10 Incredible Visa-free travel Destinations for South Africans

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10 incredible visa-free travel destinations for South Africans

This is our top 10 visa-free travel destinations for South Africans. Just pack your bag and jump on a plane, no paperwork! Read on if you want to know why we picked these countries after traveling the world for about 5 years. Want to see the cheapest countries we have traveled?

Traveling with a South African passport.

The South African passport has come a long way since the days of being known as ‘the green mamba.’ In 2006 SA citizens had visa free access to 65 countries, with 98 countries in 2017 exploring the world has definitely become an easier mission for us! We are positioned somewhere in the middle of the travel friendly passport list. Germany is on top  with visa-free access to 177 countries. The South African passport with our 98 countries is somewhere in the middle behind 93 more travel friendly passports. Afghanistan is on the bottom of the list having visa free access to only 24 countries.

Don’t always be jealous of those fancy first world passports! Their owners are not favored by all. While traveling in Latin America, both of us went to Bolivia and Brazil for free. Our American and European friends had to fork out $160 (R2100) per country for visa fees!

Travel Tip – Surrounding visa free countries

You can travel to many countries in South-east Asia, East Africa and most of Latin America without visas with your South African passport. Since plane tickets are a huge expense we normally fly to a country and travel the continent as long as possible without flying. See for each country I listed some visa-free travel destinations for South Africans we traveled to overland.

Asia, visa-free travel destinations for South Africans

Indonesia

With 18,110 islands, only 6,000 of them inhabited, going to Indonesia is looking for adventure. This Southeast Asian nation is known for beaches, volcanoes and komodo dragons.

Visa free 30 days – this is non-extentable and you have to leave the country after 30 days, an extendable visa on arrival is available  for $35 (R470). Details Here

komodo
Huge Komodo Dragon, Rinca Island.

Why go?

Learn to surf and dive, do a  yoga or cooking course, enjoy the beach scene or take photos of the indigenous animals. Indonesia has something unique to offer everyone. Just make sure you choose the right island. With so many islands avoiding the masses is not too difficult.

Surrounding visa free countries

Malaysia (90 days), The Philippines (30 days)

Must Do:

Surfing – learn at Kuta in Bali or Batu Karas on Java, if you can surf  go to  Uluwatu in Bali, Desert Point on Lombok or the Mantawai islands near Sumatra.

Diving – learn in the Gili islands, if you are a diver don’t miss Flores (Komodo)

Beach Scene –  Gili Air for beautiful  beaches

Yoga, culture, relax – Ubud

Unique Nature – Komodo Dragons around Flores, to see orangutans and the largest volcanic lake in the world go to lake Toba in Sumatra.

Or Looking for Adventure?

I did a 4 day boat trip from Lombok to Flores (Komodo), stopping on perfect beaches, swimming with manta rays and seeing komodo dragons. The whole boat trip cost about $100 (R1500). This is easy to book on Gili Trawangan.

Indonesia is known for some of the best waves on the planet Uluwatu in Bali, Desert Point on Lombok and Lakey Peak, Sumbawa Island. Go here if you want to surf warm water and catch some perfect barrels. Bali and Java both have some nice spots for beginners.

There is a lot of amazing fauna and flora to explore in Indonesia. Only Brazil has more jungle. Safaris to see an array of indigenous animals, including komodo dragons and orangutans is a fantastic experience.

I love diving in Indonesia . You can find anything here from small alien creatures to massive pelagic marine animals. Want to go on a crazy adventure and the best diving in the world? go to Raja Ampat. The easier to reach Komodo island has fantastic diving with sharks, manta rays and huge fish. If you want to do your dive course in warm, clean water with an awesome island vibe The Gili islands is the place to go!

Of the Beaten track

The Togean Islands are hard to reach, but from here I had some amazing adventures sometimes not seeing tourists for days.

Have time? Go and explore the Raja Ampat islands in West Papua, known for its beaches, rich  marine life, ancient rock paintings this could be the ultimate adventure.

Easier to reach, go to Gili Meno, known as the honeymoon island. Few people, beautiful white beaches and crystal clear water.

How much will it cost

Currency Indonesia Rupiah IDR R1/IDR 995

If you are budget backpacker you can get by in Indonesia on IDR 120 000 (R270) per day, double that for a comfortable holiday style travel.

