Malaria and Victoria Fals\Botswana.

Jan 14th, 2004, 06:51 PM
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Malaria and Victoria Fals\Botswana.


I am planning trip to Victoria Falls and Some Botswana Safaris and Maybe Surounding countries(Using 75,000 Miles with AA\BA) How worried should I be about Malaria?. Cause I am reading all this stuff on Malaria and its just blowing my mind away...! I would like to hear from exprienced travelers to the regoin..!!!

Also is it worth taking a Land Tour from Vic Falls to Either JNB or CPT and enjoy the scenery? or Should I just fly it?. I am a Backpacker I will probably be staying at Hostels since I am traveling alone.
ual902 is offline  
Jan 15th, 2004, 04:41 AM
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See a doctor (preferrably one who specializes in tropical medicine), and get advice about the best prophylactic (preventive medicine) to use to avoid contracting malaria.

Africa is not a continent that I recommend for solitary budget travel (staying in hostels on one's own and such).

If you're a budget traveller, there are relatively inexpensive tours you can do where the guests assist in the preparation of, and clean up after, their own meals. Also you sleep in tents for part of (if not all of) the tour. This keeps the cost down, and yet still provides the services of a guide who knows the local area. I've never been on one of these tours myself, but have an Australian woman friend who has done one of them, and she enjoyed it a lot.

Whether you should travel from Vic Falls to Johannesburg by land or air depends on many factors, including how much time you have. As for South Africa, I regard its coastline to be more scenic than its centre, i.e., the interior land route that connects Johannesburg to Cape Town is relatively flat and boring (sort of like prairie for part of the way, semi dessert for the other part of the way).

I get the impression that, at this point, you know so little about Southern Africa, I don't even know where to begin explaining its geography to you.

You need to do a whole bunch more research and, at a minimum, find out where places are in relation to each other, what the climatic zones are, etc.

Also, if you haven't already done so, go to forums where more budget-oriented travellers and backpackers hang out, e.g., Lonely Planet Thorn Trees.

But, whatever you do, educate yourself about Africa a lot more before you head off there as a lone, budget traveller, staying in hostels.
Judy_in_Calgary is offline  
Jan 15th, 2004, 04:50 AM
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Regarding malaria, first you should go to the CDC site for information that is broken down by country, and what types of malaria precautions should be taken and type of meds recommended.

Then with information in-hand you should discuss your travel plans with your physician and/or a tropical disease specialist in conjunction with your own health history.

If traveling to Zimbabwe and Botswana malaria precautions will be recommended, though not for travel to CPT or JNB.

The current malaria meds recommended is Malarone, which has few, if any side effects (as opposed to the previous Larium, which did cause some side-effects to some people). Malarone pills should be started 2-days prior entering an infected area, then daily (with food, preferrably dairy such as milk or yogurt), and for 7-days upon leaving infected area. An alternative to Malarone is doxycycline (a generic pill) which has a protocol similar to Malarone but has to be taken for a longer period of time. All of this should be explained to you by your physician.

In addition to Malaria precautions,you should be current on innoculations, such as Tetanus, HepA (maybe HepB), a Polio Booster, maybe Thyphoid. The first two are good for 10 years, while Polio for rest of your life. Again discuss with your physician.

Do not be surprised at the cost of these meds, Malarone can run at least $100; the innoculations, depending on whether you belong to an HMO or not, can be the co-pay of an office visit or can run more than that otherwise - prices vary depending where obtained. Note: cost of these services from a Travel Med Clinic can run as much as $300-$400.

The Malaria meds do not eliminate the possibility of getting malaria (pills are not an innoculation, which unfortunately does not exists for this desease). But you MUST also use precautions during mosquito biting time "from dusk to dawn," so repellent w/Deet is needed on exposed skin; and during those hours you should wear long pants, long sleeves, use mosquito netting where provided.

ual902 - it's nothing to blow your mind, it's just something that is highly recommended that travelers need to take precautions against.

