Required Vaccinations When Travelling to Africa

As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases

After booking and confirming your Africa safari, you might get anxious about possible health issues, especially those fueled by the internet or family and friends who have previously traveled there.

However, with the right vaccinations, you won`t have to worry about a thing.

Some of the common shots your doctor will recommend include:

  • Covid 19
  • Malaria
  • Yellow fever
  • Hepatitis A
  • Typhoid
  • Meningitis
  • Tetanus

Required Vaccinations When Travelling to Africa

VaccineCountries that mandate it
Covid 19All African countries
Burkina Faso
Côte d’lvoire

To be safe, it is recommended to take the antimalarial prophylactics when visiting tropical countries of Africa.
Yellow fever All African Countries  
Hepatitis ARecommended to all but not a must
TyphoidRecommended when traveling to underdeveloped and developing African countries.
Tetanus and Diphtheria, Polio, Whooping Cough (Pertussis), measles, mumps, and rubella (MMR)A vaccination or a booster is recommended when traveling to underdeveloped and developing African countries.

Yellow Fever Vaccination

A bite from an infected mosquito can cause humans to contract the yellow fever virus.

Although it is not a virus frequently encountered in the United States, people traveling to Africa should be informed of the disease and if they will need to be vaccinated against it.


It usually takes 3 to 6 days for the symptoms of yellow fever to appear.

Africa travel without a Yellow Fever vaccine
Traveling to Africa Yellow Fever vaccine

The disease occurs in two stages- symptoms including:

  • Nausea
  • Muscle pain
  • Fever
  • Headaches
  • Weakness
  • Vomiting

If not treated, 15% to 25% of the patients will progress to the second stage, characterized by jaundice, visible bleeding, and liver and kidney failure.

Sadly, half of these patients die within two weeks after exposure to the virus.


The yellow fever vaccine is 100 percent effective. Therefore, when traveling to Africa, make sure to get a shot, especially if visiting a country with a high transmission risk.

Notably, this vaccination will not only keep you safe throughout your travel but also offers lifetime immunity to the illness.

Also, during your visit, avoid mosquito bites by using mosquito nets while sleeping.

Malaria Vaccine

Many people, especially pregnant women and children, die yearly in Africa because of Malaria.

In 2020 alone, more than 165 million cases were reported. However, with antimalarial medication, this disease is easily preventable and curable.

Therefore, before visiting Africa, especially the tropical regions, get advice from your doctor regarding vaccination and proper ways of preventing contracting Malaria.


Seek immediate medical attention if you experience flu-like symptoms, including:

  • Fatigue
  • Headache
  • Chills
  • Muscle aches

Even though the disease can be fatal, there is an effective medication that cures the disease completely.

Therefore, seek medical attention once you exhibit the symptoms, especially if you are on vacation in tropical African countries.


You should adhere to the antimalarial prophylactics prescriptions to ensure you are protected during your visit. Your doctor or travel specialist should guide you if you experience any side effects from the vaccine.

Prevent disease when travel to safari Africa
Prevent disease when traveling

Also, you can take further preventive measures, such as using mosquito repellant in your camp or applying insect repellant ointment on your skin once you shower.


Meningitis can be bacterial, fungal, or viral.

The disease attacks the meninges (the protective membrane covering your brain) and makes it inflamed and swollen.

It also affects the spinal cord.

The symptoms are almost similar to the common flu but with severe headaches. If not treated in time, it can be fatal.

Its severity depends on the type – meningococcal meningitis is the most serious.

A bacterium causes it, and it’s transmitted through sneezing, coughing, and direct contact with an infected person.

Symptoms and Signs

Early symptoms include:

  • Sudden headache
  • Fever
  • Stiff neck

If you experience such symptoms, seek medical attention as soon as possible.

Often, the disease is accompanied by other symptoms such as:

  • Confusion
  • Photophobia (sensitivity to light)
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting.

These symptoms can appear within a few days after exposure, but they usually develop within 4-7 days.

It can be challenging to realize these symptoms in an infant.

And therefore you must be cautious when your baby experiences any irritation, inactiveness, improper feeding, and vomiting.

These might be signs of meningococcal meningitis.


If traveling to sub-Saharan Africa, vaccination is the best option to protect you from meningitis infection.

