Travelling to West Africa has always been difficult, and the coronavirus outbreak has stepped this up a notch. Owing to this, countries in West Africa have developed unique travel protocols. For instance, some countries have their air borders opened, but their land borders remain closed. Generally, information regarding travelling around West Africa during this period is somewhat vague, hence, the need for this article.
It’s “Detty December” season! This is the first one since 2019, and the IJGBs (how to navigate Nigeria for the IJGB’s) are ready to turn West Africa upside down with their Forex and “anchored” mental health that only Afrobeats can set free. However, a new variant of the Covid-19 virus, Omicron, was named on the 26th of November, and this has made travelling back to and around West Africa complicated. As a result, people are already cancelling their trips back to avoid getting locked down in West Africa. But, if you’ve decided to “turn up” this December and still plan on travelling to West Africa, specifically Ghana, Benin, Togo, Senegal, or Nigeria, this article covers everything you need to know about the air, land, and sea travel situations, and the current Covid/travel requirements.
Good news! Ghana’s borders are open for Air travel!
Kotoka International Airport, Accra has been open since September 1, 2020, and commercial flights are operating to and from Ghana.
However, passengers are required to provide a Negative Covid-19 PCR result on arrival in Ghana. This test is expected to have been taken at the passenger’s departure location at least 72 hours (3 days) before arriving in Accra.
On arrival, another mandatory Covid-19 test will be carried out at Kotoka International Airport. This test costs $50 (per passenger) for Ghanaian citizens and citizens of ECOWAS member states and $150 for all other passengers. Payments must be made online before departing. This test is an antigen fluorescent immunoassay test, and the results come out in approximately 30 minutes.
Passengers that test positive for coronavirus will be required to undertake a mandatory 7-days isolation at a designated health facility or isolation centre, and the passengers will bear the full cost.
The government of Ghana also requires all passengers to fill an online health declaration form not more than 72 hours (3 days) before travelling. This form can be filled via the IVisa platform, and it costs $30 for non-western African passengers.
Passengers transiting through Kotoka airport will not be required to take the Covid test.
Finally, December has been declared as the Covid-19 vaccination month in Ghana, and all arriving passengers (age 18 and above) will be required to present proof of full vaccination. Also, Ghana is currently not on UK’s Covid red list.
Ghana Air Travel Checklist
Negative Covid-19 PCR Test result taken 3 days before departure
Mandatory Covid-19 Test on arrival at Kotoka International Airport, Accra
Complete Online Health Declaration Form 3 Days before departure to Ghana
Compulsory proof of Covid-19 Vaccination
The Land and sea border to Accra remain officially closed.
THE REPUBLIC OF BENIN
The airport in Cotonou, Cadjehoun International Airport, is open for commercial air travel.
As in Ghana, all passengers must complete an online health form before arriving in the Republic of Benin.
Also, all passengers must take a mandatory Covid-19 test. This test costs CFA 25,000 (convert to dollars) for normal service and CFA 50,000 for premium service. Testing for children under five years old is free.
Furthermore, there is an online guidance page that explains the steps for passengers to register online for their Covid-19 test on arriving in Cotonou.
Kindly note: COVID-19 test results are sent via an SMS text message. It can take up to 72 hours to receive the result from the day the test was taken. Passengers who test positive for Covid-19 may be quarantined in a government-designated hotel for at least 14 days if the symptoms are severe, and the passengers will bear the full cost. Therefore, to be cleared for entry into the country, you must test negative.
Cotonou is currently not on UK’s Covid red list.
Republic of Benin Air Travel Checklist
Complete online health form before arriving
Mandatory Covid-19 Test on arrival at Cadjehoun International Airport, Cotonou
Covid-19 Test results via SMS.
The Land borders between the Republic of Benin and Nigeria are currently open for regular commercial movements, and travellers are not required to undertake any Covid-19 test before entering the country via this route.
However, the land border between the Republic of Benin and Togo remain “officially” closed. Officially is in double-quotes because desperation is the mother of invention; if you get it, you get it, and if you don’t get it, forget about it.
Lome’s International Airport, Gnassingbe Eyadema airport, is open for commercial air travel.
Passengers are required to provide a Negative Covid-19 PCR test before travelling to Lome. The tests are expected to be carried out less than 7 days before your trip to Lome, and the results should be attached to the online health and immigration declaration form.
Also, passengers must register for a mandatory Covid-19 PCR test before arriving Lome at a cost of CFA 25,000. A QR-Code will be sent by email once this payment has been made. You won’t be allowed to travel to Lome, Togo without making this payment and printing out the QR-Code.
Covid-19 test results are sent via SMS and email. Passengers who test positive are quarantined until their tests are negative, and they bear all associated costs.
Also, all passengers must install the contact tracing mobile application, Togo Safe, and keep it activated for at least 30 days.
Kindly note: Togo is currently not on UK’s Covid red list.
TOGO AIR TRAVEL CHECKLIST
Negative Covid-19 PCR test taken less than 7 days before departure
Complete the online health and immigration form and Pay for your Covid-19 test before departure
Print out the QR code receipt sent via SMS and Email before departure
Mandatory Covid-19 test on arrival
The Land border to Lome, Togo from the Republic of Benin and Ghana remain officially closed.
The airport in Dakar, Blaise Diagne International Airport, is open to all commercial air travel to and from Dakar, Senegal.
All arriving passengers are required to present proof of full vaccination with one of the WHO-approved vaccines at least 14 days before departure.
Also, passengers must provide a negative PCR or RT-PCR COVID-19 test taken in the country from which they departed. The test must be taken at least 5 days before arriving in Dakar. However, passengers who arrive without a COVID-19 test or vaccination card may have one done at the airport at a cost of CFA 25,000 per test.
Passengers must also download and fill a passenger locator form before arriving in Senegal; this form should be presented to the transport companies before boarding and to the border control authorities.
Kindly note: Senegal is currently not on UK’s Covid red list.
SENEGAL’S AIR TRAVEL CHECKLIST
Covid-19 Vaccination Card.
Negative Covid-19 PCR test taken 5 days before departure.
Download and Fill the Passenger locator’s form.
The Land and Sea borders remain closed except the Senegal-Gambia border.
The Nigerian airspace is open for international travel.
Passengers, age 10 and above, travelling to Nigeria will be required to provide a negative PCR COVID-19 test taken at least 2 days (48 hours) before departure.
Passengers must register and make a payment of N50,000 on the Nigeria International Travel Portal (NITP) for a repeat PCR test on Day 2, after arrival. Unvaccinated and partially vaccinated passengers will be required to take another PCR test on Day 7, after arrival.
Furthermore, a health declaration and a contact form is to be uploaded on the Portal.
Kindly note: Nigeria is no longer on the UK’s Covid red list.
NIGERIA’S AIR TRAVEL CHECKLIST
Negative Covid-19 PCR test taken 48 Hours before departure
Repeat Covid-19 PCR test on Day 2 after arrival
Complete the health declaration and contact form
The Nigeria-Benin land border is currently open for physical movements, but commercial activities are still barred.
To end this,
Be fast, and have no regrets. The greatest regret will be not moving.
Thanks for reading, and enjoy your holidays!