Dormitory beds cost about IDR 120 000 (R120), budget hotels and homestays start at IDR 200 000 (R200) for a double room. Airbnb or chain hotels will cost you from IDR 400 000 (R400) for a double room.

Streetfood, noodles or rice with chicken is very cheap costing about IDR 10 000 (R10). Going to a mid range restaurant a meal costs about IDR 80 000 (R80).

When to go

It depends on what island and why you are going.

  • Low season (Oct–Apr) It is wet season in Java, Bali and Lombok. Dry season in Papua, dive season! Easy to find good deals. September to November is whale, manta and komodo season around flores, the time to go!
  • Dry season (May, Jun & Sep)   in Java, Bali and Lombok, nice weather not too humid. May to November is dive season in Bali.
  • High Season (Jul & Aug) Tourist numbers are high across Indonesia, accommodation is very expensive.

Getting there

Fly to Denpasar, Bali from Cape Town for about R10 000 or Johannesburg for R8000 outside high season.

Click Here for info on our travels in Indonesia

Thailand

The center of the South East Asia tourist trail is a travel hub for a reason. It is a beautiful place with nice jungles and clear warm water, it is cheap and it is extremely easy to travel.

Visa free 30 days

Reclining Buddha, Wat Po, Bangkok city guide
Reclining Buddha, Wat Po, Bangkok

Why Go?

Thailand is a favorite with travelers from all over the world. It is super touristic, but a great place to meet other travelers. If you want to move away from the crowds  it is possible and dirt cheap. You have the option of going north and exploring the jungles or south to do some island hopping. Diving is good and it is one of the cheapest places in the world to learn. It is a good place to start if you are a new backpacker and a great place to use as base for exploring Asia.

Surrounding visa free countries

Cambodia (visa on arrival 30 days) Laos (visa on arrival 30 days) Malaysia (visa free 90 days)

Must Do

  • Learn to dive – Koh Tao is the place to go. On this island everything is about diving; eat diving, sleep diving and party diving. One of the cheapest places in the world to learn!
  • Do some island hopping in the south; go to Ko Phangan for the famous full moon parties, Koh Phi Phi to explore legendary beaches or Phuket for hotels and beaches on Thailand’s most touristic island.
  • Go north to explore the Thai jungles. Do some fun, easy, trekking with a group from Chiang Mai, check out canyons, waterfalls and hot springs by scooter from Pai and investigate temples surrounding Chiang  Rai.
  • Explore Bangkok, the floating markets, temples, Buddhas and massages, parties and cheap souvenirs in The Khao San Road.

Of the beaten track

‘Of the beaten track’ an Thailand don’t really sound like they belong in the same sentence. I have been here a couple of times and traveling out of season we met surprisingly few tourists.

To really get off the tourist trail go to the Isaan region in the north, one of the least visited regions in Thailand. Korat is the largest town with several temples, Phimai and Prasat Ta Muan are historical ruins, sort of like Angkor Wat in Cambodia.

How much will it cost?

Currency Thai Baht THB2.50 = R1

You can get by as a backpacker on THB720  (R280) per day and double that for a comfortable holiday style travel.

Hostel dorm rooms can only really be found in tourist hubs like Pai and Bangkok and start at THB250 (R100) per night. Private double rooms in cheap guesthouse go for around THB400 (R150) per night.  You can get private apartments, sleeping 2 on AirBnB starting at THB 1000 (R400).

When to go

The best time to travel is during the cool and dry season between November and early April. You can dive somewhere in Thailand all year round. Best dive time in the Andaman Sea is from November to April, and again June to September, and in the Gulf of Thailand dive season is from May to September.

Getting there

Return flights from Johannesburg or Cape Town to Bangkok start for as low as R7000 return!

Nepal

Home to the world’s largest mountains, Nepal is a utopia for hikers, bikers, rafters and climbers. Be entranced by the amicable people in this friendly land.

Visa on arrival 90 days

Everest Base Camp, Nepal
Everest Base Camp, Nepal. Hiking here was an unreal experience!

Why Go?