Stay safe when traveling Africa
Stay safe when traveling

West and Central Africa have a high disease prevalence rate; thus, vaccination is paramount.

Your doctor will advise you on how and when to take the meningococcal vaccine.  

Additionally – Ensure to take precautions and avoid bodily secretion from a possible infected individual. Also, keep the fomites such as brushes and clothing separately and always wash your hands.

Hepatitis A

Hepatitis A is found in the blood and stool of infected people.

This virus is severe and can cause liver infections. Infected people can spread the disease to others when they come in contact.

Consuming contaminated beverages or food, kissing, and having sexual intercourse with an infected person may lead to infection.

Also, close contact when caring for infected people may lead to the spread of the disease.


Hepatitis A symptoms include:

  • Loss of appetite
  • Joint pain
  • Jaundice (yellowing eyes)
  • Diarrhea
  • Vomiting
  • Nausea
  • Fatigue
  • Fever.

Children who are less than six years rarely have these symptoms.

Older children and adults will have these symptoms for a few weeks and recover without significant liver damage.

However, for older people or those with chronic diseases, Hepatitis A can result in liver failure and, ultimately, death.


According to CDC, the hepatitis A vaccine has been effective since 1996.

Therefore, before traveling to any African country, check the vaccine recommendation.

The vaccine is delivered in 2 doses. Ensure to get at least one before going to your destination.

Also, if you intend to travel to rural areas with poor sanitation settings, you may be highly exposed to hepatitis A.

Choose foods and drinks with caution to avoid infection.

Carry a hand sanitizer if you are traveling to places with less access to clean water or running water.

Also, even when traveling to urban areas, wash your hands regularly with good soap.

Other Recommend Vaccinations

Covid 19 Vaccine

Covid-19-related entry requirements are not the same in every African country.

Notably, some airlines require passengers to produce a negative PCR test within three days of departure.

Yellow fever vaccine
Yellow fever vaccine before travel

Information regarding covid-19 and its vaccination is widespread and readily available from various online sources, including WHO and national health websites.

Please make sure to acquaint yourself with covid-19 protocols of the country you are visiting and the commercial airplane you intend to book.

It will save you time and unnecessary inconveniences. More countries are easing on covid 19 protocols and their travel restrictions with increased herd immunity.

In Some Countries – You are no longer required to undergo covid 19 PCR testing on arrival or before departure.

Importantly, you can always browse specific requirements, which are often posted on the national health websites of each country.

Hepatitis B

Hepatitis B is mainly contracted through sexual intercourse.

Also, contact with infected blood can lead to an infection.

Africa vaccine Yellow Fever
Africa travel vaccine Yellow Fever

Notably, this vaccine is recommended to tourists who intend to stay for an extended period.

If you want to get a tattoo/ piercing or have sex with a new partner, you should consider taking the Hepatitis B vaccine.

Your doctor will advise you on the procedure.


If you intend to adventure the beautiful African wildlife and nature, you will come into close contact with animals.

Rabies is a deadly disease found in bats, dogs, and other African mammals.

A bite from an infected animal will result in rabies infection.

Therefore, if you are at any risk of animal bites, ensure to take the rabies vaccine.

Other Vaccines That Are Not Mandatory

Due to practical and routine vaccination, some diseases are sporadic in developed countries such as the USA.

Yellow Fever disease
Yellow Fever dangerous disease

However, some of these diseases still affect African people, especially those with poor and neglected healthcare systems.

As such, it is essential to visit your doctor about two months before your departure to ensure you are up to date with the following vaccinations:

  • MMR – measles, mumps, and rubella
  • Flu
  • DPT – diphtheria, pertussis (whooping cough), and tetanus
  • Polio

Final Thoughts

Visiting Africa is among the most thrilling adventures you will experience.

Therefore, you would want to remember your vacation for the right reasons.

Falling sick in some African countries can be challenging, and you might book the next flight home.

For this reason, even if you are in perfect health, you must consult your doctor regarding the recommended vaccines specific to your region.

You will have peace of mind and enjoy more if you are a well-prepared and informed traveler.

Affiliate Disclaimer

As an affiliate, we may earn a commission from qualifying purchases. We get commissions for purchases made through links on this website from Amazon and other third parties.