Bovine anaplasmosis is a globally economically important tick-borne disease caused by the obligate intraerythrocytic rickettsia, Anaplasma marginale. A live Anaplasma centrale blood-based vaccine is available, but it does not protect against all A. marginale field strains and may also transmit other blood-borne pathogens. Five potential outer membrane protein (OMP) vaccine candidates have been well-characterised in A. marginale strains from the USA, however, their levels of conservation in other countries must be ascertained in order to inform their use in a vaccine with regional or global efficacy. This study assessed the amino acid variation in vaccine candidate OMPs in South African strains of A. marginale, and also compared the immunogenic properties between South African and US strains. OMP genes Am779, Am854, omp7, omp8 and omp9 were amplified and sequenced from a set of genetically diverse South African samples with different msp1α-genotypes. OMPs Am854 and Am779 were highly conserved, with 99–100 % amino acid identity, while Omp7, Omp8 and Omp9 had 79–100 % identity with US strains. As has been shown previously, Omp7–9 possess conserved N- and C- termini, a central variable region, and a highly conserved CD4 T-cell epitope, FLLVDDA(I/V)V, in the N-terminal region. Western blot analysis of recombinant OMPs indicates strong antigenic conservation between South African and US strains of A. marginale, suggesting that they are good candidates for use in a novel global vaccine cocktail, although further work on the best formulation and delivery methods will be necessary.