Ghana-South Africa visa-free agreement comes up again; SA High Commissioner says it takes effect by December 2021

The long-promised visa-free travel for Ghanaians to South Africa is up again for discussion in 2021.

South Africa High Commissioner to Ghana, Grace Jeanet Mason, has said on Asaase Radio that the visa-free agreement between Ghana and South Africa will become operational by December 2021.

The high commissioner, however, did not mention the stage the agreement has reached, and what has prevented its implementation since Ghanaians were promised in 2019. The high commissioner might have been forced to say this as a response to a question posed to her. Let us see what happens by December 2021.

South Africa Flag
South Africa Flag

Though South Africa is yet to grant holders of Ghanaian passport visa-free travel to the country, many online portals, including the website of the parliament of Ghana, have declared South Africa a visa-free country for holders of Ghanaian ordinary passports.

All the countries that were promised visa-free travel to South Africa in 2019 are all enjoying it with the exception of Ghana with no explanation given. South Africa might have changed their mind or Ghana mistakenly appeared on the list.

Polokwane Art Museum: Home of South Africa’s Art

Polokwane is regarded as the home of art in South Africa, boasting of the highest number of public sculptures in the country and home to more than a thousand collections of amazing sculptures, painting and portraits.

And there is no better place to tell this story and see this works of art than the iconic Polokwane Art Museum, located in Polokwane.

Sculptors and artists make most of the artworks found in the museum in and around the city, as well as those from far away including Johannesburg and Pretoria.

While most of the artwork are modern creations compared to other artefacts in other museums which are ancient with some lasting over a hundred years, sculptures and artworks in the museum still have telling histories behind them, mostly centred on tradition and culture.

Of the artworks that abound in the museum, traditional Venda, Pedi and Tsonga craft dominate and are showcased to visiting tourists, with tour guides on standby to give historical account and meaning of each painting, sculpture or piece of art.

More exciting, the museum also puts on sale small pieces of artworks made by local craftsmen enabling visiting tourists to take home some of the craftworks after paying a small fee.

The Polokwane Birds & Reptile Park

The Polokwane Bird and Reptile Park is the largest nature reserve park in Polokwane, South Africa and also among the largest wildlife parks in South Africa.

As the name already suggests, the park is home to hundreds of birds species, (both indigenous and exotic) and reptiles such as snakes, crocodiles and wild lizards.

As one of the biggest attractions in Polokwane, the Polokwane Bird and Reptile Park receives over a hundred thousand visitors each year, most of who are from other parts of the country like Pretoria.

Bird watching is the most popular activity at the park, with the over 280 different species of birds usually perching on the trees and displaying their colourful and glowing appearance while making melodious sounds which could easily be misconstrued for singing.

For the lovers of reptiles and the adventurous who may be more interested in reptiles, the snakes and crocodiles are kept in aquariums at the park and visitors can get close and watch them move about, however you are not allowed to breach the aquarium and try to get physical contact with the reptiles as that may prove detrimental.

For visiting families, the park has unique picnic spots where the whole family can take a rest after touring and enjoy some food and drinks that may have been brought along.

Visiting South Africa: The Cheetah Experience

South Africa is a country very well known for its strong protection of her wildlife and endangered species with dozens of specialised parks and nature reserves across the country to protect these amazing animals who find themselves on the brink of extinction due to human activities such as poaching and land encroachment.

Most of these protected and specialised areas are properties of government, founded by the state and run by the country’s body in charge of tourism. However, there are a few run by private organisations and also non-governmental bodies.

The Cheetah Experience, found in Bloemfontein is one of such centres, founded and run as a Non-governmental organisation that seeks to protect the Cheetah population of Bloemfontein as well as other wildlife belonging to the cat family.

Among the animal population at the park include the Lions, wildcats, a Siberian tiger, leopards, meerkats and cheetahs with the cheetah’s population dominating at the centre.

While it may be categorised as a tourist centre due to the high number of visitors and tourists the centre receives regularly, Cheetah Experience is also considered a learning centre. Tourists who visit the centre are usually taken around the facility to see the animals and take some memorable pictures for their memory albums, but beyond that, the tourists are taken through a series of lessons regarding wildlife protection.

