Lockdown update: When will South Africa open its borders again?


The Tourism Department now has a vague idea of when SA can open its border again, but there’s still a very long wait ahead for travelers

South Africa’s miserable journey towards the peak of COVID-19 continues.

With almost 600 deaths recorded in a single day on Wednesday, the mood is flat across the country.

Key industries are a long way from opening, and that includes those in the tourism trade. But SA looks some way off opening its orders yet.


Mzansi has the fifth-highest amount of coronavirus cases in the world, and the death toll is skyrocketing.

Whatever light is there at the end of the tunnel remains barely visible due to twin threats of disease and economic hardships crushing our once-thriving industries.

And it won’t be ‘business as usual for quite some time.’

It was made known by the Tourism Department that R150 billion is going to be wiped from the expected revenue totals this year, as SA prepares to experience a “75%” decline in visitor activity.

But, as Fish Mahlalela, the deputy minister of tourism revealed that this agony won’t last forever.


Mahlalela revealed that the government is looking to allow international travelers back to South Africa by January 2021.

That’s within the next five months.

He said that SA is currently ‘unmarketable’ due to its high COVID-19 numbers, and the country will need some time to flatten the curve of infections before opening up the borders.

He further said relaxed rules will have to wait until next year:

The virus is likely to flatten in September according to experts. At this point, borders open for international travelers is likely to be January 2021. Domestic leisure travel is likely to open in late September or early October. What is critical is for us now, is to try at all costs to flatten the curve.”

We cannot open our borders now because with the numbers rising as they are, no one will want to come to South Africa. We cannot market South Africa in its current state. We wouldn’t be able to have a viable tourism industry when the majority of the population wouldn’t be allowed to travel anywhere.”

– Fish Mahlalela

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