The cultural beauty of the Himalayan villages and it’s warm people is an experience that will stay with you forever. Challenge yourself in the world’s biggest mountains and crazy rivers flowing around it. Teahouse trekking is an amazing experience, hiking in the Himalayas, staying with the locals and talking to the sherpas is an unforgettable experience.

Surrounding visa free countries

No visa free neighbors, you can get an e-visa online for India before hand, these are two great countries to travel together.

Must Do

Hiking

Nepal encompasses 8 of the world’s 10 highest peaks, including Everest. Hiking around these mountains is the nr 1 reason people come to Nepal.

  • Everest Base Camp (EBC), this is where professionals start their attempt on  the summit to the world’s highest mountain. The hike to EBC is very popular and can be done independent or in a tour.
  •  Annapurna Range is a very popular 210km route that wanders through  forests and Hindu villages.

Experience the culture

Nepal has more to offer than beautiful scenery. The tranquil blend of Hindu and Buddhist traditions is a captivating experience. Walk around the temple lined squares in Kathmandu. Greet Budhist pilgrims by saying ‘Namaste’ around the stupas in the mountains.

Or looking for adventure?

White Water Rafting

With more than 6000 rivers, Nepal is one of the top rafting destinations in the world. There are plenty of multy day rafting trips. Paddle through  Hindu temples, jungles, wildlife, local villages and  waterfalls during the day, camp and braai at night. For 8 to 11 day trips look at the Sankosi, Karnali or Tamur rivers.

Of the beaten track

The Manaslu Trek is a relatively new 14-day tea-house trek characterized by raging rivers, risky bridges and stunning mountain gorges. The trek is about 250km and takes 13 days to complete.

How much will it cost?

Currency Nepalese Rupee (NPR) R1 – NPR7.5

You can get by as a backpacker on  NPR2000  (R260) per day and about NPR 3000 (R390) for a comfortable holiday style travel.

Hostel dorm rooms start at NPR280 (R38) per night. Private double rooms start around NPR 1215 (R160) per night.  You can get private rooms on AirBnB starting at NPR 1215 (R160).

We hiked to Everest Base Camp on our own, the whole trip took us 16 days and cost about R250 per day each all inclusive.

When to go

The major trekking seasons are Autumn from September to November and spring from February to mid April.

Click Here for info on our travels in Nepal.

Central America, visa-free travel destinations for South Africans

Costa Rica

Costa Rica is one of the most amazing countries that we have ever been. Live volcanoes and wild jungles make up one of the most bio-diverse countries in the world. More than 20% of this tropical paradise is national parks!

Visa free 90 days

Alya loves drinking coconuts! Outside Lucy's Hotel, Montezuma
Drinking coconut milk, Montezuma, Costa Rica

Why Go?

Costa Rica is home to ‘the most biologically intense place on the planet’ according to National Geographic. The country has good surf, amazing food and awesome coffee, but for me it was all about the nature!

Surrounding visa free countries

Guatemala (visa free 90 days), Panama (visa free 180 days)

Must Do

The National Parks 

  • the beautiful cloud forests of Monteverde, one of the ‘ 7 wonders of Costa Rica’
  • amazing coast around Montezuma, turtles laying their eggs on beautiful white beaches, bordered by a magical jungle brimming with life.
  • wild life of Manuel Antonio national park, capuchin monkeys, sloths,  koatis, maccaws and more
  • the jungles of Corcovado our favorite place in Costa Rica, being surrounded by tucans, sloths and other amazing creatures in this unreal, prehistoric forest.
  • Tortuguero is a very important breeding ground for the endangered green turtle.
  • The famous volcanoes Arenal, Irazu, Poas, Rincon De La Vieja, and Turrialba Volcano. There are many day hikes and beautiful scenery to explore surounding these volcanoes.

Go Surfing

With warm water, an abundance of perfect waves and many uncrowded breaks Costa Rica is a surfing paradise. The country has 1,200km of coastline, and approximately 300 beaches covering many regions, anytime is a good time of the year to surf in Costa Rica!

  • Salsa Brava in Puerto Viejo is the heaviest wave in Costa Rica. A steep wave that drops you straight into the barrel;  this wave sits on a sharp shallow reef.
  • Pavones has a wave that will take you the entire length of the village. It is known as the second longest left-hand surf break in the world.
  • Want to learn? go to Playa Tamarindo, Playa Santa Teresa, Playitas, Playa Hermosa or Puerto Viejo for some the best waves to learn on you can find.

