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Travel Tips

Health Risks

It is important to make timeous enquiries regarding the health risks in the country/countries to which you intend travelling. Your doctor or centres such as Medi-Travel International or the Airport Medical Clinic would be able to assist. The prescribed immunisations and/or medication can prevent serious long-term and fatal diseases. Depending on the destination other basic precautionary measures are:
Avoid drinks with ice.
Be careful of vegetables or fruit grown on the ground (e.g. Lettuce, strawberries) and served raw.
Avoid mayonnaise or other egg-based sauces.
Avoid street foods.
Peel fruits before eating them.
Use insect repellent.
Wear appropriate clothing.

Important notice

It is illegal to take any firearms, ammunition and, in some instances, hunting knives into a country without the required permits. In the event that you wish to carry such items it is recommended that you contact the resident mission prior to travelling.

Registration of South Africans Abroad - ROSA

What is ROSA?
ROSA is the acronym for the 'Registration of South Africans Abroad', a software programme developed by the Department of International Relations and Cooperation allowing travellers to register on-line. The information travellers register on ROSA allows the Department to assist South African citizens in event of an emergency. The registration is a free, voluntary service provided by Government (through the Department of International Relations and Cooperation). ROSA is only available to South African citizens who are travelling, living or working abroad.
ROSA is an initiative that is endorsed and supported by the Association of South African Travel Agents (ASATA).

Why should I register?
Vast numbers of our people who travel abroad every day do not encounter any difficulties. However, through missions abroad, ROSA has assisted a growing number of South Africans who have become victims of crime, accident/s, illness, death, natural/man-made disasters, civil unrest, or whose family and/or next-of-kin needed to contact them in an emergency. Registration through this website is NOT considered proof of South African citizenship. If you apply for any service from an Embassy, High Commission or Consulate General (mission) while abroad, you will be asked by staff to provide proof of South African citizenship, such as a passport or bar coded ID book. By registering your trip on-line with ROSA you assist the Department to locate you during an emergency, verifying your status and liaising with your next-of-kin. Information on ROSA is not continuously monitored and will only be accessed during a declared consular emergency. Registration is voluntary and free of charge. We encourage you to consider registration as an integral part of your travel planning and security.

How do I register?
The ROSA software is an on-line registration process available on the Department of International Relations and Cooperation website. The address is
Click on the button and follow the easy steps.

The ROSA software is unique as it allows for a traveller to:
Register as an Individual Traveller
Register as Group Travellers
Register multiple destinations
Update their profiles (Individual or Group)
De-register their profile from the system.

How can the Embassy or Consulate assist me while I am abroad?
The Chief Directorate: Consular Services in the Department of International Relations and Cooperation, in close collaboration with the Consular Sections of South African Representatives abroad, provides consular services to South African citizens who work, live and travel abroad. Consular Services operate 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. On weekends and after hours, assistance is rendered in cooperation with the Department’s Operations Room in Pretoria. The Operations Room supports our 121 Representatives in 105 countries affording services that cover the entire world.

A detailed list of services is available at

How will my information be used?
ROSA will be utilised by Consular Officers at Head Office or at a South African Mission abroad in the event of a disaster, emergency or other crisis as outlined above. Only authorised officers of the Department of International Relations and Cooperation have access to the information which will only be used in the event of an emergency. This will enable the Department to e.g. react by contacting the next-of-kin to verify the status of the South Africans travelling abroad that might have been affected by the emergency.

Registration and Privacy
The Department is committed to ensuring that any personal information received through the ROSA on-line registration process is safeguarded against unauthorised disclosure. The Department will not disclose the information you provide through the registration application to any third parties (this includes family members) unless you have first given it written authorisation to do so. In the event that family members make enquiries about your whereabouts, such requests will be forwarded to you. You may choose to inform the mission of your decision to respond or not. This internet site uses secure encryption to safeguard your privacy and therefore any unauthorised interception by third parties of the information you send via the internet is unlikely. The Department does not accept responsibility for any such interception.

Important Notification
The responsibility remains with the individual traveller to-act responsibly and be aware of the risks consider and purchase full travel insurance or an overseas health plan respect the culture and customs of the countries visited.
The consular assistance provided by the Department, in the case of an emergency, is usually of a non-financial nature, and the Department will not be responsible for payment of legal, medical, travelling expenses or any other expenses on behalf of the traveller.
It is reiterated that information on ROSA is only accessed by the Department during a declared consular emergency.

