South Africa: Visas & Health

VISAS & TRAVEL DOCUMENTS:

All visitors to South Africa must have a passport which is valid for at least 6 months beyond their intended departure date from South Africa. Visitors to southern Africa must ensure they have sufficient blank VISA pages (not endorsement pages) in their passports, with at least two consecutive/side by side blank pages. Our recommendation is 3 pages (or even 4 if you are travelling through more than one country on your journey). If there is insufficient space in the passport then entry into a country could be denied.

Visitors must also be in possession of outward travel documents and have sufficient funds for the duration of their stay.

Citizens of most European and Commonwealth countries and the USA do not require a visa for entry into South Africa.

For further information please refer to the relevant authorities:

South Africa Tourism:  www.southafrica.net

South African Embassy in New York:  www.southafrica-newyork.net

Any applicable visas and/or relevant documentation are the responsibility of the traveler.

HEALTH:

There are a few basic health matters that require care and attention. The following points are recommended guidelines only – all travelers should visit either their personal physician or a travel health clinic 4-8 weeks prior to departure.

A yellow fever vaccination certificate is required from travelers over 1 year of age arriving from countries with risk of yellow fever transmission, including Tanzania and Zambia, and for all travelers having transited through the airport of a country with risk of yellow fever transmission. Please note that if you are traveling to both Zambia and South Africa on the same itinerary (even if you are only transiting through Zambia – regardless of the amount of time spent at the airport) you must have either a yellow fever certificate or a medical exemption certificate, otherwise the South African authorities can refuse entry or quarantine for up to 6 days. 

A number of vaccinations are recommended for South Africa. For further up to date information please refer to the relevant authorities:

National Travel Health Network and Centre – South Africa: http://www.nathnac.org/ds/c_pages/country_page_ZA.htm

Centers for Disease Control & Prevention – Travelers’ Health, South Africa: http://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/destinations/south-africa.htm

Malaria is found in the following areas of South Africa:

  • There is a high risk of malaria in South Africa in the low altitude areas of Mpumalanga and Limpopo which border Mozambique and Zimbabwe. This includes Kruger National Park. The areas bordering these are low risk.
  • There is also a high risk of malaria in northeast KwaZulu-Natal as far south as Jozini and a low risk between Jozini and Richards Bay.

If visiting these areas you will almost certainly be prescribed a course of anti-malarial tablets. However please also remember that the best precaution is the preventative kind:

  • Avoid being bitten by using mosquito repellents liberally. The safari camps often provide a locally made repellent but please bring your own as there may be skin sensitivity.
  • Wear long-sleeved shirts and trousers/slacks in the evenings.
  • Please use the mosquito net over your bed where supplied/available.
  • Where provided, please use the insecticide supplied to kill any mosquitoes that may have flown into your room.
  • Mosquito coils are also effective.

Malaria is transmitted by a very small percentage of female Anopheles mosquitoes. They are mainly active in the early evening and throughout the night. Malaria transmission is at its highest during the warmer and wetter months of November through to April. From May through to October the risks of acquiring malaria are reduced.

There is a six to seven day minimum incubation period before symptoms present themselves. If you become ill on your return, while still on prophylaxis or even once you have stopped taking them, ensure that your doctor does everything to establish that your illness is not malaria. Malaria can be prevented if you are sensible and take basic precautions. It is inadvisable for pregnant woman to visit malarial areas as malaria infection during pregnancy can be detrimental to mother and child.