Portuguese Republic

History of Relations | Diplomatic Representation | Travel Info | Health Requirements | Climate Info | Currency Info | Trade Info | Visits and Meetings | Agreements | Interest Groups/ Organisations

History of Relations

South Africa and Portugal maintain friendly political relations and the two countries have strong historical and cultural ties. There are approximately 500,000 South Africans of Portuguese descent and about 200,000 Portuguese nationals who reside in South Africa permanently.

Relations are managed through bi-annual Bilateral Consultations, following a Memorandum of Understanding that was signed in 2002. The Sixth Bilateral Consultations were chaired by Deputy Minister Alvin Botes in Pretoria on 2 August 2019. The main areas of cooperation that were reviewed during the Bilateral Consultations include the following:

  • Agriculture
  • Basic Education (primarily on Portuguese-language training in Gauteng schools)
  • Ocean Economy (primarily on cooperation in fisheries)
  • Science and Technology
  • Tourism
  • Trade and Investment

Portugal regards South Africa as an important strategic partner - both at political and economic level – although its policy towards South Africa is largely determined within the EU context. There is convergence on major international issues such as human rights, conflict resolution, peace keeping and the promotion of peace, security and development in Africa and over the last few years on science and technology co-operation in the context of marine, space and ocean research and convergence across the Atlantic.

Economic and Trade Relations

South Africa’s exports to Portugal consist mainly of Vegetables (Fruit, mostly citrus), Live animals (Fish, hake) and Vehicles aircraft & vessels (Automotive). Portugal’s exports to South Africa consist mainly of Vehicles aircraft & vessels (automotive) Machinery and Equipment Components.

Total trade between the two countries amounted to R 6.5 billion in 2020. The balance of trade is in Portugal’s favour at present. South African exports in 2020 reached its highest point in over 10 years, mostly due to the spike in the demand for citrus and other fruits.

Some of the largest Portuguese companies have long standing investments in South Africa in a variety of sectors, focussing on Information Technology & Software, Energy and Agro-Processing. South African investment in Portugal is focussed on real estate, Information Technology and the automotive manufacturing industry.

Diplomatic Representation

South African Representation in Portugal

H E Ms M J Gaoretelelwe
Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary

South African Embassy

Time difference with SA:
Winter = 2 hours
Summer = 1 hour

Portuguese Representation in South Africa

H E Mr M M C C Calvalho
Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary

Embassy of Portugal

Travel Info

Visa Requirements for South Africans

For more information please contact the Consular section of the Portuguese Embassy in Pretoria.

Health Requirements

COVID-19: the Portuguese authorities continue to require that all travellers arriving in Portugal from South Africa comply with a 14-day mandatory quarantine period on arrival, either at home or at a location designated by the health authorities. This is in addition to providing proof of a negative COVID test done within 72 hours before departure. Those in transit to other destinations will have to remain in a designated area at the airport. This requirement will be effective until further notice from the local authorities. For updated information you can consult the Portuguese health services at https://www.sns24.gov.pt/.../prevencao-dos-viajantes/ or the Portuguese Embassy in Pretoria at https://embaixadaportugal.org.za.

Other than COVID, there are no health requirements for South Africans travelling to Portugal.

For further information go to Travellers' Health.

Climate Info

Situated in the middle of the northern hemisphere, Portugal has a mild climate. However, the differences between the north/south and coast/inland weather are marked. Inland areas have a more variable climate than coastal regions. To the South of the Tagus River, the Mediterranean influences are clear. Long, hot, humid, summers and wet, short, relatively mild winters. May-October dry and warm, November-April cool with rain in the north, mild in the south (though often wet and windy January-March).

For up-to-date weather information click here.

Currency Info

The monetary unit is the Euro (EUR).

For current exchange rates click here.

State and Official Visits / Bilateral Meetings

No Information

Bilateral Agreements

South Africa and Portugal have signed several Bilateral Agreements and Memorandums of Understanding in the areas of Trade, Culture, Fisheries, Double Taxation, Air Services, Science and Technology.

If you have any queries with regard to treaties please contact the Treaty Section of the Department of International Relations and Cooperation (DIRCO) at 012 351 1000.


Due to the strong relations between Portugal and South Africa, Portuguese travel regularly to visit their South African families and to explore South Africa’s tourism attractions. The Portuguese have an appetite for long haul, exotic destinations, especially the safari experience, wildlife, adventure trips and the Portuguese historical landmarks in South Africa, such as Cape of Good Hope or Da Gama.

The impact of COVID-19 with the banning of all international flights during March 2020 apart from repatriation flights has had a devastating impact on tourism figures. On 16 March 2021, South Africa was added to other blacklisted countries in Portugal. South African visitors to Portugal can only travel for valid reasons such as: resident status; family; family business; diplomat. It is required that the passenger present a valid PCR negative Covid test within 72 hours before travel, followed by mandatory 14-day quarantine.

Trade Info

For current information on trade statistics between South Africa and Portugal, visit the website of the Department of Trade, Industry and Competition of South Africa.

Interest Groups and Information

No Information

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2003 Department of Foreign Affairs, Republic of South Africa