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Countries where South Africa is visa-free

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Which countries around the world allow for South Africans to travel to them without having a visa, and which ones cannot enter South Africa despite allowing South Africans?

Travelling to a large majority of countries around the world will require you to have a valid visa. This means that you need to have a travel passport along with a visa for that country for any type of stay, may it be for business or pleasure.

As a South African looking to travel, you might wonder if you really need a visa for every single country in the world, and luckily this is not always the case. Some countries allow South African citizens entry without a visa to stay for a certain amount of time only.

Can South Africans travel internationally without a visa?

A large number of South Africans are avid travellers and have collected a number of stamps in their passports from all the countries they have visited.

Most of these countries may have required a visa for them to enter, but it is also possible that a number of them did not require a visa for entry.

There is a long list of countries that South African citizens can travel to without the stress of having to obtain a visa to enter. However, there are conditions to this, depending on the visitor’s stay.

Visa-free countries for South African citizens

When you are planning on taking an international trip, there is a long list of things you will need, and in most cases, this list includes a visa. However, as mentioned above, some countries allow South African citizens to enter the borders without a visa. It is worth noting that this is only for a certain amount of time, but should your intended stay be longer, a visa will be required.

Some countries even allow visitors to obtain a visa upon their arrival in that country, or you could be given an Electronic Travel Authorization (eTA). Certain countries in Europe, Americas, Oceania, Asia and other parts of Africa will allow South Africans access to them to visit. Usually, South Africans can stay in these countries for periods of between 30 days to 6 months.

European, African and Asian countries that are visa-free for South Africans

European visa-free countries for South Africans include Ireland, Russia and Kosovo.

Asian visa-free countries for South Africans include Hong Kong, Israel, Malaysia, Thailand, South Korea, Singapore, Qatar, Philippines, Palestinian Territories, Macao, Indonesia and Georgia.

Some neighbouring African countries that are visa-free for South Africans include Angola, Botswana, Eswatini, Gabon, Gambia, Kenya, Lesotho, Malawi, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, Tanzania, Tunisia, Zambia as well as Zimbabwe.

South Africans can travel freely without a visa into these countries for a certain amount of time, depending on the country without having a travel visa.

European visa-free countries Asian visa-free countries African visa-free countries
Ireland Hong Kong Angola
Russia Israel Botswana
Kosovo Malaysia Eswatini
Thailand Gabon
South Korea Gambia
Singapore Kenya
Qatar Lesotho
Philippines Malawi
Palestinian Territories Mauritius
Macao Mozambique
Indonesia Namibia
Georgia Tanzania

What if you want to stay longer in a visa-free country?

Just because a country allows for South Africans to enter and visit without having a visa, this does not mean that they will be able to stay as long as they would like or indefinitely.

There are set limits to how long your stay can be, which is from one month up to six months for certain countries.

Exceeding your stay and making it longer will then leave you with no option but to apply for a visa to extend your stay in that specific country, by finding the country’s embassy or consulate.

South African visa reciprocity

There are some countries where South Africans are allowed to visit, but where citizens of those particular countries cannot enter South Africa without having a visa.

These countries include:

South African visa reciprocity
Dominican Republic
El Salvador
Saint Kitts and Nevis
Saint Lucia

There is unfortunately no visa reciprocity between South Africa and these countries, regardless of the fact that South Africans can enter freely into these countries, while they cannot enter South Africa without having a valid South African visa.

Final thoughts

Travelling around the world can be exciting for any traveller, but it often requires a lot of admin to ensure that your travels are as smooth as they possibly can be.

Moreover, especially when it comes to ensuring that there is no stress during your journey – this can really put a damper on your trip should you be unorganised.

A visa is a vital part of travelling to certain countries. There are, however, some countries where South Africans do not need a visa to enter and visit.

This is allowed for periods between a month and six months depending on the country, while other countries require visas on arrival.