As a South African passport holder, the thing I enjoy least about travelling has to be applying for visas. The process is so complicated and it can be difficult to know if you need a Spain non lucrative visa or just a tourist visa, for example. Fellow South Africans will know what a hassle applying for a visa is every time you want to travel. The process takes so much time, its expensive and printing out all those pages just cannot be good for the environment! Here are all the countries South Africans can visit without a visa, plus the 15 beautiful places I’d love to visit visa-free as soon as possible.
All the countries South Africans can visit without a visa
|Hong Kong||Mozambique||British Virgin Islands||Costa Rica|
|Malaysia||Senegal||Dominican Republic||Falkland Islands|
|Ireland||Zimbabwe||St Kitts and Nevis||Panama|
|Kosovo||Cook Islands||St Lucia||Paraguay|
|Russia||Fiji||St Vincent and Grenadines||Peru|
|Angola||Micronesia||Trinidad and Tobago||Uruguay|
|Botswana||Niue||Turks and Caicos Islands||Venezuela|
|Lesotho||Antigua and Barbuda||Belize||Israel|
All the countries that offer South Africans visa on arrival
1 Reunion Island
I’ve been five times and I’d still go back at the drop of a hat! Reunion Island is the perfect destination for adventurous travellers and perfect for South Africans – just a 4 hour direct flight from Johannessburg. Packed with adventure, you can go from swimming in the warm waters of the lagoon to visiting the peak of volcano to hiking to the remote Cirque of Mafate and SO MUCH MORE! South Africans can visit for up to 3 months without a visa, even though Reunion Island is technically France.
The best recommended time to visit Argentina is October to mid-December. Argentina has tons to offer, from tango dancing in Beunos Aires to wine tasting in Mendoza and even the beautiful Perito Moreno Glacier. South Africans are lucky to be able to visit this diverse country visa-free!
3 Hong Kong
I have spent one day in the beautiful city of Hong Kong and have been wanting to go back ever since. You could spend your day in Hong Kong visiting the Tian Tan Buddha early in the morning and then heading out to Hong Kong Disneyland for a day of fun rides and trying out theme park food and drinks. At night you could book a traditional craft beer tour, learning all about the Hong Kong beer community or a 3 hour wildlife night walking tour near Hok Tau Reservoir. Or you could just eat all the dim sum and shop till your credit card bursts into flames.
There are so many reasons to visit Ireland! It’s not all just stunning country side and castles. Ireland hosts more than 400 festivals every year, with highlights like St Patricks Day, the Cork Sailing Festival and Galway Arts Festival. I’d love to explore the culture and nightlife of Dublin, where the Dublin Pass gives you free access to over 30 tourist attractions and discounts at a variety of restaurants, shopping spots, theatres and transport. There are also loads of dublin bus options which means getting around the city is really easy!
Peru is probably best known for Machu Picchu, one of the most bucket-list worthy sights in the world. Machu Picchu is one of the ancient Inca ruins protected by mountains and you can experience it by hiking the Inca trail. Peru is also one of the top surfing destinations in the world, so you active travellers won’t be bored for a moment!
6 The Bahamas
Made up of 700 islands and islets and with over 2000 coral reefs, The Bahamas is one of the ultimate destinations to island hop and soak up the sun on pink sand beaches. Every year, at the end of April locals and tourists gather together from Grand Bahama to Nassau and celebrate the Junkanoo Carnival. Over 50 000 people immerse themselves in good music and good food and spend their days partying. Don’t forget you can also have a chance to swim with the cutest swimming pigs and blow your Instagram up with the shots to prove it.
I’ve spent a couple of weeks in Bali and on the island of Gili Trawangan but to be honest, travelling to Indonesia is so much more than just the beaches of Bali. The Komodo National Park is made up of four islands where the worlds largest lizard, the Komodo dragon, roams wild! The ancient temple of Borobudur, the orangutans of Borneo and the Banda Islands are all so worth seeing.
Lake Malawi is one of Africa’s “hidden” gems! It’s probably number 1 on my bucket list right now, with crystal clear waters and unspoilt bush, Malawi has the perfect combination of both the beach and the bush. I’d love to spend some time in one of the country’s safari destinations, like Liwonde National Park and get soak up the sun at one of the water resorts like Mumbo Island.
Tanzania is best known for Mount Kilimanjaro, which is just one of the country’s many incredible hiking destinations. Camping and safari are a MUST and in Tanzania, where you can experience a Southern Circuit Safari that takes you way off road and into the wild.
The home of Bob Marley, his music and the island lifestyle. It’s cultural hotspot with tons to offer. The weather is warm all year round, so you can literally pack your bags whenever you feel like it and escape to astounding white beaches, hike the Blue Mountain (and taste its unique Blue Mountain coffee) and maybe even learn a little “Patwa” – the native language of Jamaica. There is also an opportunity to take a trip over to the Cayman Islands too when in Jamaica. The Cayman Islands is known for its beautiful scenery, especially along the 7 mile long beach. There are so many things to do in the Cayman Islands, including going to the turtle centres or going to the bay. Hoping between these two beautiful islands will take anyones breath away, especially with the scenic views.
11 The Philippines
White sand beaches, powerful waterfalls, underground river tours, deserted islands, picturesque rice terraces, swimming with whale sharks…there’s just so much to do! With more than 7000 islands to explore, you could be there for a while!
Thailand is one of those places that you can travel to all year round. It’s been popular with South Africans for years, and for good reason. From delicious Thai street food, a crazy nightlife scene and thousands of beach bars to stunning nature and wild animals…Thailand is always buzzing and has something for everyone.
There’s more to in Mauritius than just soaking up some sun and getting a good tan. Although, it’s particularly good for that. If you prefer to stay busy on your holiday, you can walk underwater, hike Black River Gorges Park or take a street food tour of the island’s capital.
14 The Turks and Caicos Islands
And not just because celebrities like Taylor Swift have been flocking there recently! Located southeast of Miami and roughly midway between the Bahamas and the Dominican Republic, the Turks and Caicos Islands are the dream for water sport enthusiasts. Paddle boarding, snorkelling, wind surfing, fishing surfing, kite boarding. You’d find yourself enjoying the beaches from these turks and caicos villas and enjoying the picturesque scenery.
With the world famous Christ The Redeemer towering over Rio and the Ilha Grande island just off the coast of Rio there is so much to see and do in Brazil. Lopes Mendes beach on the Ilha island was voted one of the top ten beaches in Brazil. You can also take an amazon day tour and if you’re lucky you can spot the endangered Pink dolphin known as ‘Boto” to the locals.
The visa process has changed with regards to Turkey. It’s still pretty simple, but you do need to apply for a visa at least 48 hours before departure. You do it all online, print it out and then take it with you and present it on arrival. It may actually be better as I’ve been twice and the first time I had no issues getting a visa stamp on arrival and the second time there was a lot of confusion around how much I needed to pay etc. Istanbul doesn’t have the most organized airport. This possibly streamlines the process. Also, FYI, I’ve just had the easiest, cheapest, quickest visa experience with the Japanese embassy. No appointments necessary. Minimal paperwork. The visa cost R355. I took my forms in on Friday and fetched my visa on Tuesday. The most hassle-free process ever.
Oh thanks so much for letting us know, Jo!
Thank you for this informative list, Natalie. I have bookmarked this page for future travels.
Omg Natalie, this blog post was so informative thank you so much! I now know my 2019 travels starting with Thailand
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