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Travel to SA – Tips

For those wanting to travel back to South Africa for a holiday, here are some general tips. You are welcome to submit your own tips and we can include them on this page. 

New SARS Traveller declaration

The new SARS Traveller declaration form for those returning to South Africa is still in the pilot phase and will continue on a voluntary basis until further notice.
This is a Customs declaration form. You can find all the information on the SARS website

It was implemented at King Shaka International Airport and will be rolled out at the following airports:

  • Cape Town International Airport on 28 February 2023
  • O.R. Tambo International Airport on 23 March 2023
  • Other airports in the second and third quarters of 2023
  • Land ports, namely Beit Bridge and Skilpadshek, after that.

Drivers Licence

When you convert your South African driver’s license to a German licence, you have to hand in your SA card. If you want to drive in South Africa, or any other country outside the EU you need to apply for an International license from the road traffic authorities (Führerscheinstelle) where you live.
Regulation 110 of the Road Traffic Act states that a foreign licence may only be accepted for driving in SA if it issued in one of the SA’s official languages. Since the German driver’s is issued in German (and not English), by law you need to have an international driver’s licence with you. 

To apply for a international licence, you will need your German driving license and a current biometric photo 
An international driver’s license costs around 16 euros. – 2022. 
You can find more information here, or google “Führerschein (international) beantragen”

International licence – Yes you need one!
You can drive in South Africa with your German licence but will need an official translation thereof.  An International licence is basically a translation of your German driving licence that can be recognised by the authorities. It serves as a translation and an interpretation of the licence (the original licence must accompany the International Driving Permit).
Please see Section  110 of the National Road Traffic Act why you need an International licence together with your German driver’s licence.

Here is an extract of  Section 110.   Conditions for acknowledgement and exchange of driving licence not issued in terms of Act, and international driving permit.—(1)  Subject to subregulation (1A) and (3), a driving licence referred to in section 23 (1) (a) of the Act, issued while the holder of it was not permanently or ordinarily resident in the Republic, shall, for the period for, and subject to the conditions under which it was issued, be deemed to be a valid licence for the purposes of Chapter IV of the Act, if

(a)  (i) the licence has been issued in an official language of the Republic;
or (ii) a certificate of authenticity or validity relating to the licence issued in an official language of the Republic by a competent authority, or a translation of that licence in such official language, is attached to it

(b) such licence contains or has attached to it, a photograph and the signature of the licence holder.

Sim cards, mobile data and Wi-FI

  • Try to find accommodation that offers free Wi-Fi. Many restaurants offer free Wi-Fi.
  • You can use your German number to roam in South Africa. This can become expensive.
  • Rent a mobile phone for your time in South Africa. Vodacom offers phone rentals
  • Read about using Cellucity B4ITravel here. I have not personally used them and have no idea how good the service is.
  • Airalo was suggested by members of our FB group. They offer data packs at local rates
  • Some Car rental companies offer additional rental of mobile phones and GPS devices

Money (Rands)

If you still have bank accounts in South Africa you can transfer money to your accounts to use for your trip to South Africa.
If you do not have any back accounts in SA, you can consider the following:

  • Take cash with you – always a risk
  • Use your German credit card if it is open for foreign transactions. Some banks allow a certain amount of free transactions. You can also withdraw cash. It is a very safe option
  •  Use your German debit card if it is open for foreign transactions
  • Travelers Cheques, which you can cash in at local banks. 

Please keep the exchange rate you will get in mind as well as the transaction fees.
Always have some cash with you as not everyone takes cards e.g street vendors, taxis 

Foreign Exchange- EUR to ZAR

We are not financial advisors and therefore cannot give financial advice. The information here should not be seen as financial advice in any way.Always make informed decisions and speak to a professional when you are unsure. What is exchange control? Foreign exchange controls are various forms of controls imposed by a government on the purchase/sale of foreign currencies by residents or on the purchase/sale of local currency by nonresidents. The South African Reserve Bank (SARB) uses the Currency and Exchanges Act No. 9 of 1933 and its Regulations to control Foreign exchange.Authorised dealers ensure that their customers comply with the various regulations that control the sending and receiving of funds across South African borders.

Identity documents and passports

South African passport holders:

  1. To travel from Germany to South Africa, you will need a valid South African passport.
  2. To travel back from South Africa to Germany, you will need your valid South African passport and a valid Aufenthaltstitel (temporary residence permit),  permanent residence card, or Fiktionsbescheinigung. Please be aware of any limitations or restrictions of your documents e.g single entry Aufenthaltstitel (temporary residence permit), in this case, usually short student visas,  you are not allowed to travel from and back to Germany on your current Aufenthalt

Check the validity of your South African passport and consider applying in South Africa. The turnaround time has been very good lately.

