Last updated: 17 May 2021



With a name meaning ‘Two Seas’ it is little wonder that Bahrain, an archipelago of 33 islands in the Gulf, defines itself in relation to the water that surrounds its shallow shores.

The twin 50-storey towers of Bahrain's World Trade Centre and the horseshoe of man-made islands at the southern tip of the country are sights to behold. Enter into the past at the excellent Bahrain National Museum before venturing beyond Manama to find traces of Dilmun, Bahrain's ancient civilization.

Amble through the souks around Bab al Bahrain and enjoy the aromas of cardamom coffee, apricot sheesha, sizzling kebabs and heady incense-laced perfumes.

Take a 40-minute boat ride to the Hawar Islands and look out for the dolphins that play in the calm Gulf seas while flamingos stalk through the shallow waters.
Official Name: Kingdom of Bahrain
Local Name: Mamlakat al Bahrayn
Capital:  Manama (BAH)
Currency:  Bahraini Dinar (BHD)
Language:  Arabic. English, Farsi, and Urdu are also widely spoken.
Dialling code from SA:  + 973
Time Zones: GMT / UTC +3 (1 hour ahead of South Africa)
Public Holidays 2021: 

Jan 1; May 1, 13-15; Jul 19-22; Aug 10, 19, 20; Oct 19; Dec 16, 17

Side of the Road: Right
Best time to go:  November - March
Best For: Archaeological Sites, UNESCO World Heritage Sites
Plugs:  220-240 volts AC, 50Hz (Awali, 110 volts AC, 60Hz). British-style three-pin plugs are used.
Drinking Water: Mains water in hotels and towns is safe to drink. Bottled water is available and may be preferred by travellers. Outside of the main towns, water may be contaminated. 
Health: There are adequate and well-equipped medical facilities, however visitors are required to pay for these services. Comprehensive health insurance is recommended.
Customs: Although Bahrain is a liberal Islamic state, dress should be relatively conservative and revealing clothing should be avoided.  It is best for women to keep shoulders, arms and legs covered, although generally there are no restrictions for Western women. Respect to religious customs should be shown during the month of Ramadan, when eating, drinking and smoking in public should be avoided during daylight hours. The right hand should be used for eating, greeting and exchanging items. 
Local Offences / Laws: Homosexuality is illegal. 
Travel Tips / Warnings: There is a low risk of terrorist attacks. It is important to take sun protection measures. 
Duty Free: The following goods may be imported into Bahrain by travellers over 18 years of age without incurring customs duty:
• 400 cigarettes, 50 cigars and 250g of tobacco in opened packets
• 1L of alcoholic beverages and six cans of beer (non-Muslim passengers only)
• 240ml of perfume
• Gifts up to the value of BHD250 (approximately US$660)
Prohibited Imports: Prohibited imports include narcotics, cultured pearls, advertisements for cigarettes, radio-controlled model aircraft, children's toy guns, goods of Israeli origin, publications that contradict Islamic teachings, asbestos and ivory. Restricted imports requiring authorisation include animals, animal products, plants, fruit and vegetables, firearms and ammunition, films and publications, and telecommunications equipment.
Prohibited Exports: Prohibited exports include fuel, flour, red meat and fresh chicken bearing the trademark 'Delmon'. Restricted exports requiring authorisation include palm tree seedlings and antiquities

Travel Alerts

COVID-19 Travel Advisory: Entry to Bahrain is restricted to Bahraini citizens, residents, GCC citizens who do not need a visa, passengers eligible to obtain a visa on arrival, passengers with a valid eVisa, diplomats, military personnel, airline crew, or holders of official, service or UN passports.

Vaccinated Travellers - may enter the country, provided that proof of vaccinnation is presented. Additional covid testing and quarantine may still be applicable, regardless of vaccinnated status. 

All other passengers must undergo a COVID‑19 PCR test (at their own expense) on arrival. Arriving passengers must remain in self‑isolation until they receive the result of the COVID‑19 PCR test.

Sourced from:

This Information is intended as a Guideline.

Visa Requirements

Visas are required by South African Passport Holders. 

E-visa can be applied for online at:

Document conditions:     You must submit the following documents with your application:
1. Copy of return air ticket.
2. Photocopy of the photo page of the applicant's passport plus a copy of the passport last page for Indian passports.
3. Copy of hotel booking in Bahrain. Alternately, in case you are staying with a relative, please provide a copy of their CPR Reader's printout.
4. Copy of a stamped bank statement under the visitor's name covering the last three months with an ending balance of not less than the equivalent of BD300.

Optional document conditions:     You may optionally attach the following documents with your application:
1. Copy of GCC and/or any USA, Schengen, UK, European or Canadian visa.

Entry conditions:    
• You must not take up any paid or unpaid employment during your visit to Bahrain.
• You must be able to support yourself (and any dependents) during the visit.
• Passport must be valid for length of time you will be in Bahrain, or the length of the visa, whichever is longer.
If your passport validity is in doubt, you may be denied entry to Bahrain.
• Visitor must have a valid confirmed onward ticket to leave the Kingdom of Bahrain.

Stay conditions:    
• The visa can be used for multiple entries and is valid for 3 months from the time of entry.
• The Length of stay allowed is one month.

Extension conditions:    
• This visa can be extrended one time for 14 days at the Nationality, Passports and Residence Affairs office (NPRA) in the Kingdom of Bahrian on payment of a fee.

Visa Validity

Validity is 30 days. This means the visa must be used within 30 days of approval.
• If the visa expires before entry to the Kingdom of Bahrain, the applicant must apply again, and another fee must be paid.

Visa Cost


Application fee: BD 4.000 (payable on submitting the application)
Visa fee: BD 25.000 (payable on approval of the application)
Total fee: BD 29.000

Refund conditions:    
• The application fee is not refundable under any circumstances.
• The visa fee may be refundable under some circumstances.

SA Representative

SA Consular Office:
Hannover Retakaful B.S.C
Al Zamil Tower, 17th Floor
Government Avenue
Tel: +973 17 576 664
Fax: +973 17 214 667

Travel Health

Compulsory:  Yellow Fever (Dependant on Country of Origin/Stopover)
Recommended Travel Vaccines:  Hepatitis A & B, Tetanus, Polio