South Africa (Africa)Advice for All Destinations Vaccinations Malaria Malaria Map Other Health Risks Alerts News
Advice for All Destinations
Read the information on the COVID-19: Health Considerations for Travel page for advice on travelling during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Vaccinations and malaria risk
Review both the Vaccination and Malaria sections on this page to find out if you may need vaccines and/or a malaria risk assessment before you travel to this country.
If you think you require vaccines and/or malaria risk assessment, you should make an appointment with a travel health professional:
A travel health risk assessment is also advisable for some people, even when vaccines or malaria tablets are not required.
Risk prevention advice
Many of the health risks experienced by travellers cannot be prevented by vaccines and other measures need to be taken.
Always make sure you understand the wider risks at your destination and take precautions, including:
- food and water safety
- accident prevention
- sun safety
- avoiding insect bites
- preventing and treating animal bites
- respiratory hygiene
- hand hygiene
Our advice section gives detailed information on minimising specific health risks abroad:
Other health considerations
Make sure you have travel insurance before travel to cover healthcare abroad.
Find out if there are any restrictions you need to consider if you are travelling with medicines.
Know how to access healthcare at your destination: see the GOV.UK English speaking doctors and medical facilities: worldwide list
If you feel unwell on your return home from travelling abroad, always seek advice from a healthcare professional and let them know your travel history.
- Confirm primary courses and boosters are up to date as recommended for life in Britain - including for example, seasonal flu vaccine (if indicated), MMR, vaccines required for occupational risk of exposure, lifestyle risks and underlying medical conditions.
- Courses or boosters usually advised: Diphtheria; Hepatitis A.
- Other vaccines to consider: Hepatitis B; Rabies; Tetanus; Typhoid.
- Selectively advised vaccines - only for those individuals at highest risk: none.
Yellow fever vaccination certificate required for travellers aged 1 year or over arriving from countries with risk of yellow fever transmission and for travellers having transited for more than 12 hours through an airport of a country with risk of yellow fever transmission.
Notes on the diseases mentioned above
- Diphtheria:  spread person to person through respiratory droplets. Risk is higher if mixing with locals in poor, overcrowded living conditions.
spread through consuming contaminated food and water or person to person through the faecal-oral route.
Risk is higher where personal hygiene and sanitation is poor.
Risk is highest for those with underlying medical conditions where there is increased risk of severe disease e.g. chronic liver/kidney disease; haemophiliacs; men who have sex with men; people who inject drugs.
spread through infected blood and blood products, contaminated needles and medical instruments and sexual intercourse.
Risk is higher for long stays, frequent travel and for children (exposed through cuts and scratches), those who may require medical treatment during travel.
Risk is highest for those with underlying medical conditions where there is increased risk of severe disease e.g. chronic liver/kidney disease; haemophiliacs; men who have sex with men; people who change partners frequently; people who inject drugs.
- Rabies:  spread through the saliva of infected animals (especially dogs, cats, bats and monkeys), usually through a bite, scratch or lick to broken skin. Risk is higher for those working or living in remote or rural areas (with no easy access to medical facilities), longer stay travellers, those planning on undertaking activities such as trekking, cycling or running in a 'high risk' country, those working with, or regularly handling animals or bats, as part of their job, and children. Even after receiving pre-travel rabies vaccine, urgent medical advice should be sought after any animal or bat bite.
- Tetanus:  spread through contamination of cuts, burns and wounds with tetanus spores. Spores are found in soil worldwide. A total of 5 doses of tetanus vaccine are recommended for life in the UK. Boosters are usually recommended in a country or situation where the correct treatment of an injury may not be readily available.
- Typhoid:  spread mainly through consumption of contaminated food and drink. Risk is higher where access to adequate sanitation and safe water is limited.
Malaria is a serious and sometimes fatal disease transmitted by mosquitoes.You cannot be vaccinated against malaria.
Malaria precautionsMalaria Map
- Malaria risk is present throughout the year, but highest from September to May inclusive. Risk is high in low altitude areas of Mpumalanga Province (including Kruger National Park) and Limpopo Province, Vhembe and Mopani districts, Musina, Thohoyandou and surrounds. There is low to no risk areas in all other areas.
- Malaria precautions are essential. Avoid mosquito bites by covering up with clothing such as long sleeves and long trousers especially after sunset, using insect repellents on exposed skin and, when necessary, sleeping under a mosquito net.
- Check with your doctor or nurse about suitable antimalarial tablets.
- See malaria map – additional information can be found by clicking on the Regional Information icon below the map.
- High risk areas: atovaquone/proguanil OR doxycycline OR mefloquine is usually advised for those visiting risk areas.
- Low to no risk areas: antimalarials are not usually advised.
- If you have been travelling in a malarious area and develop a fever seek medical attention promptly. Remember malaria can develop even up to one year after exposure.
- If travelling to an area remote from medical facilities, carrying standby emergency treatment for malaria may be considered.
Other Health Risks
Altitude and TravelThis country has either areas with high altitude (2400m or more) or/and areas with very high altitude (3658m or more). Travellers who may go into areas of high altitude should take care to avoid ill effects of being at altitude including Acute Mountain Sickness, a potentially life-threatening condition. For further information see Altitude and Travel.
SchistosomiasisA parasitic infection (also known as bilharzia) that is transmitted to humans through contact with fresh water. The parasite enters humans through the skin and prevention is dependant on avoidance of swimming, bathing or paddling in fresh water lakes and streams. For further information see Schistosomiasis.
Entry/Exit Birth Certificate Requirement for Children
Additional documents, such as a birth certificate and parental consent letter, may be requested by the South African authorities when entering or leaving the Republic of South Africa with children. The requirements are dependent on the child’s nationality.
- See the South African Department of Home Affairs website and the GOV.UK website for further information.
There is a risk of exposure to coronavirus (COVID-19) in this country.
Please be aware that the risk of COVID-19 in this country may change at short notice and also consider your risk of exposure in any transit countries and from travelling itself.
- The 'News' section on this page will advise if significant case increases or outbreaks have occurred in this country.
Prior to travel, you should:
- Check the latest government guidance on the FCDO Foreign travel advice and country specific pages for travel to this country and the rules for entering the UK on return.
- Ensure you are up to date with UK recommendations on COVID-19 vaccination.
- Check if you are at increased risk of severe COVID-19.
- You can check this in the FAQ's.
- If you are at increased risk of severe COVID-19 you should carefully consider your travel plans and consider seeking medical advice prior to making any decisions.
- 22 Apr 2022 - Rabies in South Africa (Eastern Cape, Kwa-Zulu Natal, Limpopo) - Update 2
- 01 Apr 2022 - Health considerations for travelling abroad