101 countries South Africans can visit without a visa

2019-02-11 08:00
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Any local without an ancestral visas or dual citizenship knows travelling on a plain old green South African passport is no joke.

Before even thinking about entering most countries around the world, we are required to pass the ultimate endurance test: a visa application.

Yet, the South African passport is the most powerful African passport, the latest data published by the Henley Passport Index shows - a list of world passports, ranked from the most powerful to the weakest, based on how many other countries one can visit with that passport visa-free or with a visa-on-arrival/e-visa. 

As of January 2019, South African passport holders can travel to 101 world countries without the need to apply for a visa prior to their trip. 

South Africans can travel to and enter 67 countries without any type of visa. There is another 34, which they can enter by obtaining a visa on arrival or enter on a free e-visa at the port of entry of their destination country.  

The overall global list is topped by three Asian countries Japan, Singapore and South Korea, followed by the EU/EEA countries. 

TRAVEL PLANNING: See detailed Quick Guides for each of the visa-free destinations for South African travellers here

All in all there are 101 countries around the globe we can enter on our passports alone, and while they may not be the US, Canada, Australia or most of Europe, there are some pretty exciting places to go. 

Here's a round-up all the countries you can either visit visa-free or get a visa on arrival with a valid passport:


Most SADC countries are accessible to us without a visa, as long as we're going there for vacation. Any form of work - even volunteering - requires some form of a visa, so make 100% sure what the rules are beforehand. 

Here is the full list of African countries we can enter without visas:

Angola, Benin, Botswana, Djibouti, Kenya, Lesotho, Malawi, Mauritius, MauritaniaMozambique, Namibia, Rwanda, Saint Helena, Senegal, Seychelles, eSwatini (formerly Swaziland), Somalia, Zambia and Zimbabwe.

And then a few where we get a visa on arrival:

Cape Verde, Comoros, Ethiopia, Gabon, Ghana, Guinea-Bissau, Madagascar, Tanzania, Togo Tunisia and Uganda.

South and Central America

The good news is that pretty much the ENTIRE South and central America is accessible to us on nothing but a passport, with the exception of, among others, Suriname, French Guiana, Mexico, Cuba, and Puerto Rico. 

Here is a full list of the South and Central American countries we can enter on our passport:

Antigua and Barbuda, Argentina, Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Brazil, British Virgin Islands, Bolivia Cayman Islands, Chile, Costa Rica, Dominica, 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 Grenadines, Trinidad and Tobago, Turks and Caicos Islands, Uruguay and Venezuela.

North America

Sorry, folks, it's a no go. Visas are a must. Check out what you need for the US Visa application process.


Well, it's mostly closed to us, but there are a few surprising destinations we can enter sans visa. 

Ireland, Kosovo, Russia, Georgia and France's Reunion Island.

Also see: Reunion Island - an eruption of unusual landscapes


Hong Kong, Macao, Malaysia, Maldives, Philippines, Singapore, and Thailand.

Visa on arrival:

Armenia, Bangladesh, Bahrain, Cambodia, Indonesia, Kyrgyzstan, Laos, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Tajikistan, South Korea, and Timor-Leste

Middle East

Iran, Israel, Palestine, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Qatar

Free E-visa



Cook Islands, Fiji, Federated states of Micronesia, Marshall Islands, Nauru, Niue, Palau, Samoa, Tuvalu, Vanuatu. 

Check out the Department of International Relations and Cooperation's comprehensive list of visa requirements for ordinary South African citizens.  

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