Skip to Content

South Africa Officially Reopening Borders For Tourism October 1

Share The Article

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

beaches in south africa are now open

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.

lock downs in south africa

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.

South Africa Reopening Borders For Tourism October 1

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.

cape town is reopening for tourism

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
south africa reopening oct 1

Entry Requirements for South Africa

PCR Testing


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.


Contact Tracing


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.

South Africa Reopening Tourism October 1

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.

Video of President Ramaphosa's address to the nation:

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.

↓ Join the community ↓

The Travel Off Path Community FB group has all the latest reopening news, conversations, and Q&A's happening daily! 

Originally Published September 16, 2020


Friday 27th of November 2020

So, SA boarders are now open to international tourism. Is leisure travelling to SA permitted FROM European countries that is in a lockdown or tier 3? Will i be questioned at the airport or decline to go onboard?

Kashlee Kucheran

Friday 27th of November 2020

You will need to contact your own country to ensure you can go. For example, from England by todays rules, you are not to travel for leisure. So it really depends on where you live.


Tuesday 17th of November 2020


I was wondering, so as to avoid being told upon arrival to South Africa coming from Canada “NOPE... Canadians are only allowed to enter on such and such date”

If I were to travel now, I won’t be barred from entering ? Like legit legit ?

Sorry, this whole thing got me over thinking. Thanks !

Kashlee Kucheran

Tuesday 17th of November 2020

With all the information we have, South Africa has now reopened, as of a few days ago, to ALL nations (including Canada!) - providing they bring negative test results.

Mobolade Kamson

Thursday 12th of November 2020

Hi South Africa is re-opening to ALL countries with proof of a negative PCR TEST as of today.

Kashlee Kucheran

Thursday 12th of November 2020

Yees thank you, we have updated the article


Wednesday 11th of November 2020

Hi Kashlee Following the President speech last night, that International travel is allowed, does it mean all countries are now allowed?

Kashlee Kucheran

Thursday 12th of November 2020

Yes, we have updated the article to reflect the changes


Wednesday 11th of November 2020

@ Phil & Kashlee, thank you for the information and update. Does the COVID test certificate need to be translated in English , in my case I will be coming from Reunion Island which is a French overseas territory. I am a South African looking at going back home for a few weeks.

Kashlee Kucheran

Wednesday 11th of November 2020

I believe the answer to that is yes, but I can't confirm 100%