Practical Health Tips – Advice and Information for your Safari
Staying Healthy While on Safari in Uganda – It is all about Prevention and not getting sick on a Safari
Staying Healthy on Safari in Uganda – Here is How
Staying Healthy on Safari in Uganda – Here is how to stay healthy while on a Safari in Uganda. The last thing that you want is to become ill while on your African Dream Safari.
The good news is that most travelers on Safari arrive and leave in a healthy condition. Wellness on a safari is not the exception but the norm for most Safari-Goers and tourists. That despite the apprehensions they might have had prior to arriving in Uganda.
Yes, you can get sick on a safari, just like you can get ill at home or on a trip anywhere in this world. It is all about prevention, which is better than getting ill and in need of treatment.
Yes, Africa, including Uganda, has its share of strange illnesses and diseases. That however is often exaggerated and not the reality travelers encounter on a Safari in Uganda.
The English Philosopher Aldous Huxley said it best when he wrote, “To travel is to discover that everyone is wrong about other countries.”
How to Stay Healthy While on a Safari? It begins with “common sense.” We suggest that you do not leave home without it.
Uganda – a Safer Pandemic Destination in 2022
2020 was the year the world stood still. No one traveled. Much of the world was on a COVID-19 pandemic lockdown. Uganda was spared from harsh winds that blew across the globe.
What was feared and even predicted by some, such as Melissa Gates, never happened. Uganda was spared from the worst of the COVID-19 pandemic.
On April 13, 2022, only two COVID patients were hospitalized. Few test positive for COVID in Uganda. The country has been commended by organizations like WHO for holding down infection rates.
Uganda, at present, is the safest Pandemic Travel destination in East Africa. Hotels, lodges, and parks follow COVID protocols, and tour operators such as Kabiza Wilderness Safaris follow COVID protocols since your well-being is on our minds.
Uganda is safer because the Ugandans use AstraZeneca and not a Chinese, less effective vaccination like some other East African Countries.
No Tourists have gotten a case of COVID. This is according to local news reports. Tourist arrivals are increasing. We are receiving inquiries almost daily. That is a considerable change from 2020 and 2021.
How to Stay Healthy While on a Safari?
We strongly suggest that you know the risk factors on a safari as you plan your Safari. Read our advice below and become acquainted with what has worked for our past clients. Take preventative measures such as being vaccinated against yellow fever and seeing your doctor or visiting a travel clinic to receive a malaria prevention prescription.
The good news is that we have never had a client wind up in a local hospital due to an illness they contracted on Safari with us.
We did have a woman who stumbled and fell and re-injured her shoulder, which required an air evacuation with the reliable AMREF-Flying Doctors. You can read more about that service below. Today, all our clients on a safari are automatically covered on a Safari with us.
Beyond this page, you can obtain information from government agencies such as the CDC in the US or NHS in the UK.
We strongly suggest that you look and sign up for travel insurance. You will probably not use it, but you are covered in case of a medical emergency. We do not sell such insurance but give you advice that you can read. We do not sell Travel Insurance but have an advice page covering the topic.
Staying Healthy on Safari in Uganda by taking Preventative Measures
How to Stay Healthy While on a Safari? Find out by reading the information below that we have put together—data based on past clients who have had safaris without a health-related incident.
Vaccinations for your Safari:
Get them from a doctor familiar with the Tropics, such as one at a travel clinic. The County Health Department is the best place for immunizations such as Yellow Fever and others in the US.
A Yellow Fever Certificate is required for entrance into Uganda. A Yellow fever Certificate is necessary for Rwanda if you have visited another country where it exists. It is suggested to have to be on the safe side. Recent findings show that one Yellow Fever Vaccination will last a lifetime. Still, regulations have not been changed to keep up with research.
Pregnant Women and Young children are exempt. You must use DEET-based insect repellent or the Australian RID to protect against daytime mosquitoes that spread yellow fever.
