Coming back to your home country after living abroad is just as daunting as leaving in the first place.
Securing a visa to visit an international country can be an exhausting, time-consuming and expensive exercise. Here are ten countries that South Africans don’t need a visa to visit.
Most young people dream of adventuring across the world but getting a visa can often be a frustrating, time-consuming and expensive process.
Luckily, South African citizens are able to travel to over 40 countries without a visa. (This list excludes countries that offer a visa on arrival).
With a valid South African passport, these are some of the countries that you don’t need a visa to visit.
As one of our neighbouring countries, Namibia is a short two-hour flight away. It is home to one of the largest coastal deserts, the Namib and part of the Kalahari, the fifth largest desert in the world. Namibia is also known for its incredible wildlife.
The archipelago of 115 islands called the Seychelles sits off the east coast of Africa. Scuba-diving, snorkeling, sunshine and lazy beach days on an island paradise – no visa required.
Tanzania is best known for Mount Kilimanjaro, the highest mountain in Africa. Countless hikers and mountaineers visit Tanzania every year to climb the mountain’s peak and explore the natural beauty this country has to offer. The annual migration of animals through the Serengeti National Park, the area where Disney’s The Lion King is based, is also popular.
Off the coast of Tanzania is the island of Zanzibar. Like the Seychelles, the archipelago is a perfect destination for scuba-diving, snorkeling and water sports. A trip to another continent is not needed when we have paradise so close to home.
NORTH AND SOUTH AMERICA
Vibrant and beautiful, Brazil is host to one of the biggest annual parties in the world, The Rio Carnival. The stretches of beaches and the Amazon Rain forest are also popular tourist attraction for those wishing to escape the city. The best part is that Brazil, and most of South America, do not require a visa.
6. Costa Rica
The small, rain forested country of Costa Rica is a perfect place to experience the best of tropical life. Beaches on the Pacific Ocean and Caribbean Sea are a perfect place to surf and the rain forests provide an adventure of their own.
7. Caribbean Islands
Jamaica, Barabados, Bahamas, Haiti and Dominica are Caribbean Islands that welcome South Africans without visas. Whether you want to envelope yourself in the laid back island culture of Jamaica or provide humanitarian aid to those in Haiti, the Caribbean Islands are a paradise waiting to be explored.
SOUTH EAST ASIA
Tropical beaches, ancient ruins, magnificent temples and a modern cities. Thailand is a world of it’s own and a mecca for the adventurous spirit who enjoys learning about different cultures.
9. Republic of Ireland
The Republic of Ireland is one of the only places in Europe that you do not need a visa to visit. Lush green hills, old castles and “real” guinness are on offer as you navigate the country side.
10. New Zealand
Glaciers, snow capped mountains and incredibly blue lakes make New Zealand an awe inspiring place to visit. Fans of The Lord of the Rings can take a tour through Middle Earth, as most of the franchise was filmed in New Zealand and special tours to the sets are available.
Experience other cultures and travel the world. You never know. You could discover things about yourself that will stand you in good stead for the rest of your life. Like that you might be bossy.
This was the experience of the president of an international organisation that recently started operating at Wits. AISEC, a French acronym for the International Association of Students in Economic and Commercial Sciences, is an organisation that aims to teach students how to improve their lives.
Breaking cultural barriers
Onthatile Nataboge, 4th year BEd and president of AISEC Wits, travelled to Ghana last year. “It was a different kind of experience. It was the first time I got onto a flight and the first time I got a stamp on my passport.” She described the trip as a “culture shock”.
Nataboge worked as a manager on an HIV awareness project along with interns from Brazil, Nigeria, Ghana, Portugal and Botswana. “I would do it again. [You] get out of your comfort zone when you get out of South Africa.”
Nataboge describes her exchange experience positively. “You learn about yourself through other people’s eyes … apparently I was bossy.”
In AISEC, students are given opportunities to lead teams and make a difference in the world through global community service, according to Anuschka Wischnewski. Wischnewski is a 3rd year LLB student who manages outgoing exchanges from Wits.[pullquote]“Going abroad is a good way to be able to take yourself outside the way the country describes you”[/pullquote]
AISEC provides a platform for students to gain leadership experience where students are recruited to work on various projects according to Thebe Ramanna, 4th year BSc Honours and vice president of target management.
According to Ramanna, there are also global internship opportunities available where students work for a company and earn a salary that covers their costs.
“Going abroad is a good way to be able to take yourself outside the way the country describes you,” said Ramanna. “In South Africa, I am a black woman, with certain disadvantages because of my background, and there is a certain path I have to travel.”
The many leadership positions available emphasise the organisation’s goal to “create global leaders” said Rosina Mabapa, 3rd year BA student and vice president of media and communications.
Mabapa, who has not travelled abroad yet, plans to go to India with AISEC later this year. Commenting on her leadership position, Mabapa said, “[I] have more confidence, more cultural understanding of other countries and [I have learnt] how to become a global leader.”
Students also break cultural stereotypes by engaging with people from different countries, organisers said.
Funding for travel is a challenge that most students have to overcome. Wischnewski said exchange and internship programmes are advertised early in the year for students to save enough money to participate in projects at the end of the year.