Kaunda Selisho

By Kaunda Selisho


Island holidays: Five destinations South Africans can visit this December

Here is a breakdown of islands South Africans can visit this December and the estimated costs involved in the island holidays.

The Covid-19 pandemic may be far from over but the world seems more than ready to get on with the business of living and as the year comes to a close, many are looking to put their passports to use once again for some much-needed island holidays.

As vaccination drives across the country continue and we make some kind of headway in inoculating the population, the South Africa’s status seems to be going from “red” to “green” on various travel lists across the world. 

A number of island destinations are once again open to South African travellers, with a few criteria. Here is a breakdown of islands South Africans can visit this December and what the island holidays are estimated to cost. 

Phuket – Thailand

This week, Thailand joined the growing list of countries allowing South Africans to visit their shores. 

According to the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT), the country has lifted the listing of countries per the level of Covid-19 transmission risks for Sandbox tourists. 

“This means Thailand is now welcoming travellers from any country in the world, including South Africa, to the ‘Sandbox’ programme. In addition, fully vaccinated foreign tourists visiting Phuket, Surat Thani, Phang-Nga, and Krabi via the relevant sandbox programmes, now only need to stay in one place for seven days before being able to move on to other parts of Thailand,” explained TAT on their website. 

Most of the travel packages to Thailand for December 2021 seem to have been snapped up. However, PenTravel has a deal for May-June 2022 priced at just over R24,00 per person.

thailand travel vaccinated south africans
An aerial view of the Big Buddha and Kata Beach, a day before the ‘Phuket Sandbox’ tourism scheme that allows visits by people vaccinated against Covid-19. Picture: AFP/Lillian Suwanrumpha

Return flights from Johannesburg, approximate airport taxes, return airport transfers, seven nights accommodation in a standard Club Room, all-inclusive (breakfast, lunch and dinner including wine, beer and soft drinks), open bar (day and night snacking), a range of sports and leisure activities, children’s facilities at certain resorts and access to “unique club med entertainment”.

Flight Centre has similar deals starting from R12,890 upwards for seven-night stay at three-star accommodation.


The Tanzanian island of Zanzibar has long been open to South African travellers and given the long-standing relationship between the two countries, travelling to the island is not only possible but quite affordable as well. 

AfricaStay has a range of packages priced between R9,350 and R28,000 and prices vary depending on a number of factors.

ALSO READ: Vaccinated travellers – Destination options for South Africans


The Maldives was among the first tourist destinations to return to welcoming foreign visitors back in 2020. The country even invested in a heavy publicity drive to entice holidaymakers and this recently saw the likes of Zozibini Tunzi and Anele Mdoda make their way to the island cluster.

Earlier this year, Business Insider estimated a return trip to the Maldives (all-inclusive) at about R16,000.

Miss Universe 2019, Zozibini Tunzi, in the Maldives. Picture: Instagram


This past weekend, Air Mauritius resumed weekly flights between the island destination and Johannesburg’s OR Tambo International Airport.

Mauritius has been ranked as one of the top countries in the world for its response to the Covid-19 pandemic and the phased reopening of the island destination to travellers commenced on 15 July. The island destination has prioritised its tourism staff during its vaccine rollout, ensuring visitors’ safety amidst these uncertain times.

While travellers are currently restricted to certain hotels and resorts on the island, fully vaccinated travellers will soon be free to book resorts and roam the island as they would on a proper holiday in paradise.

Flight Centre also has some Mauritius travel packages that have priced the island holiday between R11,400 and R27,800 dependant on a number of factors.


In September, Seychelles removed South Africa from its list of “restricted countries” based on the latest Covid-19 infection rate and vaccination data from South Africa.

Passengers from South Africa, vaccinated or not, will be allowed entry to the islands without the need for quarantine upon arrival.

Even though entry and stay conditions will not be affected by Covid-19 vaccination status, visitors are strongly encouraged to be fully immunised before travel.

South Africans travelling to Seychelles will also need to provide proof of a negative Covid-19 PCR test done within 72 hours of departure and complete a Health Travel Authorisation which can be accessed here.

They will need to provide proof of valid travel and health insurance to cover Covid-related quarantine, isolation or treatment.

Travelling to Seychelles is on the pricier side as Business Insider estimates that a nine-hour journey on Air Seychelles in economy seats would cost a little under $450 (R6,762) each way, bringing the return price to around R13,000. That is excluding accommodation, travel insurance, food and other miscellaneous costs.

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