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leopard damage!leopard damage!Zambia - Health and Travel tips


Your major health concerns when traveling to and hunting in Zambia are the things that you cannot see or feel. Sure the Black Mamba is your worst nightmare yet most of the time they fear you instead and clear off. With a charging Buffalo you can at least shoot or climb a tree BUT with things like Malaria, hepatitis and TB, you cannot be too careful.

Of course you need to be on Malaria preventatives and these days there are better drugs on the market than the most talked about one, Lariam. Seriously, most US clinics and doctors recommend Lariam because it is believed to be the only drug that is effective against all strains of Malaria and it is cheaper. While this may be true it is also the one that causes the most adverse reactions in people, especially when out of their comfort zone. People have had to cancel their safaris to Africa sometimes because of the side effects. If you can avoid using Lariam do so it is worth it.

Bilharzia - is prevalent throughout Africa and the general rule is do not expose yourself to untreated water anywhere in the country. Bilharzia is however easily treated and does not pose an immediate threat to personal health. This does not mean you should shy away from all water sources, your PH may think you are really soft when you refuse to wade across the crocodile infested river!

Zambia, as with many other countries south of the equator, requires that you have  a Yellow Fever vaccination to enter the country. In fact to travel through Johannesburg, Yellow Fever is a must as they will decline entry if you do not have this certificate. Other immunizations to get are Hepatitis-A, Tetanus and Typhoid, just the plain common sense ones.

It is quite easy to pick up ticks when walking in long grass especially early on in the hunting season. The regular sized cattle ticks are OK, at least you can see them, it is the small 'pepper' sized ticks that could transfer tick bite fever. Make sure you check yourself ALL OVER (!) when you bath each night as they are tiny and very difficult to see. DEET on your clothes and legs usually does the trick.

Nobody likes snakes, they have been symbols of evil and danger throughout history and in Africa it is no different. Most snakes, if found are killed without even considering if they are dangerous or not. Zambia has its fair share of BAD snakes and many people are bitten each year mainly through their own ignorance. Of the 131 snake species which occur in southern Africa, 14 can cause death if they bite you and a further 18 carry venom which can lead to serious complications. HOWEVER it is very rare to ever be confronted by a dangerous snake let alone see one while you are hunting.

Pack these items for your trip: your own regular medication, malaria prophylactics, tick repellent (DEET), mosquito repellent creams and sprays, sun block and sunburn cream, diahhorea tablets, plaster for blisters and sore feet, general pain killers, antacid, anti-histamines, anti-inflammatory and anti-allergic tablets (e.g. Phenergan). Eye-drops are useful in the dry season. If you do carry prescribed medicines, it is advisable to bring a copy of your doctor's prescription for the drug.

Medical facilities in Zambia are very limited, especially out where you will be hunting. Government facilities in rural areas are inadequate at the best of times and safari operators generally cannot handle major medical emergencies. As with any travels to Africa, it is important to check your own medical insurance policies and purchase medical evacuation coverage. Also remember that your insurance coverage will most likely not apply and that you'll need to pay cash for most medical treatment and then claim from your insurer on your return home.