South Africa2021-10-06T17:36:36+02:00
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Latest travel notes on Covid-19 ➝

Travel tips for South Africa

Top 5 Experiences

South Africa is wild and adventurous, traditional and trendy. The country at the Cape offers a diversity like hardly any other country: dreamlike beaches, vibrant cities, the Big Five, deserts, vineyards and unforgettable encounters with the many cultures in the country. Highlights include:

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Cape Town

South Africa’s third largest city is known for its casual lifestyle, diverse cuisine and impressive natural scenery. Almost every path in Cape Town eventually leads to the Table Mountain – The whole world raves about the view. Table Mountain, which towers majestically over Cape Town, is one of the seven natural wonders of the world. Taking the panoramic cable car up the 1,000 meters to the top, the metropolis, the sea and the Cape Peninsula are at one´s feet.

Safari

Experiencing this incredible wildlife in its natural environment up close and with all your senses is breath-taking like nothing else. Kruger National Park is the flagship of South Africa’s national parks: with almost 20,000 km² South Africa’s largest game reserve is as big as Slovenia. And Kruger Park breaks records in other ways, too: 150 species of mammals, 114 species of reptiles and over 500 species of birds live here. It is home to the Big Five – lion, elephant, rhino, buffalo and leopard. Worldwide, it is considered the region with the greatest biodiversity.

Garden Route

South Africa’s most popular tourist route is considered one of the most beautiful stretches of coastline in the world. Located in the southern part of South Africa, the nearly 300 km long Garden Route stretches from the small coastal town of Mossel Bay in the west to Storms River Village in the east. Nestled between the Indian Ocean and the Outeniqua and Tsitsikamma Mountains, the route offers a scenic diversity of ancient rainforests, crystal clear lakes, secluded sandy beaches and lagoons. Small coastal towns like Knysna, Plettenberg Bay and Nature’s Valley offer tourists numerous opportunities to actively discover the region.

Cultural Heritage

The origins of mankind lie in South Africa. The Ndebele woman in Limpopo opens the doors to her colourfully painted hut, the Afrikaans-speaking vintner invites into his wine cellar and the inhabitants of the townships tell their story in the Shebeen. Nelson Mandela is the father of the Rainbow Nation, in Soweto one can visit his former home. Back to the origins of human history leads the Cradle of Humankind, one of the eight World Heritage Sites in South Africa.

Beaches

Miles of sandy beaches, hip boardwalks and wild coastlines – South Africa’s beaches are as diverse as the country itself. Some 3,000 km of coastline and year-round mild weather make the rainbow nation the perfect destination for those who love the sea. From the Cape region, where the Atlantic meets the Indian Ocean, along the Garden Route with partly rugged coasts to the subtropical beaches in green KwaZulu-Natal – every part of South Africa’s coast has its own special feature.

Tourist infrastructure

With its scenic beauty and well-developed infrastructure throughout the country, South Africa offers ideal conditions for a self-drive with a rental car. All major car rental companies have branches at South Africa’s airports so that visitors can start their round trip directly after arrival. This requires the presentation of an international driver’s license. The road conditions of the national and toll roads in the country as well as along the Garden Route are very good. In rural areas as well as in the national parks one will mostly find gravel and unpaved roads. Since South Africa is only one night flight away from Central Europe, the experience begins without any jet lag.

The selection of accommodations in South Africa is huge! It ranges from renowned hotels and lodges to Bed & Breakfasts and hostels. The price-performance ratio is excellent, so it is possible to treat oneself with a little more luxury. In South Africa, hotels, lodges, guesthouses, hostels and other accommodations can be officially classified. This offers tourists a better overview when choosing an accommodation, because the quality and value for money of these providers have been officially tested.

Climate and travel season

South Africa is a year-round destination – here one can experience (almost) everything at any time. And yet every single season offers its own special charm.

Between December and February it gets really warm everywhere in South Africa and also the South Africans enjoy their vacation season. From mid-December on, one can hear Christmas carols on the beach and admire the sometimes very unique Christmas decorations on cacti.

The South African spring (September to November) and autumn (March to April) are considered the preferred travel times for all outdoor lovers. This is because temperatures are pleasantly warm on the Cape Peninsula, the Garden Route, the Eastern Cape and the subtropical coast above Durban, and the likelihood of rain drops.

South Africa’s Green Season runs from May to September. In the South African provinces of Limpopo, Northern Cape, KwaZulu-Natal, Mpumalanga, Freestate and North West, temperatures often reach over 25°, with only the nights getting much cooler, averaging in the single digits. With the dry season upon us, it is the perfect weather for wildlife viewing and outdoor activities. In the Western and Eastern Cape, there is a greater chance of rain and temperatures can also become more autumn-like here.

Visa and entry

Germans, Austrians and Swiss do not need a visa to enter South Africa. Upon arrival, travellers receive a so-called „visitor’s visa“, which is usually valid for a maximum of 90 days. The machine-readable passport must be valid on arrival for at least 30 days after departure and contain at least two free pages for endorsements. A temporary machine-readable passport with the same validity and two free pages is also accepted.

