South Africans looking for a well-earned getaway can rejoice in the restoration of connectivity and new route launches connecting them to some of the most desirable island destinations in the world. Thanks to the relaxation of travel restrictions, airlines are returning to provide connectivity to Seychelles and Mauritius, providing more options for a tropical break.
Seychelles is open for business
Seychelles has revised its travel restrictions which were preventing connectivity from seven African countries. The restrictions were brought in at the end of November in response to the emergence of the Omicron variant. But now this COVID strain is so widespread, and indeed has been detected on the island itself, airlines are free to restore connections with Africa.
From January 11th, Air Seychelles has been flying to Johannesburg once a week. Although less frequent than was previously operated, the resumption of the route will be welcomed by travelers on both sides of the connection. The four-hour and 55-minute flight is currently the only direct connection between South Africa and the island. It departs each Friday at present, but could be increased to twice weekly if demand allows.
Mauritius reconnects too
Air Mauritius has also recently confirmed that it will resume flights to South Africa from its island home. The airline is flying five times a week throughout January, on Mondays, Wednesdays, Thursdays, Fridays and Sundays. For its operations, the route will be served by both its A330neo and its A350.
The island nation lifted its ban on South African travelers three weeks ahead of schedule. Simultaneously, it removed restrictions on [passengers from many other African countries, for similar reasons to Seychelles.
But Air Mauritius will have new competition on the route, as South African airline FlySafair also intends to begin service to the island nation. It will be the airline’s first flight outside of South Africa, and is set to launch on March 8th.
FlySafair had intended to launch Mauritius services on December 11th, but had canceled the plans in the wake of the Omicron crisis. To begin with, the airline will fly twice a week, on Tuesdays and Saturdays, from Johannesburg.
Maldives set the trend, but with no flights
The early lifting of restrictions by these two islands comes a fortnight after the Maldives started the trend. Having imposed a ban on travelers from seven southern African countries in late November, Maldives scrapped the ban around a month later. For a nation so heavily reliant on tourism, the removal of the ban was well supported by local communities.
But despite fewer restrictions on visitors from South Africa, no airline has yet restored a direct connection. Air Seychelles has also resumed services from Johannesburg to the Maldives on a weekly basis since January 7th.
Nonetheless, it’s positive to see the restrictions further being removed from important markets, and brave airlines like FlySafair ready to take the plunge with new endeavors.