See all Safaritalk Special Offers

Sign in to follow this  
Followers 0
Game Warden

How do you deal with being sick on safari?

14 posts in this topic

Sat, (rather reclining) here at the HQ with flu makes me wonder how you deal with being sick on safari. (Bumpy aircraft rides aside...) It always worries me, going on holiday, and more so, a safari, to think I'll be under the weather and a few days of flu or other illness could really dent your enjoyment. Have you suffered on safari to the extent where you haven't been well enough to go on game drives, get to the mess tent and have had to stay in bed? If so, what have been your experiences with how you were treated by lodge/camp staff?

 

Let us know your thoughts.

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I hope your flu episode passes soon. Falling ill on safari is one of those things I dread, but prepare for as best I can. I carry quite a lot of medical supplies for things that you can easily contract such as a variety of antibiotics for lung, ear, throat infections, stomach infections, for example. I use eucalyptus nasal sprays for the flight into the safari which I've found makes a huge difference by keeping the nose from getting dry and killing any inhaled germs. I'm not so conscious of this on flights that aren't on the way to a safari and I've notice a big change in what sort of sniffles I catch on the flight.

 

Beyond that, I pray that I'm not harbouring a virus from home that develops a day or two into the safari.

 

I haven't missed safari time, but I've spent a few midday hours lying down feeling like I'm dying!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hope you feel better soon.

 

Gargle with salt water as both remedy for sore throat, colds, fever and prevention.

At the first sign of illness, I dissolve a package of Emergencee powder in my water.

Like @@twaffle, I bring a small pharmacy just in case. I almost always bring the pharmacy back home.

Evacuation insurance for the big stuff.

 

I like that eucalyptus nasal spray idea.

1 person likes this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted (edited)

When I was at Namiri Plains, something weird happened (in hindsight it's the best thing that ever happened to me) ........ I was photographing a Mother cheetah and her cubs from the front seat sitting next to the guide and we were parked at an odd angle where I needed to rotate to my left to photograph (not the guide's fault - that was the only spot possible). Anyways, I was so caught up in the moment .......... that I stuck to the same position for a very long time. What happens next? My entire left side shoulder all the way down to my hips were really in pain. Pain only got worse ....... Got further stiff from the game drives. Mark and his team at Namiri were all very helpful in getting me whatever helped - ice pack etc etc., My friends and family did help me hobble back home from the safari - helping me with the camera case etc etc.,

 

It took me about 3 weeks of rehab when I got home. Subsequently, I started a new work out program to help with core strength (Thank You Shaun T) that's helped me in many ways ..........

 

GW - get well soon!!!

Edited by madaboutcheetah
2 people like this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

you can end up with a cold from being in an exposed vehicle

 

continue game viewing

 

take honey and lemon drinks, add ginger if they have it plus cold and flu tablets

 

I travel with my own jar of strong herbal cure AKA garlic

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Had malaria once at a lodge in Namibia. Which was actually very fortunate as it was the only lodge stay in a sea of camping. Fortunately we always carry malaria drugs, so I could treat myself. The lodge (Wilderness owned) were absolutely great. As usual it was three days in bed, diet of water and toasted cheese sandwiches. The staff were really, really helpful. Kulala Camp.

With malaria you cannot go on game drives!

 

Most guests that end up being sick have in our experience (ranked in order of most common):

- dehydration

- upset stomach due to change in diet

 

I cannot stress the 1st one enough. In fact I should probably start making Kaingu branded oral rehydration mixture....

3 people like this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

My solution is simple, I take a strong can of Man the F**K up!

 

I think that @@KaingU Lodge is correct, the most common I have noticed is related to dehyration/sun stroke. This leads to similar symtoms as other illnesses. I always take rehydration packs, and one a day sorts me out me out fine. Keeps my energy levels up with all the salts etc being replenished.

2 people like this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I always carry rehydration sachets and anti gut-spasm tablets plus the usual over the counter pain meds.

 

Thus far that has been sufficient.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I too carry medication: rehydration salts, antihistermines, pain relief etc etc. I also try to drink lots of water. Much more than normal.

I have only felit too ill to curtail activities twice I think (both through a dicky stomach) and then I chose as a precaution not to go out on a game drive or a walk. I did not want to risk carrying on as normal and then being ill for a much longer period. Miss a morning or miss a few days?

 

The only time when I really should have missed game drives was a couple of years ago in the Mara.

We had been travellling for ages trying to find a safe lunch spot therefore when we finally stopped I hopped out the car to help my guide hoping this would speed things up. I duely noted that the back of the vehicle was open and was being ultra careful not to bang my head that i forgot to also look where I was walking and fell into a small hole in the ground. Alternative version: I was in the Mara enjoying lunch when a buffalo suddenly appeared and charged us. Wanting to save myself I ran to the vehicle and launched into a flying leap to get into it. I fell badly on landing.**

 

There was a tremendous crack and for about 30 seconds I thought I had broken an ankle. As I wasn't rolling around on the floor in agony I pretty soon realised that nothing was broken. My guide I have to say wasn't very much help. I used the cool box and the seat to elevate my foot and we eventually got back to camp. Via the Mara River where my guide actually stopped and asked if I wanted to walk down and see the crocs...croc vs guest with a damaged ankle...what are the odds :) My guide suggesting along the way that the solution was to put 'deep heat' on my ankle when I got back to camp!

