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When traveling abroad, the top concern for many Americans is safety.

Whether it is due to ongoing conflict, special events such as the 2024 Paris Olympics, natural disasters like a volcano currently erupting in Iceland or an uptick in crime, conditions of countries can change rapidly, affecting both travelers and locals.

To help keep American travelers safe, the U.S. Department of State issues and maintains travel advisories for U.S. citizens based on current circumstances.

These advisories can be particularly helpful for first-time and younger travelers, though the agency encourages all people to review them for their desired destination ahead of travel.

What are travel advisories based on?

Although travel warnings originate from the State Department and live on its website, they are a joint effort between the State Department’s Office of Overseas Citizens Services and U.S. consulates and embassies worldwide.

“We’ve got our diplomats and consular officers on the ground in all those places, who have more up-to-date information than anyone in Washington could have,” said Angela Kerwin, deputy assistant secretary for Overseas Citizens Services, during a Zoom interview Thursday. “But we use a variety of information in order to look at the criteria that go into our travel advisories around the world.”

In addition to crime reports, nongovernmental organization reports and those from international organizations such as the United Nations, the government considers nine risk factors in determining the level at which each country’s advisory should be set:

  • C — Crime: Widespread violence or organized crime is present in areas of the country. Local law enforcement may have limited ability to respond to serious crimes.
  • T — Terrorism: Terrorist attacks have occurred and/or specific threats against civilians, groups or other targets may exist.
  • U — Civil Unrest: Political, economic, religious and/or ethnic instability exists and may cause violence, major disruptions and/or safety risks.
  • H — Health: Health risks, including current disease outbreaks or a crisis that disrupts a country’s medical infrastructure. The issuance of a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Travel Health Notice may also be a factor.
  • N — Natural Disaster: A natural disaster, or its aftermath, poses danger.
  • E — Time-limited Event: Short-term events, such as elections, sporting events or other incidents that may pose safety risks.
  • K — Kidnapping or Hostage Taking: Criminal or terrorist individuals or groups have threatened to and/or have seized or detained and threatened to kill, injure or continue to detain individuals in order to compel a third party (including a governmental organization) to do or abstain from doing something as a condition of release.
  • D — Wrongful Detention: The risk of wrongful detention of U.S. nationals exists.
  • O — Other: Potential risks are not covered by previous risk indicators. Read the country’s travel advisory for details.

Although the most recently added category, Wrongful Detention, only applies to a handful of countries, it’s an important criterion for travelers to note when a country has detained a U.S. citizen without cause.

Level 1 to 4 tiered warning system

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Based on that nine-rubric system, plus reports and input from U.S. consulates and embassies in these countries, the agency assigns each country a Level 1 to 4 tiered warning, with 1 being the lowest level, indicating relative safety, and 4 being the highest, meaning travelers should not visit.

Level 1: Exercise normal precautions

This is the lowest level a country can achieve, making it among the safest for Americans to visit. As with any travel, there is always some risk, so every country will always have at least a Level 1 advisory.

Level 2: Exercise increased caution

Under a Level 2 designation, a country has increased safety or security risks, but they likely won’t preclude you from traveling there.

Level 3: Reconsider travel

A Level 3 advisory tells travelers to potentially defer trips to the country in question, as serious potential risks exist.

Level 4: Do not travel

The most serious advisories are Level 4 recommendations, which alert you to avoid travel to designated countries and areas due to a greater threat of potentially life-threatening risks and limited resources to help Americans.

What else to know about travel advisories

In addition to the State Department’s general travel advisory, a country’s information page will also provide any timely alerts from the corresponding U.S. embassy and/or consulate to consider.

There are also certain countries where the agency can provide “carve-outs” to communicate information related to specific areas or regions within a particular country.

“Perhaps the country itself is a Level 3 country, but there is one particular border area that has ongoing kinetic activity of some sort, and we’d say that would be a Level 4,” Kerwin explained.

These carve-outs are most often found in Mexico, as the U.S. shares a border with the country and more Americans travel to Mexico for tourism than elsewhere.

“Mexico is a special case. We also have more U.S. consulates than we do in any other country in the world, and for that reason, we are able to provide state-by-state travel advisory levels in Mexico,” Kerwin said. “[With] other countries around the world, [we] just simply don’t have the ability to have that level of detail; the specificity is greater for Mexico.”

ARTUR WIDAK/NURPHOTO/GETTY IMAGES

Because data is the main source of information for crafting these advisories, not all alerts can be created equally.

“It is impossible to say that we can apply all nine criteria exactly the same in country A as we do in country B. You’re going to have more statistical data of a reliable type for … Germany than you would Chad,” Kerwin explained. “So to compare the exact same report for Germany with the exact same report for Chad is not something that makes sense because it’s generally not going to be available.”

In those cases, the government relies on its embassies and consulates, which are present in most of these countries, to help inform its alerts.

“We’ve got people on the ground who are often best positioned to help us evaluate the number of kidnappings, the level of civil unrest, how many terrorist attacks reported or not reported,” she said.

Note that a lack of readily available or accurate data doesn’t make the country inherently riskier or more dangerous for travelers.

“It just means that we don’t have the exact type of data that we would have in another country,” Kerwin said. “We would have to rely more heavily on embassy reporting and our folks there, but it does not necessarily mean it is a more dangerous country.”

Does a Level 4 alert mean I should avoid traveling there?

In short, the answer is yes.

At the time of publication, there were 19 countries with Level 4 alerts, per the State Department.

“These are the places we deem as the most dangerous for U.S. citizens to travel to, and we would really like U.S. citizens to look at other destinations,” Kerwin said. In part, that’s because of the limited consular or embassy services available in these places should an American need help.

“Every U.S. citizen gets to make up their own mind on where they want to travel. That’s all we can do as a government,” she continued. “If a U.S. citizen finds themselves in a situation where they need to travel to one of these countries for whatever reason, we would ask that they look at our travel advisories in advance, read our country information sheet. We would certainly recommend if we have a functioning embassy, that they save that information on their phone so they can contact the embassy if necessary.”

But overall, travelers should avoid traveling to Level 4 countries if possible.

“Each of these Level 4 countries will tell you what our concerns are with these countries and [that] our criteria has been met,” Kerwin said. “We believe it is quite dangerous to go there.”

How often are State Department travel advisories updated?

HALLDOR KOLBEINS/AFP/GETTY IMAGES

When viewing a travel advisory, you’ll note at the top the date it was last updated, as alerts are updated on a rolling basis.

Generally speaking, Level 4 and Level 3 alerts are updated at least once every six months, while Level 1 and Level 2 alerts are examined at least once per year, pending evolving circumstances.

“If something changes or some precipitating event, we would do it earlier as needed,” Kerwin said.

For example, on Thursday, the U.S. Embassy in Reykjavik issued its own alert regarding a volcanic eruption in southwest Iceland that morning. When embassy alerts are issued for isolated events in a particular region of a country, it does not necessarily reflect the overall level of the country as a whole.

