Africa is a continent of diversity, culture and rich natural resources and I can’t encourage travel and further exploration enough. Whether you opt to go on a Kenyan Safari, or explore the heady aromatic souks of Morocco, you’ll find a destination that will suit your travel needs.
That said, the question of visas is very topical right now and if you’re a USA passport holder, you’ll be researching where to travel with the greatest ease. Well here’s the good news, you can travel to many African nations without requiring a visa. In some instances, you can actually pick one up on arrival at your destination.
It’s important to point out that visa rules do vary from country to country and can be complex. Make sure that you have double checked and do fulfil the requirements correctly before you go ahead and book anything as the consequences of not doing so can range from fines, to being taken before a judge or worst case scenario actually being deported. And nobody wants any of that.
Which countries are free to travel to?
For the following countries, no visa is required for Americans: South Africa (yes!), Botswana, Equatorial Guinea, Mauritius, Namibia, Senegal, Seychelles, Swaziland and Tunisia.
Countries for which you can apply for a visa on arrival
For the following countries, a visa can be obtained on arrival: Comoros Islands, Djibouti, Egypt, Ethiopia, Malawi, Mozambique, Rwanda, Togo, Zambia, Zimbabwe and Tanzania. However, in the case of Tanzania although you can technically obtain a visa when you get there, it is advised to sort it out beforehand.
What monetary plans do you need to make?
In countries such as Tanzania and Seychelles, you must have the correct amount of money to cover your stay. If you’re in Malawi, you must declare any foreign currency you have when you arrive.
In some nations, such as Tanzania, you may need to show your return ticket. In many countries, particularly Rwanda and Zambia, it’s important to stick to the terms of your tourist visa and not undertake any business activities. In some cases, this stretches to volunteer work too. This means you may go against the terms of your visa and therefore face penalties. In countries where you need to obtain a visa on arrival, you will need to pay in dollars so ensure you have enough with you.
It is important that your passport is valid for the time you’ll be traveling and doesn’t expire. Although some require less, countries like Swaziland, expect at least six months’ validity. For many countries, you need a minimum of one or perhaps two blank pages in your passport; these include South Africa and Zambia.
Length of time you can stay
Many countries have maximum stays. These can range from seven days in Togo to three months in Namibia. It is very important to be aware of any limits and not to exceed them.
What other requirements are there?
Some countries have further requirements for entry. In Equatorial Guinea and Lesotho, you may be required to show proof of vaccinations. Passport photos might also be needed in Equatorial Guinea.
So, don’t get caught out. Ensure that you have checked the specific visa requirements of anywhere you plan to travel before departing. Remember to check with your local embassy before you travel and inform them of your plans, and also to check on your government’s website for countries in this list that may be on a ‘watch’ or ‘caution advised for travel’ list.
Photo credit – https://takomaparkmd.gov/services/passports/