Looking to travel? Your South African passport may feel like a limitation, but it’s the strongest passport in Africa and there are countries where you don’t need a visa.
Travelling as a South African can be very difficult. If you haven’t yet, try applying for a visa to make your way to Europe or the US with a South African passport, and you will soon find out how complicated it can be.
A friend of mine is currently having his visa processed to spend a month travelling though Europe. The amount of documentation they need is crazy.
“I had to get signed letters from everyone I was staying with. They need proof of everything, down to the bus tickets I’ve booked.”
While getting a visa to Europe and the US can be a nightmare, most South Africans don’t realise how how many countries they can visit without a visa. These are the 89 countries you can visit as a South African without a visa.
16 of our African neighbours welcome us without the need for a visa, as long as we’re going there on holiday and don’t plan on moving in. Working anywhere in Africa will require a visa.
These 16 countries are: Benin, Botswana, Gabon, Kenya, Lesotho, Malawi, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, Saint Helena, Senegal, Swaziland, Tanzania, Tunisia, Zambia and Zimbabwe.
In some African countries you will only need to get a visa on arrival (chances of not being granted a visa though? Practically zero. They give you one simply for arriving, it’s just bureaucratic.). These are Cape Verde, Comoros, Ethiopia, Madagascar, Rwanda, Seychelles, Seychelles, Togo and Uganda.
South and Central America (31)
Just about all of South America is open to South Africans visa-free. With nothing but your passport (and hopefully some clean clothes) you can make your way to:
Antigua and Barbuda, Argentina, Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Brazil, British Virgin Islands, Cayman Islands, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Dominica, Ecuador, El Salvador, Falkland Islands, Grenada, Guatemala, Guyana, Haiti, Honduras, Jamaica, Montserrat, Nicaragua, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and Grenadines, Turks and Caicos Islands, Uruguay and Venezuela.
Now this may surprise you – in a good way. Travelling to Europe as a South African is difficult, but we can travel to Ireland, Kosovo and France’s Reunion Island without a visa.
Even better, the whole of the European Union may soon be open to South Africans – no visa required. Home Affairs Minister, Malusi Gigaba, has been working on getting South Africans visa-free access to all countries within the EU since last year, and Home affairs spokesperson Mayihlome Tshwete has confirmed that this process is well underway. We may even see the EU opening up to South Africans this year!
South Africans can visit quite a few minor Asian countries without a visa. You can visit Georgia, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Macao, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, and Thailand without a visa.
You will be given a visa upon arrival in: Armenia, Bahrain, Cambodia, Laos, Maldives, Nepal, Sri Lanka, South Korea and Timor-Leste.
Middle East (4)
Your choices in the Middle East are quite limited. We are only welcome to visit Israel without a visa. But Jordan, Oman and Turkey will provide you with a visa upon arrival.
Looking for somewhere tropical and a little closer to home? You can visit the Cook Islands, Fiji, Federated States of Micronesia, Niue and Vanuatu without having to get a visa. You will be given a visa upon arriving at Palau, Samoa and Tuvalu.
Unfortunately travelling anywhere in North America will require a visa. Getting a visa to the US is famously difficult, but you can find out everything about the process here.
Just a Heads Up
While traveling is an amazing experience and can be tons of fun with unforgettable memories being made – remember to be safe and check whether or not you need to be vaccinated before entering a country! You don’t want your happy experience to be tainted by illness or disease post-holiday.
The world outside of Europe and the US is big – In fact it makes up most of the world! There is so much to explore in the countries of South America, Asia and Africa. Bonus – your rands will be worth much more in these countries than in Europe and the US. This means staying longer, travelling further and having a better time.