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South Africa ranks 61st in global index of best countries for combining remote work and travel adventures

Bird’s-eye view of a remote online working digital nomad. Picture: Supplied

Bird’s-eye view of a remote online working digital nomad. Picture: Supplied

Published Jan 10, 2022


As more people embrace flexible working environments and set their sights on their next “workation” (that is, a vacation that blends leisure and remote work), travel search site has revealed the best countries in the world to work remotely from, with Portugal topping the list.

Cheapflights’s first Work from Wherever Index is the ultimate source for those looking to set up a new office away from home, either temporarily or for long periods of time.

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To develop the index, Cheapflights, which is managed by KAYAK, closely analysed 111 countries and ranked each against 22 factors across six categories – travel costs and accessibility, local prices, health and safety, remote working capabilities, social life and the weather – to reveal the best countries that are easiest to work from while enjoying a new country.

How is South Africa doing on the global and regional levels?

South Africa ranked 61st in the global index and takes fifth place among countries in the Middle East and African regions.

The country ranked highly in the categories of price, travel and social life, which is an indicator of locals’ proficiency in English, the abundance of activities and places to visit, and culture.

In the worldwide competition, it's overtaken such destinations as South Korea, Canada and many others.

Mauritius, which came in at fourth place in the world ranking, tops the ranking for the Middle East and Africa.

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Not surprising since the island nation offers great weather, low crime rates and a fairly low cost of living in addition to a free remote work visa (also called a digital nomad visa).

These visas are travel authorisations for on-the-go workers and are often relatively easy to obtain. They allow travellers to work independently and remotely during their stay in a country.

Already, Mauritius has proved extremely popular with South Africans, and just recently announced that its borders are once again open to Saffas for travel.

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Lagging much further behind Mauritius are the Seychelles and the United Arab Emirates (UAE), which both offer one-year remote work visas and plenty of co-working spaces.

Global ranking overview

According to the index, the top 10 best countries in the world for combining productive working conditions with opportunities for travel adventures are:

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Costa Rica


Czech Republic


Portugal was ranked the overall best country to work remotely, scoring high across the board in all categories, including great weather, a high abundance of places for going out, low crime rates and a relatively low cost of living.

Many Portuguese locals have a high English proficiency, an attractive factor for expats, while the country also offers a digital nomad visa.

South Africans can find the best “workation” for their team’s time zone thanks to Cheapflights’s new feature

In addition to the ranking, the Cheapflights Work from Wherever Index features a new time-zone ranking to assist users to quickly and easily find the time differences for their trip – ideal for those looking to avoid 2am conference calls while working abroad.

The time zone-focused rankings takes key factors and categories from the Index into account but displays them according to your work country of origin – so the countries that have time zones closest to your own work time-zone will be featured higher on the list of destinations.

The tool also provides information on the latest travel restrictions and local vaccination rates per country.

“Travel is at the core of what we do at Cheapflights and KAYAK; and it’s only natural that we embrace the opportunity for people to work from almost anywhere in the world, a trend we believe is on the rise among travellers in 2022 and beyond,” says Laura Bornet, VP & GM EMEA for KAYAK, that manages Cheapflights.

“The idea behind this tool is to help travellers easily find destinations that cater to this new hybrid way of working, identifying countries that offer great working conditions while boasting amazing things to see and do in your downtime.”

For info on the index, visit:

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