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South Africa has partially re-opened its borders, as it moves to the lowest alert level of the national lockdown. But although international flights are back on the table, it’s not business as usual. Here’s what you need to know before going to the airport.


Resource details:

Publication title: Travel – Coronavirus COVID-19: Alert level 1
Author(s): South African government
Publication date: 1 October 2020

What the guidelines are about:

As part of South Africa’s response to the coronavirus pandemic, a risk system was created based on the country’s COVID-19 cases and health system capacity. Under level 1, the lowest of the alert levels, South Africa reopened its borders on 1 October. The guidelines provide an overview of what new travel restrictions and regulations entail.

Key take-aways from the guidelines:

  • All travellers must produce a PCR test not older than 72 hours from their departure time. The test result document should include the name and signature of the medical practitioner who did the test.
  • Travellers need proof of their accommodation address, should they need to self-quarantine upon arrival.
  • All travellers will be screened for COVID-19 symptoms or contact with someone who has tested positive upon arrival.
  • Anyone displaying COVID-19 symptoms or who has been in contact with someone who has been infected with the coronavirus will have to take a mandatory COVID-19 test at their own cost. If they test positive for the virus, they will be required to quarantine for 10 days at a designated site at their own cost.
  • A list of high-risk countries is available on the South African coronavirus website. As of 5 October, there were 60 countries on the list — including the United States, India, Brazil, Russia and the United Kingdom. No leisure travel from these countries is permitted.
  • People from these high-risk countries are allowed to undertake business travel to South Africa, provided they submit an application to the Minister of Home Affairs showing their reasons for the trip.
  • These applications should be sent to [email protected] and has to include: a copy of the person’s passport or temporary residence visa, proof of business activities in the country, proof of travel itinerary and proof of address or accommodation in South Africa.

Air travel

Resource details:

Publication title: Disaster Management Act: Directions: Measures to address, prevent and combat spread of Coronavirus COVID-19 for Alert Level 1: Air services
Author(s): The department of transport
Publication date: 1 October 2020

Key take-aways from the guidelines:

What passengers should know:

What airports are open:

  • International passenger flights are allowed at the following airports:
    • OR Tambo International Airport
    • King Shaka International Airport
    • Cape Town International Airport
  • International cargo flights are permitted to operate at the following airports:
    • Bram Fischer International Airport
    • Cape Town International Airport
    • King Shaka International Airport
    • Kruger Mpumalanga International Airport
    • Lanseria International Airport
    • OR Tambo International Airport
    • Polokwane Airport
    • Port Elizabeth International Airport
    • Upington International Airport
  • Domestic flights are allowed at the following airports:
    • Bram Fischer International Airport
    • Cape Town International Airport
    • East London Airport
    • George Airport
    • Hoedspruit Airport
    • Kimberly Airport
    • King Shaka International Airport
    • Kruger Mpumalanga International Airport
    • Lanseria International Airport
    • Margate Airport
    • Mthatha Airport
    • OR Tambo International Airport
    • Phalaborwa Airport
    • Pietermaritzburg Airport
    • Plettenberg Bay Airport
    • Polokwane Airport
    • Port Elizabeth International Airport
    • Richards Bay Airport
    • Sishen Airport
    • Skukuza Airport
    • Upington International Airport

Sea Ports

Resource details:

Publication title: Disaster Management Act: Directions: Measures to address, prevent and combat spread of Coronavirus COVID-19 for Alert Level 1: Sea ports
Author(s): The department of transport
Publication date: 1 October 2020

Key take-aways from the guidelines:

Cross-border road transport

Resource details:

Publication title: Disaster Management Act: Directions: Measures to address, prevent and combat spread of Coronavirus COVID-19 for Alert Level 1: Cross border road transport services
Author(s): The department of transport
Publication date: 1 October 2020

Key take-aways from the guidelines: