a city by the water

For a while, the only good news was that countries were opening at all. The details could still be incredibly painful, like Thailand’s 31 step plan for tourists.

With weather improving and health situations stabilizing, that’s all changing, with almost viral pace. Sorry for the choice of words there. The latest such move, is from the ever glorious South Africa, a traveler favorite.

The country has dropped pre-departure testing for all vaccinated visitors, making the entry process incredibly seamless. If you’re headed to Cape Town, Johannesburg or any of the gorgeous wine areas, here’s what to expect.

a row of colorful huts on a beach

South Africa Drops Restrictions For Vaccinated Visitors

If you’re fully vaccinated and heading to South Africa, you no longer need to take a Covid-19 PCR test prior to departure. Since that was the only required test, it means the beloved destination no longer requires any testing.

This means fully vaccinated people can book trips with confidence, without having to worry about asymptomatically testing positive and losing out on a trip, or ending up in unknown quarantine conditions.

Unvaccinated visitors are still required to take a PCR test within 72 hours of departure to South Africa to be eligible for entry.

South Africa’s move comes after a slew of countries began dropping Covid-19 tests for entry, including many across Europe, Canada, the UK and Middle East. Asian countries which have reopened have largely retained pre-departure testing.

a city and a body of water

Lifestyle Restrictions In South Africa

Masks aren’t required outdoors in South Africa, but they are still required indoors in public spaces. The interpretation of this seems to be changing.

Some businesses may choose to ask for proof of vaccination to enter indoor seating areas, but in practice it’s not as common as many other destinations. The country is actively winding these restrictions down, so expect more to change.

South Africa is a destination famous for its outdoor lifestyle, from epic surf to laid back wineries and trails, so the indoor mask requirements shouldn’t be too much hassle. If you’re still on the fence, the food scene is absolutely outstanding.

With hope, health situations will continue to improve and one day soon, they too will disappear with the remaining restrictions.

Gilbert Ott

Gilbert Ott is an ever curious traveler and one of the world's leading travel experts. His adventures take him all over the globe, often spanning over 200,000 miles a year and his travel exploits are regularly...

Join the Conversation


  1. I love Cape Town, it’s my second home, but in the typical SA way, not thought through, children who are not vaccinated, aged over 5, must continue to have a PCR test, my grandchildren, who live in Cape Town, aged 10 & 7, will need to continue to test when they fly home from a visit to the UK, but their parents who are fully vaccinated don’t need to. I should point out that no vaccine has been approved for children aged under 12 in South Africa, so it’s not an option for them!

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *