With growth in family travel predicted to continue into 2018, Tourism Update conducted a poll to identify the key source markets for this sector. Readers indicated that the UK was the biggest source market for family travel (43%), followed by Germany (27%), France and Brazil (11% each) and China (8%).

Vernon Wait, Marketing Director of Lalibela Private Game Reserve, said: “Speaking from our own experience, we have traditionally found European families to be our primary source markets, especially the UK, Germany and Scandinavia. The US is fast becoming an important source market for Lalibela as well.”

Kelsey le Voy from The Last Word, said the US, UAE and the UK were where the majority of their family travellers came from, while Wendy Rutherfoord, Director of Gondwana, said it mostly saw families from the UK and The Netherlands or Nordic regions. Peter Dros, Head of Marketing at Fancourt, said key source markets were the UK and European countries.

However, these markets have been known to express concerns regarding entry regulations, health requirements and security in the SADC countries. This is often due to a lack of knowledge on how to prepare for a trouble-free trip. Tourism Update, has compiled a checklist for family travel to Southern Africa.

South Africa

Entry regulations

Do you have the required documents?

Children travelling into the country with both biological parents must travel with:

  • Valid passport of travelling parents and child
  • Visa, if required
  • Birth certificate listing both parents (note: these must be the original documents, or certified copies of the originals).

A child travelling with just one of the parents listed on his or her birth certificate must also present:

  • Parental consent affidavit not older than four months from the non-travelling parent, or
  • Letter of special circumstances issued by Director-General of Home Affairs (or similar) in the event that a parent or parents are incapacitated or deceased and no legal guardian has been appointed as yet.

For full details of requirements for travel to South Africa, please see dha.gov.za



While tourists to South Africa rarely have problems, concerned families can download 911 Rapid Response, an emergency response app launched in conjunction with Nhongo Safaris.

The app provides the user with three alerts: one calls for an ambulance, one calls for both an ambulance and a private tactical unit, and one that will contact the user’s fellow travellers should they be lost or alone. Once the user selects the alert they require, their GPS location is issued to 911 Rapid Response’s dispatch office.

The app is available on both the Android and Apple stores and costs $20 for foreigners, providing the user with 30 days access to its services. The app has already received international acclaim as the recipient of this year’s Google Innovation Award.


A yellow fever vaccination is not required for South Africa but it is required for entry into a number of Southern African countries. However, if a visitor has just come from a country where there is yellow fever, proof of vaccination is necessary.

Malaria is present in certain regions of South Africa, however, other regions are malaria free:

  • Malaria is endemic in the Lowveld of Mpumalanga and in Limpopo (including the Kruger National Park and private game reserves). Precautions should be taken in the rainy season (summer).
  • In KwaZulu Natal malaria is endemic on the Maputaland coast. In the intermediate risk areas of Kosi Bay, Sodwana Bay, Mkuze Game Reserve and St Lucia Lake (not the town of St Lucia and the river mouth), the use of anti-malarial drugs is advisable only for high-risk people (young children and the elderly) from October to May.  
  • In North West Province and the Northern Cape along the Molopo and Orange Rivers, including the Augrabies Falls and the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park, malaria is only occasionally locally transmitted. It is not necessary to take anti-malaria drugs when visiting these areas, but precautionary measures to prevent mosquito bites should be taken.


Entry regulations

Parents travelling with minors (children under the age of 18) will need to supply an unabridged birth certificate showing the details of both parents. If the child is flying with one parent only, a parental legalised consent affidavit signed by the absent parent will also need to be provided.


While the majority of visits to Namibia are trouble free, the industry provides the following security guidelines:

  • Travellers should void driving outside towns at night as wildlife and stray livestock pose a hazard.
  • There is a level of street crime affecting foreign tourists, particularly in Windhoek. Travellers should stay alert.
  • If travelling along the Zambezi region, clients should stick to the well-travelled routes.
  • Travellers should carry identification with them at all times.
  • Unless the traveller needs to have their passport with the, for immigration purposes, or passing through security checkpoints, they should leave it in their hotel safe and carry a photocopy for ID.


