The number of people travelling through South Africa's ports of entry, about 2.8 million, is down by three percent from the previous year, the department of home affairs said on Tuesday.
The figure includes both South Africans and foreign nationals who passed through immigration from the start of December, the department said in a statement.
About 2.9 million passed through immigration in the same period in 2011.
The department said of the foreign nationals departing during the holiday season, 12 013 were from Mozambique, 11 650 from Zimbabwe, 11 169 from Lesotho, 3 210 from Botswana, 1 268 from the United Kingdom, 853 from Namibia, 754 from Germany, 736 from the United States and 665 from Zambia.
The department also tracked the arrival of foreign nationals during the festive period.
A total of 8 196 were from Lesotho, 5 152 from Zimbabwe, 3 748 from Swaziland, 3 079 from Botswana, 3 028 from Mozambique, 1 959 from the United Kingdom, 1 438 from Germany, 1 302 from the United States, 905 from Namibia and 832 from the Netherlands.
The seven ports of entry with the highest reported traffic were OR Tambo International Airport, Beit Bridge, Lebombo, Ficksburg, Maseru Bridge, Oshoek and Cape Town International Airport.