South Africa is located on the southernmost tip of the African continent and is visited by many tourists year-round. Though South Africa is one of the most biodiverse natural areas on the planet, with a large variety of flora, fauna, and ecosystems, it is also home to 60 million people in major cities such as Johannesburg, Cape Town, and Pretoria. Regardless of if you’re interested in natural wonders or bustling cityscapes, you’ll find it here.

If you’re ready to pack your bags for South Africa, take some time to learn about the country and what to expect. But first, let’s explore the importance of South Africa travel medical insurance or travel insurance.

Travel Medical Insurance for Travelers in South Africa – FAQs

Travel medical insurance is short-term international health insurance designed to provide coverage for new illnesses and injuries that occur after the effective date of the policy, as well as important features such as coverage for emergency medical evacuation. It is important to have, as your domestic health insurance will not typically be accepted when traveling outside your home country. 

Do I need travel medical insurance for South Africa?

Though there are no South Africa travel medical insurance requirements from a legal perspective, it is essential for anyone traveling to the nation, whether for vacation or work. International health insurance can protect your finances from the high costs of medical treatment abroad.

Why buy travel medical insurance before traveling to South Africa?

South Africa, like any other country, has its own specific dangers that can increase your risk of medical issues. For instance, injuries are more common among tourists hiking Table Mountain in Cape Town than in those scaling Mount Everest. And as the water along the coastal areas is usually rough, there is a possibility of drowning and hypothermia.

The fact is, even if you take part in none of these activities, you can still just as easily get the flu or twist your ankle in your hotel room. The best thing you can do to protect yourself from medical issues of any sort is to buy travel medical insurance.

Trip Cancellation Insurance for Travelers in South Africa – FAQs

As its name implies, trip cancellation insurance is all about protecting your trip investment in the event of a cancellation. However, as we will discover, its coverage can go far beyond that.

Why should I get trip cancellation insurance for my South Africa travel?

If you have no choice but to cancel your trip to South Africa, you will undoubtedly want the money you’ve already spent on airfare, hotels, and other expenses back. The problem is, these prepaid travel expenses are usually nonrefundable. The result is, you’re forced to pay for a trip you’re unable to take.

You can avoid this hassle with trip cancellation insurance. It allows you to be reimbursed for your prepaid, nonrefundable trip expenses if you must cancel your holiday to South Africa for a covered reason. 

What can be covered by trip cancellation insurance for South Africa?

Beyond just trip cancellation coverage, travel insurance for South Africa can cover instances including trip interruption, travel delay, lost baggage, and even emergency medical expenses.

But be advised: Not all travel insurance plans are the same. You will need to take some time to compare different plans on this website to see which offers the best coverage for your needs and your budget.

South Africa’s Most Popular Places for Travel

Whether you’re a city dweller or nature lover, there’s a lot to see and do in South Africa. Here are just a few of the places you should consider when putting together your South Africa vacation itinerary. 

Cape Town

South Africa’s capitol city is a modern metropolis with alluring beaches, vibrant streetscapes, and inviting natural attractions. Hike up to the Lion’s Head for a beautiful sunrise view. Experience one of the world’s largest examples of biodiversity with a stroll through the Gardens of Kirstenbosch, or let your adventurous side shine by paragliding from Signal Hill.

Table Mountain

Located in Cape Town, Table Mountain is a flat-topped 3,558-foot peak overlooking the city. It’s a popular destination for tourists and hikers, with spectacular views as the reward for making it to the top. If you aren’t interested in too much physical exertion, you can always take a ride on the Table Mountain ariel cableway. 


The administrative center of South Africa may not be as well-known as other cities in South Africa, but it’s definitely worth a visit. In Pretoria, you can dive into the cultural history of Africa at the Ditsong National Museum of Natural History, see the impact site of a real meteorite at the Tswaing Meterorite Center, or view exotic wildlife at the Pretoria Zoo.

Groenkloof Nature Reserve

If you’re in Pretoria and want to explore your adventurous side, take a trip to Groenkloof Nature Reserve to experience numerous hiking routes, mountain bike trails, and camping opportunities. If you’d prefer a more sedate activity, the reserve is perfect for picnicking and wildlife viewing, as well.


No trip to South Africa is complete without a visit to its largest city. This sprawling metropolis of over 11 million is home to attractions such as the sobering Apartheid Museum and Constitution Hill, the family-friendly fun of Gold Reef City, and the eclectic shopping and dining of the Maboneng Precinct. Plan to spend at least a couple of days exploring “Joburg.”

Key Guidelines for Travelers in South Africa

South Africa is a country of adventure. This naturally means you'll find yourself exposed to risks. Here are a few things to remember so that your trip goes as smoothly as possible.

Swapping Seasons

As South Africa is located in the Southern Hemisphere, its weather is opposite from the Northern Hemisphere, where most of tourists will be visiting from. When visiting South Africa, keep that in mind when packing clothes and other accessories.

Risk of Disease

Traveling to South Africa can put you at greater risk of certain vector-borne diseases. When going on holiday in South Africa, you should make sure you are vaccinated for hepatitis A/B and typhoid, and have vaccines for MMR, DTP and varicella. Consult your doctor to see if any additional vaccines are necessary for you.

Buzzing Bugs

The insects in South Africa can be annoying, and can even cause disease. If you are planning to travel to Kruger National Park or other wild areas, make sure to bring insect repellent and malaria pills. Also, cover your wrists and ankles to reduce bites.

Safety for Women

Certain parts of South Africa can be dangerous for solo female travelers, as they may receive harassment and unwanted attention. You are encouraged to do your research about dangerous areas, and travel as part of a group whenever possible.

Weather Woes

Tropical thunderstorms have been known to strike South Africa. The country’s east coast, and the southwestern portion of the Indian Ocean are the most likely regions to experience these storms. Pay attention to weather forecasts, and plan your travel accordingly.

Before You Travel to South Africa – Do This

  • Ensure your passport is valid at least 30 days beyond the date you intend to depart South Africa.
  • Visit your healthcare provider to receive all necessary vaccines. 
  • To protect your finances from any unexpected mishaps, purchase travel medical insurance or travel insurance.

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Visiting USA?

Healthcare costs are very high in the U.S.

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Traveling abroad?

Did you know that your insurance may not cover you abroad or that it may only provide limited coverage?

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You are not eligible to enroll in Medicare for the first 5 years.

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You could lose your non-refundable trip costs if you had to cancel your trip.

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The U.S. Department of State requires all J visa holders to purchase compliant insurance.

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Schengen countries require most non-US citizens to purchase Schengen visa insurance.

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You don't need to purchase travel insurance for every trip.

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International student in the U.S.?

Most schools require international students to purchase health insurance.

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