As a family we LOVE to travel. The bug certainly bit both our kids on our trip to Italy last year! However, as much as I’m thrilled to now have fellow travel enthusiasts in my family, this does ramp up the cost of travel substantially!
Travelling abroad as a South African family of four isn’t always the easiest thing to do when the majority of us all having to travel on the South African passport, otherwise known as the “green mamba”.
Aside from the usual travel costs of flights, accommodation and food, applying for a visa can significantly ramp up the costs of a trip. The UK tourist visa alone costs between R1 500 (for less than 6 months) up to R15 000 for a 10 year visa! Times that by 4 and it’s an expensive trip! Not to mention having to apply for visas – this can be a difficult and time-consuming process, especially when kids are in school!
The good news is that visa-free countries for South Africans do exist though, and there are some glorious options out there. Just because you have a green passport, doesn’t mean that your holidays should be too limited.
Here is our list of some of the top visa-free countries to visit for South Africans. These are not only dreamy destinations, but they are also some of the more affordable places to visit.
Best visa free countries for South Africans
Many South Africans don’t realise that they can visit Europe without a visa. South African visitors can enter the Republic of Ireland without a visa, while a UK visa is needed to visit Northern Ireland. If you are planning group trips to Europe, then Ireland would be a smart place to visit.
Ireland is a beautiful country – with rolling green hills, charming towns, and a rich cultural heritage. Between its vibrant cities and stunning countryside, a trip to Ireland will always go down well.
A friend of mine recently spent 3 weeks travelling through Ireland with her 2 kids – the primary motivator was the fact that it was a visa-free country for her South African family and they needed to hop out of the EU for those visa restrictions! She shared how they managed to visit Ireland as a family on a very tight budget over on her blog: Family on a Mission.
Holiday destinations don’t get much better than Indonesia. I fell in love with the country when I was lucky enough to visit on a 3 week press trip a few years back. My only regret? Well, aside from the head stitches I received on my final day, that would have to be that my family weren’t with me to experience this culturally rich country.
Indonesia is one of the most popular South African visa-free countries thanks to its amazing tourist attractions and South Africans can visit Indonesia for up to 30 days without a visa meaning you can linger longer to soak up every aspect – or just completely unwind on the beach for a month!
The bustling island of Bali is the main drawcard of this country. However, there are plenty of more beautiful islands, beaches, jungle, and city areas to discover. Whether you want to do a surfing trip, learn how to scuba dive, explore beautiful temples, or just relax on the beach – Indonesia is the place to go! Just avoid the monkeys at Uluwatu – I almost lost my phone to a cheeky one!
When travelling with a South African passport, visa-free countries don’t get much more desirable than Argentina. South Africans can visit Argentina for up to 90 days with only a valid passport.
Argentina is one of the most spectacular South American countries out there. There are dramatic mountain ranges, beautiful national parks, glaciers, lakes, and exciting cities. This is a country that can appeal to all kinds of people. You could come for the history, the culture, the wildlife, or just the amazing views. Whatever your interest is, Argentina is always a great visa-free option.
When it comes to visa-free travel for South Africans, South East Asia is always a favourite destination. Cambodia is one country that should always be considered with its huge scope of incredible attractions.
South Africans can arrive in Cambodia with just a valid passport and will get issued with a visa on arrival. This country has some amazing places to visit – including tropical islands, lush jungle, buzzing cities and ancient temples. There are some great group tour options around Cambodia as well. This is also a very budget-friendly destination.
South Africans can enjoy a dreamy Caribbean holiday without the need for any visas. The Bahamas welcomes tourists with a green passport for a stay of up to 90 days. If you are after the ultimate island holiday, then this is the place to go.
Sand, sea, and sun don’t get much better than this. Holidays in the Bahamas are great for families, couples, or solo adventures. From scuba diving to relaxing at grand resorts, this place has it all.
Mauritius is always one of the most popular visa-free countries for South African passport holders thanks to its close proximity and awesome attractions. It only takes a couple of hours to fly into Mauritius, where you can enjoy an affordable and exciting holiday.
Mauritius is full of family-friendly resorts, luxurious places to stay, and fun spots for young travellers. There is the fun city of Port Louis to explore, picture-perfect beaches, and a sparkling coastline full of marine life.
If you are dreaming of a mountain holiday, then Peru is one of the best destinations in the world. The good news for South Africans is that no tourist visa is required for a stay of up to 183 days. This makes travelling here easy and more affordable.
Peru is full of ancient sites and famous attractions. You can visit Machu Picchu – the ancient Incan city, the Sacred Valley, and the exciting city of Cusco. For nature lovers, there are large sections of the Amazon jungle, the stunning Andes mountains, and the impressive Lake Titicaca.
Thailand is one of the world’s favourite holiday destinations and one our family are very keen to visit on our next international trip (saving and scheming has begun!).
Visa requirements for South African citizens visiting Thailand are easy, as you only need a valid passport for stays of up to 30 days. Not only is this super convenient, but Thailand is also a very affordable country for anyone on the Rand.
Thailand is a very exciting destination, with loads going on. There are pristine island beaches, thrilling cities, incredible food, culture, nightlife, and stunning natural sights. Thailand is the perfect place for a family holiday, solo backpacking adventure, or a romantic couples retreat.
Russia is one of the few visa-free countries for South African passport holders in Europe. The Russian Federation welcomes South African residents for up to 90 days of tourism without a visa.
This massive country covers some incredible historic and cultural sights. From the inspiring cities of Moscow and St Petersburg to the expansive unspoiled wilderness, there is a lot to experience here. Visitors will love the architecture, ballet, museums, art, and cathedrals.
South Africans only need a valid passport when arriving in Nepal. You will then get a tourist visa on arrival which allows you to stay for up to 90 days.
Nepal is a hikers paradise, most famous for being the home of Mount Everest. The Everest base camp trail is what draws so many tourists to Nepal each year – as this hike shows off the best sights and experiences of the country. If you are after dramatic mountain scenery, wonderful high-altitude village, llamas, and snow – then Nepal is an amazing destination.
Final Thoughts on South Africa Visa Free Countries
Bearing a South African passport doesn’t mean that your travels need to be overly limited. There are some incredible destinations out there that don’t require a visa – making holidays easier and more affordable.
From paradise beaches to historic cities, there are places out there for all kinds of people, including families. If you are planning your next holiday from South Africa, then be sure to consider some of these amazing places that will appeal to all ages.
So pack your bags, grab your passport(s), and get out there to explore a new part of the world with your family – you’ll never regret it!