When you convert your South African driver’s license to a German licence, you have to hand in your SA card, so it is advisable to apply for an International license at the road traffic authorities (Führerscheinstelle) where you live.
You should bring your German driving license and a current biometric photo with you for the application.
The international driver’s license costs around 16 euros. – 2022
If you live in a Stadkreis, you will go to the Stadverwaltung. If you live in a Landkreis, you will go to the Landratsamt. You can find more information here, or google “Führerschein (international) beantragen”
Do you need one for South Africa?
It is basically a translation of your German driving licence that can be recognised by the authorities. In my opinion, it is the smart choice to have one
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
Identity documents and passports
South African passport holders:
- To travel from Germany to South Africa, you will need a valid South African passport.
- 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 limitation 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.
Read about applying for your ID or passport, or requesting any other official department of home affairs documentation here.
A personal account of applying for a passport online and collecting in SA can be found here
Visas and dual citizenship
It is considered an offense 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 traveling 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 un-accompanied can be found on the Department of home affairs website.
– Suggested Parental consent letter from the Department of Home Affairs
When you want to travel during a German school term, you can apply for special leave (Beurlaubung).
Make sure your medical costs, also Corona, 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
- 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.
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
- Cuckoo clocks
- Beer Krüge / Beer Stein
- Music boxes
- Handmade wooden toys
- 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
- Nürnberger Lebkuchen for example from Lebkucken Schmidt
- Steiff Teddy bear
- Dr Hauscha Skin care
- Dr Beckmann Gallseiffe