Updated travel restrictions for South Africa – where you can visit

 ·25 Apr 2022

The Department of Home Affairs has gazetted a notice confirming that most of the country’s airports and borders have opened for international and domestic travel.

The notice, which forms part of the government’s move away from the national state of disaster framework, confirms that:

  • All ports of entry for aircraft except Pilansberg International are open for both international and domestic travellers;
  • Entry to or exit from South Africa is subject to screening procedures prescribed in the prevailing disaster management regulations, including a requirement that travellers to the country present a valid vaccination certificate or a negative Covid-19 test taken not more than 72 hours before travel.

The gazette also notes that South Africa faces ongoing travel restrictions due to the pandemic – despite a notable decline in Covid-19 infections and the removal of almost all local restrictions.

mapping tool developed by travel website Skyscanner shows that as of 25 April, South Africa has 53  ‘major restrictions’ in place from other countries. These countries have suspended travel, may be closed to entry, or may only be possible if you are a citizen/meet strict entrance requirements.

By comparison, there are currently 15 moderate restrictions on South Africa, where travel is possible, but only if travellers meet specific entry requirements, including taking Covid-19 tests.

  • Australia: South Africans may be required to quarantine in Australia, even if they are fully vaccinated;
  • France: International travel to France is allowed, but you’ll have to meet some requirements to enter, including possible testing or vaccination proof;
  • Mauritius: Visiting Mauritius is possible, but you may have to quarantine on arrival depending on vaccination status;
  • New Zealand: South Africans may be required to quarantine in New Zealand, even if they are fully vaccinated;
  • UK: South Africans currently do not need to quarantine, take tests, or wear masks when travelling to the UK;
  • US: South Africans may be required to quarantine in the United States, even if they are fully vaccinated.

While South Africa’s travel restrictions have all but lifted, the latest hotel data from Statistics South Africa shows the country’s tourism industry has still not recovered to pre-pandemic levels, with long-term travel trends pointing to some notable structural shifts.

On a year-on-year growth rate basis, total hotel sector income was a robust 175%, slightly slower than the 177.6% rate for January. But these growth rates have limited significance given that this income was coming off a shallow base compared with 2020/early-2021 lockdown levels. Total hotel industry income in February 2022 was still -33.9% below the income for February 2020, the last month before the 2020 lockdown announcement in March of that year.

Read: South Africa facing Covid wave test in coming weeks

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