COVID-19 Travel Update

At Thompsons Travel, the health and wellbeing of our employees, travellers & clients is our main concern. In light of the evolving COVID-19 pandemic, we understand the uncertainty you may be facing about your existing or future travel plans and would like to reassure you that we are committed to assisting all travellers and monitoring the situation as it unfolds.

Frequently asked questions:

Your peace of mind is our priority, which is why your dedicated consultants, Account Manager and hands-on Management team is available to assist you with any queries you may have during this uncertain time.   

  • Johannesburg: 011 770-7500
  • Cape Town Emergency: 021 408-9555
  • Durban: 031 275-3733

Alternatively, should you have any after-hours emergencies you can call us on the following numbers, or email us: 

  • Johannesburg: 082 809-1733 /
  • Cape Town: 078 800-8152 /
  • Durban: 083 633-6989 /

Thompsons for Travel Emergency: 083 633-6989 /

What reasons am I permitted to travel domestically and what forms / documents are required?

When you travel under the Adjusted Alert Level 1, please ensure that you have the relevant and valid ID documents (currently the health declaration document is not needed for domestic travel) and that you have done your online check-in prior to departure and have a digital boarding pass to scan.

Other than carrying the correct documentation, you will have to pass a temperature screening (passengers who have a 37.2 degree temperature or higher will not be permitted entrance) to enter the airport and wear your face mask at all times. New rules apply to checked luggage, physical distancing of 1,5m; allow time for security checks and safety measures onboard your flight. We've listed everything you need to know, here. Please do not travel if you suspect you are ill or have flu-like symptoms.

What are the latest Alert Updates?

President Cyril Ramaphosa has announced that South Africa would move to Adjusted Alert Level 1 effective immediately.  This means that South Africans will be subject to:

  • The hours of curfew will change from midnight to 4am
  • Closing time for establishments is 23h00
  • The maximum number of people permitted to gather indoors will increase to 750 and outdoors to 2,000, or 50% of the capacity of the venue if it is too small to accommodate these numbers
  • The sale of alcohol will be permitted according to normal licence provisions. No alcohol may be sold after 11pm

The President also confirmed he had spoken to UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson about South Africa’s red list status and both were “hopeful of a positive outcome when the issue comes up for review in the coming days”.

Every person, when attending a gathering and in order to limit exposure to COVID-19 must:

  • wear a face mask
  • adhere to all health protocols
  • maintain a distance of at least one and a half metres from each other; and
  • adhere to any other health protocols and social distancing measures as provided for in the directions 

The in-flight operations of all domestic airlines which are subjected to the following rules:

  • The only consumable offered by on-board catering is limited to bottled water (no food, snacks, or other beverages may be served).
  • Passengers are not allowed to eat while on board a domestic flight (even if they bring their own food onboard).
  • Complimentary in-flight magazines may not be shared among passengers and must be disposed of after each flight

Should passengers who have arrived or depart for an international flight from South Africa and are traveling within the curfew period, between 22h00 and 04h00, would need “to present evidence of a flight ticket when stopped by law enforcement officers during curfew hours”.

All terminal buildings have also been re-opned, so you can meet someone inside, or help them with their luggage - or perhaps even have a coffee. International Passenger charters are now allowed for secondary airports.

Can I travel internationally?

SA extends all visas again:
Minister of Home Affairs, Dr Aaron Motsoaledi, has extended the validity period of legally issued visas – that expired during the lockdown period – to the 30th September.

These apply to short-term visas that were issued for a period not longer than 90 days, such as a tourist visa. Longer-term temporary visas – issued for three months to three years and which expired during the lockdown – have also been extended until the 30th September.

