Mixed migration routes, experiences and risks along the journey to South Africa

The Southern Route encompasses a complex array of mixed migration journeys running from East and the Horn of Africa, as well as the Great Lakes region, to South Africa. Compared to other mixed migration routes on the African continent, the Southern Route remains understudied. Yet, South Africa, as one of the largest economies of Africa, remains a major migration destination and attracts thousands of refugees and migrants seeking refuge and/or better life opportunities.

This report examines the key drivers and intentions, routes, and vulnerabilities of refugees and migrants traveling along the Southern Route, from East and the Horn of Africa, the Great Lakes, and Southern Africa to South Africa. The study aims to increase the evidence base on the experiences of refugees and migrants traveling along the Southern Route for policy actors and those providing protection and assistance to people on the move. After outlining the methodology, this report begins by putting forth a definition of the Southern Route and is then divided into four main findings sections: migration drivers, the routes taken by refugees and migrants before arriving in South Africa as well as their intended destinations, interactions with smugglers, and protection risks along the journey.


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