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Animals and pets

Transitting pets must be booked as manifest cargo.
Transitting pets must be booked as manifest cargo.

Before making the decision to bring animals and pets to South Africa, bear in mind that regulations apply.  For one, a quarantine period of 14 days applies to dogs from a number of specified countries, including Brazil, China, India, Japan, Korea, Mexico and the United Arab Emirates. Cats are completely exempt from quarantine.

What's more, it's often more difficult for visitors travelling with pets to return to their country of origin from South Africa. Check requirements for the return trip carefully before bringing your pet into the country.

Take note of the following regulations regarding pets in South Africa, when brought in from outside the country's borders:

  • With the exception of the UK, Australia and New Zealand, animals must be vaccinated against rabies not less than 30 day and not more than a year before arrival.  Puppies and kittens under 12 weeks are covered by the mothers' vaccination, but the same time period requirement applies.
  • An import permit is required for all pets, which must be applied for through the Directorate of Animal Health in South Africa.  Pets from neighbouring countries need a Movement Permit, stamped by a government vet in those destinations.
  • A Health Clearance certificate is required for both dogs and cats, which calls for an examination by a vet in the home country, and blood tests for dogs.  Forms are obtainable from the South African Department of Agriculture.
  • All pets travelling by air must be booked as Manifest Cargo.

If you're determined to bring your animals and pets into South Africa, consider using a professional service like Global Paws Worldwide & Local Pet Travel Service. The company is familiar with the local laws and regulations and can assist with everything from the correct documentation to clearing and handling procedures.

Also bear in mind that large hotels (like local restaurants, malls, shops etc.) don't allow animals on the premises. Although there is a growing number of pet-friendly establishments in South Africa that specifically cater to pet-oriented holidays. Make sure you book in at these establishments if you will be travelling with your pet.