I have a friend in South Africa who is thinking about buying a Nintendo DS. It's hard to find games in her city, though, so I was thinking I'd buy several in the USA and mail them to her.
Would this work or are Nintendo DS games region locked?
It would appear that the games are not region locked according this this Wiki article that states:
As in Ryan's answer, Nintendo DS games aren't region locked. I can confirm this myself as I'm in the UK and I regularly import US/Japanese games that don't make it over here.
However, the Wiki quote raises this small caveat that I feel needs explaining more:
What this means is that, if you use a DSi (and by extension, a DSi XL/XXL), any games/software that use DSi specific features become region locked. This is worth remembering because there are some popular games (Such as Pokémon Black/White and their sequels) that make minor use of these features and therefore become region locked on a DSi.
This only affects DSi consoles, however - they can still be played on the regular DS with no issues.
I have plenty of experience here, having stuff from all three regions!
Basically, everything up to Nintendo DS is not region-locked.
Any software that is DSi-exclusive is region-locked.
As of the 3DS, everything is region-locked.
South Africa is located in the PAL region, so you could buy games in Europe and send them, but not in the US.