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South Africa is reopening for tourists, including Americans

Nov. 11, 2020
3 min read
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Editor's Note

/strong> This story has been updated with new information.

Editor's note: This story has been updated with new information.

One of TPG’s favorite countries -- South Africa -- is reopening its borders for all tourists. South African President Cyril Ramaphosa made the announcement today, Nov. 11, saying in a news conference, "We are also opening up international travel to all countries subject to the necessary health protocols and the presentation of a negative COVID-19 certificate."

You'll need to bring a negative COVID-19 PCR test taken within 72 hours and follow extensive safety protocols.

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Can you Visit South Africa right now?

Ramaphosa announced back in September that some visitors from other countries were again welcome, but those were mostly citizens of fellow African nations. At the time, Americans weren't welcome. That's changing now.

We don't yet know when exactly Americans will again be able to go, but it's likely to come soon since the country is trying to get an economic boost from tourism. Pre-pandemic South Africa hosted 17 million visitors a year.

Ramaphosa said today, "By using rapid tests and strict monitoring we intend to limit the spread of the infection through importation. We expect that these measures will greatly assist businesses in the tourism and hospitality sectors."

So far, there are few details on any national rapid testing system rollout, but Ramaphosa suggests it's coming.

South Africa closed its borders to foreign travelers in late March of 2020 in response to the coronavirus pandemic. South Africa is the hardest-hit country in Africa with more than 20,000 deaths.

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Before departure

Travelers must be able to show proof of a COVID-19 PCR test, with negative results, dated within 72 hours of departure time. Arriving travelers who present a negative PCR test won’t need to quarantine after passing health screenings, including temperature checks, at the arrival airport. But any traveler who either fails to present a timely PCR test or shows additional symptoms upon arrival will be asked to quarantine for 14 days in the country at their own expense.

Travelers must also download the South Africa coronavirus mobile tracing app and use it for the duration of their stay in South Africa.

Upon arrival

Foreign travelers entering the country and arriving in Johannesburg, Cape Town and Durban must adhere to the following guidelines:

  • Face masks are required in all public spaces
  • A curfew is in effect each night from midnight until 4 a.m.
  • Most gatherings will be allowed at 50 percent of the venue’s capacity, with 250 people allowed at a maximum indoors, or 500 people maximum at outdoor venues;
  • Individuals may purchase alcohol for personal consumption between 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday
  • Beaches, wildlife game parks and other outdoor tourist attractions will be open
  • While hotels, restaurants, and other tourism-based businesses will be open, there may be individual restrictions on capacity and hours, and social distancing guidelines will remain in effect.

Restrictions on alcohol sales may be lifted in the next few days.

Bottom line

TPG loves South Africa, and we hope you do too. We should know soon when you can plan your next trip.

Additional reporting by Clint Henderson and Emily McNutt.

Featured image by Getty Images

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TPG Editor‘s Rating
Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
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10xEarn 10x total points on hotels and car rentals when you purchase travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.
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    Earn 80,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $1,200 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®

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  • Annual Fee

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  • Recommended Credit
    Credit ranges are a variation of FICO© Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.

    740-850
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Why We Chose It

If you are looking to take your premium rewards to the highest level, this card is really a no brainer in our eyes. Chase's Ultimate Rewards make points easy to redeem, with a wide range of 10 airline and three hotel transfer partners and a friendly user interface. Despite the high annual fee, Chase is consistently adding new benefits to keep the card competitive in a fierce premium rewards field.

Pros

  • $300 annual travel credit as reimbursement for travel purchases charged to your card each account anniversary year
  • Access to Chase Ultimate Rewards hotel and airline travel partners
  • Unlimited 3x points on the broad category of travel and dining
  • 50% more value when you redeem your points for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • Broad definitions for travel and dining bonus categories

Cons

  • Steep $550 annual fee
  • May not make sense for people that don't travel frequently
  • You must spend the $300 travel credit before earning 3x points for travel and dining
  • No automatic hotel elite status
  • Earn 80,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $1,200 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • $300 Annual Travel Credit as reimbursement for travel purchases charged to your card each account anniversary year.
  • Earn 5x total points on flights and 10x total points on hotels and car rentals when you purchase travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards® immediately after the first $300 is spent on travel purchases annually. Earn 3x points on other travel and dining & 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases
  • Get 50% more value when you redeem your points for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. For example, 80,000 points are worth $1,200 toward travel
  • 1:1 point transfer to leading airline and hotel loyalty programs
  • Access to 1,300+ airport lounges worldwide after an easy, one-time enrollment in Priority Pass™ Select and up to $100 application fee credit every four years for Global Entry, NEXUS, or TSA PreCheck®
  • Count on Trip Cancellation/Interruption Insurance, Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver, Lost Luggage Insurance and more