Impressions from South Africa

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Our partners for South Africa

General updates

Federal Foreign Office (GER) ➝

Federal Ministry European and International Affairs (GER) ➝

Federal Department of Foreign Affairs (GER) ➝

Information of the
Tourism Board ➝

Country Information

Current accessibility

  • Information on entry:

    It is possible again for travelers from Germany, Austria and Switzerland to travel to and from South Africa via the international airports. Entry by land can only take place via one of the 20 defined border crossings. Passenger ships are allowed to dock again. All travelers over 5 years of age must show a negative Covid-19 test upon arrival, which meets the requirements of the WHO and must not be older than 72 hours upon departure. Experience has shown that most airlines require proof of a negative PCR test before people can enter the plane. Travelers who enter the country without such a test certificate must undergo an PoC test immediately upon arrival at their own expense and, in the event of a positive test result, enter a 10-day quarantine. Upon arrival, all travelers will also be screened for symptoms and contact with infected people. A fully completed travel health questionnaire must be submitted upon entry. All travelers are expected to have the mobile app „COVID Alert South Africa“ installed on their mobile phone, have a travel health insurance and provide a proof of accommodation including the address if quarantine is required. If symptoms (increased body temperature and flu-like symptoms, etc.) occur upon entry or if there has been contact with infected people, another Covid-19 test must be carried out. The traveler bears the cost of the test.

  • Information on return:

    Since March 30, 2021, all travellers, no matter from which country they are coming and which means of transportation they use, must present a negative PCR or PoC test, a proof of complete vaccination, for instance the digital Covid-Certificate from the EU (Green Pass), or a proof of recovery from a Covid-19 infection, which was completed at least 28 days ago and is maximum 6 months old, before entering the Federal Republic of Germany. The PCR test must be performed at the earliest 72 hours and the PoC-test 48 hours before the start of the return journey. In addition, travellers must register their entry at the entry portal www.einreiseanmeldung.de➝ before arriving in Germany and carry proof of the corresponding registration with them. For stays in high risk areas classified by the RKI➝ there is a 10-day quarantine obligation. The quarantine can solely be prevented when a proof of complete vaccination or a proof of recovery from a Covid-19 infection, which was completed at least 28 days ago and is maximum 6 months old, was submitted on the entry portal. After five days at the earliest, travellers who are not vaccinated or did not recover from a Covid-19 infection can undergo a Covid-19 test. With a subsequent negative result, the quarantine obligation can be ended early. For stays in virus mutation areas a negative PCR-test, which must be performed at the earliest 72 hours before entering, needs to be shown before return and a fourteen-day quarantine must to be entered without possibility to shorten it.

    All travellers older than 12 years, must present a negative PCR or PoC test, a proof of complete vaccination, for instance the digital Covid-Certificate from the EU (Green Pass), or a proof of recovery from a Covid-19 infection before entering Austria. The PCR-test must be performed at the earliest 72 hours and the PoC-test 48 hours before the start of the return journey. Since January 15, 2021, travellers must register their entry here ➝ („Pre-Travel-Clearance“) before arrival. With the above mentioned certifications a quarantine can be fully prevented when entering from a country classified as safe. The certifications can be handed in 24 hours later if no hotel stay is planned. For vaccinated people arriving from countries not classified as safe or from virus mutations areas the quarantine does not apply neither. Non-vaccinated people however need to present a negative Covid-test or a proof of recovery as well as enter a 10-day quarantine. After five days at the earliest, travellers can undergo a Covid-19 test. With a subsequent negative result, the quarantine obligation can be ended early.

    All air as well as transit passengers who are not fully vaccinated or did not surpass a Covid-19 infection within the past 6 months must register their entry on www.swissplf.admin.ch before or during arrival in Switzerland and need to carry the generated QR-code with them. Air passengers older than 16 years must present a negative PCR or PoC test, a proof of complete vaccination, for instance the digital Covid-Certificate from the EU (Green Pass), or a proof of recovery from a Covid-19 infection before entering. The PCR-test must be performed at the earliest 72 hours and the PoC-test 48 hours before the start of the return journey. Air as well as transit passengers who are not fully vaccinated or did not surpass a Covid-19 infection as well need to enter a 10-day quarantine and present a PCR-test. In addition, they need to inform their corresponding cantonal authority latest within two days after arrival. After seven days at the earliest, travellers can undergo a Covid-19 test. With a subsequent negative result, the quarantine obligation can be ended early. The obligation to test or enter quarantine does not apply to fully vaccinated people who can present a certificate such as the EU Digital Certificate or a Swiss Covid certificate.

Covid-19

Corona precautionary measures

  • Restrictions in the country:

    The maintenance of the safety distance must be observed. Regular hand washing and the use of disinfectants is advisable. All entrants must use the COVID Alert South Africa app. South Africa is in lockdown level 1, which includes a curfew between 0 and 4 am. Non-essential public facilities such as restaurants and sports facilities must close at 11 pm. Alcohol can be sold outside of curfew times. Venues may receive guests up to a capacity of 50%, with indoor events limited to a maximum of 750 people and outdoor events to a maximum of 2,000 guests. Travel between the regions is possible without restrictions.

  • Mouth and nose protection:

    There is a strict mask requirement in public. When entering stores and public facilities, all visitors have their temperature taken and must disinfect their hands.

  • Hygiene measures in the country:

    The Tourism Business Council of South Africa (TBCSA) has developed comprehensive protocols (PDF) for the operation of all types of tourism businesses and facilities. The protocols are consistent with the guidelines of the World Health Organization (WHO), the National Institute of Communicable Diseases (NICD) and the Department of Health.

Status: 05.10.2021

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