5 Best VPNs for South Africa – For Safety & Speed in 2020
If you live in or are traveling to South Africa, you’ll be pleased to know that internet freedom in the country was rated as “free” in the 2018 Freedom on the Net index by Freedom House.
The government is not believed to be involved in widespread blocking or censoring of content. However, this is liable to change following the approval of the Film and Public Amendment Bill (FPAB) by the National Assembly of South Africa in 2018.
This controversial piece of legislation extends the Film and Publication Board’s (FPB) authority to include digital and social media.
While the bill seeks to protect children from racist, harmful, and violent content online, it has been criticized for granting the FPB sweeping online censorship powers. It allows the FPB to control and block the distribution of online content, including ‘user-generated’ content, such as YouTube videos, pictures, and music.
Using a VPN while you’re in South Africa will enable you to access geo-restricted content, protect your privacy, and stay anonymous online.
Read on to find out what to look for in a VPN for South Africa and to learn about our top five VPN recommendations.
Summary of the Best VPNs for South Africa
Our top five VPNs all have servers in South Africa to access local content, as well as servers around the globe to access geoblocked content:
- NordVPN offers double encryption tunnels for added privacy and protection when accessing the internet in South Africa.
- ExpressVPN– Lightning-fast speeds, market-leading encryption, and the ability to reliably bypass geoblocks make ExpressVPN a great VPN for South Africa.
- CyberGhost– A great VPN for beginners, it comes with one-click applications and all the necessary security features needed for safe browsing and streaming.
- IPVanish – Great value for money, IPVanish offers reliable protection, consistent unblocking ability, and robust encryption, for hassle-free internet use in South Africa.
- Surfshark – A zero-logs VPN that offers great speeds and the added bonus of unlimited simultaneous connections across different platforms.
What You Should Look for in a VPN for South Africa
If you are a South African resident who does a lot of traveling, you can use a VPN to help you access local online content and services.
The best VPN services have a large server network, which will allow you to select a South African server. This will provide you with the South African IP address that is needed to unblock local content from anywhere in the world. You will never need to miss one of your favorite shows from DSTV again.
A VPN will also allow those in South Africa to access content that isn’t accessible with a South African IP address. A VPN will enable you to unblock geo-restricted content and services by connecting you to a server in the relevant country.
For now, South Africa does enjoy a free and open internet, but there are concerns that this might change following the approval of the Film and Public Amendment Bill. According to the bill, if you upload content online without first registering with the FPB, you could face heavy fines or even imprisonment.
To protect your data and privacy, it’s important to use a VPN every time you go online. The general and security features you should look for in a VPN for South Africa are as follows:
- South African servers that will enable you to view and stream local content as well as improving your connection speed.
- High-speed servers for smooth streaming, browsing, and torrenting, etc.
- Solid encryption for the robust protection of your data and privacy, preventing government or hacker interception.
- A zero-logs policy to ensure that your VPN provider keeps no data on you and has nothing to hand over to the South African government if requested.
- The ability to overcome geoblocks for reliable access to restricted content and streaming services outside of South Africa.
- A stable network that maintains your internet connection. A kill switch feature is desirable as it prevents your data from being dumped if your connection drops.
- Mobile apps on various platforms for safe internet use on public wi-fi.
Best VPNs for South Africa
Our number one recommendation for a VPN for South Africa is NordVPN thanks to its vast network of 5,000+ high-speed servers, including 26 in South Africa. With NordVPN you’ll be able to access local and global content and bypass blocks with ease.
Your privacy is protected thanks to its military-grade encryption, zero-logs policy, and a kill switch feature that prevents your IP address and other data from being exposed if your connection suddenly drops. Being able to simultaneously connect six devices is a popular feature with NordVPN users.
NordVPN can unblock:
- Netflix, HBO, Hulu, Showtime, BBC iPlayer, Amazon Prime Video, and Sling TV.
