Cosmetic surgery travel in South Africa

  • 07 July 2015 | Kolosa Vuso and Cassidy Parker
Cape Town has become known for its world-class cosmetic surgery facilities

Cosmetic surgery safaris are booming in South Africa, with visitors coming for the world-class medical facilities and spending their recovery time touring the country. Cape Town, in particular, has seen continued growth in this industry in recent years, and the city now enjoys a reputation for being one of the cheapest and safest places in the world to undergo surgery.

In recent years, cosmetic surgery travellers to South Africa have had this to say: 

“I’m healing rather well – no further problems at all. The trip to South Africa was one of the most powerful experiences of my life,” says Tuula, of New York in the United States.

"Everything has healed beautifully. I cannot speak highly enough of the doctor, his staff and the care I received. Most people don't realise I have had a facelift and just keep saying how well I look," says a traveller from Australia. 

As a member of South Africa's tourism industry, it's a good idea to know a little bit about this field, as you may find that your visitors are either about to undergo surgery or are recovering.

“The trip to South Africa was one of the most powerful experiences of my life.” – Tuula, New York

Here are a few tips to help you:

  • Make a list of reputable surgeons to which you might be able to refer your guests, assuming that they have not made any enquiries into this field prior to their arrival in South Africa
  • Note that the surgeons on your list should be fully qualified and affiliated with all necessary associations and councils. These should include the Health Professions Council of South Africa, the Association of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgeons of Southern Africa, and the International Society of Aesthetic Plastic Surgery
  • Remind your guests that they are responsible for any medical insurance, and that payment may be required in full prior to surgery. Note that most cosmetic surgery rates are above those covered by medical insurance, and some form of co-payment is usually required
  • Consider ways in which you can make your guests' post-operative care as comfortable as possible. Note that they might be unable to drive for some time, and that they are likely to need assistance with every meal. Once the initial recovery period is over and they are ready to switch from surgery to safari, put together a list of relaxing outings that they can enjoy