Health and Safety

We strongly recommend purchasing travel insurance, including health insurance for your trip. 

Malaria is a serious disease that is endemic throughout the Lowveld region of South Africa. Though considered a low-risk area, especially in the winter, there have been cases of malaria in Hoedspruit. The  mosquito which transmits malaria is active at night, in particular between the hours of 1800h and 2100h. Nkanyi House is equipped with screens on all windows and most doors to keep mosquitoes out. Still, repellant should be worn any time you are outside in the evening. Talk to your health care practitioner about ways that you can reduce your risk of malaria while travelling in South Africa. 

For most travelers, there are no mandatory vaccines for entering South Africa. There is no risk of Yellow Fever in South Africa. However, you will need to show proof of Yellow Fever vaccination if you are arriving from a country that has a risk of Yellow Fever.

The Centers for Disease Control recommend that your routine vaccines (such as tetanus and MMR) be up-to-date. See the CDC traveler's health page for other vaccines that you may want to consider.

Tips for a Safe Trip

While South Africa does have a higher crime rate than many high-income countries, most of the crime occurs in areas not frequented by tourists. We have traveled throughout the country on many occasions. With the exception of a scam at an ATM (more on that later) we have never experienced a problem. However we do take precautions similar to what we do at home, to minimize our risk of having crime disrupt our vacation. Here are some tips that we have to help to ensure that you have an enjoyable and safe vacation.

  • Never leave valuables, including cell phones in a parked vehicle.
  • If you must leave items in your parked car, be sure that they are not visible.
  • Always manually check that your car has been locked after using a remote locking devise. There have been incidences of “car jamming” where thieves use devises to block the signal from your devise, so that your car does not actually lock when you press the button. Once you have walked into the store/ restaurant, the thieves simply open your car door and help themselves to the contents.
  • Never let anyone assist you when you are drawing cash from an ATM.  Look for signs that the ATM has been tampered with, such as loose plates attached to the card reader.
  • Though it has never happened to us, we have heard reports of corrupt police pulling over tourists (and locals) and demanding that a “fine” be paid in cash directly to them. While you are required to show your driver’s license and ID to the police when asked, please be aware that it is illegal to pay bribes to the police in South Africa. No police officer should be asking you for cash at the roadside.  Assuming that you were in violation of a road rule, you should ask for a ticket and pay it at the next police station. 
  • While many of the main roads in South Africa are in excellent shape, as you enter the rural areas you may experience potholes. These can be large and can appear very suddenly. Watch your speed and always expect the unexpected.
  • When dining in restaurants, especially in the big cities, never hang valuables on the back of your seat. Keep them on your lap or somewhere where they cannot be grabbed easily.