2019 Update: Countries in Africa that are visa-free for Philippine passport holders

[us_message]This post was last updated on 29 April 2019 and will be updated every six months. Note that in the slug of this post, you will see that when this was originally published, there were only 19 in this list – now there are 23 visa-free African countries for Philippine passport holders! If you feel that the information below is incorrect, incomplete or needs updating, kindly contact the author.[/us_message]

Today, a blog reader wrote to me: “I applied for a visa in Italy and was rejected. What will I do?” What will I do? What will I do seems to be a very hard question. Something I couldn’t answer. Something that only you can answer. However, I am here to help.

Now that I am traveling to visa-free countries for Philippine passport holders, I have let go of all the pain, unhappiness and rejection while processing visas. I will always choose to be happy rather than stick my head into an area that I am not welcome in.

Our image of Africa is always about the animals, the safari, the wildlife — images that are true and obviously exciting to explore. But let me tell you that Africa is more than that. Wouldn’t you want to be in a place where you feel truly welcome? Where your travels are not judged by your income tax or money in the bank?

We’ve established that it is already visa-free. But you might be wondering — “what can I do in these countries?” I know it doesn’t sound appealing to you because you have no idea what some of those countries are. I’ve visited 50% of the list so I will make a brief introduction for each destination. I will walk you through 19 visa-free countries that Philippine passport holders can visit.

Visa-free

Visa-free allows you to enter a country without applying for a visa on a certain number of days. For most Filipinos, the ASEAN countries are the familiar visa-free countries as this is where we always start our travels. In the past, I received a lot of inquiry about unfamiliar visa-free countries like Morocco. Again, visa-free is visa-free. Just like entering Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam, etc, you don’t need to present any document or proof of income. A valid passport is all you need.

Visa on arrival (VOA)

VOA is granted upon entry. Note that you don’t need to apply prior to arrival. When you see a destination labeled as VOA, all you have to do is book the ticket. You will be issued a visa when you land. No need to go to the Embassy!

E-visa

An e-visa is a visa you have to apply for online prior to arrival. This is super easy to do as you will do everything over the Internet (submission of documents, payments, etc). Each country has its online visa application portal where you can easily process your application. Once approved, you will get your visa via-email. This is what you will present upon entry in a certain country.

Country
Visa type
Duration
Cape Verde
visa-free
21 days
Comoros
visa-free
21 days
Djibouti
visa on arrival
30 days
Gambia
visa on arrival
90 days
Guinea-Bissau
visa on arrival
90 days
Kenya
visa on arrival
90 days
Madagascar
visa on arrival
90 days
Malawi
visa on arrival
21 days
Mauritius
visa on arrival
60 days
Morocco
visa-free
90 days
Mozambique
visa on arrival
30 days
Rwanda
visa-free
90 days
Senegal
visa on arrival
30 days
Somalia
visa on arrival
30 days
Tanzania
visa on arrival
30 days
Togo
visa on arrival
7 days
Uganda
visa on arrival
90 days
Zambia
visa on arrival
90 days
Zimbabwe
e-visa
90 days

1. Cape Verde – visa on arrival (VOA)

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A Portuguese colony and is officially known as the Republic of Cabo Verde, it is an island country located 350 miles off the coast of West Africa. Cape Verde is famed for the hospitality of the people. You’ll see why many arrived and didn’t leave.

Travel articles, websites, and resources you can read about Cape Verde:

2. Comoros – visa on arrival (45 days)

Mysterious, stunning, enchanting — these are the three words that best describe Comoros Island. A mixture of a remote and a fugitive type of destination, it is filled with beautiful beach resorts and a surprising nightlife. It is not a destination for everyone though. Islam is evident everywhere and as usual, women are expected to show modesty and alcohol is a no-no for everyone.

Travel articles, websites, and resources you can read about Comoros:

3. Djibouti – visa on arrival

Djibouti has a few similarities with Iceland — outdoor activities, extinct volcanoes, stunning salt lakes and of course, this comes with heaps of outdoor activities. However, the cost of living is not that cheap but worth every penny!

Travel articles, websites, and resources you can read about Djibouti:

4. The Gambia – 90 days visa-free

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Beautiful people at the market.

A small West African country, Gambia is the smallest country in mainland Africa. Since it is located in the Atlantic coast, stunning shorelines and beaches are the main attraction of the country. Eco lodges and wildlife parks are already available so it’s a perfect, secluded vacation spot for your planned unplugging!

