Newsletter 8: June 2024 International Postage

June 2024

After no newsletters for over a year, you are now getting bombarded with another “hot on its heels”.

It is a terribly boring subject and something that has made our hair VERY grey over the years especially recently since we have stopped using the South African Post Office.

I am very friendly with one of the Post Office employees at Kenilworth Post office where we used to take our mail right from the very beginning of Silverhill seeds when Rod and Rachel bought the business.  Mario has become a personal friend and he is always willing to help as well as let us know if there is a parcel that has been returned that is waiting at the Post Office to be collected.

Many of our South Africa Post Office branches have been closed and employees retrenched or moved to other offices.  A couple of months ago the SAPO came to an agreement with Ethiopian Airlines we believe and our parcels are slowly being delivered.  We do have a problem with Witspos in Johannesburg, we never get a response from them and some of our parcels have been there for over a year now, they just don’t seem to getting rid of their back-log.

We apologise to our customers that have had a problem with their postage over the last year and we do hope in the future MAYBE the SA Post office will get back to its original strength.

We are offering other postage options now and they are all working very well.

Royal Mail (

Yes this is exactly what it is.  We use a company here ( Mailwise: that sends our/your parcels to the UK and they are then “put/inserted” into the Royal Mail postage system.  Some of our older customers will member we used to do this when my son was living in Inverness, but he came home, so we had to change that strategy until we got a call from this company.  We have been very happy with their service and we can speak to a human if we need to know, so there is also a personal touch.

  • Your parcel takes 2-3 days to arrive at the Johannesburg Depot, we send every Tuesday from Cape Town.
  • Once the consignment arrives at the depot, items get sorted the following day.
  • Parcels get handed over to the airlines on a Friday and normally depart on a Saturday night/Sunday morning…. If a shipment gets bumped off the flight due to weight restrictions the parcels will then leave on the first available flight again.
  • The parcels undergo clearance which normally takes a day or two, and our suppliers collect the next day once the parcels have been customs cleared….
  • Parcels will then be “injected” into the Royal Mail postage system the day after material has been received at the depot in the UK.
  • If parcels have departed on the weekend as booked, we pre-alert our suppliers on a Monday and tracking numbers will be available from Tuesday afternoon/Wednesday morning to hand over to the clients.

We can send parcels either TRACKED or UNTRACKED.

  • Tracked: This is the more expensive option, but works well for our customers who would like to “watch” their parcel travelling and need their seeds and books urgently.
  • Untracked: Much cheaper than tracked and parcels seem to arrive with no hitch and nearly as fast as the tracked option.  For a small amount of seed, this makes it very affordable to get seed to you from our wonderful selection


Fedex, DHL, UPS

Fedex is certainly the cheapest option for sending smaller parcels especially to the USA, but comes with its own challenges.  Very often UPS is cheaper for the larger book orders.  We are very happy to get you a variety of quotes to see what will be the best for you.

If we send parcels courier our customers have to be aware that they will need either or both the following: Phytosanitary Certificate and/or Import Permit.  There might be other documents that we have no idea of and you as the customer need to help us in this regard as we don’t know every countries import conditions.

We have even had a customer or 2 emailing us regarding changed requirements or links that we have not updated on our website and this is very appreciated by us as well as new customers visiting our website for the first time.

Import Conditions


As above we don’t know when conditions change or what they are and rely on you our customers to help us with this.  We can supply a Phytosanitary Certificate, some countries want a Certificate or Origin, we can also supply this.

We send emails from our website when you order regarding the import conditions we know about, we do this for your information and for no other reason.

If you choose to send without the documents, we are very happy to send via either of the 2 Royal Mail options.  We cannot say it will not be confiscated, but it is the option where small parcels might “slip” through, we also cannot be held responsible if it is confiscated by customs.

Customs duties/VAT/Tax

Please be aware these are charges we don’t know about as each country will have its own sliding scale of charges. Some customers have had to pay huge amounts and others not.  We are not responsible for these charges, each customer in each country is responsible for their own import charges for their parcel.


Thank you to all of our customers for being so understanding over the last few years with our difficulties and for those who have so often pointed us in the right direction to try and find the information we may need.  It I am sure has been frustrating for all of us, but your patience is really appreciated.