Since 2017 a Yellow Fever Card must be presented to be allowed into Uganda, and there is simply no way around it for Adults.
Other immunizations to Consider:
- COVID-19 -there are no tests for vaccinated tourists
- Hepatitis A
- Hepatitis B vaccination is needed for longer trips and visiting children, such as in school.
- Tetanus Booster
- Rabies – no tourist has been bitten by a rabies-infected animal.
- Meningococcal Meningitis
- A Yellow Fever certificate is required for entry into Uganda.
Check with a well-informed doctor familiar with tropical diseases and follow the recommendations. Unfortunately, many family doctors have no clue what is needed, and Travel Clinics have a better understanding.
Fight the Bite – Prevent Insect Bites:
Bert McCoy made a statement that might make you think, ” If you stay long enough in paradise, you’re bound to get bitten by mosquitoes.”
Uganda was called paradise by Winston Churchill as he traveled through the country in 1907. You just might get bitten on a Safari. However, not every insect bite brings on malaria, yellow fever, or sleeping sickness.
You can prevent insect bites by taking simple steps to prevent them. You can fight the bite of mosquitoes and other insects such as tsetse flies, flies, and wasps on a safari. We have created pages for you to find all the necessary information on avoiding insect bites.
We also have a page on preventing rare Wasp Attacks. Wasp attacks can occur anywhere in the world including Uganda and your country.
Fight the Bite – Use RID Insect Repellent
We have found out from some Australian clients that the Australian RID Insect Repellent works best in preventing insect bites. It works with mosquitoes, including the pesky Tsetse Flies, horse flies, ants, and other insects.
Though we recommend RID, it is an unsolicited endorsement. Australians and New Zealanders can buy it in stores, and the rest of us must buy it online. Click on the RID link above for more information.
There are areas in Uganda where few mosquitoes, such as the Gorilla Highlands which include Bwindi Impenetrable Forest and Mgahinga Gorilla Park. There you will encounter flies but few if any mosquitoes.
The insects that bother you there are annoying flies but few mosquitoes. Yes, you might get bitten after all. “Everything in Africa bites, and the safari bug is worst of all.” ~Brian Jackman.
Wear protective and the right colored clothing on your Safari:
Staying Healthy on Safari Advice is wearing the proper protective clothing, shoes, and hat.
A gorilla or Chimpanzee Trek is not a walk in the park. You are in Equatorial Africa, but what you wear is not a fashion statement or day on a tropical beach but a rainforest jungle.
For example, taking the gorilla trek, shorts, or tank tops would expose you to nettles, thorns, shrubs, and annoying flies. The best antidote is wearing protective clothing.
Even on the Savannah, long-sleeved shirts, long trousers, hats, and boots are your best protection against the troublesome Tsetse Flies.
Wearing neutral clothing is also essential and avoid the color blue for shirts or tops. For example, on the Savannah, Tsetse flies are attracted by blue tops. The jeans are ok, but not a blue or another colorful shirt. Stay Well by Dressing right for your Safari and the activities you will be doing.
Don’t Drink Tap Water
Don’t drink tap water in Uganda or Rwanda. Consider tap water unsafe, do not even use it to brush your teeth, and avoid swallowing it while taking a shower. Bottled water is readily available, and major brands are considered safe.
Stay away from ice cubes – when ordering juice, ask if bottled or boiled water was used in making something like a passion-fruit juice drink. Coffee and tea- water is usually cooked and considered safe.
Do not buy plastic sacks of water from street vendors or small shops – it may be inexpensive, but you do not know how the water was handled. You do not need to bring things to treat the water; bottled water is readily available in various sizes and reasonably priced.
Rwenzori Water is what we recommend for you. It is the oldest bottled water brand and is available even in small shops.
The Coca-Cola company is part of Rwenzori Water and markets it here rather than their brand.
If you are on Safari with us, you will have unlimited bottled water for your Safari, including for primate tracking.
