South Africa - Level 4: Do Not Travel
Do not travel to South Africa due to COVID-19. Exercise increased caution in South Africa due to crime, civil unrest, health, and drought.
Read the Department of State’s COVID-19 page before you plan any international travel.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has issued a Level 4 Travel Health Notice for South Africa due to COVID-19, indicating a very high level of COVID-19 in the country. Visit the Embassy's COVID-19 page for more information on COVID-19 in South Africa.
Violent crime, such as armed robbery, rape, carjacking, mugging, and "smash-and-grab" attacks on vehicles, is common. There is a higher risk of violent crime in the central business districts of major cities after dark.
Demonstrations, protests, and strikes occur frequently. These can develop quickly without prior notification, often interrupting traffic, transportation, and other services; such events have the potential to turn violent.
South Africa’s Western, Eastern, and Northern Cape Provinces are experiencing a severe drought. Water supplies in some areas may be affected. Residential water-use restrictions are in place in Cape Town and other municipalities.
Please see our Alerts for up-to-date information.
Read the country information page.
If you decide to travel to South Africa:
- See the U.S. Embassy's web page regarding COVID-19.
- Visit the CDC’s webpage on Travel and COVID-19.
- Avoid walking alone, especially after dark.
- Avoid visiting informal settlement areas unless you are with someone familiar with the area.
- Do not display cash or valuables.
- Drive with doors locked and windows closed.
- Always carry a copy of your U.S. passport and visa (if applicable). Keep original documents in a secure location.
- Conserve water and follow local guidance on water use for tourists and Save Like a Local.
- Check the City of Cape Town website for up-to-date information and guidance on how to manage water consumption.
- Refer to the Nelson Mandela Bay’s website for updates on water restrictions in effect in the Eastern Cape.
- Monitor water levels at the City of Cape Town’s Water Dashboard.
- Enroll in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) to receive Alerts and make it easier to locate you in an emergency.
- Follow the Department of State on Facebook and Twitter.
- Review the Crime and Safety Report for South Africa.
- U.S. citizens who travel abroad should always have a contingency plan for emergency situations. Review the Traveler’s Checklist.
Last Update: Reissued with updates to COVID-19 information.