How safe is travel to South Africa in times of Corona? A first-hand report from Fancourt’s German PR rep who recently visited with her son.

“In my 10-year-old son’s recent Easter school holidays I was confronted with the choice of either spending the time in lockdown Germany or alternatively taking the plunge and flying with him to South Africa in order to find out first-hand what travel to South Africa is like at the moment.

My South African friends and clients had been telling me for a while about case numbers being very low and the country moving to lockdown level 1 (out of 5). I had always found that this was a strange contrast to the fearful picture painted by the German media. Therefore I decided to overcome all fears and took a spontaneous decision to book a flight with Lufthansa from Frankfurt to Cape Town. Off we went.

The journey started off very relaxed and easy because Frankfurt Airport was almost deserted. The only requirement for entering South Africa is a negative PCR test and there is no quarantine requirement upon entry. The overnight flight was almost empty with about 50 passengers in total. Even in Economy Class we each had our own row of seats and plenty of space to sleep. The crew was very helpful and all passengers had to wear either surgical masks or FFP2 during the flight; the aircraft was also well ventilated. At no time did I feel uncomfortable or in danger.

The arrival in Cape Town was also very relaxed as the Lufthansa flight was the only one at the arrivals. I filled out a contact form for the South African health department, they checked for fever, we went through immigration and picked up our bags. All of that in only 10 minutes. Then South Africa welcomed us with its cheerful people and special Fynbos scent in the air.

We quickly realized that life in South Africa seems to have returned almost to normal: all shops and restaurants are open, hurray! However there is a general strict mask requirement - also for outside on the beach and in nature, this is different to Germany. In restaurants guests may take off their mask as soon as sitting at the table.

I hired a rental car and drove with my son from Cape Town to George on the Garden Route in order to visit Fancourt. The drive took about 4 hours and we stopped for breakfast at one of the many colorful farm stalls along the way. As always there was almost no traffic on the N2 motorway.

At Fancourt we found a relaxed and elegant resort nestled in tropical gardens, with countless activities for my son and of course golf and spa for the adults. The rooms at Fancourt Hotel are extremely spacious and laid out in small bungalows scattered around the resort. The gardens are brimming with the most wonderful exotic plants and trees, attracting an interesting array of birds.

Although Fancourt was running at high occupancy at the time, it didn't feel like it because we saw other guests only now and then. Fancourt simply offers a lot of space and I had no concerns about Corona at all. Add to that the backdrop with the Outeniqua mountains and we felt like in a dream, very safe and free.

Fancourt implements the strict hygiene rules perfectly. Every day upon entering the restaurant for breakfast the guest’s temperature is measured for fever, hands are disinfected and a colored ribbon is placed around the wrist. This process has to be completed only once a day; after that it’s “free entry” to all other facilities within the resort for the day.

My son loved the wide range of sports on offer and the teen lounge in the activity center. Here kids can play table football, air hockey, billiards and much more. We grabbed an e-scooter and followed a 10km route through the entire resort to get a perfect overview. After that we chilled a little at the beautiful large pool. Dinner at La Cantina restaurant was an Italian treat and my son loved his gluten-free gourmet pizza topped with fresh avocado.

The next day he talked me into a tennis match first thing in the morning. He also wanted to try basketball, badminton and volleyball, but in the end I simply ran out of energy... For lunch we fueled up at Monet’s, a relaxed café-restaurant overlooking a lake and the lush green golf landscape.

In the afternoon we wanted to explore the area and paid a visit to Redberry Farm, a strawberry adventure farm only 5km from Fancourt. There you will find several farm shops, two garden restaurants and many attractions for children: playgrounds, petting zoo and a go cart track. The highlight: a huge hedge labyrinth with a scavenger hunt. Of course we didn’t want to miss out on a smoothie with berries from the farm. My son was in heaven!

Summarizing my experiences I am happy to confirm that a trip to Cape Town and the Cape is definitely doable, even in times of corona. In Cape Town the key attractions are deserted (we went to the aquarium and took a cable car to Table Mountain). Every single place we went to hygiene regulations were strictly adhered to, so there is no need for health concerns. Combine all this with the extremely favorable exchange rate and South Africa is simply still a dream destination!”

Beate Pechmann

BP-PR Germany