Most luxury and moderately priced lodges will have bottled water in your room.
Do not drink tap water at your hotel or lodge. Stick to Bottled Water- You will be glad that you did.
Avoid Idi Amin’s Revenge – Travelers Diarrhea:
Travelers’ Diarrhea is one of the common ailments that beset travelers. To avoid that problem for our clients, we use lodges with high hygienic standards.
We discourage eating food prepared by the roadside or street vendors. Contracting Idi Amin’s revenge (travelers’ Diarrhea) is avoided by eating adequately cooked food that is hot when it arrives at your table.
Stay away from raw food such as salads, ice cream, and ice cubes. Most safari lodges follow proper food handling practices in most instances, and you should be fine regarding salads. If you cannot peel it, do not eat it.
Buffets anywhere offer a breeding ground for travelers’ Diarrhea. Look at how things are heated. Small candles do not do the job, especially when sauces and curries are involved.
Avoid buying street food or food sold by roadside vendors. Often a westerner eating such tempting foods will come down with Idi Amin’s revenge or even typhoid, which Ugandans themselves come down with.
Buy some snacks at a Ugandan supermarket, such as dried fruit, raisins, nuts, and granola bars. We often have bananas in our vehicles for clients.
Bring some Imodium (though not recommended by many doctors) and Ciprofloxacin, wan antibiotic, and welp in extreme cases. Follow directions, including instructions for getting fluids back into your dehydrated systems.
Rarely have we seen our clients (once) come down with extreme cases that left them unable to go on with their Safari or travel-related itinerary. It is more common with ex-pats living here and throwing caution to the wind.
Above all, wash your hands before eating or use hand sanitizer. We have hand sanitizer in our vehicles for our clients.
Sunburns are easily acquired in Uganda or Rwanda’s equatorial sun, so get out the sunscreen lotion put it on thick, and repeat applying it while out. We suggest that you pack sunscreen lotion and bring it with you.
Wear a wide-brimmed hat, and it will protect your neck and face. You can even purchase one locally, and in many cases, you will find them where souvenirs are sold.
The broad-brimmed hat is critical if you are fair-skinned. It is not about style but protection.
If you are going on a boat ride on the Nile or Lake Victoria, Sunblock lotion is the key to avoiding getting burned.
It is not much fun having a portion of your body burning up with a sunburn. Prevent it, and with skin cancer on the increase, it is merely a wise move to do so.
Note: If you take doxycycline as an anti-malaria regimen, be aware that your skin will become sun-sensitive and need extra protection.
Scratches and Nicks – Prevent Infections:
Most scratches and nicks can be prevented by wearing protective clothing. Someone who is off to track gorillas should not be doing so in shorts and a tank-top – that is inviting trouble.
Tracking gorillas and chimpanzees, hikes in Uganda are often through the bush, thick forests where branches can easily scratch you. Some nettles can sting you, and insects biting you can lead to infections in our tropical climate.
The best prevention is to cover up with long trousers, long-sleeved shirts, hats, and in the case of gorilla tracking, even using gardening gloves.
Skin infections caused by scratches, nicks, and insect bites can easily cause discomfort and problems. Clean the wound, cut, scrape, and insect bite with the right antiseptic solution. That will prevent infection or further infection in most cases…to begin with, dress smart. Dress right for the African Wild.
We bring a first-aid kit for your Safari, and Band-Aids are available to cover minor cuts.
Bilharzia is a nasty ailment, and it is hard to diagnose the disease found in many lakes in Uganda and Rwanda – even at times in ponds that are so-called Bilharzia Free.
The disease is transmitted through tiny snails that penetrate the skin and find their way into the liver. Symptoms are fever, cough, and abdominal pain, and it is best to prevent it by following some steps.
