Coronavirus (COVID-19) and travel: The situation around the world is changing dramatically. Various governments have changed their travel warnings to restrict travel during this time. To understand how this may impact cover under your policy, please go to our FAQs and select your country of residence.
For the latest travel warnings and alerts around the world, read about lockdowns and border restrictions.
South Africa has closed its land borders with Botswana until 15 February 2021 for general entry and departure.
Borders open from 1 October
From 1 October, South Africa has partially reopened to inbound and outbound tourism.
International travel is permitted, subject to the requirements below and the usual visa requirements.
As of 22 December, some countries (including the UK) are restricting flights to and from South Africa due to a second wave of COVID-19 caused by a new variant of the virus.
Passengers can only land at three international airports: Cape Town (CPT), Durban (DUR) or Johannesburg (JNB). There are 18 land borders operating.
These travel alerts are general in nature. Contact your airline or travel provider for information on the availability of flights.
A risk-based, five-level approach to easing lockdown restrictions is being rolled out. As of 30 December, the country is at Adjusted Alert Level 3. A nationwide curfew is in place from 9pm to 6am.
Cloth face masks are mandatory in public across South Africa.
There have been recent attacks on foreign-owned shops in and around Johannesburg, leading to sometimes deadly riots. Be extra careful if you are traveling to Johannesburg or other major cities in South Africa, as tensions may arise. Keep up to date with local news and avoid protests, demonstrations and stay away from any violence if you see it occur on the streets. Here are a few tips on what to do if you are traveling in a country experiencing civil unrest
Cape Town is currently experiencing a serious drought. When and if the dams drop below a certain level (“Day Zero”), taps will be shut off, and residents will have to line up to collect daily water rations. As of December 18, based on consumption and expected rainfall, Day Zero was projected to be April 29, 2018.
Water restrictions are now in place, limiting residents to 87 liters per person per day, but this might not be enough to avert a crisis.
Travelers to Cape Town should be aware of the situation, and do their part by following the rules laid out in the city's Save Like a Local campaign – these include re-using towels, limiting showers to two minutes, and seeking out accommodations that have water-saving measures in place.
The US government has advised that it has received information that terror groups plan to attack places where US citizens gather such as shopping centers and malls in Johannesburg and Cape Town.
The US warning says the threat is "near-term" and linked it to the worldwide call by ISIS for its followers to carry out attacks during the month of Ramadan.
This year Ramadan begins on the night of June 6th and lasts 30 days until July 5th.
Before you buy a travel insurance policy, check your government travel warnings and health advice – there may be no travel insurance cover for locations with a government travel ban or health advice against travel.
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Just how safe is it to travel South Africa? From petty theft to serious crime, we asked a local to share her top travel safety tips for first-time visitors.