Tap Water Safety in South Africa

Can you drink the tap water in South Africa?

In general, no.

The US Center for Disease Control's travel advisory recommends avoiding tap water and drinking bottled or disinfected water in South Africa (source).

Like all countries though, water accessibility, sanitation, and treatment vary widely from location to location, so we encourage looking for specific city information.

What do people in South Africa think about the tap water?

High-quality water is widely available in South Africa and drinking from taps is fine, except in rural and drought-struck areas.

Wikitravel

Municipal tap water is usually safe to drink. In some area such as Hartebeespoort Dam, it is advisable to boil your water before drinking.
Municipal tap water is usually safe to drink throughout the country. In the Western Cape mountain water is safe, even if it has been stained brown due to vegetation. A strong risk of bilharzia exists for still-standing water.

The most commonly searched cities in South Africa are:

For a full list of cities in South Africa, scroll to the bottom of this post or click here.

World Health Organization South Africa Water Summary

The World Health Organization estimates that 93 percent of South Africa have access to drinkable tap water.

In South Africa, like in most countries, clean tap water availability is much higher in urban areas than in rural areas, with urban area availability averages at 82%.

World Health Organization's 2017 South Africa Water Data

The World Health Organization data on water quality and availability throughout South Africa includes the national average, averages for urban population centers, and averages for rural areas.

DataDescription
Safely ManagedA location that safe, drinkable water that is free of biological or chemical contaminants available on premise.
At Least BasicSafe drinkable water is available within 30 minutes from the location
LimitedIt would take more than 30 minutes from the location to access safe, drinkable water.
YearPopulation in 1000sSafely managedAt Least BasicLimited
National
200045728-85%3%
201756717-93%3%
Rural
200019663-66%6%
201719284-81%7%
Urban
20002606590%98%1%
20173743382%99%1%

What Do People In South Africa Think About The Tap Water?

Travelers and residents of South Africa have rated the water quality and pollution as follows, according to subjective survey data.

A score of 100% is considered very high, and a score of 0% is very low. Please be cautious that "moderate to very high" water pollution is bad and the higher the rate of water quality the better.

DescriptionScoreRating
Drinking Water Pollution and Inaccessibility35%Moderate
Water Pollution59%Moderate
Drinking Water Quality and Accessibility65%High
Water Quality41%Moderate

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View our tap water report on all cities in South Africa

View other countries in Africa