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(January 2016) South Africa's change in visa requirements for New Zealand passport holders

The following is a message from South Africa Tourism...

Following the recent announcement of South Africa’s change in visa requirements for New Zealand passport holders, now specifying that New Zealanders do require a visa in order to travel to South Africa, South African Tourism wishes to reassure all tourists that South Africa remains a welcoming destination, open to all tourists from across the world wishing to experience our unique and diverse tourism offering.

To ensure a seamless experience for all New Zealand passport holders wishing to travel to South Africa, South African Tourism would like to highlight the following:

  • The revised visa requirements for New Zealand passport holders will only come into effect from 16 January 2017.  If a traveller from New Zealand travels to South Africa before the 16th January 2017 and returns after that, that traveller does not need a visa, therefore departing the Republic of South Africa after the 16th January 2017 will not pose a problem as there will be no requirement of a visa when departing.
  • New Zealand passport holders with already booked flight arrangements travelling before the 16th January 2017 are still exempt from visa application and can travel to South Africa, but those needing to travel from and after the 16th January 2017, regardless of whether or not they have already booked their flights, will need to apply for visas amidst existing plans.
  • All New Zealand passport holders wishing to apply for a South African visa must do so in person at the South African High Commission in Wellington, New Zealand as per the South African Immigration law and regulations
  • Turnaround time for visa issuance is between five and seven working days and this entails;
    • applicants submitting their applications in person;
    • meeting the requirements as detailed on the Department of Home Affairs website i.e. visa application, valid passport, ticket or itinerary for travel, bank statements and any other document  required at the time of application.  Please visit www.dha.gov.za for more details on documents required to apply for a South African visa.
  • Any further queries regarding turnaround times of visa applications can be directed to Mr David Jordaan, one of the managers in the mission in Wellington who can be contacted at JordaanD@dirco.gov.za.
  • New Zealanders living anywhere else in the world (including Australia) that do not have permanent residency in that country, have to go back and apply from the country of origin (in this case Wellington and NOT in Canberra, Australia).
  • If transiting through OR Tambo International Airport, Lanseria, Cape Town or King Shaka airports, New Zealand nationals do not need transit visas, but if transiting through other ports, transit visas are required.
  • The South African High Commission in New Zealand will be closed for the Christmas break from Friday 23rd December 2016 and will re-open on the 4th January 2017. This means that applications will be accepted as at the 4th January 2017 again.
  • For more information the South African High Commission in Wellington, New Zealand can be contacted from the 4th January 2017.
  • Any telephone enquiries on consular matters will be taken  on Mondays, Tuesdays and Thursdays between 09h00 and  12h00 (midday).  Please however note that no telephone calls with regard to consular matters will be taken on any other day or outside these hours. The telephone number to use is + 64 4 815 8484.
  • The South African High Commission in New Zealand, situated on Level 7, State Insurance Tower, 1 Willis Street, Wellington, can also be contacted via email using the email addresses: wellington@foreign.gov.za or consular@sahcwellington.co.nz.
“Between January and September 2016, South Africa welcomed 16 001 tourists from New Zealand which is a 19% increase when compared to the same period in 2015. This is growth that we would like to continue to see from this market and therefore are working together with the Department of Home Affairs and the South African High Commission to ensure that the visa application requirements are clearly communicated and that the process is as seamless as possible for all New Zealand nationals wishing to come experience our beautiful country,” says Mr Sisa Ntshona, Chief Executive Officer of South African Tourism.

(December 2016) A Word from our CEO

Dear colleagues, friends and partners in tourism
 
As 2016 draws to a close, it is that time where we reflect on the year that has been, and prepare ourselves for the year that will soon follow.
 
2016 has been a year of mixed blessings. It has been a tumultuous year globally, with Brexit and a dramatic US election campaign, not to mention our own political dramas here at home. Some major contributors to modern culture and politics passed away this year too: David Bowie, Prince, Fidel Castro, Mohamed Ali and Gary Marshall to name a few. Bob Dylan won the Nobel Prize for Literature and Leicester City won the Premier League. The Queen of England turned 90 and Rio held a successful Olympic Games despite Zika concerns.
 
