Top Destinations for South Africa City Trips
A traveler’s guide to Johannesburg, Cape Town, and Durban. The 3 top cities to visit in South Africa with international flights operating during COVID-19.
South Africa is open to international tourists, with restrictions. Anyone can visit South Africa under the current alert level, including travelers from India and Pakistan.
Normal visa policy applies, travelers need to arrange their South Africa visa for Pakistan citizens, or Indian citizens, before departure.
There are also some additional entry requirements. Visitors arriving from overseas must have a paper copy of a negative COVID-19 PCR test result. The test must be taken at most 72 hours before departure and be recognized by the World Health Organization.
Anyone who arrives without a test must have an antigen test on arrival and, if they test positive, quarantine for 10 days at their own expense.
Travelers need to fly into either Johannesburg, Durban, or Cape Town International Airports. This article offers a brief guide to each of these top destinations for South Africa city trips
Johannesburg—the Economic Powerhouse of South Africa
Johannesburg is the best city to learn about South Africa’s past and catch a glimpse into the future. The city boasts many museums, including the Apartheid Museum, while hosting brand-new apartment blocks and modern developments.
The largest city in South Africa, Johannesburg, is intense and energetic. It’s a hub of economic activity; the head offices of most South African companies and banks are located in the city.
Jo’burg has become a diverse city, at least a dozen different languages are spoken and all there is a significant Asian presence.
Some of the best nightlife in South Africa belongs to Johannesburg, in particular the live music scene. Artists from South Africa and the rest of the world perform in venues across South Africa, everything from rock and pop to jazz and soul.
Johannesburg O.R. Tambo International Airport (JNB) is one of the 3 airports that travelers can fly into during the coronavirus pandemic. It’s just over 20 km from the city center and has good bus connections. Alternatively, passengers can fly into Lanseria International Airport (HLA).
Cape Town—a Capital City by the Sea
Cape Town is South Africa’s must-see city. Situated by the sea, Cape Town has stunning white sand beaches and crystal waters. Table Mountain provides a spectacular backdrop, visitors can take a cable car to the top or climb the mountain on foot for views across the peninsula.
And yet, it’s not just Cape Town’s natural beauty that will impress visitors. The city center is bustling and edgy, with cool boutiques and trendy bars.
Artists and designers flock to Cape Town, attracted by the city’s unique flair. The Zeitz Museum of Contemporary Art Africa (MOCAA), located on the V&A waterfront, is the largest art museum in Africa, covering 6,000 square meters across 9 floors.
Cape Town’s food scene is yet another reason to visit. Influenced by the city’s history and current food trends, Cape Town offers an eclectic mix of restaurants, cafés, and food trucks.
Flights to Cape Town International Airport (CPT) are operating during COVID-19. The airport is around 20 km from the city center and there is a frequent bus service.
Durban—Home to a Large Indian Community
Another city by the sea, Durban’s beaches are one of its major attractions. The Golden Mile is the most popular stretch of sand, offering diving and snorkeling opportunities.
uShaka Marine World, located on the seafront, is a vast aquatic theme park. It’s divided into 8 different sections including uShaka Sea World, Wet ‘n Wild, and Sea Animal Encounters Island. It’s a full day of maritime entertainment for the whole family.
Under normal circumstances, Durban hosts a variety of festivals that take place throughout the year. From musical performances to fashion events, there’s always something going on.
Whilst more than half of the city’s population are Zulu, almost a fifth are Indian. This mix of ethnicities is best reflected in Durban’s food scene. Visitors can try bunny-chow, a hollowed-out loaf of bread filled with vegetable or meat curry, and there are many excellent Indian restaurants.
There is a shuttle bus service from Durban to King Shaka International Airport (DUR) every 30 to 45 minutes.
Visiting South African Cities During COVID-19
Although South Africa is open to international travelers, there are measures in place to keep residents and visitors safe.
Alerts level ranges from 1 to 5. Travel rules and lockdown measures in South Africa vary depending on the current health situation.
Anyone planning a trip to South Africa must check the current coronavirus measures in place. Some services, museums, and entertainment venues, including those mentioned above, are temporarily closed or with limited capacity.
When visiting South Africa, travelers should follow all the protocols in place, including the use of face masks and social distancing as preventative measures.
Entry restrictions may be updated at short notice, so again, it’s important to check the latest information.