What Visa’s & Vaccination’s do I need for an African Safari?

As our African Safari is approaching in 6 weeks it’s time to make sure we have all the T’s crossed and I’s dotted. With that, I mean vaccinations & visas squared away so we will actually be allowed into Africa.  There are some countries we are traveling to on our RTW trip that require our Visa’s in advance (Vietnam, Australia, India, etc.) so let’s take a look at what sort of Visa’s we will need on our African Safari.

Our safari with Acacia Africa has us over-landing from Kenya to South Africa, bringing us through 7 countries in total.  Each country will have immigration and passport control, so we have to take a look at the requirements for each country individually.  Please note the following information is for a USA passport holder, please refer to your countries specific visa rules when planning your trip.

We are lucky as all required visas on our trip are obtainable on arrival.  Which is great, as this saves us a trip to the embassy or applying for anything online ahead of time. Another thing we have to worry about is that the visa cost must be paid in US Dollars, and bills must be printed after 2006, clean, untorn, and preferably 50’s and 100’s.

Visa cost for Kenya: $50 USD obtained on arrival

Visa cost for Tanzania: $100 USD at border crossing

Visa cost for Malawi: $0 stamp on arrival

Visa cost for Zambia: $50 USD on arrival

Visa cost for Botswana: $0 stamp on arrival

Visa cost for Namibia: $0 stamp on arrival

Visa cost for South Africa: $0 stamp on arrival

money exchange

All countries require the passport be valid a minimum of 6 months prior to entry. Yes, you read that right your passport expires before it expires.  In the USA you cannot leave the USA on a passport that is expiring within 6 months, so just double check your expiration dates.

Also, all countries require a minimum of 2 blank passport pages, and if you depart from Cape Town they have an 8 blank page requirement. 

Lucky for us we have nothing to worry about, as we each added 52 pages to our passport prior to leaving home on our trip.  Also with passports being valid for 10 years we are covered until 2017 (Adam) and 2021 (Hannah).

Now we are squared away with the Visa regulation, let’s talk about those pesky needles.  Yes, you will have to go to the travel doctor for several vaccinations.  We are not doctors and vaccination requirements do change, so please schedule an appointment with a travel doctor to ensure you are completely covered.  Prior to leaving in June 2013 got our fill of vaccinations, we got every possible shot we could need and it was all covered by our insurance (this will not be the case for everyone, we had a very good plan but many times travel doctor visits are considered luxury and not mandatory, so don’t be surprised if it is out of pocket). 

Medical Kit

For our safari and several others that include Zanzibar, Malawi, Zambia and South Africa have mandatory yellow fever vaccinations.  Zambia, Uganda, South Africa have an immigration requirement, so in order to be allowed into the country you must present your yellow fever vaccination card.  You will receive this after your yellow fever shot. 

Yellow fever is the only mandatory shot, but the travel doctor will recommend several other as well.  We also have Hepatitis A & B, Typhoid fever, rabies, and tetanus.  Also, show your doctor a map of the areas you are visiting as Malaria pills will probably be recommended, different areas require different pills. As not all areas are necessarily covered by the same medication, some areas are resistant to some medications.  For example, Chloroquine is not effective in every one of the countries on our route.  For our safari route we will take doxycycline, or mefloquine. We will have our stock of malaria pills with us, as I am prone to getting bit by mosquito’s.  Just ask my legs, I have a story of bite marks & scars.

Africa Map Visa n Vac

If you are also planning an African Safari get yourself to your doctor to ensure you have a safe & healthy safari! 

Most African safari companies will require you to have travel insurance in case anything does happen to you during your safari. Proof of insurance was required for us, we have World Nomads which has been great whenever we have had to make a claim and they cover personal belongings in case of theft. Highly recommend them, click here to check rates.

 Disclosure: We are not doctors this is simply our experiences after visiting multiple travel doctors. This is only a guide to what we need on our route, other safaris will need more research, This is only meant to make you aware that you should seek a travel doctor prior to any travel, especially to remote areas. In no way can we be held responsible for your health or well being when taking any advice on this, or any page of our website. You must seek professional travel medical advice for complete information.


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11 thoughts on “What Visa’s & Vaccination’s do I need for an African Safari?”

  1. How did you get extra pages in your passport? I’ve never heard of this and want to make sure I’m covered! I leave for Malawi in July and want to make sure I have everything covered. And if i have a US passport, I don’t need to get a visa for Malawi or S. Africa?

    • They no longer add pages to USA passports. Next time you renew your passport check the box for a 52-page passport which is no additional cost. No you don’t need a passport for Malawi or South Africa those are free and you get them at the border.

  2. Just to warn you the Tanzania visa is $100 dollars for a multiple entry 1 year visa. Irish and US citizens cannot get the $50 one month visa (although when I went they didn’t read my entry form and gave me a one month but I ran into problems on Zanzibar as a result) so just be prepared.

  3. Wow who knew the visa rules were so stringent, the US dollars thing is particularly interesting. Have either of you taken malaria pills before? I hear so many things for and against them that in Thailand I opted against it. But I wonder if one could get away with not taking them in Africa where it might be more prevalent?

  4. Wow… some of the visas prices have declined dramatically since we did this route about 6 years ago! I’d have to look back in our journals but I know we paid over $100pp for Zambia alone. I’m pretty sure Kenya was more for us too. Great that they’ve dropped down. We ended up not taking any malaria pills, and I do think you’ll find very few mozzies around during the time you’ll be traveling, but some people like the comfort of taking them (we were strongly advised against them.. since many of the places we traveled in our 14mths had malaria possibilities, but all immune to different drugs, we were told our best option was to just be judicious w/ the bug spray, etc. Also, long periods of malaria tablets is really hard on your liver). One thing I’lll say… be prepared for sand fleas in Dar es Salaam and on Tanzania… nasty, invisible little buggers to which DEET seems to have no effect.

    • That’s strange but good for us that the visa cost’s have gone down. We have been taking malaria pills on and off the past year, and thankfully we don’t have any side effects from them. We will be getting a fresh supply of pills before heading off to Africa. We do have 40% deet packed too, bugs just love me they aren’t’ that big on Adam though.


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