Tourism to Southern Africa is at an all-time high, with monthly arrival figures from all countries, but happily mainly from our major source markets, growing in double digits month by month. The destination is busting at the seams, with the only happy challenge we are faced with being the hunt for inventory – a great problem to have!
 
It has also been the year that I joined Private Safaris Southern Africa as their CEO, and so much has happened in such a short space of time that it’s hard to believe it’s only been 4 months. Private Safaris has always been a force to be reckoned with in Southern Africa, well-known for our operational excellence and professionalism. We have long-standing partners we are lucky to call friends, both in our client base and our supplier network, and we have always excelled at making the traveller’s holiday a seamless and successful experience.
 
When I joined, I saw it as my first key task to ensure that the Private Safaris team realise their value and connect with their passion for excellence. We have embarked on a journey of transformation, by going back to basics and agreeing on those core values we can hold each other accountable for and naturally call our own. We are proud of our passion for excellence and believe that meaning comes from making dreams come true; for our clients, but also our staff, our environment and our country. Transformation is an ongoing journey, but luckily we’re in the travel game, so we know how to plan amazing journeys!
 
2017 is going to be a phenomenal year for Private Safaris Southern Africa. We have a new General Manager in the Windhoek office, a new Sales Manager in the Cape Town office, and a new Head of Finance Southern Africa all starting in January and completing an already amazing team. We have a sparkly new Supplier Strategy, and a fantastic Marketing team boosting our social media presence and communication channels. In both offices our bookings for 2017 are substantially higher than this time last year with no sign of slowing down, and we have big plans for staff training, travel support and guide academy work in the pipeline.
 
None of our success would be possible without you, our partners in this crazy, wonderful, exciting industry. Thank you for your partnership and friendship in this amazing year; thank you for your support in tough times and your excellence in the wonderful times.
 
Wishing you all a restful holiday season, with time to reflect on the year that was and to get excited about the year that is to come.
 
Happy holidays, everyone.

(September 2016) Private Safaris Southern Africa says farewell to General Manager Namibia

Private Safaris’ General Manager for the Namibian operation, Werner Beddies, has taken the decision to leave the organisation.

Werner joined Private Safaris in January 2014 as the Sales & Marketing Manager for Namibia. He later took the helm to serve as General Manager Namibia, ad-interim, to fill the position previously held by Ms. Nadja Schlusche, and was subsequently permanently appointed to the role in April of this year. He has played a significant role in strengthening the company’s position in Namibia.

CEO for Private Safaris Southern Africa, Monika Iuel says “However brief, it has been a pleasure to work with Werner. He contributed greatly to the success of the company, and was a respected member of our EXCO team”.

Monika adds “We will be working closely with Werner and his local leadership team over the next few days and weeks to ensure that there is a smooth transition and no business interruption, while we commence a search for a replacement”.

Private Safaris wishes Werner every success with his future endeavours. His last day will be Thursday 15 September 2016 and Bettina van den Hurk, GM for Private Safaris South Africa, will assume responsibility for operations in the interim.

(August 2016) Private Safaris Welcomes Back Our MICE Manager

We are thrilled to welcome Lucinda Keefer (nee Hand) back into the Private Safaris fold as Market Manager to our creative MICE team. Lucinda has extensive experience in the industry from both an agent and a sales perspective, making her uniquely qualified to deliver what the client wants, whilst understanding what the programme needs!

“I am so excited to be a part of this MICE Department, the level of talent and innovation is inspiring!” Lucinda adds “We are dedicated to offering memorable incentive experiences without blowing the budget”.

General Manager for South Africa, Bettina van den Hurk says “Lulu is such a great fit, for the company and for MICE. Her professionalism and positive personality perfectly represents Private Safaris. As seen in her previous tenure, we expect great things from Lucinda and this talented Department!”

