Flight ticket booked? Check. Accommodation sorted? Check. Pre-holiday shopping done? Check. Suitcases packed? Check. Super-expensive visa in passport? Not necessary!
South Africa’s passport, also known as the green mamba, can take you to 93* destinations worldwide without the hassle of applying for a visa beforehand, not to mention the costs involved. Our passport is currently in 95th* place on the latest global Passport Index, compiled by global financial advisory firm Arton Capital, which provides an indication of how easy (or difficult) it is for holders of specific passports to travel.
Although South African travellers don’t have it nearly as easy as others on the list, such as Germany (who take first position on the list with a visa-free score of 159), it doesn’t mean you have to stay home. You can travel to 64 countries without applying for a visa and to 29 countries by getting one on arrival.
To help you plan your next holiday, Flight Centre has put together a list of our favourite visa-free destinations:
South America: Argentina, Brazil, Peru and Chile
Many South American countries don’t require South Africans to have visas, so why not plan a lengthy multi-country trip to this vibrant continent? Learn to tango in Buenos Aires, take the Inca Trail to the magnificent ruins of the Machu Picchu citadel in Peru, attend one of the world’s most famous carnivals in Rio or just chill on Copacabana Beach, and explore the incredible landscape of Chile’s Atacama Desert.
Island holidays: Zanzibar and Mauritius
What better way to really relax than on an island holiday, whether it’s in the Caribbean between Florida and Cuba; Zanzibar, which lies just off the coast of Tanzania, or Mauritius, situated east of Madagascar in the warm Indian Ocean? These destinations have a few things in common: white, sandy beaches as far as the eye can see, crystal-clear blue and turquoise waters, mouthwatering seafood and an abundance of cocktail bars. What more do you need?
Book your flight ticket to Ireland and start planning: you have to drink a Guinness next to the River Liffey; kiss the Blarney Stone to receive the “gift of the gab” (eloquence or the skill of flattery); and visit the rugged Cliffs of Moher dropping into the ocean – at its highest point more than 200m below.
Asia: Thailand, Hong Kong and Malaysia
There are many reasons why Thailand is such a popular destination among South Africans. It’s affordable and has picturesque beaches, a tropical climate, great markets and a bustling nightlife.
Hong Kong is a shopper’s dream, especially if you want to buy the latest gadgets. If you’d like to escape the city, however, head to Lantau Island and take the kids to Disneyland, or go on a 25-minute cable-car ride with views across the sea and the green mountainside.
The Malaysian capital, Kuala Lumpur, is a modern, multicultural city with a variety of attractions. Highlights include visits to the 88-storey Petronas Towers, which are connected by the world’s highest two-storey bridge, and the Batu Caves, about 13km outside Kuala Lumpur, where a gigantic golden-yellow statue of the Hindu god Murugan greets you at the entrance.
Southern Africa: Namibia, Botswana and Zambia and Mozambique
Sometimes the best holiday destinations are right on your doorstep. Think Namibia’s never-ending dunes, vast landscapes and friendly people; Botswana’s gigantic baobab trees, the Makgadikgadi salt pans and the Okavango Delta’s and Chobe National Park’s abundance of wildlife; or the 1.7-km wide Victoria Falls or Mosi-oa-Tunya, which means “the smoke that thunders”.
Or, if you have a different holiday in mind, why not book a holiday on a cruise ship to Mozambique’s Portuguese Island, and be spoilt from the moment you board?