Prepare early for parcel silly season, says Post Office

The SA Post Office says customers who wish to mail Christmas parcels to other countries should do so as soon as possible.

In particular, customers who use sea and surface mail to send their Christmas gifts, should do so as soon as possible.

This will ensure that the parcels reach their destinations in time for Christmas.

South Africa currently has very little delay with items leaving the country, but these parcels have to go through time-consuming clearance procedures in the country of destination.

Air mail items should be posted no later than December 1.

Items meant for countries bordering South Africa – Botswana, Lesotho, Mozambique, and Eswatini – should be posted no later than Sunday December 8.

Only air mail is available to all other countries in Africa. These items must be posted by Sunday December 1.

How to make sure your parcel arrives safely:

Parcels must be packaged securely, as they are transported in bulk.

If your mail item does not fill the container, fill it with packaging material like shredded paper or polystyrene to act as a shock absorber.

Make sure the items you are sending are legal in the country of destination. In most countries, plant and animal material cannot be imported.

Ask the sender to include your cellphone number with your address. That makes it possible to SMS you when your parcel is ready.

The following items may not be posted:

Anything containing ion lithium batteries, liquids, lotions or creams may not be transported using air mail.

Illegal items such as drugs.

Items that could leak and damage other packages.

Items that may explode or catch fire during air transport, such as aerosols or flammable liquids.

Any live animals or animal products.

All airmail parcels are x-rayed and scanned to make sure the contents are legal and safe. Parcels containing items that are not allowed are rejected by the airlines transporting the parcels and returned to the post office.