Or looking for adventure?

There are awesome day hikes around Arenal volcanoe. Go white water rafting for all levels on the Pacuare river. Go and do some amazing diving around the Cocos and Caño Islands

Of the beaten track

We stayed in Bolita Eco Hostel in the jungle next to Corcovado National Park for a week. Staying in this exotic jungle being surounded by unreal animals in this prehistoric environment was amazing. Read all about it.

How much will it cost?

Currency Costa Rican Colon (CRC)  R1 = CRC43

Costa Rica is known to be more expensive than it’s Central American counterparts. On a tight backpacker’s budget out of season we managed to get by on CRC11 700 (R270) per day, double that for a comfortable holiday style travel.

Dormitory beds cost about CRC 3500-5800 (R80-140), budget hotels and homestays start at CRC 11500(R270) for a double room. Airbnb or chain hotels will cost you from CRC 15000 (R350) for a double room.

When to go

Generally, the rainy season (or “green season”) is from May to mid-November. Costa Ricans call this wet time of year their winter. The dry season, considered summer by Costa Ricans, is from mid-November to April.

Getting there

Fly to San Jose from Johannesburg or Cape Town for about R18 000.

Click Here for info on our travels in Costa Rica

South America, visa-free travel destinations for South Africans

Colombia

I love how the country rose above a violent and traumatic past. Home to beautiful nature, interesting colonial towns and known for producing the world’s best quality coffee.

Visa free 90 days

Colombia tatacoa desert
Walking around in the Tatacoa Desert in Colombia’

Why Go?

Explore beautiful and diverse nature from the Tatacoa desert to the Amazon jungle. Learn about the violent past and the amazing stories of how Medellin freed itself after being run by drug lords for 40 years. This is a cheap country to do adventure activities from rafting to paragliding. If you love coffee, going to the origin of the world’s best beans and picking your own is a unforgettable experience.

Surrounding visa free countries

Venezuela (90 days), Peru (180 days), Brazil (90 days)

Must Do

  • Amazing cities, I loved Medellin and Bogota and as a South African it was amazing to see how a country can escape from it’s tragic past.
  • The most beautiful, authentic little colonial towns, Cartegena and Villa de Leyva is very famous but  Barichara was our favourite!
  • Colombian coffee is known as the world’s best, go to a coffee finca in the Zona Cafetera and find out more.  Read More
  • Adventure activities was awesome around the town of San Gil. Here you can go white water rafting, hiking and paragliding  for great prices.

Of the beaten track

  • Camping in the remote Tatacoa desert is rewarded with some of the most beautiful scenery and stargazing you can imagine.
  • Explore the amazon from the town of Leticia, we spent a week on a cargo ship going down the world’s mightiest river from here. Read More

How much will it cost?

Currency Colombian Peso (COP) R1= COP222

On a tight backpacker’s budget out of season we managed to get by on our budget of  COP60 150 (R270) per day, about COP 156 000 (R700) for a comfortable holiday style travel.

Most hostel dorm rooms cost between 15,000-25,000 COP (R65-R1115) per night. Private rooms start around 50,000 COP per night. Free WiFi and free breakfast are usually included, and most hostels also have kitchens. Budget hotels will start around 40,000 COP per night for the most basic room.

Dormitory beds cost about 15,000-25,000 (R65-R115), budget hotels and homestays start at COP 50 000 (R225)  for a double room. Airbnb or chain hotels will cost you from COP 90 000 (R400) for a double room.

When to go

Being close to the equator temperatures are stable through the year. Prices are higher during the peak tourist season from December to February and Semana Santa (Easter Week).

Getting there

Best deals for flights are from Johannesburg to Bogota starting at Search R15 000 return outside peak season.

Click Here for info on our travels in Colombia

Peru

This amazing country is famous for the jaw-dropping Inca ruins of Machu Picchu, but offers so much more!

Visa free 180 days

Salkantay Lake, Peru,
Salkantay Lake, Peru, we passed this beautiful lake hiking to the awesome ruins of Machu Pichu.

Why Go?

