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Travel Updates | Zimbabwe, Zambia and Botswana | Wild Horizons

If ever there was a destination that assured travellers of wide-open spaces, it is undeniably Victoria Falls. The reopening of International Airports is a defining moment for the travel industry, and as borders open, we have the thrilling opportunity to escape to vast wilderness areas.

Over the year, we have had time to dream, and now it is time to move into the planning phase of your safari escape. Here is what you need to know about travelling to Victoria Falls.

victoria falls zimbabwe wild horizons
Victoria Falls is ranked as the safest destination to visit Post COVID-19

The US-based travel and tourism agency, Tourlane, has named Zimbabwe the safest place to visit in the world when countries reopen their borders for international travel post-Covid-19 restrictions. Discover more about our product-specific protocols in the video below.

Travelling to Zimbabwe

  • All passengers are required to complete a COVID-19 contact-tracing document on arrival.
  • All passengers arriving at Victoria Falls Airport are required to present a negative PCR COVID-19 Clearance Certificate obtained within 48 hours before departure, in line with WHO Guidelines. If officials believe a traveller to be symptomatic, they may be required to undergo a further PCR test on arrival, regardless of the negative certificate. Symptoms include, but are not limited to, a fever and a dry cough.
  • An Airport Official will take passengers’ temperatures. Anyone recording a temperature equal to or higher than 38°C will be tested for COVID-19.

Travellers that test positive will then be required to go into local isolation for 10 days if they have no symptoms, or 13 days if they are symptomatic. Isolation is at the traveller’s own expense.

After quarantine, travellers will need to be retested before they are permitted to travel home or on to their next destination.

Travellers are to adhere to WHO COVID-19 standard practices at all times, such as maintaining social distancing, wearing a mask and practicing personal hygiene.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the requirements on arrival at VFA?
All passengers are required to complete a COVID-19 contact-tracing document on arrival. An Airport Official will take passengers’ temperatures and anyone recording a temperature equal to or higher than 38°C will be tested for COVID-19. All passengers arriving at Victoria Falls Airport are required to present a negative PCR COVID-19 Clearance Certificate obtained within 48 hours before departure
Are COVID-19 PCR tests available for international travellers?
PCR and Rapid Diagnostic tests are available at all International Airports and most clinics and hospitals throughout the country. Additionally, Old Drift Lodge, Victoria Falls, offers an in-house COVID-19 PCR test that can deliver results within 3 hours.
What is the cost of each test?
PCR test is $60 Rapid test is $15
How long does it take to get the results on departure?
PCR and Rapid Diagnostic tests are available within 3 hours
Can I be tested at a Wild Horizons lodge?
Yes, travellers staying at the Wild Horizons luxury lodges will have the option of an in-house COVID-19 PCR test that can deliver results within 3 hours. Whether they require the test for onward travel or simple peace of mind, travellers can arrange this with the lodge management team for $60 per person.
What will happen if a traveller gets infected while in the country?
They are required to go into an isolation centre for ten days if they have no COVID-19 symptoms or 13 days if they are symptomatic.
Victoria Falls characterized by the scenic grandeur of the waterfall, cultural connections and fascinating history. Together with the kaleidoscope of adventurous activities, Africa’s Adventure Capital makes a lasting impression on all visitors. Get in touch to start planning your Victoria Falls holiday today.
Victoria falls bridge zambia

Travelling to Zambia

Requirements on arrival in Zambia

Upon arrival, an airport official will take each traveller’s temperature, which should not be equal to or above 38°C. Each traveller needs to be carrying the following:

  • A Negative COVID-19 PCR test, written in English and taken within 7 days before arrival in Zambia.
  • A health questionnaire, filled in onboard to be presented to health staff at the airport.
  • Travellers showing symptoms, such as coughing or high temperature, may be isolated for further screening and testing.

Travellers are to maintain WHO COVID-19 safety measures whilst in Zambia such as maintaining physical distance, wearing a mask and practicing personal hygiene.

Travellers are to monitor themselves for 14 days post-arrival and report any symptoms immediately.

    Requirements when departing Zambia

    If travellers require a COVID-19 Clearance Certificate for re-entry to their home country, this can be performed 24 hours prior to departure at the Med Prof Clinic in Livingstone.

