Australian travellers often visit the game reserves in the northeast, the largest of which is Kruger National Park on the border with Mozambique. There are a variety of other game reserves scattered around the country. Capetown and surrounding wineries are other popular destinations, as well as the famous Garden Route along the south coast. Victoria Falls (on the border of Zimbabwe and Zambia) is a common side trip.
The following information provides some broad and general guidelines about health risks and recommendations for travel to South Africa and Victoria Falls.It should not be taken as a substitute for a personal consultation with one of our travel health doctors, whose advice will be specific for you and your trip and may include some things not mentioned here.
Most Common Health Issues
Risk depends on itinerary and is much higher if visiting and eating in townships or poorer rural areas. If so observe strict food and water safety precautions. Take a water filter and well stocked kit with guidelines for treatment.
This mosquito borne parasite is present in north-eastern KwaZulu-Natal Province as far south as the Tugela River, Limpopo (Northern) Province, and Mpumalanga Province. It is present in Kruger National Park and Victoria Falls. Risk is higher during the rainy season (October through to May). Mosquito bite avoidance is essential in these areas. See us to discuss whether preventive medication is appropriate (doxycyline or malarone). Doxycycline also reduces the risk of African tick typhus in game park areas.
Animal Bites and Scratches
Rabies occurs in dogs and other mammals throughout the country. Most travellers keep well away from larger animals in game reserves! Wash out and disinfect the wound, then see a doctor in a decent clinic ASAP as rabies shots and a tetanus booster or antibiotics may be necessary.
18% of the population between 15-49 years old is HIV positive in South Africa. Do not put yourself at risk. Have a full STD check on return if appropriate.
Security and Safety
Avoid putting yourself at risk of becoming a victim of street crime as robbery, muggings and carjacking are a major problem in some urban centres. Take advice from locals as to which areas to avoid. Keep an eye on the Australian government’s website – smartraveller.gov.au
As well as being up to date for routine childhood vaccines such as tetanus, measles and Hep B, the following vaccines are often recommended – Hep A, typhoid, rabies and influenza. Decisions regarding which are most appropriate depend on duration and nature of travel, itinerary, age and underlying medical conditions.