Safari Travel Advice

Safari Travel Health

Malaria

The main health risk you are likely to encounter when heading to Africa on safari is malaria. Malaria is a disease spread by mosquitoes to humans, bringing symptoms similar to a bad dose of flu. For more information, visit: cdc.gov/Malaria/about/faqs.

Luckily the risk of malaria is one you are able to manage by taking care, and the CDC advises:

  • Take antimalarial medication to kill the parasites and prevent becoming ill
  • Keeping mosquitoes from biting you, especially at night by sleeping under insecticide-treated bed nets, using insect repellent, and wearing long-sleeved clothing if out of doors at night.
Malaria on safari
 

Vaccinations

It is true that luxury safari lodges have incredibly high standards when it comes to health and hygiene, and you are likely to be drinking pure water and eating food out of sparkling kitchens. However, there are certain vaccinations you’ll want to have before heading to Africa to be on the safe side.

Book an appointment with your doctor at least 4 weeks before you travel to make sure that your routine vaccinations are up to date, and to advise you on any other vaccines required, such as typhoid, yellow fever and hepatitis A. Don’t just read online about what you think you might need – go and check because advice changes.

The list of routine vaccinations for those travelling to Africa is usually: measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccine, diphtheria-tetanus-pertussis vaccine, varicella (chickenpox) vaccine, polio vaccine, and ideally the yearly flu shot.

The list of extra vaccinations for those staying in high standard safari lodges is usually: Hepatitis A, typhoid and perhaps Yellow Fever if your host country requires you to have it. If you are likely to be going into villages, eating local food etc, or indeed if you are a frequent traveller to Africa, then you may also opt for a Hepatitis B and Rabies.

Check out the Centre for Disease Control and Prevention for up to date health travel advice.

It pays to think ahead and take out good insurance. The most helpful advice we give for people going on safari is to make sure you have emergency evacuation insurance. Most insurance policies cover you only from when you reach hospital, which is a big problem if there is no hospital for miles. You need to have the peace of mind that you’ll be quickly airlifted out of the bush and to hospital in an emergency.

Safari Safety

Going on safari carries different risks to going on a city break, but the risks are equally as manageable with some forward planning. The main difference is that you will be in a country which does not have the infrastructure you may be used to, and you will be in remote places which makes it harder to communicate and evacuate should problems arise. Added to which, you will be in the presence of wild animals which can pose a threat to safety.

Being in a remote area also has its advantages in terms of safety – you are rarely in a threatening human environment as you may find in cities, and indeed terrorism does not concern itself with rural areas with a low density of people.

On a luxury safari you will be looked after from start to finish by a team both within your country and on the ground in the country you visit. If you listen to what they ask of you then you have no need to fear. Should anything occur, you will have expert problem solvers with local knowledge working on your behalf at any time of day or night to solve the problem.

Tips for safe safari travelling

  1. Be aware of your government’s travel advice for the area you’re travelling to.
  2. Leave your jewelry at home! If you have to bring valuables, don’t display them.
  3. If you’re in a town or city, take extra care if you are out at night.
  4. Be respectful and obey the law to the letter, particularly if self-driving: a ‘stop’ sign means absolutely stop.
  5. Be respectful of the wildlife, it is really wild. Listen to your guide’s instructions and make sure your children can listen and obey too when it matters – or don’t bring them on safari.
  6. If you are self-driving in a wildlife area, stay in your vehicle.