We’re back with another part of the Power of Your Green Book blog series where we highlight some exciting, exotic locations that South Africans can travel to without needing to get a visa.  

A quick recap if you’re joining this party late – the Bahamas, Micronesia, Benin and Guyana are all places that you can jump on a plane right now and visit. So now, let’s add to the list! 

Madagascar 

Baobab trees along dirt road
You thought those trees weren’t real, didn’t you?

Madagascar is the second-largest island country in the world and is truly a tropical paradise to check out. It’s so wild, in fact, that flying between cities is not uncommon due to the thick forests separating the key regions. You could also take a yacht, and sail around the coast to your next destination if you’re fancy like that. 

South Africans are granted a free visa on arrival, allowing you to take in all that Madagascar has to offer for 30 days. Unlike the other country we’re going to speak about in this post, the exchange rate is vastly in your favour – with the South African Rand worth more than 250 Malagasy Ariary at the time of writing.  

A conspiracy of lemurs
Cue the “I Like To Move It” song! Interesting fact – the collective noun for a group of lemurs is a conspiracy!

Madagascar’s main drawcard is its unique ecology. Due to how far away it is from mainland continents, approximately 90% of all plant and animal species found in Madagascar are endemic – meaning only found there! This distinction from the rest of the world has prompted leading ecologists to refer to Madagascar as the “eighth continent”. What that means for you is Madagascar offers opportunities to see and experience things like nowhere else in the world! 

It’s also got a unique history, leading to an interesting blend of world cultures. French is a prominent language, as it is on the other neighbouring islands, however, there is a distinct Polynesian and Malay influence, both in the people and their culture. Due to its proximity to Africa, there is also some African flavour thrown in the mix too. 

That tasty mix of world flavours is most noticeable in its cuisine, reflecting Southeast Asian, African, Indian, Chinese and European culinary traditions. Most traditional Malagasy dishes are built on a base of rice with accompaniment on top, normal vegetables or an animal protein. Be sure to try locally brewed Three Horses Beer too or, if alcohol isn’t your thing, the island also has a reputation for producing some of the world’s finest chocolate. 

Ireland 

Irish castle on a hill, overlooking ocean
We feel an Ed Sheeran song coming on…

You read that correctly – visit the ole Emerald Isle itself without getting a visa. The one caveat is you’ll only be allowed to stay for 90 days but, given the fact that you’re literally getting into Europe visa-free, we’ll take what we can get! 

Be prepared for the steep exchange rate, turning your Randelas into Euros isn’t a pretty sight. But, if you’ve saved up enough or, you know, hit that Lotto jackpot, you’re in for a treat! 

Irish coast, with steep cliffs
Magnificent. Just magnificent.

If you were to search “what to see in Ireland”, the vast majority would be places where nature is flexing its muscles – simply put, Ireland is beautiful. From the northernmost tip, Malin Head, to Brow Head in the south, there are scenic ocean views and green craggy cliffs everywhere you look. 

It’d be a let-down to travel to the birthplace of Guinness without learning how to pour a perfect pint. The Guinness Storehouse in Dublin is a hot tourist destination, so expect a queue – but it is a fun day out for Guinness lovers! 

Ireland is rich in history. Like, soaked in it. You could take in some historical sights, like visiting the world’s oldest bar, Sean’s Bar – which has records of serving up cold ones to patrons since 900 A.D. There’s also the world’s most haunted castle, the aptly named Leap Castle. There are plenty other, less-ghost-infested castles to check out too. 

Irish castle overlooking small lake
No doubt that castle has seen some stuff.

There are a number of cultural exhibitions to take in; the Irish are quite nuts about sport and love a quick dance. Whether you’re there to watch Gaelic football, “real football” or just get your Riverdance on, there’s a lot of fun to be had across Ireland. 

If you’re lucky enough to travel the world, be sure to add these exciting destinations to your list of places to see. For the rest of us, City Lodge Hotel Group is located across South Africa and other African countries, like Kenya – your home away from home, no matter where you go!

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