There is arguably no continent on earth that offers more to a keen traveller than Africa. As the second largest continent with 54 countries, and two states with disputed independence, Africa has it all: stunning landscapes, exotic wildlife, rich history and traditions, and the most incredible people. South Africans can visit some 30 African countries visa free. This means no admin, no additional costs, no long queues. Here are our top 8 visa-free African countries.
Just over the border, lies the beautiful southern African country of Botswana. With a landscape defined by the Kalahari Desert and the Okavango Delta, there is no shortage of stunning views. The country also becomes a lush animal habitat during the seasonal floods and is one of the most best safari destinations. Book yourself into a lodge or brave the elements and go camping, either way you’re sure to find adventure.
Even though it’s a tiny country in central Africa there are tons of things to do in Rwanda. The country boasts endless mountains, including the majestic Virunga volcanoes, hidden bamboo forests and some of the most gorgeous inland beaches on Lake Kivu. Some of the world’s last mountain gorillas live within Rwanda’s borders. And if the nature scene isn’t for you, visit the Rwandan capital Kigali which is safe, sophisticated and apparently very clean. You can also visit the Kigali Genocide Memorial which is the final resting place for over 250,000 victims.
From wildlife, to beaches, and warm people, Tanzania is *the* place to visit. Boasting world-famous sites including the Serengeti, Ngorongoro, Mt Kilimanjaro, and the Zanzibar Archipelago there should be no reason why the country is not on your list. Live your best Lion King dream and go on a safari, scale Mount Kilimanjaro or sip cocktails on the white beaches of Zanzibar. Chances are, you won’t get enough of the country.
São Tomé and Príncipe
As of this year, South Africans can now explore the African island nation of São Tomé and Príncipe. Located close to the equator, and floating in the Gulf of Guinea, this two-island nation is part of a volcano chain with striking rock and coral formations, rainforests and beaches. With such a Explore the dilapidated colonial building reminiscent before liberation from Portugal, lush jungles, cocoa plantations, the Lagoa Azul lagoon… Ugh, can we pack our bags already?
Malawi is not known as the Warm Heart of Africa for nothing, the friendliness of Malawians is actually legendary. Boasting Africa’s third largest lake, Lake Malawi, there’s no shortage of clear water swarming with colourful cichlid fish to explore. You can go diving, snorkelling, kayaking or just kick back and chilling out on the lakes beaches. There are also a host of natural reserves and game parks to visit. History buffs will love the Chamare Museum in Mua, decorated with murals depicting scenes from Malawian history. Go the path less traveled and visit Malawi.
Did someone say paradise? Just off East Africa, the Seychelles is an archipelago consisting of 115 islands in the warm waters of the Indian Ocean. Can we take a moment to appreciate the beaches in Seychelles? Turquoise waters, bordered by white sands, palm trees and lush hills, it’s no surprise that this is one of the most popular honeymoon destinations. The archipelago is also home to rare animals such as giant Aldabra tortoises. There are vibey and busy islands, and quiet and tranquil islands. Hop from island to island at your leisure.
Desert dunes, dead-tree valleys, the Skeleton coast, cheetahs… Did someone say Namibia? Deriving its name from the oldest desert, the Namib, Namibia has the most captivating desert landscape. There’s wildlife galore including rhinos, elephants, big cats. Then, along the Skeleton Coast towards the Angolan border, you can see the most hauntingly beautiful shipwrecks along the shore. Find out about Namibia’s human history, through the county’s architecture and museums, Lüderitz, Swakopmund and Windhoek tell the story of colonial settlement and oppression.
Here’s another country that has a stunning nature and also a dark history. Visit museums and monuments dedicated to representing the histories of the transatlantic slave trade, especially on Gorée Island. Senegal’s capital Dakar is vibrant and alive with great nightlife and tons of markets. Take a break from the fast pace of the city and relax on the nearby Île de Gorée and the beaches of Yoff and N’Gor. In northern Senegal, Saint-Louis is a Unesco World Heritage Site, with its colonial architecture and proximity to scenic national parks. For bird-watchers, take a boat journey on the wide deltas of the Casamance where you’ll find rich biodiversity, including hundreds of bird species.
What are you waiting for Mzansi? Book that holiday and pack those bags.
Here are other equally delightful African countries you can visit visa-free: Angola, Benin, Cape Verde, Comoros Islands, Ethiopia, Gabon, Guinea-Bissau, Lesotho, Madagascar, Mauritania, Mauritius, Mozambique, Reunion Island, Saint Helena, Sierra Leone, Somalia, Eswatini , Togo, Tunisia, Uganda, Zambia, Zimbabwe.
Featured image via Pixabay