The Mosque-Madrassa of Sultan Hassan with the Pyramids in the background, Cairo, Egypt. Photo: Getty.
Entry requirements: negative PCR test before departure and proof of health insurance. As of September 1 Egypt is allowing unrestricted entry to foreigners provided they arrive with proof of a negative test taken within the past 72 hours. Children under age 6 are exempt from this. Egyptian authorities have also reopened a number of cultural sites including the pyramids and many museums. Visitors can also travel to Luxor and Aswan. Reports indicate cruises on the Nile will restart in October.
Current COVID-19 trend: showing improvement. Egypt has had just over 100,000 cases of COVID-19 but daily case counts remained low throughout August and into this month.
The shoreline at Butre Beach as seen from Fort Battenstein, along Ghana's Gold Coast. Photo Getty
Entry requirements: negative PCR test before departure plus a test upon arrival for $150. Ghana restarted international flights on September 1 and also requires that passengers arrive with a negative test taken at most 72 hours prior to travel. But they take things one step further by conducting a test on arrival as well, at a cost of $150 per person (children less than five years old are exempt.) The results from the test take around 30 minutes to come back, after which the visitor can move freely within the country. Count on spending a little time at the airport after arrival, in any case.
Current COVID-19 trend: quite okay. Ghana has had low daily case counts in recent weeks and has just 283 deaths recorded since the start of the pandemic. For now the epidemiological situation looks relatively good.
The skyline of Manama, Bahrain as night falls. Photo: Getty.
Entry requirements: up to two tests on arrival at ~$80 each. As of September 4, Bahrain has resumed issuing visa on arrival to many nationalities including the US. While the country previously required a 10-day quarantine, Bahrain has now done away with it after finding that only a very small percentage of those in quarantine ended up having COVID-19. Note also that if you stay longer than 10 days in Bahrain, you’ll be required to take another PCR test.
Current COVID-19 trend: somewhat worrying. Cases have been on the rise again lately, although daily deaths remain flat. Bahrain has only seen 202 COVID-19 deaths since the start of the pandemic.
One more country to consider
Bermuda didn’t make the list last week but it probably should have, despite the fact that a 24-hour quarantine is required on arrival. The island nation has been open to visitors since July and has not seen any spike in cases.
A typical Bermuda scene. Photo: Getty.
Entry requirements: A travel authorization in advance (cost: $75), a negative PCR test before departure and a test on arrival plus 24-hour quarantine. The quarantine on arrival is completed at the visitor’s accommodations and they are free to leave them as soon as the arrival test comes back negative. Children under 10 years old are exempt from the testing requirement, but are subject to the quarantine of the adult(s) they’re traveling with.
Current COVID-19 trend: very good. Daily cases remain in the single digits and the island’s total case count since March is just 175, with 9 deaths. For now it appears there is very little virus in Bermuda.
Four more that came close
A number of other countries didn’t make it onto today’s list – but they came close. In most cases this is because while they are technically open to travel to, they either have onerous restrictions in place or there is not enough concrete information available to make an informed decision about visiting. With any luck some of these will join the list of places to go in the coming weeks.
The chance to see silverback gorillas in the Virunga National Park of Rwanda is one of the big draws for tourists to the country. Photo: Getty.
Rwanda is open and only requires 24 hours of quarantine after taking a test on arrival at your hotel, similar to Bermuda. However a national curfew from 7pm onwards keeps it off the list for now.
Tanzania is also open with no special requirements for testing or quarantine. Some readers wondered why last week’s article didn’t include it. The reason is that Tanzania has not published any data about COVID-19 infections in the country since April. Without any clear idea of the epidemiological situation in the country, it’s difficult to make informed decisions.
An African elephant in the savannah, in the world-famous Serengeti National Park, Tanzania. Photo: Getty