Table of Contents

Getting your shots: Vaccinations needed for your African Safari

Our consultants often deal with clients who are anxious about various medical concerns before their trips, the main one being what vaccinations are needed for Africa. It’s not quite as simple as ‘Africa’ – considering Africa covers over 30 million km 2 – and different areas have different vaccination requirements.

That’s why we’ve put together this comprehensive blog, detailing exactly what shots you need for the countries in southern and East Africa that our safaris visit, when to get them, and where.

IMPORTANT NOTE/DISCLAIMER:

This is a general, basic overview of some vaccinations needed for safaris. Before travelling to Africa, every person should visit their own doctor or local travel clinic, well in advance of their departure, to obtain advice. Each person is different, has different underlying conditions, allergies, etc., so a pre-trip health check and discussion of what vaccines and malaria prophylaxis are necessary, and other health concerns, is imperative.

This blog does not replace the advice of your doctor/travel nurse.

Shutterstock

Rhinos

Medical Insurance

This is a non-negotiable must. Before coming on safari, be sure to get good medical insurance, including medical evacuation. Many areas visited are far from medical facilities and difficult to reach. Should there be a medical emergency, you want to feel safe in the knowledge that your insurance will cover any eventuality. Check out our full section on medical insurance on how to get it.

What vaccinations to get for your African safari in 2020

The only shot that is compulsory in some countries (i.e. you won’t be allowed across the border without proof of vaccination) is the yellow fever vaccine, but there are many recommended shots in others. We have a whole blog on yellow fever, so head over there for all things yellow fever, including a map of where it is endemic.

Shutterstock

Giraffes

Remember to check that all your routine childhood vaccinations – which in most countries include tetanus, diphtheria, whooping cough, measles, mumps, rubella, polio, TB and meningitis – were done and get boosters where necessary. You can also discuss getting various optional shots, like the flu and pneumococcal shots, with your healthcare provider/travel clinic.

The choice of whether to get the recommended vaccinations or not depends on a number of things including:

  • Where you’re travelling to in each country e.g. rural vs. urban
  • Local outbreaks e.g. cholera
  • Length of stay
  • What your accommodation will be e.g. camping vs. 5-star hotel
  • Activities you’re going to be involved in e.g. swimming in dams, helping out at a clinic, being involved in veterinary work
  • Your medical history e.g. underlying conditions, medicines which may affect immunity
  • Vaccination history i.e. did you receive all your childhood immunisations?

Local outbreaks/Travel warnings

Shutterstock

Hippo

Outbreaks of diseases such as cholera do, at times, occur and this will mean that you may need to get a specific vaccine for that outbreak (or, in severe cases, avoid travel to some places). The Centre for Disease Control (CDC) publishes these travel warnings and it’s advisable to keep an eye on these in the build-up to your safari.

When should you get your shots for your safari in Africa

Remember that vaccinations may take a little while to work and some are given over a couple of days/weeks, sequentially. This means you may need to visit your doctor/travel clinic on a couple of occasions if you need to get numerous shots, so go as early as possible.

Shutterstock

Snufflin’ about in Africa

To help you plan, here we’ll list the most common shots recommended for an African safari (there are numerous other vaccines that you could consider prior to your African safari, depending on all risk factors), how the disease they protect you against is spread, how long they take to work and who the American Advisory on Immunization Practices (ACIP), Centre for Disease Control and/or World Health Organisation (WHO) recommends gets them. Later in the blog, we will list each country our safaris visit and specify what’s needed for where.

Cholera

Transmission: food and water
Recommended for: at-risk travellers to an area of active cholera transmission
How long before entering area should the vaccine be given: > 10-14 days

Diphtheria

Transmission: person-to-person (air-borne)
Recommended for: all travellers should be up-to-date with diphtheria toxoid vaccine
How long before entering area should the vaccine be given: Boosters are given every 10 years

Hepatitis A

Transmission: person-to-person, food and water
Recommended for: all travellers to countries with high or intermediate HAV endemicity
How long before entering area should the vaccine be given: > 1 month/as soon as possible (3 doses)

Hepatitis B

Transmission: blood and body fluids
Recommended for: all unvaccinated travellers to areas with a prevalence of HBV infection
How long before entering area should the vaccine be given: as soon as possible (3 doses)

