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Glance At a glance:

  • Hepatitis A, hepatitis B, polio, tetanus, and typhoid vaccines recommended
  • Rabies vaccines recommended for other areas
  • No yellow fever vaccination
  • Daily anti-malaria medication needed

Travel to South Africa can be a wonderful experience, if you take the right precautions to stay healthy. Below are some of the most frequently asked questions our patients ask about traveling to South Africa.

QuestionSouth Africa commonly asked questions

What are the areas New Yorkers visit most in South Africa?

New Yorkers visit Johannesburg, Garden Route, Cape Town, and Kruger National Park most.

Johannesburg, located to the northeast, is the wealthiest and most populated city in South Africa. It is also the country's most modern city, housing a melting pot of all classes and races. This has given Johannesburg the title of the cultural hub of South Africa.

Garden Route's climate is the second mildest in the world due to its location along the southeastern coast of South Africa. Because of this, its marine wildlife prospers and the scenery is stunning. In fact, Garden Route is sometimes called "Eden," and is a popular get away for nature lovers.

Cape Town is South Africa's second most populated city, lying along the southwest coast. It is one of the country's three capitals and the center of South Africa's legislative branch. Cape Town is known for its serene beaches, unique floral region, and relaxed atmosphere.

Kruger National Park, one of largest reserves in Africa, is along the northeast border. It is South Africa's first national park and also a very popular safari spot. You can find the Big Five here--leopards, lions, African elephants, Cape buffalo, and rhinoceros, and to see the most animals, the best time to visit is during the winter.

Vaccinations: what vaccinations are necessary for travel to South Africa, which may I have received before, and how long do they last?

While no vaccinations are required by law to visit South Africa from the United States, the following are recommended by the Center for Disease Control:

  • Two hepatitis vaccines, Hepatitis A and hepatitis B. If you received a hepatitis vaccination and are unsure which it was probably hepatitis B, as hepatitis B is often given to children and hepatitis A is usually only given if traveling abroad to third world countries. Hepatitis A vaccination consists of two shots for lifetime immunity, or one shot for one year immunity. Hepatitis B vaccination consists of three shots for lifetime immunity.
  • Polio vaccination is recommended, consisting of four shots for lifetime immunity (often administered in childhood), as well as a booster after the age of 21.
  • Typhoid vaccination is recommended and consists of one shot for a two year immunity.
  • Tetanus vaccination is also recommended and consists of one shot for a ten year immunity.
  • Rabies vaccination should only be received if traveling to certain areas, especially rural areas, and consists of three vaccinations for a two year immunity.
  • Yellow fever vaccination is not necessary if traveling from the United States to South Africa directly, though if you are traveling from a country with yellow fever risk you need proof of vaccination. The Center for Disease Control lists these countries as having yellow fever risk: Click here

What if I'm unsure which vaccines I've received?

It can't harm you to be revaccinated. You should receive the vaccinations anyway in order to ensure you are protected against dangerous diseases throughout your travels.

When should I get vaccinated?

While you should be immunized several weeks before your trip for maximum immunity, many of the medications and vaccinations can work on a shorter time scale. If you are leaving shortly we recommend you see our doctors for a travel consultation.

Medications: do I need malaria protection or other medications, and what are my choices?

Travelers to South Africa should take a daily anti-malarial medication during their trip, Malarone or Doxycycline, starting three days before departure. Malarone should be taken for one week after returning from South Africa and Doxycycline should be taken for 30 days. While the two medications have the same effectiveness and insurance most likely covers both, since Doxycycline must be taken for longer it is cheaper. For this reason uninsured patients generally choose Doxycycline.

In addition to an anti-malarial medication, Imodium or another anti-diarrheal should be carried, as well as a prescribed antibiotic such as Cipro.

Preparation and safety: How else can I stay safe during my trip?

You should bring sunscreen of SPF 15 or greater and apply it often in order to fight sun- burn and long-term health effects. You should also be extremely careful while dealing with wildlife and other aspects of the environment, especially since the outdoors are one of South Africa's main tourist attractions. With a new environment can come new sicknesses, and in order to protect yourself it is important to go to the doctor immediately if you are injured. This way, sicknesses and injuries can be treated to ensure you are healthy again as soon as possible.

To stay safe from illness you should also bring an insect repellent with DEET concentration of 30-50%, as insects are one of the main mediums of disease transference in South Africa. Another way to stay safe is to only drink bottled water, not consuming tap water, ice cubes, or tap water-mixed drinks such as fountain drinks, and to only eat food that is cooked well. Many diseases can transmit through contaminated food and water.

What happens during a travel health consultation?

At a travel health consultation our doctors would discuss your immunization record and any vaccines, medications, and steps you could take to help keep you safe through your specific travel plans. After the discussion you can decide what you would like to receive.

Questions? Call   212.696.5900
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  • Yellow fever
  • Typhoid (shot)
  • Typhoid (oral)
  • Hepatitis A
  • Hepatitis B
  • Hep A/B (combo)
  • Tetanus(TDAP)
  • Polio
  • Meningitis
  • Rabies
  • Japanese Encephalitis
  • $190
  • $88
  • $110
  • $88
  • $80
  • $120
  • $78
  • $68
  • $138
  • $330
  • $330
Pay cash and save 8%
  • Yellow fever
  • Typhoid (shot)
  • Typhoid (oral)
  • Hepatitis A
  • Hepatitis B
  • Hep A/B (combo)
  • Tetanus(TDAP)
  • Polio
  • Meningitis
  • Rabies
  • Japanese Encephalitis
  • $175
  • $80
  • $100
  • $80
  • $74
  • $110
  • $70
  • $60
  • $127
  • $303
  • $303

One-time office-visit fee of $65*

Office visit covers administration of all vaccines and prescriptions