Advice Before I Go on a Safari in Africa…
“B ack in the 90s when I was a single backpacker I got sucked into one of these and ended up with several pot smoking Europeans which totally freaked me out as if the police had stopped the car I would have been in trouble too just for being in the car with them! Luckily nothing happened!”
I mentioned a couple of times in recent articles that I will be in Kenya within the next few weeks; and although I have been to Africa, I have never gone on any type of a safari in Africa — or anywhere, for that matter.
Conflicting information was found during my search; so I decided to reach out to Tara of Miles To The Wild for some advice. First, she imparted the experience of embarking on an independent safari in Tanzania which I quoted to begin this article.
Fortunately, I do not have to worry about that scenario happening to me.
Although I typically despise tours, rental car rates in Nairobi were approaching $100.00 per day with a limited amount of kilometers included; so for me, self-driving my own safari was not an option — especially as I was unsure as to where exactly to go to get the best views of wildlife.
Through the recommendation of Michael of Michael W Travels…, I found what appears to be the best safari within the timeframe when I will be in Kenya. Even though she was not familiar with the tour operator itself, Tara let me know that “the price does look very reasonable for 4 days and I like their booking interface and that they take credit cards. You don’t have much time to lock something in and you won’t be in NBO long enough to ferret out a deal backpacker style. There are touts that pester individual travelers who are wandering around streets with safari agencies but you can’t depend on the quality of the safari.”
Tara recommended that I probably needed a vaccination for yellow fever to return into the United States, if nothing else — although a representative of the tour company claims that “a yellow fever vaccination would be required for East Africa, and I would also highly recommend that you take Malaria pills.” An advantage is that the vaccination will be good for ten years; so if I travel to a part of the world in the future where yellow fever is considered a problem, I will be protected.
The cost for a yellow fever vaccination seems to be $170.00 plus $30.00 for the examination at one facility. Malaria pills are approximately eight dollars each. I will contact another facility and see what the costs are there.
“Yes you do need malaria pills,” said Tara, who uses Doxycycline with her husband in Australia, where they are based. “It’s the cheapest (in Australia) and also prevents other minor infections.” She also recommended that I wear long pants — not a problem, as I usually wear jeans and rarely wear shorts — and “bring a mozzie spray with DEET to avoid being bitten, not sure if dengue is an issue. My husband got both dengue & malaria in 2013 when we were in West Papua, he was in the hospital for a week, really sucked! He insisted on wearing shorts, well he doesn’t anymore!”
I remember taking chloroquine when I went to Africa; but I understand that there are many strains of malaria which are now resistant to chloroquine. I also was vaccinated with yellow fever, amongst other medications to prevent from getting sick while in Africa.
Although I did not suffer any after-effects from taking that medication, I do not like to take medication unless absolutely necessary. I constantly profess about how I rarely ever get sick by thoroughly washing my hands; but mosquitoes have been known to have a preference of me as their meal. I do remember when I was in West Africa — yes, not far from where the Ebola virus is currently rampant — in the countries of Senegal and Côte d’Ivoire; and I had been bitten by mosquitoes, of which I am glad I was properly vaccinated for malaria and other diseases such as yellow fever before I left the United States. Despite using lotions which are supposed to be resistant to mosquitoes and using burning mosquito coils, nothing helped — I was still bitten by them. I contracted no illness whatsoever after spending approximately three weeks there — not even digestive issues after drinking the water there. I slept in huts on burlap sacks for beds. I navigated walking through dense jungles. I traveled in bush taxis on bumpy dirt roads for at least 60 miles. I drank naturally fermented palm wine scooped right out of the open trunk of a dead palm tree which lay on the ground.
This article called Staying Safe & Healthy On Safari In South Africa – Videos was posted by Tara and brought to my attention in response to the recent articles I posted pertaining to an aggressive hippopotamus which nearly attacked a boat on a lake in Zambia and elephants attacking cars in Thailand. It contains good information if you plan to go to a national park in South Africa — which I just might do in late February or early March, as I am expected to travel to Johannesburg in late February.
Tara and her husband “are going to Khao Yai in a few months (April to be precise but I never post exact dates online pre-trip). Hopefully the ellies will have calmed down by then!”
I hope so as well, Tara; and thank you and Michael for your assistance. I appreciate it…
…and if you have any advice to impart to me — and yes, I intend to post reports of my trip to Kenya — please post it in the Comments section below. Thank you in advance.