Discuss the recommended vaccinations with your physician – This should be done several months in advance!
Discuss prescriptions you desire, such as sleeping aids, antidiarrheal medicine, antibiotics for stomach, lung and general infections.
Find out what your personal / family health insurance does and does not cover
Obtain any over the counter medications that you need. Be aware that Benadryl is a controlled substance in Zambia
Prepare a personal first aid kit to take with you
Buy sunscreen and lip balm with sunscreen to pack with your toiletries
Ensure that you have an adequate supply of prescription medications in a bottle having the prescriptions label attached
Drink only bottled water, bottled soda, beer or water that has been boiled. This is especially important when in tented camps in remote areas.
Do not consume unpasteurized dairy products
Wash your hands often with purified or bottled water
Do not handle animals, including feral cats, dogs and monkeys ( Rabies and plague are transmitted through animal bites and scratches)
Take malaria medicine prescribed by your physician if traveling in a malaria area. This medicine must be taken according to the directions and should start before your travel into the malarial area and continue for the recommended time after you have exited the malarial area.
Protect yourself from insects using DEET based insect repellents containing 30-40% DEET. Children should be limited to a repellent containing 8-12% DEET
Do not wade in fresh water due to Bilharzia (schistosomiasis) Chlorinated swimming pools are generally safe
DO NOT have unprotected sex while in Africa! Two-thirds of the worlds’ HIV infections occur within sub-Saharan Africa.
Pay close attention to any cuts, wounds, blisters etc. Clean and treat any wounds with triple antibiotic ointment!
Do not go barefoot to help prevent parasitic and fungal infections
Avoid foods purchased from roadside vendors
Eat only thoroughly cooked foods. Only eat vegetables or fruits that have been washed in safe water or that you have peeled yourself
As for drinking water concerns, if you are staying in an outfitter’s main lodge, ask them about the safety and quality of their water supply. They live and work there year round, so they will know what precautions to take. In remote camps, caution is the best preventive. Montezuma is a long way from Africa, but he visits often!
South Africa has first world medical care. There are basically two systems. One system serves those citizens that have health insurance or adequate financial resources to pay for first class health care services. The other system is government supported and offers a much lower and less expensive level of care. I have had to use the healthcare system in South Africa several times and found that the doctors and facilities that I was taken to by my Professional Hunters to be first rate with a similar level of care to that found in the US. Costs for both prescriptions and services in South Africa seemed to be about ½ to 2/3 of the costs for those same items in the US.
If you are traveling or hunting in any other African country, only the big cities may have hospitals that offer services that are commonly found in the US. On more remote hunts, you may be several hours by charter flight from critical emergency care. For anything serious, you want to get to a first rate hospital in Johannesburg, South Africa, if at all possible. That is why you should have a Medical Evacuation policy such as those offered by Global Rescue. They will come get you and take you to receive the proper care!
Hepatitis A & B vaccinations (Good for 10 years)
Typhoid Vaccination (Good for two years)
Booster doses for Tetanus-Diptheria
Rabies vaccination if you are exposed to wild animals through recreation or work
Polio vaccination (once in a lifetime)
In addition to the recommendations for Southern Africa, if you will be traveling to countries above Namibia, Botswana, Zimbabwe or Mozambique, the CDC recommends that you take the following additional precautions:
Yellow Fever Vaccinations
Meningitis Vaccine (if traveling to the Western half of Ethiopia December through June)
Benadryl (controlled substance in Zambia )
Dramamine ( if prone to air or motion sickness)
Triple Antibiotic Ointment
Lip Balm with Sunscreen
Bandaids (large and small)
Moleskin (for blisters)
Matches or Lighter
Remember, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure! Use your common sense and stay safe!