South Africa

South Africa

Use Normal Level of Caution

The Republic of South Africa is located at the southern tip of Africa, with a coastline on both the Atlantic and Indian Oceans. Neighbouring countries include Namibia, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Mozambique and Swaziland. Lesotho, an independent country, is completely surrounded by South Africa.

South Africa's population is about 49 million. There are three capital cities: Pretoria (administrative capital), Cape Town (legislative capital), and Bloemfontein (judicial capital). South Africa has many cultures and languages. There are eleven official languages with only two of European origin, Afrikaans and South African English.

The government of South Africa is a parliamentary republic with a president as chief of state and head of government and elected by the National Assembly. The members of the National Assembly are elected by popular vote.

In 1948, the policy of apartheid was instituted by the National Party. The African National Congress (ANC) led the opposition to apartheid which favoured the white minority over the black majority. Nelson Mandela, a famous leader in the ANC, and others spent years working to end apartheid and were imprisoned for years. In 1994, apartheid ended, and there was a majority rule under the ANC party.

South Africa is considered an emerging market and is the most advanced economy in Africa with rich natural resources. The country struggles with unemployment and poverty. A significant amount of revenue comes from tourism. Visitors enjoy the diverse ecology and game reserves.

South Africa was the first African country to host the Soccer World Cup and is only the second country to have hosted the Soccer, Rugby and Cricket World Cups.

Currency ZAR: Rand
Language Eleven official languages
Capital Pretoria, Cape Town, and Bloemfontein
Recent Alerts 3
Latest Alert March 14, 2017 - Malaria in South Africa.

Diseases To Be Aware Of

The diseases listed below are those which occur most often in South Africa. Other, less frequently encountered diseases might be displayed within the Travel Alerts section if they have occurred recently.

Malaria

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention states that malaria is present along the border with Zimbabwe and Mozambique. Specifically in Vembe and Mopane district municipalities of Limpopo Province; Ehlanzeni district municipality in Mpumalanga Province; and Umknanyakude in Kwazulu-Natal Province. Present in Kruger National Park. The World Health Organization states that malaria is present in the Mpumalanga Province (including the Kruger National Park), Limpopo Province and north‐eastern KwaZulu‐Natal as far south as the Tugela River. Risk is highest from October to May inclusive. NaTHNac states that there is a moderate risk of malaria in South Africa from September to May only in the low altitude areas of Mpumalanga and Limpopo which border Mozambique and Zimbabwe; this includes the Kruger National Park.

Tuberculosis

Travellers to South Africa are at risk for tuberculosis, including multi-drug resistant tuberculosis, if visiting friends or family, working in the health care field, or having close prolonged contact with the general population.

Hepatitis A

There is a significant risk for hepatitis A virus exposure in South Africa through contaminated food or water. Infection can still occur at tourist destinations and resorts.

Hepatitis B

There is a significant risk for acquiring hepatitis B in South Africa.

Typhoid Fever

Unvaccinated people can become infected through contaminated food and water in South Africa, especially when visiting smaller cities, villages, or rural areas where food and water supplies may be contaminated.

Schistosomiasis

The parasite that causes schistosomiasis is found in South Africa. It is acquired through contact with fresh water, such as swimming, bathing, or rafting. Well-chlorinated swimming pools and contact with saltwater in oceans or seas will not put travellers at risk for schistosomiasis.

West Nile Fever

Outbreaks of West Nile virus occur in South Africa, particularly in Central Cape Province, and eastern and southern Transvaal during warmer months.

Plague

Plague continues to be a threat in areas of South Africa, including areas around the northern and western border with Lesotho and in the Mountain Zebra National Park. The disease usually occurs in rural areas, and urban outbreaks are rare. The risk to travellers is low unless they have contact with fleas, infected rodents, or suspected plague patients.

Rift Valley Fever (RVF)

Sporadic outbreaks of Rift Valley Fever (RVF) occur in South Africa.

Chikungunya Fever

Chikungunya fever has occurred in this country.

Rabies

Rabies occurs in this country. Travellers involved in outdoor activities (e.g., campers, hikers, adventure travellers, and cavers) may have direct contact with rabid dogs, bats, and other mammals. Those with occupational risks (such as veterinarians, wildlife professionals, researchers) and long-term travellers and expatriates are at higher risk.