Meningitis

Transmission: person-to-person (air-borne)
Recommended for: travellers to parts of sub-Saharan Africa known as the “meningitis belt”
How long before entering area should the vaccine be given: > 10 days

Polio

Transmission: Faecal-oral, oral-oral
Recommended for: travellers to areas that have polio should ensure that they have completed the recommended age-appropriate polio vaccine series and that adults have received a single lifetime IPV booster dose. In addition, a booster dose for certain adult travellers to some countries that border areas with polio is recommended
How long before entering area should the vaccine be given: > 4 weeks (booster)

Rabies

Transmission: animal bites
Recommended for: travellers to rabies-endemic countries who may come in contact with animals
How long before entering area should the vaccine be given: > 1 month (3 doses)

Tetanus

Transmission: non-intact skin, injuries/bites from contaminated objects
Recommended for: travellers who do not have up-to-date immunisation (10-yearly booster)

Typhoid

Transmission: food and water, faecal-oral
Recommended for: travellers to areas where there is an increased risk of exposure
How long before entering area should the vaccine be given: > 2 weeks

Yellow fever

Transmission: mosquito-borne
Compulsory for: all travellers ≥ 9 months of age to areas with yellow fever risk
How long before entering area should the vaccine be given: > 10 days

Where to get vaccinations

The best place to go and get advice on what shots to get for your African safari is a travel clinic. Most major towns across the world have specialist travel clinics, so seek out the nearest one. If there isn’t one close, get your doctor to call one and then you can decide which shots you should have for the specific countries you’re visiting.

While you’re at the doctor, have a general check-up, stock up on any meds you take chronically (and get an official prescription, with generic names. Keep a copy with your passport). Remember that some medications may not be available in the countries you visit on your safari, so go prepared. If you want an overview of all things health-related, see our blog, The Complete African Safari Medical Guide.

Read Post  Colonialism in Africa

Country-specific vaccinations

What shots do you need for South Africa?

Shutterstock

Drinking hole buffalos

Required vaccinations: proof of yellow fever vaccination, if travelling from or transited (> 12 hours spent) through a yellow fever endemic country
Recommended shots: routine vaccinations should be up-to-date; hepatitis A; hepatitis B, if going to be exposed to blood/body fluids (including sexual contact); typhoid, if going to be travelling in rural areas
Consider: cholera, diphtheria, tetanus, rabies, flu, meningococcal and others (dependent on risk)

What shots do you need for Namibia?

Shutterstock

Namibia safari

Required vaccinations: proof of yellow fever vaccination, if travelling from or transited (> 12 hours spent) through a yellow fever endemic country
Recommended: routine vaccinations should be up-to-date; hepatitis A; hepatitis B, if going to be exposed to blood/body fluids (including sexual contact); typhoid, if going to be travelling in rural areas
Consider: cholera, diphtheria, tetanus, rabies, flu, meningococcal and others (dependent on risk)

What shots do you need for Botswana safaris?

Shutterstock

Zebras

Required vaccinations: proof of yellow fever vaccination, if travelling from or transited through a yellow fever endemic country
Recommended shots: routine vaccinations should be up-to-date; hepatitis A; hepatitis B, if going to be exposed to blood/body fluids (including sexual contact); typhoid, if going to be travelling in rural areas
Consider: cholera, diphtheria, tetanus, rabies, flu, meningococcal and others (dependent on risk)

What shots do you need for Zimbabwe?

Required vaccinations: proof of yellow fever vaccination, if travelling from or transited (> 12 hours spent) through a yellow fever endemic country
Recommended shots: routine vaccinations should be up-to-date; hepatitis A; hepatitis B, if going to be exposed to blood/body fluids (including sexual contact); typhoid, if going to be travelling in rural areas
Consider: cholera, diphtheria, tetanus, rabies, flu, meningococcal and others (dependent on risk)

What shots do you need for Mozambique holidays?

Shutterstock

Mozambique

Required vaccinations: proof of yellow fever vaccination, if travelling from or transited (> 12 hours spent) through a yellow fever endemic country
Recommended shots: routine vaccinations should be up-to-date; hepatitis A; hepatitis B, if going to be exposed to blood/body fluids (including sexual contact); typhoid, if going to be travelling in rural areas
Consider: cholera, diphtheria, tetanus, rabies, flu, meningococcal and others (dependent on risk)

What shots do you need for Malawi?