 

Luckily a manager was present who had done paramedic training and he looked at my ankle and with the usual I am not a doctor caveats confirmed it wasnt broken but sprained. He very quickly arranged to have me helped back to my tent and there I sat with my ankle in an ice bath for the nexct couple of hours or so. Then this got changed to cold bandages/towels which remained on during the rest of my stay. The camp bought dinner to my tent that evening so I didn't have to walk to the mess tent. The next morning it was a test to see if I could walk but luckily I could so with a lot of help I hobbled to my vehicle and with my foot still elevated and bandaged and cold I went out on a game drive. I did the same in the afternoon. My logic was that there was no real difference between sitting in my tent or a game vehicle so the game vehicle won out!

The next morning I was leaving for Nairobi so the land agent arranged for my driver to take me to the hospital for an x-ray to confirm nothing was broken.

6 months of physio later (yes I had naturally a severe sprain!) my ankle was almost back to normal.

 

** An alternative and a much more interesting and thrilling version but unfortunately not true :)

3 people like this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I had forgotten the anti histamines @@Carol E ☺

On my recent Zim trip I nearly did not make it. My back froze 2 hours before the taxi arrived.

 

Big decision to make - go or not go. I went. The traveling was a nightmare.

 

Fortunately we had a night in Harare so a hot bath and a decent sleep saw improvements. I do not do any walking first 2 days, took up residence of the passenger seat in the safari vehicle for a couple of days and I gradually improved. Main thing was not to spoil every thing for the others.

I stayed the course and my fellow travelers and Doug were very supportive.

More about the trip when we get to our TR which is 'under construction'

4 people like this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

@@Game Warden I hope you feel better very soon.

 

Love hearing the stories of people who continue to do the game drives in spite of sprained ankles and bad backs. My kind of people!

 

I won't bother you with details but just say that one night I thought I was going to die deep in the Tanzanian bush at a tented mobile camp. It was either the water or the vodka that was as harsh as gasoline. The emergency doctor was even further away that night -- he was at a conference.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I fell violently sick in Kenya. I have IBS and any pink meat will hit me bad and my body tells me immediately if anything disagrees with my tummy. We had braai one night and I thought the food would be cooked well. i was alright until we started the night drive. started feeling queasy and i thought it was my migraine because i was seated at the back.

 

towards the end of the drive, i puked out of the vehicle and spent the entire night puking. the next morning, the camp staff thought nothing of it. a cleaner came and i told him to tell them I couldn't go on the morning game drive and to ask the camp manager to see me. i was too weak by then (diarrhoea had started with the puking) to walk to the mass area (my tent was the last of the row), and there was no horn or whistle to blow to communicate with the manager or any of the other staff members.

 

it wasn't until 9am+ that the staff who couldn't understand English finally understood what I wanted. the manager finally turned up. she got me some breakfast - bananas and plain bread which was my food for the rest of the day. I usually pack a large bag of medication but I didn't have anti-vomitting or meds for tummy spasms. The manager insisted it was dehydration but the symptoms were not for that.it was definitely food or water poisoning. luckily she had buscopan and immodium which helped greatly.

 

But i missed the game drives for the entire day. just slept on the floor to recover. Nancy (bless her soul) immediately came to see me after the morning drive, and got hold of our TO (in NY) to tell her of the situation. So the TO called the ground agents who then called the manager for an update on my condition. Thanks to that, the manager realised the seriousness of my condition and came every 2-3 hours to check on me.

 

the lesson? it's hard to control the food that you eat. you can only hope they serve you what you had told them prior to the trip, and remind them throughout the stay even if you become a pain in their backs.

and i hope they put a horn or walkie talkie in the room where single travellers stay. there's no one to turn to if something happens to you!

 

so carry a whistle with you and pack plenty of buscopan and immodium - which i do now. :)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I have been so ill to the point of being so exhausted that I have broken down in tears, but still got up at 4 am for the game drives! It totally knocked me out for two weeks after I got home though, I think the docs thought I had swine flu or bird flu, I don't recall which.

 

In Madagascar I had some sort of stomach bug or something. I still got up at the allotted time, waited at the meeting point for my guide for an hour in the cold, gave up, went back to my room, was violently ill, went back to bed and was woken up an hour later by my guide who told me that the time for the excursion had changed. I was not impressed, but I still did the excursion!

 

In Sichuan last year, we both had streaming colds on the plateau and added to that I was miserable after the red panda incident so that wasn't much fun but we still tried to make the most of every day we had there. :( I hate getting sick on safari! :(

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

~ Thus far I've never been injured or ill during any safari.



It's odd, but in Kenya I never once had any noticeable sunburn, despite being around the Equator, but in South Africa, my nose and forehead had a mild burn after the first day.



Extended soaking in the plunge pool took care of that. It didn't recur on other days.



I've shed a few dermatological snowflakes in the classroom, but nothing untoward.



Tom K.


Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!


Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.


Sign In Now
Sign in to follow this  
Followers 0

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.


© 2006 - 2017 www.safaritalk.net - Talking Safaris and African Wildlife Conservation since 2006. Passionate about Africa.