Health on Safari

Posted on January 22nd, 2014 by Stephanie Hunt in Resources.

The health dangers in Africa can be overstated.  However, it is important that you are well informed and adequately protected before heading off on safari.  Here are some of the key things to consider.


Make sure you consult a specialist travel doctor 4-8 weeks before you travel.  Your doctor will ensure that your routine vaccinations are up to date and advise on other vaccines required.  Typically typhoid, Hepatitis A and B and Rabies will be recommended.

Yellow Fever is not considered a risk in most of the countries in East and Southern Africa.  However, proof of vaccine is required if you are travelling from a country where Yellow Fever occurs, sometimes even if you are only in transit.  Some countries, including Kenya and South Africa, require a vaccination certificate even for travellers from countries not known to have high risk of Yellow Fever.  In particular, South Africa requires vaccination certification for anyone arriving from Zambia.

Talk to us about the Yellow Fever vaccine and be sure to let your doctor know your entire itinerary.

For more information on recommended vaccinations by country see:

Public Health Agency of Canada

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention – USA



Malaria is always a concern in sub-Saharan Africa, particularly in the period from mid-February to the end of June and in the hottest regions (including Victoria Falls, Hwange National Park, Mana Pools, Okavango Delta, Zambia and the coastal regions of East Africa).

Consult your doctor about prophylactic drugs such as malarone or doxycycline for prevention.  Be aware that most of sub-Saharan Africa is now considered chloroquin resistant.

The Safari Camps and your guides will help with on the ground prevention, offering insecticides, mosquito nets and mosquito coils.  Use them!



A safari is going to take you to remote places.  If anything happens that requires more that basic first aid, it is likely you will need to be evacuated to Johannesburg in South Africa.  We strongly recommend that you have a travel insurance policy that covers this eventuality.

Click here for more information on recommended insurance while on Safari.


On Safari

Most vehicles and lodges carry a first aid kit, but we strongly recommend that you bring along a personal kit.  Consider including:  lip balm, anti-histamine tablets, sunscreen, water purifying tablets, pain killers, anti-diarrhea remedy, rehydration salts, Band-Aids, insect repellant, sterile dressings and antiseptic cream.

We’d like to mention insect repellant again.  Insects carry malaria and other diseases and the best way to avoid these diseases is not to get bitten.  We strongly recommend you use insect repellant at all times when on safari.  In the early morning and evening, when insects are more active, take extra care by wearing a long sleeved shirt and trousers.

Take care where you swim and always listen to the advice of your guides and camp staff.  Bilharzia, or river blindness, can be contracted by swimming in infested waters.  Naturally, you will also want to avoid encounters with crocodiles and hippos.