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Vaccinations for South Africa

Travel vaccinations

for South Africa

Vaccination icon

South Africa is diverse in its landscape, wildlife, people, and culture, and South Africa vaccine requirements will vary based on your itinerary. Firstly, you should ensure that your childhood immunisations are up to date, these include Measles, Mumps and Rubella (MMR), diphtheria and tetanus. Other key jabs for South Africa protect you from food and waterborne diseases such as Typhoid and Hepatitis A. If your South Africa trip is a short visit to cities like Cape Town and Port Elizabeth, then the vaccines required would be very different compared to a longer trip visiting friends and family. You might also visit Kruger National Park which means you might be at risk of malaria in the summer months between September and May. Who you are and what you do also determines which inoculations for South Africa we may recommend. For example, we often have medical students from the University of Warwick going on their electives to South Africa. As healthcare workers, we would need to protect them from tuberculosis and hepatitis B and therefore would offer the BCG and hepatitis B vaccine. If you’re staying for a longer period or going to remote areas, you’re also at risk of rabies and this may also be a vaccine needed for South Africa. If you’re unsure of the vaccines you need for South Africa; that's where we can help. During your consultation with one of our specialists at Health Klinix, we’ll undertake a careful individual travel risk assessment. We’ll then recommend vaccines that are appropriate for your journey. To give you an idea of the possible vaccines needed for South Africa, take a look at the useful table below.

What travel vaccinations do I need for South Africa?

  • Do remember, the travel vaccinations you’ll need for South Africa will depend on: 

    • which areas you will be visiting 

    • the time of the year

    • what kind of activities you will be participating in

    • your age and general health

    • and on your individual risk assessment

Dr Ravi Gowda

Dr Ravi Gowda, Consultant in Infectious Diseases or one of his highly trained clinical colleagues will be looking after your vaccine requirements. Find out more about the Health Klinix team.

Who will be providing your travel injections for South Africa?

"Just remember it’s not all about vaccinations. If you’re going on safari to Kruger National Park you may need malaria tablets, so please ask us for specialist advice. Please be aware that there are also regular outbreaks of rabies in South Africa in domestic dogs. You should avoid contact with any wild or domestic animals and be aware of the importance of accessing post-exposure rabies vaccination."

Dr Gowda's top tip for travel to South Africa

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1. Book an appointment online

Book and pay for your travel consultation online for £30.

Attend your consuultation

2. Attend your travel consultation

Complete an easy online travel risk assessment and attend your consultation.

Get your vaccinations

3. Get your vaccinations

Get all the advice and vaccinations you need and you're ready to go.

How it works
Frequently asked questions
  • This really depends on the vaccinations you receive. Some only require one dose and can last several years or even a lifetime, whereas other vaccines require multiple doses and frequent boosters. If you require detailed information on individual vaccines then take a look at our vaccine/disease pages.

    Please note: you will need to book a travel consultation before we can administer travel vaccinations and this costs £30 (1 person)

  • We’d recommend coming to see us as soon as possible, ideally at least six weeks in advance as some vaccine schedules, such as rabies, are usually administered over a period of one month. If you're a last-minute traveller, please don't worry as it will still be useful even if you have last minute vaccinations. We can also offer accelerated courses for many vaccines if you end up leaving it too late.

  • The vaccination side effects will vary depending on the vaccination you receive. Common side effects of most vaccinations may include pain, swelling or redness at the sight of the injection. Some vaccines like hepatitis A may cause a headache for about a day or so but this is usually mild.

  • Before travelling abroad please ask for our advice because as a pregnant woman you may face specific risks in different countries and it may not be safe for you to travel. We usually make a careful clinical decision on the benefits and risks of vaccination on a case by case basis. As a general rule, however, inactivated vaccines don’t usually pose a risk but we would avoid live vaccines if you're pregnant.

  • Children can have most of the vaccines but often at lower doses. There are, however, age restrictions on some vaccines.

  • Yes, if you have underlying medical health problems then it will be even more important that you’re fully vaccinated, but depending on the underlying condition some vaccines may not be appropriate for you. You’ll need a careful risk assessment first to decide what’s right for your own individual circumstances.

  • Recommended malaria tablets for South Africa

    Malaria risk map South Africa

    Malaria risk map for South Africa

    You’re generally at low risk of malaria in South Africa particularly if you visit cities like Cape Town and Johannesburg. So for most of South Africa we’d usually recommend bite avoidance only. However, in some circumstances you may need malaria tablets. Examples include prolonged stay in rural areas, the elderly, those with weakened immune systems or multiple medical problems.


    You’re at risk of malaria in the North-eastern part of South Africa bordering Mozambique and Zimbabwe. This includes Kruger National Park, so we’d recommend you take malaria tablets for these areas between September and May (Southern hemisphere summer). If you’re still not sure about malaria tablets please don't worry as we can offer expert guidance during your consultation.  

  • You’re not at risk of yellow fever in South Africa as transmission only occurs in two continents; ie Central and South America, and parts of Africa.

Map icon

South Africa is a diverse and fascinating country located at the southern tip of the African continent. It’s known for its stunning natural scenery, wildlife, and rich cultural heritage. The ‘rainbow’ nation has a population of approximately 60 million people, and it’s home to many different ethnic groups, including Zulu, Xhosa, Afrikaans, and English-speaking South Africans. The official languages are English, Zulu, Xhosa, Afrikaans, as well as several other indigenous languages. One of the main attractions in South Africa is its natural beauty. Visitors can explore breathtaking landscapes, from the towering peaks of the Drakensberg Mountains to the pristine beaches of the Cape Peninsula. The country is also home to an incredible array of wildlife, including the "Big Five" game animals (lion, leopard, elephant, rhinoceros, and Cape buffalo), as well as numerous other species such as giraffes, zebras, and cheetahs. National parks and game reserves offer visitors the opportunity to experience South Africa's wildlife up close.

All about South Africa
Additional health risks icon
Additional health advice and risks for South Africa

You may also be at risk of the following diseases:

Vaccination certificate icon

Sometimes travellers ask for the yellow fever vaccine for South Africa even though there’s no risk of yellow fever in South Africa. However, there is a yellow vaccine certificate requirement for certain situations and this is usually if you’ve arrived from a country with yellow fever transmission. For specific yellow fever vaccine certificate requirements for South Africa we recommend visiting the World Health Organization.

South Africa vaccine certificate requirements


Dr Ravi Gowda, Consultant in Infectious Diseases and Travel Medicine


Caitlin Lancaster, BSc


  1. NHS travel vaccination website 

  2. Advisory Committee on Malaria Prophylaxis guidelines

  3. Yellow fever. Centers for Disease Control

  4. How to avoid insect bite; a useful resource. Fit for travel

  5. Risk of Malaria in South Africa: Dept of Health, Republic of South Africa

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