The President of South Africa, Cyril Ramaphosa, announced the country will officially reopen borders for tourism on October 1, 2020.
South Africa’s reopening news will include both inbound and outbound tourism, allowing nationals to travel abroad and tourists to enter once again.
“We will gradually and cautiously ease restrictions on international travel… allowing travel into and out of South Africa for business, leisure and other travel with effect from the 1st of October 2020,”
– President Ramaphosa
South Africa first shut their borders on March 27th and has been one of the hardest hit countries by Covid-19, recording the 8th highest amount of total cases in the world. However, the nation has recently flattened their curve after strict country-wide lockdowns and is now reporting their lowest new case numbers since May.
Since South Africa sees around 17 million tourists per year, reopening borders for both inbound and outbound tourism has been a major priority.
“We are ready to open our doors again to the world and invite travellers to enjoy our mountains, our beaches, our vibrant cities, and our wildlife game parks in safety and confidence.”
– said Ramaphosa.
Here’s everything we know about the borders reopening in South Africa, which countries will be able to visit, entry requirements for tourism, and other key information.
Countries that can visit South Africa
All nations can now visit South Africa as of November 12, 2020.
When South Africa first opened in October, a list of High, Medium and Low-risk countries was created, but as of November 12, has now been removed.
Airports Reopening October 1
- Johannesburg's OR Tambo
- Cape Town International
- Durban’s King Shaka
Entry Requirements for South Africa
All passengers will be required to present the negative result of a PCR test, taken no longer than 72 hours prior to departure.
Passengers under 5 years of age are exempt from the PCR test requirement.
If the passenger fulfills the PCR testing requirement, there is not mandatory quarantine. However, if a passenger does not bring the negative PCR result, they will be required to quarantine for 14 days.
President Ramaphosa declared that all travellers will be asked to download the government’s contact tracing alert app for the duration of their stay in South Africa.
Health Screening Upon Arrival
All passengers, regardless if they brought their negative PCR test, will still undergo a health screening, which will include symptom checks and temperature screenings. Any symptomatic passenger will be subject to additional testing and/or quarantine.
Although the nation’s airports will open and both inbound and outbound tourism will be permitted, there will still be some restrictions in place to help minimize spread.
- Face masks will still be required in all public spaces
- A 12:00am (midnight) curfew will be in effect
- Most gathering will be allowed at 50% of a venues capacity (250 px max indoor, 500 px max outdoor)
- Alcohol sales for personal consumption will be permitted Monday-Friday 9:00am-5:00pm
- Beaches will be open
- Wildlife game parks and other environmental tourist attractions will be open
- Hotels, restaurants, and other tourism-based businesses will be open, however they might have capacity limits, restricted hours, and/or social distancing in effect.
Now that South Africans will be permitted to travel outside the country, eager nationals might have a hard time finding countries allowing them to visit. Despite the low new-case data, South Africa has not been added to most ‘green lists’ around the world, chiefly within the EU.
Disclaimer: South Africa’s reopening news is ever-changing and being updated constantly. We do our best to keep this article up to date with all the latest information, but the decision to travel is ultimately your responsibility. Contact your consulate and/or local authorities to confirm your nationality’s entry and/or any changes to travel requirements before traveling.
Originally Published September 16, 2020