Vietnam (The Socialist Republic of)

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 Vietnam established diplomatic relations in December 1993 which were initially managed through a non-resident Ambassador. Vietnam established a residential Embassy in Pretoria in 2000 and South Africa established a residential Embassy in Hanoi on 1 October 2002. H E Mr Sipho Makana was the first South African resident Ambassador, 2003-2004. The South African Embassy in Hanoi issues visas to Vietnamese passport-holders wishing to visit the Republic of South Africa.

Diplomatic Representation

South African Representation in Vietnam

H E Mr M K Lekgoro
Ambassor Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary

South African Embassy

Vietnamese Representation in South Africa

H E Mr Hoang Van Loi
Ambassor Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary

Embassy of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam - website

Travel Info

Visa requirements for South Africans

In terms of Vietnam’s measures to combat the COVID-19 epidemic there is currently a ban on normal foreign visitors entering country, including from South Africa. Only pre-approved travellers from special categories (diplomats, experts, investors, officials) are allowed entry into Vietnam after obtaining special authorisation and they still have to undergo quarantine for 14 days in a state-approved hotel or facility.

For more information contact the Embassy of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam in Pretoria.

Health Requirements

Those pre-approved travellers from special categories referred to above must be possession of a negative COVID-19 test.

Under normal circumstances there are no compulsory vaccinations or immunisations required for Vietnam. However, it is advisable for foreign travellers to get vaccinated against rabies, typhoid and hepatitis A. There is also a risk of malaria in the mountainous areas. It is strongly recommended that comprehensive travel and health insurance be obtained which would include emergency air evacuation by a recognised carrier. Prospective travellers should check with their insurer to make sure that their policy meets their needs.

For further information go to Travelers' Health.

Climate Info

Between July and November, the Southern part of Vietnam is normally hit by random and sometimes violent typhoons. The Northern part of Vietnam experiences its rainy season from August until November and typhoons are frequent. A chilly winter is experienced between December and February. The Delta part of Vietnam has two seasons, viz: the wet season from May to October with short downpours occurring every day and the dry season which lasts from November to April with the last three months of this period being very hot and humid.

For up-to-date weather information click here.

Currency Info

The currency is the Vietnam Dong (VND). Notes are in denominations of 500 000, 200 000, 100 000, 50 000, 20 000, 10 000, 5000, 2000, 1000 and 500 VND. Travellers cheques can be cashed at banks and certain money changers. Credit cards may not be accepted everywhere.  The VND is not easily convertible.

For current exchange rates click here.

State and Official Visits / Bilateral Meetings

  • The Prime Minister of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam, H E Mr Phan Van Khai, paid an Official Visit to South Africa in November 2004.
  • In 2007, President Thabo Mbeki paid a State Visit to Vietnam.
  • In October 2010, Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe undertook an Official Visit to Vietnam.
  • In May 2011, the Vietnamese Vice President, Mrs Nguyễn Thi Doan, paid a return Official Visit to South Africa.
  • From 1 to 4 August 2015, Deputy Prime Minister Hoang Trung Hai paid an Official Visit to South Africa.
  • From 3 to 4 October 2016, Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa paid an Official Visit to Vietnam.
  • Former Minister of International Relations and Cooperation, Ms Maite Nkoana-Mashabane paid a working visit to Vietnam in September 2017 and met with the Prime Minister.
  • The 4th Session of the Partnership Forum for Economic, Trade, Scientific, Technical and Cultural Co-operation at the level of Deputy Minister was held in Pretoria from 14 to 15 March 2019.
  • Official visit to Vietnam by the Minister of Defence and Military Veterans, Ms Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula, 23 to 25 August 2019.
  • The Fourth Session of the SA-Vietnam Joint Trade Committee at the level of Deputy Minister took place in Hanoi in October 2019.
  • Official Visit by the Deputy Prime Minister of Vietnam, Mr Vuong Dinh Hue, to South Africa from 4 to 5 November 2019 at the invitation of the Deputy President of South Africa, Mr David Mabuza.

Bilateral Agreements

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.

Trade Info

In 2020, trade between South Africa and Vietnam amounted to R23,825 billion. Subsequently, South African exports to Vietnam amounted to R9,471 billion while imports from Vietnam amounted R14,354 billion. South Africa is Vietnam’s biggest trading partner in Africa.

Vietnam's exports to South Africa are mainly machinery and footwear. Machinery comprises of cell phones, electrical equipment, catalytic converters, computers and mechanical appliances.  South Africa's main exports to Vietnam are mineral products and vegetable/fruit products such as nuts, corn, apples, pears, grapes and quinces.

For current information on trade statistics between South Africa and Vietnam, 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