Avoid bathing, swimming, and wading near a village on the lake – stay in the water for less than ten minutes. Dry your body thoroughly with a towel rubbing briskly. Swim early in the day rather than later. Cover yourself with insect repellent before swimming – it may offer some protection. It is also recommended when White-Water rafting on the Nile at Jinja in Uganda.
Best advice – swim in a pool instead of a lake or slow-moving river despite someone saying it is Bilharzia Free.
Do not take Bilharzia lightly. It can have dire consequences. None of our clients have contracted Bilharzia.
Dealing with a Wasp Attack on Safari:
Wasp attacks are a rarity but do happen. They were one-of-a-kind-eve as in 2018 when an American woman died of one during Gorilla Trekking in the Ruhija area of Bwindi Forest.
You can do things o help prevent such an attack and how you react if one should occur while you are on a Safari in Uganda.
We have created a special page with more information about what to do. How you dress is one of the most important things. Most visitors on Safari do not wear the protective clothing that they see Uganda Wildlife Authority Rangers wear.
Find the answer here: how to prevent a Wasp Attack or protect yourself during one.
Prevention is the best cure. To know about Wasps before trekking gets you prepared for sporadic attacks.
Uganda is Ebola Free
Ebola is in Africa. It has been found that almost half of the outbreaks are not recognized since they come and go in isolated areas. Uganda has been hit by Ebola 5 times, and in 2022 Uganda will be Ebola Free.
Each outbreak was contained faster than the previous one. When it comes to the Ebola response, Uganda is in a league.
Ebola has reared its ugly presence once in the eastern region of the Democratic Republic of Congo. The World Health organization has dispatched teams to aid in the fight against Ebola, and they are presently in detection mode.
If a new outbreak happens in Uganda, we will post it. Uganda’s Ministry of Health has assembled one of the best response teams to infectious diseases such as Ebola. The Minister of Health, Dr. Jane Ruth Aceng is highly respected for her past accomplishments with Ebola and in recent times with COVID-19.
Uganda remains Ebola Free in 2022
Travel Insurance – can be most helpful in times of Emergency:
It is something every Safari Traveler should have for that added protection. Unexpected things can happen, and things at home can also occur here. You may trip and fall, nothing to do with the Safari, it just happened, but now you need care.
We have had two medical evacs in our time. Both had to do with a client tripping, one in a bathroom. The other one stumbled, attempting to get out of the way of a vehicle. Both had adequate insurance.
We include emergency air evacuation with AMREF Flying Doctors. The best Air Evacuation service in East Africa.
We do not sell travel insurance but give you some guidelines on what to avoid and what to avoid.
In the light of the Covid Pandemic, it is pertinent that you have Travel insurance that covers you.
Safari Fitness for Gorilla Trekking:
Safaris in Uganda are out of the vehicle and on the Trail to see Mountain Gorillas or Chimpanzees. A moderate level of fitness is recommended.
We suggest you prepare for your gorilla trek by becoming fit before gorilla trekking, volcano, or the Rwenzori Mountains climb. It will make your time on a safari more enjoyable.
Being fit makes it easier for you as you trek the Gentle Giants of the Forest in Bwindi Impenetrable Forest or Mgahinga Gorilla Park.
Sedan chairs, where porters carry you in and out during your Gorilla Trek, are available. Since we will have to arrange that service before your tracking day, let us know.
For most, being moderately fit is adequate. You are assigned a gorilla group with your input, age, and fitness level. We suggest that you prepare yourself for the Gorilla Trek before arriving here.
Pack a First-Aid Kit:
First-Aid Kits come in all sizes and shapes. Pack the essentials. Below is a US Center for Disease Control Packing List that you can download. It goes beyond the First-Aid Kit and gives you choices about what to take.
Prescription – be sure to have a copy of them with you. Keep medication n original containers. Customs look at things and decide whether to investigate further. Uganda is being used as a transit point for drugs going to places far away as Europe.
Lodges usually have first aid kits and require plaster, not a Band-Aid. We have first-aid kits in vehicles.