Despite the volcano warning, Iceland remained at Level 1, as it has since July. If it had been a more widespread eruption affecting general European air travel, that would have prompted the agency to update the travel advisory as a whole.

“Right now, by sending out that security alert, we’re saying stay away from the volcano, but if you wanna go have dinner in Reykjavik, follow our regular information we have on our travel advisory,” Kerwin said.

That volcano alert also went out via the agency’s Smart Traveler Enrollment Program, which sends relevant security updates from the nearest U.S. Consulate, and which Kerwin advised travelers to enroll in as another way to stay safe abroad.

“So anybody who is registered in STEP traveling to or who is living in Iceland would’ve gotten an email to say, ‘Hey, be aware the volcano erupted again today, we’re watching it closely; pay attention,’” she explained. “We have those various security alerts that we can send out at any time in a country based on late-breaking events.”

Special events, such as the upcoming 2024 Paris Olympics, will also trigger additional and/or more frequent alerts.

“We will be paying special attention to that. We expect there will be a large number of U.S. citizens that are headed in that direction to cheer on our team, and we want to make sure that we are giving them the best information we can about their time when they’re traveling,” Kerwin said.

Other things to consider when traveling abroad

As with travel in general, the State Department advises Americans heading overseas to prepare in advance.

“We have a slogan we’ve been using, and I like it; it’s called ‘travel smart from the start,’ and that starts even before you decide what destination,” Kerwin said. That slogan applies to details like checking that you have enough validity on your passport (most countries require six months at the time of entry) and buying travel insurance.

Kerwin also advises procuring the contact information for the nearest U.S. government presence (i.e., the embassy or consulate) via the State Department’s list of U.S. embassies and consulates.

“Jot down on paper, take a picture on your phone and save the U.S. Embassy/Consulate phone number or email address so you can get in contact with us if there’s a problem,” she said. “And always be aware of your surroundings … a heightened level of awareness … is important for travelers no matter where they’re going.”

Bottom line

ARTUR WIDAK/NURPHOTO/GETTY IMAGES

With travel comes an inherent risk, and the government aims to help travelers remain safe domestically and abroad.

While the decision to travel is ultimately up to the traveler, these travel advisories should be taken seriously.

“Our goal is to always provide the best advice and information we can for U.S. citizens so they can make their decisions as to where they wish they travel,” Kerwin said.

Therefore, heed these travel warnings from the State Department via U.S. embassies, consulates and the department’s STEP program.

“The final thing — and this is an important one — is to have fun,” Kerwin added. “Travel is fantastic — you get to see new cultures, and you get to experience new languages and beautiful countries and beautiful cities. We want U.S. citizens to travel and have fun on their adventures around the world.”

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As winter blankets the north, Africa preheats to unveil its signature summer safari. Our beautiful continent – drizzled with summer rains – unfolds like Jamie Oliver’s garden flourishing with fresh herbs. Are you ready to make every bite of your African experience even more delectable? Allow us to share our exclusive summer safari recipe with you…

Bush breakfasts at Silvan Safari

Bush breakfasts are a highlight at Silvan Safari

1. Cape Town – The Appetiser of Every Summer Safari

Your journey begins in Cape Town, South Africa, where Table Mountain stands tall as an iconic centrepiece. This is where your palate is first teased, with the trendy allure of Clifton Beach, the colourful zest of Bo-Kaap, and so many more captivating canapés.

Travellers enjoying the city views from the edge of the Table

Enjoy mesmerising views from the edge of the Table Mountain National Park

Where to Stay

Garnish your plate with Camissa House if you’re craving panoramic city views. Alternatively, if you prefer a more tangy take on Cape Town living, marinate in the colonial charm of the Cape Grace at the V&A Waterfront.

What to Experience

We suggest adding a private tour of the city and Cape Peninsula to really enhance the ambience of your adventure.

Happy couple at Camissa House

A sensational summer commences at Camissa House 

2. Cape Winelands – A Sophisticated Palate Cleanser

As your summer safari simmers, infuse it with the aromatic flavours of the Cape Winelands. A stone’s throw from Cape Town, Stellenbosch and Franschhoek are excellent pairings before diving into Africa’s wildlife-rich landscapes.

Cape Winelands

The Cape Winelands offers a spectacular array of tastes and sights, Image Credit: Delaire Graff

Where to Stay

Amidst rolling vineyards, you’re spoiled for choice! Savour the scenic beauty of Spier Hotel, indulge in opulence at Delaire Graff Lodge and Spa, or revel in the historic farm setting of Babylonstoren.

What to Experience

In addition to wine tastings, layer your tantalising journey with Spier’s fully-catered picnics, the artistic nuances of Delaire Graff, and the tangy twist of Babylonstoren’s Olive Oil and Balsamic Vinegar Tour.

Four women enjoying a summer picnic

Your summer safari isn’t complete without a picnic, Image Credit: Hazendal

3. Greater Kruger – The Summer Safari Main Course

Roast your summer safari to perfection in the Greater Kruger. With diverse landscapes, various wildlife, including the Big 5, many bird species and luxurious accommodations, Kruger offers a safari experience that’s second to none.

Singita Ebony Lodge deck with firepit and stunning views of the river

There are a variety of luxury lodges to choose from in Kruger National Park, Image Credit: Singita Ebony Lodge

Where to Stay

Glaze your stay at Kruger with a generous helping of Silvan Safari in Sabi Sand, the cosy tenderness of Saseka Tented Camp in Thornybush, or the wild spice of Senalala Safari Lodge in Klaserie Private Game Reserve.

What to Experience

Pepper your stay with thrilling game drives, the unique Silvan Safari Gin Experience, Thornybush’s enriching community interaction, and an adventurous walking safari at Senalala.

Leopard in the wild

Africa is brimming with all sorts of wildlife surprises

4. Bazaruto Archipelago – The Dessert of Dreams

Conclude your summer safari on a sweet note with the serene beaches of the Bazaruto Archipelago in Mozambique. Think idyllic islands, crystal clear waters and dazzling sunsets. Dreamy right? It’s the perfect backdrop to unwind. 

Woman relaxing in her ocean-front plunge pool

The Bazaruto Archipelago is known as the “Pearl of the Indian Ocean”, Image Credit: Azura Benguerra Island

Where to Stay

Whip up the perfect last serving at Anantara Bazaruto Island Resort and Spa as well as Azura Benguerra Island, complete with heavenly ocean views and a luxurious helping of sumptuous villa toppings.

What to Experience

Add layers to this dessert dish by folding in rich coral reefs, snorkelling, sun-kissed beach days, deep sea diving, horse riding, traditional Dhow sailing, and as many (or as little) watersports as you like!

Horse riding in the shallows of the shoreline

Look forward to an array of island activities, Image Credit: Azura Benguerra Island

A Customised Summer Safari Menu Just for You

And there you have it – our secret recipe for the ultimate summer safari. However, we know that everyone has particular tastes when it comes to preparing their perfect trip.