    Operating hours: 08:00 to 17:00

    Doctor: +260 97 777 2092

    Assistant: +260 97 100 1191

    Reception: +260 97 698 0177

    Email: medproflivingstone@yahoo.com

    Holders of tests taken outside Zambia are not exempt from this requirement, even if the test was taken within the previous 14 days

    Swim above Victoria Falls Zambia Devil's Pool
    Are COVID-19 PCR tests available for international travellers?

    Yes. The cost of the test is $120 pp (cash USD or ZMW equivalent – NO CARD PAYMENTS). This includes taking samples and delivering results to Minor Hotels Resort (USD150 for hotels/lodges on the outskirts of the City Limits)

    What types of tests are available?
    PCR Nasopharynx test
    What is the cost of each test?

    The cost of the test is $120 pp (cash USD or ZMW equivalent – NO CARD PAYMENTS). This includes taking samples and delivering results to Minor Hotels Resort (USD150 for hotels/lodges on the outskirts of the City Limits)

    How long does it take to get the results on departure?

    The test results will be available within 24-48 hours.

    Can I book a test through Wild Horizons?

    Wild Horizons will make the reservation for COVID Testing at the laboratory. We will then transfer guests to the lab for testing and wait to transfer them back to their hotel. Once the test results are available, Wild Horizons will collect the results and deliver them to the guests at their hotels.

    Please note that testing times are subject to availability. Activities and touring will be scheduled to accommodate testing times.

    What will happen if a traveller gets infected while in the country?
    They are required to go into an isolation center for 10 days. This will be at the traveller’s own expense.
    Botswana-mokoro-sunset
    Elephants spotted on a Chobe Day Trip
    Requirements on arrival in Botswana

    • Upon entry into Botswana, travellers will be screened for COVID-19.
    • Symptomatic travellers will be subject to mandatory testing on arrival and possible isolation/ quarantine for a minimum of 14 days until a negative status is achieved.
    • All arriving travellers must present a negative COVID-19 certificate obtained within 72 hours of travel (meaning within 72 hours prior to arriving in Botswana).
    • When departing from Botswana, travellers must present a PCR negative test result no older than 72 hours.
    Are COVID-19 PCR tests available for international travellers?
    Yes
    What is the cost of each test?

    BWP 1000 (approximately USD 90 per test)

    Government hospitals will test for free but the results can take up to 72 hours. This test will only be done with a referral letter from a GP

    How long does it take to get the results on departure?

    24 – 48 hours dependent on day of testing Most laboratories are closed over weekends and we would recommend a Thursday being the last weekday that testing is scheduled for.

    Where are the testing facilities?

    Diagnofirm is a private laboratory based in both Maun and Kasane. Results will be released within 24 hours (except over weekends)

    What will happen if a traveller gets infected while in the country?

    Travellers are required to go into isolation/quarantine for a minimum of 14 days until a negative test result is achieved.

    The quarantine facilities are currently Government approved private facilities and the cost will be at the travellers’ expense. 

    Wild Horizons COVID-19 Protocols

    Over the last few months, we have implemented extensive new health and safety protocols to protect both our staff and our travellers. Our ‘Golden Rules of Prevention’ are measures that have been put in place across the board for our activities and lodges. For a more detailed analysis of product-specific protocols, please view the following documents for Activities, Tour & TransfersAfrican OdysseyOur Lodges and The Wild Horizons Lookout Café.

    Important Update

    Wild Horizons will be facilitating Covid 19 Testing in Victoria Falls, Livingstone and Kasane.

    Herewith are the need to know details:-

    Victoria Falls & Livingstone
    Wild Horizons will make the reservation for Covid Testing at the laboratories.

    Please note that testing times are subject to availability.

    Activities and touring will be scheduled to accommodate testing times. We will then transfer guests to the lab for testing and wait to transfer them back to their hotel.

    Once the test results are available, Wild Horizons will collect the results and deliver them to the guests at their hotels.

    Important notes : 

    • We recommend guests conduct the test at least 24 hours before departure.

    • Availability of tests cannot be guaranteed by Wild Horizons 

    • Test Result times cannot be guaranteed by Wild Horizons

    Meet your guide – Richard

    richard

    One of the first things to strike you as you arrive at Imbabala Zambezi Safari Lodge is the warmth and friendliness of its guides. One of these guides is Richard Nsinganu.

