#1 | HEALTH & SAFETY
While traveling in Africa, your health and safety are paramount. Please notify Piper & Heath of any medical condition you may have prior to your arrival, including any allergies (e.g. bee stings, nuts, shellfish) or intolerances such as lactose or gluten.
If you have any specific dietary or religious (i.e. kosher or halal) requirements, please ensure that Piper & Heath is notified prior to arrival. We can accommodate most requests, but the lodges often need advance warning to do so.
It is critical you drink plenty of water, especially during the warmer months. It is generally recommended that you drink at least 2 to 3 quarts of water per day in order to avoid dehydration. Generally, water throughout southern and eastern Africa is safe to drink directly from the tap. Each property will let you know the status of their tap water and will provide bottled or filtered water where necessary.
SAFETY AROUND WILDLIFE
- Most of the safari camps are unfenced, and wildlife can (and does!) wander through the camps. Please follow the instructions and guidelines of your camp managers and guides. These safety precautions need to be taken seriously.
- Many of the animals you will see are potentially dangerous. Attacks by wild animals are rare, however, there are no guarantees that such incidents will not occur. Piper & Heath Travel and its subsidiary companies, their staff members, associates, agents, and/or their suppliers cannot be held liable for any injuries caused during an incident involving the behavior of wild animals.
- Observe animals silently and with a minimum of disturbance to their natural activities. Loud talking on game drives can frighten the animals away.
- Never attempt to attract an animal’s attention. Do not imitate animal sounds, clap your hands, pound the vehicle, or throw objects.
- Please respect your guide’s judgment about proximity to all creatures. Do not insist that he/she take the vehicle closer so you can get a better photograph. In addition to potential dangers, a vehicle driven too close can hinder a hunt and cause animals to abandon a hard-earned meal.
- Do not litter. Litter tossed on the ground is not only unsightly, but it can choke or poison wildlife.
- Never approach any wild animal while on foot nor attempt to feed the wildlife in any circumstances. This is especially important near lodges or in campsites where animals may have become accustomed to human visitors.
- Refrain from smoking on game drives. The dry African bush ignites very easily, and a flash fire is a real danger.
VALUABLES & CASH
It is sensible to take basic precautions while traveling anywhere in the world. Do not leave your bags unattended in airports. Do not put valuables or medication in checked luggage. Either keep your passports and valuables with you on game drives or use the safe in the rooms (where provided) or in the lodge main office. Do not allow strangers to assist you at an ATM.
In order to avoid these issues, we generally advise wearing bug repellent liberally and wearing long pants and sleeves. Many of these insects are limited to seasonal and geographic regions. The below information is not intended as medical advice and is meant to follow the advice of the CDC, of travel clinics, and of other medical practitioners.
- Malaria is transmitted by a very small percentage of female Anopheles mosquitoes. They are mainly active in the early evening and throughout the night. Malaria transmission is at its highest during the warmer and wetter months of November through to April. There is also less prevalence in remote areas where many camps are situated; nonetheless, you need to consider taking preventative measures. Speak with your doctor about using malaria prophylactics. Mosquitos are common throughout most of the world and the same is true for most safari destinations in Africa.
- Tsetse flies can have a sharp and stinging bite, as they have a long, defined biting proboscis. While on game drive or walks, be aware that they occur in wooded areas rather than out in grasslands or on the plains. Generally brushing the flies off your body once they have landed there is enough to prevent getting bitten. Infected tsetse bites can be treated by simply applying an antihistamine cream to the bite area. Tsets fly can be especially bothersome in parts of Zambia and Tanzania.
- Ticks occur the world over and are well known ecto-parasites. The most obvious species in the savannah regions of Africa are the “hard ticks” which attach themselves to their hosts to feed before they either fall or are brushed off. They are known as carriers of tick bite fever. Symptoms of this disease present after a 5 to 7 day incubation period and include fevers, headaches, malaise, and even a skin rash, however, effects can vary dramatically from person to person. A dark black mark usually results at the site of the infected bite and is a helpful diagnostic. The disease is easily treated with antibiotics although this is not always necessary.
- Yellow fever is a viral illness for which there is no cure is transmitted by a daytime biting mosquito. However, there is an effective vaccine that will prevent it. Proof of vaccination is required when visiting countries like Congo or Uganda. Most countries that do not have risk of yellow fever themselves require proof of vaccination when you are arriving from a country with risk of yellow fever. Pregnant women, HIV-positive, anyone undergoing chemotherapy or with a suppressed immune system are exempt from the vaccine requirement. You still need to go to a clinic/medical practitioner for a consultation and to be given an exemption certificate which will still allow you to travel without having had the injection.
COMMUNICATION IN THE CAMPS
Most camps have internet access. Sometimes wifi access is located in limited areas of the camps, for example, just the guest rooms or just in the main communal areas. If communication while in the most remote areas of Africa is essential to you, consider renting a satellite phone prior to your departure.