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How South Africa compares to the strongest passport in Africa

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How South Africa compares to the strongest passport in Africa

South Africa takes the third spot for the most powerful passport in Africa, with Seychelles and Mauritius giving its citizens a much higher mobility rate.

Seychelles has the most powerful passport in Africa, but South African passport holders can still visit over 100 countries across the world.

How South Africa compares to the strongest passport in Africa

While most of us only ever think about our passports when we are heading towards the international departures in the airport, your passport can actually be quite a symbol of empowerment and freedom.

According to the 2024 Henley & Partners Global Passport Ranking, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Singapore and Spain have the most powerful passports in the world.

For the African continent, however, Seychelles holds the top spot (as the 26th most powerful passport in the world), South Africa takes third place as the 53rd most powerful passport globally, and Mauritius takes second place as the 29th most powerful passport in the world.

How the South African passport compares to the Seychelles passport

The Henley & Partners Global Passport Ranking confirms that there is quite a difference between holding a South African passport and a Seychelles passport – especially if you want to travel internationally.

Seychelles passport holders can travel to 156 countries without a visa in 2024, including locations like Albania, Austria, Barbados, Botswana, China, France, Ghana and many more.

South African passport holders can travel to 108 countries without a visa. visaguide.world derives what they call a passport score from a factor called the Destination Significance Score (DSS) to assign a unique value to different passports.

This system gives Seychelles a passport score of 72.16 and South Africa a score of 40.79 (98th in the world).

Which countries can you travel to using a South African passport?

While the South African passport may not quite live up to the high bar set by the Seychelles and Mauritius, it still allows South Africans to travel to many countries in the world without the need for a visa.

This includes other African countries like Rwanda, Zimbabwe, Botswana, Eswatini, Ghana, Tanzania and more. It also includes Costa Rica, Fiji, Hong Kong, Ireland, Jamaica, Peru and many more.

Is the South African passport safe in third place?

Although there is quite a ways to go for the mobility of the South African passport to catch up to that of Seychelles, the South African passport has actually gotten much stronger over the last five years.

In 2020, the South African passport was ranked 58th in the world and only granted access to 101 countries without a visa.

And given that the fourth most powerful passport in Africa, the Botswana passport can only access 91 countries without a visa, South Africa seems fairly safe in the spot as Africa’s third-most powerful passport.

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