Travel articles, websites, and resources you can read about The Gambia:

5. Guinea Bissau – visa on arrival (90 days)

visa free countries for Philippine passport holders

Photo: DxWorld

Located in West Africa, Guinnea Bissau was once part of the Gabu and the Mali Empire. Because of the wars, the daily life is tough but its people always find a way to have fun and make music. Stunning beaches, natural forest, mansions and castles are the main tourist attractions.

Travel articles, websites, and resources you can read about The Guinea Bissau:

6. Kenya –  visa on arrival (90 days)

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Vast savannahs and a tremendous wildlife, Kenya is home to the greatest animal species in the world. Kenya has stunning landscapes, numerous wildlife activities and it is a perfect place to unplug and be closer to nature.

Travel articles, websites, and resources you can read about Kenya:

  • Kenya travel by Lonely Planet
  • Check out CNN’s Kenya Travel Guide to explore the best things to do and places to stay, plus get insider tips, watch original video and read inspiring narratives.
  • National Geographic’s archives on Kenya is pretty loaded with information and great photos!
  • British writer Becki Enright wrote that traveling in Kenya was an experience of a lifetime for her

7. Madagascar – visa on arrival (90 days)

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Yes, the lemur from the Madagascar movie really exists. Baobabs, rainforest, trekking, diving and a lot of outdoor activities. Madagascar is the most exotic destination there is.

Travel articles, websites, and resources you can read about Madagascar:

9. Malawi – visa on arrival (21 days)

visa free countries filipinos

Did you know that Malawi’s capital city is one of the most expensive cities in the world? It might be an unknown African country but Malawi is beautiful and has a lot to offer. I went here for a volunteer work for children’s education and my experience was amazing! I did not go around that much but I have friends in Malawi whom I can recommend to take you around! Just let me know!

Travel articles, websites, and resources you can read about Malawi:

10. Mauritania – visa on arrival (but the entry should be at Nouakchott–Oumtounsy International Airport)

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I think Mauritania is my favourite African country in terms of culture. I was involved in women and children’s rights movement here and I have discovered a lot of beautiful things about their culture. But we are not going into that. Mauritania is located in West Africa close to Morocco. Since it is close to West Sahara, it has outstanding sand dunes, plateaus, and attractive little towns.

Travel articles, websites, and resources you can read about Mauritania:

12. Mauritius – visa on arrival

13. Morocco – 90 days visa-free

Shopping in Chefchaouen

Morocco is the African country where I spent most of my time in Africa. It is one of the Muslim countries that is very open to tourists. Because of its close proximity to Europe, Morocco is flocked by thousands of visitors every year. I’ve been to Morocco twice and in both cases, I ended up maxing out the visa!

14. Mozambique – visa on arrival (30 days)

songo-241981_1280

Stunning coastlines and a beautiful and rich culture, Mozambique has a lot of opportunities for outdoor adventures. You might not think of visiting this country but its beaches, turquoise waters and colourful ocean wildlife will make you want to stay.

15. Rwanda – visa on arrival (90 days)

africa-1054855_1280

Rwanda, a country which is always incorporated with the genocide in 1994 is always ‘dangerous’ to many tourists. However, the country has developed miraculously through the years in terms of politics. Tourism boosted again. Rwanda prides itself with its beautiful mountains and jungles.

16. Saint Helena – visa on arrival

Turks Cap

Photo by my good friend, Iain Mallory.

Yes, it’s a country and I visited this, too! Walking trails and wildlife encounters is Saint Helena’s specialty. The Galapagos of the Atlantic, Saint Helena has over 500 species and marine life including dolphins and whale sharks. Perfect for the wet traveler in you!

17. Senegal – visa on arrival (30 days); invitation letter from a Senegalese is needed

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I visited this country just because it was mentioned in one of Manu Chao’s song. However, upon visiting, I discovered a lot more. Like Marrakesh, Dakar is full of nightlife, markets, beaches and of course, my favorite part — the music. Senegal’s music is definitely a good reason to visit the country!

18. Seychelles – visa on arrival (30 days)

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Part of my 2016 destination pick, Seychelles is the ultimate paradise of the world. Never heard of it? Imagine yourself sunbathing on a powder white sand, not sharing the beach side with other people. See it? That’s Seychelles. Famous as a honeymoon destination, Seychelles is full of marine reserves and magnificent beaches. Worry not — it is definitely an affordable destination!

19. Somalia – visa on arrival (30 days); invitation letter should be submitted 2 days before the travel date

To date, it is not advisable to travel in Somalia because of the 2 recent terrorism attacks in Mogadishu. There is a very high threat of terrorism including kidnapping. Food shortage is also ongoing. Kindly research on travel safety advice in Somalia as I haven’t been there myself.

