Health and safety in South Africa

Should you have any problems during your tour, then your tour guide will be able to assist you, however below is some general health and safety information before and during your trip.

Health

A large network of hospitals offer excellent service, but make sure you have adequate health insurance, including cover for medical evacuation. A full and comprehensive medical and personal holiday cover with Aria Assistance is available through Carefree Travel Service.

It is generally advised that you should not swim in rivers in the eastern and northern regions, as the bilharzia parasite is found in these areas. Malaria is endemic in the Lowveld areas of South Africa (parts of Limpopo Province, Mpumalanga and KwaZulu-Natal). Prevention is the key and the most crucial elements of this are covering up and using insect repellent. Pack light clothes with long sleeves and long legs and once on the tour use any window and door screens with which your motorhome is equipped, or sleep under a mosquito net. When using insect repellent, be careful to re-apply it as directed by the medical notes accompanying the treatment you choose.

Do not leave your motorhome’s outside light on for long periods, as this will attract insects. Burning citronella candles can help to keep them away. Mosquitoes appear mainly in the evening.

You may also wish to take phrophylactic drugs as a precaution against malaria. If so, consult your doctor well in advance, as you may need to begin any such medication some time before departure. Be sure to ask your doctor about any possible side effects. Seek medical advice before travelling and ensure that all appropriate vaccinations are up to date.

NHS Direct (0845 46 47) can also provide you with advice on any vaccination requirements for South Africa.

Safety

Most parts of the country can be safely visited by tourists, provided they take basic common-sense precautions, eg not walking alone in deserted areas at night, not exhibiting photographic equipment or jewellery or large amounts of cash and, in traffic, maintaining a safe following distance. In large towns, lock your car doors when driving and ensure that your windows are up as some petty crime does take place at traffic lights.

Do not leave personal items and baggage on the seats. Do plan your route in advance, use maps and park in well-lit areas. Picking up of hitchhikers is not recommended. As in the rest of the world, South Africa has its share of criminals, so take the basic common-sense precautions.

If you are in doubt as to the safety of a particular area or attraction, contact the National Tourism Information and Safety Line on 083 123 2345. This number may also be used for assistance in replacing lost documents or reporting incidents. Alternatively, phone a police station on 10111, to ask for advice.

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