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With the exception of HIV/AIDS, there’s little need to worry about health issues in Cape Town. Having said that, hundreds do die daily from HIV/AIDS, so make sure you protect yourself while having sex.

Medical Services

Medical services in Cape Town are of a high standard; make sure you have health insurance and be prepared to pay for services immediately. In an emergency call 107 from a landline (or 112 from a mobile) for directions to the nearest hospital.

Many doctors make house calls; look under ‘Medical’ in the phone book or ask at your hotel.

Netcare Christiaan Barnard Memorial Hospital Excellent private hospital.

Netcare Travel Clinic For vaccinations and travel health advice.

Groote Schuur Hospital Has a casualty (emergency) department.

In Cape Town

Tap Water

Tap water is drinkable. However, at the time of research, severe drought has enforced water restrictions so buying drinking water is recommended.

Before You Go

Health Insurance

  • Find out in advance whether your insurer will make payments directly to providers or reimburse you later for overseas health expenditures.
  • If your policy requires you to pay first and claim later for medical treatment, be sure to keep all documentation.
  • Ensure that your travel insurance will cover any emergency transport required to get you to a hospital in a major city, or all the way home, by air and with a medical attendant if necessary.

Recommended Vaccinations

Visit a doctor or travel clinic at least four weeks before departure for vaccinations; some don’t ensure immunity for two weeks. America’s Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (www.cdc.gov/travel) suggests immunisations including the following as routine for adults, in addition to routine childhood vaccines.

  • Diphtheria
  • Hepatitis A
  • Human Papillomavirus
  • Influenza
  • Meningococcal Pertussis (whooping cough)
  • Pneumococcal
  • Shingles
  • Tetanus
  • Typhoid

If you're travelling further afield from Cape Town in South Africa, the CDC suggests the following, depending on the areas to be visited:

  • Hepatitis B
  • Malaria
  • Rabies

Ask your doctor for an International Certificate of Vaccination or Prophylaxis (ICVP or 'yellow card'), listing all the vaccinations you’ve received.