Travel Safety Tips

The world of travel is constantly changing right now, and it’s important to ensure you know what to expect from both your travel arrangements and the destinations you are visiting. The team at Thompsons Travel is committed to ensuring our travellers, travel bookers and travel buyers have the most up-to-date information at their fingertips, to make informed decisions around travel.
For the latest Covid-19 travel restrictions, quarantine policies and visa regulations relating to the destination you’re visiting, what passport you have and your country of departure, check out our handy Travel Restrictions and Updates. For the latest South African information relating to Alert Levels, border information and the like, read our Covid-19 Updates page.
Please bear in mind that travel information received from various tourism boards and airlines is fluid right now, so always ensure you get the most updated information from your Thompsons Travel consultant.

1. What safety precautions should you take when travelling internationally?

Be prepared for your plans to change

No travel is risk-free. Countries may further restrict travel or bring in new rules at short notice. Check with Thompsons Travel or the airline for any transport changes which may delay your journey home.

Plan ahead and make sure you:
  • can access money
  • understand what your insurance will cover
  • can make arrangements to extend your stay and be away for longer than planned
If you think you have COVID-19 symptoms, you should contact your health insurer for advice. South Africa’s guidance on coronavirus can be found on their dedicated website. People who test positive and have symptoms are expected to self-isolate in their private accommodation.
  • It is recommended that travellers purchase international insurance before boarding their flight to South Africa.

ON ARRIVAL in South Africa

  • All travellers may be subject to screening by Port Health Officials
  • All travellers with symptoms will remain in quarantine until a negative COVID-19 test is conducted at their own cost.
  • If you’re fully vaccinated : South Africa has lifted its coronavirus travel restrictions. You no longer need to present proof of vaccination status, or a PCR test.
  • If you’re not fully vaccinated :South Africa has lifted its coronavirus travel rules. You no longer need to present proof of vaccination status or a PCR test.
  • If you’re transiting through South Africa: The rules set out above also apply to travellers wishing to transit South Africa.
  • Exemptions: There are no exemptions to South Africa’s entry requirements.
  • Public spaces and services: The South African authorities have relaxed rules designed to limit the spread of COVID-19. Masks are no longer a requirement in public spaces, and gatherings of any size are permitted.

ON DEPARTURE from South Africa

  • All travellers may be subject to screening by Port Health Officials
  • Traveller will need to comply with specific requirements imposed by airlines and/or governments which may differ from the above as well as per destination.

Please remember to:

  • Wash your hands regularly with soap or an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with flexed elbow or tissue, then throw the tissue into the bin.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.
  • Maintain your social distance in all public areas.

2. Are flights operating for travel in South Africa?

Internal flights and public transport are operating. You are no longer required to wear a face mask on public transport. 

3. Are you operational on a national basis in all main cities: Johannesburg, Cape Town and Durban?

Our offices are open nationally in Johannesburg, Cape Town and Durban.

4. Where should I go if I want a PCR Covid-19 test at OR Tambo International Airport, Gauteng?

Both Ampath Lab & Travac situated in Johannesburg (not at OR Tambo International Airport), Cape Town in Durban offer Covid 19 PCR testing.

5. Where should I go if I want a PCR Covid-19 test at Cape Town International Airport, Cape Town?

Both Ampath Lab & Travac situated in Cape Town (not at Cape Town International Airport), offer Covid 19 PCR testing.

6. How much does a COVID-19 PCR or Antigen test cost

The cost of a PCR test is approximately R650.00 and the cost of the Antigen test is approximately R200.00.  These costs however can vary from the different locations & suppliers.

7. What is the turn-around time for a full PCR test result?

The turnaround time for a full COVID-19 PCR test is 24 hours. These timelines however can vary from the different locations & suppliers.

8. Are you able to perform COVID-19 PCR tests at a tourist facility – e.g.: at Hotels, Corporate Companies, Game Lodges and Outlying areas?