Shutterstock

Malawi birdlife

Required vaccinations: proof of yellow fever vaccination, if travelling from or transited (> 12 hours spent) through a yellow fever endemic country
Recommended: routine vaccinations should be up-to-date; hepatitis A; hepatitis B, if going to be exposed to blood/body fluids (including sexual contact); typhoid, if going to be travelling in rural areas
Consider: cholera, diphtheria, tetanus, rabies, flu, meningococcal and others (dependent on risk)

What shots do you need for Zambia?

Shutterstock

Cheetahs

Required vaccinations: proof of yellow fever vaccination, if travelling from or transited (> 12 hours spent) through a yellow fever endemic country
Recommended shots: routine vaccinations should be up-to-date; hepatitis A; hepatitis B, if going to be exposed to blood/body fluids (including sexual contact); typhoid, if going to be travelling in rural areas
Consider: cholera, diphtheria, tetanus, rabies, flu, meningococcal and others (dependent on risk)

What shots do you need for Tanzania safaris?

Shutterstock

Serengeti safari

Required vaccinations: proof of yellow fever vaccination, if travelling from or transited (> 12 hours spent) through a yellow fever endemic country
Recommended vaccinations: routine vaccinations should be up-to-date; hepatitis A; hepatitis B, if going to be exposed to blood/body fluids (including sexual contact); typhoid, if going to be travelling in rural areas
Consider: cholera, diphtheria, tetanus, rabies, flu, meningococcal and others (dependent on risk)

What shots do you need for Kenya safaris?

Shutterstock

Flamingos

Required shots: proof of yellow fever vaccination for all travellers travelling from a country with risk of YFV transmission and all of those visiting yellow fever-endemic regions of the country
Recommended: routine vaccinations should be up-to-date; hepatitis A; hepatitis B, if going to be exposed to blood/body fluids (including sexual contact); typhoid, if going to be travelling in rural areas
Consider: cholera, diphtheria, tetanus, rabies, flu, meningococcal and others (dependent on risk)

What shots do you need for Uganda?

Shutterstock

Mom and baby gorilla

Required vaccinations: yellow fever vaccination recommended for all travellers and proof required if travelling from YFV endemic country
Recommended shots: routine vaccinations should be up-to-date; hepatitis A; hepatitis B, if going to be exposed to blood/body fluids (including sexual contact); typhoid, if going to be travelling in rural areas
Consider: cholera, diphtheria, tetanus, rabies, flu, meningococcal and others (dependent on risk)

What shots do you need for the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC)?

Shutterstock

African mountain gorilla

Required vaccinations: proof of yellow fever vaccination for all travellers
Recommended: routine vaccinations should be up-to-date; hepatitis A; hepatitis B, if going to be exposed to blood/body fluids (including sexual contact); typhoid, if going to be travelling in rural areas
Consider: cholera, diphtheria, tetanus, rabies, flu, meningococcal and others (dependent on risk)

Vaccinations are not 100% effective

Please remember that no vaccine protects you 100%. The most important way to not get an infectious disease – after vaccination – is to avoid the causes.

This means, amongst other measures, mosquito repellants and nets and covering up between dusk and dawn, to avoid mosquito bites (yellow fever and malaria), drinking bottled water (no ice!), being careful about what you eat and washing fruits well before eating, using condoms and avoiding risky behaviour.

On the matter of malaria, for which there is no vaccination, chemoprophylaxis is recommended in endemic areas (many of the places our trips go). See our blog Malaria made simple.

Planning well and being prepared = dream safari

That, in a nutshell, is what you need to do regarding getting your vaccines after you’ve booked your dream African safari. As discussed, only the yellow fever vaccine is compulsory – if going to, or passing through, a yellow fever endemic country.

Shutterstock

Desert fun on safari

The rest of the shots recommended for your African safari can be decided on, in consultation with your travel health consultant, according to the current risks in the areas you’re travelling to and your personal health. Speak to our consultants for more guidance about what vaccinations you need to travel to Africa.

Here’s to a magnificent, healthy African safari!

