How to unblock BBC iPlayer in South Africa



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Want to watch BBC iPlayer in RSA? This guide is for you and we’ll explain how to view the Beeb’s streaming service with ease.

South Africa has become a significant hub for British expats, in fact, there’s nearly a quarter of a million of you there. So, if you plan to move to these southern parts, or if you are already there, you might be interested in learning how you can access BBC iPlayer to keep up with your favourite programmes.

Considering the amount of excellent content that BBC iPlayer has to offer, even if you’re a native of South Africa you might be interested as well.

If this applies to you – you have come to the right place, and below I’ll be showing you the quick steps to get watching.

What do you need to watch iPlayer in RSA?

As you may know, BBC iPlayer – like most other UK-based services – is geo-blocked.

This means that it is not available to anyone apart from the people located in the UK. If you’re in South Africa then you’ll be left locked out from the service like everyone else outside the UK.

Anyone else wishing to access the app or the website will have to use a VPN.

VPN: It’s a privacy app that millions of users use daily to stay secure on the internet, it also lets you cloak your real location.

Of course, not any VPN will do, as the UK also has an unfortunate tendency to block VPNs. There’s a lot of VPN services out there, and the choice can be confusing.

Through our testing, we found ExpressVPN works best for iPlayer. It offers the fastest speeds letting you watch in high quality, and there’s a handy 30-day money back guarantee just in case you’re not happy.

A couple of other neat options are NordVPN and CyberGhost VPN, and you’re free to choose the one you feel is the best for you.

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How to stream BBC iPlayer

We would recommend using one of the three VPN services mentioned above, as we know for sure that they work with the iPlayer.

You, of course, are free to use whichever VPN you wish, only make sure that it does work with the iPlayer. After choosing a service, here is what you need to do next:

  1. Go to the VPN’s website, for example, ExpressVPN and sign up.
  2. Choose a payment plan and enter your payment details.
  3. Download the app for the device and system you want to watch iPlayer on.
  4. Install the app, and log into it with your account details from the first step.
  5. On the app, click the ‘Selected Location‘ button and then click the ‘United Kingdom‘.
  6. You may need also to press ‘Connect‘.
  7. Once the app has connected use the BBC iPlayer website or their app to watch in South Africa.
ExpressVPN app connecting to the UK.

Unblock iPlayer in South Africa using ExpressVPN.

What is a VPN?

VPN is an online privacy, security, and anonymity tool.

It is used for hiding your online traffic from those who might spy on you and browsing the web in the safest way possible.

It is pretty much the best online security technology that you can find these days, and everyone should use it for ensuring their safety.

How it works for iPlayer is because it lets you disguise your location, so you appear elsewhere. You’re really in South Africa, but the iPlayer service thinks you’re in the UK.

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What if it doesn’t work?

It’s a good question, but we’ve tested, and it works fine.

VPNs are generally very easy to use, and all you need to do is hit the big ‘Connect‘ button once you install the app, which is as easy to install like any other.

If you know how to use Instagram, Facebook, Whatsapp or any other app on your phone, you will be fine using a VPN.

However, no technology is perfect, and let’s say that you can’t get it working for whatever reason. What do you do then?

Well, as it turns out, VPNs also have a money-back policy that you can use to get your money back during a specific period after the original signup.

Each VPN offers a different period, ExpressVPN covers you for 30 days, NordVPN the same and CyberGhost as massive 45-days.

So even in the unlikely event you can’t get it working, you can get your money back – no worries.

Where can I watch?

As mentioned earlier, VPNs are pretty universal technology, and there are no specific VPNs for specific areas.

You can use them from anywhere in the world, and all that matters in which countries they have their servers. A VPN that has no servers in the UK cannot unblock UK content.

However, a VPN that does have servers in the UK – can.

That VPN can be used from any point on the planet, as long as you have an internet connection.

This also goes for South Africa, and you can watch from any city or town. It doesn’t matter if you are trying to connect from Cape Town, Johannesburg, Durban, Soweto, Port Elizabeth, or any small village or mid-sized town.

The only condition is to have the internet, and you can obtain a VPN and watch BBC iPlayer at any time. Best of all, you can use any device to watch, from smartphones, tablets, Smart TVs, laptops, desktops, and more.


If you’re South African or a British expat and you want to stream BBC iPlayer in RSA, then you’ll be pleased to know it’s effortless.

Grab a VPN from ExpressVPN or one of the other providers and then connect to the UK.

All that’s left for you to do is settle down in your favourite chair and enjoy iPlayer whatever you are in South Africa.

Ready to get watching?

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6 Responses

  1. Carl Runkel says:

    I have Express VPN and watch Italian TV through Rai Play without any problem. I cannot however download the BBC IPlayer app, always get the same response: This app is currently not available in your country or region. I have changed my location to UK – Docklands.
    Please assist.
    Many thanks

  2. We got nord vpn..but now iplayer wants a tv licence number for brition.i want iplayer and britbox with my vpn in south africa.please help me connect.

  3. JUDITH EVE BELL says:

    What is the monthly cost, depending on which VPN YOU CHOOSE?

    • Chris says:

      Hi Judith,

      The prices are shown on each individual VPN provider’s website. It’s much cheaper to take a 12-month subscription than paying monthly, often half the price.

      Often the prices are shown in US Dollars but will sometimes be your local currency too like the South African Rand, so be sure to check.

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