Know before you go: Which vaccines do you need for your trip?
Four to six weeks before you travel, make sure you are up-to-date on routine vaccinations and schedule an appointment with your health care provider to get the recommended vaccines for the countries you plan to visit. This gives the vaccines enough time to start working and time for any vaccines that might require more than one dose.
Visit the CDC Travel Health site for details on vaccines and other important information to stay healthy while you travel. You can also download CDC’s TravWell app, which helps users find out vaccine and medicine recommendations for each country.
You should be up to date on routine vaccinations while traveling to any destination. Some vaccines may also be required for travel.
Make sure you are up-to-date on routine vaccines before every trip. These vaccines include measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccine, diphtheria-tetanus-pertussis vaccine, varicella (chickenpox) vaccine, polio vaccine, and your yearly flu shot.
Get travel vaccines and medicines because there is a risk of these diseases in the country you are visiting.
CDC recommends this vaccine because you can get hepatitis A through contaminated food or water in South Africa, regardless of where you are eating or staying.
You can get typhoid through contaminated food or water in South Africa. CDC recommends this vaccine for most travelers, especially if you are staying with friends or relatives, visiting smaller cities or rural areas, or if you are an adventurous eater.
You can get hepatitis B through sexual contact, contaminated needles, and blood products, so CDC recommends this vaccine if you might have sex with a new partner, get a tattoo or piercing, or have any medical procedures.
When traveling in South Africa, you should avoid mosquito bites to prevent malaria. You may need to take prescription medicine before, during, and after your trip to prevent malaria, depending on your travel plans, such as where you are going, when you are traveling, and if you are spending a lot of time outdoors or sleeping outside. Talk to your doctor about how you can prevent malaria while traveling. For more information on malaria in South Africa, see malaria in South Africa.
Rabies can be found in dogs, bats, and other mammals in South Africa, so CDC recommends this vaccine for the following groups:
Travelers involved in outdoor and other activities (such as camping, hiking, biking, adventure travel, and caving) that put them at risk for animal bites. People who will be working with or around animals (such as veterinarians, wildlife professionals, and researchers).
People who are taking long trips or moving to South Africa
Children, because they tend to play with animals, might not report bites, and are more likely to have animal bites on their head and neck.
There is no risk of yellow fever in South Africa. The government of South Africa requires proof of yellow fever vaccination only if you are arriving from a country with risk of yellow fever. This does not include the US. If you are traveling from a country other than the US, check this list to see if you may be required to get the yellow fever vaccine: Countries with risk of yellow fever virus (YFV) transmission.
For more information on recommendations and requirements, see yellow fever recommendations and requirements for South Africa. Your doctor can help you decide if this vaccine is right for you based on your travel plans.
South Africa requires all travellers journeying from yellow fever risk countries to show proof of yellow fever vaccination by means of a valid yellow fever certificate.
Countries for which a yellow fever vaccination certificate is required for entry into South Africa are Angola, Argentina, Benin, Bolivia, Brazil, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, Colombia, Guinea-Bissau, Congo, Côte d’Ivoire, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ecuador, Equatorial Guinea, Ethiopia, French Guyana, Gabon, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Guyana, Kenya, Liberia, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Nigeria, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Rwanda, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Sudan, Suriname, Togo, Trinidad and Tobago, Uganda, and Venezuela.