A yellow fever injection is only required for entry if visitors are coming from a country where yellow fever can occur, or have been in transit for more than 12 hours in an airport in a country where yellow fever might occur. Vaccination is required from the age of nine months. 

There is only risk of malaria in the northern part of the country:

• In a 100-150km strip along the border with Angola; in the Caprivi region, the Okavango region (the region south of the Kavango river) and the Kunene region (along the Kunene River). Here, malaria prevention is recommended year round. 

• In the other northern regions of Oshana, Oshikoto, Omusati and Ohangwena and the more central provinces Omaheke and Otjozondjupa, as well as in the Etosha National Park, protective measures against mosquito bites and malaria tablets are recommended from November to June; from July to October one only needs to prevent mosquito bites.

• In the southern part of the country there is no risk of malaria and no measures are necessary in order to prevent malaria.


Entry regulations

Minors traveling to Botswana must have a certified copy of their birth certificate as well as their passport.


While the majority of visits to Botswana are trouble free, the industry provides the following security guidelines:

  • Wildlife and livestock on roads are a hazard, particularly at night.
  • Travellers should carry some form of identification with you at all times. A photocopy of your passport is sufficient.
  • Attacks on tourists are rare, but travellers should take sensible precautions to protect themselves from crime.


  • It is recommended that travellers receive a cholera injection before visiting Botswana.
  • The risk of contracting malaria is considered low. But, it is prevalent in the northern regions. Visitors should check with a travel medicine specialist to see if antimalarials are right for them.
  • Traveller’s diarrhoea is a risk to individuals visiting Botswana. Clients should make sure to bring a traveller’s diarrhoea kit as part of travel preparations.
  • Private medical facilities, emergency rooms and trained doctors are available in Gaborone, but services can be hard to find elsewhere. Visitors should consider travel insurance that covers health concerns.


Entry regulations

Zimbabwe charges a full visa fee for any individual who is required to have a visa, irrespective of age.

The KAZA Univisa costs $50 and allows tourists to obtain one visa to visit both Zambia and Zimbabwe multiple times. The visa is valid up to 30 days as long as the holder remains within Zambia and Zimbabwe. It also covers those who visit Botswana for day-trips through the Kazungula border.

This visa is not available online and can currently only be obtained at the following ports of entry: Kenneth Kaunda International Airport (Lusaka), Harry Mwanga Nkumbula International Airport (Livingstone); Victoria Falls International Airport, and Harare International Airport.


The situation in Zimbabwe is calm. However, ongoing political developments may result in further demonstrations or celebratory gatherings, especially in urban areas. Travellers should exercise caution, avoid demonstrations or activities that could be considered political. 

Visitors should remain vigilant, especially after dark, and make sure accommodation and vehicles are secure. Always carry identity documentation or a copy of your passport.


Proof of yellow fever vaccination is only required for entry to Zimbabwe if the traveller has just come from a country where there is a risk of yellow fever.

Malaria is also present. Make sure you are protected with antimalarials, mosquito repellents and nettings.


Entry regulations

Visas are not required for tourist purposes and there are no special entry requirements for travelling with children.


  • Traffic accidents are common. Travellers should drive carefully and be aware of pedestrians using the roads.
  • If travelling by road, clients should make sure they have relevant documents with them at all times and monitor local media.
  • Coastal areas have a risk of tropical cyclones during the rainy season (November to April). Monitor local and international weather updates from the World Meteorological Organisation.


  • Antimalarial medication is recommended to travellers visiting Mozambique. The must be taken before, during and after your trip. Dengue and chikungunya are also present and can be prevented through use of mosquito repellents and nettings.
  • Visitors should be sure to bring a traveller’s diarrhoea kit.
  • The US Center for Disease Control recommends that travellers receive a cholera vaccine before visiting the country. 


Information sourced from:

  • Interviews with named industry members
  • The US Center for Disease Control
  • The United Kingdom Government Travel Advisory
  • The South African Government Entry Regulations
  • The Zimbabwean Government Entry Regulations
  • The Mozambique Government Entry Regulations
  • The Botswana Government Entry Regulations
  • The Namibian Government Entry Regulations