South Africa is a beautiful country that’s at the southernmost point of Africa. It has thousands of miles of coastline on the South Atlantic and Indian Oceans and shares a border with fascinating countries like Botswana and Zimbabwe.
South Africa is the 25th largest country in the world based on land area, and more than 57 million people call the nation home.
If you’re preparing to travel to South Africa, or it’s just something you’re thinking about, the following gives you an overview of some of the logistical requirements, such as visa and health requirements.
A visitor visa is something that is required for travelers from many countries around the world, and there is currently a tourist eVisa for South Africa that’s being piloted as a way to allow people to go through the process online as opposed to when they’re at immigration.
A visa shows that someone’s application to enter the country for 90 days or less has been reviewed at a South African embassy or consulate. When someone gets their South African visa, which is like a visitor’s permit, they can then enter through a port of entry. There are visas issued by purpose, so a person is limited to only doing what their visa outlines while they’re in the country.
The visa isn’t issued once you arrive at a South African point of entry, and airlines have to check for it before you can get on a flight to a South African airport.
Quite a few countries are exempt from having to get visas for tourism and stays of less than 90 days, including visitors from the United States. Other countries with exemptions include most of Europe, Japan, Australia, and Israel.
Before anyone travels to any country, the CDC recommends they’re up-to-date on routine vaccinations like chickenpox, polio, and the measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccine. Aside from that, what else do you need to travel to South Africa?
The CDC recommends a Hepatitis A vaccine because it can be passed through food and water in South Africa. Typhoid vaccinations are also advisable because it can pass through food and water, especially in rural areas and smaller cities.
A doctor may advise some travelers to get a Hepatitis B vaccine, as well as prescription medication to prevent malaria. For travelers who are going to be working with animals or spending a lot of time outdoors, the CDC may recommend the rabies vaccine. There isn’t a risk of contracting Yellow Fever in South Africa. However, you do have to show proof of this vaccine if you’re coming from somewhere that yellow fever is a risk. The United States isn’t included in that.
Diseases coming from water and food are two of the biggest health risks to travelers in South Africa. This includes not only typhoid and hepatitis but also measles and tuberculosis. Some of the outbreaks can be serious, and in rural communities, cholera is also a problem.
In cities, tap water is usually considered safe,but in rural areas, you should have bottled water. You shouldn’t have unpasteurized milk or raw meat in South Africa either. Street food and similar options maymake you sick in South Africa as well.
Mosquito-borne diseases are another risk factor to keep in mind, and certain areas are more affected than others. For example, there is a malaria risk zone along the border of Zimbabwe and Mozambique. Farms and game reserves are especially a risk when it comes to mosquito-borne diseases so keep this in mind if you’re spending time in more rural areas or going on a safari.
There are some risks of traveling to South Africa, and it’s important to be aware of these. Of course, there can be a risk of traveling to most places in the world including many cities in the U.S.
The State Department in the U.S. has issued a Level 2 Travel Advisory for South Africa, as of October 2018. This means travelers are advised to exercise increased caution because of factors including crime, civil unrest,and drought.
The state department describes violent crime as common, and they say there is a higher risk of violent crimes occurring in the central districts of big cities at night.
There are frequent protests and demonstrations, and they can turn violent as well as interrupting traffic and services.
According to the State Department, there is a severe drought in the Cape Provinces to the West, East,and North of the country.