So, as the gourmet chefs of African travel, we’re here to create a holiday menu just for you! Here are some itinerary options to get you day dreaming…

Elephant sighting on a game drive

We have the expertise to tantalise all you travel cravings, Image Credit: Londolozi

It’s Time to Dig In!

Whether you’re craving to squeeze in a sneaky safari in the next couple of months or longing for a wild banquet next year, we’re here to serve the very best. Let’s start planning your summer safari today!

Featured Image Credit: Singita Castleton

Summer safari in Kruger's Sabi Sand Private Game

Editor’s note: This post has been updated with new information.

When the first cruises allowing Americans restarted in spring 2021, all major lines were sailing with at least 90% of passengers vaccinated against COVID-19. That meant they required just about everyone on board to have their shots, with only a few exceptions allowed for young children and people who can’t be vaccinated due to medical conditions or religious beliefs.

Since then, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has withdrawn its opt-in guidance for cruise lines, and most are now allowing unvaccinated passengers to sail. In fact, most aren’t even checking to see if cruisers are vaccinated or not.

However, with cases picking up seasonally and new booster vaccines rolling out, will you need a vaccine to cruise? Click on your favorite cruise line above, under “Jump to Section,” to find out.

For more cruise news, reviews and tips, sign up for TPG’s new cruise newsletter.

Note: In order to be considered “fully vaccinated,” passengers must have received their final shot (not including boosters) at least 15 days prior to embarkation. Most lines only accept vaccines (or a combination of vaccines) recognized and approved by the World Health Organization and the CDC. Generally, proof of inoculation must include your name, the type of vaccine you received and the dates on which you received all required doses.

Booster shots are not required unless specifically noted. However, keep in mind that the rules may vary by country, with some lines requiring boosters for international departures due to local regulations or for extra-long sailings like ocean crossings when port calls are few or nonexistent. Passengers who have their boosters are considered “up to date” rather than merely “fully vaccinated.”

For general information on testing, please refer to our article on cruise testing requirements.

RAYCHEL BRIGHTMAN/NEWSDAY RM/GETTY IMAGES

AmaWaterways

Vaccine required? No

AmaWaterways no longer requires proof of vaccination for passengers. However, cruisers are responsible for meeting the requirements of the countries in which they’ll be traveling. If they do not, standard cancellation fees will apply. Pre-cruise testing is not required. Should passengers become ill during their cruise, AmaWaterways will assist in procuring testing and other medical services, which will be the financial responsibility of those guests.

American Cruise Lines

Vaccine required? No

American Cruise Lines does not have a vaccine requirement for all passengers on any of its sailings. Pre-cruise testing is no longer required.

American Queen Voyages

Vaccine required? No

Vaccines are not required to sail with American Queen Voyages, and pre-cruise testing is no longer required.

Related: What happens if someone tests positive for COVID-19 on your cruise

Atlas Ocean Voyages

Vaccine required? No

Vaccination is not mandatory for Atlas cruises, but passengers must comply with regulations in countries on their scheduled itinerary, which could require that they be up to date on their shots. Additionally, pre-cruise testing is no longer a requirement.

Avalon Waterways

Vaccine required? No

Avalon Waterways no longer requires proof of vaccination or a negative test prior to passenger boarding. However, mandatory testing and proof of vaccination could still be required in some countries the line visits.

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Azamara

Vaccine required? No

Azamara recommends that passengers follow local regulations and the latest guidance from government health organizations when determining which vaccines to obtain prior to travel. The line also does not require negative test results in order to board unless mandated by local governments in the ports where the line’s ships sail.

Carnival Cruise Line

Vaccine required? No

Neither vaccines nor pre-cruise testing is required for Carnival sailings. However, the line recommends that anyone 5 years or older be up to date on their shots and carry proof. It also suggests that cruisers test themselves no further than three days from their sailing date to make sure they’re in good health.

Celebrity Cruises

Vaccine required? No

Celebrity does not mandate vaccination or testing for any passenger on any sailing unless required by regulations in the ports its ships are visiting.

Related: Cruise ship contact tracing: How the world’s major lines are tracking COVID-19 exposure

Celestyal Cruises

Vaccine required? No

Celestyal continues to require all crew members to be fully vaccinated, but passengers don’t have to be. The line recommends anyone 12 and older be up to date on their inoculations. Testing is also no longer necessary in order to board Celestyal ships.

ASHLEY KOSCIOLEK/THE POINTS GUY

Cunard Line

Vaccine required? No

Although Cunard suggests that travelers be fully vaccinated and current with their boosters, proof of immunization is not required, nor is pre-cruise testing for any of the line’s sailing unless required by law.

Disney Cruise Line

Vaccine required? No

Disney Cruise Line encourages — but does not require — all passengers to be fully vaccinated before sailing. It also recommends pre-cruise testing, no more than two days prior to embarkation, for anyone who doesn’t have their shots.

Emerald Cruises

Vaccine required? No

Emerald Cruises suggests that all passengers be vaccinated, but it no longer checks for proof. Pre-cruise testing is also no longer required, but the line advises travelers to check local regulations in the places they’ll be visiting.

Grand Circle Cruise Line

Vaccine required? Yes

Grand Circle has mandated that all passengers must be fully vaccinated at least 14 days prior to embarkation as a condition of carriage, and proof must be provided before boarding. Passengers who are not fully vaccinated will have to return home at their own expense. Boosters are not mandatory. Pre-cruise testing might be required, depending on your port of embarkation. (The line will send you that information prior to your sailing.)

Hapag-Lloyd Cruises

Vaccine required? No

Hapag-Lloyd does not require vaccinations or pre-cruise testing as a condition of sailing. However, the line recommends both to passengers as precautions. It also advises that cruisers are responsible for knowing and adhering to all local guidelines and regulations.

SARAH L. VOISIN/THE WASHINGTON POST/GETTY IMAGES

Holland America

Vaccine required? No

Holland America now allows unvaccinated passengers to sail and does not make pre-cruise testing compulsory unless either of these is required by local regulations in the areas its vessels sail. Booked cruisers can search for requirements specific to their individual sailings by using this tool.

Hurtigruten

Vaccine required? Sometimes

On expedition cruises with Hurtigruten, passengers are not required to show proof of vaccination, except on 2023 and 2024 voyages to Antarctica and the Northwest Passage or West Africa sailings departing from and returning to Dakar. Immunization is also not necessary for the line’s non-expedition itineraries, but it is recommended for both coastal voyages and expedition cruises. Neither type of cruise requires negative test results as a condition of embarkation. Passengers with reservations can check specific protocols for their specific bookings using this tool.

Lindblad Expeditions

Vaccine required? No

Lindblad passengers no longer need to provide proof of vaccination in order to cruise, and pre-cruise testing is no longer required, including at embarkation. Exceptions might apply for departures from certain destinations. The line urges passengers to follow government recommendations for masking, testing and vaccination.

