South Africa is a beautiful and diverse nation but travellers are urged to exercise a high level of caution throughout their trip. Ensure all of your vaccines for travel to Africa are up to date to protect yourself and guarantee entry into the country. It’s also important to follow essential safety advice to avoid being the victim of a crime. Here’s a closer look at important information about South Africa vaccine requirements, drinking water, having a good time and staying safe.
What vaccines do Canadians need for South Africa?
In South Africa, vaccinations are very important and in some cases required for entry to the country. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends you get vaccinated for typhoid, yellow fever, rabies, meningitis, polio, measles, mumps and rubella, chickenpox, shingles, pneumonia, influenza, hepatitis A and B, as well as tetanus, diphtheria and pertussis prior to your arrival in South Africa1.
Here’s additional information you need to know about vaccine requirements for South Africa:
Recommended Travel Vaccinations for South Africa
|Vaccine For||How the Disease Spreads||Recommended For|
|Hepatitis A||Food & Water||Unvaccinated travellers older than 1 year old.|
|Hepatitis B||Blood & Bodily Fluids||All travellers.|
|Typhoid||Food & Water||For most travellers (especially for those staying or visiting smaller cities/rural areas). Typhoid fever vaccine can be given from 2 years of age.|
|Yellow Fever||Mosquito||For travellers older than 9 months old coming from a country with Yellow Fever transmission risks, including layovers from at-risk countries.|
|Rabies||Saliva of Infected Animals||All travellers (including children) if your trip involves being around dogs or wildlife including campers, veterinarians, animal handlers, visitors to rural areas.|
|Cholera||Food & Water||Adults and children visiting areas of active cholera transmission.|
|Malaria||Mosquito||Travellers visiting certain areas of South Africa should take antimalarial medicine and may need to take it multiple days before their trip. Talk to a travel health advisor for more information.|
|Meningitis||Airborne & Direct Contact||Given to anyone unvaccinated or at an increased risk, especially students.|
Routine Vaccinations For South Africa
|Vaccine For||How the Disease Spreads||Recommended For|
|Measles, Mumps, Rubella (MMR)||Saliva, respiratory droplets, direct contact of bodily fluids||Available for anyone unvaccinated and from 12 months of age as part of the routine vaccine covered by OHIP|
|Diphtheria-Tetanus-Pertussis (Tdap)||Wounds & Airborne||All travellers without previous allergic reactions|
|Chickenpox(Varicella)||Direct Contact & Airborne||All unvaccinated travellers or for travellers who never experienced chicken pox|
|Shingles||Direct Contact||Travellers 50 years or older and travellers who have a history of chicken pox illness|
|Influenza||Airborne||Travellers from 6 months to 65+ years old. Vaccines change each year, check with your medical professional for the latest information.|
|Polio||Food & Water||All travellers are advised to be up to date with their immunization.|
Is it safe to travel to South Africa?
While South Africa is a beautiful country, visitors are advised to exercise a high degree of caution. Keep the following in mind as you travel:
- Be cautious of malaria which is known to be present in parts of South Africa and use mosquito repellents, netting and antimalarial medications to protect yourself if necessary.
- Avoid political demonstrations including picket lines as they often become violent
- Stay conscious of petty crimes including muggings and thefts, especially at night
- If are you going to a game park to view South African wildlife, do not leave your car as local wildlife is unpredictable and untamed
- When swimming at the beach, do not go alone and watch out for sharks and powerful riptides
Does South Africa have COVID restrictions
There are no longer any COVID-19 restrictions in South Africa as of June 22, 2022. This includes COVID-19 vaccines for South African travellers.
Do Canadians need yellow fever vaccine for South Africa?
All travellers to South Africa from yellow fever risk countries must show proof of vaccination for yellow fever with a valid yellow fever certificate. The same rule applies to people who have come to South Africa by way of a yellow fever risk country. The certificates approved by the World Health Organization is valid for a lifetime if the traveller received a full dose of the yellow fever vaccine. It must be signed at an approved vaccination centre at least 10 days before your trip to South Africa. Failing to hand over a valid certificate could lead to refusal of entry or quarantine.
Is tap water safe to drink in South Africa?
South Africa’s drinking water is safe to drink and cook with straight from the taps in urban regions. However, you cannot trust water sources in rural areas which may be contaminated. Take precautions by boiling or using another valid means to purify the water before it’s consumed.
Contact Us to Learn More About South Africa Vaccine Requirements
By following our travel health tips, including staying up to date with necessary vaccines, you can protect yourself from potential health risks and have peace of mind during your time in South Africa. Our clinic offers a range of recommended vaccines tailored specifically for this destination, taking into account the prevalent diseases and local conditions.
Remember, proactive measures such as proper vaccination, practicing good hygiene, and taking precautions specific to South Africa will significantly reduce the likelihood of encountering any health-related issues during your travels. At ABC Travel Clinic, we strive to empower you with the knowledge and tools necessary to make informed decisions about your health while exploring the wonders of South Africa.
Trust us as your reliable partner in ensuring a healthy and memorable trip to South Africa. Contact ABC Travel Clinic today to schedule your travel health consultation and start your vacation with confidence!
1CDC. “South Africa: Traveler’s Health.” CDC Travelers’ Health, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2023, https://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/destinations/traveler/none/south-africa.