Where to get your Covid-19 test before crossing the border

Along with your passport, a negative Covid-19 test is part and parcel of crossing the border. Here’s what you need to know, along with a map of where to get your PCR test done in Southern and East Africa.

In order to facilitate travel while keeping people safe, most countries have introduced the entry requirement of a negative Covid-19 test. But which borders are open? And where should you go to get the test?

To help overlanders plan their trips, Tracks4Africa’s Lizette Swart rallied the T4A network to compile a map of open border points and Covid-19 testing sites. The information has been collated from a variety of resources, including travel forums, Facebook groups and newspaper reports.

How to use the map

Click anywhere on the map and start zooming and panning for the area you’re interested in. Then click on the individual icons to get more detailed information about border posts, PCR testing sites, rapid testing sites, etc.

Note that the map is a work in progress and will be updated regularly, but this does not happen in real time. Therefore each point will show the date of the last update; bear in mind there may be changes to regulations since the last update that will not be shown on the map. Please use this information at your discretion and let us know if you find any new information we can share with other travellers. Send your information to lizette@tracks4africa.co.za.

Also read: SA to Namibia and back during Covid

Map of Covid-19 testing sites

Click anywhere on the map. Zoom and pan to find your area. Click on icons for more information.

Which Covid-19 test should you get?

The PCR test, short for polymerase chain reaction test, involves testing a sample for viral material. The test must be done by an accredited laboratory and is considered valid for 48-72 hours depending on the country. Since the validity period differs between countries, we recommend you consult the country information in the map for more details. Prices for the PCR test seem to range from R800 to R1,500.

T4A tip: If you get your test done by a lab with a national footprint, you can arrange to pick up the result at one of their offices en route to the border.

The test result should be printed and presented as a hard copy at the border. The majority of countries require the PCR Covid-19 test rather than the rapid antibody test. For the purposes of re-entering South Africa, it seems to be sufficient to present the expired PCR test along with a rapid test, but we suggest you verify this with officials. There are mobile rapid testing centres at South Africa’s open borders. The cost for the rapid test is R170.

Where to get your Covid-19 test done

South Africa





Centre for Infectious Disease Research

Have you had a Covid-19 test done to cross the border? Submit your information to lizette@tracks4africa.co.za so we can update the map for other overlanders.

4 thoughts on “Where to get your Covid-19 test before crossing the border”

  1. There are mobile rapid testing centres at South Africa’s open borders. Is this still Valid to enter Botswana ?

    1. Botswana requires a negative PCR test whereas the rapid test is an antibody test. CORRECTION: The rapid test offered at borders is an antigen test; the rapid test offered by some pharmacies is an antibody test. Despite the availability of the rapid antigen test, governments still urge travellers to get the more sensitive PCR test.

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