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South Africa has modern health care facilities with doctors, specialists and pharmacies. However, visitors are advised to bring any supplies of specialized medication they may require with them. Most medication is available at pharmacies, and emergency pharmacies are open all night in the larger centres. Remote areas are not well served.


  • No international immunization is needed when entering South Africa. The only inoculation, requirementis a yellow fever vaccination certificate from travellers entering South Africa within six days of leaving an infected Country. Visitors who travel through or disembark in these areas are advised to be inoculated against the disease before visiting South Africa.

Health Hazards

  • Malaria: The disease is largely but not completely under control in South Africa. Regions to check are Mpumalanga and Zululand in northern KwaZulu Natal. If you are planning to visit one of these areas, begin a course of anti-malaria tablets before starting out. Tablets are available without prescription fromlocal pharmacies. Note that some strains of this disease are becoming immune to chloroquine (the most common anti-malarial drug) so rather use a substitute prophylactic.
    Please note that the Drakensberg and Bush & Battlefields region is MALARIA FREE.
  • Bilharzia: Also known as schistosomiasis, this debilitating waterborne disease is caused by a parasiticalworm common in the lower-lying northern and eastern regions. Be circumspect about swimming in rivers and dams unless the assurances are clear that they are Bilharzia free. Bilharzia is not present in swimming pools or the sea.
  • HIV/AIDS: Unfortunately South Africa is battling to come to terms with HIV/AIDS. The risk of
    contracting it is, however, no greater here than in any other country, provided that the standard and well-publicized precautions are taken. Unprotected sex is dangerous and irresponsible. Condoms are readily available.
  • Bites & Stings: South Africa has its fair share of snakes, spiders, scorpions and other stinging insects, but surprisingly few tourists suffer serious attack or even discomfort. However, protective measures are required. For protection against ticks (the small red, hard-backed tick can transmit tick-bite fever which is easily treated), wear long pants on walks through long grass; apply insect repellent to bare legs, arms and clothing. Bayticol (available at pharmacies of hiking shops) or Deet preparations.
    (For more information about snakebites click here - opens in a new window)
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