Related: Why I feel safer now on a cruise ship than in my hometown

MSC Cruises

Vaccine required? No

Vaccination and testing are no longer terms of carriage when sailing with MSC Cruises. The line still recommends that passengers receive their shots and notes that it’s each passenger’s responsibility to comply with local regulations in the places their sailing visits.

Norwegian Cruise Line

Vaccine required? No

In early August 2022, Norwegian Cruise Line became the first major cruise line to roll back its vaccination requirements. Proof of immunization is no longer required, nor is testing in order to board for any voyage.

Woman Checking Covid-19 Vaccine Passport On Cellphone
MORSA IMAGES/GETTY IMAGES

Oceania Cruises

Vaccine required? No

Upscale cruise line Oceania does not check vaccination records for passengers, nor does it require pre-cruise testing for its sailings.

P&O Cruises

Vaccine required? No

There are no vaccination or testing mandates in place for any of P&O Cruises‘ voyages.

Ponant

Vaccine required? No

Ponant‘s website simply reads, “when you visit certain destinations, vaccines can be recommended,” but they are not required by the line. Ponant also says it will alert passengers to their specific requirements after they have booked a voyage. Testing is also not needed in order to board.

Princess Cruises

Vaccine required? No

Following an industry-wide rollback of protocols, Princess passengers no longer have to show proof of a COVID-19 vaccine, nor proof of a negative test result, unless either is required by local regulations. Passengers are responsible for knowing the requirements for the places their ships will visit.

RODRIGO BUENDIA/AFP/GETTY IMAGES

Regent Seven Seas Cruises

Vaccine required? No

Regent doesn’t check the vaccination status of any of its passengers unless required by local protocols. Testing requirements vary by location and might depend on whether or not you are up to date on your shots. If vaccination or testing is required, the line will alert cruisers approximately 30 days prior to their sailing date.

Royal Caribbean

Vaccine required? No

To board Royal Caribbean ships, you don’t have to be vaccinated or provide test results. However, the line advises staying up to date on inoculations and following guidelines issued by federal health authorities.

Saga

Vaccine required? No

Saga has rolled back its vaccination and testing requirements, which is significant, given that the line only allows passengers 50 and older to sail on its vessels. They will only be required if local authorities dictate them.

Scenic Luxury Cruises & Tours

Vaccine required? No

Passengers embarking on river and ocean voyages with Scenic will not need to be fully immunized prior to sailing. Testing is not required by the line but might be needed to enter the country in which you’re embarking on your sailing. Passengers are responsible for meeting entry requirements.

ZACH HONIG/THE POINTS GUY

Seabourn

Vaccine required? No

For cruises with luxury line Seabourn, there are no line-enforced regulations for vaccination or testing unless required by local authorities in the countries on which its vessels call. To see if your booked sailing requires either of these, check out the line’s search tool.

Silversea

Vaccine required? No

Luxury brand Silversea does not require shots for its passengers or pre-cruise tests unless they’re needed to meet local regulations.

Star Clippers

Vaccine required? No

Star Clippers has eliminated all vaccine checks and testing protocols for all passengers on all voyages.

GNDPHOTOGRAPHY/GETTY IMAGES

Tauck

Vaccine required? Yes

For all voyages through 2023, Tauck requires passengers 12 and older to be fully vaccinated and have at least one booster dose and/or show proof of recovery from COVID-19. Passengers 11 years old and younger are not required to be fully vaccinated. If they aren’t fully vaccinated or don’t have a booster, they must provide proof of a negative PCR or antigen test result from a test taken no more than three days prior to embarkation. For sailings in 2024, vaccination and testing requirements will be waived for all passengers.

UnCruise Adventures

Vaccine required? No

All UnCruise passengers are exempt from vaccine and testing requirements. The line will continue to monitor the effects of new variants, as well as CDC recommendations and will adjust its policies accordingly.

Uniworld Boutique River Cruise Collection

Vaccine required? No

Testing requirements are determined by the countries the ships visit, but the line itself has no vaccine or testing mandates of its own. You can check the protocols for the places on your itinerary for the most up-to-date information by visiting the protocols page on Uniworld’s website.

Viking

Vaccine required? Yes

All Viking passengers, whether on a river sailing or an ocean voyage, must be fully vaccinated for sailings departing on or before Oct. 31, 2023. It will not be required for cruisers embarking on or after Nov. 1, 2023. Testing is no longer required unless passengers are exhibiting symptoms and seek medical assistance.

Virgin Voyages

Vaccine required? No

Virgin Voyages will not check proof of immunization or a negative COVID-19 test prior to boarding.

Windstar Cruises

Vaccine required? No

Windstar no longer mandates shots for passengers of any age. Testing is not required by the line but might be necessary based on local regulations, which with passengers must comply.

Planning a cruise? Start with these stories:

Editor’s note: This post has been updated with new information.

The road to the cruise industry’s restart was a long one with lots of twists and turns.

Now that ships are back in service, the number of COVID-19 deaths is down worldwide, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has scrapped its opt-in protocols for vessels, nearly all cruise lines have walked back their pre-cruise COVID-19 testing requirements.

Additionally, most countries have waived their test-for-entry requirements. That’s good news for passengers because individual countries often had timelines different from those of cruise lines, making it difficult for travelers to accomplish pre-cruise testing when departing from ports abroad.

With all of the changes, The Points Guy is here to answer some of your most pressing questions about COVID-19 testing for cruises. For a line-by-line list of current testing and vaccination policies, read our pre-cruise vaccination guide.

Editor’s note: This article is intended to highlight general rules for most cruise lines. Testing requirements can vary by cruise line and embarkation port. Check with your line and the rules for the country in which you’ll be embarking for the most current information relevant to your itinerary.

For more cruise news, reviews and tips, sign up for TPG’s new cruise newsletter.

Pre-cruise COVID-19 testing

Taking a pre-cruise antigen test. ASHLEY KOSCIOLEK/THE POINTS GUY

Do I need to take a COVID-19 test before my cruise?

All but a small handful of lines have waived their mandatory testing protocols, except where required by local regulations in the countries and ports their ships visit. It is unlikely you will have to test prior to embarkation unless it’s required by your country or municipality of entry or you’re exhibiting symptoms similar to those associated with COVID-19.

How close to my cruise do I need to be tested?

If your cruise line or destinations on your itinerary require negative test results, they will generally have to be from no more than two to five days prior to your embarkation date, depending on the specific regulations.

Where can I find an approved test that will give me my results in time?

Pharmacies like Walgreens and CVS offer antigen and PCR testing by appointment. However, with the tight window in which the results are needed, there’s no guarantee you’ll have them in time to cruise.

Abbott’s BinaxNOW COVID-19 Ag Card Home Test ordered online. SUMMER HULL/THE POINTS GUY

The best option is to order at-home antigen testing kits that offer telehealth access. You can find them through the Optum or eMed websites.

