Travel to South Africa during Covid

There is a lot of uncertainty about travel at the moment. The rules change on a regular basis and are not always as clear as they could be.

I travelled from Frankfurt, Germany to Johannesburg, South Africa on 15.12.2020 with a direct flight from Lufthansa. To read more about the PCR Test I did hop over to this page.

The rules on the day of travel:

  • International travel to South Africa is allowed
  • You need a negative PCR Test to travel to South Africa. You can also read more here

After we got our test results, we checked in online for our trip. You can print out your boarding pass of get in on the Lufthansa app. No questions about the PCR test were asked, you were also not informed about the Health Questionnaire that you need to fill in.

Arriving at Frankfurt airport, we could only drop off our bags. There were no Economy check in shelters open. If you have not checked in yet, you could do so at one of the machines. Help was readily available. After dropping off our bags we went through security. The queues were not too long but we arrived a bit early to allow for extra security checks. At the airport itself there were not enough health checks, it is fairly easy to check for high temperatures, and I hope the implement it. There were sanitising stations available where you could sanitise your hands.

Arriving at our gate, we could sit in the waiting area, although there are not enough seating available. Some seats are blocked off to allow for social distancing. There were constant announcements that people should wear a face mask covering your mouth and nose, but this was unfortunately not controlled. There were a lot of people ignoring the rules and putting themselves and others at risk. I did take this up with the floor personnel and was just told it gets controlled.

At first it seemed not too over crowded, but they announced that the PCR Tests must be controlled and everyone formed a line. It then became apparent that this flight was fully booked. We flew with a Boeing 787-8, which has 276 Economy seats. You can see the seat map on Seatguru.

I felt very uncomfortable with the amount of people and lack of mask and distancing control. The airline announced that they had upgrades available, and I decided to take it. The price for the upgrade costed around the same as what I paid for my economy ticket, but I think it will be influenced by demand. The atmosphere in Business class was very relaxed and people could keep their distance. The food was excellent. Just one tip if you do fly business class, do not recline to completely flat, it is not very comfortable, it is not comparable for instance with an Emirates flat bed.

During the flight we were given the Health questionnaire forms to fill in. We already completed ours online and printed it out. You do get a code to present when you complete it digitally but I think they were not prepared for that yet so take a printed copy or complete the forms during the flight.

Arriving at O.R Tambo, we de-planed row by row. When you get to Passport control you are diverted to a queue where they check your PCR test and take your Health Questionnaire form. Have your passport ready as well. Make sure you are in the correct queue, there is one for International passport holders and one for SA passport holders, it looks like one row but it is not. After they check your documents, you then move onto passport control where your temperature is monitored.

If you have a negative PCR Test, your questionnaire and passport ready when you arrive, the process is extremely smooth and almost normal. Tip, if you are at the end of the queue where they check your PCR Test, it is going to take a while before you can collect your luggage, so if you are in a hurry, try to walk fast after leaving the plane.

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