(July 2016) Private Safaris (Southern Africa) names new CEO

Private Safaris (Southern Africa), a leading destination management company and an exclusively owned subsidiary of Kuoni Global Travel Services, announces the appointment of Monika Iuel as CEO effective 15 August 2016. Monika Iuel will be based in the Cape Town office, reporting to Rolf Schafroth, CEO of Kuoni Global Travel Services. She will be in charge of the Namibian and South African branches of Private Safaris.

Monika Iuel has an excellent track record and almost 25 years of experience in similar businesses having worked with Your Africa (Tourvest) as Sales and Marketing Director and most recently with South African Tourism as General Manager International Marketing. "I am very excited about joining Private Safaris; the company has a fantastic reputation for service excellence and longstanding partnerships, with a superb team of professional experts, and it will be an honour to lead the team into its next era with a new and invigorated vision and fresh destination management company offering" she said.

Rolf Schafroth welcomes the appointment saying “Monika’s experience and excellent track record will be the ideal complement to Private Safaris. I very much look forward to working with Monika to enrich Private Safaris’ over ten year history of creating excellent travel moments across an array of destinations across Southern Africa and Namibia”.

(October 2015) Good News for South African Tourism: Accepted Changes to Immigration Regulations

23/10/2015 Minister in the Presidency Jeff Radebe and Tourism Minister Derek Hanekom today announced various plans to amend the stringent Immigration Regulations that were put in place in June of this year. These recommendations, which have been approved by Cabinet, were submitted by the Inter-Ministerial Committee (IMC) and will be implemented by the Department of Home Affairs (DHA) within the next three months.

Concerns addressed by these new recommendations include:

• Geographical spread of countries like China, India and Russia. Measures will be put in place to ease the process of application, in particular for tourists.

• Child-travel requirements, for inbound and outbound travel.

Click here to view the detailed changes as well as the Government’s implementation strategy.

(December 2014) Kuoni Destination Management voted World’s Leading Destination Management Company 2014 for the fifth consecutive year

Kuoni Destination Management has been voted 2014’s “World’s Leading Destination Management Company” by the World Travel Awards, which recognise outstanding performances, service excellence and the highest level of customer satisfaction.

For the fifth consecutive year, Kuoni Destination Management has been awarded the World’s Leading Destination Management Company by the World Travel Awards. The award aims to encourage world-class competition, stimulate innovation and creativity, as well as ensure that travellers receive exceptional value. The awards are presented to companies from various segments of the travel and tourism industry every year.

The Grand Final Gala Ceremony of the World Travel Awards was held at the island of Anguilla, CuisinArt Golf Resort & Spa on 07 December 2014, with the presence of the most important decision-makers in global travel and tourism industry.

“It has been a great pleasure for Kuoni Destination Management to receive this prestigious award. Having received it for the fifth consecutive year, this award has certainly marked a very important milestone in the history of Kuoni. Our commitment to the industry in terms of service excellence, customer satisfaction and passion for travel remains our long term goal,” said Thomas Goosmann, Chief Operating Officer, Destination Management Specialists.

(September 2014) Regulations for child travellers postponed

The latest update regarding the South African Travel Regulations: The requirement that children under the age of 18 travelling to, from and through SA produce an unabridged birth certificate has been postponed until June 1, 2015. Similarly, the additional requirement for written permission in instances where children travel unaccompanied by parents, travelling with only one parent has been postponed. This was announced by Minister of Home Affairs, Malusi Gigaba, at a media briefing on Tuesday 16th September 2014.

Furthermore, Gigaba stated: “For foreigners’ purposes, an unabridged birth certificate is merely a birth certificate from the responsible authority in their country, which lists the particulars of the child’s parents. In the instance where this information is contained on the child’s passport, this too shall be accepted.” The immigration regulations were announced in May as part of the new Immigration Amendment Act, which came into effect on May 26. Subsequent to industry lobbying, the requirements for children travelling under the age of 18 were postponed till October 1.

