Where can you fly overseas now? Everything you need to know

A person wearing a mask walking into an airport with a bag of wheels

2.51min read

Published 11 June 2021


Are you feeling pretty desperate to see family and friends from afar, need to study abroad or get some business done beyond the borders? Sure, any travel – domestic, regional or international - involves more complexity than ever before. That’s not to say it can’t be done wisely and safely with expert advice. With the third wave looming, any travel needs to be done responsibly as well.

The news that international carriers Virgin Atlantic is resuming flights between London and Joburg, plus the arrival of the inaugural flight of United Airlines from New York to Joburg last week, signalled fresh hope for the travel and tourism industry, as well as travellers needing to fly overseas.

Here’s where we can travel to currently in terms of air access from South Africa. Note that the countries below have varying levels of travel restrictions in place.

London, United Kingdom - fly to London on Virgin Atlantic

Virgin Atlantic is resuming its flights between London Heathrow and Johannesburg, with the first flight from Johannesburg scheduled to operate on 26 June 2021.

Read here about the Virgin Atlantic flights and UK travel restrictions.

Need to know:

- 10-day pre-booked quarantine required

- Travellers arriving from a Red List country (such as South Africa) must enter the UK through a designated Red List terminal (currently Terminal 3)

- COVID-19 negative PCR test result (within 72 hours of departure) is required

- Travellers must have pre-booked, before departure, accommodation at a managed quarantine facility.

Cancun, Mexico - fly to Cancun on United Airlines

Are you dreaming of swaying palm trees, exotic beaches, spicy food and refreshing cocktails and utterly different scenery? The sun-soaked beaches, history and culture of Mexico await.

Need to know:

- Most travellers from South Africa can enter Mexico, but there are restrictions

- No proof of a negative COVID-19 certificate for entry (although it may be required by the airline)

- No mandatory quarantine

New York, USA - fly to New York on United Airlines

Fly from Johannesburg OR Tambo International Airport to New York’s Newark airport. The inaugural flight of United Airlines from New York Newark to Johannesburg OR Tambo International Airport touched down on Mzansi soil on Friday, 4 June 2021. Currently, United is the only airline providing a daily nonstop service between Johannesburg and New York.

Need to know:

- Most travellers from South Africa are not allowed to enter United States yet. There are exceptions.

- Mandatory negative COVID-19 test is required

- Quarantine is recommended

Zanzibar, Tanzania - fly to Zanzibar on Kenya Airways

Lounge on sunny beaches, explore vibrant Stone Town and stock up on fragrant spices and colourful clothing. Zanzibar is the perfect place to do as much or as little as you please, and there are minimal entry regulations for South Africans.

Need to know:

- Most travellers from South Africa can enter Tanzania, but there are restrictions

- COVID-19 test is required

- No quarantine is required

Maldives - fly to Maldives on Qatar Airways

Imagine days of soaking up the blissful sunshine on the beach or in a gently swinging hammock, an endless supply of refreshing cocktails, and countless refreshing dips in the lukewarm waters of the Indian Ocean. The Maldives is welcoming South African travellers with minimal entry requirements!

Need to know:

- Most travellers from South Africa can enter the Maldives, but there are restrictions

- Mandatory COVID-19 test

- No quarantine is required

Mombasa, Kenya - fly to Mombasa on Ethiopian Airlines

Hop on board for the ultimate safari experience. Enjoy game drives, marvel at Mount Kilimanjaro, connect with the Maasai and immerse yourself in the soul-soothing rhythms of Kenya.

Need to know:

- Most travellers from South Africa can enter Kenya, but there are restrictions.

- Mandatory COVID-19 test is required.

- No quarantine required.

For current travel restrictions and entry requirements for the above destinations and countries across the globe, browse the travel map on the Travel News Information Hub here.

Need a reliable source of info at your fingertips?

The Flight Centre Travel Group’s Travel News information hub, a website that allows you to search for any country and get up-to-date COVID-19 travel information and more need to know resources, is not only free but has recently been revamped.

Please note: Although every effort has been made to ensure the information is up to date, information is subject to change at any time. It is always advisable to consult a Travel Expert and local embassy for the latest country and travel information.

Information subject to change at short notice. Correct as of 10 June 2021.

Contact a Flight Centre Travel Expert here.

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