South Africa is a country of great diversity. From modern and industrialised cities, impressive beaches, mountains and national parks and a rich history, it has a great deal to offer any visitor.
South Africa has less health risks than the rest of the African continent, however there are some important vaccinations you should consider when planning your trip.
The most important vaccination for all travellers is Hepatitis A. This disease is spread through contaminated food and water. It is vital that even after vaccination, travellers take precautions to ensure that all water is sterilised before consumption and food is cooked thoroughly.
Any visitors to Kruger national park should be aware that there is a high risk of malaria in this part of South Africa. Anti-malarial tablets are recommended - Doxycycline, Malarone or Larium are all effective in this area. The risk of malaria throughout the rest of the country is low. A mosquito repellent containing a concentration of 50% DEET should be used at all times in both malaria and non-malaria zones.
Rabies is a virus spread by animal bites. South Africa is considered to have a medium risk of rabies. For anyone travelling to remote regions, unable to access medical services within 24 hours or working with animals, a course of rabies vaccinations should be considered.
If you intend to visit South Africa for a long trip, if you will be staying with locals or working in hospitals and other risk areas, extra vaccinations may be recommended. Diphtheria, tetanus and polio, typhoid, cholera and a course of Hepatitis B may be considered depending on the individual details of your trip.
If your flight goes via certain parts of Central Africa (flights via Nairobi are common), then you may also require a yellow fever vaccination - without certification to prove you have had this vaccine, you may not be allowed into the country. Vaccination must be at least 10 days before travel. If your flight is direct then this is not necessary.