20. Tanzania – visa on arrival (30 days)

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Ahhhh, another favourite. I spent a month volunteering in Zanzibar and I definitely enjoyed it! Located in East Africa, Tanzania is also home to herds of wildlife and stunning landscapes. The famous Mt Kilimanjaro is also located here.

21. Togo – visa on arrival (7 days); proof of yellow fever vaccine required

Togo-benin_1985-037_hg

Photo Source: Wikipedia

Looking for an off-the-beaten-path destination? Togo is it! Landscapes, lakes and a load of outdoor activities await!

22. Uganda – visa on arrival (90 days); entry should be at Entebbe Airport

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At present, it is advised NOT TO travel to some of the remote northeastern districts (except trips to Kidepo Valley National Park). However, some parts of Uganda are safe to travel to. Nicknamed as the pearl of Africa, Uganda is home to the tallest mountain range in Africa and to a herd of wildlife.

23. Zambia – visa on arrival (90 days) or apply e-visa online before the trip

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Wander with animals and visit the most beautiful waters of Southern Africa including the spectacular Victoria Falls (bordering Zimbabwe). A wide variety of activities and a taste of culture is available, too.

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Traveling from the Philippines

Unfortunately, there are not much direct flights going to these destinations but you can always opt to fly to South Africa. The estimate round trip flight from Manila to Johannesburg costs Php35,000 – Php45,000 ($700 – 800 USD). From South Africa, there are a lot of cheap flights going to these countries, individually. You can also fly from the major cities of South Africa: Johannesburg, Cape Town, Durban, Port Elizabeth and Nelspruit.

Please take note that Filipinos need a visa to travel to South Africa. Visit the nearest consulate in your area for more details.


So what if your Schengen/USA visa wasn’t approved? Don’t you think these options are more exciting and have room for more adventures? Let me know what you think! Leave your comments below!

Use Pinterest to plan your travels! If you love this post, hover on the image below to pin it!

EXPLORE

Trisha is one of those people who left their comfortable life to travel the world and learn about life. Her style is to stay in one place she likes for 3 months (or more) to know what it feels like to eat, cook, speak, and sleep in another culture that isn’t hers. She'd like to believe she's not traditionally traveling but she just chooses to be somewhere else all the time. In no particular order, her favorite cities in the world are Barcelona, Buenos Aires, Hong Kong, Mexico City, and Tel Aviv.

Comments

  • Ryan Santiago
    January 6, 2016

    Exciting! I’m really interested in visiting/living in Africa once I have finished my backpacking trip around Latin America (which I will start in July of this year!). I think Portuguese is spoken in many parts of Africa, and Spanish and French are widely spoken in Morocco, so I really have a lot of reasons to visit these stunning countries! 😀

    reply
  • January 13, 2016

    Interesting Article, though I am not a pinoy, have shared this with some kabayans….

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  • January 15, 2016

    It’s sad to realize how many nationalities are prevented from traveling to certain countries. I feel privileged to be pretty well accepted almost everywhere as an American, but I know that my own country is not as accepting as those countries where I can easily travel. I think the world is already becoming more welcoming to more and more nationalities. Hopefully you will be able to visit certain countries that you’ve been dreaming of in good time.

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  • January 16, 2016

    So many places to add to my travel list! Great post!

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  • January 16, 2016

    Oh Africa… It’s in my wish list since I was born! I’m Portuguese so there’s a huge connection between Portugal and, obviously, countries like Mozambique, Angola, Cabo Verde, etc. Very informative post, Trisha!

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    • Stephen
      December 11, 2018

      Bem-Vinda a Angola!!!! 🙂

      reply
  • January 17, 2016

    There are a lot of place you CAN visit and this post does a great job of highlighting some fantastic things to do. Things that are on a lot of people’s bucket lists and dream destinations. I am sure I could find something to entertain myself 🙂

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  • January 17, 2016

    I do love your introductory sentences, trisha. Time to see these welcoming countries in Africa which will never give us heartbreak in visa rejection but just wonderful memories to treasure. 😉

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  • January 18, 2016

    Loved the photos! The landscape photos are absolutely beautiful!

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  • January 18, 2016

    Great break thru of all the possible places for Filipino’s to go. Its a big world with loads of great places to visit – without visa!!! )

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  • January 18, 2016

    Very useful post for those in that situation – such a varied continent, something to please every type of traveller. Would love to experience Victoria Falls.

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  • January 19, 2016

    After reading your post, i want to check if any of these are visa free for Indian. You have triggered an itch. 🙂

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  • January 24, 2016

    Fortunately I’m not a Philippines citizen, but you laid it out very nicely for your audience that does do this, great job.

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  • January 24, 2016

    A very comprehensive list of 8nformation herebfor travellers from the Philippines. Well done for putting it all together

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  • January 24, 2016

    An excellent post I will forward to my Filipino friends. I am British and on the 20th October we celebrate the British Filipino Friendship day.

    “FRIENDSHIP? WHAT FRIENDSHIP?” (one of my Filipino friends pointed out) “You guys make it so hard for us to visit!” The UK visa rules are quite terrible/strict!

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  • January 24, 2016

    I must admit that I wasn’t particularly that drawn to Africa until a few years ago. But some countries are becoming top priorities to me because of so much diversity it offers. Which country to tick off my list first is the problem!

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  • January 24, 2016

    Nice list of places!I am not a Fillipino traveler but this list will be of utmost of importance to natives. I would pick going to Seychelles, especially right now with this cold front in the US.

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  • January 24, 2016

    Great resource and beautiful photos! I always have to remind myself to check visa requirements – even with a US passport as it is easy to get lulled into just assuming that you don’t need to do anything in advance depending on your travel history.

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  • January 24, 2016

    Great list! I’m sad I’ve never been to Africa but I’m sure there will be a first time coming very soon!

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  • January 25, 2016

    So many places to add to our travel list – lets start with Kenya, Morocco…

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  • January 25, 2016

    What a great list of places to visit. Despite not having a Philippines passport, you have definitely given me some new countries to think about visiting!

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  • Sue_PH
    March 9, 2016

    Hi Trisha! I love reading your travels, its like reading my favorite storybooks and keeps me motivated that in time, dreams do come true:) I learned a lot from your blog and this article is definitely helpful! my friends in Africa (Benin and Togo) are waiting for me to visit them someday. This article definitely fires up the travelling spirit in me. haha! Take care on your travels and have lots of fun! =)

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  • Camille
    March 10, 2016

    This is nice knowing which countries to go. But I am curious how you calculate the cost of living? Because I have a friend from Madagascar and he is quite astonish about the prices and it might be that the prices you took are those expensive ones or in a luxurious life than the average perhaps, just guessing?

    reply
  • aicy
    May 30, 2016

    Hi Trisha,

    I’m Aicy i love your Africa trip article. You inspired me to travel Africa. i have 1 question as a Philippine passport holder, do we need a show money in Philippine Immigration when travelling long term in 19 African countries? I need your advise 😀 poor traveler here 🙁

    reply
  • chunky
    November 26, 2016

    This is LOVE! 🙂 Any suggestion/s to which part of Africa is/are safe for babies? Thanks!

    reply
  • neha
    May 28, 2017

    Stunning! Extraordinary Post. I didn’t know much about these spots. Much obliged for Sharing. It will help me a considerable measure to make my next rundown to visit new places.
    I have visited Moremi Game Reserve. it is nice place to visit.if you like wildlife and natural beauty then it is best place for you.

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  • Lyn
    November 17, 2017

    I have fiance from zambia he visited me here in philipines recently from the month of september to october.he wants me to go in zambia,but i dont know how to get there cause as i knew i did some research there’s a visa for zambia and i am worried about it cause there’s no zambian embassy there in the philippines to apply a visa.im happy now i have read this your blog that its a free visa for zambia.can i ask some advice?thank you.

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  • jc
    November 27, 2017

    Hi,
    You have nice travel blog and IG. 🙂
    I just want to know if you got the visa on arrival when you visit Tanzania.
    I’m planning to visit soon. How long it will take to issue the visa when your arrived?
    Looking forward to your reply.

    Thank you.

    Jc

    reply
  • Teresa Entero
    December 14, 2017

    OMG! this blog is so helpful . I am looking forward to go to madagascar! and soon to some other countries …

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  • May 19, 2018

    This is nice knowing which countries to go. But I am curious how you calculate the cost of living? Because I have a friend from Madagascar and he is quite astonish about the prices and it might be that the prices you took are those expensive ones or in a luxurious life than the average perhaps. Anyways, thanks for this amazing post!

    reply
  • anewor tiro
    October 5, 2018

    Hi Trishia, I just want to confirm if going to Senegal is VOA? I’m planning to go there with my Spanish boyfriend next year mid January.

    reply
  • October 26, 2018

    may i know if these info are still updated?

    reply
  • AJ
    October 26, 2018

    I don’t understand. The list of visa-free countries you mentioned are different from this one: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Visa_requirements_for_Filipino_citizens. Are those visa on arrival, visas are free of charge?

    reply
  • Sv
    December 30, 2018

    Africa is a beautiful place. Still natural

    reply
  • Gino Carlo Porciuncula
    December 27, 2019

    Hello. I saw that Seychelles is now visa free! 🙂

    reply

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