Although South Africa is relatively tropical disease fee some precautions are necessary.
1: Sex and blood related illnesses -- HIV / AIDS, Hepatitis B (also transmited by blood and sex), Herpes and many other STD's exist in epidemic proportions throughout South Africa and the Southern African countries -- some areas have HIV infection rates as high as 60% to 90% -- failing to condomise equivalent to suicide; or playing Russian Roulette with 4 out of 6 chambers having live rounds!
2: Malaria risk is predominantly in the malignant falciparum form -- it exists throughout the year in the low altitude areas of the Limpopo Province, Mpumalanga (including the Kruger National Park) and north-eastern KwaZulu Natal as far south as the Tugela River in some years. The highest risk is from October to May.
High Risk Areas -- Malaria
Eastern areas bordering Mozambique (mainly Kruger Park) stretching to Messina on Zimbabwean border. Northern portion of KwaZulu Natal bordering Mozambique (mainly Ndumo and Tembe Elephant Park)
Intermediate Risk Area -- Malaria
Eastern area of Swaziland bordering Mozambique. Eastern areas of north Zululand form St Lucia Lake northwards including Hluhluwe and Mkuze.
Low Risk Area -- Malaria
KwaZulu Natal northern area from Tugela northwards to Swaziland excluding higher lying areas. Area bordering Kruger Park into northern portion of Limpopo province bordering Zimbabwe
Travellers to South Africa are advised to consult their medical practioner or chemist for anti-malarial drugs; specially when travelling between October to May. Resistance to chloroquine has been reported. It is strongly recommended that visitors to these areas take anti-malaria tablets before entering these areas (tablets are available from pharmacies without prescription). The recommended prophylaxis is chloroquine plus proguanil or chloroquine plus pyrimethamine.
3: Tap water is safe to drink in urban areas, but may be contaminated elsewhere and sterilisation is advisable. Milk is pasteurised and dairy products are safe for consumption. Local meat, poultry, seafood, fruit and vegetables are generally considered safe to eat when purchased at recognised supermarkets / butcheries.
4. Rabies is present. For those at high risk, vaccination before arrival should be considered. If you are bitten, seek medical advice without delay.
5. Bilharzia (schistosomiasis) is endemic in the north and east of South Africa and may be present elsewhere. Avoid swimming and paddling in stagnant pools of water. Swimming pools which are well-chlorinated and maintained are safe.
6. Hepatitis A occurs and hepatitis B is hyper endemic -- over 3 billion individuals are infected worldwide and Southern Africa has more than its fair share.
7: A yellow fever vaccination certificate is required from travellers over one year of age arriving from infected areas. African countries formerly classified as endemic zones are considered by the South African authorities to be infected areas. The yellow fever vaccination certificate only becomes valid 10 days after immunisation.
Health Care in South Africa
Medical facilities are excellent. Health insurance is recommended.
Doctors are listed under "Medical " in the telephone directory and hospitals under "H". All major hotels have contracts with physicians and dentists.