If you liked this post, these trips cover similar ground…

About the Author

Briony Chisholm
Wordsmith & Pharmacist

Briony is a qualified pharmacist, published author and travel blogger living in Cape Town. She writes her own blog about travel, the arts, music and the good things in life, with a focus on accessibility. She likes watching the world go by, and sometimes it makes her nose twitchy, but mostly it provides golden nuggets with which to light up the page.

A private, tailor-made safari is within your reach. Experience all of your bucket-list safari related items on a budget now.

Getting your shots: Vaccinations needed for your African Safari

Our consultants often deal with clients who are anxious about various medical concerns before their trips, the main one being what vaccinations are needed for Africa. It’s not quite as simple as ‘Africa’ – considering Africa covers over 30 million km 2 – and different areas have different vaccination requirements.

That’s why we’ve put together this comprehensive blog, detailing exactly what shots you need for the countries in southern and East Africa that our safaris visit, when to get them, and where.

IMPORTANT NOTE/DISCLAIMER:

This is a general, basic overview of some vaccinations needed for safaris. Before travelling to Africa, every person should visit their own doctor or local travel clinic, well in advance of their departure, to obtain advice. Each person is different, has different underlying conditions, allergies, etc., so a pre-trip health check and discussion of what vaccines and malaria prophylaxis are necessary, and other health concerns, is imperative.

This blog does not replace the advice of your doctor/travel nurse.

Shutterstock

Rhinos

Medical Insurance

This is a non-negotiable must. Before coming on safari, be sure to get good medical insurance, including medical evacuation. Many areas visited are far from medical facilities and difficult to reach. Should there be a medical emergency, you want to feel safe in the knowledge that your insurance will cover any eventuality. Check out our full section on medical insurance on how to get it.

What vaccinations to get for your African safari in 2020

The only shot that is compulsory in some countries (i.e. you won’t be allowed across the border without proof of vaccination) is the yellow fever vaccine, but there are many recommended shots in others. We have a whole blog on yellow fever, so head over there for all things yellow fever, including a map of where it is endemic.

Shutterstock

Giraffes

Remember to check that all your routine childhood vaccinations – which in most countries include tetanus, diphtheria, whooping cough, measles, mumps, rubella, polio, TB and meningitis – were done and get boosters where necessary. You can also discuss getting various optional shots, like the flu and pneumococcal shots, with your healthcare provider/travel clinic.

The choice of whether to get the recommended vaccinations or not depends on a number of things including:

  • Where you’re travelling to in each country e.g. rural vs. urban
  • Local outbreaks e.g. cholera
  • Length of stay
  • What your accommodation will be e.g. camping vs. 5-star hotel
  • Activities you’re going to be involved in e.g. swimming in dams, helping out at a clinic, being involved in veterinary work
  • Your medical history e.g. underlying conditions, medicines which may affect immunity
  • Vaccination history i.e. did you receive all your childhood immunisations?

Local outbreaks/Travel warnings

Shutterstock

Hippo

Outbreaks of diseases such as cholera do, at times, occur and this will mean that you may need to get a specific vaccine for that outbreak (or, in severe cases, avoid travel to some places). The Centre for Disease Control (CDC) publishes these travel warnings and it’s advisable to keep an eye on these in the build-up to your safari.

Read Post  Do african women like to travel to get water everyday

When should you get your shots for your safari in Africa

Remember that vaccinations may take a little while to work and some are given over a couple of days/weeks, sequentially. This means you may need to visit your doctor/travel clinic on a couple of occasions if you need to get numerous shots, so go as early as possible.

Shutterstock

Snufflin’ about in Africa

To help you plan, here we’ll list the most common shots recommended for an African safari (there are numerous other vaccines that you could consider prior to your African safari, depending on all risk factors), how the disease they protect you against is spread, how long they take to work and who the American Advisory on Immunization Practices (ACIP), Centre for Disease Control and/or World Health Organisation (WHO) recommends gets them. Later in the blog, we will list each country our safaris visit and specify what’s needed for where.

