Southern Africa Travel Advice:
General travel health advice
for travelers and visitors to Southern Africa.
General travel health tips:
• visit your medical advisor at least six weeks before
you travel to check if you need any vaccinations or to
take other steps (like taking malaria tablets)
• you should also make extra preparations if you have an
existing medical condition.
• take out adequate travel insurance or you could face a
huge medical bill if you fall ill and need treatment
• drink plenty of water in hot climates to avoid
• be safe in the sun - use a high-factor sunscreen and
avoid excessive sunbathing between 11am - 3pm
• find out the local emergency services numbers and the
number of the local hospital
• practice safe sex - take condoms with you because the
quality varies in different countries. HIV and Aids, and
other sexually transmitted diseases are a risk.
• A yellow fever vaccination certificate is required
from travellers over one year of age arriving from
infected areas. The yellow fever vaccination certificate
only becomes valid 10 days after immunisation.
• Malaria risk, predominantly in the malignant
falciparum form, exists throughout the year except for
the drier western parts or higher altitude areas.
Resistance to chloroquine has been reported.
It is strongly recommended that visitors to malaria
areas take anti-malaria tablets before entering these
areas (tablets are available from pharmacies without
prescription). The recommended prophylaxis is
chloroquine plus proguanil or chloroquine plus
It is advisable to contact your medical advisor.
• Tap water is safe to drink in urban areas in South
Africa, but may be contaminated elsewhere and
sterilisation is advisable. Contaminated drinking water
is one of the leading sources of health problems for
travelers. Use bottled water or alternatives and
consider carrying a filter or tablets to sterilize
4. Rabies is present. For those at high risk,
vaccination before arrival should be considered. If you
are bitten, seek medical advice without delay.
• Bilharzia (schistosomiasis) is endemic in some
countries and may be present elsewhere. Avoid swimming
and paddling in stationary water. Swimming pools which
are well-chlorinated and maintained are safe.
• Hepatitis A occurs and hepatitis B is hyper endemic.
Be extremely cautious about any sexual activity in
For more info also see the
World Health Organization's travel map with
information about the country situation with respect to
yellow fever vaccination requirements and
recommendations and malaria risk and prevention.
Please also consult the individual country guidelines.