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 ten of our favourite visa-free destinations for South Africans.
Here’s where your passport can take you:
A firm favourite for South Africans, Thailand is not only visa-free but kinder on your pocket than most international destinations. Explore sacred temples, labyrinthine markets, Go-Go bars, and, of course, Thailand’s famous castaway islands that dot the Indochinese Peninsula.
Mauritius (Visa on entry)
The original getaway island for South Africans, Mauritius never gets old. Who could ever tire of the island’s natural beauty, friendly people and endless beaches? As soon as you arrive, you will be issued with a visa, making Mauritius the perfect destination for a spontaneous beach holiday.
Maldives (Visa on entry)
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.
Visa-free for South Africans, 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.
Famous for being the home UNESCO World Heritage Site, Machu Picchu, Peru is invitingly visa-free for South Africans. 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.
Sri Lanka (Visa on entry)
An up-and-coming destination for South Africans, Sri Lanka is perfect for adventurers who have a feel for relaxation and embracing various cultures. 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 (Visa on entry)
The Middle East is becoming ever more popular and Jordan is a great option for first-time visitors. 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 dessert lifestyle.
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-fueled bliss along the coast. The island is a melting pot of food and culture, so bring your appetite for new flavours and experiences.
Cambodia (Visa on entry)
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.
Don’t cry for me Argentina! The truth is I never want to leave the 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 persuasive sways of the tango.
Are you packing your bags yet?
This post was updated from 5 visa-free destinations to 10 on 25 October 2019.