Two hunters.
  • Upcoming regulations will allow in-province leisure travel, tourism minister Mmamoloko Kubayi-Ngubane promised on Thursday.
  • That includes overnight stays, where two people who are not family can share a room.
  • A romantic getaway that includes hunting could be trouble though; accommodation "for hunting purposes" was specifically banned this week.
  • There is no indication yet of a loosening in the restrictions which prohibit visiting a significant other at their home.
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Romantic weekend getaways will be legal again soon under lockdown rules previewed by tourism minister Mmamoloko Kubayi-Ngubane on Thursday.

That will create a peculiar mix of regulations that will allow couples who do not live together to travel to a hotel or guest house and share a room – while still being banned from visiting one another at home.

In another strange twist, such a couple will have to be denied accommodation if they intend to engage in hunting while on their trip.

Kubayi-Ngubane said cabinet had already approved new rules that will allow in-province leisure travel as soon as they are gazetted. "Accommodation establishments" – excluding short-term home sharing via the likes of Airbnb – will be allowed to house such intra-provincial leisure travellers. Nuclear families will be permitted to share a room. So will any two people.

Barring champagne, which hotels still may not sell under blanket prohibition, that reinstates most of the requisites for a traditional romantic weekend away.

Couples can also travel together, even in a 100% full taxi, they can dine together in restaurants that will soon be able to operate under a curfew that only starts at 22:00, they can exercise without masks (provided that the exercise is sufficiently vigorous, and with the right membership they can gamble together.

Adding leisure travel to the list of permitted reasons to leave the home during lockdown (alongside going to work, grocery shopping, and exercise) will not make it legal to visit family or friends – or significant others – in their homes. There has been no indication yet of a relaxation in that rule.

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Meanwhile, new rules published on Wednesday by forestry, fisheries, and environmental affairs minister Barbara Creecy specifically bans "the provision of any form of accommodation for hunting purposes".

Under those rules, hunters may travel within a province only if their purpose is to "to hunt in order to obtain the meat for consumption".

It is not clear what would happen should trophy hunters consider that activity to constitute leisure and travel for that purpose – but it is clear that they will have to return home before 22:00 every night.

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