Where can you go on your SA passport?

Posted on 7 July 2011

As the fortunate (and sometimes smug) holder of a European passport, I often wonder what life is like for the average travel-inspired South African passport holder.

Sometimes, late at night, I envision them waking up in a cold sweat, panicked by visions of places they may never see. And then, an even more frightful thought occurred to me. A thought permeated with queues, questions, interviews, discouraging officials and paperwork “¦ my god, the paperwork. I once had to get a visa for the United States and I swear, I could more easily have sailed there on a boat made from the trees that were cut down just to process my application. I can only imagine what it must be like for holders of the infamous ‘Biltong Book’.

Visa-free travel destinations

So, not one to speculate, I decided to find out where my fellow, slightly disadvantaged, countrymen could go without having to brave the nightmare of foreign affairs. As it turns out, it’s not actually that bad.

Here is a list of all the places (as of 2010) that South African’s can travel to, visa-free (or receive a visa upon arrival):


Benin, Botswana, Cape Verde, Comoros, Ethiopia, Kenya, Lesotho, Madagascar, Malawi, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, Rwanda, Saint Helena, Senegal, Seychelles, Swaziland, Tanzania, Togo, Tunisia, Zambia, Zimbabwe

South America

Antigua and Barbuda, Argentina, Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Brazil, British Virgin Islands, Cayman Islands, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Dominica, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Falkland Islands, Grenada, Guatemala, Guyana, Haiti, Honduras, Jamaica, Montserrat, Nicaragua, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Turks and Caicos Islands, Uruguay, Venezuela

North America

Yeah. You can’t go here at all without getting a Visa. Neither can I though.


Armenia, Bangladesh, Cambodia, Georgia, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Laos, Macau, Malaysia, Maldives, Nepal, Philippines, Singapore, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Timor-Leste

Europe (here’s where it starts to get a little thin)

Ireland, Kosovo, Turkey

Middle East

Israel, Jordan, Oman


Cook Islands, Fiji, Federated States of Micronesia, Nauru, New Zealand, Niue, Palau, Samoa, Tuvalu, Vanuatu

All things considered. That’s not a bad selection. Although the map above paints a somewhat glum picture.

The Department of Home Affairs

Consumed by curiosity, I decided to go a little further and check out the state of our very own Department of Home Affairs. After mixed responses from friends and family (mostly unfavourable), I checked them out online. Turns out they even have a Facebook page! But with only 112 likes “¦ not so popular then (makes you wonder what the figure would be if Facebook had a dislike button). Furthermore, it seems that you can’t comment, leave a message or post on their wall.

“˜Much like the actual Department of Home Affairs then,’ I heard my inner-sceptic say.

I did, however, find this highly-useful webpage solely devoted to giving advice to South African’s travelling abroad:

Travel tips from the Department of International Relations and Cooperation

So to that I say, ‘Touché, good people of the South African government. You may not be that popular (online or in real life), but it’s nice to know that you’re looking out for those South Africans trying to make the most out of their Biltong Book.’

For more info on where (and for how long) you can travel on your SA Passport visit http://bit.ly/roOBdU

To be safe, consult the necessary embassies before you travel, as visa requirements often change.

Image courtesy of Ozguroot on Wikipedia

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