    Richard was born in Harare and from a young age, he developed a love of the bush. His natural tendency towards looking after and entertaining people led him into the tourism industry. His first taste of tourism was when he worked for Imire Game Lodge in the north-east of Zimbabwe as a driver. He recalls that as a driver he watched the guides there taking people for drives and interacting with tourists and he decided that this would be his chosen career. He made the move from Harare to Victoria Falls, the capital of tourism, and he has lived here for 18 years. He has worked as a guide at Imbabala for 5 years. He has had several prestigious mentors in the industry, including Roger Parry from the Victoria Falls Wildlife Trust. Through their teachings and a natural dedication of his own, Richard gained his Learners Guides license. He has continued to amass a wealth of knowledge about all aspects of the bush.

    Richard has a deep love of the bush, everything to do with wildlife and is a natural host. A game drive is certainly not just a game drive when you go out with Richard! Nothing is too small or insignificant for him to stop and talk about. He can hold guests spellbound for 15 minutes talking about a termite mound or have you all in stitches while describing a busy squirrel’s thought process. Whether on a cruise or a game drive, Richards’s constant flow of information and innate sense of humor keeps guests enthralled and allows them to take home pieces of information and memories of Africa that will stay with them for life.

    Richard is married and is the proud father of 3 delightful daughters. We hope that one day at least one of them will follow in their father’s footsteps and contribute as significantly as Richard has to the tourism industry. Written by Libby White

    imbabala-sunriseeles

    Meet our People, Guide at Imbabala Zambezi Safari Lodge- Stanislous Chizipi

    Of all the things that make up a great safari the most important factor to a guests enjoyment and understanding is their guide. He or she is the person who ensures that guests experience the destination and all it has to offer to the fullest. Stan is one of our small but dedicated team of guides at Imababala and does a great job at ensuring his guests have an amazing time.  A gentle giant with a deep voice and an infectious smile Stan is passionate about what he does. One guest recently said in a review

    …Our guide Stan was fantastic. He can double as a voice over for James Earl Jones! He is knowledgeable about all of the game and birds. You also get the opportunity to do your game drives on the river with a pontoon boat, which makes the viewing even better when the wildlife is at the rivers edge or when the elephants are crossing the river. We saw many elephants and hippos and the bird population was amazing. Stan even spotted a leopard and honey badger on a night drive!

    Stanislous Chizipi was born in Rusape, a small charming town in the eastern district of Zimbabwe. One would be forgiven for stating that Stan was born for the job he is doing. Born in a family of 8 in typical rural Zimbabwe, young Stan was a cattle herder from a very young age. Initially he followed his older brothers, cousins and neighbours until he was old enough to be trusted with the family herd by himself. It was during these formative years that he developed his skills in spotting birds and small animals since his home area does not have big game. His love for nature and all its glories was nurtured and allowed to grow in this environment.

    All young boys in the rural areas desire to make it to the big city, seek employment and build a life. Stan was no exception and the completion of his O’Level studies in 1987 saw him move to the city of Mutare, Zimbabwe’s third largest city nestled in the beautiful Eastern Highlands. As fate would have it, he met a Mr Dixon, who was a member of the Eastern District Bird Club. It was this gentleman who introduced him to a world of birding and wildlife spotting, giving names and some fascinating background to some of the birds Stan had seen in his younger days. His childhood interest in animals and the wild grew until  he saw an article in a local department store’s magazine that featured a guide who was working in the Matopos National Park.

    This article led him to explore ways in which he could become a professional guide. He got in touch with the  Zimbabwe Professional Guides Association who provided the tutorials necessary for him to obtain his Learner’s Guide Licence in 1998. Job openings in his field of passion where however not readily available and it was only until 2003, that he got his first stint at a guiding job. He has never looked back.

    Stan has a wealth of stories to tell of his guiding expeditions and the vast experience he has gained over the years. He describes his favourite guiding experience as one night drive back in 2011 when he and his team came across a lion with a young buffalo kill. They watched him settle down to tackle the feed for about 10 minutes before 3 hyenas appeared on the scene. The scavengers tried to scare the lion off but he stood his ground prompting the hyenas to engage in their signature call for reinforcements. Within 5 minutes, 5 more hyenas joined the invading group and the pack mobbed the lion until he scurried off leaving his barely eaten meal.

