Travel Update: No More Visas To Russia For South Africans

A view from a bridge over the Neva River, St Petersburg, Russia of cars crossing a bridge near waterfront buildings

1.88min read

Published 9 May 2017


No visa, no problem! From April 2017, South African citizens travelling to Russia, no longer need a visa to visit the destination as the two governments have introduced visa-free travel to mark the 25th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between South Africa and Russia.

So, in addition to being able to attend the 2018 FIFA World Cup without the nuisance of having to apply for a visa beforehand, South Africans can now embrace their inner “Rusky” and explore the sights of Russia’s Imperial Capitals – St. Petersburg and Moscow with absolute ease.

Travel will now be effortless and fun. Your Russian rail adventure will combine art and antiquities with opulent modern metropolises, beginning in St. Petersburg, the Venice of the North, to view such incredible sights as the Tsar’s Winter Palace, Nesky Prospekt and the Statue of Peter The Great.


. Saint-petersburg, Russia
Statue of Peter the Great against blue sky. Saint-petersburg, Russia

Enjoy a visit to the Hermitage Museum to see one of the world’s largest and most valuable art collection with three million artefacts showcasing the development of world culture and art from the stone age to the 21st Century.

Next stop Moscow! Catch a train to this ancient city where you will see the exquisite architecture and monuments to fallen heroes. A local specialist will take you to all the main sights including Red Square, St. Basil’s Cathedral and the Kremlin Walls.

The best time to visit Russia is from April to December, and there are a myriad of guaranteed departures for the Wonders of St. Petersburg and Moscow guided holiday. Better news still is that no matter what the rand is doing, you don’t have to play Russian Roulette with your budget. 

And if you’re ready to pack your suitcase, here are 5 of the quirkiest things you need to know about Mother Russia:

1.Face Control

A slightly more descriptive way of saying ‘Right of Admission Reserved’, many of the restaurants and nightclubs will have this proudly displayed on their doors. If you want to mix with the locals, you’d best pack your glad rags.

2.No whistling indoors

Did you know that it’s bad luck to whistle indoors in Russia? Apparently if you whistle inside, the superstition dictates that you are whistling money away and you will become poor.

3.Have a blini

There’s nothing sweet about a Russian blini (pancake), best enjoyed with sour cream, butter and caviar, but make sure you have one during your visit and don’t dare ask for it with syrup.

4.A catty affair

Apparently, The Hermitage in St. Petersburg doubles as a home to about 70 cats, according to The Telegraph. Word has it that these little fur-balls guard its treasures against rats – a tradition dating back to a 1745 decree of Empress Elizabeth, the daughter of Peter the Great.

5.What’s in a name?

Red Square is red by name only and was derived from the word krasnyi, which once-upon-a-time meant beautiful. It has only come to mean red in contemporary Russia and has absolutely nothing to do with communism.

No more visas to Russia means vodka, blinis and Face Control. Explore and book a holiday to Russia today and enjoy their guaranteed departures or contact one of our travel professionals for details by clicking here or visit your local Flight Centre store or call 0877 40 50 00 for more advise and to book your next trip.

Flight Centre

© Flight Centre Travel Group (Pty) Ltd. Registration No. 1994/000253/07.

*Prices are in ZAR and subject to availability. Please refer to specific product’s terms and conditions.