Island holidays

Mauritius and Seychelles open to SA travellers: here's what you need to know

The Indian Ocean islands have flung open their borders in time for summer – but T&Cs apply

15 September 2021 - 15:40 By Elizabeth Sleith
Mauritius is reopening to fully vaccinated South Africans, with flights available from October.
Mauritius is reopening to fully vaccinated South Africans, with flights available from October.
Image: 123RF/freeartist

Some splendid news for SA travellers dreaming of foreign climes is that two of our favourite Indian Ocean island destinations — Mauritius and the Seychelles — have flung open their doors to us just in time to book those summer getaways.

Our long-time holiday darling Mauritius has been a no-go for a crazy 18 months, but will now accept South Africans travelling on authorised commercial flights without them first having to spend 15 days outside the country.

While the ban has been lifted as of last Friday, the Mauritius Tourism Board says the key factor — “authorised commercial flights from SA to Mauritius” — are scheduled to start from October 1, with Air Mauritius and Comair SA schedules confirmed.

Fully vaxxed sun-worshippers — you’re in luck, as fully vaccinated travellers from SA will be allowed to stay at any hotel, resort or accommodation of their choice and move freely about the island. Unvaccinated travellers, however, will have to undergo 14 days’ quarantine in a state-designated quarantine facility.

Before arrival, passengers must complete a health form and a passenger locator form. You will also need to present a  negative PCR test taken within 72 hours from the last point of embarkation.

Arvind Bundhun, director of the Mauritius Tourism Promotion Authority (MTPA), said: “South Africans have been longing for the Mauritius they know and love, from white sandy beaches and clear blue seas and skies, to our warm and friendly people, and so much more. Mauritius is ready and we can’t wait to welcome South Africans back to our beautiful country.”

According to Janet de Kretser, SA representative of the Mauritius Tourism Promotion Authority, Air Mauritius will start flying from Johannesburg to Port Louis on October 1 with two flights a week on a Friday and a Sunday.

BA Comair has confirmed it will start flying the route again from November 30 — also with two flights a week, and the possibility of adding a third. FlySafair has yet to confirm any dates or schedules.

Mauritius has one of the highest fully vaccinated rates in Africa, now standing at 60% more than of the population (82% of the adult population). The vaccination campaign is ongoing, and the rollout will also include under-18s as from the end of September 2021.

Find the full list of Covid-19 travel protocols here.

SEYCHELLES

That other idyll that’s also suddenly an option — regardless of your vaccination status — is the Seychelles.

In the latest Health Entry and Stay Conditions for Travellers update (V3.5), SA has been removed from the archipelago’s list of “restricted countries”, meaning whether vaccinated or not, arrivals will be allowed entry without having to quarantine — though the advisory says “visitors are strongly encouraged to be fully immunised before travel”.

Saint-Anne Marine National Park off the coast of Mahe, Seychelles.
Saint-Anne Marine National Park off the coast of Mahe, Seychelles.
Image: Claire Keeton

Passengers will need to provide proof of a negative Covid-19 PCR test done within 72 hours of departure and must also apply for a mandatory Health Travel Authorisation. They will need to provide proof of valid travel and health insurance to cover Covid-19 related quarantine, isolation or treatment.

Visitors may stay in any certified tourism establishments with no minimum length of stay in the first establishment.

Conditions for stay for children up to age 17, regardless of their vaccination status, will be as for the parent/guardian they are accompanying.

Visitors who have been in Bangladesh, Brazil, India, Nepal and/or Pakistan, which remain on the restricted list, in the preceding 14 days will not be permitted entry to the Seychelles.

Foreign affairs and tourism minister Sylvestre Radegonde said: “With more than 71% of our population fully vaccinated and the vaccination of adolescents 12-18 years well under way, Seychelles is doing what is necessary to keep both its population and its visitors safe.”

Air Seychelles will resume flights from Johannesburg to Mahé from late September, with flights on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays.

For the latest entry requirements, click here.


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