Where Can South Africans go on Holiday?

Beautiful Caribbean beach lined with palm trees at sunset

People in South Africa have had it tough for the last 6 months. As the Beta variant emerged in December, a number of countries began closing their borders to non-essential travellers from South Africa. This move has made it tricky for foreigners resident in the country who want to go home without paying exorbitant quarantine costs. And, for those with their eye on an overseas holiday, the restrictions seem insurmountable.

So, where can South Africans escape to for a well-earned holiday? We take a look at what’s available.


Albania’s many lakes and mountains are perfect for an outdoor getaway


Albania is currently open without any travel restrictions. Visitors must wear masks when travelling on public transport and in indoor spaces – masks are no longer required when outdoors. There is a curfew in place from 00:00 to 06:00. Events and attractions such as sporting championships, theatre, and art galleries are open but in a limited capacity so booking in advance is advised.

What to See

Albania‘s geography covers everything from beautiful Ionian coastlines to rugged alpine mountain ranges. Tirana, the capital, has a thriving cultural scene. Home to many art galleries and museums, including the National History Museum, the city has plenty for visitors to explore. Further afield, discover the castles that dot the landscape, and hike through the valleys, passing glaciers, waterfalls and more.

Bosnia & Herzegovina

Travellers from outside of Europe must present a negative PCR test no older than 72 hours when arriving in Bosnia & Herzegovina. Fully vaccinated travellers can skip this step if they provide proof that they received the full vaccination more than 14 days before travel. If you have recovered from Covid-19 between 14 to 180 days prior to arrival then you are also exempt. Children under 7 do not needed to be tested if their accompanying adult have a negative test result.

What to See

Bosnia and Herzegovina has had a disruptive past, its capital city Sarajevo facing particular bombardment. This, and its location in the Balkans, has kept it somewhat under the tourist’s radar, but the country is a hidden gem, and the ideal holiday destination for travellers who don’t want to skimp on culture and landscape when on a budget. Bosnia and Herzegovina has plenty to attract nature lovers; rugged mountains dominate the landscape, winding rivers are great for water sports, and the country’s terrain makes it one of Europe’s most affordable skiing destinations.


Zebras graze on the grassy plains in one of Tanzania’s many national parks


Closer to home, South Africans can hop across the border to Namibia. All arrivals must present a negative PCR test taken within 7 days prior to arrival. There is a restriction on movement in place from 21:00 to 04:00.

What to See

Namibia is a land of extremes, the traveller in search of adventure will be spoiled for choice. Skeleton Coast offers a memorable, if eerie trip – the carcasses of abandoned ships dot the coastline, slowly being taken over by the desert. Safari options are abundant, both self-drive and guided. The lucky visitor may even spot a black rhino. The country has an activity for every type, be it on land, on water, or in the air. An affordable holiday option for South Africans, Namibia is adventure on your doorstep.


Another SADC country open to South Africans, Botswana requires a negative PCR test no older than 72 hours. Travellers might be tested again on arrival at their own cost. Travellers from India must quarantine in a government appointed facility for 10 days.

What to See

Botswana is home to the Okavanga Delta and the Khalahari Desert, boasting almost unrivalled natural beauty and diversity. Botswana’s game reserves have international renown, and offer guests a wide variety of accommodation types, from luxury lodges to established safari camps, or, bring your own gear and set up in camp in an assigned area. The game viewing opportunities are abundant, and the reserves are immense – perfect for an escape to the great outdoors.


Travellers arriving in Tanzania must submit a negative PCR test no older than 72 hours. There are mandatory health screenings on arrival, which includes a rapid Covid test at the traveller’s expense ($25).

What to See

Get back in touch with your wild side and go game spotting in the Serengeti National Park, home to the Big 5. Or, hike through Mount Kilimanjaro National Park, in the shadow of the famous dormant volcano. Alternatively, relax on brilliant white beaches in Zanzibar, which is also home to UNESCO World Heritage Site of Stone Town. Not many country’s give you access to excellent safaris one day, and tropical islands surrounded by coral reefs the next – Tanzania will give you a holiday with a little bit of everything.

The Americas

The Dominican Republic’s endless beaches are perfect for a relaxed holiday

Dominican Republic

South African arrivals to the Caribbean nation of the Dominican Republic must present a negative PCR test no older than 72 hours. This does not apply to children under the age of 5. Fully vaccinated travellers can skip the testing process if they have proof that they received their full dose more than 3 weeks before travelling.

What to See

A trip to the Dominican Republic could be just what the doctor ordered. Relax on the soft sandy beaches – the country has 1600 km of beach coastline so you’ll be spoiled for choice. Stretch your legs taking part in the many activities available to visitors – from golf to kitesurfing and caving, there’s something for everyone. The Dominican Republic is a topographical kaleidoscope, behind the palm tree-lined beaches are looming, verdant mountains. The country is proud of its many national parks, and the diversity of its fauna, means visitors can catch sight of humpback whales, manatees, iguanas and loggerhead turtles all on one trip.

The Bahamas

The Bahamas is open to both vaccinated and non-vaccinated travellers. Those who haven’t been vaccinated will need to provide a negative PCR test no older than 5 days, complete the daily health questionnaire and complete the Travel Health Visa application. Children under the age of 11 are exempt from testing.

What to See

This Caribbean archipelago is the ideal holiday destination for those needing a break. Beautiful beaches, crystal waters and a vibrant and welcoming culture, the Bahamas has it all. Visitors can enjoy fishing, sailing and scuba diving amongst other activities. The Bahamas has taken its re-opening seriously, and all activities follow Covid-19 protocols.

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