Cholera

Transmission: food and water
Recommended for: at-risk travellers to an area of active cholera transmission
How long before entering area should the vaccine be given: > 10-14 days

Diphtheria

Transmission: person-to-person (air-borne)
Recommended for: all travellers should be up-to-date with diphtheria toxoid vaccine
How long before entering area should the vaccine be given: Boosters are given every 10 years

Hepatitis A

Transmission: person-to-person, food and water
Recommended for: all travellers to countries with high or intermediate HAV endemicity
How long before entering area should the vaccine be given: > 1 month/as soon as possible (3 doses)

Hepatitis B

Transmission: blood and body fluids
Recommended for: all unvaccinated travellers to areas with a prevalence of HBV infection
How long before entering area should the vaccine be given: as soon as possible (3 doses)

Meningitis

Transmission: person-to-person (air-borne)
Recommended for: travellers to parts of sub-Saharan Africa known as the “meningitis belt”
How long before entering area should the vaccine be given: > 10 days

Polio

Transmission: Faecal-oral, oral-oral
Recommended for: travellers to areas that have polio should ensure that they have completed the recommended age-appropriate polio vaccine series and that adults have received a single lifetime IPV booster dose. In addition, a booster dose for certain adult travellers to some countries that border areas with polio is recommended
How long before entering area should the vaccine be given: > 4 weeks (booster)

Rabies

Transmission: animal bites
Recommended for: travellers to rabies-endemic countries who may come in contact with animals
How long before entering area should the vaccine be given: > 1 month (3 doses)

Tetanus

Transmission: non-intact skin, injuries/bites from contaminated objects
Recommended for: travellers who do not have up-to-date immunisation (10-yearly booster)

Typhoid

Transmission: food and water, faecal-oral
Recommended for: travellers to areas where there is an increased risk of exposure
How long before entering area should the vaccine be given: > 2 weeks

Yellow fever

Transmission: mosquito-borne
Compulsory for: all travellers ≥ 9 months of age to areas with yellow fever risk
How long before entering area should the vaccine be given: > 10 days

Where to get vaccinations

The best place to go and get advice on what shots to get for your African safari is a travel clinic. Most major towns across the world have specialist travel clinics, so seek out the nearest one. If there isn’t one close, get your doctor to call one and then you can decide which shots you should have for the specific countries you’re visiting.

While you’re at the doctor, have a general check-up, stock up on any meds you take chronically (and get an official prescription, with generic names. Keep a copy with your passport). Remember that some medications may not be available in the countries you visit on your safari, so go prepared. If you want an overview of all things health-related, see our blog, The Complete African Safari Medical Guide.

Country-specific vaccinations

What shots do you need for South Africa?

Shutterstock

Drinking hole buffalos

Required vaccinations: proof of yellow fever vaccination, if travelling from or transited (> 12 hours spent) through a yellow fever endemic country
Recommended shots: routine vaccinations should be up-to-date; hepatitis A; hepatitis B, if going to be exposed to blood/body fluids (including sexual contact); typhoid, if going to be travelling in rural areas
Consider: cholera, diphtheria, tetanus, rabies, flu, meningococcal and others (dependent on risk)

What shots do you need for Namibia?

Shutterstock

Namibia safari

Required vaccinations: proof of yellow fever vaccination, if travelling from or transited (> 12 hours spent) through a yellow fever endemic country
Recommended: routine vaccinations should be up-to-date; hepatitis A; hepatitis B, if going to be exposed to blood/body fluids (including sexual contact); typhoid, if going to be travelling in rural areas
Consider: cholera, diphtheria, tetanus, rabies, flu, meningococcal and others (dependent on risk)

What shots do you need for Botswana safaris?

Shutterstock

Zebras

Required vaccinations: proof of yellow fever vaccination, if travelling from or transited through a yellow fever endemic country
Recommended shots: routine vaccinations should be up-to-date; hepatitis A; hepatitis B, if going to be exposed to blood/body fluids (including sexual contact); typhoid, if going to be travelling in rural areas
Consider: cholera, diphtheria, tetanus, rabies, flu, meningococcal and others (dependent on risk)

What shots do you need for Zimbabwe?

Required vaccinations: proof of yellow fever vaccination, if travelling from or transited (> 12 hours spent) through a yellow fever endemic country
Recommended shots: routine vaccinations should be up-to-date; hepatitis A; hepatitis B, if going to be exposed to blood/body fluids (including sexual contact); typhoid, if going to be travelling in rural areas
Consider: cholera, diphtheria, tetanus, rabies, flu, meningococcal and others (dependent on risk)

What shots do you need for Mozambique holidays?

