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South Africa is open for visitors

By Samara on October 7, 2021
With low infection rates, relaxed lockdown restrictions and a tourism industry that supports conservation and community, South Africa is the perfect destination for international visitors looking for some winter sun.

On 1 October 2021, South Africa’s lockdown regulations were relaxed to “adjusted Level 1”, reflecting the lower prevalence of COVID-19 in the country and the progress of the vaccination rollout. South Africa’s current 7-day average (at the time of writing) is 1,250 cases daily – down from a high of 19,000 cases daily during the third wave, and comparing favourably with the likes of the United Kingdom (with a current 7-day average of 33,000 daily cases). The Delta variant accounts for almost all cases in South Africa, mirroring the situation worldwide, and there is no evidence that any worrisome new variants are circulating in the country.

Vaccine rollout of the Pfizer and Johnson & Johnson vaccines has reached 30% of the adult population, with 17 million doses administered, equating to 8.3 million fully-vaccinated people. The South African government’s aim is to vaccinate 70% of adults by the end of the year. In the hospitality and tourism industries, vaccination rates are higher still. For example, 91% of Samara’s staff of 60+ individuals have been vaccinated or are booked to be vaccinated in the next few weeks.

The easing of South African lockdown restrictions to adjusted Level 1 means that life is more or less back to a cautious new normal. Key ongoing restrictions of interest to travellers include:

  • Mandatory wearing of face masks in public places.
  • Restaurants and bars must close by 11pm to allow clients and staff time to make it home for the midnight-4am curfew.
  • Alcohol sales are now fully authorised, except during curfew hours.
  • Stringent hygiene protocols remain a requirement for all hospitality and tourism businesses, including restaurants, hotels and safari lodges.

Given the importance of the South African tourism industry to conservation and livelihoods, we encourage you to consider South Africa for your next holiday. From Cape Town to a safari, the West Coast to the Garden Route, the Winelands to the Great Karoo – our Rainbow nation has so much to offer. Every Samara stay supports the rewilding of 67,000 acres, the protection of endangered species and the employment of 60+ local people – so when you visit one of our lodges, you know you’re not just taking a holiday, you’re actively making a difference.

Here is some additional information to give you peace of mind when planning your Samara stay:

  • Samara is located in the Karoo, a remote location off the beaten track, far from the large cities and densely-populated areas of the country.
  • 67,000 acres of born-again wilderness are at your disposal to explore by open safari vehicle or on foot. Abundant fresh air guaranteed.
  • The reserve has a private airstrip for those wishing to fly in directly.
  • Exclusive-use accommodation options are available at The Manor, and a private vehicle may be booked at Karoo Lodge at extra cost.
  • COVID-19 hygiene protocols are in place and adhered to throughout the property.
  • A comprehensive COVID-19 booking & cancellation policy is in place.
  • The nearby town of Graaff-Reinet (45 minutes’ drive) has private COVID-19 PCR testing facilities. The approximate cost of a test is R850. Samara can facilitate the provisioning of and transport to these tests.
  • 91% of Samara staff are or will soon be fully vaccinated with either the Pfizer or the Johnson & Johnson vaccine.

We are looking forward to welcoming our international friends back to our wonderful country. To make your trip planning easier, we have compiled a list of requirements for international travellers from a selection of top source countries to South Africa (click or tap on the country name to jump to the relevant section):

United States of America

The USA’s Centres for Disease Control and Prevention recently downgraded South Africa from risk alert Level 4 to Level 3. This makes travel to and from South Africa easier for fully-vaccinated US citizens, for whom the following rules apply:

Before your trip

  • Negative PCR test required within 72 hours of departure from the USA.

During your trip

  • No quarantine requirement on arrival in South Africa.
  • South Africa is on adjusted Level 1 lockdown, with minor restrictions including mask-wearing in public places and a midnight-4am curfew.
  • Negative PCR test required within 72 hours of departure from South Africa.

After your trip

  • No quarantine requirement on arrival back in the USA.

Airlines flying between the USA and South Africa include Delta Airlines, KLM, Swiss, Qatar Airways and Emirates.

United Kingdom

South Africa will be removed from the UK’s Red List effective 11 October 2021. This eliminates the 10-day quarantine requirement for fully-vaccinated travellers returning from a holiday in South Africa, for whom the following rules apply:

Before your trip

  • Negative PCR test required within 72 hours of departure from the UK.

During your trip

  • No quarantine requirement on arrival in South Africa.
  • South Africa is on adjusted Level 1 lockdown, with minor restrictions including mask-wearing in public places and a midnight-4am curfew.

After your trip

  • No quarantine requirement on arrival back in the UK, with only a day 2 test required.

Read more on the official UK Government website. Slightly different rules apply for non-vaccinated or partially-vaccinated travellers.

Airlines flying between the UK and South Africa include Virgin Atlantic, British Airways, Lufthansa, KLM, Air France, Qatar Airways and Emirates.

Germany

With effect from 19 September 2021, Germany no longer lists South Africa as a high-risk country, which means that tourists arriving back in Germany after a trip to South Africa no longer need to quarantine.

Before your trip

  • Negative PCR test required within 72 hours of departure from Germany.

During your trip

  • No quarantine requirement on arrival in South Africa.
  • South Africa is on adjusted Level 1 lockdown, with minor restrictions including mask-wearing in public places and a midnight-4am curfew.
  • Negative PCR test required within 72 hours of departure from South Africa, OR proof of full vaccination using an approved vaccine OR proof of recovery from a COVID-19 infection.

After your trip

  • No quarantine requirement on arrival back in Germany.

Airlines flying between Germany and South Africa include KLM, Lufthansa, British Airways and Air France.

Switzerland

Travellers can enter Switzerland from South Africa without needing to quarantine, subject to certain conditions.

Before your trip

  • Negative PCR test required within 72 hours of departure from Switzerland.

During your trip

  • No quarantine requirement on arrival in South Africa.
  • South Africa is on adjusted Level 1 lockdown, with minor restrictions including mask-wearing in public places and a midnight-4am curfew.
  • No negative PCR test requirement if you are a fully vaccinated Swiss citizen or resident. Use this tool to determine specific requirements based on your individual circumstances.

After your trip

  • No quarantine requirement on arrival back in Switzerland.

Airlines flying between Switzerland and South Africa include KLM, Lufthansa, Swiss, Air France and Emirates.

The Netherlands

Travellers can enter the Netherlands from South Africa without needing to quarantine, subject to certain conditions.

Before your trip

  • Negative PCR test required within 72 hours of departure from the Netherlands.

During your trip

  • No quarantine requirement on arrival in South Africa.
  • South Africa is on adjusted Level 1 lockdown, with minor restrictions including mask-wearing in public places and a midnight-4am curfew.
  • Negative PCR test required within 72 hours of departure from South Africa OR proof of full vaccination using an approved vaccine. Proof of recovery from COVID-19 infection is not sufficient to eliminate the negative PCR test requirement.

After your trip

  • No quarantine requirement on arrival back in the Netherlands.

Airlines flying between the Netherlands and South Africa include KLM, Air France, Turkish Airlines, Qatar Airways and Lufthansa.

Please note that whilst every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of the information presented in this blog post at the time of writing, we strongly encourage you to check with your embassy, consulate, airline and/or travel agent for the most accurate and up-to-date information concerning your individual circumstances.


Samara is on a journey to restore 67,000 acres of South Africa’s Great Karoo landscape and beyond through rewilding and responsible tourism. Visit us and follow our story on Instagram

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