Yellow Fever innoculation for South Africa

Disclaimer: We have had our shots, so I didn't attempt to find out if the form is current (which October?) and haven't checked to see what it says on the CDC, State Dept., WHO, SA, etc., websites, but . . .

I just received an invoice from Bushtracks for an activity we have planned in Livingstone, Zambia before the start of our upcoming Botswana, South Africa, Zambia tour. The invoice contains the following note: (I added color)

*** Please note: As of 1 October, if guests have stayed or been in transit in Zambia (this includes Livingstone and surrounds), a yellow fever certificate will be required to be shown on entering South Africa (whether staying or in transit at an airport). The certificate will need to be produced at any point of entry into South Africa to the customs and immigration officials.

Just an FYI for those on the fence about getting a Yellow Fever shot.


  • Hi all. I'm new to posting on the forums but was concerned about this yellow fever conversation so I hope this is helpful. I just got off the phone with Bushtracks in California and spoke with a South African representative Gayle Lehmann. She informed me that the yellow fever vaccination would only be required if one was traveling from one of the countries the CDC has indicated had active yellow fever virus, like Kenya. I'm traveling to Zimbabwe, Zambia, Botswana and South Africa end of August. According to the local travel nurse, the CDC website, and Bushtracks, the yellow fever vaccination is not required for my trip. Of course everyone needs to evaluate their own health and itinerary separately.

  • Whatever you are being told, when we were going from Zambia into Botswana, the officials asked to see our certificates.

  • Our travel doctor told us the same thing and quoted the CDC site, but based on these forums and advice from Alan and British, we got ours despite the short supply. I posted last year the same thing as British, when we went from Zambia to Botswana all of the group under age 60 had to show their vaccination cards. If you are in the middle of entering a country and the border officials decide they want to see it, you have no recourse. I would also suggest, again using the wise advice of other posters that once you go, you will fall in love with Africa and want to go back and it will likely require the vaccination. Unless there is an overriding medical reason not to get it and you have a strongly worded exemption letter that will pass muster, my advice is get the yellow fever vaccination.

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