Tourists coming to South Africa need to choose their airlines carefully if they want to bring their cameras and laptops with them.

The new US and UK ban on certain personal devices, including cameras, will affect a large number of passengers who may be using the popular indirect services, reports Travel News Weekly.

While direct flights operated by SAA and Delta Air Lines are not affected by the USA Department of Homeland Security (DHS) ban on carrying certain electronic devices in the cabin, many tourists flying to South Africa  are nevertheless affected.

Six airlines operating indirect services from the US to SA use hubs included in the ban which becomes effective on March 25.

The airlines and hubs are Emirates (DXB), Turkish Airlines (IST), Etihad (AUH), Qatar (DOH), EgyptAir (CAI) and Saudia (JED).

Only a smart phone is allowed in the cabin on flights to and from these hubs on the US leg.

In South Africa where theft out of suitcases passing through its airports has been rampant and check-in staff routinely caution travellers to leave nothing of value in their checked-in luggage, this ban poses a particular problem. Travel agents are also warning travellers that travel insurance does not cover high-value items that are in checked-in luggage.

The UK on Tuesday followed with its own ban on devices larger than 16cm x 9,3cm x 1,5cm on flights from Turkey, Egypt, Saudi Arabia. At this stage the UK has not included flights from Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Doha. The UK ban will only affect tourists on their return journey to the UK.

The DHS made the announcement earlier this week as a result of intelligence they received that terrorist groups were looking at innovative ways to smuggle explosive devices on board commercial flights. It is a trend rather than a specific alert and is seen as an enhanced security measure. At this point it affects 10 of the 250 airports with flights to and from the US. No domestic flights in the US are affected. Medical devices are excluded.