“The Lufthansa Group has welcomed the recent announcement by the [SA] government to remove the list of high-risk countries and once again open our borders to all leisure and business travellers.”Excerpt below from Southern & East African Tourism Update on 23 November 2020
Lufthansa and SWISS have announced additional services to Johannesburg from December.
“We are fully committed to the South African market and continue our efforts to help recover and expand the tourism sector by encouraging international travel,” said Dr André Schulz, General Manager Southern Africa & East Africa Lufthansa Group Airlines. By the end of December, the Lufthansa Group will collectively offer 18 weekly flights between South Africa and its European hubs. These include five weekly flights between Johannesburg and Frankfurt, three weekly flights between Cape Town and Frankfurt, as well as three weekly services between Cape Town and Munich, all operated by Lufthansa.
An additional two weekly flights will be offered between Cape Town and Zurich on Edelweiss, as well as two weekly flights between Cape Town and Vienna operated by Austrian Airlines. SWISS will also offer three weekly flights between Johannesburg and Zurich. Schulz said South Africa remained an attractive destination for European holidaymakers and, with the start of the local summer season, more international travellers would be looking to experience “sunny South Africa”.
To further encourage European holidaymakers to visit SA, German, Swiss and Austrian passport holders have the convenience of receiving their visas on arrival for visits of up to 90 days in the country. Additionally, Lufthansa, SWISS and Austrian Airlines are offering an excess baggage promotion, with a discount on the first additional piece baggage outside the free baggage allowance, to all passengers in economy and premium economy class. Schulz said, as health and safety remained a concern for many when travelling, the Lufthansa Group had taken special hygiene measures to protect passengers and employees.
For those travelling to and from Germany, Lufthansa and its partners offer COVID-19 polymerase chain reaction (PCR) tests at walk-in testing centres in Frankfurt (as well as Munich, Düsseldorf and Hamburg) airport. Results are delivered within a few hours and passengers can register beforehand online at lufthansa.com prior to arrival.
South Africa is Open for Travel
South African borders have finally been opened to outside travel. International travel from all countries is now permitted subject to a negative COVID-19 test being produced on arrival and adherence to health and safety regulations.
It has been almost 8 months since South Africa closed its borders, but COVID-19 cases are steadily declining. While the national State of Disaster has been extended to December 15 amid a global rise in COVID-19 cases, South Africa’s tourism industry has let out a collective sigh of relief as President Cyril Ramaphosa announced the lifting of the so-called red list of high-risk countries that are not allowed entry into South Africa. We have worked hard with determination and persistence for the sake of the tourism industry. As the President has just announced, all borders will be open, subject to COVID-19 negative certificate for all passengers. No more high-risk list of countries. Let’s all go to work and build the forward book, preserve jobs and do tourism. Source: Tourism Update for Southern & East Africa
Travellers to South Africa must adhere to health and safety protocols to be provided access to the country. A negative COVID-19 test must be produced on arrival and must not be older than 72 hours from the time of departure. This must be in the form of a certificate (not an email or SMS) from an approved testing facility or laboratory and signed by a medical professional. Standard healthy and safety protocols can be expected on departure and arrival. Screening for symptoms and temperature checks will be implemented at various points within the airport. The wearing of masks is of course still a mandatory practice during flight and all public areas. This will be the same procedure for transfers and game drives etc. aside from mealtimes and when you are in your hotel room.
The SW Africa DMC team along with all its partners and suppliers are glad to welcome you back to South Africa. We look forward to having our first visitors back on African soil. Many 2020 bookings have been postponed, so be sure to book now to ensure availability!
So come and enjoy Africa’s wide open spaces, sunshine and phenomenal wildlife viewing and unique activities! Contact us today, our friendly Destination Experts are ready to help you plan.
COVID-19 LEVEL 1 FAQS
Which airlines are operating flights to and from South Africa?
Each airline will have its own threshold for flying to and from South Africa based on demand for seats—which need to be filled on both inbound and outbound legs. For this reason, we may see that not all airlines immediately begin flying to South Africa. Schedules may remain in flux for some time to come as countries, including South Africa, continuously update their list of permitted countries and entry requirements based on infection rates, which will have an impact demand. SATSA will update its website with airline information as and when it becomes available. Specific ticket enquiries will need to be taken up with the respective airline.
What can I expect when flying to South Africa?
Passengers flying to South Africa should allow extra time for check-in and screening at the airport. It is the responsibility of the airline to ensure that all passengers have the required documentation and meet the requirements to enter South Africa (as well as any other destination country). For flights to South Africa, the airline will check that passengers have a valid certificate of a negative COVID-19 PCR test, obtained not more than 72 hours from the time of departure from the country of origin to South Africa and a valid visa to enter South Africa, if applicable. Please print out all required documents to present at check-in before boarding your flight to South Africa.
All passengers will be given an entry screening health questionnaire to complete. The form asks about passengers’ activities over the previous 14 days. As passengers disembark, there will be officers standing by to collect the COVID-19 test certificates. At passport control, the entry screening health questionnaire will be collected and the immigration officer will ask to see your passport and visa, if applicable.
Is transit through South African airports allowed?
Transit travellers are allowed to connect to their destinations through South Africa by air but must comply with the applicable health protocols and produce a certificate of a negative COVID-19 PCR test. If a passenger in transit displays COVID-19 symptoms upon arrival at a South African airport, they will not be allowed to board their flight and will undergo a primary and secondary screening, including repeat COVID-19 testing. If a positive test result is obtained, they will not be permitted to board on the onward flight and will be quarantined at their own cost.
Are domestic airlines operating in South Africa?
Yes. Cemair, Airlink, FlySafair, and Mango Airlines are all flying domestic routes in South Africa and domestic flights are permitted across all provinces (for all purposes).
Who is allowed to enter South Africa?
Travellers from any country, whether they hold South African or foreign passports, are allowed to enter South Africa, subject to the necessary health protocols and the presentation of a negative COVID-19 test certificate. Normal visa requirements prevail, i.e. if you are from a country that was previously visa-exempt, then you do not require a visa (or special permission from the Department of Home Affairs) to enter South Africa. A list of visa exemptions can be found on the Department of Home Affair’s website.
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Emirates & Qatar Expand Reach in Southern Africa through Airlink Agreement
The following excerpt is from Emirates media centre: Emirates and Airlink have announced an interline agreement, widening Emirates’ reach into Southern Africa as countries begin opening their borders for travellers. Emirates’ agreement with Airlink will provide its customers enhanced connectivity via its gateways Johannesburg and Cape Town to more than 25 domestic destinations in South Africa and more than 20 regional destinations in Southern Africa. The unique connections enabled by this new partnership provide customers with onward travel options not offered by other airlines.
Emirates and Airlink will offer the ease of single-ticket travel and one-stop baggage check-in for customers transferring from Johannesburg and Cape Town to domestic points including Bloemfontein, George, Upington, Nelspruit, Hoedspruit and Port Elizabeth, as well as points across Southern Africa like Gaborone, Kasane, Vilanculos, Maun, Victoria Falls, Maputo, Windhoek, Harare, Lusaka, Ndola, Bulawayo and Livingstone amongst many others. Read more here.
The following excerpt is from African Travel & Tourism Association: Qatar Airways has signed an interline agreement with Airlink, further expanding its presence in Southern Africa as the largest carrier to operate from the region. An interline agreement is a relationship between airlines which allows one airline to sell services to a customer that are provided by another airline. Airlines use interline agreements to sell itineraries that they would otherwise not be able to serve alone. The agreement with Airlink will provide passengers seamless connectivity via Cape Town, and Johannesburg to more than 20 regional destinations in Southern Africa including; Gaborone, Maun, Tete, Port Elizabeth, Lusaka, Harare and Victoria Falls.
Qatar Airways’ passengers will benefit from access to more than 25 domestic destinations via the most on-time South African airline for 2020 as measured by the Airport’s Company of South Africa. Qatar Airways Vice President Africa, Hendrik Du Preez, said: ‘As the most connected airline during the pandemic with a network that never fell below 30 destinations, we strive to continue to offer more flexibility and options for our passengers. We are delighted to sign this interline agreement with Airlink to further expand our network in the region connecting passengers to more than 25 domestic and more than 20 regional destinations. With the borders in South Africa being closed for five months, we are thrilled to re-enter the market with additional connections in South Africa and beyond.’ Read more here.