This applies to visas or permits for visitors who have not left South Africa since the announcement of the National State of Disaster in March 2020, and who arrived with a valid visitor’s visa between December 2019 and 14th March 2021.
Holders of longer-term temporary visas such as study visa, treaty visa, business visa, medical treatment visa, relatives’ visas, general work visa, critical skills work visa, retired person’s visa and exchange visa, which expired during the State of National Disaster are invited to renew their visas at before 31 July 2021.   Refugee Reception Centres remain closed. The validity of asylum and refugee permits has been extended until 30 June 2021. In due course, the Department will communicate details of an online service to renew these permits.

The following airports will be open for international travel: OR Tambo, Cape Town, King Shaka, Kruger Mpumalanga and Lanseria Airport.

  • Travellers will be required to present a negative COVID-19 test result, not older than 72 hours from departure time.
  • Should you not have this test before departure there will be a mandatory quarantine of 10 days at the travellers expense.
  • All travellers need to complete an Exit Screening Health Questionnaire or Entry Screening Questionnaire
  • Travellers will be required to wear a mask at all times within the airport or port of entry, as well as download the COVID-19 Alert SA Mobile App, which can be downloaded from the App Store or Google Play.
  • It is recommended that travellers purchase international insurance before boarding their flight to South Africa.

Transit travellers through South Africa by air will be allowed to connect to their destinations, subject to them complying with applicable health protocols. It is important to note that this does not change the entry requirements for international travellers visiting South Africa as outlined above.

Following President Cyril Ramaphosa’s speech on the 11th January, please note that 20 land borders are closed and will include the six busiest border posts which are Beitbridge, Lebombo, Maseru Bridge, Oshoek, Ficksburg and Kopfontein, however airports remain operational.  Cross-border travel will be allowed for people to enter or depart the country through land borders only in limited circumstances, such as for the transportation of fuel, cargo and goods, emergency medical attention, return of South Africans and residents, departure of foreign nationals, diplomats and daily commuters from neighbouring countries attending school in South Africa.  These measures will be in place until the 15th February 2021.

ORT testing info on mobile units & pricing

South Africa COVID-19 testing opens at OR Tambo International Airport:
Travellers departing South Africa from OR Tambo can get COVID-19 PCR-tested and collect their certificate at the airport prior to departure.  National Health Laboratory Service is operating three mobile COVID-19 Test Units in clearly identifiable vans located opposite the InterContinental Hotel, in front of the Police Station, on the lower level of the airport complex. The service is available 24/7 according to Port Health Services, at a cost of R600 (cash, cheque cards and credit cards are accepted, except American Express). Children under five years do not require a test.

Travellers are advised to be aware that there is a backlog in testing at OR Tambo International Airport.  As such, the officially communicated turnaround time for results of 4-6 hours is in fact actually between 24 and 48 hours.  This is due to the recent spike in infections and the fact that the general public are now also using these facilities.  The traveller is advised by SMS that the test result and certificate are ready for collection. After testing, travellers can wait for the SMS at the airport or nearby, collect the certificate, and proceed to fly, or the test may be done a day or two prior to departure if preferred, and the certificate collected on the day of departure.

Inbound travellers to South Africa, including South Africans, must hold a negative PCR test certificate taken within 72 hours of their departure time. This certificate is valid for the duration of the traveller’s inbound journey and takes into consideration long stopovers at transit points, but the test validity has a maximum of 14 days, and is for a single entry only.  A new test is required every time a traveller departs for South Africa

Use our Travel Restrictions and Visa Requirements Online Tool to search for the latest travel and health restrictions by destination, plus stay up-to-date with quarantine announcements.


For up-to-date travel regulations around the world, please consult the IATA Timatic Covid-19 Travel Regulations Map as well as Flatten the Curve.

Will travel insurance cover any cancellation costs related to the coronavirus?  

Please refer to the following updates from these travel insurance providers: 

Should you have any further questions, please don’t hesitate to contact us. 

For the most up-to-date information about the COVID-19 virus, go to:  

For the latest information about travel restrictions for South Africans, please visit:  

For the South African COVID-19 Resource Portal, please visit: