A glimpse into low-key African and Oceanic destinations that are easily accessible, visa-wise.
Beyond those popular destinations in Asia and the Americas, there are a couple of other visa-friendly nations that are just waiting to be discovered and explored.
For this article, Skyscanner looks at lesser-known but visit-worthy destinations in Africa and Oceania that either allow visa-free access or grant visas on arrival to Philippine passport holders. From emerging and exotic hotspots to remote but magnificent paradise islands, the following countries deserve their share of the limelight too.
Filipinos can visit Morocco without a visa for up to 90 days. Exotic and fascinating, this country is your gateway to Islamic Africa. In its ancient city centers, streets lead to lively open-air markets called souqs, stunning mosques (including Hassan II, the world’s second-largest mosque) and romantic riads, or traditional Moroccan houses with an interior garden or courtyard. On the countryside, expect panoramic views of mountains, dunes and the Atlantic coast. You might also enjoy hiking the Atlas Mountains, which has North Africa’s highest peak, Jebel Toubkal. Or you could try camel trekking through the sand dunes of Sahara.
Mozambique issues 30-day visas upon arrival at the airport of Beira, Maputo, Nampula, Pemba or Tete for a fee of $66. Largely inaccessible for nearly two decades (1975–1992) due to a guerrilla war, Mozambique now welcomes tourists to explore its natural wonders and historic attractions. The country’s 2,500-kilometer coastline features pristine beaches, rich coral reefs and clear waters perfect for snorkeling, scuba diving, deep-sea fishing, windsurfing and sailing. You can also go wildlife and bird watching at the Gorongosa National Park and Niassa Reserve, or sightseeing at Ilha de Mozambique and Ibo Island, where colonial-era architecture and relics can be found.
Zambia allows Filipinos to obtain a visa on arrival and stay up to 90 days as tourists. The fee is $25 for single-entry visas and $40 for double-entry visas. Not as developed and Westernized as other parts of Southern Africa, Zambia is the go-to place for those who want to experience the “real” Africa. Particularly popular are the wildlife safaris in its national parks, with Kafue, South Luangwa and Lower Zambezi among the most-visited. Victoria Falls, the world’s largest waterfall, can also be found in Zambia along with the biggest man-made reservoir (Lake Kariba) and the longest freshwater lake (Lake Tanganyika) on earth.
Visitors to Palau are granted a 30-day visa upon arrival. An island country in the western Pacific Ocean, Palau is a haven for snorkelers and scuba divers. From diverse coral reefs and rare sea creatures to blue holes, hidden caves and wartime wrecks, it is teeming with underwater attractions. The Jellyfish Lake, an isolated lake where jellyfish have evolved to lose their sting, is another must-see. On land, you’ll find the richest flora and fauna in all of Micronesia, including exotic bird species and a variety of orchids. You might also want to check out the war remnants at Peleliu Island and the collections at the Belau National Museum in Koror.
Tuvalu requires tourists to obtain a 30-day visa upon arrival. Even though it is the world’s fourth-smallest country, this remote destination lures those seeking a relaxing and quiet refuge. Located midway between Hawaii and Australia, it has some of the least commercialized islands in Polynesia, so you can expect a very low-key atmosphere. Tuvalu’s nine islands are mostly covered in forest and surrounded by lagoons and reefs. The tourist facilities are clustered in Funafuti, where you can watch cultural performances at the town hall and drop by the Philatelic Bureau for unique stamps and other souvenirs. The outer islands such as Nanumea are more laid-back but just as interesting.
Note: Fiji Airways operates twice weekly flights from Nadi to Funafuti, Tuvalu with a layover in Suva, Fiji.
Vanuatu provides visas on arrival, permitting tourists to stay up to 30 days. Located east of Australia and north of New Zealand, this Melanesian country has everything you can expect from a tropical getaway plus more. The standout attractions include the world’s most accessible shipwreck dive site (that of the World War II troopship President Coolidge) in Santo and the most accessible active volcano (Mount Yasur) in Tanna. Try to also catch the legendary land divers of Pentecost and the cultural dances of Malekula. At the national capital, Port Vila in Efate, don’t miss out on the fine cuisine and shopping bargains (duty-free!).
Don’t pass up the chance to uncover the wonders of these countries without worrying about the hassle of securing a visa prior to your trip. Going off the beaten path has its rewards, so venture out as often you can. Book those airline tickets via Skyscanner soon and enjoy your journey!
(Information in this article is correct as of 30 July 2014. As visa policies are subject to change, Skyscanner suggests checking in with a country’s embassy or consulate before planning your itinerary.)