Safaris And Diseases – Will You Get Sick?
Diseases – Will You Get Sick?
The chance of contracting a disease while traveling
on safari in Africa is actually very slight and with
proper precautions, most diseases can be easily avoided.
In fact, you may be surprised to learn that for southern
Africa (South Africa, Namibia, Botswana, Zambia and
Zimbabwe) there are no required inoculations (unless
traveling from a yellow fever zone) and health concerns
are basically the same as those for travel to Eastern
Europe or the Caribbean. For East Africa, health
concerns and inoculations are similar to those for
travel to South America or East Asia. In addition,
Southern Africa has some of the finest medical facilities
anywhere in the world and they are easily accessible,
should the need arise.
Interestingly, the two most common health problems
travelers experience while on safari are common colds
caught on airplanes and overexposure to the sun.
Although there may be little you can do to avoid
contracting a cold, exposure to the sun can be minimized.
A good sun hat and high SPF sun block are absolute
essentials while on safari. Other safari necessities
include lip balm with sunscreen and a good pair of
sunglasses with a sturdy case.
Be sure to drink large amounts of water every day
to avoid dehydration and consider taking sodium tablets
to replenish your body’s salts. In countries
where drinking water isn't properly regulated, it
is advisable to stick to bottled or boiled water
and avoid tap water, water fountains and ice cubes.
Ask your travel company about the safety of drinking
water in the areas you'll be visiting.
Although malaria is certainly present in Africa,
if proper precautions are observed, the risks of
contracting this disease are minimal. However, if
you're traveling to an area where malaria is known
to be prevalent, you should plan on taking the following
Apply insect repellent to exposed skin - recommended
repellents contain 20%-35% DEET, and there are
a number of different brands on the market to choose
Wear long-sleeved clothing and long pants if
you're outdoors at night.
Avoid swimming in stagnant water.
Use a mosquito net if your tent or room isn't
screened or air-conditioned and spray insecticide
or burn a mosquito coil before going to bed.
Take the malaria tablets recommended for the
region you're traveling to, and keep taking them
until the course is complete.
If you do experience
flu-like symptoms either during, or within four
to six weeks after your visit to a malaria area,
visit a doctor immediately. More detailed information
on malaria may be found on the Web site for the
US CDC - Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
What is the risk of HIV/AIDS for safari travelers?
Although this disease is prevalent in Africa, you
will, in all likelihood, not come across any evidence
of it at all. Because AIDS is primarily a lifestyle
disease, there are only certain ways of contracting
it. If you are planning any sort of intimate contact,
always use condoms to reduce the risk of HIV infection
and other sexually transmitted diseases. In addition,
you should avoid handling strange animals, especially
monkeys, dogs and cats for any reason. In the unlikely
event that you are involved in an accident, the blood
in Africa is very well screened and several different
air evacuation services are available, such as the
Flying Doctor Service, Medjet Assist, and the Medivac
systems. Your travel insurance company can
provide further details.
Besides malaria, there are other insect-borne diseases
in Africa such as dengue, yellow fever and sleeping
sickness (transmitted by tsetse fly bite). However,
these are less common and using the same precautions
as you would against mosquito bites -specifically,
long-sleeved clothes and trousers, repellents and
mosquito nets - will help prevent them.
for Disease Control (CDC) lists the following
vaccines, which may be recommended for travel to
Southern Africa. Discuss your travel plans and personal
health with a health-care provider to determine which
vaccines you will need. You should see your doctor
at least 4-6 weeks before your trip to allow time
for them to take effect:
Hepatitis A or immune globulin (IG)
Finally, use common sense when it comes to food and
beverages. If you're unsure of their origin, don't
eat or drink them. However, general health problems
due to poor food preparation are most unlikely in the
high quality places at which people on safari typically
Hepatitis B if you might be exposed to blood
(for example, health-care workers), have sexual
contact with the local population, stay longer
than 6 months, or be exposed through medical treatment
Rabies, if you come into direct contact with
wild or domestic animals
Typhoid, particularly if you are visiting developing
Booster doses for tetanus-diphtheria, measles
and a one-time dose of polio vaccine for adults,
A yellow fever vaccination certificate may be
required for entry into certain African countries,
particularly if you are coming from a country in
tropical South America or elsewhere in Sub-Saharan
an African safari company, boasts an extremely
knowledgeable team of staff members, who are
passionate about every aspect of travel to Africa, including its wildlife and safari destinations.
When you're ready to plan your African safari,
a holiday in Africa, or if you just have questions,
please feel free to contact us toll free at 800-457-9575
or visit our web site at http://www.eyesonafrica.net/contactus.htm and
complete an information request form.
on Africa was selected most knowledgeable
Regional Expert for Southern Africa / Safaris by
National Geographic Traveler Magazine,
20th Anniversary Special Issue.