Get to Macchu Pichu, whether you go by bus or hike through the incredible mountains for days. Explore floating islands, beaches, jungles and mountains, Peru is a paradise for adventure travelers on a budget.

Visa free 180 days

Surrounding visa free countries

Colombia (180 days), Brazil (90 days)

Must Do

  • Machu Picchu, 3000 people a day visit the incredible ruins. Don’t let the tourists scare you away, these ruins are a must see!
  • Visit the handmade floating Uros islands on lake Titicaca.
  • Hike the Colca Canyon , the deepest canyon in the world and  spot massive Andean condors souring.
  • Discover Cuzco, this colonial city was once the capital of the Inca Empire. It is located 3400m above sea-level in the Peruvian Andes and now a major tourist destination.
  • Explore the Amazon from Iquitos. In the middle of the jungle this city is accessible only by air or boat.

Hiking in Peru

With the Peruvian Andes running  down the centre of the country, fascinating variations in landscape and unreal mountains result in some of the best trekking in the world.

  • The Inca Trail is definitely the most famous trek in South America, unfortunately also the most touristy and the most expensive. Look at the Salkantay trek as an alternative.
  • Huayhuash trek, this 8 day trek through the glacial alpine scenery is by many considered the most beautiful in South America and one of the best in the world.

Of the beaten track

  • Want to lie in a hammock for a couple of days watching river dolphins jump out of the water? Do the trip like a local and take slowboat (cargo boat) down the Amazon from Iquitos to Leticia.
  • The Ausangate trek, one of the most beautiful, isolated hikes we have ever done. Hiking for five days above 4000m, other than a sheepherder we saw not one person the whole hike

How much will it cost

Currency Peruvian Sol (PEN) R4 – PEN1

You can get by on a backpacker on  COP65  (R270) per day, about PEN 100(R415) for a comfortable holiday style travel.

Hostel dorm rooms start at PEN 25 (R100) per night. Private double rooms start around PEN 70 (R280) per night.  You can get private rooms on AirBnB starting at PEN 40 (R165).

When to go

Winter (May – September) is the driest season, best time for traveling and trekking. The summer (December – March) is the wet season, with frequent heavy showers, this time of the year weather is good on the coast.

Getting there

Retun flights from Cape Town to Lima start at R15 000 and R17 000 from Johannesburg.

Click Here for info on our travels in Peru

Europe, visa-free travel destinations for South Africans

Georgia

Georgia, not the US state, but a beautiful country positioned between Asia and Europe. Locals call their country ‘the balcony of Europe.’ Located on the edge of Europe and balconies are usually the best part about an apartment!

Visa Free 1 year

Kazbegi Georgia
Kazbegi in the Caucasus mountains is one of the must see places in Georgia.

Surrounding visa free countries

Armenia (visa on arrival 120 days), Turkey is not visa-free but an e-visa can be obtained online free of charge.

Why Go?

The Caucasian mountains are truly magnificent, one of the origins of Christianity has many religious places of interest. We Loved the capital, Tbilisi. A wonderfully weird and beautiful city, such an interesting mix between ancient and modern styles. The Georgian hospitality was incredible and we made some amazing friends. Georgian food is unreal and enough reason to visit this awesome country. Go now while Georgia is still sort-off, of the tourist radar.

Must Do

  • Visit Kazbegi (Stepantsminda), this mountain village is one of the must see destinations in Georgia. Here you will find jaw-dropping scenery and hiking routes. Hike to the Gergeti Trinity Church, one the country’s most iconic images.
  • Eat the Adjarian katchapuri in Batumi.  Khachapuri is a traditional Georgian dish of cheese-filled bread. It is prepared differently in various regions. In this city on the Black sea the bread is filled with a lot of delicious hot melting cheese, a big block of butter and a egg floats in the cheese.
  • Spend a couple of days in Tbilisi. The wonderfully weird and beautiful city is an interesting mix between ancient and modern styles. A brilliant cross road between Asian-European and old-new architecture.

More awesome sites.

  • Uplitsike, this ancient cave village is the oldest known settlement in Georgia.
  • Mtskheta, one of the oldest cities in the country and is often called the most religious city in Georgia.
  • Ananuri castle fortress, huge castle complex close to Tbilisi.

Or looking for adventure?