There is a concierge service which we can arrange.  However, these may vary and are determined by location, service & distance.  If they test a traveller in Gauteng, Kwa Zulu Natal, or Cape Town, there is an expedited service which can be arranged for earlier results.

9. How can I show that I have been vaccinated?

You will be asked to show an authentic COVID-19 vaccination certificate (electronic and paper showing date and time of the vaccination/s), this could be requested upon arrival and prior to departure. We recommend taking a picture of any paper vaccination certificates in case of loss of the original.

10. I have already received my vaccination will I still need to comply with testing?

Depending on the airline you travel with, you may be required to show proof of vaccination, booster and/or testing, and similarly the destination you are travelling to may have specific requirements with regards to the vaccine, booster and / or testing.

11. Is there a specific brand of vaccine that I would need to take to be considered vaccinated in a specific destination?

This would be dependent on the destination that passengers / visitors are travelling to.

12. What extra steps to I need to take prior to travelling, and how much more will it cost me?

In terms of travelling, we highly recommend you purchase travel insurance ahead of your tour that covers you for unexpected events including accident and illness. In terms of testing requirements, vaccine passports etc, most countries are still evolving what their requirements will be, the cost will depend on the country you are travelling to and their specific testing requirements.

13. What happens if I test positive before travelling home or upon re-entering my home country?

If you test positive for Covid-19 prior to flying home, you will need to quarantine in that country for the required number of days as stipulated by your local government. You will need to make the necessary arrangements for your accommodation, we will keep in touch with you and support you until you are able to return home. Any costs incurred for having to quarantine will be your and/or your insurance provider's responsibility, which is why we highly recommend purchasing travel insurance before your trip begins.   If you test positive upon re-entering your home country once your trip is complete, you will need to follow the guidelines as stipulated by your local government.

14. Will I need to wear a mask for my entire trip?

You will need to wear a mask whenever it is mandatory to do so, and as you wish to do so for your own peace of mind and assurance. Please note that airlines and other establishments may not accept washable cloth masks but only medical masks. All airlines, destinations, hotels, restaurants, attractions and tour groups will be required to comply with local travel requirements.

15. What happens if I am in a foreign country, and they close their borders?

If a country closes their borders due to an outbreak while you are travelling, we will work together to help you return home safely. If required, we will arrange extra hotel nights for guests who are unable to fly out the same day.   If your flights were booked with us, we would be your contact for the airline and manage this process for you. If your flights were booked independently of us, we can assist you by booking a one-way ticket to return home (dependent on availability and government/airline regulations. Upon your return you would then need to reach out to your insurance company.  Any additional costs or fees incurred would need to be paid by the traveller whilst in the destination.

16. How does the South African Traveller Declaration Work?

The new online Traveller Declaration System has been introduced at all South African ports of entry with the phase 1 pilot of the system at King Shaka International Airport (KSIA) successfully implemented on 29 November 2022. The next phase for the implementation is planned at all airports, which started with Cape Town International Airport on 28 February 2023, O.R. Tambo International Airport on 23rd  March 2023 and other airports in the second and third quarters of 2023, as well as land ports, namely Beit Bridge and Skilpadshek. The Cape Town Seaport is also in line to implement the system during the last quarter of 2023.

The system will continue to be used on a voluntary basis during the pilot phases until further notice. The results of the pilot project will be applied as we roll out the system in line with Customs legislation.

The system allows travellers, including South African citizens and residents, leaving or entering South Africa by air to complete and submit an online traveller declaration and receive electronic confirmation thereof before they travel. Travellers who are travelling with children or infants will also need to complete a declaration on their behalf.

Once you have completed the South African Traveller Declaration, a confirmation of your declaration will be emailed to you. It will contain instructions of what you need to do at the airport.

Remember to print it out or save it on your mobile device so that you may easily access it when needed. The same will need to be done for anyone you are travelling with, including children and infants.
Travellers are encouraged to use the online declaration system, which can be accessed via any device that has an internet connection.

Complete your online Traveller Declaration here.

Please note that the above information is correct at time of publish.