The type of test you will need will vary based on the specific requirements of your situation. If you need a professionally proctored at-home antigen test, order one of Abbott’s BinaxNOW tests. (Make sure it’s the BinaxNOW COVID-19 Ag Card Home Test if the cruise line or destination requires results to be from supervised tests.)

If it’s not required that your test be proctored in order for the results to count, another option is self-administered at-home antigen testing, which you can conduct yourself without dialing in for proctoring. These tests are available at many local drugstores like CVS and Walgreens and big-box chains like Target and Walmart, and they’re far more affordable than the supervised version. But before you buy, check to see if you qualify for a shipment of free government-funded tests by visiting the United States’ official COVID-19 website.

Will my cruise line provide testing at the embarkation port?

This area at PortMiami was for unvaccinated cruise passengers awaiting their pre-boarding test results. ASHLEY KOSCIOLEK/THE POINTS GUY

Although most major cruise lines offered day-of-boarding testing at embarkation ports, that’s no longer the case. If a negative test result is required for you to board your cruise, make sure you arrive prepared.

How much does a COVID-19 test cost?

COVID-19 test costs depend largely on the type of test, how and where you have the test done, and whether you’re specifically asked if the test is for travel purposes. Prices can vary from free to several hundred dollars.

At a big-box drive-thru pharmacy, there’s a good chance your test will be covered by your health insurance. However, it depends on whether the reason for the test is indicated when you make your appointment.

For example, CVS asks if you need the test to meet travel requirements. In that case, insurance is unlikely to pick up the tab.

If you order a test online instead, you’re looking at a vast swath of pricing, ranging from $4 for a single unproctored antigen test (or 25 tests for $25, which is only $1 per test) to about $70 for a pack of two proctored antigen tests, plus shipping. If you have a flexible spending account or a health savings account, the IRS says at-home tests are considered eligible expenses. The White House has also indicated that people with private health insurance could be reimbursed for the cost of these at-home tests. Check with your insurance provider for details.

If you’re due for a shipment of free at-home, unsupervised tests, as mentioned above, you won’t pay anything.

If you’re someone who requires a PCR test and you want to do it yourself at home, the downside is that it can be pricey, with kits running between roughly $30 and $120 each.

Keep in mind that if you need COVID testing during your cruise — either from an onboard medical center or a shoreside hospital or doctor’s office — you will be responsible for the cost, which can be expensive unless you have a travel insurance policy that covers it.

COVID-19 tests during a cruise

Passengers’ antigen test swabs await processing. ASHLEY KOSCIOLEK/THE POINTS GUY

Will I be required to test during my cruise?

Currently, no cruise lines require routine onboard testing for passengers. Exceptions would be if you feel ill and ask to be tested or exhibit symptoms that require you to be tested. In these cases, you would be responsible for any associated costs.

Additionally, if a passenger feels ill and subsequently tests positive for COVID-19 on your cruise, you could be required to take a test if the vessel’s contact tracing program determines you were in close contact with the ill passenger. Testing under these circumstances is covered by the line.

Most countries have waived their test-for-entry requirements, so it’s highly unlikely that you’ll have to take a test before disembarking in order to return home.

Post-cruise COVID-19 testing

Coronavirus test
A test tube specimen awaits COVID-19 testing. PAUL BIRIS/GETTY IMAGES

Do I need to take a COVID-19 test after my cruise?

The only reason you would have to test after your cruise is if it’s required by a country you’re visiting or by your home country in order for you to return. Since most countries have now scrapped those requirements, you almost certainly won’t have to take a post-voyage test.

Planning a cruise? Start with these stories:

Have you ever dreamt of exploring the most extraordinary places in Mozambique? Well, Rhino Africa’s got you covered. We’ve combed the country from the mainland to the islands and can’t wait to share our insights and discoveries. From paradise beaches to historical treasure troves, here are our picks of the five most beautiful places in Mozambique.

Dazzling sunset in one of the most beautiful places in Mozambique

Spellbinding places in Mozambique, Image Credit: Santorini Mozambique

1. Bazaruto Archipelago – A Sweet Slice of Paradise

Picture crystal-clear waters, sugar-white beaches, and coral reefs brimming with magnificent marine life. That’s the Bazaruto Archipelago for you – a tropical utopia that feels like a daydream. And our top tip? Explore the archipelago’s islands, from Bazaruto to Benguerra and Magaruque. You won’t regret it!

White sandy beach fringed with palm trees

Bazaruto Archipelago has so many unspoilt beaches, Image Credit: Anantara Bazaruto Island Resort

Here, snorkelling, scuba diving, sunbathing and dhow sailing are staple pastimes. But there are so many more bespoke experiences, too – think horse-riding, castaway picnics, dugong encounters and more! So, if you’re after a tranquil and picture-perfect escape, this is where you’ll find it, among the most enticing places in Mozambique.

Guests arriving by boat for an awaiting private beach picnic

Relish in a castaway picnic when staying on Benguerra Island, Image Credit: &Beyond Benguerra Island

2. Benguerra Island – A Romantic Retreat

To fully divulge the most beautiful places in Mozambique, we would be remiss not to dive deeper into the wonders of Benguerra Island. As the second largest island within the Bazaruto Archipelago, this barefoot beach hideaway welcomes you with warm, inviting waters, immaculate coral reefs, picturesque beaches and serene freshwater lakes.

Candle-lit beach dinner

Spend a lifetime just lounging about in one of the most romantic places in Mozambique, Image Credit: Azura Benguerra Island

To truly immerse yourself in the island’s dream-like allure, consider indulging in a stay at Azura Benguerra Island or &Beyond Benguerra Island, both of which offer attractive accommodations and experiences that allow you to fully absorb the island’s charms.

Massage on private deck overlooking the ocean

An island hideaway set on a protected lagoon, Image Credit: &Beyond Benguerra Island

3. Vilanculos – Your Doorway to Idyllic Islands

Vilanculos serves as the gateway to the Bazaruto Archipelago, making it an essential stop on your Mozambican adventure. This place is all about the vibes, with bustling markets, seafood feasts, and locals as warm as the sun-kissed sands. Oh! And it’s also home to some of the most exquisite places in Mozambique, of course!

Kayaking

World-class scuba diving, snorkelling, fishing and many other water sports like kayaking, Image Credit: Santorini Mozambique

Take a boat trip to nearby islands, where dolphins play, and hidden coves await your discovery. Whether you’re craving relaxation or adventure, Vilanculos is a hub of excitement and one of the hottest places in Mozambique.

Views across the expanse of Vilanculos Bay

Views across the expanse of a Vilanculos beach, Image Credit: Santorini Mozambique

4. Santorini Mozambique – Seaside Serenity

One must include Santorini Mozambique when discussing the enchanting Vilanculos. This remarkable establishment graces the shores of Vilanculos Bay. Its collection of Grecian villas, spread across multiple levels, draws inspiration from the turquoise waters that echo the beauty of the Greek Isles.

Sala bar at dusk

Views across the Vilanculos Bay, Image Credit: Santorini Mozambique

Nestled between lush forests and the Indian Ocean, you can relish both the seclusion and the allure of underwater adventures and various land and water sports. The villa interiors mirror the stunning surroundings with their soft and graceful design. Each villa is equipped with a private balcony offering splendid sea views.

Santorini Mozambique private villa exterior

Grecian-inspired villa on a private stretch of pearly beach, Image Credit: Santorini Mozambique

5. Gorongosa National Park – A Wild Wonderland

Mozambique’s beaches certainly stand out, however, if you’re hankering for a different kind of beauty, Gorongosa National Park is your ticket. Known as the “Place Where Noah Left His Ark,” this national park is an inspiring conservation success story. It’s home to a cast of characters, from elephants to lions and over 400 feathered friends. 

Bushbuck on an anthill

Once one of the most diverse national parks in Africa, with many endemic species

Get ready for a safari like no other as you navigate lush landscapes, pristine lakes, and rugged terrain. Gorongosa’s wildlife resurgence showcases nature’s tenacity and is one of the wildest places in Mozambique.

Sunset over Gorongosa National Park

Gorongosa National Park boasts a collection of varied ecosystems

Many More Mozambique Marvels

We must admit it was tough to narrow down the most beautiful places in Mozambique to just five. Its beauty really knows no bounds. So, it’s important to bear in mind that the country boasts numerous dazzling destinations. The best place for you ultimately depends on your interests. 

Get in touch with our team of Travel Experts, who are ready to help you discover your perfect Mozambique retreat!

Featured Image: Azura Benguerra Island

Most beautiful places in Mozambique

Editor’s note: This post has been updated with new information.

Since cruising resumed post-pandemic, I’ve been on more than 30 sailings, and I have several more planned. At this point, cruise lines have eased restrictions such that wearing a mask is largely optional.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention allowed its voluntary Conditional Sailing Order to expire in January 2022. It replaced the order with a now-defunct, color-coded, opt-in system that rated cruise lines based on the percentage of passengers for whom COVID-19 vaccinations were required. Now, however, the guidelines are merely recommendations, and all lines have rolled back their masking policies.

The first to do so was Norwegian Cruise Line, which shocked the industry, given the line’s notoriously strict stance on pandemic protocols.

For more cruise news, reviews and tips, sign up for TPG’s new cruise newsletter.

So, which cruise lines require masks? Here, you’ll find a line-by-line breakdown of whether masks are required on board and, if so, where and when.

woman wearing mask on cruise
GIACOMO AUGUGLIARO/GETTY IMAGES

Azamara Cruises

Azamara no longer requires passengers to wear masks on its ships, although it still recommends them. The line also warns that masks could be required by some ports of call its ships visit.

Carnival Cruise Line

Carnival no longer requires masks on its ships. Passengers are encouraged to wear them during embarkation and disembarkation, as well as in areas with large crowds. Masks may also be required when ashore, per local guidelines. Cruisers must wear masks in the onboard medical center.

Celebrity Cruises

Celebrity has made masks optional for all passengers, regardless of vaccination status. This policy may vary based on local port requirements.

Cunard Line

Cunard only requires cruisers to wear face masks that cover their noses and mouths when in the medical center, as well as when required by local regulations.

Disney Cruise Line

Face coverings on Disney Cruise Line are optional throughout the line’s ships. Unvaccinated guests are strongly encouraged to wear masks while on board. Masks are mandatory in select ports if required by local protocols.

Holland America Line

packing mask in suitcase
CHALABALA/GETTY IMAGES

Masks are optional but recommended in most areas on Holland America Line‘s ships. Certain ports of call might require passengers to wear face coverings while ashore.

MSC Cruises

Masks are optional on MSC cruises, but the line recommends them for unvaccinated passengers. Face coverings might also be required in certain ports per local regulations.

Norwegian Cruise Line

Norwegian no longer requires passengers to wear masks on any of its voyages.

Oceania Cruises

Passengers on Oceania sailings are not required to wear masks, but they are strongly encouraged to do so. These regulations may change based on local port requirements.

Princess Cruises

Princess no longer requires masks on board.

Regent Seven Seas Cruises

woman wearing mask on cruise ship
INCREATIVEMEDIA/GETTY IMAGES

Passengers on Regent voyages no longer need to wear masks, but they will be strongly encouraged to do so. The policy is subject to change based on local port requirements.

Royal Caribbean International

Royal Caribbean has dropped its mask mandate for vaccinated passengers. The line also recommends that unvaccinated children wear masks in all indoor areas, including the youth center.

Seabourn Cruises

Seabourn cruisers are not required to wear masks, but they are encouraged to do so in areas where crowds congregate.

Silversea Cruises

It’s no longer mandatory for Silversea passengers to wear masks. However, they are encouraged to do so on shore excursion buses and must do so in destinations where there are mask requirements.

Viking Cruises

For its ocean, river and expedition sailings, Viking has made face masks optional, but its ships’ onboard medical teams can require passengers to put them on at any time if conditions warrant it. Face coverings could also be required in select destinations, based on local regulations.

Virgin Voyages

Virgin Voyages passengers are no longer required to wear masks on board the line’s ships. However, face coverings might be compulsory during embarkation, disembarkation and during port visits, per local rules.

Windstar Cruises

When sailing with Windstar, cruisers are no longer required to wear masks, but the line does encourage the practice. Face coverings might be required in some destinations.

Have more cruise questions? TPG has answers:

Editor’s note: This is a recurring post, regularly updated with new information and offers.

Some credit cards offer built-in travel insurance as a cardholder benefit. And it may be tempting to rely on credit card travel protections instead of buying travel insurance. But, the entire point of travel insurance is to be covered if something goes wrong. So, you may be wondering whether you should buy travel insurance even if your credit card offers travel protection.

There isn’t one answer that fits every traveler or situation. So in this guide, we’ll explore some aspects you should consider, and I’ll discuss my take on this topic. Let’s dive in so you can make an informed decision for yourself.

Travel insurance you can buy

At a high level, you can pay a relatively small premium (compared to the total cost of your trip) to buy a travel insurance policy that may provide reimbursement or coverage for unexpected issues that affect your trip.

Many different types of protections fall under the term “travel insurance.” Standard, comprehensive insurance policies typically include broad coverage across various potential issues.

Woman using a laptop
There are many different types of travel insurance you can purchase. MILJAN ŽIVKOVIĆ/GETTY IMAGES

But there are also policies that offer specific coverage. For example, it’s possible to purchase travel insurance that only provides medical protection for international travel (such as GeoBlue). Likewise, you can also purchase policies that allow you to select the protections you need (such as the build-your-own option with American Express Travel Insurance).

We’ve previously compared the best travel insurance policies and providers. So, check out that guide to find the provider and policy that fits your needs best. You can also check a travel insurance aggregator to compare different policies quickly.

