Unvaccinated travelers will still be welcome but will have to show proof of a negative COVID-19 PCR test taken within 72 hours of their trip.
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O.R. Tambo International Airport in Johannesburg
O.R. Tambo International Airport in Johannesburg
| Credit: PHILL MAGAKOE/AFP via Getty Images

South Africa has become the latest country to ease pandemic-related border rules, eliminating the pre-arrival COVID-19 test for vaccinated travelers.

Going forward, South Africa will allow vaccinated international travelers to simply show proof of their inoculation to enter the country, South African Tourism shared with Travel + Leisure. Unvaccinated travelers will still be welcome but will have to show proof of a negative COVID-19 PCR test taken within 72 hours of their trip.

"Over the past two years, we have taken unprecedented actions to strengthen our health system," South Africa's President Cyril Ramaphosa said in a statement. "We are now at a watershed moment. We are now ready to enter a new phase in our management of the pandemic."

In addition to easing entry requirements, Ramaphosa said the country will offer travelers the chance to be vaccinated upon arrival.

Once in South Africa, indoor and outdoor gatherings are held at 50% capacity, an increase from before, so long as guests show either proof of vaccination or proof of a negative COVID-19 test taken within 72 hours, according to Ramaphosa. Masks are required at indoor locations like in restaurants and on public transportation but are no longer required to be worn outside.

South Africa has welcomed tourists for months, but previously required everyone to get tested before they arrived.

"We welcome the further easing of COVID-19 restrictions, as this presents great news for the tourism sector's outlook towards recovery," South African Tourism Acting CEO Themba Khumalo said in a statement shared with T+L. "Providing international travellers with a choice between producing proof of vaccination or a negative PCR test… adds to South Africa's accessibility, as a competitive and attractive tourism destination."

Currently, South Africa is averaging just over 1,100 new infections reported each day, according to Reuters, which is a significant decrease from December after the omicron variant was first detected. Following that, the United States temporarily banned travel for non-U.S. citizens from eight different countries, including South Africa, but lifted the ban on December 31.

South Africa is the latest country to ease travel restrictions and make it easier for tourists to enter, joining countries like Canada, the Netherlands, and Thailand in doing so.

Alison Fox is a contributing writer for Travel + Leisure. When she's not in New York City, she likes to spend her time at the beach or exploring new destinations and hopes to visit every country in the world. Follow her adventures on Instagram.