Find countries to travel

Travelling to Africa? Find out what vaccines you need to take!

Continent: Africa

Time zone: 6 time zones (UTC/GMT -1), (UTC/GMT +0), (UTC/GMT +1), (UTC/GMT +2 ), (UTC/GMT +3), (UTC/GMT +4)

Best to visit: All year round 

Visa and useful information

 

When you are interested in travelling to a country on the African continent, you must take into consideration that you are required to take specific vaccines. So, besides booking your flights and accommodation, preparing the visa and the other documents you need, you also need to take specific vaccines.

However, the vaccines are not only specific to each country on the mother continent, but they have to be taken up to several months in advance. Therefore, booking and travelling through last minute offers might be problematic.

Vaccination against various diseases is recommended when you travel to most African countries. The type of vaccine you take depends on the country you are travelling in, type of accommodation, sanitary conditions, length of your stay and your general health.

Aside from the vaccines, there are some extra precautions you need to take when travelling to Africa, against flies and mosquitos, as these can carry malaria. Malaria precautions are essential in almost all African countries, especially in Sub-Saharan Africa.

You need to avoid mosquito bites by covering up with clothing such as long sleeves and long trousers, especially after sunset. You should use insect repellents on exposed skin and, when necessary, sleep under a mosquito net. There are also anti-malarial tablets which you can use when you travel to most countries in Sub-Saharan Africa.

People who are unsure whether they have had the MMR vaccine or had the diseases measles, mumps or rubella (German measles), should have the vaccine.

When travelling to Africa, you also need to consider the ACWY vaccine. It is recommended if you travel to Africa’s meningitis belt, which stretches across the continent, from Senegal to Ethiopia.

And, as Africa is not declared a polio-free continent, you have to consider that aspect as well.

There are 2 types of travels:

  1. Short-term travels – these are done for business or leisure and people travel to cities and tourist resorts, staying in standard tourist-class hotels with good food, hygiene and adequate sanitary conditions
  2. Long-term travels – these are done to change residence and can be in areas with poor hygiene and sanitation, and/or close and prolonged contact with locals. This variant is more dangerous because travellers come into contact with locals likely to be infected with any disease.

 

The vaccines you need to take when travelling to the African countries

We will start with the list of vaccines you need to take when travelling to Africa, no matter in which category you fall under. These are the vaccines that are recommended:

  • Diphtheria
  • Tetanus
  • Whooping cough and poliomyelitis vaccine
  • Hepatitis A
  • Seychelles
  • Typhoid

 

If you travel to the Ascension Islands, Saint Helena or Tristan da Cunha, you must do the following vaccines:

  • Diphtheria, Tetanus, Whooping cough and poliomyelitis vaccine, for those with short stays
  • All of the above and Hepatitis B for those with long stays

 

If Mauritius and Reunion are your destinations, you need to take the following vaccines:

  • Diphtheria
  • Tetanus
  • Whooping cough and poliomyelitis vaccine
  • Hepatitis A, for those in the first category
  • Hepatitis B vaccine for those in the second category

 

Travelling to Comoros, Egypt, Tunisia requires:

  • Diphtheria
  • Tetanus
  • Whooping cough and poliomyelitis vaccine
  • Hepatitis A for the second category
  • TP-IPV
  • Typhoid
  • Hepatitis B
  • Rabies

 

When travelling to Cape Verde, you need to take:

  • Diphtheria, Tetanus, Whooping cough and Poliomyelitis vaccine, Hepatitis A, for those who stay less
  • Typhoid, Hepatitis B and Tuberculosis for the others

 

If you decide to travel in one of these countries: Algeria, Botswana, Djibouti, Lesotho, Libya, Madagascar, Malawi, Mozambique, Morocco, Namibia, South Africa, Swaziland, Zimbabwe, you need to take the following vaccines:

  • Diphtheria
  • Tetanus
  • Whooping cough and poliomyelitis vaccine
  • Hepatitis A
  • For those who stay longer: Diphtheria, Tetanus, Whooping cough and Poliomyelitis vaccines, Hepatitis A, Typhoid, Hepatitis B, Tuberculosis and Rabies

