Participation on a safari requires that you be in generally good health. All guests must understand that while a high level of fitness is not required, a measure of physical activity is involved in all African Safaris. It is essential that persons with any medical problems and/or related dietary restrictions make them known to us well before departure.
You must seek medical advice from your doctor or a travel clinic before you depart on your safari. It is important to plan ahead as you may need vaccinations.
Malaria is one of the greatest potential health risks in Tanzania and antimalarial drugs are recommended. The antimalarial drug named Malarone may be the best choice and it should be strongly considered as opposed to other types of antimalarial drugs – consult your doctor or travel clinic. Other antimalarial drugs include Larium and Doxycycline.
Whether or not you are taking antimalarial drugs, it is important to protect yourself from mosquito bites from dusk till dawn. This is when the type of mosquito whose bite transmits malaria is active. Precautionary measures include using DEET based insect repellant, covering up before dusk and wearing long sleeved shirts, trousers, socks and shoes in the evenings. You should certainly cover up and use insect repellant before going to dinner each evening. Pay particular attention to your ankles and legs as mosquitoes, if present, tend to hover at ankle level.
Travelers should be informed that regardless of the methods employed (antimalarial pills, other protective measures, etc.), malaria still might be contracted. The Northern Parks and Reserves of Tanzania are not particularly high risk areas, however, it certainly does exist. Malaria does not pose a significant risk above 5,900 feet. The Ngorongoro Crater (altitude of 7,500 – 8,000 feet) is Malaria free and there are few mosquitoes in most regions of the Serengeti (altitude of 5,000 – 6,000 feet). There is a higher risk of Malaria on Zanzibar and other low-lying regions in Tanzania. Malaria symptoms can develop as early as about a week after initial exposure in a malaria-infested area and as long as 1 year after departure from an area, after preventative medication has been completed. Travelers should understand that malaria can be treated effectively early in the course of the disease, but delay of therapy can have serious or even fatal consequences. Individuals who have symptoms of malaria should seek prompt evaluation as soon as possible.
All vaccinations are completely voluntary and there are no vaccination requirements for entry into Tanzania, Kenya, Uganda or Zanzibar. A yellow fever vaccination or certificate is ¬not required for entry and has not been required since the regulation was removed in the mid 1990s. Some vaccination recommendations to discuss with your doctor or travel clinic are as follows:
- Hepatitis A
- Yellow fever
- As needed, booster doses for tetanus-diphtheria and a one-time dose of polio vaccine
- Antimalarial drugs
- Broad-spectrum antibiotic (i.e. Cipro) - be sure to know if any of your antibiotics will cause hypersensitivity to the sun
- Diarrhea medicine, both over the counter (brand name Imodium) and prescription as per your doctor’s recommendations
Infant, children and pregnant women require special consideration – consult your doctor.
When you pack, make certain that you have all your medications in your carry-on luggage.
Below is a listing of healthy ‘To Do’s’:
- Wash hands often with soap and water
- Use hand wipes, waterless anti-bacterial gel frequently
- Drink plenty of bottled water
- Protect yourself from mosquito bites and from sun burns
- To prevent fungal and parasitic infections, keep feet clean and dry, and do not go barefoot
Stomach upsets are the most common traveler’s complaint. They range from mild discomfort to diarrhea. The vast majorities are harmless and quickly pass. Some digestive upset is probably inevitable for most people. Simple things like a change of water, food or climate can all cause a minor bout of diarrhea. When diarrhea occurs, there are basically two things you can do, stop it with drugs or let it run its course. The most common over the counter drug is Imodium. Your doctor may prescribe another drug for bacterial diarrhea. Some doctors argue that diarrhea is nature’s way of ridding the system of harmful poisons and therefore should not be stopped prematurely. You should consult your doctor on whether, and under what conditions you should take diarrhea medicine. Dehydration is the main danger with any diarrhea, as dehydration can occur quite quickly. Under all circumstances fluid replacement (at least equal to the volume being lost) is the most important thing to remember. Urine is the best guide to the adequacy of replacement – if you have small amounts of concentrated urine, you need to drink more. Drink plenty of water if you have diarrhea and stick to a bland diet as you recover.
Water on Safari
Drink plenty of bottled water while you are on safari and on the long international flight. Dehydration is one of the biggest causes of travel fatigue and jet lag. Most major airlines allow you to carry on your own fluids. You should not drink any other water (tap, etc.) other than bottled water. You should not even brush your teeth with water from the tap. There is unlimited bottled water stocked in your private vehicle for your consumption and there are usually several free bottles of water in your room at each lodge and camp. Additionally, bottled water is available at all the lodges and camps for purchase. Please note that ice cubes and fruits and vegetables at all of our recommended lodges and camps are prepared using purified water and are safe for consumption.