Shutterstock

Mozambique

Required vaccinations: proof of yellow fever vaccination, if travelling from or transited (> 12 hours spent) through a yellow fever endemic country
Recommended shots: routine vaccinations should be up-to-date; hepatitis A; hepatitis B, if going to be exposed to blood/body fluids (including sexual contact); typhoid, if going to be travelling in rural areas
Consider: cholera, diphtheria, tetanus, rabies, flu, meningococcal and others (dependent on risk)

What shots do you need for Malawi?

Shutterstock

Malawi birdlife

Required vaccinations: proof of yellow fever vaccination, if travelling from or transited (> 12 hours spent) through a yellow fever endemic country
Recommended: routine vaccinations should be up-to-date; hepatitis A; hepatitis B, if going to be exposed to blood/body fluids (including sexual contact); typhoid, if going to be travelling in rural areas
Consider: cholera, diphtheria, tetanus, rabies, flu, meningococcal and others (dependent on risk)

What shots do you need for Zambia?

Shutterstock

Cheetahs

Required vaccinations: proof of yellow fever vaccination, if travelling from or transited (> 12 hours spent) through a yellow fever endemic country
Recommended shots: routine vaccinations should be up-to-date; hepatitis A; hepatitis B, if going to be exposed to blood/body fluids (including sexual contact); typhoid, if going to be travelling in rural areas
Consider: cholera, diphtheria, tetanus, rabies, flu, meningococcal and others (dependent on risk)

What shots do you need for Tanzania safaris?

Shutterstock

Serengeti safari

Required vaccinations: proof of yellow fever vaccination, if travelling from or transited (> 12 hours spent) through a yellow fever endemic country
Recommended vaccinations: routine vaccinations should be up-to-date; hepatitis A; hepatitis B, if going to be exposed to blood/body fluids (including sexual contact); typhoid, if going to be travelling in rural areas
Consider: cholera, diphtheria, tetanus, rabies, flu, meningococcal and others (dependent on risk)

What shots do you need for Kenya safaris?

Shutterstock

Flamingos

Required shots: proof of yellow fever vaccination for all travellers travelling from a country with risk of YFV transmission and all of those visiting yellow fever-endemic regions of the country
Recommended: routine vaccinations should be up-to-date; hepatitis A; hepatitis B, if going to be exposed to blood/body fluids (including sexual contact); typhoid, if going to be travelling in rural areas
Consider: cholera, diphtheria, tetanus, rabies, flu, meningococcal and others (dependent on risk)

What shots do you need for Uganda?

Shutterstock

Mom and baby gorilla

Required vaccinations: yellow fever vaccination recommended for all travellers and proof required if travelling from YFV endemic country
Recommended shots: routine vaccinations should be up-to-date; hepatitis A; hepatitis B, if going to be exposed to blood/body fluids (including sexual contact); typhoid, if going to be travelling in rural areas
Consider: cholera, diphtheria, tetanus, rabies, flu, meningococcal and others (dependent on risk)

What shots do you need for the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC)?

Shutterstock

African mountain gorilla

Required vaccinations: proof of yellow fever vaccination for all travellers
Recommended: routine vaccinations should be up-to-date; hepatitis A; hepatitis B, if going to be exposed to blood/body fluids (including sexual contact); typhoid, if going to be travelling in rural areas
Consider: cholera, diphtheria, tetanus, rabies, flu, meningococcal and others (dependent on risk)

Vaccinations are not 100% effective

Please remember that no vaccine protects you 100%. The most important way to not get an infectious disease – after vaccination – is to avoid the causes.

This means, amongst other measures, mosquito repellants and nets and covering up between dusk and dawn, to avoid mosquito bites (yellow fever and malaria), drinking bottled water (no ice!), being careful about what you eat and washing fruits well before eating, using condoms and avoiding risky behaviour.

On the matter of malaria, for which there is no vaccination, chemoprophylaxis is recommended in endemic areas (many of the places our trips go). See our blog Malaria made simple.

