When Can We Travel To South Africa In 2021?
LAST UPDATE: JUNE 7, 2021
Disclaimer: This information is collated from official sources but general in nature. Entry requirements are subject to change at any time. Keep checking for the latest advice from your local government, embassy, or consulate to confirm any visa or entry requirements before travel.
Things around the world are gradually returning to normal as the global vaccine rollout gains momentum. While there is no exact date for the resumption of international travel, we at INTRO are monitoring the situation closely. So, can we travel to South Africa in 2021? Read on for the latest updates.
AM I ALLOWED TO TRAVEL TO SOUTH AFRICA?
Currently, most governments are advising against all but essential international travel, including to South Africa.
ENTERING SOUTH AFRICA
Travel to South Africa is limited but currently allowed by air through Johannesburg, Cape Town and Durban international airports.
Travellers are required to undergo health checks including temperature screening on arrival.
For additional details, as well as any exemptions to these restrictions, view the official government source here.
You don't need a visa if visiting South Africa for tourism purposes for up to 90 days.
Travellers must complete this health questionnaire 48 hours prior to arrival in South Africa.
NEGATIVE COVID RESULT
Travellers must present a negative Covid test taken 72 hours before departing to South Africa. If you arrive without proof of a negative result you will have to do a test on arrival at your own cost, and be placed in mandatory quarantine if testing positive.
DO I NEED A VACCINE?
A vaccine is not mandatory to enter South Africa.
PROOF OF INSURANCE
Travel insurance is highly recommended but not mandatory for arrivals in South Africa.
Travellers are not required to quarantine after entering South Africa as long as they provide a negative Covid test on arrival.
No applications are compulsory for monitoring Covid, though downloading the COVID Alert SA app is encouraged.
RESTRICTIONS & OPEN TOURIST ATTRACTIONS
Masks are required in public spaces, enclosed environments and public transport. Restaurants and bars are open with some restrictions but nightclubs are still closed. Hotels, B'n'B's and lodges are open for travellers, and travel is allowed between provinces.
However, there is a nationwide curfew from midnight to 4 am. If you arrive in South Africa during this time you are allowed to travel from the airport to your place of accommodation.
Each country has different restrictions for travellers arriving from abroad.
UK travellers can refer to the ‘traffic light’ system to determine where they can visit without quarantining on return. South Africa is currently on the red list meaning you must quarantine for 10 days and take 2 Covid tests on return. Find out more about UK travel restrictions via this link.
For information relevant to your situation keep up to date with local government announcements.
Bottom line: South Africa is allowing entry for international travellers with minimal restrictions. However, given government warnings against essential travel and returning quarantine requirements, we are not yet running group tours in South Africa. INTRO is closely monitoring the global situation to determine when it will be safe and responsible to commence our South Africa trips.
We will update this article and our COVID page as official news breaks.
NOTE: This information is general and restrictions are subject to change, so keep in touch with the latest official advice from your local government and South African authorities.
WHEN IS THE BEST TIME OF YEAR TO TRAVEL TO SOUTH AFRICA?
A great thing about South Africa is that it’s a predominately sunny country, and year-round travel is possible thanks to its vast size and diverse range of attractions. Summer weather lasts from October to April, and winter brings cooler weather but fewer crowds from May to September. The cooler months are also best for viewing South Africa's incredible wildlife, as animals are more likely to congregate around waterholes and rivers. From whale migrations to blissful beach sunshine, there's always something going on whichever season you decide to travel in South Africa.
WHY VISIT SOUTH AFRICA?
Where else could you find ancient rainforests, infinite savannah, golden beaches, lush vineyards, towering mountains, buzzing cities, and cultures from all over the world? South Africa is the ultimate country of contrasts. Hugely diverse in landscape and culture, The Rainbow Nation offers experiences you're unable to find anywhere else. Endowed with a myriad of natural wonders, it's no surprise it's the world's top safari destination, but South Africa is also a delight for foodies, budget travellers, adrenaline junkies, and nature enthusiasts alike.
SPOT AFRICA'S INCREDIBLE WILDLIFE ON SAFARI
Slip on your khakis and grab your binoculars, South Africa is one of the few countries where you can spot the Big Five (elephants, buffalo, rhinos, leopards, and lions) all in the same day! South Africa hosts some of the world's best reserves for conservation, including Kruger National Park, Pilanesberg National Park, and Addo Elephant Reserve. Whether your budget stretches to a five-star experience or you're after something a bit more authentic, South Africa's got your back. And it's not just the Big Five! Giraffe, hippo, zebra, meerkats, seals, and penguins all call South Africa home. There's no better place to tick a safari off your bucket list.
LEARN ABOUT OTHER CULTURES
South Africa is a melting pot of fascinating ethnic and cultural diversity. There are 11 official languages and many more unofficial ones, but with English you can still get by as most locals are bi-lingual, tri-lingual, or more! South Africans are known to have a great sense of humour and rave passionately about their backyard. The best way to understand their traditions is by immersing yourself in real Swazi culture with a traditional Zulu community stay. There's nothing more beautiful than being camped out in the middle of the wilderness, listening to your host proudly recount stories of their culture over a flickering fire.
EXPLORE DIVERSE, COSMOPOLITAN CITIES
While you're cruising the savannah or staying with Zulu communities, don't write off the cities when travelling South Africa! Cape Town is an international metropolis - modern and vibrant, boasting a mixture of African, European, and Asian influences. It's been voted the world's best city and is full of museums, galleries, bars, coffee shops, restaurants, and excellent shopping to fill your days. Joburg is a similarly cosmopolitan city, full of neighbourhoods with unique histories like Soweto, a township once at the epicentre of the civil rights movement.
FOOD & WINE HEAVEN
You, on a vine-covered patio, mountains in the distance, sipping some of the best wine in the world... sound good? Outside of Europe, South Africa has the world's oldest wine industry, and with more than 200 cellar doors just a few hours from Cape Town, it's is a wino's paradise! Stellenbosch, Paarl, Franschoek, and Wellington are the main regions, but fantastic wine can be sipped all over the country. When it comes to food Cape Town is a gourmet capital, and Joburg is great for speciality coffee, craft beer, innovative restaurants, and local markets.
TRAVEL BACK IN TIME
Bit of a history buff? The oldest human fossils have been found in Africa, the place that first cradled the birth of humanity. For more recent history you can check out the Apartheid Museum in JoBurg, or Robben Island off of Cape Town where Nelson Mandela spent 18 years of his incarceration. To discover our ancient origins and learn about one of the most inspiring political reformations in recent history, South Africa is where you need to go.
BE WOWED BY NATURAL BEAUTY
Full of sublime scenery, exotic wildlife, geological wonders, and iconic landmarks, South Africa is a haven for anyone who wants to feel small against the majesty of nature. Armed with a camera (or just your phone), you can capture beautiful vineyards, exotic animals, and inspiring viewpoints. The Panorama Route, Bo-Kaap neighbourhood, Table Mountain, and Kruger National Park offer instagrammable spots around every corner.
If exploring South Africa sounds like your kind of adventure, click through to check out our South Africa small group tours here. With expertly crafted itineraries, the guidance of a knowledgable group leader, full end-to-end support, and a new group of friends to make memories with, our trips are the ultimate way to discover a new country! Oh, and did we mention that all of the activities on our itineraries are included? You heard right - everything we mention is included in the tour - no extra payments required. Travel with a group and enjoy the best of South Africa, stress-free.
With flexible booking policies and complete support during this uncertain time, you can be confident when booking with INTRO. So, see you on safari?