Level 1 travel restrictions


Although international travel is open, it is by no means easier to travel. Mandy Latimore takes a look at the rules in place to protect travellers from COVID-19

With the president moving the country to Level 1 of the lockdown, there have been conflicting and confusing reports about travel into and out of South Africa. Although the country has opened its borders for international travel, there is still a ban on visitors from countries that are deemed to be “high risk”. Tourists from the African continent and other “low risk” areas will be allowed to enter South Africa.

From October 1, international flights to and from South Africa have resumed, under certain restrictions and on a phased basis. Travel from countries that are deemed to be high risk will continue to be restricted, and the list of high-risk countries will remain under review.

The general advice is to avoid non-essential travel, other than to countries that are on the “Green List”. Unfortunately, this list is updated on a weekly basis, which makes planning a trip quite difficult. So, unless you must travel for business or an emergency, it is advised to remain in South Africa until there is better clarity. For those who must travel, here is some relevant info:

On departure from South Africa

Before you book your trip, check what the incoming requirements are for the country that you are visiting. You may need to be in quarantine for several days on arrival at your own cost.

Check which airlines are flying to your destination as not all airlines are travelling to South Africa. You will need a negative COVID-19 test result (not older than 72 hours) before leaving so that you can present this at your destination on arrival.

On arrival in South Africa

On arrival, all travellers will need to present a negative COVID-19 test result not older than 72 hours prior to the time of departure. Where a traveller has not done a COVID-19 test prior to their departure, they will be required to remain in mandatory quarantine at their own cost.

All travellers will be screened on arrival and those presenting symptoms will be required to undergo a COVID-19 test. Where necessary, travellers will need to enter mandatory quarantine facilities at their own cost.

Travellers will also be required to download the COVID Alert South Africa mobile app. For up-to-date info visit this website: https://sacoronavirus.co.za/.

If you are travelling internationally, always remember to purchase comprehensive travel insurance, which must cover medical and extras.

Should you be travelling locally, please remember that there are still general restrictions:

  • The hours of curfew apply between midnight and 04h00.
  • The sale of alcohol at retail outlets for home consumption is permitted from Monday to Friday between 09h00 and 17h00*.
  • Alcohol will be permitted for onsite consumption only in licenced establishments with a strict adherence to the curfew.
  • Masks are to be worn in all public places.
  • Social distancing of at least a metre is still highly recommended.
  • Regular washing and sanitising of hands is required.

With all the confusion, perhaps “local is lekker”. Maybe it is best to plan breakaways to the wonderful sights and places within our own borders until it is easier, and safe, to travel abroad. If you have travelled and want to share your adventures, please contact me so that we can include them in this column. Contact me at mandy@noveltravel.co.za.

Safe and happy travels!

*The restrictions on alcohol purchases has been changed. Please visit www.sacoronavirus.co.za for more information.


Mandy Latimore is a consultant in the disability sector in the fields of travel and access. email: mandy@noveltravel.co.za

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