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We all know that travel is fantastic, but applying for visas is not. So if you’re trying to avoid the admin of embassies and Home Affairs, where can you go with a South African passport? I had a look, and there are plenty of places South Africans can visit without a visa. Here are 15 places that you and your South African passport can visit visa-free.

When I was growing up, going on family vacations was a foreign concept to me. The furthest I would go was to my grandmother’s house. My cousins and I would take turns making our own breakfast and alternate between who would sleep on the floor and who would use the bed. Don’t get me wrong, I had the best time and some of my fondest childhood memories were from those vacations.

At 23, I discovered the little green passport book would be my prized possession. Holding so much power to let me explore the borders of the world, I soon realised the little book allowed me to travel – however its powers were not limitless.

In 2016, South Africans have access to 114 countries visa-free or one can receive a visa upon arrival. Here are my 15 places that don’t require a visa that I would love to visit with my South African passport:

 

1. Fiji Island

Visa can be received on arrival with a validity of 6 months

Sapphire Water on the pristine Fiji beaches by Catherine Gidzinski.

Sapphire Water on the pristine Fiji beaches by Catherine Gidzinski.

Tropical islands, endless coral reefs, sapphire aquamarine, bikini and cocktail in hand has been a fantasy of mine for as long as I can remember. No wonder Fiji is (allegedly) home to the happiest people on Earth.

 

2. Philippines

Visa-free entry valid for 21 days

I thought our beloved South Africa was the leader of the language pack, but the Phillipines completely beats us. As a linguaphile, being awarded the opportunity to be in a place that has over 120 individual languages would be bliss.

 

3. Argentina

Visa-entry valid for 3 months

patagonia, horse, horsetrail

Patagonia on horseback. Photo by Alison Westwood.

Food, oh glorious food! As a South African, meat is part of our tradition: and Argentina is famous for its grass-fed cattle. A bit of steak and an Argentinian drink to complement the meal does not sound like a bad idea.

Also read: crossing Patagonia on horseback

 

4. Barbados

Visa-free entry valid for 6 months
One of the animals I’d most love to witness is the flying fish. Barbados is known as the land of the flying fish (not the beer), and they’re a common sight around the island.

 

5. Senegal

Visa-free entry valid for 3 months

The Lake Retba shades of pink change according to the season by John Ive via Flickr

The Lake Retba shades of pink change according to the season by John Ive via Flickr

If the images of Lake Retba are anything to go by, then I definitely want to visit Senegal. Where else have you seen a strawberry pink lake?

 

6. Brazil

Visa–free entry valid for 3 months

Brazil is not only a business destination but it is an ideal tourist destination as it focuses on eco-tourism. The culture in Brazil is similar to South Africa, with the friendly locals. This multifaceted destination has spectacular beaches and impeccable weather.

 

7. Sri Lanka

Visa-free entry valid for 30 days
With no less than 8 UNESCO World Heritage Sites, this world class, ancient country is a definite on my bucket list. Sri Lanka has well-kept temples, gardens, shrines and palaces after all these years.

 

8. Lesotho

Visa-free entry

Lesotho, by Evan Hausmann.

Lesotho, by Evan Hausmann.

Right in our beautiful country’s backyard is Lesotho. Rugged mountains, sparkling waterfalls, men on horseback, women in their traditional attire and children herding cattle are what I envision when I think of Lesotho. I guess a visit is in order to figure out if I’m right.

 

9. Ethiopia

Visa can be received on arrival with a validity of 6 months

This bridge is over a water pit that is supposed to improve fertility. Women are lowered down into the water if they have trouble conceiving. Photo by Szerdi Nagy.

This bridge is over a water pit that is supposed to improve fertility. Women are lowered down into the water if they have trouble conceiving. Photo by Szerdi Nagy.

I would love to be immersed in the culture and simplicity of Ethiopia. As a coffee lover, I would be delighted to take part in a coffee ceremony, where I have been told the Ethiopians are exceptionally hospitable.

Also read: Ethiopia, where the wild wolves wander

 

10. Swaziland

Visa-free entry

Sibebe mountain is the world’s largest, exposed plutonic rock, great for walkers and serious hikers.

Sibebe mountain is the world’s largest, exposed plutonic rock, great for walkers and serious hikers.

Perennial landscapes and mountains, in one small and perfectly landlocked country. A kingdom rich in wildlife reserves and culture, not far from South Africa is why Swaziland has made it onto my bucket list.

Also read: a surprising sojourn in Swaziland

 

11. Indonesia

Visa-free entry valid for 30 days

Local children get to experience opportunities to learn from the volunteers by ISVolunteers

Local children get to experience opportunities to learn from the volunteers via ISVolunteers.

Indonesia is a huge country and there is more to it than Bali. I would go to Indonesia to do some Voluntourism. Any project that is beneficial to local communities, makes for a great opportunity to do something charitable.

 

12. Peru

Visa-free entry valid for 183 days

horse-riding in Peru

Horse-riding in Peru. Photo by Teagan Cunniffe.

Chocolate can be found all over the world, but there’s a long tradition of enjoying the raw and natural form of cacao in Peru. If you’re like me and believe that chocolate is healthy, then a chocolate tour should also be on your bucket list too. Chocolate is full of antioxidants and the higher the cocoa content, the better!

 

13. Kenya

Visa-free entry valid for 3 months

Mt Ololokwe. Image courtesy of The Kenyan Camper.

Mt Ololokwe. Image courtesy of The Kenyan Camper.

I’d be most excited to visit the Kenya Lake System. This UNESCO World Heritage Site is part of the Great Rift Valley, which formed 20 million years ago when the crust of the Earth was split, and is stretched around one-sixth of the Earth’s circumference.

 

14. Brazil

Visa-entry valid for 90 days
I have been to many carnivals, but I have a feeling there is nothing quite like a Brazil Mardi Gras. The outfits and all the astonishing colours make me want to samba!

 

15. Singapore

Visa-free entry valid for 30 days
One of the things that showcase a country’s diversity is the arts. A captivating art scene with colourful multicultural heritage is what attracts me to most places. Modern cities that have a touch of life’s rich tapestry are what I live for!

Also, with a butterfly garden, free cinema, and all kinds of other treats, their airport is one of the best in the world. Don’t believe me? Here’s the proof: Why Changi is one of the world’s best airports.




3 Responses to “15 awesome places for visa-free travel for South Africans”

  1. Joe

    I’m really surprised why Malaysia, Thailand and Turkey are not on the list ? Amazing tourist destination with awesome food and culture.

    Reply

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