South Africa…an amazing country that should be on everyone’s bucketlist! However, when South Africa announced the border would be closed to ALL visitors until mid 2021, flights were canceled (including my own), dreams were dashed, and dismay set in for many as they realized the amazing vineyards, the world’s top safaris, and an amazing culture would be on pause for a long time.
Well, there has been another stunning development…
SOUTH AFRICA REOPENED…SORT OF…
For context, South Africa (initially) had NOT seen an uptick in COVID-19 cases while other countries were experiencing exponential growth.
As cases continued to grow globally, the SA government determined the best way to prevent an outbreak was to close the border and discontinue international travel until mid-2021.
However, in mid-September, South African President Cyril Ramasphosa announced the country would move to Level 1, ease most other lockdown rules, and re-open the border on 1 October 2020.
However, the border was not open to everyone – namely the countries with with highest rates.
WHEN IS SOUTH AFRICA OPENING TO EVERYONE?
Well yesterday, President Ramasphosa announced even better news…
…that’s right! South Africa is opening its border to ALL international visitors.
However, don’t buy a ticket yet as it’s unclear exactly when the new measures will take place, but several South African media outlets are reporting that it should occur almost immediately.
SO HOW DOES IT WORK?
The Presidents tweets suggest the country is confident in the rapid testing results from other countries and South Africa itself has expanded its own network of COVID-19 testing facilities. In collaboration, rates should remain low.
Again, the exact details haven’t been release but here is how the process worked when it reopen to other countries last month:
- Travelers need to present a negative COVID-19 test result < 72 hours from time of departure (note: All travelers will be screened on arrival also. Those presenting with symptoms will be required to have a COVID-19 test).
- If necessary, travelers will enter a mandatory quarantine facility AT THEIR OWN COST.
- All travelers will download the COVID-19 alert South Africa mobile app.
Again, it’s important to understand that a 14-day quarantine applies for passengers presenting symptoms upon arrival but quarantine is not expected for international travelers presenting the negative covid-19 certificate.
South Africa will reopen its border to everyone momentarily and it could not come at a better time given South Africa is heading into their peak travel season – their summer.
Understanding that many people have written off travel for 2020, this may also be a perfect opportunity to explore pristine South African beaches and experience the beautiful weather without the hoards of tourists.
United Airlines already flies a seasonal flight to Cape Town and announced they will fly to Johannesburg. Delta announced they will fly a triangle route between Johannesburg and Cape Town and South African Airways has returned from the dead.
With Africa suddenly appearing on the radar for many airlines, I trust the past few months have been extremely tough for South Africa as the country relies heavily on tourism. I also believe that attempting to balance the economy with restricting access has been burdensome, but implementing a pre-travel testing program is the ideal situation for South Africa.
Are you planning a trip to South Africa given this development?
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