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Staying healthy in South Africa

IIf you’re heading to South Africa you can rest assured that the country has a very well structured healthcare system with a number of public and private hospitals throughout the country. However, it always pays to be cautious. Like in many countries around the world, you’ll probably receive quicker care at a private hospital than a public one. As a precaution, make sure your medical insurance payment is always up to date before you travel. Qualified doctors, dentists, and other specialists can be found in main centres but you’ll have to schedule an appointment prior, unless it’s an emergency.


While most of South Africa is malaria-free, this mosquito-borne disease is prevalent throughout the year in the Kruger National Park and the low-lying areas of northern KwaZulu-Natal.

If you’re heading to the above-mentioned areas then you should consult a healthcare professional about the ideal prophylactic. The type of prophylactic will be determined by your personal health, how long you are visiting the malarial area and the time of year.

Like they always say “prevention is the best cure” so you should try by all means to prevent being bitten by a mosquito. Use a repellent lotion and then cover up with clothes. Wear long-sleeved shirts, long pants and socks to ensure that you give them no chance at all.

There are many malaria-free game reserves like Madikwe or Pilanesberg in the North West province, the Waterberg in Limpopo, or private reserves in the Eastern, Western and Northern Cape, where you can also experience the untouched wild of South Africa risk-free. These are worth considering, particularly if you’re travelling with children aged six and under, or if you are pregnant.

Always remember, if you develop a bad headache, have aching joints, and recurring fevers and chills after your trip, advise your doctor that you have been to a malarial area. Malaria symptoms can sometimes be confused with flu symptoms, which can lead to fatal consequences.


While Southern Africa has a high prevalence of HIV/Aids, your only real risk of contracting it is if you have unprotected sex with an infected individual. There should be no reason for unprotected sex as condoms are freely available in pharmacies and convenience stores everywhere you go.

Antiretrovirals are issued free to rape victims at South African hospitals. Should you be the victim of a sexual assault, it’s essential that you get prophylactic treatment for HIV/Aids within 72 hours.

Personal medication

There are pharmacies throughout South Africa, and many everyday medications, such as painkillers, are available over the counter. Some large chain stores also have in-store pharmacies that offer good value for money.

If you have a specific medical condition, it’s wise to carry the relevant doctor’s prescription with you. In the event of you losing your medication, a qualified pharmacist should be able to source a replacement, even if the trade name differs in South Africa.

South Africa on social media

Road trip lovers - Let us introduce you to South Africa's Route 62, otherwise known as the world's longest wine route. 🍷 #BakkieStories #MeetSouthAfrica

Did you know every zebra has a unique pattern of black and white stripes? No two are the same! Photo by @henry.fricke #MeetSouthAfrica

Are you brave enough to take on the world’s tallest swing? 😮 Located in Durban, the @bigrushdurban swing is 288ft high - Certainly not for the faint hearted! 🇿🇦 Watch the full episode (link in our profile) and see whether @mayajama, @aliceliveing or @saunderscb decide to take the leap! #BakkieStories

Head over to @hellomaguk where our road-trippers, @saunderscb, @aliceliveing and @mayajama have taken over their Instagram stories, giving an insiders peak at our #BakkieStories road trip through South Africa! 🇿🇦👍🏼 Photo taken at Jo’Berg’s Maboneng district by @saunderscb.

WIN a 7-night road-trip to South Africa for two, including flights, accommodation and car hire! 🇿🇦 To celebrate the launch of #BakkieStories, which follows the ultimate road trip in a 'bakkie' (what the locals call a pick-up truck!) from Johannesburg to Cape Town, we're giving you the opportunity to win your own. Entry via our website, link in our profile. #BakkieStories

Are you following our #BakkieStories? 🇿🇦 We’re taking TV presenter @mayajama, health & wellness author @aliceliveing and travel blogger @saunderscb on an epic road-trip through South Africa from Johannesburg to Cape Town. Visit our website (link in our profile) to see the first episodes. #BakkieStories

After a jam-packed day exploring Johannesburg, it's time to check out the buzzing city nightlife! 🇿🇦 In episode 2 of #BakkieStories following the ultimate road-trip through South Africa, we learn first hand why Jo'Burg has coined the nickname 'Ginhannesburg,' as we sample the delights of a bar in Linden famed celebrating all things gin! 🍸 Click the link in our profile to see the full length video. #BakkieStories

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