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.
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.