  • Hike from Tusheti to Khevsureti through Borbalo pass. A beautiful 5 day hike with panoramic views directly traversing the main ridge of Greater Caucasus.

How much will it cost?

Currency Georgian Lari GEL1=R5.50

You can get by as a backpacker on  GEL 40  (R220) per day and double that for a comfortable holiday style travel.

Hostel dorm rooms start at GEL9.50 (R55) per night. Private double rooms start around GEL31(R170) per night.  You can get private apartments, sleeping 2 on AirBnB starting at GEL 50 (R280).

When to go

  • It is mostly warm and sunny in the largest part of the country from mid-May to early July, and from early September to mid-October.
  • July and August is a good time to be in the mountains.
  • Hiking season is from June to September.

Getting There

Retun flights from Cape Town to Tbilisi start at about R8500 return and R7200 from Johannesburg for a 16 hour flight time.

Click Here for info on our travels in Georgia

Russia

It was only in 1991 that the super power, The Soviet Union, disintegrated into fifteen separate countries. The world’s largest country has so much more to offer than vodka,  onion domed churches and Matryoshka dolls. Making up 14% of the world’s land mass, spanning 11 time zones and being surounded by 11 seas, you can imagine that there is a lot to please any taste.

Visa Free 90 days

Opening of Palace bridge for navigation at 1.30am. White Nights in St.Petersburg.
Opening of Palace bridge for navigation at 1.30am. White Nights in St.Petersburg.

Surrounding visa free countries

Georgia (visa free one year)

Why Go?

The history of his amazing country spans more than 1,150 years. Steeped in literature, ballet, painting and classical music the cultural history is extraordinary. For so long, Russia was out of bounds  under the Soviet system, but now South Africans don’t even need a visa. Just jump on a plane and go! I am currently traveling in Russia.

Must Do

  • St. Petersburg built by Peter the Great in 1703,  with its rivers, canals and unique mixture of architectural styles is one of my favorite cities in the world. During white nights, walking around the city all ‘night’ is a great experience. Don’t miss the fantastic museums, the opera and a ballet! There are so many amazing things to see in and around this beautiful city, The Hermitage museum, St lsaac’s Cathedral and the Grand Palace to name a few.
  • Moscow is another city not to miss, The Kremlin, The Red Square and St Basil’s Cathedral are 3 of Russia’s most famous sights all located together!

Travel by train.

  • Since Russia is such an enormous country seeing a couple of sights outside the main cities involve many hours of travel. Traveling by train is a cheap and exciting way of getting around, seeing the country side and meeting local people.
  • The Trans-Siberian Railway is the longest railway line in the world. This railway network connects Moscow and the Russian far-east stretching over 9,289 kilometres. It has become popular for tourists to complete this 7 day train journey. If you don’t speak Russian, pack a kindle and a phone with google translate.

Or looking for adventure?

  • Climb Mount Elbrus, the highest mountain in Europe and thus one of the ‘Seven summits’, the highest peaks of the 7 continents. These peaks are normally very expensive to climb, in Russia regulation is not so tight. We rented equipment and did it on our own. It was an awesome adventure that didn’t cost us much. Many people die here every year, so be sure what you are up for before hitting the mountain.
  • Go ice diving in Lake Baikal. Located in south-east Siberia, Lake Baikal  is the world’s oldest, deepest and largest lake. The low mineral content results in exceptional visibility. When its surface freezes, the ice sheet is clear as glass. I will have to return in winter to  jump through a hole in the ice!

Of the beaten track

In such a massive country it is not very difficult to get off the beaten track.

  • The spectacular Kamchatka is one of the most remote and least accessible regions of Russia’s. This wild peninsula in the northeastern part of Russia is a mix of snow covered mountains, geysers, hot springs and is home to 122 volcanoes, of which 22 are still active! The wildlife of Kamchatka is what makes this remote wilderness truly spectacular.  Polar bears, grey whales, Pacific walrus and one of the world’s largest brown bear populations at about 20 000 bears can be found here.
  • Unfortunately the prices in Kamchatka is wilder than the wildlife and you are going to need deep pockets to see polar bears, running lava and breaching whales in the north east of Russia.

How much will it cost?

