Square Circle Forum

International Postage Mailing Instructions and Current Rates


All squares should be securely packaged up and posted to:


Private Bag X900,
Bryanston 2021, South Africa




We are all aware that Knit-a-Square in South Africa operates on a shoestring budget. Monthly donations are used to keep the operation running and help to cover the cost of KasVan gas for the distributions, expenses incurred in keeping the office running, and a myriad of other small expenses each month.

One of the expenses that Ronda has to deal with is the occasional charge levied by the South African Customs and Excise. Some of these are unavoidable, even when we have filled out the Customs Slip correctly, and are usually small, manageable amounts.



Before mailing any parcels, please be sure to read the instructions in the




It is very important that parcels are sent to South Africa by mail.  Please do not send anything by a courier service as this causes huge problems and expense for Ronda and the team. Please see the discussion at



 Please make sure that you clearly label the package as "No Commercial Value" and "BONA FIDE GIFT - For Charity Only".

 If it is practical for you, try to use soft-sided packaging rather than boxes (as boxes attract a small additional postage duty,) and try to use packaging which can be easily recycled. Brown packing paper is great! It's okay if you need to use boxes or other forms of packaging though, so don't worry if that's all you have available.

 Inside your package, include a packing slip with your name, your country of origin, email address, and a list of what your package contains. This slip of paper makes it easier for the South African team and saves them a lot of time having to record contents for the Squares Lists.

To make this easier for you, we have created a page which includes both a packing slip and mailing labels which you can print off. Find it at:





1. Please do not register your letters, parcels or packages or boxes

We ask that you send your parcels ONLY through the postal service of your country. We recommend sending by surface mail if available. Although it takes longer, it is so much more economical, that it will save you a lot of money.

Please do not ship via FedEx, courier,  or other mail services because they do not deliver to Box Numbers as in the KAS address. (Private Bag X900, PO Bryanston 2021, South Africa)

Please avoid insuring packages or using tracking numbers. Often this will attract the attention of the South African Customs Service and could result in parcels being held up or inspected - or even worse, duty being charged


2. Please do not give a dollar value on your parcels (or only the minimum amount as instructed by your post office).We pay minimal duty on most large parcels arriving. However even just a small dollar value on a parcel attracts far higher duties. Letters, parcels/packages and boxes continue to arrive safely in volumes without any registration or dollar values appended to them.


3. Please do not send parcels over 20Kg (44 lbs) from Australia, Canada or the United States or parcels over 30 Kg (66 lbs) from the UK


4. Wrap your squares and crocheted or knitted items in a plastic bag, bubble wrap or buy Tyvek bags or postal bags with an inner plastic coating to keep them moisture proof. Tape your parcels well.


5. Include the packing slip (see above) inside the package


6. Please send your squares flat (not folded or rolled).  If you are sending a large number of squares, it is helpful to the unpacking team if they are bundled into 5’s or 10’s to make counting faster.


7. All ‘ends’ should be darned in, and the 20 cm. ‘tail’ for sewing up should be butterflied to avoid tangling during unpacking as shown at



8. To find out if your squares have arrived, check the Square Lists at


 Do not be concerned if it seems to take 3 or 4 months for your name to appear in the lists. It takes several weeks for surface mail to arrive plus the time to unpack and record the list in South Africa.


9. A NOTE ABOUT “SLIP-INS”. Frequently, KASfolk send items in their parcels that we call “slip-ins” These can include soft toys and teddies, singlets (undershirts), t-shirts, socks, stickers, crayons and other things that are much wanted and needed in SA. It is most important that all packaging, labels, price tags etc. be removed. Once this is done, the item qualifies as ‘used’ and will not attract duty. It is usually not necessary to declare these on a customs slip since they have No Commercial Value.



In general, the least expensive way to ship is by Surface Mail. This is available in Canada, the UK and Australia.  It takes longer for parcels to arrive, but since there is a constant flow of packages coming in, this is not a concern.  All parcels from the USA go airmail.

It appears that most countries, including the Eurozone, have some sort of “small packet rate” which applies to parcels up to 2 Kg in weight and measuring no more than 90 cm (HxLxD). We have found that generally this THE CHEAPEST way to ship.

Be sure to stress to your post office that you want to send "small packet rate - surface mail", as some of them don’t seem to be aware of it.

The following are current rates as of January 2013.  We will attempt to keep this list updated as rates change.




 This is the cheapest way to ship from Canada. As you can see below, it is wise to save up items until you are close to the 2 kg weight to obtain the best rate.


**BE SURE TO TELL YOUR POST OFFICE YOU WANT THE SMALL PACKET RATE SURFACE MAIL.** as some postmasters are not familiar with this.


Maximum size - Length + width + height = 90 cm (Max length 60 cm)

Minimum size - 140 mm x 90 mm x 1 mm

Maximum weight - 2 kg.

