So you are planning to go on an African Safari? You have made your reservation with a reputed travel company and ready to go in a few days. Did you plan to take care of your health in Africa? We all know that the continent is the home for mosquitoes, tsetse flies and various other kind of insects. It is mandatory to know about precautions to be taken before embarking upon your safari trip as prevention is always better than cure.
While certain destinations in Africa claim to be malaria free during particular seasons like Masai Mara, Addo Elephant National Park, Etosha National Park; it is definitely not advisable to travel without knowing about certain precautionary measures. This guide lists all the essential healthcare tips for you so that you can concentrate and spend your energy on enjoying your trip and not fretting and fuming over health concerns.
It is a must to consult a learned health care practitioner, at least 4 weeks before you travel, who specialises in travel health. The doctor will take care of all your regular vaccinations as well as other vaccines which you might need before you travel to Africa like ones for yellow fever, typhoid, diarrhoea, hepatitis A & B and even rabies.
It is a known fact that in major regions of Africa malaria is prevalent. You can talk to your doctor and he/she will give you prophylactic drugs for prevention. Always carry a mosquito repellent and pack full sleeved shirts along with pants. Your travel organization will also give you mosquito nets and coils.
Gain Knowledge of Common African Diseases
This is advisable as if you feel sick you can easily identify your symptoms and run the course of treatment early and effectively. A proper first-aid kit consisting of a good stock of local medicines along with basic ones like pain-killers, motion-sickness pills, insect-bite creams, antiseptic and antibiotic ointments, bandages and plasters will be highly beneficial.
Hand Sanitizers & Wet Wipes
Hand sanitizer and wet wipes are also needed to clean your hands as well as wipe your face clean in areas where clean water is not available and there is no option to wash your hands.
Drink Quality Bottled Water & Stay Hydrated
Don’t drink water from taps. When you are buying a water bottle make sure that it is no refilled. You will hear the seal crack once you open the bottle cap. This is very essential as most street vendors refill water bottles with tap water to save money and make more profit. Stay hydrated during the entire trip. Coconut water is a great source of electrolytes and is the best substitute if you don’t have oral rehydration powder. It is also recommended to carry water purification pills with you to purify water. Avoid ice at all costs.
In Africa sun shines all year-long. Since you will be out in sun most of your time it is definitely advisable to carry a sun screen with high sun protective factor to protect yourself from sun burns. Try to avoid sun at the hottest hours of the day, mostly at noon (11:00 AM – 04:00 PM). Wearing a hat with UV protection and a good sun-block is a must if you need to go out during these hours.
Make sure that you are not eating street food. Eating salads, peeled fruits and peeled uncooked vegetables must be avoided at all costs. Food which is hot and freshly cooked should be your preference. The best tip is to order food from a restaurant which is really busy as it will be having a high food utilization rate.
- Essential Things to be Packed
- Tea Tree Oil: A natural antiseptic.
- China Balm or Tiger Balm: Great for headache, stuffy nose, tired muscles and joint pains.
- Algae Pills: Also known as ‘Super Food’ they are rich in Iron and simple proteins.
- B-complex Pills: Takes care of overall health by supplying the essential B Vitamins.
- Ginger for stomach related issues.
You must get a comprehensive travel insurance, if the unthinkable or the worst happens and you need immediate medical attention. A travel insurance in these rare cases will come in handy. Make sure that the travel insurance which you are purchasing covers every activity which you plan to do.
Last but not the least carry comfortable and well-fitting shoes with you as you will be walking a lot. Carrying an extra pair of shoes is must. When you find some time you can remove your shoes to give breathing time to your feet.
All the above mentioned things seem pretty simple but they will go a long way in ensuring that your safari trip to Africa gives you infinite memories, mesmerizing moments and a good experience to cherish.