Travel Health Advice for Kruger National Park
South Africa’s largest and most popular national park is in the northeast corner of the country on the border with Mozambique. There are various accommodation styles within the park – lodges, campsites and glamping, as well as nearby hotels, villas and lodges. Most of the advice below also applies to parks surrounding Kruger.
The following information provides some broad and general guidelines about health risks and recommendations for travel to Kruger . This 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 other issues not mentioned here.
Most Common Health Issues
Travellers’ Diarrhoea & Respiratory Illness
Ask your lodge/ campsite/hotel about food and water safety and observe good hand hygiene. Consider taking a medical and first aid kit with guidelines for use. Seek medical advice if persistent or severe illness, particularly for infants, the elderly or those with underlying medical conditions.
Malaria occurs year round but risk is by far highest in the wet season, September through to May. Most cases are falciparum malaria, the most serious form. Mosquito avoidance is essential. Preventative medication should be discussed with one of our doctors. Different options are available. We have malaria maps and knowledge to help guide this decision making process. Any fever after travel to malaria risk areas requires assessment and an urgent blood test to exclude malaria, whether or not preventive medication has been taken.
African Tick Bite Fever
This is a fairly common and serious disease for travellers to Kruger. Take measures to avoid tick bites in the first place by wearing long sleeves and trousers (tucked into socks) when walking outdoors and use strong DEET repellent on any exposed skin. Inspect all areas of the body promptly at the end of the day and carefully remove any ticks. If infected, the site of initial inoculation develops a black scab followed by a widespread spotty rash and fever. Prompt medical assessment and treatment is necessary. Interestingly doxycycline, which may be used for malaria prevention, probably also reduces the incidence of African tick bite fever.
Animal bites & wounds
Avoid being bitten or scratched by any mammal. Consider pre-travel rabies vaccination, especially if travelling more extensively through Africa. Thoroughly rinse and disinfect any animal wound and seek prompt medical care for post exposure vaccination and wound care.
Sexually Transmitted Diseases
South Africa has the greatest number of individuals with HIV in the world. Avoid the risk of transmission of this and other STD’s.
Travellers should be up to date for routine childhood vaccines such as tetanus, measles and hepatitis B. Any of the following vaccines may also be recommended – hepatitis A, typhoid, rabies, influenza. Decisions regarding which are most appropriate depend on duration and nature of travel, itinerary, age, underlying medical conditions and past vaccination.