Get a full list of the vaccines you need for South Africa, and learn about the risk of diseases and the best ways to protect yourself while away.

Vaccinations for
South Africa

South Africa is popular amongst UK travellers due to its vast landscapes and exotic animals. To avoid risks of contracting diseases, there are vaccinations for South Africa to consider before you go.


01.Vaccine list

Below is a list of official recommended vaccinations for South Africa. Not all travel vaccines for South Africa will be right for you, nor necessary for your specific trip.

In order to help you know exactly what injections for South Africa you may need, book a free telephone consultation with one of our prescribing nurses. They will provide you with a personal vaccine plan.

Most travellers

Hepatitis A

Anytime before arrival

Diphtheria, tetanus and polio

Anytime before arrival

Typhoid

2 weeks before arrival

Some travellers

Hepatitis B

4 weeks before arrival*

Cholera

2 weeks before arrival

Rabies

3 weeks before arrival*

02.Other health risks in South Africa

Unfortunately, vaccinations for South Africa do not exist for all health risks. As you travel to South Africa, there are diseases to be aware of to remain safe while you are there.

Malaria

The risk of malaria is high in low altitude areas of Mpumalanga Province including Kruger National Park and Limpopo Province, Vhembe and Mopani districts, Musina, Thohoyandou and surrounds.

Risk is lower, but still present, in KwaZulu-Natal, in certain areas of Mpumalanga, in North West Province (adjacent to Molopo river) and in Northern Cape Province (adjacent to Orange river). The risk is highest from September to May.

Read more

Insect and tick-borne diseases

There is a risk of a variety of insect and tick-borne diseases in South Africa, including african tick-bite fever, chikungunya, west nile virus and crimean-congo haemorrhagic fever. The risk is present throughout the country, especially in tall grass in rural areas where ticks do hide, and highest near livestock or wild animals.

Cases of crimean-congo haemorrhagic fever, an animal disease that can spread to humans in contact with livestock, have been reported in Northern Cape and North West.

The risk of chikungunya and west nile virus, both transmitted by mosquito bites, are highest in forested areas in early morning or late afternoon, especially from October to April.

Schistosomiasis

Schistosomiasis, a disease found in contaminated freshwater infested with infected snails sometimes causing itchy skin, is widespread in South Africa.

 The affected regions include KwaZulu-Natal Province, along the coast into Eastern Cape Province to the area of Port St. Johns, the province of Limpopo (including Kruger National Park) from the Limpopo River basin to the northern part of the Witwatersrand mountains, Marico, Swartruggens and Rustenburg district, more specifically in Koster, Wolmaransstad and Bloemhof on the Vaal River and in Piet-Retief district (Mpumalanga Province).

03.Precautions for South Africa

It is important to take precautions during your stay in South Africa, as the diseases can be spread in many different ways and the risk can increase at anytime.

Mosquitoes

There is a risk of malaria in South Africa, and you cannot be protected against the disease by vaccination.

Because of this, it is really important you protect yourself against mosquito bites, as they are the main cause of the infection during your stay in the country.

Read more

Insects and ticks

There is a risk of a variety of insect and tick-borne diseases, such as african tick-bite fever, chikungunya, west nile virus and crimean-congo haemorrhagic fever in South Africa.

As the risk is widespread throughout the country, in the presence of various animals and insects, it is highly recommended to take consistent precautions to avoid insect bites.

Read more

Freshwater

There is currently a risk of contracting infections from infested freshwater areas in South Africa, notably schistosomiasis.

The World Health Organization reports cases of schistosomiasis in the country in 2012. As there is a risk of freshwater diseases present throughout the country, it is recommended to avoid bathing in freshwater pools and/or practice precautions if you travel to such areas.

Read more

Food and water

All travellers going to South Africa should take care with food and water hygiene, as there is a risk of typhoid, cholera and hepatitis A, which are all transmitted through contaminated food and water.

If you are visiting friends or relatives in South Africa or are a long-stay traveller, you are at increased risk of consuming contaminated food and drinks, and you should therefore be extra careful.

Read more

04.Useful contacts in South Africa

To help you with useful contacts and services while in South Africa, here is a quick overview of the ones you may need.

The British High Commission, Pretoria The British High Commission in Pretoria can assist you, if you are in need of urgent help. You can call them on +27 12 421 7500.

The British Consulate General Cape Town The British Consulate General Cape Town can also assist you, if you are in need of urgent help on +27 21 405 2400.

Local emergency medical services If you need urgent medical assistance while you are in South Africa, you can call the emergency number +27 10177. You can also call +27 112, which will connect you to a call centre and an automated menu, that will connect you to the medical and emergency help you need.

Medical facilities and practitioners If you get ill while you are in South Africa, and need to see a doctor, it is important that you choose a reputable medical facility. For this, you can refer to a list of English-speaking medical facilities and practitioners in South Africa provided by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office.

05.Checklist for your trip to South Africa

  • Check if you need vaccinations Speak with one of our prescribing nurses at least six to eight weeks before travel for advice on vaccinations for South Africa

  • Yellow fever certificate Verify the specific entry requirements concerning yellow fever certificates necessary for South Africa and whether they apply to you

  • Mosquito protection Bring everything needed to avoid mosquito bites while in South Africa, including DEET insect repellent

  • Travel insurance If you become ill in South Africa and did not receive the right vaccinations before you left, your travel insurance can become void. So, make sure to check before you leave

  • Note useful contact numbers In the case of an emergency, have a list of useful contacts to take with you to South Africa

Content reviewed by

Anne Marie Major, Independent Nurse Prescriber
June 20, 2019

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