massif too? Ennedi is a sandstone bulwark with fascinating features in the heart of the most pure Sahara desert. Nearby visit lakes, oases and the Berber nomadic tribes who traverse it by camel.
Add a dose of exclusivity as the camps are mainly exclusive use and you have the most incredible experience that few countries on the continent can match. Best of all, it’s open – and waiting for you! A negative PCR test is required, taken 72 hours in advance.
Currently closed to visitors except for Miavana in the far north. This would be flying into Diego and taking a private charter to Miavana. We still encourage everyone to put a visit to Madagascar on their bucket list for 2022 and start making plans for when it opens. The best time to visit Madagascar is from April through December.
From kayaking to hiking, from unique wildlife to a Relais et Chateaux property, Madagascar is an island like nowhere else. There are so many different ecosystems and habitats to explore including the forests of Mantadia and Andasibe, Masoala and Amber Mountain, to the spiny forest in the far south to the west of Fort Dauphin and the central open plains of Andringitra and drylands of Isalo.
In the north one can canoe, kite surf, dive and snorkel, take a catamaran for perhaps five nights, visit grey and red tsingy and explore the sand dunes of the south and take a boat excursion on a Canal de Pangalane.
Mauritius is open for international travel, and from 1 October 2021, vaccinated visitors who present a negative PCR test taken within 72 hours of departure will be allowed to travel to Mauritius. A lateral flow test will be given on arrival at your hotel and on day 5 at no extra cost.
Uniquely to Mauritius, it is a volcanic island of lagoons and palm-fringed white beaches with coral reefs surrounding most of the coastline. Explore the Indian temples, colonial houses, botanical gardens, and keep a look out for gorgeous birds. The charming and hospitable people are a fusion of French, Indian, Creole and Chinese bringing an exotic mix to the character and cuisine of the island.
Here you can get your winter sun year-round, with a slight risk of cyclones in January and February. The island's winter, from May to September, is warm and dry, a great time to visit.
Located in one of Indian Ocean’s biodiversity hotspots, the Maldives is renowned for its heavenly islands boasting idyllic beaches and pristine coral reefs, making it one of the finest snorkelling and scuba diving destinations in Asia. Typically, November to April is the best time to visit the Maldives when the weather is dry and warm. Renowned for it’s high end accommodation and private yachts, perfect for couples and families alike.
Seychelles has opened its borders to visitors irrespective of their vaccination status. All visitors must present a negative PCR test, taken within 72 hours prior to departure.
Strung like 115 jewels in the warm clear Indian Ocean, the Seychelles Archipelago is made up of the inner granitic islands and the outer coralline islands and atolls, with gorgeous diverse topography and wildlife to explore. True paradise rewards those who venture further to the outer islands – the ultimate in pristine natural splendour.
A year-round destination, the temperature rarely drops below 24°C or rises above 32°C, and all but the remotest southern islands lie outside the cyclone belt. However, the best time is from the months of April to October which bring drier, cooler weather, but livelier seas. On average the number of rainy days during this period is 11 with long periods of sunshine. The weather is hottest from December to April, and the humidity is high (often 80% or higher) during the wettest months.
With fabulous high end hotels, the most beautiful pristine beaches and private yachts, this is the archetypal perfect island for both couples and families alike. Incredible for scuba diving, snorkelling, sailing and fishing.
Sri Lanka is now open to fully vaccinated travellers. As per the latest guidelines, those who have had both the doses of COVID-19 vaccination at least two weeks prior to travel will no longer have to remain within the government stipulated “bio bubble”. Known as “The Resplendent Isle”, Sri Lanka is renowned for its pristine beaches, exotic wildlife, stunning Hindu and Buddhist monuments, verdant tea plantations, and delectable cuisine. It is one of the finest destinations for family travel and boasts an incredible variety of luxury resorts and private villas.
Being a tropical island, Sri Lanka enjoys plenty of sunshine and warm temperatures throughout much of the year. Typically, the best time to experience most of Sri Lanka’s highlights is between late November and April, which makes it an excellent destination to take a family to a private bungalow for Christmas vacations. If you do not mind hot and humid conditions, the period between mid-July and September is a great secret season, especially along the south coast and in the hill country, for a chance to view the famous ‘Elephant Gathering’ in Minneriya National Park.
Nepal has resumed on-arrival visa services for foreign nationals without quarantine requirement for fully vaccinated travelers. Situated in the lap of the great Himalayas, Nepal is one of South Asia’s finest trekking and hiking destinations.
