Recommended vaccinations by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for all travellers to South Africa:
Recommended vaccinations by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for some travellers to South Africa:
Other diseases to consider while travelling to South Africa:
Some countries are worth visiting for their spectacular landscapes; others offer a great diversity of languages, traditions and cultural manifestations. There are also nations that boast great biodiversity or a vibrant pace of life. But there is one that offers all this and much more, it is South Africa, or “Mzansi” in Xhosa, one of the 11 languages spoken there. Located at the southern tip of the African continent, this country should be on the top of your list of trips to be made. Among its main attractions are Kruger National Park, a nature reserve with six ecosystems and hundreds of different species, including lions, zebras and elephants, and Robben Island, site of a former prison where Nelson Mandela, the first democratically elected president of this country, was held. Declared a World Heritage Site, this island has become a place of reflection for locals and foreign visitors alike. If adrenaline is your thing, then you can’t pass up the opportunity to dive with white sharks. A cage will be the only thing that will separate you from one of the world’s most feared predators. Would you dare?
According to the 2018 UNAIDS Report on the Global AIDS Epidemic South Africa has the biggest HIV epidemic in the world, with 7.1 million people living with HIV. HIV prevalence is high among the general population at 18.9%. You should exercise normal precautions to avoid exposure to HIV/AIDS.
South Africa has a very high level of crime, including rape and murder. The risk of violent crime to visitors travelling to the main tourist destinations is generally low. The South African authorities give high priority to protecting tourists and tourism police are deployed in several large towns. The risk of crime increases in urban areas across South Africa, particularly in central business districts in major cities, and townships on the outskirts of major cities. A higher state of awareness is required if travelling through these areas. Most cases of violent crime and murder tend to occur in townships remote and isolated areas. Consult a reliable tour guide if you visit a township.
In recent months there have been several bomb threats made against shopping malls and other public places, leading to evacuations of the immediate area by the authorities. South African police are continuing to investigate these incidents. You should monitor the advice of relevant authorities in local and social media. In the event of any future alerts, you should move away from areas where alerts or threats are reported and follow the instructions of the local authorities at the scene.
Crime increases in areas where large crowds gather, so be particularly vigilant if you’re attending sporting or other events that attract large numbers.
There are ongoing tensions between Uber and metered taxi drivers, which at times escalate into violence. You should exercise caution when using either service, particularly if using the Gautrain or travelling to and from airports in South Africa.
Incidents of vehicle hi-jacking and robbery are common, particularly after dark. Keep to main roads and park in well lit areas. Vulnerable areas include, but are not limited to: traffic lights, junctions, and when approaching or pulling out from driveways. Take care at all times and be vigilant of your surroundings when in a stationary vehicle.
There are frequent incidents of car windows being broken and valuables taken while cars are waiting at junctions. Keep valuables out of sight.
Due to thefts at OR Tambo International Airport in Johannesburg, you should vacuum-wrap luggage where local regulations permit. Keep all valuables in your carry-on luggage.
Keep large amounts of money, expensive jewelry, cameras and phones out of sight. Try to use ATM’s in banks or secure shopping malls and be discreet when making withdrawals. Thieves operate at international airports, bus and railway stations, and in all major central business districts. Keep your valuables safe and baggage with you at all times.
Don’t give personal or financial account information details to anyone. There are international fraud rings operating in South Africa, who may target visitors and charities.
The South African authorities publish indicative statistics on crime on the Statistics South Africa website.
There’s an increasing threat of kidnap throughout South Africa. Kidnaps can be for financial gain or motivated by criminality.
There are particularly high levels of crime in the Berea and Hillbrow districts of Johannesburg and around the Rotunda bus terminus in the Central Business District in Johannesburg.
Be particularly vigilant in Durban’s city centre and beachfront area.
Keep to main roads and avoid driving at night when visiting Northern KwaZulu Natal and Zululand, as there have been incidents of hi-jacking and robbery, particularly on isolated secondary roads.
Be vigilant on the approach roads to and from Kruger Park where there have been cases of car hijacking.
Avoid isolated beaches and picnic spots. Don’t walk alone, especially in remote areas or on beaches after dark or when beachgoers have left.
Hikers should stick to popular trails and hike in large groups taking local advice where available on security. There have been violent attacks on hikers and tourists on Table Mountain. Take care in quieter areas of the Park, especially early in the morning or just before the park closes. More advice on hiking on Table Mountain is available on the South African Nationals Parks website.
Contains public sector information licensed under the Open Government Licence v3.0.