Cost - 250 g up to 500 g            $11.71

         - over 500 g up to 1 kg      $19.90

         - over 1 kg up to 1.5 kg     $25.52

         - over 1.5 kg up to 2 kg     $31.14


Delivery time (according to Canada Post) 4-6 weeks




Thanks to Elaine and Christine for the following


This is the cheapest way to ship from the UK. As you can see below, it is wise to save up items until you are close to the 2 kg weight to obtain the best rate. The 2 kg weight is the maximum weight possible, and parcel size, as in Canada, is maximum 90 cm. (Length + width =+height)

The prices are here on the Royal Mail site





The maximum weight is 2 Kg and the size restrictions (which haven't changed) are:  no one side can be more than 60 cm. and the overall size - i.e. length + width + depth - can be no more than 90 cm.  Therefore a parcel measuring, say, 40 x 30 x 20 cm. is okay.


Royal Mail are changing their prices with effect from 31st March 2014. Here are the new ones for Small Packets, International Economy (formerly Surface Mail) to South Africa:

Up to:                    

100 g       £3.35                  

250 g       £3.85                  

500 g       £5.40                 

750 g       £6.75                  

1 Kg         £8.20                  

1.25 Kg   £9.40                  

1.5 Kg     £10.75               

1.75 Kg   £12.10                 

2 Kg        £13.25                 



 The following is the least expensive way to ship from Australia.




Bev Jeffery notes that...   “my friendly postal assistant has told me on a number of occasions that very few parcels are sent seamail anymore....this will hopefully prevent any members becoming upset when they are charged an astronomical fee by mistakenly sending it airmail.”

 Also in Australia there must always be a $ value placed on the customs note...so I always declare it to be of a $1 value

A further note from Bev - It may take 8-12 weeks for parcels to arrive - don't worry if you don't see your squares in the lists for a while.


 Note: Maximum allowable weight is 20 Kg.

            Maximum length   105 cm

            Maximum girth     140 cm (width + depth)


Sea Mail

Costs Zone 7 - updated February 2014 - by Maudie Bryan

up to 500g $11.50

500g - 1Kg $21.70

1Kg - 1.5 Kg $32.00

1.5 Kg - 2 Kg $44.30 After 2Kg it is only $4.95 per 500g or part thereof so....

2 Kg - 2.5 Kg $49.25

2.5Kg - 3Kg $54.20

3Kg - 3.5Kg $59.15

3.5Kg - 4Kg $64.10

4Kg - 4.5Kg $69.05

4.5Kg - 5Kg $74.00




 Thanks to Helen Flagg for this information

Unlike some other countries, the US Postal Service does not offer the option of Surface Mail

South Africa is considered Zone 7


First Class Mail International

Maximum length   : 24 inches..

Maximum length x height x depth    36 inches.

Maximum weight -   4 lbs.

Sample prices   

2 lbs.: 24.05

3 lbs.: 31.85


Priority Mail International

Maximum length   : 42 inches

Maximum length x height x depth    79 inches

Important tip - Do not use Flat Rate Priority Mail boxes. You cannot fit enough in them to make it cost effective. Use regular boxes that fit within the size guidelines.

Sample prices   

16 lbs.: 117.16

6 lbs.: 65.85 

Best Bang for Your Buck

The more the package weighs for Priority, the lower the cost becomes per pound. However, if the package weighs less than 10 lbs., you will pay more per pound to send one package Priority than if you send smaller packages First Class International.

The Bottom Line:

US residents, if you have less than 10 lbs. including the weight of the packaging/container to be shipped, send smaller packages not exceeding 4 lbs. each that meet the size requirements for First Class Mail International. If you mailing weighs 10 lbs. or more (including packaging/container), send one package Priority Mail International.


FRANCE  - information from Valerie Zalewski - January 2015

Our postal service has eliminated small parcel rates for international mail. The new rates are exorbitant. For 2kgs it is more than twice the previous rate. The rate only becomes interesting if you send 20kgs......but the size of your parcel cannot exceed a total of 1.5 metre for the total of the 3 measurements (length, height and depth). A parcel with these measurements would contain about 3 kg of squares!!

Here's the list of the new tarifs:

0.5 kg = 23,70€

1.0 kg = 26,30€

2.0 kg = 36,10€

5.0 kg = 53,00€

10 kg = 100,00€

20 kg = 160,00€

The problem in France is that there's no sea-mail from France to S.A. so rates are quite high. The advantage is that your parcel only takes 8 to 10 days to arrive.

Remember to cut off any labels from industrially made items and take socks, underpants, pencils etc. out of their wrappings so that they can not have duty whacked on them.


ITALY (AND THE EUROZONE - although this may vary from country to country - see Germany below) -  this from Mary Lokken


 Italy, and I do believe this applies to the euro zone, the best way to ship is by priority mail.

1 Kg - 15 euros

2 Kg - 25 euros

There are restrictions on the size of the package, which must be less than 90 cm summing the length, width and height

Sometimes they ask you to complete a customs slip, sometimes they don't.


GERMANY      (with thanks to Heide Nochel)


As I had to discover, from Germany, SA is "Welt, Zone 4" to send a "Paket" with DHL.