Most travel insurance policies exclude any loss incurred due to a preexisting medical condition. However, many policies include a process to obtain a waiver of the preexisting condition exclusion if you meet specific requirements. These requirements typically include purchasing the policy shortly after the first nonrefundable trip payment or deposit and being medically able to travel when you buy the policy. Some companies also require you to insure your trip’s full, prepaid, nonrefundable cost to be eligible.

Likewise, all travel insurance policies have several exclusions. For example, most plans exclude medical benefits for injuries during adventure activities such as skydiving or skiing outside maintained trails.

Related: 7 things to look out for when buying travel insurance, according to an expert

Credit card travel protections

Woman using a laptop
Some credit cards offer built-in travel protections. KSENIYA OVCHINNIKOVA/GETTY IMAGES

Some cards don’t provide any special travel protections. But, many of the best travel rewards cards offer travel protections. Here’s a look at our guides about some of the most common credit card travel protections:

Check out our guide to the best cards that offer travel protections for more details on what card might be best for you. I also recommend reading the guide to benefits for your specific cards, as these documents will detail exactly what protections you can expect when you purchase travel with your card.

Note that some benefits require you to enroll — and virtually all require a formal claim process, with no reimbursement guarantee.

Related: Getting credit card travel insurance to cover the change fee on my Disney cruise

When to purchase travel insurance

Man using a laptop
It’s sometimes worth purchasing travel insurance. DRAZEN_/GETTY IMAGES

Even if you have a credit card that offers travel protections, you may still want to purchase travel insurance for some trips. Here are some scenarios and trips for which it may make sense to purchase travel insurance.

Travel protections aren’t offered

As discussed above, not all travel credit cards provide extensive travel protections when you book travel using the card. So, if you’re using a card without travel protections or a card that only offers limited travel protections, you may want to purchase travel insurance.

Related: The best credit cards for booking flights

Some travelers aren’t covered

Just because a card offers travel protections doesn’t mean everyone traveling with you will be covered. In particular, travel protections usually only extend to select relatives of the cardholder. Your credit card’s travel insurance may not cover friends, employees and relatives.

Related: Who is covered by your credit card travel insurance?

Adventure activities

If you plan to partake in an activity that most insurance policies exclude, you may want to purchase a travel insurance policy that explicitly includes your activity of choice.

For example, many policies exclude adventure sports like base jumping, sky diving, free soloing, diving, mountaineering and paragliding. You may want to consider purchasing insurance from an association involved in your adventure activity, such as Divers Alert Network (DAN) if you’re a diver or German Alpine Group (DAV) if you partake in alpine sports.

You’re concerned about preexisting conditions

woman loading luggage into car, getting ready for a road trip
You may not be covered if your trip is cut short by a preexisting condition. OSCAR WONG/GETTY IMAGES

Most credit card trip interruption and cancellation insurance benefits exclude cancellations or interruptions caused by a sudden recurrence of a preexisting condition. So, you’ll want to purchase travel insurance — and ensure you satisfy the provider’s preexisting condition exclusion waiver conditions — if you want trip cancellation and interruption insurance that covers preexisting conditions.

Related: 7 times your credit card’s travel insurance might not cover you

Nonmedical evacuation insurance

If you want evacuation insurance for nonmedical reasons, you should purchase travel insurance that offers this coverage even if you have a credit card with evacuation insurance.

Read the benefits guide closely, as evacuation benefits may not cover every evacuation you might need. For example, some policies don’t cover evacuation from an area with a travel warning when you booked your trip or evacuation from a place suddenly inaccessible due to a landslide or other environmental incident.

Related: A Medjet medical transport membership is different from travel insurance

Cancel for any reason

Suppose you are uncertain whether you’ll be able to take your trip, and you’re worried that applicable credit card trip protections won’t reimburse you if you decide to cancel or interrupt for a reason that isn’t covered. In that case, you may want to purchase cancel for any reason trip insurance.

Related: 6 truths and myths about cancel for any reason travel insurance

You want peace of mind

Some travelers prefer to buy travel insurance — for each trip or via an annual travel insurance plan — for the peace of mind that having a travel insurance policy brings. Especially given the issues travelers have faced with a specific credit card insurance provider, it may be worth buying a travel insurance plan if you don’t feel confident your credit card travel insurance and individual health insurance will combine to provide enough coverage during your trip.

Related: Here’s why I buy an annual travel insurance policy, even though my credit cards offer travel protections

When credit card travel protections may be enough

Girls waking on the beach. Footpath on sand dunes and ocean in the background. Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, USA
You may be able to rely on credit card travel protections for some trips. MARGARETW/GETTY IMAGES

Suppose you don’t fall into any of the categories above and use one of the best credit cards with travel insurance when making travel purchases. In that case, you may determine that credit card protections are enough for some (or all) of your trips. However, I only recommend relying on credit card protections if you also have health insurance that will provide adequate coverage at your destination.

Below is a collection of reasons you can rely on credit card protections instead of purchasing independent travel insurance. If some (or most) of these reasons apply to your trip, it may be reasonable for you to rely on credit card protections instead of buying travel insurance:

  • You have personal health insurance that will cover you on your trip, even if treatment is out of network at your destination
  • You book your trip with a credit card that provides travel insurance
  • You have a credit card that provides medical evacuation benefits during your trip
  • You make refundable travel plans that you can cancel for little or no fee
  • You tend to change your plans frequently or book travel at the last minute
  • You have an emergency fund that can cover unexpected expenses if needed
  • You have airline miles or transferable points you can use to leave the area or return home if needed.
  • You avoid especially high-risk activities and destinations

The decision of whether to buy travel insurance is complex and personal. If you don’t feel confident that your credit card protections and individual health insurance will provide adequate coverage, it’s likely worth buying travel insurance.

Related: Why you might want to get a premium credit card instead of purchasing travel insurance

Why credit card travel insurance is usually enough for me

tourist on a beach uses credit card and smart phone to shop online
My specific situation usually lets me rely on credit card travel protections instead of buying travel insurance. RGSTUDIO/GETTY IMAGES

After researching the best travel insurance policies and providers, I purchased travel insurance for one specific trip because I wanted political evacuation coverage. I also purchased travel insurance for two trips when the destination required travelers to carry insurance for COVID-19 treatment and quarantine.

But for most of my trips, credit card protections and individual health insurance provide enough coverage for me. After all, my travel usually looks like the following:

  • My flights are often award flights that I can cancel and redeposit free of charge — or ones that carry minimal change and cancellation fees
  • My lodging can almost always be canceled without a penalty until shortly before my stay
  • If I book a tour or activity, it’s usually within a few days of said tour or activity (or offers free cancellation)
  • My health insurance provides out-of-network coverage outside the U.S., so travel insurance would only pay for my deductible. In addition, my out-of-pocket maximum for out-of-network care is low enough to cover using my emergency fund
  • I book flights and pay for the taxes and fees for award flights using the Ink Business Preferred Credit Card, which provides excellent travel protections for a $95 annual fee card
  • I have ample airline miles and transferable points that I can use to cover last-minute one-way flights if needed

As you can see, the benefits of purchasing travel insurance would be minimal for most of my trips. The travel protections I use most are trip delay protection and baggage delay protection, both of which the Ink Business Preferred Credit Card provides when I use it to pay for my flights.