Local Clinics are often available for a first response before going to a better hospital. First-Aid kits are rarely needed but are good to have.
We have First-Aid Kits in our vehicles. The driver guides have had first-aid training and know what to do. They also know where to take you in case of a problem on the Safari.
What about using CPAP machines?
If you have obstructive sleep apnea, you can still go on a safari in Uganda. Since most lodges and tented camps are off the power grid, there are power problems.
Most lodges have switched to solar power, which works well with low lighting. Some lodges use generators which would work. However, the generators are turned off from midnight to six in the morning. This is highly inconvenient for safari-goers who suffer from sleep apnea and has caused some to forego a Safari in Africa.
The solution is a portable CPAP machine with batteries that will take you through the night.
We are not medical experts. However, we have had quite a few clients suffering from sleep apnea who did just fine on their Safari because they came with a portable CPAP machine making their Safari possible. Such devices can be charged during the day at the front desk of lodges with charging stations.
Do I need Travel Insurance?
We highly recommend that you obtain a Travel insurance plan that covers you during these COVID-19 Pandemic times. We live in a time of uncertainty with the lingering pandemic, the war in Ukraine, inflation, and uncertain times. Good Travel Insurance will give you peace of mind. We do not sell Travel Insurance since that would be a conflict of interest, but we do offer suggestions that will help you select the right policy for you.
AMREF-Flying Doctors Medi-Vac Insurance:
If you choose to go on Safari with us, you are automatically covered by the AMREF-Flying Doctors Air-Evacuation medical evacuation plan. We have had one client since 2008 that needed to be medically evacuated; however, for your and our peace of mind, we want you to be protected.
In case of a medical emergency, you are airlifted to a quality hospital in Nairobi, Kenya, where you receive quality care according to international standards. The insurance we automatically include covers air evacuation only. Your Travel Insurance will cover the balance of treatment required.
Download your CDC Health Packing list
There is nothing like an exclusive Wellness Safari in Uganda with Kabiza Wilderness Safaris.
Unwind, Unplug, and regain your inner and outer balance on a Wellness Safari in the Pearl of Africa.
Stay at exclusive Luxury Lodges, many with an in-house Spa or other wellness programs.
Wellness Travel is on the increase worldwide. Wellness Safaris are new, and we are one of the only Ugandan Tour Operators that offer them.
Wellness Safaris are individually crafted to suit you and your wishes. We can include wellness challenges that push you to your limits or take the gentler safari route.
A Wellness Safari in Uganda, there is nothing that compares to it. Get well on Safari in the Pearl of Africa, Uganda.
We’ve got you covered on a Safari with us:
We know Uganda. We live and work here. We welcome visitors to the Pearl of Arica our home.
Your well-being while on Safari is our Foremost concern, and we want you to feel comfortable on Sa. We want you to feel safe and secure.
None of our clients have become ill on Safari in over a decade of being in Business, and we are doing our part to keep it that way. Use your common sense to obtain some travelers’ insurance before visiting Uganda on Safari. As our clients in the past, you will be pleased.
We strongly urge you to purchase Travel Insurance for your Safari Trip to Uganda. If you need the coverage, you will be glad to follow our advice.
We, in turn, include AMREF Flying Doctors air-evacuation insurance for all of our clients. It covers the air evacuation with a medical team to Nairobi, where your travel insurance takes over while receiving care at the renowned Aga Khan Hospital.
Places for Medical Emergency – Uganda
- The Surgery – 2 Acacia Avenue, Kololo. Tel: 0414256003. 24-Hour Emergency Service Tel: 0752756003, Ambulance Service. Tel: 0752 756003
- International Hospital: Down from Rest Corner in Muyenga up from Kabalagala and then toward Namuwongo. Everyone knows the International Hospital, Tel: 0312200400, Ambulance Service: 0772200400/1
- Sterling Dental Clinic: Located on Kampala Road in Bhatia House.