Health Notices for Travelling in Africa

Drive along Table Mountain in Cape Town.
The information contained on this page is meant to serve as a guideline and in no way should it be construed to be more than such. Apart from Malaria - it refers only to general precautions.

If you have any doubts whatsoever regarding your own personal physical condition or medical history - you are advised to consult your physician prior to embarking on a journey.

Required inoculations:

Hepatitis A and cholera for Zimbabwe, Zambia and Botswana. If you've travelled from another country where Yellow Fever occurs then you may be required to produce an International Certificate of Vaccination when entering Zimbabwe, Zambia, Botswana and South Africa.

(Yellow fever occurs in the north west of Zambia - some of our featured safaris are run through this area.)

Yellow Fever, Cholera and other Inoculations/Vaccinations:

Travellers should check with their doctor, district surgeon or pharmacist for the current inoculation requirements and documentation for the countries that will be visited.

A trip fact sheets with more details will be e-mailed or faxed to you at the time of your booking. Doctors or pharmacists will also advise on hepatitis vaccinations and immune system boosters.

Please note that should border control requirements vary, Siyabona Africa CC does not take responsibility for any person being denied access to any country, in the event that that person has failed to comply with that country's health restrictions.

Sunburn:

African sun even during winter from (May to July) is harsh. The greatest risk of serious sunburn is on water, for example on beaches, river canoe safaris, white water rafting and swimming. Otherwise, walking safaris and desert or open savannah treks where prolonged exposure to the sun will occur a hat, sunblock cream and sunglasses, are neccessary requirements if you want to enjoy your trip. Aside from the long term risks of skin cancer, a bad sunburn could spoil a safari.

Diarrhoea:

This is a common problem when traveling in Africa. There have been some extreme recommendations that bottled mineral water should be used to wash salads. However very salted water will kill just about anything - and boiled water will kill any thing else.

The reality is that food preparation and presentation on all out bound vehicles is good and all vehicles carry their own water. Many of the remote camps provide fare comparable to a reasonable city restaurant while some are rated as better than a few well known hotels in Europe or North America. Be sensible about what you eat and drink, that is not provided by the operator, and bring suitable medication in case.

First Aid:

All vehicles are equipped with a basic first aid kit, which is available to travellers in emergencies. We ask travellers making use of such supplies to replenish them as soon as possible.

Medical services:

Even the remotest camps are reasonably well geared to handle minor mishaps in terms of first aid practitioners, trauma kits etc. In the event of a serious accident, Johannesburg and Cape Town in South Africa, Nairobi in Kenya, Dar es Salaam in Tanzania, Windhoek and Swakopmund in Namibia are the only real options for immediate high care evacuation in Africa.

Personal Medication:

Should travellers have any particular ailments requiring specialised medication, they should ensure that sufficient stocks are carried by them, on the expedition, and not expect to purchase them along the way. Although if travellers are carrying prescription medicine, they must carry a copy of the prescription with them.

We try as far as possible to accommodate any special requests with regard to the carrying of these medicines, but will not be held responsible for the damage or loss thereof, should this occur.

Travellers should advise the road crew members of any particular health conditions, e.g. diabetes / epilepsy, and any treatment or actions that may be required in the event of an emergency. This information will be treated confidentially.

Suggested contents of personal first aid kit (please confirm with doctor or pharmacist):
  • Plasters and bandages
  • antiseptic cream (e.g. Betadine)
  • headache tablets
  • anti-diarrhoea (e.g. Immodium)
  • dehydration salts
  • tablets for stomach cramps
  • mild antibiotics for colds and skin irritations (check with pharmacist)
  • Deep Heat
  • personal prescription medication with prescription.

Malaria

Many areas within the African continent carry the risk of Malaria. This avoidable disease can be fatal and should be taken very seriously!

Precautions against infection must be taken, and it is essential that travellers consult their doctor or pharmacist for advice on the most effective prophylactic drug for the areas that will be visited. It is also recommended that precautions be taken against being bitten by mosquitoes, for example use of an effective repellent as well as wearing of suitable clothing in the evenings. Expedition Tents are fitted with mosquito netting over the windows, but the traveller is not absolved from taking due precautions.

