Passengers coming from countries where yellow fever exists must be vaccinated. The vaccination is required at least 10 days prior to arrival in South Africa. The South African health authorities require that all passengers coming on a flight or making a stopover in a country where yellow fever exists (Argentina, Brazil) must be vaccinated. For further information, please consult the International Vaccination Center of the Hospital del Salvador.
Malaria is found in limited areas of South Africa, mainly the lowland areas (below 1,000 meters) of Limpopo, Mpumalanga and KwaZulu-Natal provinces. Cases of infection may occur in the North West and Northern Cape provinces, along the Molopo and Orange rivers. A map, produced by the South African Ministry of Health, which you will find below the link to this document, shows the malaria areas in the country. It is advisable to consult a physician for preventive treatment.
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There are many travelers who have been to South Africa and are eager to return to this wonderful country. In social networks and blogs you will find all kinds of testimonials that will surely give you the final push to visit southern Africa, but you can not be unaware and ignore some data. It is true that the crime rate in South African cities is high and that muggings, robberies and thefts sometimes happen. However, it is also true that the authorities are aware of this and that tourist areas are heavily guarded. In addition, a trip through the country does not only include big cities and all travelers agree that, outside of them, South Africa is a very quiet country.
Therefore, we can tell you that it is safe to travel to South Africa, but keeping some basic precautions that will make you enjoy your trip. Although traveling in the African country is not like traveling in Europe, do not become paranoid and be consistent.
Because we want you to love South Africa as much as we do, we want to give you some tips for you to plan your trip. Evaluate all the factors, visit areas where you feel comfortable and, above all, enjoy a country as great as this one.
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I want to clarify one point: this mini guide is ideal for those who travel to South Africa on their own because that’s how I did it. I didn’t pay for a travel agency to put together the route for me, but let the destination itself do it for me during the 22-day journey.
This will depend on your country of birth. For example, I am Chilean and I only needed my passport to travel there. For many countries it is not necessary to apply for a visa if you will stay in the country for less than 90 days (3 months).
This is one of the most frequent doubts for those who visit South Africa, especially if they come from Latin America. Most of the trips from this part of the continent have a stopover in Sao Paulo (Brazil), so the yellow fever vaccine is mandatory. And when I say it is mandatory, it is real. I was asked for the vaccination certificate when I was about to board the plane to Johannesburg and if I had not had the famous paper, I would not have been able to take the plane. So do not take this point lightly.
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When traveling it is important to know in advance the chosen destination, not only prepare the route, choose flights and accommodations, know something about their culture and customs, it is also necessary to know what kind of dangers we can find and how to solve it, so the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation reports on its website, which countries are more dangerous and which ones should not be visited.
El Salvador because it has one of the highest homicide rates in the world and there are criminal groups called “maras” (gangs) operating throughout the country; in Honduras the insecurity situation is serious, especially in the large urban centers of Tegucigalpa, Ceiba and San Pedro Sula; in Nicaragua where there are strong disturbances in several parts of the country; Venezuela has a very high level of insecurity, and homicide and kidnapping rates are a cause for concern.
In St. Lucia, with the start of the high tourist season, the number of violent street robberies, rapes and especially armed robberies in homes has increased again; in Guatemala, in February, the Fuego volcano erupted; and finally, in Suriname there may be cases of infection by the dengue, chikungunya and zika viruses.