Entry Requirements for Traveling to Africa: Yellow Fever Certificates


Traveling to Africa is always an exciting experience due to its rich cultural heritage and abundance of unique wildlife. However, before you embark on your African adventure, you must ensure you have all the necessary documents, including a yellow fever certificate. When asked whether a certificate is needed, travelers always wish to get an accurate answer: yes or no. However, different sources of information do not always interpret information clearly and can be confusing. In this article, we will try to explain the principle of the certificate in simple words, so that in the future you can easily navigate the entry requirements for traveling to Africa.

What is a Yellow Fever

Africa is often associated with a poor epidemiological situation because of the risk of catching many dangerous diseases. Among the top potential dangers, yellow fever comes first. It is the disease that causes most fears and is the reason people do not travel to Africa.

The carrier of yellow fever is the yellow fever mosquito. After getting bitten by an insect, a person may develop a high fever and other flu-like symptoms. Symptoms disappear,  and the person recovers within a few days. Only in 15% of cases can the disease take on more dangerous forms.

In practice, cases of fever among tourists are extremely rare. People are more likely to be diagnosed if they live in countries where the disease is endemic.

In which countries is yellow fever common

Residents of Western and Central Africa are at risk. However, the virus is under the control of the World Health Organization. Preventive measures are aimed at preventing outbreaks and the spread of the disease. The list of countries where yellow fever is endemic includes:

  • Angola
  • Benin
  • Burkina Faso
  • Burundi
  • Cameroon
  • Cape Verde
  • Central African Republic
  • Democratic Republic Congo
  • Equatorial Guinea
  • Gabon
  • Gambia, Guinea
  • Ghana
  • Guinea-Bissau
  • Ivory Coast
  • Liberia
  • Nigeria
  • Sao Tome and Principe
  • Senegal
  • Sierra Leone
  • South Sudan
  • Togo
  • Uganda

Several countries are partially endemic. That is, the risk of contracting fever exists only in some districts of the country. These countries include:

  • Chad
  • Ethiopia
  • Kenya
  • Mali
  • Mauritania
  • Niger
  • Sudan

At the same time, there is no risk of yellow fever in neighboring Tanzania, Zambia, and Namibia. In any situation, the governments of these countries always keep their finger on the pulse and take measures to prevent the spread of the disease.

When is a certificate needed

Let’s say you decide to look at the rare mountain gorillas in Congo or Uganda. These countries are endemic for yellow fever, so you will definitely need a certificate when entering the country. So, you get the vaccine, and in 10 days can go travelling.

If you decide to visit Kenya, which is considered a semi-endemic country, you will only receive a vaccination recommendation. That works when you fly from Europe, America, or another part of the world where yellow fever cannot exist. So, upon arrival in Kenya, you will not be required to have a certificate. Whether or not to do so depends on your desire.

When you travel to Tanzania, Namibia, Zimbabwe, and South Africa, you should not take a yellow fever vaccine. But this only works if you arrive from a country where there is no risk of the disease spreading. But if you flew to Tanzania via Kenya and were in transit for more than 12 hours, you can’t enter Tanzania without a yellow certificate.

So the principle is simple. If you are going to a country that is not endemic and arriving from non-endemic countries, you do not need a certificate. If you fly to semi-endemic countries in the same way, you do not need a certificate. To visit countries with a high risk of infection or your route passes through several African countries, both endemic and non-endemic, a certificate is needed.

Prevention of yellow fever

Of course, the most reliable method of prevention is vaccination. That is the easiest and safest method to gain lifelong immunity against the disease.

Simple safety measures will also help you significantly reduce the risk of infection. These include:

  • Using repellents, especially in the evening;
  • Wearing clothing that completely covers your arms and legs;
  • Accommodation in hotels/lodges with mosquito nets.

Travel safely!

Traveling to Africa offers incredible opportunities for exploration and discovery, but before you go, you need to be prepared and informed. In addition, it is important to entrust the organization of travel to a reliable company. The safety of our clients is our top priority, which is why we take the organization of safaris in Africa with great responsibility.

In addition, you know more about entry requirements for traveling to Africa and can safely plan your first expedition!

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