Implementation of these regulations has now been further delayed. Under the new regulations, people travelling to SA on a visa are required to apply for the visa in person. Parents travelling with children under the age of 18 are required to produce an unabridged birth certificate for each child. In the case where only one parent is travelling with the child(ren), consent in the form of an affidavit from the other parent registered is required.

Alternatively, either a court order granting full parental responsibilities and rights or a death certificate of the other parent must be produced. Gigaba said that, given the challenges identified by stakeholders and in light of the upcoming peak travel periods for families, a postponement of the regulations would assist travellers and the sectors as a whole. He added that during the period of the postponement, Deputy Director General for Immigration Services, Jackie Mckay, had been directed to work intensively with industry stakeholders to ensure accurate information was available to all prospective travellers accompanying children around the world. According to Gigaba, other regulations published as part of the Act would remain in effect. This includes the requirement that people apply for visas in person to enable the capturing of biometrics.

Gigaba emphasised that this requirement was not unique to SA and was required from visitors by other countries. “Most elements of the regulations are working well,” he said. “Since the announcement of the new regulations, we have consistently maintained that we welcome constructive engagement from stakeholders on the implementation of these regulations,” said Gigaba. “We thank those stakeholders who have engaged us actively and constructively.” Gigaba added that the information provided by stakeholders assisted the Department of Home Affairs (DHA) to service nationals, visitors and various stakeholders more efficiently. Gigaba said that different stakeholders had drawn the department’s attention to challenges around the requirements for child travellers. “Stakeholders have alerted us to two main challenges,” he said. “Firstly, of ensuring accurate and timely communication to missions abroad, travel operators and prospective travellers around the world about the new requirements.”

According to Gigaba, the second challenge identified was that parents and people authorised to travel with children needed time to obtain the required documentation. Gigaba said furthermore that, subsequent to the meeting between DHA and the Department of Tourism, as well as Minister of Tourism Derek Hanekom, the department had met with various stakeholders and last week announced the formation of a joint task team, which would enable ongoing engagement. “We are enormously pleased with the establishment of this task team and trust that its industry representatives will bring invaluable perspectives and information on the tourism and travel sector and help us improve communication with their clients and the sector as a whole.” Gigaba’s announcement follows a meeting on Friday between the minister and industry associations.

Industry associations – including SATSA, Barsa, Asata and Iata – have spent the past two months actively lobbying for a postponement of the new regulations to allow time for them to be effectively communicated and systematically implemented. The postponement has been welcomed by industry associations.

SATSA CEO David Frost described the postponement as a small but significant win and welcomed the establishment of the task team. “I will be part of the task team and will carry the SATSA perspective strongly in the process,” said Frost. He also thanked Minister Hanekom for the role he has played to date. “We are grateful to have had the opportunity to address our concerns with Minister Gigaba regarding the impact of these new immigration regulations and pleased that these concerns have been heard and reacted to in this way,” said ASATA CEO Otto de Vries.

Source: Tourism Update, 17th September 2014

(June 2014) South Africa - New 2014 Immigration Regulations

The South African Minister of the Department of Home Affairs announced that the new Immigration Regulations of 2014 have come into effect on 26 May 2014. 
In a statement issued 12 June 2014, The Department of Home Affairs extended the date for requirement of an unabridged birth certificate for children traveling with parents. Regulations will now only become effective from 1 October 2014. Please see the Department of Home Affairs website here.

The following is a short summary of the most important points:

Under the new regulations the word “visa” replaces the word “permit” except for the permanent residence “permit”. For example, a visitor’s permit will now be called a visitor’s visa, a work permit will now be called a work visa and a study permit will be called a study visa.

This means that under the new regulations there will be a clear distinction between short stay visas and long stay permanent residence permits.

The Act now requires that every child must possess his/her own passport.

A person who is on a visitor’s or medical treatment visa may not change his or her status whilst in the Republic except in exceptional circumstances. This means that a tourist can no longer apply for i.e. a 4 year retired visa in South Africa and has to return abroad to submit the application.

