Indians pack your bags and let that long-lost dream of visiting the breathtaking South African savannah become a reality, because now you can easily apply for visa online. By Tanvi Jain

South Africa has decided to try something in favour of Indians, and if it turns out to be a success, will definitely make travelling to the country much easier. 

The country has come up with an online visa facility for Indian passport holders. The announcement was made recently by South Africa’s Tourism Minister Mmamoloko Kubayi-Ngubane. However, as of now it’s on trial basis only, but is expected to be in full effect by April 1, 2020. The purpose of trial is to make sure it’s free of any technical glitches and is convenient to upload the documents online. 

Wildlife reserves, the big five, bunny chow, braai (barbeque) and pap (cornmeal porridge), and its museums and natural history, are few of the many reasons why people love to travel to South Africa. The country is very popular among Indian tourists, and within the first half of 2019, it has witnessed an increase of at least eight per cent in the average duration of stay of travellers. Statistically speaking, as of October 2019, over 81,316 Indians travelled to South Africa, thereby registering a 30 per cent increase on a year-on-year basis. At present, the country hosts more than 10.4 million tourists every year.

South Africa estimates that this year the number of Indian tourists is likely to touch the 1 lakh mark. Moreover, the country is also working on the facility of multiple-entry visas for Indians, and to fast track the visa process for US or Schengen Visa holders. 

Further reports suggest that the country might soon consider flying direct flights from Mumbai to South Africa, as currently the only option for Indians to fly to South Africa is via Dubai. 

Apart from India, South Africa will open the online visa facility for China as well, which will start from February on a trial basis. The first phase was reportedly launched in New Zealand after which the country decided to give the facility to two of the most emerging markets – India and China – with changes based on feedback. 

Related: Think You’ve Seen It All? How About These Hidden Gems Of South Africa!