2019 Visa-Free Destinations For South Africans

Well, South Africa may be falling apart in many ways, but at least your passport is still good for something. With the Green Mamba in your pocket, you don't need a visa to get into a multitude of beautiful and fascinating countries.
Jason Snyman
2019-05-27

The South African passport is doing pretty well of late, faring far better that most African counterparts. The ‘Green Mamba’ now occupies the 51st spot on the latest passport index compiled by Henley & Partners, up two spaces from last year. 

In the sub-Saharan Africa region (which is one of the poorest performing regions on the index), only Seychelles and Mauritius are ranked higher. 

According to the Global Passport Power ranking, which ranks passports based on the number of countries citizens may visit without requiring a visa – or requiring one upon entry – South Africa comes in at 44th place, with a visa-free score of 98.

This will certainly come in handy when planning your next holiday, or, as we’ve covered in recent articles, you’re looking at emigrating / fleeing for your life.

Let’s take a look at where your SA passport can get you in 2019.

Visa Free Entry

The Department of Home Affairs has been implementing a number of visa changes and law amendments in order to encourage foreign investment and tourism. With this, we’ve also begun negotiations around visa waiver agreements for SA passport holders with a number of countries –such as Egypt, United Arab Emirates, Cuba or Morocco – and simplifying visa requirements for countries such as India and China. 

In the future, this could lead to arrangements that could see these countries lower the requirements for South African tourists. But, until then, here are the 68 countries you can visit, visa-free, in 2019.

Panama, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Malaysia, Peru, Thailand, Belize, Honduras, Ireland and Uruguay all featured in the top twenty of InternationalLiving’s Annual Global Retirement Index, which ranks the best countries to retire in, where couples can live on under R25 000 a month.

For the tenth year running, Panama (which South Africans can visit visa-free for 180 days) was named the top country to retire in.

The last time South Africa ranked in an index like this was back in 2015, when we featured in the Global Retirement Index by Natixis Global Asset Management as one of the 25 worst countries to retire in. One of the key factors that contributed to this poor ranking was well-being – including safety and security – which had the lowest score of all 150 countries measured.  

The elderly would rather risk Mexico, Colombia and Honduras.

Visa On Entry

Visa-free or no-visa-required entry means that you will be able to enter a country without a visa and stay there for a specific amount of time. This is sometimes referred to as ‘landing permission’ in other parts of the world. You won’t need to pay anything, and it generally means that you’re free to enter the country from any legal border crossing, by any reasonable means.

Visa-on-entry or visa-on-arrival, on the other hand, means that you’ll need a visa to enter that country, but you can apply for, pay for and receive that visa when you arrive.  

Visa-on-arrival limits travellers to dedicated entry points, such as international airports or major border crossings. Travellers will have to do thorough research into the country they intend to visit. Know the border crossing requirements and know what you need to ensure that you'll get that visa. 

Here is a list of the destinations that South African passport holders can access with visa-on-arrival: 

So, whether you're looking to explore idyllic beaches, breath-taking mountain ranges or lush tropical forests, your SA passport can help you out.

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