Currency Russian Ruble RUB1=R4.50

There is still a perception that Russia is a very expensive country to visit. Oil prices and political factors resulted in a 30% drop in value of the Ruble vs the USD$ since 2014 making the country cheaper for tourists. I found prices here to be very similar to South Africa. Groceries and beer is definitely cheaper in Russia, but coffee is more expensive. See a price comparison HERE

You can get by as a backpacker on  RUB1250  (R280) per day and about RUB3000 (R670) for  a more comfortable holiday style travel.

Hostel dorm rooms start at RUB230 (R52) per night. Private double rooms start around RUB1170(R260) per night.  You can get private apartments, sleeping 2 on AirBnB starting at RUB1790 (R400).

When to go

The best time to visit is in summer lasting from the beginning of June to mid-September when it is pleasant and warm.  During mid-summer, June/July in  St Petersburg there is no real darkness, this is known as ‘the white nights’ and is a great time to be in the city.

Autumn (September – October) is also a good time to travel to Russia, when there are less crowds and weather is still good.

July/August is the best time to climb Mount Elbrus.

Getting there

Return flights to St Petersburg start at about R10 000 and to Moscow at  R7500 from either Cape Town or Johannesburg. Flying in high season is more expensive.

Click Here for information on our travel in Russia

Africa, visa-free travel destinations for South Africans

Tanzania

Home to Mt Kilimanjaro, Zanzibar, the Serengeti, Ngorongoro and our famous Disney lions Simba, Nala and Mufasa!

visa free 90 days

lions Serengeti Tanzania
It is unreal how many lions we saw on safari in the Serengeti!

Surrounding visa free countries

Kenya, Mozambique, Malawi (90 days each)

Why Go?

There are few countries in the world with such a variety of unreal world famous bucket list sites to visit. Climb Africa’s highest mountain one day and see massive prides of lions hunt the next. Zip around the crazy spice islands by scooter and dive between big schools of fish and massive turtles on pristine coral reef.

Must Do

  • An East African Wildlife Safari is a n unreal experience. There are a couple of parks, but The Serengeti is not the most famous without reason. See  big prides of Lions and other predators hunt. Spot wild dogs, hyenas and the big 5. Ngorongoro Crater is the world’s largest unflooded volcanic caldera. Inside the crater is another breath-taking park for viewing wild life. These two parks are often combined with some of the lesser known parks such as Lake Manjara or Tarangire.
  • Go to Zanzibar, a paradise island with soft-sand, white beaches and shimmering azure waters. The cobbled stone streets  of stone town, lively bazaars and markets are a treat for the senses.
  • Do a coffee tour at Moshi on the slopes of Mt Kilimanjaro, Ethiopia is not the only country in Africa that produces top notch coffee, a great experience.

Or looking for adventure?

  • Climb Mount Kilimanjaro, a 7 summit peak, the highest mountain in Africa. It is a great experience, tough but anyone with reasonable fitness can do this. Unfortunately there is no way of doing it cheap.
  • Dive on the Mnemba Atol from Zanzibar, beautiful coral reefs and an array of marine animals in crystal clear, warm water.

Of the beaten track

  • Get away from the tour operators and visit the Longido Cultural Tourism Program, learn more about the fascinating Maasai culture at a traditional village.

How much will it cost?

  • Currency Tanzanian Shilling TZS175 = R1
  • Being a tourist in Africa is not cheap! Food and accommodation prices are not too crazy. Hostel dorm rooms start at TZS22,424 (R130) per night. Private double rooms start around TZS 35 000(R200) per night.  You can get private apartments, sleeping 2 on AirBnB starting at TZS 86  170 (R500).
  • An Africa trip gets expensive when activities start
    •  For safari the lowest budget camping trips can be negotiated in Arusha from TZS 358,279.90 (R2075) per person per day, luxury trips can be as much as R13 000 per day.
    • The cheapest Kilimanjaro trip that you can organize in Arusha is about TZS 2500 000 (R14 500), booking online with a well known firm as much as R 23 000 (TZS 4 000 000)

When to go

  • The best wildlife viewing months in Tanzania are during the Dry season from late June to October.
  • The wildebeest migration in the Serengeti is during June and July
  • The wildebeest calving is late January to February.

Getting There

Return flights from Johannesburg or Cape Town to Arusha start at R10 000.