    Comedy does not reside on the small screen and theatres alone; the wild also offers its fair share of lighter moments! With a huge grin on his face, Stan speaks of the time he witnessed a slender mangoose confidently having a go at a two metre python which then strangled him and the hunter became the hunted. He says.

    Do not start a battle you can’t finish.

    It has been said that if you do what you love, you will never work a day in your life. Stan is one person who thoroughly enjoys what he wakes up to do on a daily basis. “I enjoy watching birds and taking guests on drives and cruises, it gives me immense pleasure to be able to share my love for nature and what it has to offer with people who are experiencing it for the first time. ‘I thrive in that environment’.

    Of all the animals he has got to learn about and interact with, the firm favourite is the elephant. “This is because my first guiding experience in Victoria Falls was with the Wild Horizon’s Elephant Back Safari operation where I got so attached to this majestic land giant and learnt a lot about its gentle nature and behaviour”. To this day, any opportunity to work with elephants or interact with them in the wild brings about treasured memories of his early days of guiding.

    Stan is passionate about young people and the next generation. His advice to young people looking to begin a career in guiding would be for them to be well-disciplined and willing to learn as this is a dynamic field where one has to constantly keep abreast with the ever-changing environment. He asserts that this is a rewarding career for those with a passion for it and have a good and thorough knowledge of their subject matter.

    For the traveller, Stan has valuable tips on how to make the most of their trip. He reckons its best to take in the whole ecosystem to get the best possible bush experience. The flora and fauna is all interconnected and surprisingly highly dependent on each other hence the need for one to learn and understand how each animal is connected to the other and its usefulness in the wild. He sagely says

    People miss a lot in their rush to see the next big animal.

    Should you make it for a trip to our beautiful Victoria Falls and its environs, be sure to heed this experienced guide’s advice. Take your time and explore all that this magnificent land has to offer.

    Article by Tendai Chiwaka

    Images and Editing by Sarah Kerr

    Meet our People: spotlight on Abraham

    I first met Abraham Mhlanga, affectionately known as ‘AB’ to those close to him when he guided me at Imbabala Zambezi Lodge. From the moment we left the lodge with him he bought to life the wilderness around us. Although he first appears quiet Abraham is a small package that keeps surprising. Most apparent is his very keen eye. As he steered a pontoon boat along the glassy Zambezi river he would call out creatures on the side far before any of the rest of us could see them, and then steer us closer for a look.

    And whilst on game-drives Abraham ensured we were always interested even if we weren’t seeing big game. An excellent tracker Abraham showed me how you could tell an elephants speed through the distance between it’s front and back spoor, (this distance grows closer as an elephant picks up speed and the back foot may even overlap the front track if it’s running) and led us on a fascinating follow of a group of lions. Although we never saw the lions the thrill of the chase had us all as excited as if we had.

    I asked Abraham a few questions about his life and career as a guide. He was born in 1971,  in Hwange town outside the largest National Park in Zimbabwe. His love of nature and great tracking skills were first born here.

     …spent most of my life in this beautiful area with amazing ecotone on the edge of the seasonal Matetsi River. While herding cattle we fished, swam, and camped out- although sometimes we could do a lot of tracking of our lost cattle!

    After many years of hard work studying and gaining experience Abraham had passed his Learner Guides License; Spent years doing voluntary work in wildlife conservation with several companies; ran mobile safaris for 5 years; learnt to cook at Bulawayo Polytechnic college and worked as an assistant mechanic. I think it’s fair to say that Abraham is now a very handy man in the bush!

    In 2006 he started full time guiding at Imbabala Zambezi Safari Lodge and hasn’t looked back since. It is a sign of his commitment to his passion that when I ask him if he has had any funny questions from guests he replies seriously ‘There are no silly questions to a guide.’

     I always enjoy showing and teaching people about nature…To young people considering guiding as a career… this is a very rewarding career, you need passion about wildlife and the environment in general. Be prepared to work in the bush for a long stretch of time and in all weather conditions. To guests it is best to come with open minds and be appreciative of all the Flora and Fauna of Africa.

    Have you been guided by Abraham? You can leave your experiences in the comments. To be guided by Abraham Mhlanga make a booking at Imbabala Zambezi Safari Lodge or contact lodges@wildhorizons.co.zw

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