Planning well and being prepared = dream safari

That, in a nutshell, is what you need to do regarding getting your vaccines after you’ve booked your dream African safari. As discussed, only the yellow fever vaccine is compulsory – if going to, or passing through, a yellow fever endemic country.

Read Post  Where Can South Africans Travel in 2022?

Shutterstock

Desert fun on safari

The rest of the shots recommended for your African safari can be decided on, in consultation with your travel health consultant, according to the current risks in the areas you’re travelling to and your personal health. Speak to our consultants for more guidance about what vaccinations you need to travel to Africa.

Here’s to a magnificent, healthy African safari!

If you liked this post, these trips cover similar ground…

About the Author

Briony Chisholm
Wordsmith & Pharmacist

Briony is a qualified pharmacist, published author and travel blogger living in Cape Town. She writes her own blog about travel, the arts, music and the good things in life, with a focus on accessibility. She likes watching the world go by, and sometimes it makes her nose twitchy, but mostly it provides golden nuggets with which to light up the page.

A private, tailor-made safari is within your reach. Experience all of your bucket-list safari related items on a budget now.

What Vaccinations Do I Need for Africa in 2022?

When your Africa safari is booked and confirmed, you’ll likely experience a surge of emotions, ranging from the excitement of anticipating a new adventure to the thrill of fulfilling a dream and, perhaps, a tiny tingle of anxiety about possible health concerns (often fuelled by friends or family who have never travelled to Africa).

The good news is, with sound medical advice from your doctor or travel clinic specialist plus up-to-date vaccinations and good, old-fashioned common sense, you are very unlikely to have any serious health concerns. Ironically, the riskiest part of any journey in terms of your health is likely to be the long-haul flight.

Before you leave, visit your doctor

We’re Africa travel specialists, not medical experts. We recommend that you visit your doctor well in advance of your safari adventure to discuss any health concerns you might have.

The COVID-19 Vaccine & Travel to Africa

Although the coronavirus-related entry requirements vary from country to country, some commercial airlines that fly to and within Africa require that passengers produce a negative COVID-19 PCR test that has been conducted within 72 hours of their departure. Please ensure you are acquainted with the COVID-19 protocols of the airline you are travelling with.

With travel restrictions and COVID-19 protocols are easing by the minute, more and more African destinations no longer require fully vaccinated visitors to undergo PCR testing prior to departure or on arrival. You can browse our entry requirements tracker to identify the exact requirements you will need to fulfil when travelling to Africa.

And if you’d like to know what it’s been like to travel to Africa during the pandemic, you can read what our our clients had to say about their recent safari experiences.

Find out more about how to travel safely in Africa, the best destinations to visit and the top places to get away from the crowds:

Africa Travel Tips: How to Travel Safely

5 Best Places to Go on Safari in 2022

All to Yourself: The Best Exclusive-use Luxury Properties

Routine vaccinations

Some diseases that have been made rare in your home country due to routine vaccinations may be far more common in the developing world. As such, it’s recommended that you visit your health care provider four to six weeks before you travel to ensure that you are up to date with the following routine vaccinations:

  • Flu
  • MMR – measles, mumps and rubella (German measles)
  • Polio
  • Hepatitis A & B
  • DPT – diphtheria, pertussis (whooping cough) and tetanus

Important: It’s essential that you be in optimum health if you’re trekking to see gorillas, as they are hyper vulnerable to human diseases. A common human cold can kill a gorilla, so you will not be allowed to join the trek if you have even the slightest symptoms of illness. Trek slots are non-refundable and non-transferrable, so look after yourself and nip even the smallest health issue in the bud.

Yellow fever vaccination

Yellow fever is spread by a species of mosquito that is common in the ‘yellow fever belt’, which stretches across parts of Africa and South America. It’s easily prevented with a simple and highly effective vaccination that’s routinely available from travel clinics.

You must have the vaccination at least 10 days before you plan on entering a yellow fever area. This is because it takes a few days before you are effectively protected and you may experience flu-like symptoms, which are unpleasant on a long-haul flight. Once you’ve had the shot, the travel clinic will issue you with an International Certificate of Vaccination or Prophylaxis (IVCP) that proves you’ve been inoculated.

Important: Only a travel clinic can issue a yellow fever certificate.

