It is really important when planning an African Safari to prepare in advance for the vaccinations you will need. Many shots require a series, some as long as intervals of six months.
One of the issues to arise last summer in the greater Washington, DC area was a shortage of Yellow Fever Vaccine. While DC is unique, with a great deal of travelers going to and fro Africa, there is no guarantee your local medical provider will have a ready supply of the vaccine on hand.
Yellow Fever shot should be taken no less than 14 days before travel. And while many Customs Agents in East Africa have gotten slack about checking for the inoculation, you better believe when an outbreak occurs, they check. You do not want to end up in quarantine instead of being on Safari and taking pictures of the magnificent wildlife.
Anti-malarials are another aspect of travel medicine that has to be addressed before travel. Malerone™, the latest, greatest anti-malarial, must be started two days in advance of travel into a malaria zone.
In addition to vaccines and medicines, you also want to seek out the advice of a good travel doctor if you have any pre-existing conditions. And here I would seriously address if there are any food allergies or conditions.
While Kenya and Uganda in particular have exceptional hospitality industries, you need to prepare and plan ahead for such conditions as nut allergies or gluten intolerance. The more you plan, with your travel doctor and your Safari planner, the more enjoyable and safe your Safari will be.
I also highly recommend you seek the advice of your Organic Pharmacist (Herbalist). They should be able to direct you to the highest quality probiotics. I cannot emphasize enough how important it is before traveling to Africa to begin a good, healthy probiotic regime.
Especially if this is your first trip to Africa, your body will be introduced to organism’s your body may never have come encounter with. One of my assistants in South Sudan asked me “why do Expats seem to get so sick?” I pointed out that we had not grown-up in Africa and that there were bacteria and other organisms to which our bodies had not been accustomed, and therefore, had not yet developed the anti-bodies to fight them off. To be fair, I pointed out the same would be true if she came to the United States and was exposed to new bacteria.
Lastly, I want to note that while you must decide what is best for you and your family, it is your top priority and personal responsibility to stay healthy. So, for example, if you are “anti-vax” and decide to go ahead and try and “sneak in” a country without a Yellow Fever inoculation, you are free to do so.
But, please be aware, all Travel Insurance Companies, will not honor or refund your money if you are denied entry into a country because of the lack of inoculation. Again, you must make your own decisions about your health, but you must also be aware of the consequences of making those decisions.
Plan, prepare and engage in determining the best course to make sure you have a “Happy Day! Safe Safari!”
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