Before making the decision to bring animals and pets to South Africa, bear in mind that regulations apply.  For one, a quarantine period for 14 days applies to dogs from a number of specified countries; happily cats escape this requirement.

What's more, getting your animals into South Africa is often the easy part. Michelle Ward of Global Paws, a pet travel service, advises: "It is often more difficult returning to the country of origin and requirements for the return trip should be checked before making the decision to bring an animal to South Africa."

Here are some rules affecting pets in South Africa, when brought in from outside the country's borders: With the exception of the UK, Australia and New Zealand, animals must be vaccinated against rabies not less than 30 day and not more than a year before arrival.  Puppies and kittens under 12 weeks are covered by the mothers' vaccination, but the same time period requirement applies.

An import permit is required for all pets, which must be applied for through the Directorate of Animal Health in South Africa (  Pets from neighbouring countries need a Movement Permit, stamped by a government vet in those destinations.

A Health Clearance certificate is required, which calls for an examination by a vet in the home country, and blood tests for dogs.  Forms are obtainable from the Department of Agriculture (see link).

All pets travelling by air must be booked as Manifest Cargo.

If you determined to bring your animals and pets into South Africa, consider using a professional service like Global Paws Worldwide & Local Pet Travel Service, which knows its way around the documentation, clearing and handling procedures. While larger hotels don't accept animals, you'll find that smaller establishments are more pet-friendly facilities in South Africa.

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