Is my health and safety at risk travelling in Africa?

Africa derives a significant portion of its foreign revenue from tourism, so it is in both the private companies’ and government’s interests to keep visitors safe in their countries. Regardless, Safari365 strongly advises that you take out the correct comprehensive travel and medical insurance to cover yourself against all eventualities and circumstances. Trip insurance should cover you for events that may occur before, or during travel; such as trip cancellation, lost or stolen baggage, emergency evacuation, medical expenses and emergency cash transfer. 

Health

Malaria is a widespread risk throughout Africa, therefore it is important to consult with your medical practitioner or travel clinic three months before departure or as soon as your holiday has been booked. If you’re heading to malaria-endemic regions, the prophylactic regime should be taken without missing doses. The less common insect-borne diseases that you may encounter are sleeping sickness, tick bite fever and dengue. Precautionary measures for all of these include wearing long-sleeved clothing and using insect repellent – most camps and lodges supply insect repellents and are equipped with mosquito nets.

There is no risk of yellow fever in Southern Africa, but as it is contagious, a yellow fever vaccination certificate is required for entry into certain African countries. This may be obtained from the travel clinic where you received the Yellow Fever Vaccination.

HIV is prevalent in Africa, so always use precautions to reduce the risk of this and other sexually transmitted diseases. 

Wildlife

We only recommend lodges with qualified and trained guides who will accompany you on safari – these guides are armed with an in-depth understanding of wildlife behaviour and will avoid situations that could be potentially dangerous. Always remember that the animals you encounter are wild and in their natural habitat, and that you should never get out of the vehicle without the permission of your guide. Follow the instructions of your guide at all times, and stay aware of your surroundings. Within your camps too, you may come across a variety of wild animals (most camps are unfenced and within the natural habitat of free-roaming wildlife) so adhere to the advice and instructions given by your guides. 

Weather

Daytime temperatures in Africa can be extreme, so adequate sun protection and a hat is essential. It is also important that you drink plenty of water while on safari to limit the effects of dehydration.

Crime

Most safaris take place in remote areas, away from villages, towns and cities, and so the risk of crime for visitors travelling to tourist destinations is generally low. Transfers (by road or air) between airports, hotels and lodges are executed by reputable companies or the properties themselves, and so you will not be left unattended at any time during your safari, meaning your chances of encountering problems is minimal. However, no country is 100% safe and it is wise to take precautions when travelling and to let common sense prevail. When in towns and cities, do not carry large amounts of cash in your pocket or wear flashy or expensive jewellery. This should be placed in a safety box at your lodge/camp or preferably left at home. Never leave your baggage unattended at the airport and don’t walk around in deserted suburbs, especially after dark.

If you are self-driving it is important to lock your doors and keep windows as far up as possible. Plan your route ahead of time and always have clear maps on hand. Do not leave your handbag in view – rather keep it locked in the boot of your vehicle.

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