Anglo-Boer War Museum: Remembering a brutal war

Once upon a time a brutal territorial war was fought between the indigenous people of South Africa referred to as Boers and the British army who had been sent to the southern African territory to conquer the land and make it a British colony.

The war took the lives of thousands of soldiers and occurred several times between 1880 and the roughly 1902 until the indigenous people (Boers) conceded defeat and reluctantly accepted indirect British rule over their lands. While the British may have won the last war, the Boers were victorious in most of the previous wars and managed to keep their independence until 1902.

Many historians regard the war as one of the most brutal wars in the era of civilisation, estimated to have taken more than 75,000 lives, including 22000 British soldiers and over 30,000 Boers including children and women.

With the war being over, apartheid a thing of the past, the state of South Africa decided to establish a museum solely dedicated to the Anglo Boers War of the 19th century. It was this idea that led to the creation and establishment of the iconic Anglo-Boers War Museum in Bloemfontein, South Africa.

The Museum offers tourists and visitors an opportunity to get up close with some of the historical artefacts such as weapons, shackles, and other tool that were used by soldiers on both sides during the infamous wars.

More importantly, Anglo Boer War Museum serves as a learning centre where people can visit and learn more about the Anglo-Boer war, understanding what brought about the war and why it had to take so many lives to come to an end.

While it is a museum and mainly visited by tourists, it has also become an academic centre where historians and academicians go to carry out further research regarding the Anglo-Boer wars.

For the lovers of history, this museum offers an ideal opportunity to learn and increase your knowledge base, this time on one of the most famous wars fought in the history of man in the era of civilisation.

Travelling to SA: Top cities to consider visiting

Taking a trip to South Africa is one of the most popular activities in the tourism world as millions of travellers make their way to the Southern African nation every year to experience the beauty of this fantastic city fondly referred to as the rainbow nation.

While going to South Africa may be simple without much introspection, choosing which cities to visit could be a daunting and challenging choice to make due to the many beautiful and incredibly amazing cities the country boasts of.

What makes it a more difficult choice to make, these cities are all filled with some beautiful attractions worth visiting. In this article we try to make a decision more comfortable for you to make by discussing the top cities to visit in South Africa as a tourist; cities that you can be rest assured would provide you with the best of services and experience in terms of tourism and funfair.

Kimberley

Kimberley is one of the historic cities in South Africa, where the discovery of diamond took place in the 1800s, becoming a significant revenue-generating city for South Africa. At the peak of the town, many travelled from all over the country to work in the mines of Kimberley and make a fortune for themselves. Today, even though the activity of diamond mining is at the barest minimum with a handful of mining activities still taking place in the city, many of the old mining grounds still exist for tourists to visit. There are also a couple of mining-related museums in the town where visiting tourists can go and learn more about the history of diamond discovery in this old city.

Mossel Bay

Mossel Bay is known to be a favourite for beach lovers and surfers and this understandably so because of the many beautiful beaches the city boasts of.  As a coastal city, Mossel Bay is situated just at the end edge of the sea, hence the city’s ability to attract a lot of sea-loving tourists every year. Lot of activities such as surfing, sunbathing, sporting activities take place on the beaches, and once you find yourself at the beach, you can walk straight into any of the fun activities going on without any questions or whatsoever from any of the participants. Mossel Bay is simply a city for the sea lovers and beach animals

Port Elizabeth

Port Elizabeth isn’t exactly a city carefully built for tourism; instead, it was designed to serve as an industrial hub for South Africa.

For this reason, you are more likely to find commercial buildings, factories and industries than tourism attractions in the city. This, however, does not mean there are no tourist attraction sites in Port Elizabeth. The few the town boasts of are among the best in the country and usually receive a high number of tourists compared to attractions in other cities. Most popular among these attractions are the Addo Elephant National Park and the Kragga Kamma Game Park.  The town is also well known for its beautiful towns which is a favourite for tourists.

Johannesburg

The city of Johannesburg needs no introduction as it is arguably the most popular city in Africa and the most visited as well. The millions of people who visit the city every year do so for different reasons; some for economic reasons (business) and some for leisure reasons (tourism). Whatever your reason is for visiting Johannesburg it would be a crime to leave this incredibly vast and populated city without finding your way to some of the historic sites and museums the city has to offer. There are well over a hundred attractions in and around the city, ranging from nature parks to historic museums mostly related to the Apartheid system.

