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6 months pregnant - should I risk going to Sabi Sabi?

6 months pregnant - should I risk going to Sabi Sabi?

Jul 4th, 2010, 09:47 AM
  #1  
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6 months pregnant - should I risk going to Sabi Sabi?

So my husband and I had a two-week vacation set up for Kenya and Egypt - only to find out that I am now two months pregnant with our first child. I still want to go on safari in late Sept/early Oct (since it may be hard to do so once I have children) - but based on all the sites I've been reading online, it sounds like my best option is to move my vacation to South Africa instead.

I've been reading up on Madikwe, but it sounds like game viewing can be very hit or miss there. Since it's a malaria free zone, it's still on my list, but I wonder if I should go ahead and add Sabi Sabi to my itinerary. I know it's not malaria free, but based on comments on the board, as well as their own website (which touts that they haven't had a malaria infection on a guest since 1979), it sounds like the risks are low.

I won't be taking any malarial medications due to the pregnancy but do intend on covering up, wearing DEET, etc....should I go ahead and move forward with a couple nights in Sabi Sabi in addition to Madikwe so I have a better shot at seeing game? Or should I play it safe and just enjoy my time at Madikwe and maybe add in another malaria free safari (or just hang out in Cape Town or Johannessburg for a few days)?
alina555 is offline  
Jul 4th, 2010, 11:00 AM
  #2  
P_M
 
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Congrats on your new member of the family.

You should check with your OBGYN and also a specialist in travel medicine. Personally I would not go into a malaria zone under the circumstances because I see it as an unnecessary risk, however slight that risk might be. But I am not an expert, a travel doc should know.

Have a great trip.
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Jul 4th, 2010, 11:12 AM
  #3  
P_M
 
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alina555, this info from the CDC might be of interest to you.

http://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/destinat...th-africa.aspx
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Jul 4th, 2010, 02:39 PM
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What does your Doctor say about it?

regards - tom
cary999 is offline  
Jul 4th, 2010, 10:48 PM
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My OB says I'm fine to travel at that stage of my pregnancy, but didn't go into detail about the required vaccinations. I already have gotten the yellow fever shot, so I think the only big one is the malaria, which from what I understand, a lot of people bypass anyway. Of course, even though many people risk it, I know with a pregnancy if I contract malaria it almost guarantees a lost baby, so I am concerned but also recognize that sometimes these advisories err waaaay too much on the side of caution.

I haven't visited my travel doctor yet, but when I wanted to go to Saigon (and just stay within the city) they advised me to get every vaccination under the sun, which I did, and later found to be rather unnecessary. So I'm pretty sure they'll tell me I need the malaria pills.

Sounds like I should probably just stick with malaria free areas then?
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Jul 5th, 2010, 12:32 AM
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Another thing to consider is the bouncy jeep ride you will get if you go to a game reserve that goes 'off road'. This is what happens in the Sabi Sands areas. There are times when I have been lifted off my seat! You may find this very uncomfortable. You might want to consider somewhere like Kruger Park where off road is not permitted.
Another thought is that if something happens with the pregnancy you are a couple of hours drive from the nearest hospital. Not sure whether an air ambulance can fly into the small airstrips of the reserves in sabi sands.
Sorry to be a bit negative but its worth a thought
Barb
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Jul 5th, 2010, 03:56 AM
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Hi alina555

I agree with Barb 100% - you aren't close to a hospital, the bumpy jeep rides etc... If the first springs rains have fallen by the time you go to the SabiSands (and the possibility is very good) you are in a fairly high risk area. If it was me, I wouldn't have taken the chance because as you say, if you do contract malaria chances are slim that your unborn little one will survive.

My own experience with game viewing in Madikwe has been very good - it can really be hit or miss with regards to certain species almost anywhere. The other option you might want to consider is Kwandwe in the Eastern Cape (which is also malaria free).

Kind regards
living4safari is offline  
Jul 5th, 2010, 09:47 AM
  #8  
 
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As others have said the bumpy vehicles could be an issue so I'd discuss this with your doctor. If you stick to a reserve with no off-roading then the bumpiness perhaps won't be so bad.