Click Here for info on our travels in Tanzania

Namibia

A land of bewildering natural beauty with about a 1000 km of the rustic Namib desert stretching up the Atlantic coast. Home to the Big Five; elephant, rhino, buffalo, lion and leopard roaming around this astonishing country. Some of the world’s biggest dunes and canyons count among the spectacular landscapes of Namibia.

Visa free 90 days

Namibia Sossusvlei
Seeing the sun rise over the magical red dunes of Sossusvlei is one of the highlights of Namibia

Surrounding visa free countries

Botswana (visa free 90 days)

Why Go?

One of the mot spectacular countries in the world is just a couple of hours drive from Cape Town! Do a self drive camp road trip through the spectacular landscapes. See thousands of kilometers of beautiful nothing, the famous red dunes of the Namib and experience why Namibia is so famous for it’s wild life.

Must Do

  • Namibia is all about nature, what better way to experience the landscapes and wild life than by doing a self drive camping road trip? This is the most popular way to travel Namibia and there are many companies that offer fully kitted out 4×4 rentals, fitted with a rooftop tent.
  • Sossusvlei, the spectacular red dunes towering over the salt pan, the deadvlei, is a must see for any visitor, this is the Namib desert from BBC documentaries.
  • The Fish river Canyon, biggest canyon in Africa, second in the world. Awesome to take a couple of photos from the top, even better to hike for a week!
  • Etosha Naional Park, see lions, leopards, elephants and a huge variety of other wildlife roam around the waterholes in this incredible national park.
  • The Skeleton coast, see the carcasses of hundreds of ships were the cold Atlantic meet the Namib desert. Don’t miss the Cape Cross Seal Reserve were you can walk in the middle of more than 20 000 cape fur seals.

Of the beaten track

If you want to to go to the real wild go to Khaudum National Park. This is the most pristine nature conservation area in Namibia with huge herds of elephant, zebras, African wild dog, lions, leopards. There are only 2 camps, you must bring along all supplies including water and fuel. Two 4×4’s must travel together at all times.

How much will it cost?

Currency Namibian Dollar NAD1=R1

Namibia is a difficult country to travel on a tight budget since backpacker hostels are only in big towns and there is no cheap transport to some of the main attractions, only tours. The best way to travel this country is with your own transport, preferably a bakkie or 4×4 type vehicle. Petrol is cheaper in Namibia!

Our budget driving 2 people in our own car was about R360 each per day

Camping is the way to go in Namibia, you can camp in very nice private campsites for NAD150 per person, government campsites in national parks are round NAD200 per person.  You can see our favorite 10 campsites in Namibia here.

Only Windhoek, Swakopmund and Luderidz has hostels Hostel dorm rooms start at NAD 150 per night for a bed. Private double rooms on a guest farm starts at around NAD 1500 per night.  You can get private apartments, sleeping 2 on AirBnB starting at R1000.

When to go

Wildlife viewing is best in the dry season from June to October. We traveled through Etosha in February, the pans were flooded and the only wildlife we saw were springboks.

Getting there

  • Driving from Cape Town to Noord Oewer border post is 680km and should take you less than 7 hours to drive. Flying Cape Town to Windhoek starts at about R3500 return and from Johannesburg for R2900.
  • The cheapest 4×4 rental that we could find was about R750 per day including rooftop tent and equipment unlimited km (excl fuel).

Click Here for info on our travels in Namibia

Visa-free travel destinations for South Africans – requirements for entry

Even though a pre-arranged visa is not required there are certain requirements to enter these countries.

  • To enter many countries you’ll require an exit ticket, showing you are leaving the country again. This is often a problem, since we always fly on one-way tickets. See our guide to booking flights without paying.
  • Your passport should have at least 2 blank pages in it, and be valid for at least 6 months after your date of arrival.
  • Proof of sufficient funds to support you during your stay. A bank statement should be sufficient. Traveling to about 70 countries I have never been asked for proof of finances at immigration. Alya says that she has been asked once or twice and just showed her credit card.

    Flights

    Search for flight prices from here and I will get a couple of flight points. Buy your flights from here (no extra cost to you) and we will get a gizillion point bonus. Thanks for helping us towards our next trip!

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