Study visa will be issued for the duration of the study or course.

Where parents are travelling with a child, they must produce an unabridged birth certificate of the child and if travelling as one parent only, the consent of the other parent.

An application for an extension or change of status in South Africa has to be submitted at least 60 days prior to the expiry of the current visa.

Persons who overstay the validity of their visa will be fined up to R 8000 and immediately be declared as undesirable. The periods of prohibited entry into South Africa range from 12 months to 5 years.

Owners of or persons in charge of conveyances will be required to provide, through Advance Passenger Processing (APP), passengers’ information prior to departing for South Africa.

Hotels, guesthouses, apartment rentals etc. have to keep a record for two years of foreign guests that contain the full names, the copy of passport, the residence status in the Republic, their normal residential address and signature.

Certain institutions like banks, insurance companies, estate agents, hospitals, learning institutions, employment agencies etc. that conclude a commercial transaction with a foreigner, have to ascertain that such foreigner is legally in the Republic.

The government has appointed a worldwide company, Visa Facilitation Services (VFS) as the place for first applications. The offices of the Department of Home Affairs are no longer providing that service (attached notice click here). The application process is online, the fees have to be paid upfront and an appointment is booked online. No cash is handled at the VFS offices.

First time application for visa will be made at the Mission and only renewals or extensions can be made in the Republic (all via the VFS Offices).

(January 2014) All Eyes on Cape Town 2014

Cape Town has long been considered, by those that visit her, as the ultimate in holiday and business travel. Now, with the recent abundance of international recognition, 2014 is shaping up to be a big year for The Mother City! Here’s our list of reasons why you should be making Cape Town your destination of choice this year:

Voted No. 1 Destination in The New York Times 52 Places to Go in 2014
Witness a city in transformation, glimpse exotic animals, explore the past and enjoy that beach before the crowds” Says NYT Travel Writer Sarah Khan “Cape Town is again reinventing itself, and the world is invited to its renaissance”. Other destinations topping the list include: Namibia (No. 6); Addis Ababa, Ethiopia (No. 13); Laikipia Plateau, Kenya (No. 19) and Dar es Salaam, Tanzania (No. 39).

‘Live Design. Transform Life’, Cape Town’s theme as World Design Capital 2014
The World Design Capital designated city is a hub for design and creativity. Cape Town will showcase approximately 450 projects inspired by the theme ‘Live Design. Transform Life’. Cape Town Executive Mayor Alderman Patricia de Lille explains “All of these projects are united by their use of design and design-led thinking to help us drive the social and economic change we want and need”.

Voted Best City in the British Telegraph Travel Awards 2013
The three cities nominated by Telegraph readers for this award are all beside the sea,” says Lisa Grainger, contributor for The Telegraph “But of the three, there is only one in which you can surf the Atlantic, climb mountains, eat in Michelin-starred restaurants, stay in both historical and super-hip accommodation, indulge in wine tours and still find time to relax on the beach (with or without penguins). That, of course, is Cape Town”. Vancouver and Venice hold the second and third spots respectively.

South Africa celebrates 20 years of freedom and democracy
This momentous occasion presents an opportunity for the world to join us in celebrating our remarkable South African story. A story of pride, peace and pure determination to build a united, non-racial, non-sexist, democratic and prosperous society.

Voted 3rd Top City in the World by travel experts in Lonely Planet's Best in Travel 2014 - top 10 cities
In his post for Lonely Planet, Author Simon Richmond says “Whether jogging along Sea Point Promenade, climbing up Lion’s Head in the dawn light, clambering over giant boulders at Sandy Bay or driving the amazing coastal roads down to Cape Point, I never fail to feel my spirits soar as I take in the breathtakingly beautiful vistas. You don’t need to break a sweat; sipping wine on a historic farm in Constantia or enjoying a picnic at an outdoor concert in Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens are equally memorable ways to commune with Cape Town’s great outdoors”.