The Octopus in the V&A Waterfront on Sunday (James
Megayacht Octopus visiting the V&A Waterfront in Cape Town. (James de Villiers, Business Insider South Africa)
  • Three sets of lockdown rules changed on Wednesday night, though President Cyril Ramaphosa mentioned only two.
  • A previous restriction on passenger ships entering South African harbours was more closely defined – to exclude small craft.
  • That means tourists can now enter the country on yachts again.
  • Cruise ships, though, remain resolutely banned.
  • For more stories go to

As of 00:01 on Thursday, yachts from other countries are again welcome in South African harbours.

Late on Wednesday, co-operative governance and traditional affairs minister Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma gazetted amendments to lockdown rules that would come into effect only a few hours later.

Two sets of rule changes had been announced by President Cyril Ramaphosa: the end to South Africa's red list, of countries from which tourists are banned, and longer retail hours for liquor sales.

See also | No more travel red list and longer booze sales: What you need to know about Ramaphosa’s speech

But in his address to the nation, Ramaphosa had neglected to mention another rule change: an updated definition that split smaller water craft from cruise ships.

In a section on travel, the new amendment decrees that all commercial seaports are open, then says that "[s]mall crafts will be allowed entry into seaports, in-line [sic] with health and border law enforcement protocols."

In a different segment of the rules, a list of the economic activities that remain explicitly banned, the entry for "passenger ships for international leisure purposes" has been struck out. It now reads instead: "Passenger ships for international leisure purposes, excluding small crafts, in-line [sic] with health and border law enforcement protocols."

Passenger and crew aboard a yacht will be subject to the same rules as air passengers – including a demand that they produce a negative PCR test for the coronavirus no more than 72 hours old. 

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