South Africa is open for international travel!

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South African Tourism (SA Tourism) welcomes government’s direction as the country opened its international borders on October 1. While South Africa’s borders will not be open to all countries for leisure travel, SA Tourism is delighted to welcome those visitors who are able to come to our country. 

This follows President Cyril Ramaphosa’s announcement last month that South Africa would be moving to alert level 1, thus opening up international borders for selected countries from October 2020. 

South Africa has developed a risk categorisation model for different countries. This model classifies countries according to a scale of high, medium and low risk. High-risk countries are those with higher numbers of Covid-19 infections and reported deaths compared to South Africa.  Medium-risk countries have a relatively equal number of infections and death toll to South Africa, while low-risk countries have a lesser number of Covid-19 infections and death toll in comparison to South Africa. All travellers coming into the country will need to supply a negative PCR (polymerase chain reaction) Covid-19 test not older than 72 hours from the date of departure from their country. Travellers will also be screened for any Covid-19 symptoms and be required to provide proof of accommodation address, should they need to self-quarantine. 

“While many of our key source markets feature in the high-risk category, meaning that they are not able to travel to South Africa for leisure purposes yet, the environment is fluid and changes constantly. We remain optimistic and encouraged by the gradual phased opening of our sector and we will monitor the changes regularly, as the country lists are reviewed every two weeks,” says SA Tourism Chief Executive Officer, Sisa Ntshona.


Any person from a high-risk country who wishes to undertake business travel into South Africa may do so with effect from October 1 2020, and must apply in writing to the Minister of Home Affairs, to demonstrate reasons for their request to enter South Africa, for example, for business purposes. Such applications must be directed by email to: [email protected].

All travellers from African countries will be allowed to travel to South Africa and must possess relevant travel documents, a negative PCR test result, and will also be screened for Covid-19 symptoms.

“We are encouraged to see that travel is open for the rest of the continent. This follows global trends in changing traveller behaviour, which is influenced by trust and confidence where travel starts domestically, then regionally, and ultimately internationally,” concludes Ntshona. 

South Africa has put in place globally-benchmarked health and safety protocols that include the wearing of masks, washing of hands and maintaining social distancing. 

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