Your comprehensive South Africa Travel Medical Advice

Estimated reading time: 6 minutes

Travelling to South Africa is one of the most remarkable and soul rejuvenating adventures a person can experience in this lifetime. However, you do not want to leave for an unknown country without arming yourself with all the required medical information and cover.  Therefore, here is your comprehensive list of medical advice when travelling to sunny South Africa.

1. What emergency numbers do I need when travelling to SA?

Save these South African Emergency Numbers on your phone before departing:

  • Medical and fire services from any phone in South Africa: 10177 
  • General emergency number from any South African mobile/cell phone: 112 from a mobile phone.
  • The nationwide number for the South African Police Service: 10111
  • For COVID-19 related issues: 0800 029 999 (24-hour hotline) or send a WhatsApp message to 0600 12 3456 with the word “Hi” for assistance. 
  • Due to the condition of the country’s roads, here is the National Vehicle Breakdown number: 086 1000 234
  • If in Cape Town and require Sea Rescue call: 021 449 3500
  • If in Durban and require Sea Rescue call: 082 990 5948

2. Get checked out before departing to South Africa

Be sure to visit your doctor 3-6 weeks before leaving for South Africa to ensure you have the following:

  • All Vaccines (as listed below)
  • Any medication/scripts required for your trip

3. Get Medical Travel Insurance when coming to South Africa

Suppose you are injured or contract an illness while in South Africa. You do not want to end up at a rundown South African government medical facility. 

Click here to watch this video to get an understanding of the country’s public healthcare sector. 

Thankfully, the country does boast a highly functional private medical sector in urban areas. Noting: Cash payments are required, and Medicare does not cover these payments.

4. Here are 3 of South Africa’s leading private medical institutes with hospitals around the country.

You can contact any of the following medical facilities by clicking on the names (for websites) or numbers (for calls) below. 

You can discuss any concerns you might have with one of these companies in advance. This will guarantee that you do not spend your time in the country dealing with challenges.

5. Travel Medical Insurance when visiting South Africa

Get sick or hurt and need to get home for further medical care. The following companies and the listed membership options will cover you. 


Options available from COVAC Global:


The benefits give you and your loved ones full peace of mind that should you be diagnosed with COVID-19 while travelling, you can come home for care and treatment. Click here for more information.


Our in-house medical staff and worldwide medical transport teams stand ready to bring our members back to their home hospital of choice without first being hospitalised at the location of injury or illness. Click here for more information. 


Options available from Medjet:


If you are hospitalised 150 miles or more from home, Medjet will arrange air medical transport all the way back to your hospital of choice in your home country.


MedjetHorizon members have all the air medical transport benefits of MedjetAssist, plus added travel security and crisis response services benefits powered by corporate security experts FocusPoint International.

6. What Vaccinations do you need when coming to South Africa?

Ensuring your vaccines are up to date when planning your trip is a necessity. South Africa requires that each guest be vaccinated against the following:

Firstly you can only travel to South Africa if you are fully vaccinated against COVID-19.

According to the CDC & WHO, you need to be vaccinated for the following:

For those who want to ensure they arrive prepared, you can buy medical aid products in advance to bring along with you. (Please check with the airport to confirm that they will allow first aid kits in your luggage). 

Apart from the above, have a fantastic time in South Africa. And remember, for the most part, South Africans are friendly and will assist when you need. 

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