South Africa – COVID 19 Travel Updates

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Traveling to South Africa – COVID-19 Updates

The Republic of South Africa is a veritable hotpot of cultures, languages, and religions, making it an amazing tourist destination for anyone looking to cover vibrant city life, beautiful scenery, and a huge dose of history all in one go! With numerous attractions such as the South African national parks, including the Kruger National Park, and the Sabi Sand Game Reserve, which welcomes millions of visitors every single year, the country has a lot to offer any tourist. 

Home to ten UNESCO World Heritage sites (signifying a site of “cultural and natural heritage around the world considered to be of outstanding value to humanity”), including iSimangaliso Wetland Park and uKhahlamba Drakensberg Park, it is one of the most beautiful countries to visit. From Cape Town and its vibrant City Life, all the way through to the wine routes of the Western Cape, and the historical sites in Johannesburg, there are many attractions that welcome millions of tourists every single year.

South Africa reopened its doors to tourism on October 1 2020 after the initial pandemic in 2020. As of November 11, 2020, US citizens need to present a negative COVID-19 test within 72 hours from their departure time, or have to test upon their arrival, but remain in quarantine for 10 days, all on their own expense. 

When the new COVID variant was discovered in December 2020, the US government banned travel from South Africa on January 26, 2021, with the exception of legal US residents and US citizens. As South Africa suffered a major second wave of COVID in December 2020 and January 2021, the country went into Level 3 lockdown alert, which reverted back to Level 1 on March 1, 2021. This is the current state of affairs. 

The recent U.S. State Department’s advisory for South Africa changed to Level 4: Do Not Travel and the CDC’s advisory for the country is Level 4: Very High Levels of COVID-19. There is a curfew between 11 p.m. and 4 a.m. and you are legally required to wear a face mask when in public. If you do not, you may face a fine or imprisonment. 

Any traveler arriving in South Africa will face a health screening. Tourists who do not bring a test will need to quarantine for 2 weeks, and any travelers must download the South Africa Coronavirus Mobile tracing app and fill out the information. Any traveler who has a negative test result does not have to quarantine. 

As of January 26, 2021, any US citizen or permanent US resident traveling from South Africa to the US has to present a negative COVID-19 test result within 72 hours of departing before they can board their flight. They can also provide documented proof from a licensed health care professional that they have recovered from Coronavirus within the last 90 days.

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