Yellow Fever Requirements

A vaccination against yellow fever is a requirement for a person whose journey starts or entails passing through the yellow fever belt of Africa or South America. According to international health regulations, a valid yellow fever certificate is required from all passengers older than one year coming from or going to infected areas. The countries concerned are listed hereunder. Visas or permits will not be issued to persons who have not met the requirement of being vaccinated against yellow fever. Yellow fever certificates are valid for a period of 10 years commencing 10 days after the date of vaccination or, in the case of re-vaccination, within such period of 10 years, from the date of that re-vaccination. According to the Department of Health, persons arriving without a valid yellow fever vaccination certificate will either be: kept under observation for six days at their own cost vaccinated against yellow fever at their own cost.
At ports of entry where no Port Health Officers are based, persons will be refused entry into the Republic of South Africa. These precautionary measures will be strictly enforced by the Department of Health to protect its residents in the RSA from this virus.

For ease of reference the Yellow Fever Endemic Areas are (verify with your travel consultant):

  • Angola
  • Benin, Bolivia, Brazil, Burkina Faso, Burundi
  • Cameroon, Central African Rep., Chad, Colombia, Congo, Cote d'Ivoire
  • Democratic Rep. of Congo, Ecuador, Equatorial Guinea
  • Ethiopia, French Guinea, Gabon
  • Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Guyana,
  • Kenya
  • Liberia
  • Mali
  • Niger, Nigeria
  • Panama, Peru
  • Rwanda
  • Sao Tome & Principe, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Somalia, Sudan, Suriname
  • Tanzania, Togo
  • Uganda
  • Venezuela
  • Zambia

For more information on international health requirements:

Personal Security

Inform yourself thoroughly, prior to your trip, of the safety risks in the country/countries you intend to visit. As we are well aware, we are exposed to crime everywhere. Basic precautionary measures will contribute to ensuring your safety, for example:

Do not attract attention to yourself with expensive jewellery and clothing.

Take care when you pay for something - avoid flashing all your cash.

Get to know the foreign currency and use a note that requires the smallest amount of change to be returned to you.

When travelling by public transport have the correct amount of cash at hand, take care when you hand over the money and keep your eye on it.

If secure, keep your passport, travellers' cheques and extra cash in the hotel safe. Alternatively wear it in a money belt under your clothing and keep only the money you intend using in your pocket/handbag/wallet.

Know where you are going. Keep a map with you and consult it regularly. Make sure that you have the contact details of where you are staying on your person at all times.

Obtain information from the hotel in which you are staying on security related precautions in the area.

Remember that when you are travelling to another country you, unknowingly, stand out making you an easy target for criminals.

Keep certified copy of your passport, visa as well as the South African Representatives contact details with you.

You should ideally avoid countries experiencing war and/or civil/political unrest. If the trip is unavoidable, ensure that you prepare yourself by having all the necessary information and contact details of your hosts and South African Representatives in the country of your destination.

South African travellers and the law

Do not become involved in activities that may be, or are, illegal. Please remember, once you leave South Africa, the rights enjoyed under the South African Constitution and laws cannot be guaranteed or enforced in the countries you intend to visit. If arrested abroad, the South African Government cannot intervene to secure your release from prison. Government will intercede with local authorities to seek to ensure that your rights, under the laws of the arresting country, are fully observed and that the Prisoners are applied.

Important Notice
Should your passport be damaged in any way, it is advisable to obtain a new passport before travelling. Always keep a certified copy of your passport and visa on your person while on holiday. To cater for unforeseen emergencies ensure that a friend or relative is in possession of your travel plan, contact details, a copy of your passport, visa pages as well as an identity document.

The best travel tips

Obtain as much information as possible about your destination.
Take out sufficient travel insurance to cover hospital treatment, medical evacuation and even death. Pre-existing conditions and the risk associated with your destination or the activities you plan to partake in can influence the travel insurance cover you need.
Register your trip on the ROSA (Registration of South Africans Abroad) on-line service prior to leaving South Africa or whilst abroad.
Double-check whether you require a visa or permit for the country or countries you are visiting or transiting.
Keep a copy of your passport information page, relevant visas, travel insurance, travellers' cheques and credit card with you but not with the originals. Leave a copy in an envelope with a friend, relative or a work colleague.
Make sure that you are familiar with the health risks of the country or countries you intend visiting. Get all the recommended vaccinations and/or medication before travelling. If you need to travel with medication ensure that it meets the requirements of your destination(s). Take your prescription along.
Ensure that your passport is valid for at least 6 months with enough blank pages. Additional passport photographs are very useful should you need a temporary passport or emergency travel certificate.
Make sure that your family, friends or colleagues know what your movements will be while away. Leave a detailed itinerary with them. Contact them regularly by e-mail, a phone call or SMS.
Remember if you are a dual national you must leave and enter South Africa on your South African passport.
Always act within the prescripts of the law.