- Yes, P2P specialty servers available.
NordVPN works on these devices:
- Windows, macOS, Android, iOS, Android TV, Linux, Chrome, and Firefox. It’s also compatible with routers.
ExpressVPN regularly comes out on top in our speed tests. With no download or bandwidth limits, it’s the perfect VPN for streaming.
It has a large server network with over 3,000 servers in 90+ countries, including South Africa for fast and reliable access to local and global content.
You can access local and foreign content on the same device with the split tunneling feature.
Based in the British Virgin Islands, Express VPN is not subject to data retention laws and therefore keeps a strict zero-logs policy.
Robust encryption and OpenVPN support across all platforms further protect your privacy. It may be more expensive than other VPNs but its fast speeds and strong security make it worth it according to users.
ExpressVPN can unblock:
- Netflix, Hulu, HBO, Amazon Prime Video, Showtime, Sling TV, DAZN, and BBC iPlayer.
- Yes, all servers support P2P activity.
ExpressVPN works on these devices:
- Windows, macOS, Android, iOS, Android TV, Linux, Chrome, and Firefox. It also offers an app for use with certain routers.
This easy-to-use VPN comes with everything you need for safe browsing in South Africa. Features include strong encryption, leak-proof apps, a strict no-logs policy, and a large network of servers in 90+ countries, including South Africa.
CyberGhost allows for seven simultaneous connections across devices and platforms, perfect for protecting the internet usage of the whole family, even on public wi-fi networks.
It may not be as fast as ExpressVPN, but you will still be able to stream and torrent without any issues. Users of CyberGhost appreciate the easy-to-use interface and one-click setup.
CyberGhost can unblock:
- Dedicated streaming profile with servers optimized for: Netflix, BBC iPlayer, Sky Go, Hulu, Comedy Central, Eurosport, ESPN, and others.
- Yes; dedicated profile shows countries and number of users.
CyberGhost works on these devices:
- Windows, macOS, Android, iOS, Amazon Fire Stick, Android TV, Linux, and Chrome.
IPVanish allows simultaneous connection to up to 10 devices, making it the ideal VPN for small South African businesses or large families. It is popular with gamers and streamers thanks to more than 1,300 high-speed servers.
With IPVanish your connection will be reliable, stable, and secure. It may be based in the US, but it operates a legitimate zero-logs policy, protecting your privacy. Additional IP configuration and extra obfuscation settings further protect your online data. It may not be the cheapest VPN on the market, but users certainly believe you get your money’s worth.
IPVanish can unblock:
- Netflix, BBC iPlayer
- No dedicated torrenting profile
IPVanish works on these devices:
- Windows, macOS, Linux, Android, iOS, Windows Phone, Routers, Chromebook, Amazon Fire TV
If you are looking for a fast and reliable VPN, Surfshark could be the one for you. It offers consistently high speeds with a growing network that covers 50 countries, including South Africa.
Surfshark has all the necessary security features with the added bonus of being able to protect all your devices with unlimited simultaneous connections. The in-built malware, ad, and tracker blocker give you further piece of mind. It may be the new VPN on the block, but Surkshark is certainly making a name for itself with its users.
Surfshark can unblock:
- Netflix, Hulu, CBS, ESPN, Amazon Prime Video, and others.
- Yes, all servers support P2P activity.
Surfshark works on these devices:
- Windows, macOS, Android, iOS, FireTV, Linux, Chrome, and Firefox.
Summary and Further Reading
If you want to keep your internet use in South Africa secure and private, you need to use a VPN every time you go online.
A VPN has the added benefit of increasing the amount of content you can access in South Africa, as well as allowing you to access South African content anywhere in the world. Find out here how to get a South African IP address.
Each of the VPNs that we’ve recommended would be a good VPN for South Africa. However, if you are still unsure of which one to choose, we recommend NordVPN. It has everything you need – speed, security, and reliability.