Related: Why the Chase Sapphire Reserve and Ink Business Preferred combo is perfect for couples who travel

Bottom line

As you book trips, you may wonder whether you should purchase travel insurance. One way to decide is to consider whether you’d be adequately covered without purchasing travel insurance if the worst happens.

If you’re willing and able to cover the costs in this situation — or you feel confident you’d be adequately covered by your credit card’s travel protections and health insurance — then you may want to proceed without buying travel insurance. Otherwise, I recommend purchasing a travel insurance policy shortly after you make the initial payment for your trip.

East Africa continues to captivate travellers from around the world with its extraordinary blend of wildlife, vast landscapes, and vibrant cultures. From witnessing the epic Great Wildebeest Migration in the Serengeti to gorilla trekking in Rwanda and lazing on powdery beaches in Zanzibar, get a glimpse into Africa’s untamed wonder in this guide to East Africa in pictures.


1

Lionesses on the prowl in Kenya, Image Credit: Governors’ Camp

The primary hunters in the pride, lionesses are all about teamwork! They will hunt for food and rear their cubs together, with the little ones suckling milk from any of the pride’s moms. To catch a glimpse of these majestic cats up close, East Africa offers some of the best safari experiences on the continent.


2

A magical hot air balloon safari over the Mara River, Image Credit: Governors’ Camp

What better way to soak up the scenery than with a hot air balloon safari? For spectacular sunrise views and sightings of rhinos, elephants, hippos, giraffes, and even crocodiles, this unforgettable experience is a must on your itinerary when travelling to Kenya.


3

two cheetahs on anthill

East Africa has its own subspecies of cheetahs, Image Credit: Ann-Kathrin 

Being the fastest land animal, it comes as no surprise that cheetahs need a lot of space. Unfortunately, due to human expansion, their shrinking habitat has led to a steep decline in the number of cheetahs left in the wild. Today, various reserves and initiatives in East Africa are working to prevent their extinction.


4

Embark on a night safari adventure, Image Credit: &Beyond Lake Manyara Tree Lodge

Watch the day fade into night as East Africa’s nocturnal animals come out to hunt and play in the moonlight. This is your chance to spot animals hardly ever seen in daytime, like aardvarks and bush babies, while you catch a glimpse of lions and leopards hunting silently in the shadows.


5

The modern Nairobi city centre

The modern Nairobi city centre

Kenya’s largest city and capital, Nairobi, is home to the Nairobi National Park, boasting not only an elephant sanctuary but also the largest number of black rhinos anywhere in the world. Nowhere else will you embark on an authentic wildlife safari set against a backdrop of city skyscrapers.


6

Elephant grazing in Amboseli National Park

Elephant grazing in Amboseli National Park

Called the “Home of the African Elephant”, Amboseli National Park is also where you’ll find the highest peak in Africa, namely the magnificent snow-capped Kilimanjaro. Offering a diverse range of wildlife and birds while arguably the best place to spot elephants in all of East Africa, what’s to stop you from paying a visit to this iconic wildlife paradise?


7

herd crossing the Mara river during the great migration

Herd crossing the Mara River during the Great Migration

As millions of wildebeest, zebras, and other herbivores traverse the vast plains of the Maasai Mara in Kenya, desperate herds plunge into the raging waters of the Mara River, braving not only the powerful currents but the crocodiles lurking beneath the surface in a thrilling display of survival and determination.


8

Gorilla chilling in the forest of Rwanda.

Gorilla chilling in the forest of Rwanda, Image Credit: Singita Kwitonda Lodge

After witnessing the awe-inspiring sights of the Great Migration, venture into the lush rainforests of Rwanda’s Volcanoes National Park to come face to face with some of the last remaining mountain gorillas on our planet. The deep love and bond between gorilla family members will make your heart leap.


9

White sandy beaches with twinkling turquoise seas

Zanzibar’s white sandy beaches with twinkling seas

After only a short flight or ferry ride from Tanzania’s mainland, you can reach the island of Unguja (Zanzibar). Picture pristine beaches, clear ocean waters, and vibrant cultures. Plus, you can savour tantalising seafood and unwind in paradise-like resorts for a touch of tropical bliss to your East African adventure.


10

Hundreds of thousands of flamingos on the lake

Hundreds of thousands of flamingos in the waters of Lake Nakuru, Kenya

Lake Nakuru is a mesmerising haven for flamingos, as thousands of these elegant-looking birds flock to its shores during the dry season in search of food. The sight of the vibrant pink hues against the shimmering lake creates a spectacle that enchants nature enthusiasts and photographers alike.


11

Game drive at sunset, Image Credit: Governors’ Il Moran Camp

As the golden light of the African sunset bathes the savannah, the wildlife awakens, creating a symphony of sights and sounds, where lions prowl, and giraffes’ silhouettes are seen against the horizon, with herds of elephants traversing the grasslands, offering a truly magical safari adventure.


12

Kigali is rich in culture and history

Kigali is rich in culture and history

From scenic hiking trails to lush parks and gardens, Kigali provides a perfect balance of urban charm and serene natural settings. Visitors are thrilled to be able to connect with Rwanda’s breathtaking environment, all while enjoying the vibrant capital.


13

Maasai Mara in their colourful traditional clothing

The Maasai in their colourful traditional clothing, Image Credit: Governors’ Camp

Amidst the vast stretches of Kenya and Tanzania, you can find the Maasai people showcasing their vibrant customs, colourful attire, and unique way of life. Be sure to visit a Maasai village to gain a deeper understanding of their captivating traditions that have endured for generations.


14

Large wildebeest herd during migration Serengeti National Park, Tanzania

Large wildebeest herd during their migration through Serengeti National Park, Tanzania

Witness the epic journey of millions of wildebeest, zebras, and gazelles as they cross the savannah in search of greener pastures. This mesmerising spectacle offers a thrilling safari experience, leaving you in awe of the Serengeti’s remarkable biodiversity.


15

Explore the tea plantations in Rwanda

Explore the tea plantations in Rwanda

Amidst the rolling hills, tea plantations flourish in Rwanda’s volcanic soil conditions. Discover the intricate process of tea cultivation, indulge in the aromatic flavours of locally grown tea leaves, and lose yourself in the serenity that Rwanda’s nature offers.


It’s Your Turn to Experience East Africa

Does the thought of being enveloped in the vast stretches of the African savannah or rainforests excite you? Contact our East African Travel Experts, and let’s start planning your tailor-made itinerary!

Featured Image: Governors’ Camp