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South Africa Travel Requirements & Vaccinations

South Africa is located at the southernmost region of Africa, with a long coastline that stretches more than 1,500 miles banking the South Atlantic and Indian oceans. South Africa is about twice the size of Texas, making it the 25th-largest country in the world. Zulu is the most commonly spoken of the 11 official languages, but English is the second language of most South Africans and is widely spoken and understood throughout the country.

South Africa is a diverse country in both geography and climate, ranging from the extreme dry heat of the Namib Desert in the northwest to the lush subtropical conditions found on the east coast. Visitors to South Africa will enjoy a wide variety of activities and destination locations, including:

  • Varied cultural and historical attractions
  • Diverse wildlife and scenery
  • Beautiful, sandy beaches

Recommended Vaccines for Travel to South Africa

*Rabies vaccination is typically only recommended for very high risk travelers given that it is completely preventable if medical attention is received within 7 – 10 days of an animal bite.

Travelers may also be advised to ensure they have received the routine vaccinations listed below. Some adults may need to receive a booster for some of these diseases:

  • Measles, mumps and rubella (MMR)
  • Tdap (tetanus, diphtheria and pertussis)
  • Chickenpox
  • Polio
  • Influenza

Older adults or those with certain medical conditions may also want to ask about being vaccinated for shingles and/or pneumonia.

This information is not intended to replace the advice of a travel medicine professional. Not all of the vaccines listed here will be necessary for every individual.

Talk to the experts at UH Roe Green Center for Travel Medicine & Global Health to determine how each member of your family can obtain maximum protection against illness, disease and injury while traveling, based on age, health, medical history and travel itinerary.