Destination
Detailed Restriction/Reopening Information For South Africa
Data Last Updated: October 20, 2020

General Information

Partially Open

South Africa has officially reopened its borders for tourism.

Authorities have developed a risk categorization model for different international travellers:

Low-risk travellers - those originating from countries with a lower number of Covid-19 infections and deaths than South Africa. 

Medium-risk travellers - from countries with relatively equal numbers of infections and deaths as South Africa.

High-risk travellers - from countries with significantly higher numbers of infections and deaths than South Africa. 

Travelers from high-risk countries will not be permitted entry into the country for leisure travel. On our system, these countries are under "Not Allowing Tourists".

Visitors from countries not on the high-risk list can enter but they must submit a negative PCR test taken no longer than 72 hours from the time of departure.Anyone displaying Covid-19 symptoms or have been in contact with an infected person would be asked to undergo mandatory Covid-19 test at their own expense. If the result is positive, the traveller will be subjected to a 10-day quarantine at a site designated by the state, and at the expense of the traveller. 

All travelers will also be required to download the Covid-19 Alert App, which enables contact tracing.

Mask Requirement

Mask is required to be worn in all public indoor, public transport and all outdoor areas.

Internal Restrictions/Closures

President Cyril Ramaphosa has announced that national coronavirus disease (COVID-19) restrictions will be eased from Sunday, September 20, as the country enters its level one of its five-stage lockdown.

The eased restrictions mean that social, religious, and political gatherings of up to 250 people indoors and 500 outdoors will be allowed, as long as venues remain below 50 percent capacity. Entertainment, sports, and recreational facilities will also be allowed to reopen at half capacity.

The national overnight curfew will also be pushed back by two hours to 00:00 - 04:00 (local time) from the previous start time of 22:00, whilst alcohol sales from licensed vendors will also be allowed between 09:00 and 17:00 on Fridays, having previously only been permitted from Monday to Thursday.

However, the use of face masks remains mandatory in public places and members of the public are still required to comply with social distancing measures.

Airlines & Transport

The country has reopened its borders on Oct 1st, but will only resume flights to three airports, Johannesburg's OR Tambo, Cape Town International, and Durban’s King Shaka.

As of Sept. 17, two land border posts are open: the Skilpadshek border post with Botswana and the Maseru Bridge border post with Lesotho.

Status of Opening to Tourists

Information based on tourists place of residence being in that country for the last 14 days

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Test Required For Tourists From:

220 Countries

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Not Allowing Tourists From:

22 Countries

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More Details

Last Updated: October 22, 2020

South Africa’s reopening to tourism will officially take place on October 1, 2020. This was according to the recent announcement of President Cyril Ramaphosa. The reopening of South Africa will allow foreign visitors to enter the country once again and visit the country’s top tourist spots, especially its game reserves and national parks.

Like most countries around the world, South Africa has to close its borders in March, when the Covid-19 virus started spreading. Recently, the country has “flattened its curve” after imposing a countrywide strict lockdown. Because of this, the president believes that South Africa is now ready to open its doors and allow entry of foreign visitors. The president further revealed that the plan is to gradually and cautiously ease the restrictions on international travel.

Who Can Enter South Africa on October 1?

The president’s announcement of South Africa’s reopening to tourism did not include the list of countries whose citizens can enter into the country for tourism. However, he did mention that the travel could be restricted from countries having high infection rates, which will be evaluated based on the latest epidemiological data.

October 21 update: Authorities in South Africa have significantly reduced their list of “high risk” countries from 60 to only 22. However, the list still includes the United States, UK, Canada, and some European countries. Travelers from high-risk countries can only enter South Africa for essential reasons. All visitors, regardless of the country they came from, must submit a negative PCR test taken no longer than 72 hours from the time of departure.

What Are the Travel Restrictions?

South Africa will not require visitors to go on a mandatory quarantine. However, all visitors should undergo a Covid-19 PCR test before departure and must present a negative result upon entry. The PCR test must be taken no longer than 72 hours before departure. Those who cannot present a negative PCR test result will need to quarantine for 14 days.

Everyone will undergo health screening at the airport upon arrival. This includes temperature and symptom checks. Anyone who is displaying symptoms of the Covid-19 will be asked to undergo a Covid-19 test and will be put into isolation.

All visitors should also download South Africa’s contact tracing alert app. They must have it installed on their phone for the entire duration of their stay in the country.

President Cyril Ramaphosa has mentioned that they are still on the process of finalizing the remaining rules, which they will roll back on September 20.

Which Airports Are Opening?

When South Africa reopens its borders on October 1, it will only allow flights to resume to the following airports:

  • Johannesburg's OR Tambo
  • Cape Town International
  • Durban’s King Shaka

South African Airways, the country’s flag carrier, has not yet released any announcement on when they will resume flights.

Internal Restrictions

To ensure the safety of everyone and prevent the spread of Covid-19, the South African authorities have implemented the following restrictions.

  • Travelers should wear face masks in all public places.
  • A nationwide midnight curfew remains in place.
  • All accommodation facilities must adhere to strict cleaning and disinfection procedures and will impose capacity limits.
  • The government is allowing gatherings but only at 50 percent capacity.
  • Alcohol consumption will only be allowed from 9 AM to 5 PM, Monday to Friday.
  • Beaches, wildlife game parks, and other tourist attractions will be open but at limited capacity and restricted hours.

See the detailed restrictions and live report for South Africa here.

Sources: CGTN | Business Insider


See the full blog post & comments

Information for Non-Tourists

All entry of foreign travellers into South Africa from high-risk countries is suspended until further notice. All visas already issued since January 2020 to foreign nationals and travellers from high-risk countries who have not yet entered South Africa are revoked with immediate effect. 

721,770

Cases

19,164

Deaths

12,120

Cases Per Million
Recovering Well From COVID-19

Graph of COVID-19 Cases In Last 30 Days
For South Africa

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