Up to 2 kilo it is called "Päckchen" and the cost is 15,90 Euro.

(summit 90 cm, no side longer than 60 cm)

After that there are 5-kilo-steps:

From 2 to 5 kilo it is 42 Euro

from 5 to 10 kilo it is 59 Euro

from 10 to 20 kilo it is 91 Euro

from 20 to 31,5 kilo it is 123 Euro

Size minimum: 15 cm x 11 cm x 1 cm / maximum: 120 cm x 60 cm x 60 cm

Paying an extra of 24 Euro (minimum), the "Service Premium", a speed-transportation ist guaranteed (by airplane)









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Replies to This Discussion

Thanks for taking the time to gather this info, Anne. It's much appreciated.

Hi All
I have been amazed at how quickly we have accumulated quite a large box of squares, toys, little tops and goodies in just under one month, and so would now like to pick your brains about the postal rates applicable to sending from France. Anyone able to advise, please?
Nikki Cullen

Hi Nikki. Valerie here. I find that the most economical way to send is by "petit paquet prioritaire". This means a parcel up to 2kgs and it costs 17€60. You can get about 60 squares in a parcel like this. Over 2kgs the rate goes up enormously. DON'T under any circumstances buy the pre-paid boxes they sell at the Post Office. They seem to be reasonably priced, but the 7kg one is so small that you can only get about 1 kg of items in. The problem in France is that there's no sea-mail from France to S.A. so rates are quite high. The advantage is that your parcel only takes 8 to 10 days to arrive. Don't put any monetary value on the parcel. My lovely people in Gueret P.O. tell me that for these small parcels no customs' declaration is necessary, so I just write in capital letters HAND KNITTED ITEMS: NO COMMERCIAL VALUE. and FOR CHARITY ONLY .

Remember to cut off any labels from industrially made items and take socks, underpants, pencils etc. out of their wrappings so that they can not have duty whacked on them.


I'm so pleased you've had a good "harvest". Sending off one's very first parcel is a really nice feeling.


Hi Valerie
Thanks for your quick reply.
I am so pleased with the response from several of our knitting friends. As usual, it is the busiest people who have contributed the most!!
I shall have to find the right packaging, and the hive off to the PO next week.
How are you getting on? Hope you are enjoying some nice knitting with friends.
All the best, XXX

I'm fine at the moment, although I had a few niggly health problems in Feb. Nothing serious and all gone now. I've been a lone knitter for a while as my companions left for warmer climes for a week or 2. When packaging, I tend to wrap my squares (grouped in batches of 5 or 10, for easy counting in SA) in saran wrap as it's virtually weightless or I use clean, but used freezer bags with all the air squeezed out. If I'm sending stickers or pens I put them in freezer bags also. I use brown wrapping paper around the whole with lots of adhesive tapt to keep it together. I calculate about 1kg 900 of goods before packing. This allows for just over 100gms for the brown paper and tape. If using a box, I weigh the box first to give me an idea how much I can put in. The worst thing is to arrive at the PO and find that you're over by 20gms or so. I have really good  electronic kitchen scales. They're very accurate. The main problem is getting the parcel on the scales without it without it resting on the table because of its size!! XXX

Ha, ha, yes I had been thinking about that. I will actually do a rough weigh, then take it up to my friendly post lady to weigh before finalising the sticking and finishing. She is a gem, and will understand.
Glad to hear you are well now. All systems go in about a month, as my builder comes back again to do another bit of work, the I will be redecorating again. There's no rest for the wicked,
Love, Nikki XX

Yes, it's nice to have friendly post office workers. Here in Saint Vaury and in Gueret they're really nice and very helpful. Bon courage with your building and decorating!

Thank you for posting this information, Anne! What a great resource!

I would like to add that from Italy, and I do believe this applies to the euro zone, the best way to ship is by priority mail. This  costs 14 euros per 1KG package, and 25 euros per 2KG package. Sometimes they ask you to complete a customs slip, sometimes they don't. There are restrictions on the size of the package, which must be less than 90 cm summing the length, width and height.

Regarding packaging, I like to put items first (sorted between types, such as squares, hats, socks...) into plastic bags, then into a reusable shopping bag (which can be reused however Ronda sees appropriate in SA - I like to think they go to Go Go's, etc..) and then wrap it all in brown paper, which can be recycled....

Here's an example...

Thyanks so much for this information, Mary!  I will insert it above.

Your idea for packing is excelent.  I am sure the reusable shopping bags are a great hit, and it's great to think that even the packaging is useful once it gets to Africa.

Hi Anne!

Must let you know that beginning January 1st the cost of sending a one kilo package by priority mail from Italy to South Africa has increased to 15 euros (from 14...)

Haven't found out the 2 kilo price yet... will let you know when I do.


Thanks, Mary!

I don't just like this, I love it!  Instead of sending a package once a month, I'm going to do as suggested and wait till I have 1900 gms [my kitchen scales are calibrated differently than those at the post office].  I like the idea of getting a 'bargain'. Roz  x





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