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When to go
South Africa 

Travel Health South Africa

General Travel Health South Africa

General Travel Health Australia
Malaria Risk South Africa
Wild Life Health Dangers

Recommended Vaccinations 

No specific inoculations are compulsory if you arrive from the West, however, its wise to ensure that your polio and tetanus vaccinations are up to date.


A yellow fever vaccination certificate is necessary if you arrive  from a country where the disease is endemic, such as Kenya, Tanzania or tropical South America.  If youre going to another African country first and need the yellow fever jab, remember that a yellow fever certificate only becomes valid ten days after youve had the shot.

Typhoid and Hepatitis A

In addition to these, the Hospital for Tropical Diseases in London recommends a course of shots against typhoid and a Havrix injection against hepatitis A,  which is caught from contaminated food or water. This is a worst-case scenario, as you probably wont be travelling in areas where these illnesses pose a serious threat.

Hepatitis B
Vaccine is only essential for people involved in health work. The disease is spread by the transfer of blood products, so most travellers need not worry about it.

If you decide to have a full compliment of jabs, start organizing them six weeks before departure.


Hepatitis A and B 

Hepatitis A occurs and hepatitis B is hyperendemic.


Dengue Fever 

Dengue fever and filariasis are present.


The Sun 

The sun is likely to be the worst hazard youll encounter in southern Africa, particularly if youre fair-skinned.

The sun in the southern hemisphere is far more intense and transmits far more ultraviolet than it does in the north (even in the sunshine states of the USA). Its wise to limit your exposure to this major cause of skin cancer .

Short-term effects of overexposure to the sun include burning, nausea and headaches. 

Good sunglasses can reduce ultraviolet light exposure to the eye by fifty percent. Look for a pair that absorbs at least 95 percent of UVR as well as UVB. A broad-brimmed hat is also recommended.

Children should ideally be kept well covered at the seaside, when, even on cloudy days UV levels can be especially high. Make sure children wear T-shirts (preferably a close-weave fabric) at the beach, and use SPF 30 sunscreen liberally and often.


Food and Drink 

Mains water is considered safe to drink in urban areas but may be contaminated elsewhere and sterilisation is advisable.  Bottled water is available.  Milk is pasteurised and dairy products are safe for consumption. Local meat, poultry, seafood, fruit and vegetables are generally considered safe to eat.


Stomach upsets from food are rare. Salad and ice - the danger items in many other Third World countries - are only found in hotels and restaurants, and both are perfectly safe. If you do get a stomach bug, the best cure is lots of water and rest. Papayas, the flesh as well as the pips, are a good tonic to offset the runs. Otherwise, most chemists should have name-brand anti-diarrhoea remedies.



Health insurance is recommended  

Medical facilities are excellent..


Get a leaflet on health precautions: South African High Commission

Health fears that may be justified in some parts of Africa (run-down hospitals and bizarre tropical diseases) are not typical of South Africa.


As in the rest of Africa, however, HIV is rampant, but there is little chance of catching it other than through intravenous drug taking or unprotected sex.

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