Backpacker or not, it would be suggested that you travel from Vic Falls to SA by air from VFA/JNB or if in the Delta area of Botswana, from Maun (MUB)/JNB. Once in JNB you can decide whether you want to drive (long) to CPT or fly (2-hrs). The cost of the leg between JNB-CPT is approx. $100, though you might be able to find a lower price. Sorry I can't recommend other means of transport.

Happy travels.

Jan 15th, 2004, 07:40 AM
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Sandi, do you (or others) know if Malarone is the malaria med. that is sold over the counter in South Africa?
Celia is offline  
Jan 15th, 2004, 01:06 PM
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Celia - haven't the foggiest idea what they sell in other countries!

I do know there are some malaria meds available outside the US, that can be purchased over the counter, but I don't believe it's Malarone. I know there are a combination of drugs available in the UK that can be purchased OTC, but don't recall the names.

It sure would be nice not to have to pay the high cost for Malarone, but since one has to start taking 2-days prior entering a malaria area, it's best that your safari not be your first activity.

Sorry, that I don't have a more specific answer; maybe one of our SA posters might know. I know I'd like to know. Thanks for the question.
Jan 15th, 2004, 05:09 PM
Join Date: Dec 2003
Posts: 3,501
Did a Google search on malarial prophylactics.

Here is an article written by a UK pharmacist that seems to provide solid information. It's called "Guidelines for malaria prevention in sub-Saharan Africa."

Here is the FAQ page of the Antbear Guesthouse in South Africa. According to this website, MALARONE IS NOT AVAILABLE IN SOUTH AFRICA. I assume that means (if the Antbear Guesthouse's information is current) that overseas travellers would need to fill their prescriptions of Malarone prior to setting out for South Africa.

Here is information about Malarone provided by its manufacturer, GlaxoSmithKline:

Here is an article on Malarone by the Medical Director of International Travelers Clinic, Medical College of Wisconsin.

Here is an article on Prescription Drugs for Preventing Malaria, published by the Centers for Disease Control (to which Sandi referred):

Several of these sites mention that, in addition to taking preventive medication, travellers should use other precautions (sleeping under mosquito-proof nets, etc.) as Sandi also mentioned.

The sites also said that, while the danger of contracting malaria in South Africa was not altogether eliminated, it was reduced during the winter months.

Yet another thing some of these sites say is that, if one gets ill after returning home from a tropical country (even months after the trip), one MUST mention to one's doctor that one has visited a tropical country. That one piece of information can make a big difference to one's doctor's ability to treat one effectively (and not only because of the possibility of having contracted malaria).

Hope this information helps.
Judy_in_Calgary is offline  
Jan 15th, 2004, 08:37 PM
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To Judy in Calgary:

Thanks for your Input and Advice I finally found something that I like its geard towards the Backpacker\Budget travller like myself and here is the website:

Have you ever heard of them? they seem like a fun group so now all lI need to decide is if I should take the Vic Falls - Kenya or the Vic Falls - JNB(Via Botswana safari) or Vic Falls-CPT I have the time unfurtantly I was just downsized. Your advice is greatlyu appreciated.

ual902 is offline  
Jan 15th, 2004, 11:06 PM
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Well done, Ual902. Although I'm not familiar with individual companies, such as Africa Overland Safari & Tour that you found, that is exactly the type of set-up I was trying to describe.

Those are three great itineraries you are considering. I would be hard pressed to choose amongst them if I were you!

Especially since you would be tenting, I think it would be highly desirable to go during the dry season of whichever region you were traversing. For instance, Zambia gets torrential downpours, lightning, thunder and hail from the end of October to the end of March. April to the beginning of May is still a rainy period, but the rain is less violent. The end of May to August is dry. Days are warm, nights are cool to cold, depending of elevation. Places that are located at high elevations even get frost. September to the end of October is a period of hot, humid days and warm nights. Here's a website about it:

I think tenting would be miserable in the rainy season, and I would do everything in my power to travel in the dry season.