Applying for your ID in South Africa

Applying for official documents from the Department of Home Affairs in South Africa has become a whole lot easier.  Apply online You can apply for your Smart ID or Passport online via the eHomeAffairs website. You will still need to

Temporary proof of German Residence

To stay in Germany longer than 90 days in a 180 period, you will need a residence permit. Qualifying for a residence permit will depend, among other things, on the type of visa you applied for. Your long-stay visa allows

Passport – Applying in South Africa

I  applied for a new Adult Tourist Passport while I was in South Africa (December 2020).  This is a while back, but the process is still the same, and recent feedback is that it takes an average of 2 weeks

Visas and dual citizenship

It is considered an offence for a South African over the age of 18 with dual citizenship to enter or leave the country using their foreign passport.
Once you’ve obtained dual citizenship, you must use your South African passport when entering and leaving South Africa.

German Passport, staying longer than 90 days
A German citizen can travel to South Africa without a visa for up to 90 days, thereafter they need a visa.
If you renounced your South African Citizenship and are travelling on a German passport, you still have the right to permanent residence in South Africa. Make sure you take along all your supporting documentation for example your original renunciation certificate and if you already have one, your new non-Citizen Identity document.

You can apply for your new Non-citizen identity document as soon as you received confirmation of your renunciation of South African citizenship


The rules for travelling with children to South Africa accompanied and unaccompanied can be found on the Department of home affairs website.
– Here is a link to the  Suggested Parental consent letter from the Department of Home Affairs. It does not need to be notarised.

When you want to travel during a German school term, you can apply for special leave (Beurlaubung).

Travel Insurance

Make sure you have travel insurance to cover your trip. Some credit cards offer this for free, but make sure you know what you are covered for.
Some companies that offer travel insurance:


Make sure your medical costs will be covered. If not take out additional medical cover, or have it included in your travel insurance.


The major airports in Germany are Frankfurt, Munich, Berlin, and Düsseldorf.

Direct Flights between SA and Germany
Direct flights to SA are only from Frankfurt and Munich (Seasonal)

  • Lufthansa flies from Frankfurt to O.R Tambo Intl and Cape Town
  • Condor reinstated their Frankfurt to Cape Town flight, flights are available from Oct 2022. They are planning to offer two flights a week to O.R. Tambo as of 4 November 2022.
  • Eurowings Discover will start flying from Frankfurt to Kruger Mpumalanga International Airport in November 2022

Other Airlines

  • Emirates has flights from Berlin, Hamburg, and Düsseldorf, connecting in Dubai and flying to O.R Tambo, Durban, and Cape Town
  • Turkish Airlines flies from Berlin, Bremen, Düsseldorf, Frankfurt, Friedrichshafen, Hamburg, Hannover, Karlsruhe, Cologne, Leipzig, Munich, Nuremberg and Stuttgart to Istanbul. From there they fly to O.R Tambo
  • Qatar Airlines, British Airways, and KLM all have connecting flights to South Africa

Connecting Flight in SA

If you have an onward flight for instance to Hoedspruit, you will have to clear passport control and customs at the arrival airport of your international leg. 

International – domestic connections
After clearing customs and collecting your bags at the international carousel, you must check in your luggage for your domestic flight. There should be a fast bag drop re-check desk available but not guaranteed. Once you have dropped your bag, head to Domestic Terminal and pass through security before heading to your gate.

Recommended minimum connecting time is 90 minutes. Please allow extra time if you require special assistance or you are travelling with children.


For luggage restrictions in the EU, a single bag may not weigh more than 23 kg. 
The amount of bags you are allowed to take with you will depend on your airline, ticket class and fare conditions.

Travel advice and bookings

We have Travel agents listed on our website. These businesses are owned and run by South Africans living in Germany.
Contact them to get expert advice and assistance with bookings.

Mon Voyage Travel and Tours

Mon Voyage Travel and Tours is an IATA and ASATA accredited Travel Agency based in Port Elizabeth, South Africa Waiting, willing and ready to assist

The Expat Travel Shop

The Expat Travel Shop is full-service travel agency with over 2 decades of experience in global travel. Our personal approach meets client needs in both

Reise Explorer

From the Hocheifel to the world! With a destination knowledge of over 140 visited countries on all 6 continents, we help you to make the

Gift ideas

  • Cuckoo clocks
  • Beer Krüge / Beer Stein
  • Nutcrackers
  • Music boxes
  • Handmade wooden toys
  • Räuchermännchen
  • Schwibbbogen
  • Garden Gnomes
  • Hummel handcrafted Figurines 
  • Anything from Käthe Wohlfahrt
  • Tulip glasses (beer or wine)
  • Authentic/Branded Beer glasses
  • Glassware from Riedel
  • Rosenthal Porcelain
  • Zwilling products
  • WMF Products
  • Raclette Grill
  • Haribo sweets, Hannuta, Giotto
  • Decent Marzipan like Niederegger
  • Mozart Kugeln
  • Canned Venison
  • Mustard and “Pommes Mayo”
  • Obstbrände and Schnaps like Williams Pear Schnapps
  • Eierlikör
  • Teas
  • Nürnberger Lebkuchen for example from Lebkucken Schmidt
  • Steiff Teddy bear
  • Lego
  • Dr Hauscha Skin care
  • Dr Beckmann Gallseiffe

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