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Traveling to South Africa with your pet

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If you are planning to travel to South Africa with your pet, below is an overview of relating conditions and formalities.

Traveling to South Africa with your pet involves several formalities and procedures although the country is quite welcoming towards pets. You are thus advised to inquire about these before getting started. Note, however, that dogs coming from some countries have to be quarantined upon their arrival into the country.

Formalities

First of all, an import authorization is required for all pets traveling to South Africa, whether or not it is liable to be quarantined. This document has to be requested from the Director of Animal Health and must be accompanied by your pet's health certificate and pet passport. Application can be made either by post mail, e-mail or fax. Note that the form is available online.

Director of Animal Health
Private Bag X138
Pretoria 0001
Fax : 011 27 12 329-8292
E-mail: vetpermits@daff.gov.za

Note that fees of ZAR 140 apply to each permit (per pet). These will be indicated following submission of the application. Feel free to call relevant authorities within two weeks following application.

Vaccination and microchip

Like elsewhere in the world, cats and dogs traveling to South Africa must be fitted with an identification microchip that is compliant with ISO 11784/11785 norms. In case the microchip has a different reference code, your pet must be in possession of its own microchip reader on its arrival in the country.

Moreover, rabies vaccination is compulsory before traveling to South Africa. The vaccine must be administered at least 30 days and not more than 12 months prior to the scheduled travel date. Dogs, for their part, have to undergo a blood test so as to screen for the presence of bacteria and parasites such as brucella canis, trypanosoma evansi, babesiosis, heart worm and leishmania. In case these are present, appropriate treatments have to be provided to the dog. Otherwise, it can be prohibited from entering South Africa.

On the other hand, less than 3 months old cats and dogs do not have to be vaccinated against rabies. However, they are allowed into the country provided their mother has been vaccinated between 30 days and 12 months prior to their birth. They can then be vaccinated in South Africa once they are three months old, following which a vaccination certificate will have be produced to South African animal health authorities.

Upon arrival

Upon your arrival in the country, you will have to produce your pet's import authorization to the customs authorities. If documents have been duly filled and signed, cats are not quarantined. The same applies to dogs, unless relevant documents have not be properly filled. In this case, they will be quarantined for at least 14 days. Note that dogs coming from the following countries are exempt from quarantine:

Argentina, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Botswana, Bulgaria, Comoros, Canada, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Northern Ireland, Israel, Italy, Latvia, Lesotho, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malawi, Malta, Namibia, Norway, New Zealand, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Reunion, Slovakia, Slovenia, Switzerland, Sweden, Swaziland, United Kingdom, USA, and Zimbabwe.

 Good to know :

Dogs that have to be quarantined must arrive into South Africa either at the Johannesburg airport or at that of Cape Town. Pets (dogs and cats) which do not have to be quarantined can also land at the Durban airport. Pets are not allowed at other airports and border posts.

 Useful links:

Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries www.daff.gov.za
Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries – Application to import dogs and cats not subject to quarantine www.nda.agric.za/vetweb
Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries – Application to import dogs and cats subject to quarantine www.nda.agric.za/vetweb/ImportExport

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