Tips & Advice

Passports & Visas

Information regarding visa and passport requirements for international visitors traveling to Southern Africa.

A close-up of a US passport.

It is impossible to cover visa requirements to Southern Africa for every nation worldwide. It is therefore your responsibility, and imperative that you ensure that you have the necessary visas for every country that you’re visiting while on safari with African Sky. If you are the least bit unsure, then do not hesitate to ask. If a pre-arranged visa is required, do so through the nearest embassy or consulate for that country. Do not leave your visa arrangements to the last minute. We cannot be held responsible if you arrive without the necessary visas and are refused entry to a particular country.

Visas fall into two broad categories: pre-arranged visas and visas issued upon arrival. If you hold a US, Canadian, British, European, Australian or New Zealand passport, you’ll be able to enter South Africa without a visa and no pre-arrangements are necessary. Most other passport holders will also be able to enter South Africa without a pre-arranged visa. US passport holders do not need to pre-arrange a visa to enter Zambia, Zimbabwe, Botswana or Namibia.

Every Southern African country – South Africa, Namibia, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Zambia, Swaziland, Lesotho and Mozambique – is an independent state and has different visa requirements. Do not automatically assume that entry into South Africa entitles you to enter one or more of these countries on the same visa.

Your passport must be valid for at least six months after your intended departure date and should have at least two full blank pages available where visas - if required - can be affixed.

Botswana, Zambia & Zimbabwe

If you’re traveling to either of these countries, you’ll be expected to purchase your visa at port of entry (if a pre-arranged visa is not required) in hard cash in US Dollar currency only. No other currency is accepted, nor are ATM, credit or any other bank cards. Similarly, checks and traveler’s checks will not be accepted for visa purchases. Currently visas to these countries cost between $50 and $100 per person. We strongly recommend having at least $200 on hand as the cost of the visa often changes without notice. Please ensure that you travel with the latest available versions of the US bank notes. Any old bank notes or notes with ink marks or writing of any kind on them, or notes that have been excessively folded or crumpled, will not be accepted. Ensure that you have an adequate supply of small denomination notes on hand (1’s, 5’s, 10’s, and 20’s) as change in US Dollar currency is always a problem.

Zambia Departure Tax:

Please note that a departure tax is due when departing from Zambia. The tax is payable in cash only in Zambia Kwacha or USD. Currently the cost is ZK 90,000 (about $25) per-person.

South Africa


In a nutshell:
Under the new law, all minors under the age of 18 years will be required to produce, in addition to their passport, an Unabridged Birth Certificate (showing the particulars of both parents) when exiting and entering South African ports of entry.

More specifically:

1. Where both parents are traveling with a child.
(i) Such parents must produce an unabridged birth certificate of the child reflecting the particulars of the parents of the child
(ii) Adopted children to provide proof of adoption by means of an adoption certificate

2. Where one parent is traveling with a child.
(i) Such parent must produce an unabridged birth certificate of the child reflecting the particulars of the parents of the child
(ii) Consent in the form of an affidavit from the other parent registered as a parent on the birth certificate of the child authorizing him or her to enter into or depart from the Republic with the child he or she is traveling with (the affidavit may not be older than 3 months, dating from the date of travel)
(iii) A court order granting full parental responsibilities and rights or legal guardianship in respect of the child, if he or she is the parent or legal guardian of the child; or
(iv) Where applicable, a death certificate of the other parent registered as a parent of the child on the birth certificate;
(v) Legally separated parents should also provide a court order when the other parent does not give consent.

Provided that the Director-General may, where the parents of the child are both deceased and the child is traveling with a relative or another person related to him or her or his or her parents, approve such a person to enter into or depart from the Republic with such a child.

3. Where a person is traveling with a child who is not his or her biological child.
(i) A copy of the unabridged birth certificate of the child;
(ii) An affidavit from the parents or legal guardian of the child confirming that he or she has permission to travel with the child;
(iii) Copies of the identity documents or passports of the parents or legal guardian of the child; and
(iv) The contact details of the parents or legal guardian of the child

These regulations apply to all travelers, foreign as well as South African; on departure as well as arrival. In the case of foreign countries that do not issue unabridged birth certificates, a letter to this effect issued by the competent authority of the foreign country should be produced. All documents must be original or copies certified as a true copy of the original by a commissioner of oaths or the equivalent commissioning authority, should commissioners of oath not be a practice in the country concerned.

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