The table below provides a short summary of the yellow fever vaccination requirements in the countries you might travel to with us. Although we try our best to keep this information up to date, please consult with your doctor or health care practitioner before you travel, as they will be able to give you the best advice about yellow fever vaccinations.

Vaccination is an entry requirementVaccination required if you’ve been to a country in the yellow fever belt
Republic of the CongoBotswana
UgandaMadagascar
Rwanda
Tanzania
Kenya
Namibia
Seychelles
South Africa
Mozambique
Zimbabwe
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Malaria prevention

As it’s spread by disease-carrying females of the species, the risk of contracting malaria is highest when and where mosquitoes are prolific; particularly during the hot and humid summer months in tropical regions.

Malaria is one of the most common diseases in Africa, but is easily preventable and treatable with antimalarial medication. Visit your doctor to get advice about whether you should take antimalarial prophylactics as soon as you know when and where you’ll be travelling.

Adhere to the prescribed schedule of your antimalarial prophylactics to ensure that they work as planned. If you experience any uncomfortable or unexpected side effects while you’re on safari, let your guide or camp manager know.

Important: Let your doctor know if you’re planning on scuba diving after you’ve visited a malaria area, as this could affect the type of antimalarial they can prescribe.

You can take further preventative measures, such as applying insect repellent to any exposed skin every time you shower or change clothes, covering your skin from neck to toe with light-coloured clothing at night, keeping your tent or room doors closed and your mosquito net over your bed, and using a quality citronella soap.

You should seek immediate medical attention if you exhibit a fever and flu-like symptoms, including chills, headache, muscle aches and fatigue, within three months of your departure from the malaria area. Although it can be deadly, many people survive malaria if they seek medical attention as soon as they have symptoms.

If you decide you don’t want to travel in a malaria area, there are plenty of great malaria-free safaris to choose from.

General health tips when travelling to Africa

  • Visit your GP well ahead of your departure to discuss any health issues you may have.
  • Ensure that you have comprehensive travel health insurance. If your safari adventure will take you to remote parts of Africa, it’s essential that you have adequate cover to ensure you can be evacuated to the nearest major hospital and repatriated to your home country.
  • Try to stay as healthy and fit as you can before you depart – you don’t want to start your vacation fighting off a cold or flu. It might be worth considering a flu shot in good time before your departure.
  • Take multivitamins or immune boosters and pack some in your hand luggage to take along on the plane to avoid the dreaded ‘flight flu’.
  • Stock up on enough of all your prescription drugs before you leave. Be sure to bring copies of your doctors’ scripts and keep scheduled medication in its original packaging. Ask your doctor to supply the generic or alternative names for your medications in case you need seek medical attention while in Africa.
  • Consider bringing spare contact lenses, asthma pumps, diabetes monitors and any over-the-counter medication you use regularly (such as treatment for migraines, upset stomach or allergies) – it’s always comforting to have the exact medicine you’re used to taking, if you need it.
  • Be sure to inform your Africa Safari Expertas early as possible if you require special medical attention (such as a gluten-free menu for someone with coeliac disease) or special facilities (such as a wheelchair-friendly environment).
  • Ensure that all your and your children’s routine vaccinations, such as MMR (measles-mumps-rubella), polio, hepatitis and DPT (diphtheria-pertussis-tetanus), are up to date.
  • Always heed your doctor’s advice, even if it’s disappointing – like not being able to scuba dive off Africa’s Indian Ocean islands when you are pregnant (you can still snorkel in the magnificently clear, warm water, so all is not lost).
  • If you’re not feeling well at any stage during your safari adventure, let your guide or camp manager know.

Visiting Africa is a thrilling adventure – one you want to remember for all the right reasons. Even if you’re in perfect health, it’s important to chat to your health care practitioner before you travel to ensure you get health advice that’s specific to you and your medical history. Being a well-informed and well-prepared traveller will mean that you’ll enjoy complete peace of mind and the freedom to fully immerse yourself in your safari vacation.

Source https://www.africanbudgetsafaris.com/blog/getting-your-shots-what-vaccinations-are-needed-for-your-safari-in-africa/

Source https://www.africanbudgetsafaris.com/blog/getting-your-shots-what-vaccinations-are-needed-for-your-safari-in-africa/

Source https://www.go2africa.com/african-travel-blog/vaccinations-need-africa

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