 

When travelling to Tanzania or Zambia, you need to take:

  • Diphtheria
  • Tetanus
  • Whooping cough and poliomyelitis vaccine
  • Hepatitis A
  • For the ones who stay longer: Diphtheria, Tetanus, Whooping cough and Poliomyelitis vaccines, Hepatitis A, Typhoid, Hepatitis B, Tuberculosis and Rabies

 

In Eritrea, you need to take the following vaccines:

  • Diphtheria, Tetanus, Whooping cough and Poliomyelitis vaccines, Hepatitis A
  • For those who stay longer: Diphtheria, Tetanus, Whooping cough and Poliomyelitis vaccines, Hepatitis A, Typhoid, Meningococcal vaccine against serotypes A, C, W and Y, Hepatitis B, tuberculosis, Rabies

 

Angola, Burundi, Congo (Brazzaville), Gabon, Liberia, Rwanda, São Tomé and Príncipe require the following vaccines:

  • Diphtheria, Tetanus, Whooping cough and Poliomyelitis vaccine, Hepatitis A
  • For those who stay longer: Diphtheria, Tetanus, Whooping cough and Poliomyelitis vaccine, Hepatitis A, Typhoid, Hepatitis B, Tuberculosis and Rabies

 

Benin, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, Congo (Democratic Republic), Equatorial Guinea, Ethiopia, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Ivory Coast, Kenya, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Sudan, South Sudan, Togo, Uganda require the following vaccines:

  • For those with short stays: Diphtheria, Tetanus, Whooping cough and Poliomyelitis vaccine, Hepatitis A
  • For those with long stays: Diphtheria, Tetanus, Whooping cough and Poliomyelitis vaccine, Hepatitis A, Typhoid, Meningococcal vaccine against serotypes A, C, W and Y, Hepatitis B, Tuberculosis and Rabies

 

Travelling to Nigeria recommends the following vaccines:

  • For the first category: Diphtheria, Tetanus, Whooping cough and Poliomyelitis vaccine, Hepatitis A
  • For the second category: Diphtheria, Tetanus, Whooping cough and Poliomyelitis vaccine, Hepatitis A, Typhoid, Meningococcal vaccine against serotypes A, C, W and Y, Hepatitis B, Tuberculosis and Rabies

 

Travelling to Somalia requires the following vaccines:

  • For the first category: Diphtheria, Tetanus, Whooping cough and Poliomyelitis vaccine, Hepatitis A
  • For the second category: Diphtheria, Tetanus, Whooping cough and Poliomyelitis vaccine, Hepatitis A, Typhoid, Hepatitis B, Tuberculosis and Rabies

 

Generally, these are the vaccines you need to take before travelling to one of the African countries, no matter if it’s a short or a long stay. The list is long and might seem overwhelming when you first go through it, we know.

However, we need to clarify that everyone should be vaccinated against Diphtheria, Tetanus, Whooping cough (pertussis) and Poliomyelitis. And, as it is, you have probably been already vaccinated as a child, as European and American countries, as well as most Asian ones,  have them enforced by the law. In this case, you might have a booster dose against these diseases every 10 years, if you want to be 100% safe.

On the other hand, the Democratic Republic of Congo has an ongoing outbreak of vaccine-derived poliovirus, and recently, vaccine-derived viruses have also been found in environmental samples in Kenya. Moreover, Chad, Guinea, Cameroon, Niger and the Central African Republic are considered to be countries that are vulnerable to the polio outbreaks. Therefore, it is particularly important to be vaccinated against polio if you plan to travel to these countries.

 

Special situations

Anyone travelling from a country with an ongoing outbreak should have the polio vaccine between four weeks and 12 months before leaving the country. This must be documented with an international vaccine certificate and applies for people of all ages.


IAVisa was built around the idea of helping others obtain visa for their well-deserved vacation. IAVisa will save you time and effort by offering complete, up to date and useful information about international visas, top travel tips and many more. All you are left to do is pack your bags!