Flight suggestions And immunizations

We are going on the tour to South Africa and Zimbabwe in November and we’re told we did not need any shots. However, CDC website says something else. What was your experience?
Also, we are agonizing about whether to fly direct on South African Airlines or a better airline with a connection. Any experience with SAA?
Thank you!


  • Have flown to SA on South African, but have flown there on British airways twice since then and it was fine, via Heathrow.

  • edited July 2019

    We followed the CDC recommendations and got Hep A, Hep B, and typhoid. We also got a prescription for Malarone for malaria. CDC recommends for travel to the Kruger and Zimbabwe. We visited a travel clinic and took their advice. Our travel clinic followed the CDC recommendations.

    We flew British Air with a layover in Heathrow then direct from Heathrow to Cape Town.

  • Regarding immunizations we go to our local Travel Medical Clinic and take their advice. I believe I had one additional immunization for this trip. We flew Delta non-stop from Atlanta to Johannesburg and connected to Cape Town going over and then Jo'burg to Atlanta on the return.

  • We also visit our travel clinic before such trips. Tetanus booster if necessary, Hep A, Hep B, typhoid, malaria prescription, etc. I also consult the CDC website.
    We flew KLM to Amsterdam and then to Cape Town. On the return, KLM from Johannesburg to Amsterdam and then home.

  • edited July 2019

    EFisher. Please go to a travel clinic, armed with your health records and any shots you have had and when you had them. Are you up to date with normal things most people have, for example, MMR, TDAP, the new shingles shots, Hep B and Hep A, the pneumonia shots if you are over 65? And so on and so on. Some of these require more than one shot, example Hep B, that is 3 over several months. You may have read lots of info on Yellow Fever shot, which is still difficult to find I believe. Read up about it and discuss it with your doctor. Same with Malaria meds, read all the info, some people are reluctant to take them. We have had all these shots in the past and always take Malaria meds. It’s a great tour!

  • Thank you for your responses!

  • Efisher333, I don't know where you are flying from, but FWIW, I took this trip two years ago and flew SAA from JFK (New York). Outbound the flight was non-stop to Johannesburg, then a connector to Capetown. Since the flight home for this trip departs from Johannesburg, that was non-stop as well. The flights were all good, on-time, comparable in price to other airlines and many hours shorter.

    My shots were all up-to-date, though I did take malaria meds and I used Picardin spray for mosquito repellent, which I prefer to DEET.

    Fantastic trip, enjoy!

  • Last year there were lots of reports about SSA being in real trouble. I think I remember Tauck not having them on their suggested airlines. Obviously nothing has happened yet. Check out this article
    We flew from JFK when we flew with them, but ultimately the BA flights suit us better because of where we live.

  • We flew SAA a few years ago in business class and it was excellent. The staff was very friendly, food good and pretty comfortable as welll. Wouldn’t hesitate to fly them.

  • I've read several articles that say SAA is in Business Rescue. We have not booked our flights yet for October 2020. They fly non stop. do you think it is risky using this airline?

  • We are traveling late Sept of 2020. We booked with Delta thru Amsterdam from Orlando. We have a direct flight back from Johannesburg into Atlanta. Very good times and I thought business class was very reasonable. We booked these flights thru Tauck.

  • SAA has been kept alive twice by SA Gov't bailout. They are flying some newer A330-300 from Dulles, etc. which have a nice business section and the lowest prices when I was researching flights for the Botswana tour. Most of the negative reviews of SAA are due to ground personnel issues, including finding missing bags. So, you pay your price and take your chances. We opted for Delta- it is a long flight, Delta's longest, from Atlanta to Jo'burg so I would never do it unless flying business. Delta is now using their totally refurbishesd777-200's, with Delta One suites in Business Class, on this route. We haven't experienced those yet but the reviews are very good.

  • Thanks..the flights are so long! Trying to fly premium economy. Will probably fly British Airways to Heathrow and connect there.

  • AliceS, 9:02AM, Thanks..the flights are so long! Trying to fly premium economy. Will probably fly British Airways to Heathrow and connect there.

    Just be sure to book flights with enough connection time at LHR, it can be a hassle there.

  • Concur with Alan. Last year we flew BA from Dulles to Tel Aviv via Heathrow. It is a huge hassle and we now only go thru Heathrow as a last resort. Leave plenty of time between flights.

  • Yes, all true about Heathrow. The first time we flew to SA, it was on SA airways, economy class, that is what we could afford. second time Brit Airways, by then I think we tried to book Business but even about ten months our it was too late, none of those seats left. When we got to Heathrow, we went to the BA desk and got an upgrade for the second flight at a teaser rate, just for an additional few hundred dollars. Third time, business class. For these flights you have a very long layover at Heathrow. Of you can get into an airline lounge it’s not too bad, you can shower and get good food. Whatever you decide, you need to be booking the flights now or your choices will be diminishing and prices will only go up. This trip is worth all the flight hassle,

  • Here's my two cents worth on Heathrow.

    It seems, at least in my experience, that when flying through Heathrow to/from the states you inevitably have to switch terminals. This means a transfer bus queue (even if you get the 'express' pass), a bus ride, and then going back through security, another not insignificant line, upon arrival at your new terminal. The bus ride between terminals may be a long one. I had one ride where we were standing on a crowded bus for over an hour. We were parked somewhere in the maze of roads by an old Concorde. Once you get through security at your new terminal you have plan to wait in some general area or lounge (if you have access) because gates aren't assigned until, I think 90 minutes before flight time.

    In summary, we avoid Heathrow if at all possible, which isn't always possible if price is at all a factor.

  • Having missed a connection at Heathrow on our return flights about a year and a half ago, I recommend a long layover (at least 4 hours). Assume that your first flight will take off late (in our case, one hour), and give yourself a cushion. As noted by others, the process to change terminals can be long and frustrating.

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