Travel Insurance for South Africa
Worldcare offers a range of travel insurance policies for travel throughout Africa, including South Africa.
South Africa – the adventure of a lifetime. Beautiful surf beaches, outstanding native animal reserves, spectacular scenery and a vibrant cultural life combine for an experience like no other in the world.
Cape Town Skyline
Take a guided jungle tour near Pretoria and Johannesburg to see lions, elephants, buffalos and rhinos. In the coastal reserves you can see less well-known species – vervet monkeys, shy forest antelopes, red duiker and nocturnal thicktailed bushbabies. For ornithologists, South Africa has over 850 recorded species of native birds.
Try Eland’s Bay, Long Beach or Victoria Bay for surfing, and the Maputaland Coastal reserve, which has tropical reef fish, and migrating whales and whale sharks October – February, for diving.
Swim, dive or just watch during the annual Sardine Run (May – June) at Aliwal Shoal south of Durban, to see darting schools of sardines mixed with sharks, birds and dolphins.
There’s also a variety of other adventures available including rock climbing, bush safaris by car or horseback, game drives and mountain biking.
South Africa is also famous for its award-winning wineries outside Cape Town, in areas such as Stellenbosch, Hermanus Bay and Wellington. Plus most major cities have a vibrant arts and cultural scene, with eclectic music, galleries, jazz and festivals.
With frequent flights to and from most Australian capital cities to Johannesburg, Cape Town, Durban and other major ports, and an excellent exchange rate, you could have the holiday of a lifetime.
Risks of travelling to South Africa
Smartraveller advises that you exercise a high degree of caution in South Africa because of the high level of serious crime. Violent crimes, including rape and murder, routinely occur and have involved foreigners.
Muggings, armed assaults and theft are also frequent and are often high in areas popular with tourists. Car-jackings and cases of robbery and assault have been reported as well.
Valuables such as cameras, mobile phones and jewellery should be kept out of sight. Keep your bags and backpacks within sight in public places including restaurants and bars.
Your luggage may be stolen or have items removed from it at Johannesburg and Cape Town airports. Smartraveller advises that you use an airport plastic wrapping service when available and avoid placing electronics, jewellery, cameras and other valuables into checked luggage.
The rate of HIV/AIDS infection in South Africa is very high. Diseases such as cholera, malaria, typhoid, hepatitis, rabies, measles, Rift Valley Fever and drug-resistant tuberculosis occur in different areas of South Africa, mainly in rural areas, with more serious outbreaks occurring periodically.
It’s wise to visit your GP before you go to get the appropriate vaccinations, and also take precautions to prevent mosquito and animal bites.
The water is mostly not safe to drink in rural areas, though usually OK in major cities.
If you do become ill or are injured, and need medical care, the standard of medical facilities and amount of resources in South Africa can vary greatly. Facilities and doctors are mostly good in cities and near some game parks, but may be limited elsewhere.
If you need medical care, public and private facilities will require either an up-front deposit for services, a guarantee of payment or confirmation of medical insurance before commencing treatment.
If you’re in a remote area, you might need to be air-lifted to a major city to receive the treatment and care you need. Costs for such an evacuation can be more than AUD $10,000.
Due to tightening of regulations covering travel with children into and around South Africa we recommend you check with the South African Department of Home Affairs (DHA) if you plan to travel with children under 18.
You will need to carry and produce on request an unabridged birth certificate as well as a valid travel document for children you’re travelling with, plus additional certification for sole parents or children travelling unaccompanied. Failure to produce the required documents may mean you are refused boarding, or turned back at the border and/or fined.
It is illegal for an adult who holds South African citizenship to enter or depart South Africa using a non-South African passport. If you are a dual national, you should check how the South African government views your status with the DHA or the nearest embassy.
The cost of skipping travel insurance
In 2014, Worldcare helped 9 Australians who travelled to South Africa, ran into trouble and made a claim on their travel insurance policy.
The most common claims we paid for South Africa last year were for rental vehicle excess (14% of total claims cost), medical and hospital expenses (10%), luggage and personal effects (9%) and cancellation fees and lost deposits (3%).
Running into rental car trouble in South Africa could cost an average of AUD $290 without travel insurance.
If you are injured or get sick while travelling in South Africa, you can expect to be out of pocket an average of AUD $290 without insurance.
If your luggage or personal effects are lost, stolen or delayed in South Africa, it could cost you an average of AUD $270 without insurance.
Covering any cancellation fees and lost deposits could leave you AUD $191 out of pocket on average.
So it’s worth considering travel insurance, which is not expensive and may save you considerable cost and trouble.
Worldcare has a range of travel insurance options and inclusions to suit any South African holiday budget – even if yours is limited.
Before you travel to South Africa
As soon as adverse events such as epidemics, bad weather, natural disasters and others that may affect your trip hit mass media, you are not covered unless you already have travel insurance, as it’s no longer ‘unforeseen’.
If you have your policy arranged well in advance of travelling, you are protected. So take it out before you leave and you should be eligible to claim.