Some medications are banned in certain countries because they fall under the Opium Act. This applies to certain painkillers and sedatives. If you want to take the medication to foreign countries, you need an official statement from your doctor. This declaration must be in English. Contact the closest South African embassy/consulate for more information.
Other medications are best taken in their original packaging, with your pharmacy's sticker on it (if applicable). Your doctor or pharmacist can also provide you with a medication passport. This is a passport-sized document containing the details of your current prescriptions and the internationally used names. If you
were to lose your medication a doctor in South Africa could then prescribe the correct replacement. These medication passports are useful, however, they are not official documents and do not replace an official statements pertaining to restricted medications under the Opium Act.
Various apps have been designed to function as Medication Passports, these are but a few examples:
Contact your local GP regarding vaccinations you may need for your holiday to South Africa. For a short trip (up to 4 weeks) the following vaccinations are recommended:
You do not need a Yellow Fever vaccination, unless you live in, or have travelled recently through one of the following
countries: 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. More information on: http://www.southafrica.net/za/en/travel-tips/entry/travel-tip-yellow-fever-entry-requirements
In South Africa the percentage of people infected with HIV is very high. Keep this in mind and if you are in a situation where you are
required to give first aid, always wear plastic or latex gloves.
Tick bite fever | tick fever | rickettsia
When travelling to nature areas, such as national parks, there are many ticks and the likelihood of being bitten is high. If you do find a tick on your person, there is usually nothing to worry about if it is quickly removed.
Symptoms of tick bite fever include severe headaches, neck pain and fever. The lymph nodes near the bite may swell and the bite of the tick is usually black in the centre and a bit swollen.
If you suspect you have tick bite fever, the best course of action is to obtain confirmation from a GP who may prescribe antibiotics. The symptoms usually disappear fairly quickly subsequent to taking antibiotics. If you are not treated and the tick is located and removed, the symptoms usually go away after two weeks and you are then cured (this illness does not remain latent in your system). Fortunately, Lyme disease does not occur here.
South Africa's tap water is drinkable in most places. However, it does not always taste pleasant due to the chlorine used to
disinfect the it. If you find the tap water undrinkable or simply unpleasant, purified bottled water is widely available.
This is generally rare in South Africa.
The sun can be very strong, especially in summer, and without sunscreen the risk of burning is very high. We recommend you
wear a hat whilst in the sun and use sunscreen.
Insect bites or bites from other animals
If you are bitten by an insect, ask your guide (if available) for advice. In general, be especially careful of spider bites and scorpion stings.
Scorpion stings are very rare but if you do get stung, try to photograph the offending scorpion and go to a doctor.
Spider bites usually occur at night when you are asleep, so you are unaware of being bitten. The bite site usually becomes
inflamed with a black spot in the centre. Should a spider bite you, we always recommend consulting a doctor who may prescribe antibiotics.
Snakebites are very rare. Should you be bitten, it is important to see a doctor straight away in order to identify the snake and, if required, have the correct anti-venom administered. Taking a photo of the snake may be useful, provided it can be taken without risk of injury. Do not attempt to catch or kill the snake.
South Africa's private hospitals range from good to very good, so much so that they are a tourism industry in themselves. Many Europeans come to South Africa for medical treatment simply because the standards are as good as in Western Europe and the waiting lists are a lot shorter. Furthermore, you are lucky: because you are a tourist you will get private ambulance services,
preferential treatment and taken directly and quickly to a good hospital. This is because the hospitals get good money from your insurance company. Please do make sure you have all your insurance details, including policy numbers, readily available, and that Tailor Made Safari’s has these too. Without those details immediately available, private hospitals simply won’t treat you.