Cape Town

If you are looking for the prime tourism destination within South Africa Cape Town is the apparent destination without a second thought. The city has been carefully designed and developed to become a world-class tourists destination, and this has been incredibly successful looking at the city and the number of tourists that fly to the city every year.  Cape Town has the best and most diverse architectural building designs in South Africa that are unique and quite different from buildings in other parts of the country. The quiet city also boasts of some lovely restaurants, hotels, guesthouses, pubs and casinos which are all meant to make the city more enjoyable for visiting tourists. The sea adventure is another significant activity to watch out for in Cape Town, as people dive deep into the sea to swim side by side with the white sharks that populate the coastal sea of Cape Town.

Pretoria

Pretoria is the executive capital of South Africa, and also one of the most beautiful places to visit in South Africa. Unlike Cape Town, Pretoria does not have that exquisite feel of luxury but has a lot to offer in terms of tourism. As the former capital of the Apartheid system and residential city to most Afrikaans, the city is well built, with beautiful environment and old fashioned architectural buildings which gives one an idea and feel of how 18th century South Africa looked like. Wondering around the city is quite an experience as tourists would come across story buildings and mansions which look entirely different from the modern type of buildings we have today.

 

Entabeni Game Reserve: What visitors should know before visiting

The Entabeni Game reserve is one of the very few animal and nature reserves in Africa, owned and operated by Legend Lodges, a private firm that invests in nature and tourism sector.

Situated in the Limpopo province of South Africa, the Entabeni reserve is home to numerous African wildlife including the African bush elephant, African buffalo, African leopard, hippopotamus, lion, and African giraffe. Besides its amazing terrestrial wildlife reserve, the forest also houses a variety of bird species.

In the Limpopo province, the Entabeni is arguably one of the most popular attractions among the residents and receives a considerable number of visitors from within and outside the province every year.

The 220-kilometre square facility is not only known for its fantastic animal and bird population; it is also well known for its training school, the Entabeni Nature Guide Training School.

As a leading name in African tourism, South Africa requires a high number of professionally trained and experienced tour guides to operate the hundreds of attractions in the rainbow nation. The Entabeni Nature Guide Training School helps train and provides the professionals needed in the sector.

Note to Visitors

There are two seasons at Entabeni Game Reserves, being the summer and Winter season. The summer season is usually between November and March while the winter season is from April to October. The animals a tourist will come across at the reserve often depends on the time of visit as some animals prefer to stay hidden during specific periods. For instance, in the winter, one is less likely to see antelopes as they prefer to stay away from the cold weather and hide deep within the forest reserve.

How to successfully apply for South Africa Visitor Visa from Ghana without middleman

South Africa has become one of the favourite destinations of Ghanaians. Most Ghanaian travel lovers have visited South Africa already and a greater percentage of these visitors keep visiting.

The South Africa government recently promised Ghanaians a visa-free entry into the country but until that policy comes into force, Ghanaian passport holders will continue to obtain visas to enter the country.

In its bid to promote tourism, South Africa has made its visa application process very simple.

Below is a step-by-step guide put together by Jetsanza.com to help visa applicants obtain visas without engaging ‘Visa contractors’ or ‘Connection men’ who should be avoided at all cost.

Since most Ghanaians travel to South Africa as tourists, this article will focus on Tourist/Visit Visa applications.

South Africa Visa Application – Step-by-step guide

Documents needed

Visa Application Form

Visa Application Form (BI 84) must be fully completed in BLOCK letters and BLACK ink only (CLICK HERE TO DOWNLOAD FORM). Not all fields on the form apply to you. Only complete those that apply to you and indicate N/A (meaning NOT APPLICABLE) in all fields that do not apply to you.

Passport

A passport or travel document valid for no less than 30 days after the expiry of your intended visit (2 copies of Bio data page must be attached). Passport must contain at least 3 unused pages for entry / departure endorsements.

Introductory letter

Include an introductory letter from your Employer, School or self-introductory letter if you are self-employed. If you are self-employed, proof of self-employment must be added. This usually comes in the form of Business registration documents from the Registrar Generals’ Department.

