Amidst this global Covid 19 pandemic, one of the most frequently asked questions is "whether Masai Mara National Reserve is open and operational ?" Yes, Masai Mara National Reserve is open and has been through the pandemic with most of the camps and lodges also open. In line with the latest recommendations from the World Health Organization(WHO) and the Kenyan Government, camps and lodges in Masai Mara are required to adhere to health and safety measures to ensure the safety of all guests, staff, and the local community without compromising the high standards and quality of safari experience.
One of the other questions that is often asked is "whether it is safe to travel to Kenya during Covid 19 ? Yes, it is relatively very safe to travel to Kenya and particularly to Masai Mara for a safari as the reserve is inherently so open and spaced out - the wilderness basically. Kenya has also been awarded the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC) ‘Safe Travel Stamp’ in recognition of the standardized global health and hygiene protocols that the government and private sectors have put in place.
Covid 19 Requirements for travellers arriving in Kenya: For all passengers flying into Kenya, it is mandatory to fill a health surveillance form online here after check-in and prior to arrival. After submitting the form you will receive a QR code via email which has to be shown to port health officials in order to proceed to arrival immigration.
You must also present a negative COVID-19 PCR test taken within 96 hours or less prior to departure. You can get the list of countries exempted from quarantine upon arrival here. The other requirement is for all visitors requiring a Visa to enter Kenya to apply for an eVisa online here, in advance before leaving their country or boarding the aircraft. No Visas will be issued on arrival in Kenya starting January 2021.
Covid 19 Testing in Masai Mara : In line with the new requirement that all passengers departing Kenya must have proof of a negative Covid-19 PCR test inorder to board their flight, some of the camps in Masai Mara have introduced onsite Covid 19 testing for guests staying at their camps to ensure they have a smooth safai experience ! This also means that an extra night in Nairobi after your safari may not be necessary.
Some camps have qualified medical staff available at their camps to facilitate the in-house PCR testing, while ensuring that all the testing protocols are adhered to. They have also partnered with Government approved laboratories that facilitate in providing Trusted Travel (TT) verification code for guests who require a negative test upon their return home or to board their onward flight.
In most camps the total cost of the test is based on the final transport requirements of the samples and ranges between US$ 250 to US$ 350 per person. The test results will be available within 48 hrs via email or via SMS, as a digital and printable certificate.
There are also companies such as the Pumba collection which is based near the Mara Rianta Camp, which offer the PCR Covid 19 test in Masai Mara. The test cost is US$ 110 per person if you get tested at their centre. If they come to you at your camp, the test cost is US$ 140 per person for a minimum of two (2) persons.
In Nairobi you can get tested at any of Government approved laboratories such as Amref Medical Centre for Covid 19 Testing located at Wilson Airport. The Amref Covid 19 testing centre is only open from Monday to Friday between 8:30 am to 3:30 pm. They are closed on weekends and public holidays. The covid test fee is Kshs. 5,700 per person, paid at the clinic. You will receive your test results within 24hrs of your test via email.