South Africa is set to open its borders on 01 October 2020 and the country is well prepared to welcome international tourists again! The end of South Africa’s coronavirus lockdown will see the lifting of COVID travel restrictions and the implementation of measures to ensure safe travel in South Africa.
South Africa is an ideal year-round holiday destination. It is the perfect destination for those seeking wildlife adventures, families who want to explore the great outdoors, thrill-seeking adventure sports enthusiasts and for people who enjoy arts, culture, fine wine and food. Exploring South Africa is made easy by the impressive road network and first-world airport infrastructure; it is possible to experience a lot in a short holiday.
With South Africa’s coronavirus travel restrictions easing, this is the ideal time to take advantage of the multitude of experiences available. There are incredible safari specials on offer as the country is looking to rebuild its tourism sector after the COVID lockdown.
Is it safe to travel to South Africa yet?
South Africa has been commended globally for its bold response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The government applied a science-based approach and locked the country down early on, allowing it to prepare its healthcare infrastructure to cope with the coronavirus pandemic. Since then South Africa has gradually and cautiously adjusted alert levels and infection rates and death rates have been lower than expected.
South Africa is now emerging from the pandemic with a COVID-19 death rate roughly seven times lower than the United Kingdom, and the number of people with coronavirus in South Africa is now on a downward trajectory.
How to travel to South Africa after COVID-19?
South African borders will be open to those tourists from countries with a low-rate of infection from 1 October 2020. The list (to be made available online) will be based on international guidelines and will be amended as countries’ COVID infection rates change.
South Africa has put in place stringent science-based measures to ensure its tourism and hospitality industry is COVID-19 compliant. When in public you are expected to follow social distancing rules (stand 1.5 meters apart), sanitise your hands and wear a cloth facemask. These rules are a good thing as there is significant evidence from the World Health Organisation (WHO) that by maintaining social distancing, washing our hands regularly and wearing masks it is possible to reduce the risk of infection.
What are the COVID-19 rules to travel to South Africa?
When you arrive in South Africa you will be expected to produce a valid negative coronavirus certificate, which was obtained not more than 72 hours before your date of travel. When you land you will be assessed for coronavirus symptoms (temperature tests and a questionnaire), you will also be required to download a track and tracing app to your phone for the duration of your visit. Should you have any symptoms you will be required to quarantine for a period of time at your own cost.
Should you not have a negative COVID-19 certificate you will be required to quarantine at your own cost for an agreed period of time (up to 14 days in total).
Is travelling in South Africa safe?
Our teams on the ground in South Africa are committed to following the mandatory COVID-19 policies. They have used the lockdown period to train their staff and prepare their accommodation and dining facilities in line with South Africa’s coronavirus prevention rules. Local travel has been open since September and this has allowed the country to resume tourism successfully. South Africa has a network of world-class healthcare facilities should you require any medical assistance while travelling in the country.
What are South Africa’s COVID-19 travel safety guidelines?
In essence what you need to know is that an advanced screening policy is in place for all incoming tourists, which includes a health questionnaire and temperature checks upon arrival. When in South Africa you will be required to wash your hands frequently, stay at least 1.5-metres apart from others and wear a facemask in public places. Tourists are also asked to download a Covid-19 tracking and tracing app so you can be easily contacted should the need arise. All our tour operators have to follow the government’s coronavirus policies as part of their license to operate.
Here’s a summary of what you need to know about South Africa’s coronavirus travel rules:
- You will need to have a negative COVID-19 certificate when you arrive (no older than 72 hours from when you departed)
- On arrival, everyone will undergo a health screening, anyone showing coronavirus symptoms will be quarantined at your own cost until you test negative
- If you do not have a certificate you will be required to quarantine at our own cost
- You are required to download the government contact tracing app
- At the borders, airports, banks and national parks, temperature scanning is in place
- Everyone must wash or sanitise their hands before gaining entrance to public places including shops, restaurants and national parks
- Wearing a face mask in public is mandatory
- Social distancing rules apply
Ready to travel to South Africa when its borders open?
Eager to travel? An important consideration to make before you travel to South Africa is that your travel insurance covers you for COVID-19. For example, make sure you buy ‘cancel for any reason’ travel insurance because this will give you peace of mind if for any reason you need to postpone your trip. The majority of the tours we offer enable you to postpone your arrival date if your trip is postponed due to coronavirus restrictions (please confirm these at the time of booking). Also, we recommend booking a flexible ticket, this will allow you to adjust your travel dates should you need to.
At African Budget Safaris, we understand that COVID-19 is a concern for everyone. We will provide you with COVID-19 policies for your tour and for the lodges and camps you will visit, so you can be sure that you are happy with the measures they have in place before you book. Our team of travel consultants is also available to answer any questions you have.
Please get in touch should you wish to travel once the borders are open. We are so looking forward to welcoming you to South Africa!
The information contained in this blog post is correct and accurate at the time of publication. Due to the evolving nature of travel regulations and policies it is, however, important to verify these before you travel. Contact our consultants for the most up-to-date travel guidelines and requirements.