Top Visa Free Destinations for South Africans

The South African “green mamba” passport takes a lot of flak. Sure, it’s not at the top of the Henley Passport Index (which measures global passport power), but it can take you to some amazing destinations – without having to go through the blah-blah-yawn visa and immigration process.  

Visa free = hassle free

Imagine packing your bags and jetting off abroad without so much as a thought about visa admin. The good news for South Africans is that there are plenty of exciting holiday destinations that don’t require visas, or at the very least will issue visas on arrival. So if you’re itchy-footed for a spontaneous getaway, we’ve hand-picked five of our favourite visa-free destinations for South Africans.  

Which countries are visa free to South Africans? 

Bali

South African passport holders can enjoy Bali tourist visa-free for 30 days if entering from designated airports and seaports. Once you’re there, it’s easy to Find your Bliss. From world-renowned spas to legendary beaches and famous cuisine, there is plenty to keep you busy on a Bali holiday as you explore ‘the Land of the Gods’. 

13 Visa Free Destinations for South Africans

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Argentina

Don’t cry for me Argentina! The truth is I never want to leave your culture, food, history and landscapes. “Steak” your claim in this visa-free destination by engaging with the Gauchos and learning about their culture, or enjoying a glass of Argentinian wine in the bustling city of Buenos Aires. Don’t leave without learning the evocative tango.   

Sri Lanka

An up-and-coming destination for South Africans, Sri Lanka is perfect for adventurers who have a feel for relaxation and embracing various cultures. All applicants who apply for tourist and business visas can apply for an ETA (Electronic Travel Authorisation). ETA is an official authorisation for a short visit to Sri Lanka. ETA holders will be issued a 30 day short visit visa at the port of entry in Sri Lanka.

Catch a train ride from Kandy to Ella to visit the Nine Arch Bridge. For the ultimate Sri Lankan hike, climbing Sigiriya Rock is a definite must! For those in search of gentler pursuits, Sri Lanka boasts plenty of chill spots, perfect for you to sit back and soak up the different environments. Don’t forget: there’s always time for tea in Sri Lanka! 

Jordan

The Middle East is becoming ever more popular and Jordan is a great option for first-time visitors. All South African citizens can get their visa on arrival at any of the below ports of entry in Jordan, at no cost! Allow your inner historian to see one of the greatest ancient cities in the world: Petra. If history’s not your thing, the Dead Sea might just float your boat – or you, even. Your trip would not be complete without heading off on a Bedouin camping adventure and experiencing the desert lifestyle.  

Reunion

Reunion is the perfect combination of chilled island-life and heart-pumping adventure. Formed by a volcano, Reunion sets the scene for epic hiking and mountain biking, while sunseekers will easily find their vitamin-D-fuelled bliss along the coast. The island is a melting pot of food and culture, so bring your appetite for new flavours and experiences.  Plus, South African passport holders do not require a visa for a stay of up to 90 days.

This is why you should add Reunion to your bucket list.

Mozambique

Paradise is within driving distance! Mozambique is visa free for 30 days for tourist purposes, and accessible by both road and air. A Mozambique holiday is one of the best hassle-free travel destinations for South Africans. Whether you make it a road trip or fly straight to a private island off the coast, you will fall in love with Mozambique’s powder-white beaches, turquoise seas, legendary peri-peri prawns and colonial architecture. 

13 Visa Free Destinations for South Africans

Cambodia (UPDATED)

holiday in Cambodia has just about everything for almost everyone’s budgets – from remote islands, to pristine beaches, and buzzing markets to fantastical jungles. Culture vultures, the mystical monuments and temples of Cambodia are ready for their close-up: Angkor Wat, Bayon and more are guaranteed to make your IG feed glow a little brighter. Remember that e-Tourist visas must be applied for online. South African passport holders require a visa for a stay for up to 30 days, and must be presented at the port of entry.

Turkey

While you do need a tourist visa to visit Turkey, you can apply for one online at no cost – and it is recommended to do so.  Your e-visa will be issued within 48 hours and is valid for 180 days (although you can’t stay in the country longer than 30 consecutive days). Just make sure you print out a copy before you travel!  

Flight duration to Turkey from South Africa is 9+ hours on a non-stop route, so what are you waiting for? Visit a sultan’s palace, go on a hot air balloon ride over Cappadocia, see ancient mosques and shop in exotic bazaars. And that’s just a taste of what’s in store. 

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Maldives

With your visa issued on arrival, holidays to the Maldives for luxury-seeking couples and families have never been more accessible. Take your pick of Maldives resort islands, idle onto shore, and ditch your flip-flops for Crusoe-chic luxury at its best. Holidays to the Maldives are perfect for beach addicts, adventurers, foodies, cocktail buffs, romantic couples and fun-seeking families.  

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Thailand

Thailand the ‘Land of Smiles’ is visa free for up to 30 days and famously rand-friendly, making it a firm favourite for South Africans. Explore Thailand’s sacred temples, labyrinthine markets, go-go bars, and, of course, Thailand’s famous castaway islands that dot the Indochinese Peninsula. 

Thinking of visiting Thailand? Here’s your Beginner’s Guide 

13 Visa Free Destinations for South Africans

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Mauritius

Mauritius is visa free for 90 days, only 5 hours away on a direct flight and dotted with family-friendly beach resorts, what’s not to love about holidays in Mauritius? And with the island’s natural beauty, warm and welcoming people and endless beaches, it’s no wonder South Africans never get tired of ‘Heaven on Earth’.  

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Ireland

Visa-free for South Africans (but make sure you’ve got your documentation in place as well a valid reason for visiting when at the Port of Entry), there are castles and cathedrals to explore, museums and art galleries to discover, and Viking adventures to be had, all against the backdrop of shamrocks, Celtic ruins, and fiddle-and-song pubs with free-flowing Guinness. Welcome to the Republic of Ireland. Stick to the south though, as Northern Ireland is part of the UK, and as such requires a UK Visa.  

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Peru

Famous for being the home of UNESCO World Heritage Site, Machu Picchu, Peru is invitingly visa free for South Africans, up to a stay of 183 days (6 months)! In fact, most of South America dangles the visa-free carrot in our direction, teasing us to visit remote Inca ruins, Angel Falls, the Amazon Rainforest and the beaches of Brazil.   

Love to travel with minimal paperwork and hassle?  Are you packing your bags yet? 

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