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! Going on a safari adventure in Uganda promises an unforgettable experience filled with incredible primate and wildlife encounters and breathtaking natural beauty.
From the iconic gorillas of Bwindi Impenetrable Forest to the vast savannahs of Queen Elizabeth National Park, Uganda offers a diverse and captivating safari experience. However, amidst the excitement and awe, it is essential to prioritize your health and well-being to ensure a safe and enjoyable journey.
Below we provide practical health tips and advice to help you stay healthy during your safari in Uganda. By following these recommendations, you can minimize health risks, protect yourself from common ailments, and maximize your time exploring the country’s natural wonders.
By taking the time to understand potential health risks and implementing the recommended precautions, you can ensure a smooth and worry-free safari experience. From vaccinations and insect protection to safe food and water practices, each aspect is vital in safeguarding your well-being throughout your journey.
/for you to enjoy your safari experience, it is essential to prioritize your health and well-being. Take practical health tips and advice to help you stay healthy and safe during your safari in Uganda. We suggest staying healthy during an African Safari using your “ We recommend that you do not leave home without it. .”
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 understand what has worked for our past clients. Take preventative measures such as being vaccinated against yellow fever, 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 – a rabies-infected animal has bitten no tourist.
- 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 avoid 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; the rest 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 proper colored clothing on your Safari:
Staying Healthy on Safari Advice is wearing protective clothing, shoes, and a 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 a 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; 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 showering. Bottled water is readily available, and major brands are considered safe.
Avoid ice cubes – when ordering juice, ask if bottled or boiled water was used to make 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 available, even in small shops.
The Coca-Cola company is part of Rwenzori Water and markets it here rather than its 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. We use lodges with high hygienic standards to avoid that problem for our clients.
We discourage eating food prepared by the roadside or street vendors. Contracting Idi Amin’s revenge (travelers’ Diarrhea) is avoided by eating adequately cooked hot food at your table.
Avoid 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 work, 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 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.
In extreme cases, bring some Imodium (though not recommended by many doctors) and Ciprofloxacin, an antibiotic, and welp. 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; 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.
Sunblock lotion is the key to avoiding getting burned if you go on a boat ride on the Nile or Lake Victoria.
It is not much fun having a portion of your body burning up with a sunburn. Prevent it, and with increasing skin cancer, it is merely a wise move.
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; 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 enter 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 there 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 they 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 particular page with more information about what to do. How you dress is one of the most important things. Most visitors to Safari do not wear the protective clothing 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. You are knowing about Wasps before trekking gets you prepared for sporadic attacks.
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 guidelines on what to avoid and what to avoid.
In 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 are available where porters carry you in and out during your Gorilla Trek. Let us know since we must arrange that service before your tracking day.
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 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 drug transit point in 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 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 clubs 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 obtaining 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 offer suggestions to help you select the right policy.
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 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 common sense to obtain some traveler’s 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 coverage, you will gladly follow our advice.
We, in turn, include AMREF Flying Doctors’ air-evacuation insurance for all our clients. It covers 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.
Following the above practical health tips and advice can minimize health risks and ensure a safe and enjoyable safari experience in Uganda. Prioritize your health by taking necessary medical precautions, practicing good hygiene, protecting yourself from insects and the sun, and staying hydrated.
With proper preparation and care, you can fully immerse yourself in the wonders of Uganda’s wildlife and natural beauty while maintaining your well-being.