Inter-provincial travel lockdown

Photo: Flickr / Thomas Andersen

Inter-provincial travel: How the laws change at each lockdown level

It’s been a long lockdown, and many of us will be ready for a road trip. But inter-provincial travel is so near, yet so far at this crucial stage.

Inter-provincial travel lockdown

Photo: Flickr / Thomas Andersen

If you’re itching to get away from your familiar surroundings, we’re afraid that the current restrictions don’t allow for inter-provincial travel at Advanced Level 3. However, there may be light at the end of this lockdown tunnel.

When will inter-provincial travel be allowed in South Africa?

The subject of where South Africans can and cannot go has been under scrutiny since the end of June, as the debate about intra and inter-provincial travel continues to put pressure on both the government and the tourism industry – the cornerstone of South Africa’s beleaguered economy is now losing almost R1bn a day, and one of the country’s leading tourist firms is pleading for inter-provincial travel to get the green-light.

“The Tourism Business Council of SA is making an urgent call to government to hear the plea of the sector and relax domestic interprovincial leisure laws immediately, thereby significantly reducing the number of retrenchments across the sector… it will bring hope to the industry and mitigate many job losses.”


With TBCSA’s request fresh in our minds, we had a look at how the inter-provincial travel laws change at each lockdown level. Whether our next move is forward or backward, things will change dramatically…

Rules for inter-provincial travel at each lockdown level

(These guidelines have been taken from the government’s official coronavirus website. The rules may be subject to change as we progress further with the lockdown)

Level 5:

Only essential travel permitted, barely any movement allowed between provinces at this stage. In special circumstances, workers can cross the borders (permit-dependent).

Level 4:

More people are allowed to travel to funerals. A ‘one-way travel window’ allows people to go to a different province if it better suits their work or family commitments, but an individual must then stay at that new location until Level 4 is finished.

Level 3 and Advanced Level 3:

Work-related travel reasons are relaxed, learners can cross borders in their journey to school, you can move house or seek medical treatment across a provincial border if appropriate, children can move between co-parenting households, citizens can undertake provincial travel to care for a relative. Leaving quarantine also permitted.

Level 2 and Level 1

This is what many are waiting for. According to the government’s current guidelines, all inter-provincial travel will return at Level 2. This may still be months away, but it will almost certainly be SA’s next lockdown phase. Rules for domestic air travel are also likely to ease at this point

Current rules for intra-provincial travel:

  • This is permitted with very few restrictions from Level 3 onwards.
  • For Level 4 and 5, lengthy journeys and traveling for ‘most outdoor exercise’ is forbidden.
  • At Advanced Level 3 and beyond, South Africans can holiday and book overnight stays in their own provinces.