Yellow-fever vaccination certificate

An international yellow-fever vaccination certificate is required for all travelers entering South Africa. Obtain this certificate from the hospital immediately you dream of visiting South Africa.  A copy of front page and page with vaccination details must also be attached.

Photographs

Two colour passport photographs

Flight itinerary

Flight itinerary is required. Do not confirm your bookings until you have been issued a visa or asked to do so. Make sure your travel dates on the flight itinerary match the dates of your hotel bookings or within the period you hosts expects you (that’s if someone is inviting you).

Proof of accommodation

If you have someone in South Africa you will be staying with during your stay in the country, the following documents are needed to serve as proof of accommodation:

  • Utility bill-in form of Recent Water or Electricity Bills(Rates and Taxes) or Tenancy agreement or Accommodation Lease Document from SA)
  • Signed Invitation letter from host
  • Certified copy of host passport or South African ID

For applicants who do not have hosts in South Africa can simply make a hotel reservation to serve as their Proof of accommodation in South Africa. Click HERE to make your hotel reservation or return to this page to follow the link anytime who wish to make your reservation. Booking.com accepts almost all cards/ATM issued in Ghana.

Proof of financial means

Applicants are to prove that they have means to support themselves financially while in South Africa. The Proof of financial means comes in the form of Bank Statements; recent 3 months original Bank statements certified by the bank. Statements that are not certified are usually rejected. Some banks including SG-SSB do not certify Bank Statements. In such cases, you are to talk to your Branch Manager and insist on this.

If you are a salaried worker, include 3 of your recent payslips.

If your trip is being sponsored, the following are needed:

  • Letter of sponsorship
  • Recent 3 months original Bank statement certified by bank
  • Sponsor’s proof of employment
  • Copy of sponsors passport
  • For Corporate clients ONLY: Written Financial undertaking by the Host(s) in South Africa / Employer in Ghana

Tourist visa applicants are still REQUIRED to submit personal 3 months recent certified bank statement, even if sponsored.

For Minors

Minors are also required to obtain visas. Below are the documents needed:

NOTE: All the above documents in a language other than English must be translated.

Submission at the Visa Application Center

Once you have all the needed documents, make the Visa Fee and VFS Service Fee ready when submitting the application at the VFS Visa Application Center. Note that the South Africa Embassy or High Commission only accept applications through the VFS. The Visa fee is GHS 136 and a ridiculous VFS Service Charge of GHS 315. These fees are increased regularly so make sure you check from the VFS website for the updated Visa and Service Fees or call VFS on 0302 746211.

The South Africa Visa application Centre is located at East Cantoments near NAFTI. Locate them at the address below:

VFS Ghana Private Limited
South Africa Visa Application Centre
Behind Marina Mall,
Airport City
Accra, Ghana

Note that, if you want your passport to be delivered to you at home when decision is taken, you can opt for it. It attracts a fee.

UPDATED: The Visa Application Center now requires that applicants book appointment in advance. Click HERE to book appoint to submit your South Africa Visa Application.

What happens after submission?

When the VFS receives your application, they will forward to the South Africa High Commission for a decision to be taken on your application. Decision to issue a visa is only the sole responsibility of the Consular. You will be notified by SMS or DHL (if you paid for courier) when decision has been taken and your passport is ready for collection.

You can also track the status of your application online HERE.

What to pack when traveling

Most (If not all) visa applications come out successful. Remember not to forget these when packing:

  • Yellow Fever vaccination Card
  • Return ticket (make sure days of stay corresponds to or less than the permitted number of days to stay)
  • Proof of accommodation
  • Funds for your stay (Cash and/or cards)

Still have questions? Click HERE to ask.

 

This Is Why Some Ghanaians Are Struggling To Accept That They Still Need A Visa When Traveling To South Africa

In 2018, Ghanaians welcomed with joy the reports about South Africa adding Ghana to the list of countries that could enter South Africa without a visa in a bid to boost the country’s tourism.

While people have accepted the reality that South Africa might have mentioned Ghana by mistake, a good number of people believe that Ghanaian passport holders currently visit South Africa without a visa. The interesting part is that they have ‘credible’ sources to support this claim.

South Africa Visa
South Africa Visa

Why Do People Think South Africa Is Visa-free for Ghanaians?