Be prepared

Before boarding an aeroplane, South Africans should take time to learn about the customs, cultural economic, financial and political environment of their intended destination. Learn at least a few key phrases in the target country's language. Even a modest command of the local language will go a long way. When travelling abroad the laws of the foreign country apply to everybody. South Africans are not exempt from local foreign legislation and will not receive special treatment. Find out about the destination paying particular attention to issues of personal security, safety, health, immigration, customs and import regulations. South Africans are encouraged to contact the nearest South African Representative and to carry contact details of their next of kin at all times.

Do you have your passport

A combination of your South African passport and identity document are the best proof of your South African citizenship. Anyone who intends travelling abroad should have a valid passport. If you do not have a passport, apply for it well in advance. Temporary passports can be issued on short notice but they are not accepted in all foreign countries. If your passport is damaged in any way it is advisable to replace it before travelling.
Passport application forms are available at all offices of the Department of Home Affairs countrywide and at South African Embassies abroad or you can download them from the Home Affairs website If your passport is due to expire within the next six months or has less than two blank pages, you will need to apply for a new passport before travelling as you will not be permitted into the country of your intended destination. If you have any questions about passports, you can either contact the Department of Home Affairs in Pretoria on (012) 810-8911 or any regional office of the Department of Home Affairs. Contact details are on the website: Keep certified copies of your passport (including the visa pages) with you for identification purposes. Do not keep the passport and the copies in the same place. An additional precaution is to leave a copy with a relative or friend at home.

What happens if your passport is stolen/lost while abroad?

If your passport is lost or stolen while you are travelling abroad, report the loss/theft immediately to the local police station. Take a copy of the police report to the nearest South African Embassy where you will apply for a temporary passport/emergency travel document.
Before a passport can be issued, you must:

  1. Complete an application form.
  2. Be finger-printed
  3. Produce written evidence of your South African citizenship (e.g. a birth certificate, identity document, certified copy of passport, driver's license).
  4. Provide a copy of the police report.
  5. Present two photographs.
  6. Pay the required fee.
A South African passport remains the property of the Government of South Africa and may only be used by the person to whom it is issued. Selling your passport or permitting any other individual or agency to use it may lead to criminal prosecution and is considered sufficient cause to revoke the passport and refuse future passport services.

Visas / Permits

A visa or permit is your permission to travel to, enter, transit or remain in a foreign country. A visa or permit does not, however, guarantee entry, as the decision to grant entry remains the decision of the immigration officials of the foreign country.
South African passport holders enjoy visa exemptions for certain countries. This means that South Africans can travel, usually for holiday or business purposes, to a country without a visa for a pre-determined time. South Africans are strongly advised against using visa exemption to travel to a foreign country if the real intention is to work there. A work permit must be applied for.
South Africans must always check with the travel agent and/or the Foreign Representative in South Africa whether a visa is required or not. Since requirements can change from time to time it is best to double check the requirements before each trip.
If you do not correctly comply with visa or permit requirements or overstay on your visa or permit you will be subject to any or all of the following: charged, jailed, deported and blacklisted.

Travel Insurance

It is strongly recommended that you take out travel insurance before travelling abroad. Travel insurance should cover hospitalisation and related medical costs as well as a possible emergency evacuation. Depending on your age, physical condition and destination you should consider provision in the event of death. Your travel agent or bank will be able to advise you.
Medical costs abroad can be astronomical compared to South Africa. In some instances medical treatment can be withheld if a person has no proof of funds or travel insurance.
Travel insurance that cover expenses in the event of death abroad will ensure that family and friends are not burdened with the costs for the preparation and transportation of mortal remains to South Africa. Remember to confirm the details of your coverage with your insurer as pre-existing medical conditions may require additional cover. It is important to cover all the members of the travelling party adequately.

