As many of you will have read, South Africa is currently experiencing a third wave of Covid infections.
60% of these are centered in the Gauteng province, South Africa's smallest, but most populous province with Johannesburg as its biggest city. By contrast, the Western Cape province, home to Cape Town, currently accounts for just 10% of cases.
As part of efforts to control the spread of the virus, the South African government has introduced stricter lockdown measures effective for 2 weeks, until 11 July.
The most important of these that have an effect on travellers are as follows:
1. Leisure travel for residents of Gauteng is prohibited. However, passengers can still transit through Johannesburg and OR Tambo International, and can overnight in Johannesburg as part of a broader itinerary connecting to other provinces or returning home. Many of our travellers are staying in Johannesburg en route for PCR testing purposes and this is still permissible and clients should keep a copy of their itinerary and flight tickets with them should they be requested to present these at any stage.
2. Restaurants are closed except for deliveries and take out: there is no indoor dining. Hotel restaurants are also closed but will make arrangements for room service options or individual dining options in-house.
3. Alcohol purchase for consumption is prohibited and there will not be any liquor served or for sale in hotels, restaurants or from liquor stores
4. Game lodges which include drinks as part of their offering are making individual plans on where and under what conditions clients will be able to drink alcohol as this has effectively been "pre-purchased". Your consultant will be able to assist you with more information depending on the lodge, but there is generally more flexibility here
5. Our touring program both with New frontiers Escapes and Ilios will continue as normal and plans have been made for lunch stops using either picnics, or collection from a restaurant en route
6. Wine farms are closed and alternative arrangements will be made for Winelands tours. Your consultant will assist with this on each individual file.
7. We have been advised that most properties are open as usual and flights are operating: however there may be some schedule changes.
8. Curfew times are now 9pm through to 4am and travellers will be required to stay in their accommodations during those hours. Exemptions have been made for transfers to later incoming or departing flights.
9. Markets, museums and galleries are closed. Where we have included these on any tours, we will make alternative touring arrangements.
10. International borders are open and travelling to and from the country is allowed. We have not had any indication that neighboring countries will be closing their borders with South Africa.
11. The wearing of face masks in public spaces remains mandatory for all persons, excluding children under the age of 6.
Stricter lockdowns have proved effective in the past and we are hopeful that these measures will contain this outbreak. Please do check in with your consultant on each file due to travel in the next 2 weeks so we can be sure that travellers have the latest information pertaining to their itinerary.
Many thanks indeed