It’s no surprise that people only got to know they needed a visa to South Africa after purchasing an airline ticket. The information available on the website of the Parliament of Ghana says Ghanaian citizens do not require a visa when traveling to South Africa. It reads:

Similarly, Ghanaian citizens no longer require entry visas before entering South Africa. This is because Ghana has been added to South Africa’s list of visa-free countries.

Screenshot: Parliament of Ghana website
Screenshot: Parliament of Ghana website

This information has been available on the Parliament’s website since October 2019. Unfortunately for people trying to confirm on Google if Ghana needs a visa to South Africa, the Parliament’s website shows up first in results. Just imagine the number of people who have been misled by this piece of false information.

To confirm what appears on the website of Parliament of Ghana, Wikipedia also says South Africa is visa-free for Ghanaian passport holders. What a wow! lol. It looks like Wikipedia is now interested in who is notable and who isn’t than verifying every information posted by editors.

Screenshot: Wikipedia
Screenshot: Wikipedia

It’s really hard to convince someone who has read the information on Parliament’s website and Wikipedia that Ghanaian passport holders still require visas when traveling to South Africa. Probably the only way for them is to try traveling without a visa 😂 .

Was Ghana really part of South Africa’s plan?

I will say a big NO.

When the South Africa home office minister said in 2018 that negotiations were being finalised for visa waiver agreements with some countries, Ghana wasn’t mentioned. Only Cuba, United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Algeria, Morocco, and Belarus were captured. Ghana was not mentioned, and all journalists present who tweeted the minister’s message did not have Ghana in their tweets.

Whether magic was conjured or what, Ghana surprisingly found its way on the list of several online reports with no reference to any official statement from the Department of Home Affairs.

Luckily, Ghana and Sao Tome & Principe appeared on a new official list that emerged in 2019.

This time it sounded promising and the news was met with jubilation as Ghanaians were tired of the ridiculous service fees charged by the Visa Application Center, which is about four times the official visa fees. Many Ghanaian travellers to South Africa suspended their trips with the hope of saving at least GHS500 and take advantage of the visa-free travel. A few weeks later, all the countries on the list were approved to begin visa-free travels to South Africa with the exception of Ghana and Sao Tome & Principe.

Authorities in South Africa promised to meet Ghanaian authorities and finalise the implementation by the end of August 2019. With how the then-Foreign Ministry of Ghana was signing several bilateral visa agreements, Ghanaians were confident that the ministry would never hesitate in meeting South African authorities to ensure quick implementation of the policy.

South Africa might have silently removed Ghana from the list. They have made several announcements about changes in their visa policy; South Africa visa validity for Chinese and Nigerians and piloted e-Visa system with Kenya, but said nothing about granting Ghanaians visa-free entry.

Do Ghanaians need visa for South Africa?

Yes. In January 2021, the South Africa High Commission released a statement from its partner VFS that Ghanaians should present at least three month’s bank statement when applying for a visa.

Screenshot: VFS Global
Screenshot: VFS Global

South Africa visa, or its requirements, have therefore not been waived for Ghanaian passport holders. Treat the information on Parliament of Ghana’s website and Wikipedia as false and apply for a visa when traveling to South Africa.

How can Jetsanza.com help?

Jetsanza.com can assist you to put up a successful South Africa visa application. We will guide you through the application process and even help to plan your activities in South Africa. Contact Us.

Top Five Attractions In Durban Every Tourist Must Visit

With a great weather condition, amazing and incredible beaches running along the edge of the city and some wonderful tropical condition, Durban is one of the finest holiday and tourism destinations in South Africa and Africa as a whole.

The third-largest city in South Africa has over the decades grown to become the face of South Africa’s tourism, raking in millions of dollars from tourism revenues every year, enabling the city to continue offering incredible tourism services to travelers.

After all is said and done, you may be asking ‘so where and where can I possibly visit in Durban’. Well, that is exactly what this article seeks to talk about as we discuss the top five attractions and places to visit the famed city called Durban.