Yellow Fever

Travellers are not at risk for yellow fever for this country. However, a yellow fever vaccination certificate is required for travellers 1 year of age and older arriving from countries with risk of yellow fever transmission and for travellers having transited more than 12 hours through an airport of a country with risk of yellow fever transmission.

Cholera

Cholera may occur in this country.

Vaccinations to Consider

The following is a list of recommended vaccinations for travelling to South Africa.

Hepatitis A Vaccine

There is a significant risk of exposure to Hepatitis A for this country, therefore, the vaccination is recommended.

Hepatitis B Vaccine

There is a significant risk of infection with Hepatitis B for this country, therefore, the vaccination is recommended.

Typhoid Fever Vaccine

There is a risk of exposure to typhoid fever in this country through consumption of unsafe food and water. Since exposure to unsafe sources is variable within this country, the vaccination against typhoid fever is generally recommended, especially when visiting smaller cities or rural areas, where food and water sources may be contaminated.

Yellow Fever Vaccine

The yellow fever vaccination is not recommended for this country. However, a yellow fever vaccination certificate is required for travellers 1 year of age and older arriving from countries with risk of yellow fever transmission and for travellers having transited more than 12 hours through an airport of a country with risk of yellow fever transmission.

Rabies Vaccine

Vaccination against rabies is recommended for travellers involved in outdoor activities (e.g., campers, hikers, adventure travellers, and cavers) who may have direct contact with rabid dogs, bats, and other mammals. Those with occupational risks (such as veterinarians, wildlife professionals, researchers) and long-term travellers and expatriates are at higher risk and should be vaccinated.

Medications to Consider

The following is a list of recommended medications for travelling to South Africa.

Anti-malarial Drugs

Recommended anti-malaria medication includes atovaquone-proguanil, doxycycline or mefloquine. Anti-malaria drug resistance for chloroquine is present.

Safety and Security in South Africa

Emergency Numbers

10111
112 Mobile telephone number for emergencies
10177
10177

Personal Safety

Crime levels in South Africa are very high. Violent and serious crimes, such as mugging, carjacking, rape, and murder occur often and can involve foreigners. Armed robberies are occurring more frequently at shopping malls. Particularly dangerous areas after dark include the areas of Berea, Hillbrow, and Yeoville in Johannesburg, Sunnyside in Pretoria, and the beachfront and Victoria wharf in Durban. Travellers should not show any signs of affluence, such as expensive clothing, and avoid travel after dark. Avoid isolated areas and empty beaches. Do not accept food or drink from strangers.

Petty crime, such as pickpocketing, is also common. Theft from hotels is frequent. Check the level of security at your accommodations before arrival. Keep your valuables and personal documents in safekeeping facilities. Do not open the door for strangers or people claiming to be hotel staff until verifying with reception. Attacks on automated banking machines have occurred. Do not linger near these or use any in isolated and poorly lit areas, and do not use machines that appear damaged or defective. Remain and appear vigilant at all times, and ensure that personal belongings, valuables, and travel documents are kept secure at all times.

Pedestrians should be aware of their surroundings at all times as drivers are often aggressive towards pedestrians. Foot travel should be avoided. If foot travel is necessary, use only brightly lit and busy streets in tourist areas. Be aware that criminals attempt to stop drivers by creating fake accidents, road blocks, throwing bricks and stones at vehicles, or posing as “Tourist Police”. Drivers should only pull over for identified police officers. The police use flashlights to pull people over in rural areas – drivers should slow down, and only stop if a police officer is clearly present. While driving, do not pick up strangers, be sure to remain vigilant, park only in well-lit areas, and lock windows and doors at all times.

There have been reports of attacks on hikers at nature reserves, on hiking trails, and on Table Mountain. Hikers should walk in groups and avoid isolated picnic areas and deserted resting areas on national roads. Visitors should be aware that monkeys and baboons have been known to become aggressive in their search for food. Shark attacks have been reported, particularly in the False Bay area of the Cape.

Political Unrest

While the political climate in South Africa is stable, avoid public gatherings and political demonstrations as they could escalate and become violent without warning.

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