Besides utterly stunning and dramatic mountain scenery, the country is steeped in rich culture, profound Hindu and Buddhist spirituality, and amazing wildlife including one-horned rhinos, Asian elephants, and tigers. Where else in the world can you treat yourself to a champagne breakfast at the highest mountain lodge in the world while enjoying unparalleled views of the entire Everest range, including the glorious Mount Everest?
Thailand (Phuket & Koh Samui)
Thailand continues to open up and travellers can now visit more areas throughout and around Phuket without needing to quarantine. Under the “Phuket Sandbox 7+7 Extension”, fully vaccinated international travellers can now combine Phuket with selected areas in Krabi, Phang-Nga (Khao Lak and Ko Yao) and Surat Thani (Koh Samui, Ko Pha-ngan and Ko Tao) areas.
Known as the ‘Land of Smiles’, Thailand is one of Southeast Asia’s finest holiday destinations renowned for its pristine beaches, amazing cuisine, incredibly friendly people, shimmering temples and lush jungles. November to early April is the best time to explore this fascinating country.
United Arab Emirates (Dubai and Abu Dhabi)
Showcasing dazzling skyscrapers, glamorous hotels, thrilling adventures and bustling markets, Dubai and Abu Dhabi are open to US citizens. Whether you are interested in spending a relaxing time in a beachfront hotel or wish to immerse yourself in incredible experiences including F1 driving, scenic flights, 4x4 desert safaris and discovering traditional Emirati joie de vivre, Dubai and Abu Dhabi are much more than just stop-over destinations. The best time to visit this region is between November and February.
Oman has now opened its borders to fully vaccinated travellers from 1 September 2021. An amazing mix of nature, history and culture, with tall mountains, stunning desert, crystal clear wadi pools and empty beaches - Oman is just the most fantastic little country to put on your bucket shortlist! The warm and friendly Omani people are proud to welcome visitors to their stunning country.
Sleep under a million shiny-bright stars in a tented desert camp surrounded by lanterns, betwixt wind-sculptured dunes, or explore the ancient forts, mud-house villages and historic souqs of Oman's interior before spending time on the beautiful coast snorkelling with dolphins. The very best time to visit is during the northern winter – for some heavenly sunshine and plenty to see and do.
Sugar-soft beaches, lush tropical jungles and a mind-boggling array of creatures – great and small! Costa Rica is the world’s happiest place and you will be greeted wherever you go by “Pura Vida” translated as Pure Life… and it is no coincidence that this country will become carbon neutral by 2022. A holiday to Costa Rica offers a thrilling action-packed journey amidst breath-taking nature and some fabulous, upscale eco lodges to stay at!
The best time to go to Costa Rica is between mid-November and April. Not only is it the driest part of the year, but also lovely and warm – with average temperature of 28 degrees and up to twelve hours of sunshine each day.
Ecuador is open to international travellers on production of a vaccination card with both doses completed at least 14 days before travel (except from Brazil or India) or with a negative PCR test within 72 hours of travel. For onward journeys to the Galápagos, you will just need a further form which you can acquire there.
This diverse little country can enchant you with its rich cultural heritage, fine food, Amazon jungle and Andean highlands! Set among three snow-capped volcanoes, the historic city of Quito is filled with churches, arts and crafts. Head North to wander through Otavalo market for local artisanal crafts. Then set sail to cruise around the Galápagos’ isolated group of volcanic islands amongst incredible birds, reptiles, and mythical sea creatures - one place where the human presence is kept to a minimum.
Officially the driest and warmest months, in June to September you can often enjoy clear blue Andean skies and warm sunshine. Fewer showers also make for more prolonged periods to enjoy birdwatching in the cloudforests. There is no bad time to visit the Galápagos Islands although we advise against September when the seas can be very rough.
Some Video footage and images by courtesy of:
255 Uncharted, Cottar's Private Bush Villa, Xigera Safari Lodge, Tusk and Mane Safaris, Voavah Private Island, Mashpi Lodge, Time + Tide Miavana, Kaya Mawa, Jean Paul Vermeulen (Gorongosa elephant image), Dennis Stogsdill (gorilla image), Anjajavy & Philippe Claudel (Madagascar image), Pacuare Lodge (Costa Rica image), Blue Safaris (Seychelles sailfish image), Wolwedans (Namibia image), ALEXA J (header image of Maldives island), Kalepo Camp (background image). Scott Ramsay and Odzala Discovery Camps (Congo image), Brian Meier (Chad image).