Additional Health and Safety Information

Help Center

Additional Health and Safety Information

Prescription Medication

If you are currently taking prescription medication, it is important to ensure you have your prescription filled in your home country before your arrival in South Africa. You can bring up to three months’ worth of medication with you. Keep in mind that medication scheduling and availability can differ in South Africa, and foreign prescriptions may sometimes pose challenges for local pharmacies.

Travel with your medication in its original packaging and have your original prescription or a copy on hand. We kindly request that you disclose your prescription medication use in your Medical Information questionnaire. It’s essential that you can self-administer your prescribed medication in the correct doses, without requiring assistance from VACorps staff (please refer to our core admission requirements).

Immunization, vaccinations and checkups

We advise participants to have a health checkup prior to arrival and to make sure regular immunizations such as flu and COVID shots are up to date. It is very important that you are in good mental and physical health before you travel abroad.

There is no malaria in Cape Town, so bringing malaria medication is unnecessary and a financial waste. If you plan to travel to other African countries with vaccination and malaria medication requirements, it is more convenient and cost-effective to obtain these once you have reached Cape Town. South African doctors are well-informed about health risks and malaria prevalence in other African regions and can provide you with the best guidance and prescriptions.

Drinking water and sanitation

The tap water in Cape Town is of an excellent quality and is potable. The city maintains excellent sanitation standards, resulting in an extremely low risk of contracting diseases related to poor sanitation, such as cholera or typhoid. Food sanitation standards are also  high, lowering the risk of food poisoning. While street vendor food requires some caution, the likelihood of digestive issues remains fairly low.

HIV/AIDS and other sexually transmitted diseases/infections

South Africa faces one of the highest HIV/AIDS prevalence rates globally. This virus spreads through bodily fluids, primarily during unprotected sexual intercourse. Notably, HIV/AIDS often remains asymptomatic in infected individuals, making it impossible to identify carriers based on appearance alone. Minimizing the risk of contracting HIV/AIDS and other STDs/STIs is of paramount importance. While abstinence from sexual activity is the most effective preventive measure, if you choose not to abstain, it is imperative to use appropriate protection, such as condoms.