Precautionary measures need to be implemented approximately 14 days before entering a Malaria zone.It is a well-known fact that Malaria is one of the most serious and common tropical diseases in the world. However, there is no reason why this disease should deter you from coming to Africa if the necessary precautions are taken. Please note that if precautions are not taken and / or if the disease is not diagnosed and treated early, Malaria is potentially fatal.

Prophylactic measures to prevent malaria:

It is most important to note that no preventative measures are 100% safe. Should flu-like symptoms and signs of Malaria like body pain, headache and fever develop 7 to 20 days or longer after visiting a Malaria area, daily testing for Malaria should be performed until you are better or another definite diagnosis is made.The most important and most effective way of preventing Malaria is firstly to prevent mosquito bites. The following preventative measures can be taken:
  • Cover your arms and legs towards evenings with light coloured clothing to cover exposed skin areas and especially the ankles. Wear long sleeved shirts, long trousers, socks and closed shoes.
  • Apply insect repellents to exposed skin areas every 4-6 hours.
  • Burn insecticide coils or electrically heated insecticide tablets in the bedroom at night.
  • Spray knock-down insecticide for flying insects inside the bedroom in the early evening with windows / doors closed.
  • Screened mosquito proof windows and doors and mosquito nets guard against mosquito bites.
  • Another way of preventing Malaria is to take additional preventative drugs when visiting an endemic Malaria area, especially in the warm and rainy months from October to May.

Medication:

The preventative medication of choice for visitors to the Kruger National Park and surrounding areas is a combination of Chloroquin and Paludrine.

Chloroquin is taken on a weekly basis and Paludrine daily. The first dose of Chloroquine should be taken a week before entering a Malaria area to see if there are no serious side effects. Paludrine can be taken 2 days before entering the Malaria area. It is important to continue to take the medication during your stay and for four weeks after leaving the Malaria area. It is advisable to take the medication at night with food to reduce side effects like nausea.

Melfloquin is an alternative to the Chloroquin / Paludrine combination and it is the drug of choice when visiting other areas such as Zimbabwe and Mozambique if there are no contraindications for using Mefloquin.

If the Chloroquine / Paludrine combination or Mefloquin cannot be used Doxycycline on a once daily basis can be taken after meals as a preventative drug. Please contact your general practitioner or chemist for the correct dosage according to age and weight. Discuss if any of the medications are contraindicated (i.e., in infants, young children, pregnancy, patients with psoriasis, porphyria or epilepsy).

Malaria in pregnancy, infants, small children and other special cases:

Despite the fact that the South African National Department of Health recommends that pregnant women should preferably not visit a Malaria area, many pregnant women do visit a Malaria area and even live in the Kruger National Park.

Extra care for preventing mosquito bites should be taken as Malaria in pregnancy holds an increase in risk for both mother and child. It is safe to use Chloroquin and Paludrine in pregnancy, even in the first three months of pregnancy.

Mefloquin and Doxycycline must not be used in pregnancy, because Malaria has a faster and harsher effect in infants and small children, extra care should be taken to prevent mosquito bites.

Take chloroquin syrup weekly and paludrine tablets daily in dosages according to age and weight - the appropriate dosage can be obtained from your general practitioner or chemist. Drug transfer in breast milk is insignificant and infants require full preventative medication.

It is important to take the medication during and for four weeks after leaving the Malaria area.\The following people should, if possible avoid visiting Malaria areas - or should take extra care in preventing mosquito bites:
  • Cancer patients on chemotherapy
  • Persons on long term steroid therapy
  • Persons whose spleen have been removed
  • Persons with full blown Aids - it is not recommended for an HIV positive person to visit a Malaria area.
  • People suffering from porphyria must not use Doxycycline. In this case, the combination of Chloroquin and Paludrine is probably safe to use.
  • The safety of Mefloquine in porphyria has not been established. People with epilepsy should take care when using Chloroquin. Mefloquin is contraindicated in epilepsy.
  • Pilots and mountaineers should not take Mefloquin as it could impair balance.

Malaria symptoms:

If you develop influenza-like symptoms, such as body pains, headache and fever, 7 to 20 days after visiting a Malaria area, you must have your doctor test you for Malaria immediately.This Information is provided to help you stay alive. Please do take care!

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