south africa reopening borders

South Africa open for tourism but new strain and restrictions discourage travelers

After months of being closed for tourism, Cyril Ramaphosathey, president of South Africa finally made the decision to reopen the country’s borders to all visitors “effective immediately.”

Entry requirements remain in place. All nationals and visitors entering the country must bring proof of a negative PCR test taken in the 72 hours before departure.

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South Africa Reopening – Latest Updates

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 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.

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


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 January 14, South Africa has reported 1.28M positive cases and 35,140 deaths. The current daily rates are increasing and range between 15 – 20K cases.

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

Visiting South Africa during COVID-19 is relatively safe but CDC recommends only essential travel and still marks South Africa with a level 3 warning. (

Can American tourists travel to South Africa?

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

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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