Travel Allowances

Tavel & Study Allowances
South African residents over the age of 18 can use the allowance for any combination of these allowances:

Travel & Study Allowances:
Annual Gift Allowance and Loans:
Annual Maintenance Transfers and donations to missionaries:

PER ADULT p.a. (over 18 years)................................   R 750,000.00
PER ADULT p.a. (under 18 years)..............................   R 160,000.00
PER STUDENT p.a. ...................................................   R 160,000.00
PER STUDENT...........................................................   R 50,000.00
PER STUDENT (accompanied by spouse)..................   R 100,000.00
TRANSFERS PER MONTH............................................   R 9,000.00
MONETARY GIFTS & LOANS p.a..................................   R 30,000.00
N.B. Proof of purchase of forex may be requested, so it is advisable for passengers to keep their forex receipts.
A person under 18 is not entitled to tobacco, cigarettes or drinks allowances.
Cigarettes or pipe tobacco.....................................................250g
Spirituous/other alcoholic beverages.......................................1 litre
Toilet water ............................................................................250 ml
Gifts, souvenirs and all other goods.........................................R3000

You may elect to pay duty at a flat rate of 20% on goods up to a value of R12,000.00 over and above your duty free allowances.

Firearms, where absence from the Republic is less than six months.
Consumable goods of the same type but in excess of the quantity mentioned above.
Goods for commercial purposes and goods carried on behalf of other persons

You will have to pay duty on any items which are over the limits. You will normally have to do this before you leave the Customs hall.
Currency Control: SA Bank notes in excess of R5000 will not be allowed back.

Ensure that certain identification items such as cell phones, lap tops, jewellery, cameras, watches etc are registered at Customs for re-importation.

Johannesburg: Tel: (011) 225 9001
Cape Town: Tel: (021) 413 5000
Pretoria Tel: (012) 422 4000
Durban Tel: (031) 367 6100


N.B. Baggage allowance differs from airline to airline, so please refer to the airline’s website on which your ticket is booked for correct the baggage allowance. E.g. If you are booked on SAA your baggage allowance is 20 kg, however, if you are travelling on Virgin Atlantic as a code share with SAA the SAA baggage ruling applies, NOT Virgins 23 kg allowance.

1. WORLDWIDE(excepting USA & CANADA)   Adults and children over 2 years
ECONOMY CLASS   20kg (44lb)
BUSINESS CLASS   30kg (66lb)
FIRST CLASS   40kg (88lb)

Infants under 2 years have no baggage allowance.

    First   Business   Economy
No. of pieces   2   2   2
Dimensions per piece
  158cm   158cm   158cm
Total dimensions   316cm   316cm   273cm
Weight per piece   32cm   32cm   32cm

Children under 2 years of age are entitled to one piece of free baggage weighing a max. of 32kg whose total dimensions may not exceed 115cm.
Any baggage carried in excess of the above will be subject to excess baggage charges.

HAND LUGGAGE is restricted to one item per person. In general this may not exceed 10kg in weight, and its total dimensions may not exceed 115cm. SAA allows only 7kg of hand luggage. Please ensure that all your luggage is labelled with your name and the address of your destination. We also recommend adding a card with these details inside your suitcase.

Innoculation and medication

  (021) 851 7643

Driving overseas

Prospective travellers who intend driving abroad must apply for an international driving permit (IDP). These are issued by the Automobile Association of South Africa. Always ensure that you have both your original driver’s licence as well as your IDP with you and keep copies (preferably certified copies) separate from the originals.
South African drivers' licences are recognised in SADC countries (Angola, Botswana, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Lesotho, Madagascar, Malawi, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, Swaziland, United Republic of Tanzania, Zambia and Zimbabwe). It is recommended that a letter of verification be obtained from the South African Department of Transport.
When travelling by road to a neighbouring country always take the original vehicle registration documents plus a certified copy. Establish before the journey where the temporary import permit for the vehicle/trailer is obtained. The temporary import permit must be valid for the full duration of your stay in the country. Check with your vehicle insurer that the vehicle will be covered in the country you travel to (have this confirmed in writing) and that the 3rd party insurance is in order. Some countries have specific regulations and required stickers for taking your vehicle across the border. For more information on cross border and sticker requirements, you may contact the Automobile Association of South Africa.

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*PPS - Per Person Sharing*