If it were me travelling alone in Sept/Oct I wouldn't be worry so much about malaria (unless rains had started) and I'd just cover up and spray. However, if I were pregnant I definitely would not take the risk.
Lynneb is offline  
Jul 5th, 2010, 10:26 AM
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Thanks all - you bring up very good points. I think I'll stick with Madikwe and look into Kwandwe. That way I can relax and enjoy my viewing a lot more. I'll also make sure to ask for minimal off-roading (although I assume the guides who see me in my condition would probably adjust anyway). I appreciate the advice!
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Jul 5th, 2010, 12:28 PM
  #10  
 
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Please do a little research on using DEET while pregnant. The CDC says it's fine, but I would look into it myself.

Talk to your OB about other meds besides Malarone. There might be an option that works for preg women.

My niece ran through 7 months and my best friend rode her horse every day through about 8 months. Talk to your OB about the bumpy ride. If you exercise through your pregancy it might not be an issue.
christabir is offline  
Jul 5th, 2010, 01:00 PM
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I would never advise you to put your and baby's health on risk for a safari!
The risk is very low at SS but anyway - also the chemical prophylaxis is heavy stuff.

Either skip/postpone or choose Madikwe, Pilanesberg, Welgevonden or maybe Addo.

spassvogel is offline  
Jul 5th, 2010, 01:04 PM
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Regarding off-roading in Madikwe - the guides are allowed only 300 meters but in order to avoid ANY offroading you might either be happy and only two of you sitting in the car or need to hire a SUV so that you (and your conditions) don't interfere with other guests expectations in view to off-roading.
If ther are lions, wild dogs, cheetah or brown hyena in the vicinity you clearly can't expect the others to skip a sighting!

Happy travels!

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Jul 5th, 2010, 01:08 PM
  #13  
 
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You should likey advise the lodges once you decide. If there are others in your truck, not off-roading will effect their experience which the rangers have to consider-you may want to consider having a single use vehicle. It is expensive but you then control where you go and when you go. The bumpy roads can be pretty jarring.

Good luck!
Nj
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Jul 5th, 2010, 01:59 PM
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Babies are pretty well protected inside! Probably more than the mom. As above, have many friends who ran and rode and who knows what else thru the 8th month preggy.

But, you have to discuss with doctor and evaluate all the pros and cons when there are options.
sandi is offline  
Jul 5th, 2010, 04:29 PM
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That's a really good point on getting a single use vehicle! I was planning on going to Manteya in Madikwe, which I believe only has 4 people per vehicle, but I certainly don't want to affect our other passengers' viewing simply because of my condition. I'll definitely chat with them in regards to hopefully getting our own tour.

I'll definitely chat with doc in regards to the bumpiness. I have had a pretty easy time so far - zero symptoms and heading into the second trimester. I usually have high pain tolerance so I am hopeful that my body will be able to handle the long plane flights and road trips ahead.

Spass - thanks for the tips on the other malaria free areas, I will look into them.
alina555 is offline  
Jul 5th, 2010, 05:32 PM
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Alina, As much as you value the opinion of other travelers, you really need to discuss the details of this trip with your OB. When I was pregnant, mine advised me against using DEET or ANY repellent, including the citronella. And don't fret about having to cut out exotic travel once the baby is born...You will experience a whole new dimension of adventure seeing the world with kids.
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Jul 5th, 2010, 05:44 PM
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oops - i meant "the citronella kind," which was untested at the time.
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Jul 5th, 2010, 08:32 PM
  #18  
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Am I wrong in assuming that if I'm at a malaria-free resort, I don't have worry about insect repellent? Or will there still be mosquitoes (just not the malaria kind)?
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Jul 5th, 2010, 08:33 PM
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I just checked the Mateya website and they don't list insect repellent on their "items of preparedness." I am hoping that means I won't have to worry about bugs?
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Jul 6th, 2010, 04:29 AM
  #20  
 
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If it's not malaria mossies, there can be all kinds or flying things. Tse-tse flies, grass flies/ants (these seem to love ankles), etc. So don't discount repellant completely.

Best to discuss with your doc for any/all probabilities, whether repellent, malaria meds, bumpy roads, long flights, and on and on.

None of this though says that pregnant women don't go on safari, but each has a different situation.
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