south africa reopening borders

South Africa is open for tourism with PCR test required: Latest Updates

South Africa is open to international visitors for all purposes. Foreign visitors need to bring a certificate of a negative COVID-19 test taken 72 hours prior to their arrival, otherwise they have to pay to get tested on-site and wait for a negative result. 

Travelers found positive after screenings or testing at the airport will need to go into quarantine for 10 days.

Many countries have suspended travel operations with South Africa and/or travelers who have been to South Africa recently so it can be difficult for foreigners to find a flight back home.

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South Africa Reopening – Latest Updates

South African beach

February 18

The US is the latest country to join the list of, at least, 30 nations that have banned flights to and from South Africa so even though the country is open, not many travelers are willing or even able to get there. 

The strain of COVID-19 first spotted in South Africa and that has widely spread there is of concern for most national and international health organizations. 

After the first lot of AstraZeneca proved to be ineffective against the South African strain of the virus, vaccine rollout was halted for a while.

Only recently the country has started administering the first lot of 80,000 doses they received from Johnson & Johnson. The country is expected to receive a total of 20 million doses in the next few months. (Source)

January 2021

New COVID strain from South Africa has been reported in 20 countries already. Therefore, lots of countries are imposing travel bans and airlines are canceling flight routes to South Africa.

The current infectious rates are really high and South Africa records between 15 – 20,000 cases each day.

South Africa remains open for tourism with PCR tests required but traveling to and from South Africa is not recommended.

December 10

South America remains fully open for tourists with PCR tests required. The current COVID situation is unstable and as of December 9, there were 6700 new confirmed cases recorded.

The government declared the 2nd wave of the Coronavirus outbreak in South Africa.

November 26

South Africa reopened to international travelers on November 16.

November 12

The President of South Africa announced on November 11 that they will reopen borders to tourists and visitors from all countries. The exact date was not specified at the moment. (Source: Twitter)

November 11

South Africa reopened for tourism on October 1st. Their summer season was about to start and these airlines started resuming flights. Here is a quick overview.

South African airport
  • Lufthansa
  • Kenya Airways
  • Air Zimbabwe
  • British Airways (Johannesburg and Cape Town)
  • Air France
  • KLM
  • Qatar
  • Turkish Airlines and Air Mauritius (soon)

(Source: Simpleflying.com)

October 16

The South African President announced a reopening.

All travelers will need to provide a negative PCR COVID test taken within 72 hours before departure. Also, at the airport in SA they will undergo temperature checks.

Travelers that will attempt to enter without a test or will have any of the corona symptoms will need to stay in quarantine at their own expense, for 14 days.

South Africa will only allow entry to selected countries.

What is the current COVID situation in South Africa?

As of February 18, South Africa has reported 1,496,439 positive cases and 48,478 deaths.

Is it safe to visit South Africa during COVID-19?

Visiting South Africa during COVID-19 is considered high risk the US government has banned all flights and the CDC recommends has ranked South Africa at a risk level 4, the highest. (CDC.gov)

Can American tourists travel to South Africa?

Yes. All visitors are currently welcomed, including American tourists.

Cape Town, South Africa

Tourism in South Africa

The country implemented strong lockdown measures, only to lift them in July, which is believed to be responsible for the country’s surge in COVID-19 cases.

Indeed, many tourism attractions opened immediately after the country’s lockdown was lifted. This includes common outdoor attractions like parks and beaches.

Many tourism-related industries have shifted their focus from international to internal tourism. This has proven to be a somewhat successful effort in some countries, and South Africa is looking to duplicate the success of these nations.

This is being done via the creation of a formal marketing campaign, “It Is Your Country, Enjoy It,” which is geared explicitly towards improving domestic tourism. This is particularly the case for Cape Town, one of the largest international tourism locales in the country.

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