Aside from the inconvenience of sloshing around in mud, erecting and dismantling tents in mud, and possibly getting stuck on muddy roads, the rainy season also would be the time when there were more mosquitoes. So that would be another good reason to go in the dry season. Still another reason, if you need one, is that animals are easier to see when the vegetation isn't as thick and lush as it is in the rainy season.

I recommend you do weather research on every country through which an itinerary passes, and try to choose a route that is likely to be dry for the period during which you will be passing through it.

The trick is that the rainy and dry seasons are not the same all over. The biggest anomaly is Cape Town which, having a mediterranean climate, gets its rain in the southern hemisphere winter (say June - August).

I think I saw you posting in Fodors' Australia forum. One could use Australia as an example to explain how different Africa's regions are from each other. Cape Town's mediterranean climate would make it more like Perth. A lot of Namibia is arid, like much of Western Australia. The coast of Mozambique is tropical, like the Queensland coast. Of course, there are great differences between Africa and Australia, and these comparisons are not precise. I'm just using them to give you a ROUGH IDEA of Africa's ecological zones.

Of the African countries you're considering visiting, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Zambia, Malawi, Tanzania and Kenya fit the image of what many foreigners think Africa is "supposed" to look like. Namibia is somewhat different. It has wild animals, but a good chunk of the country is dessert and semi-dessert. Except for its eastern boundary with Mozambique and its northeastern coastal region, South Africa does not fit very closely with the average foreigner's picture of Africa. Much of the interior plateau, as I've said, looks like a prairie. Cape Town has a mediterranean climate and a grape-growing hinterland.

Anyway, Ual902, whether or not you use Africa Overland Safari & Tour, their website certainly is packed with information and, after perusing it, you will have a much better idea of the options that are available to you.

Sorry to hear you got downsized. All the best.
Judy_in_Calgary is offline  
Jan 16th, 2004, 04:15 AM
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Judy_in_Calgary -

Thanks for following up and learning that Malarone "is not" available in SA.

And you did a great job finding and clarify information needed for ual902 to make a decision for his African travel.
Jan 17th, 2004, 02:33 PM
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Hi Judy,

Thanks for your help in making my decision for my African Safari trip well I am coming to close to making decision in which it will be the Nairobi-Vic Falls then will see what happens once I get to Vic Falls if I will maybe take the small trip to Botswana then fly from Maun to CPT and depart CPT back to New York City Infact the Tour operator said they can pick me up from the Airport when I arrive in Nairobi which is a big plus for me since I want to avoid that "Spooky town" Nairobi so all I have to do now is convince my family that travleing to africa is safe and they should not be to worried .

Thanks Again,

ual902 is offline  
Jan 17th, 2004, 02:53 PM
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You're most welcome, Ual902. I'm so glad you've found what feels like a good fit for you. If you feel like sharing a trip report with us when you get back, I'm sure it'll be fascinating!
Judy_in_Calgary is offline  
Jan 17th, 2004, 04:56 PM
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Ual 902,

If you're looking at doing the safari thing on a budget and you have some time the overland trips are the cheapest was to go and you'll see alot of the coutries you pass through I can recommend Guerba.

I've read that it's possible to get the best prices by taking a seat at the last moment in Capetown but I haven't done it myself.

A trip I did several years ago (that was quite reasonable) was a 5 day canoeing safari in Zambia/Zimbabwe, along the Zambezi starting at Kariba Dam and passing along past Mana Pools. It was great we stayed in tended camps at night and it included food and drinks.

The canoeing was fun (all downstream!) and the game viewing from the water was magnificent. I will never forget watching elephants swin across the Zambezi! Shearwater used to do the trip but I'm sure there are other operators.

I'd definately check out Lonely Planet's Thorntree website for more info. Hope that helps!
welltraveledbrit is offline  

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