Golden Mile

Golden Mile Durban
Golden Mile Durban

The Durban Golden Mile is an incredible beachfront running along the edge of the city, at its meeting point with the sea. Generally regarded by many as the most beautiful beach in Africa, the beach area has amazing high-rise hotel buildings, luxurious shopping malls, high-class residential buildings and some wonderful entertainment centres like nightclubs and pubs, making it look like a replica of the famous Miami Beach in the States. Over the decades, the legendary beach has attracted millions of people from near and afar with the average annual visitor population crossing over a million people, who mostly come to spend their holidays there. On a typical day at the beach, tourists engage in activities like swimming, sunbathing, jet skiing and surfing while some also stay on the shores to play volleyball and enjoy sunbathing in the sun. For travelers visiting South Africa, precisely Durban it would be a great disservice to oneself to travel all the way to the rainbow nation and not visit the legendary and incredible Golden Mile, Africa’s own version of Miami Beach as some jokingly describe it.

Durban Botanic Garden

Durban Botanic Garden
Durban Botanic Garden

The Durban Botanic Garden is arguably the most iconic garden in Africa, having a history that dates as far back as the 19th century. The garden was established in 1849 and is officially recognized as the first and oldest botanical garden on the continent. Located on the Berea Hills, north of the city of Durban, the garden boasts of a collection of rare and wonderful plant species, most of which can hardly be found in any part of the world. Some of these rare plants including orchids, cycads, palms and bromeliads are spread throughout the garden and visitors can see them while taking a stroll through the facility. Aside its plant and flower species, Durban Botanic Garden is also home to about fifty species of birds. For the lovers of plant, flower and botanies, the Durban Botanic Garden is a must-visit if you are visiting Durban or reside in Durban.

uShaka Marine World

uShaka Marine World
uShaka Marine World

Another incredible and must-visit attraction in Durban is the uShaka Marine World Park. The facility which was first opened in 2004 is a water theme park featuring the fifth largest aquarium in the world and the largest of its kind on the African continent. The park has been divided into eight sections which include uShaka Wet ‘n Wild, Ushaka Sea World, uShaka Beach, uShaka Kids World, uShaka Dangerous Creatures, and uShaka Village Walk. All these various sections of the park have different attractions and features giving the park a diverse and unique appearance, which makes it stand out among water theme parks in the world. For instance, the uShaka Village Walk section is built and designed to look like a small African village and is purposely meant to accommodate restaurants, cafes and shopping centres while the uShaka Dangerous Creatures serves as an action-packed adventure section where visitors come up close with some of the rarest reptiles and creatures of the sea such as the Tree Vipers, Dart Frogs, Tarantulas and Bearded Lizards.

Moses Mabhida Stadium

Moses Mabhida Stadium
Moses Mabhida Stadium

If you love sports, especially the beautiful game of football, you definitely should consider visiting the iconic Moses Mabhida Stadium in Durban, along the Golden Mile. The stadium hosted eight games during the historic 2010 World Cup in South Africa, the first-ever world cup hosted on the continent and has since then become host to major sporting events and activities like cricket, motosports and rugby. Tourists who visit the stadium can opt to take a trip to the very top of the stadium in the sky car or preferably climb the 500 steps which also lead to the top of the stadium. Once at the top, tourists can see the entire landscape and view of Durban, giving one a thrilling feeling. There are also shops in and around the stadium where tourists can purchase a few sporting merchandise of their favourite teams and players.

Umgeni River Bird Park

Umgeni River Bird Park
Umgeni River Bird Park

If you are a lover and admirer of birds, then the Umgeni Bird Park is a place you cannot leave out and touring or visiting attractions in Durban. The park which is located on the north bank of the Umgeni River in Durban boasts of more than 200 different species of colourful birds that bright up the park. What is more interesting and unique, some of these birds can only be found in the Umgeni River park and nowhere else on the African continent, making it the prime birds park in Africa. Other attractions in the park include a small waterfall and the popular bird show which the birds put on to entertain visiting tourists. Funny, right? Well you definitely need to visit and enjoy this bird show as you won’t get it anywhere else in the world.

Durban is a leading city in the African tourism world and one that continues to break boundaries, push itself to the limit and further develop its tourism sector. The above-discussed attractions represent the face of Durban tourism but are only a tip of the iceberg, considering the hundreds of beautiful attractions the city boasts of. So start saving, start preparing and visit this wonderful city when you are fully set.