5 off-the-beaten-track destinations in Africa open to tourism

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Still relatively unexplored by Westerners, Africa may be the most underrated continent in the world. From its Atlantic to Indian shores, the Cradle of Humankind is brimming with culture and ready to be rediscovered after two years of Covid.

Unlike several well-known destinations in Asia or the Caribbean, which still impose stricter travel rules, others in Africa, which are just as heavenlywelcome American travelers with open arms and very simple entry requirements.

Here you will find 5 destinations off the beaten track on the African continent that are currently open to American, Canadian and British visitors, whether testing or vaccination is required to enter, and most importantly: what these amazing countries have to offer.

Green cap

Santa Maria Beach in Sal, Cape Verde

In search of pristine beaches with the clearest waters, luxury resorts that are much more affordable than similar beach retreats in the Maldives or Cancun, and a cozy vibe tropical climate all year round? Cape Verde might just be that dream destination you never knew you needed.

Archipelago on the west coast of Africa, this country steeped in history owes its dual Euro-African identity to its close ties with Portugal and is characterized by several island getaways vacationers can choose from the tourist hotspots of Sal and Boa Vista.

Cabo San Lucas marina in Cape Verde

Covid entry requirements for Cape Verde

As far as Covid entry requirements go, Cape Verde is obviously one of the easiest countries to visit on the African continent at the moment. To enter, Americans must complete a travel form in advance and present only one of the following documents:

  • A vaccination certificate certifying full immunization with all required doses of an approved vaccination schedule;
  • A reminder letter dated no earlier than 90 days before departure;
  • A negative PCR test result issued within 72 hours of the flight;
  • A negative Rapid Antigen test result obtained 48 hours before the flight.

Once in Cape Verde, in addition to regular temperature checks at the airport, visitors are not required to undergo further testing or observe quarantine, being able to enjoy their time in the sun without worries. On the other hand, the presentation of Covid documents may be necessary for inter-island travel.


African huts in the hills of Mozambique

Like Cape Verde, Mozambique is a former Portuguese colony and a nation blessed with incredible wildlife, beaches and marine parks. Astride the Indian Ocean coastthis hidden gem is just as fascinating as neighboring South Africa, but without the usual tourist crowds.

Here you can visit the Quirimbas archipelago, made up of 250 km of coral islands, explore the impressive ruins of Ibo, an island that owes much of its history to the Portuguese colonial period, or simply relax on quieter beaches like Tofo.

Old Christian church from colonial times in Mozambique

Covid entry requirements for Mozambique

While Mozambique does not require proof of vaccination to enternor does it distinguish between existing traveler categories, expecting all incoming passengers to show proof of a negative PCR test, issued up to 72 hours before travel.

US citizens also need a visa to visit Mozambique, which is issued upon arrival. Travelers are advised to contact the Mozambican authorities in order to obtain more information on visa fees, which may vary depending on the length of their stay. In summary, they must wear:

View of the Indian Ocean and a small fishing village in Mozambique
  • A negative PCR test result issued up to 72 hours before travel;
  • A return ticket;
  • An accommodation reservation.

Despite the availability of visas on arrival, U.S. Embassy in Mozambique advises Americans to obtain visas in advance from the Mozambican Embassy in Washington, noting that some “US citizens have been denied entry because they did not obtain the correct type of visa in advance.”


Baie Beau Vallon beach on the island of Mahé in the Seychelles

Seychelles is an archipelago country in the Indian Ocean, off the eastern coast of Africa, and one of the most developed nations on the entire continent. Its small capital, Victoria, offers a more laid-back city break, while Morne Seychellois National Park allows visitors to reconnect with nature.

Boat trips are also a common activity in the Seychelles islands, renowned for their water sports activities and some of the the most beautiful secret beaches in Africa. When visiting, travelers will likely land on Mahé, the main island and the country’s most important hub.

Overlook of Eden Island, Seychelles

Covid entry requirements for Seychelles

Since March 15, 2022, fully vaccinated visitors no longer need to take Covid tests before traveling to Seychelles. If more than six months have passed since the end of a primary vaccination schedule, they must have received a booster in order to continue to be eligible for bypass testing.

Other travelers are also welcome, although they may need to be tested before flying, especially those who are unvaccinated and have not had Covid in the year prior to travel. In fgeneral, travelers must select one of the Covid proofs of entry below:

  • A vaccination certificate dated less than 6 months;
  • A booster dose;
  • A certificate of recovery dating from less than a year before the trip;
  • A negative PCR test within 72 hours of travel;
  • A negative Rapid Antigen test in less than 24 hours.


Safari 4x4 car driving through the African Saharan landscape, Tanzania

Tanzania is another surprising southeastern African destination, wedged between snow-capped peaks to the north, the nations of Uganda, Rwanda, and Burundi to the west, Mozambique to the south, and the Indian Ocean. to the East.

It is home to the impressive Mount Kilimanjaro, the highest mountain in all of Africa, and the self-governing island of Zanzibar, home to the UNESCO-listed Stone City. Classic African safaris and wildlife viewing are also popular activities among visitors.

Arab Fort in Stone City, Zanzibar, Tanzania

Covid entry requirements for Tanzania

Tanzania is open to tourism.

Those who have been fully vaccinated against Covid are exempt from all sorts of testing before and after arriving in Tanzania, but must be able to present a valid certificate with a readable QR code upon landing. It means US citizens who only hold a physical CDC card may face other challenges.

Three giraffes in Kilimanjaro National Park, Tanzania, Africa

Alternatively, those who do not hold a valid vaccination certificate may enter by presenting either a negative RT-PCR or NAAT test result. The test should be performed within 72 hours of departure and presented at the border upon disembarkation. Thus, Americans are advised to hold either:

  • Digital vaccination certificate with a QR code; or one
  • Negative PCR or NAAT test result taken 72 hours before the flight.

Sao Tome and Principe

Sunset in Santo Antonio, capital of Sao Tome and Principe, Africa

An island country located in the Gulf of Guinea, São Tomé and Principe has been made famous for its striking nature, which includes unique rock formations and an abundance of rainforests. As another former colony of Portugal, its cities also feature traditional Portuguese architecture.

Beach lovers will also inevitably fall in love with the country, which boasts miles of pristine coastline. Some of its most famous attractions are Rolas Island, a small island with beaches with turquoise watersthe Cão Grande peak, which is a major national monument, and the Blue Lagoon.

Cao Grande Peak in Sao Tome and Principe, Africa

Covid entry requirements for São Tomé and Príncipe

São Tomé and Príncipe has some of the easiest Covid entry requirements on this list. All are welcome regardless of vaccination status, although all travelers must undergo testing before departure. Once the border is crossed, Americans are free to explore the islands without restriction.

In short, they must present a single document:

  • A negative PCR test result obtained within 72 hours of travel.
Maasai villagers in Kenya, Africa

Whether it’s unexpected beach breaks, unique experiences in the arid Sahara, or city tours across different countries, there’s certainly no shortage of places to visit in Africa.

As more and more countries on this continent reopen to tourism, Americans are advised to follow official CDC guidelines before you plan your trip and make sure they are covered for any Covid-related eventualities abroad.

Read more:

Travel insurance that covers Covid-19 for 2022

5 alternatives to the classic African safari trip

10 nonstop international flight routes you can take from the US this year

US State Department issues 28 new travel advisories

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Disclaimer: Current Travel Rules and Restrictions may change without notice. The decision to travel is ultimately your responsibility. Contact your consulate and/or local authorities to confirm entry of your nationality and/or any changes to travel conditions before travelling. Travel Off Path does not approve travel against government advice

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