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betty8 May 9th, 2008 03:29 PM

Safari motion sickness
ok you might think I'm mad but I occasionally get motion sickness on very bumpy roads and we're going on Safari in Tanzania.Has anyone any tips for me please

jgoebel May 9th, 2008 04:14 PM

Betty -

My wife also is very sensitive to motion sickness. Other than the typical "dramamine" pill that will solve the motion sickness, but possibly put you to sleep, try looking straight ahead while the vehicle is moving.

If you do that and save looking out the sides until the vehicle has stopped for a sighting, it should help. One other idea..try to sit towards the front of the vehicle; the seats behind the rear wheels will amplify the bouncing and motion.

Have a great time!!!!

Momliz May 9th, 2008 04:14 PM

good question - anyone know?

ShayTay May 9th, 2008 04:42 PM

When someone in our safari group had problems with motion sickness, they just sat in the front seat next to the driver/guide. That made a big difference for them.

Also, powdered ginger root helps with motion sickness. There are also "Sea Bands", which you wear on your wrists. There is a "button" on the band that you place on an acupressure point on the wrist that is supposed to alleviate motion sickness. Having been a scuba diver before I started going to Africa, I used both of the latter remedies when on dive boats, as I wasn't supposed to use medications while under pressure.

pippa13 May 10th, 2008 03:47 AM

SCOPODERM is a motion sickness patch which we use when on a live-aboard. it last's up to 3 to 4 days and by then the body has got used to the motion.
i don't know whether this brand is available in the states but i am sure you have got an equivalent.

atravelynn May 10th, 2008 09:34 AM

I've never needed one on safari anywhere and I have bad motion sickness troubles.

While in the park searching for or looking at animals, I have found that much of the time you are stationary or moving very slowly. Plus there is plenty of air.

Except for one Uganda to Rwanda transfer through mountainous regions, I've never felt sick on the roads because they are fairly straight. In contrast on my last two non-Africa vacations, I was on winding roads and realized I needed a Bonine a little too late.

I find a Pepto Bismal tablet or 2 or 4 can be helpful if my stomach is not 100% and it does not have the side effects of some motion sickness pills, at least not immediately. If you haven't taken Pepto before, the darkened stool can be surprising.

Bonine does wonders for me when I've needed it, even after motion sickness has set in.

Have a great trip.

betty8 May 10th, 2008 10:39 AM

Thank you so much for all your advice - I feel a lot less apprehensive now

Ericka May 11th, 2008 04:43 AM

Just a couple of non-med related tips...

- Sit as far forward as possible, front seat best.

- Look outside the window at all times and focus on a stationary object on the horizon. Straight ahead is best.

- Have some food in your stomach, nothing too greasy.

- Keep cool.

ann_nyc May 12th, 2008 05:52 AM

I am very troubled by motion sickness, but didn't find the safari to be troubling. Maybe this is because the roads were so bumpy that there was none of that sickening swooping motion, rather it was a harder jolting motion. In any event, it bothered my back rather than my stomach!

Or maybe it was because I was so focused on looking out the window that it gave me a horizon to relate to.

I would certainly recommend that she NOT try to consult guidebooks or do any reading while in the vehicle.

Good luck.

sundowner May 12th, 2008 07:10 AM

I also get motion sick and nothing on safari has bothered me except - the drive in the mountains of Rwanda and the small motorboat trip in the chobe. Hopefully you won't have any issues either.

Kavey May 12th, 2008 08:02 AM

I get motion sickness in cars and buses though, oddly enough, I don't get seasick even in Force 10 conditions!

Have never suffered during safari drives and I think that may be because I can always see the horizon. As long as I can see the view ahead without too much obstruction I'm fine.

If you have a private guide/ vehicle booked this should not be an issue. If you are sharing with a group you may want to avoid back seats though that may be hard as it's normal to rotate during the trip so that everyone gets their turn in the best/ worst seats.

GDKSS May 16th, 2008 06:20 AM

I was on Safari last July and I too get motion sickness. My doctor advised my to take one Dramamine at night and 1/2 Dramamine in the morning to prevent sickness. It did help. He told me it's better to take preventative measures instead of trying to treat after you feel symptomatic. And when in the Safari vehicle, sit in the first row...never the back row. Hope this helps

going_2_africa May 17th, 2008 08:39 AM

I would second the patches that were mentioned, depending on how sensitive you are.

My mom is VERY prone to motion sickness. She can actually get car sick when SHE is driving. It's really bad.

She used the patches and had absolutely zero problems with the motion sickness on any of the small planes or during the game drives.

suzic May 17th, 2008 10:26 PM

If Dramamine makes you sleepy, try Bonine, it is also for motion sickness, and is available without an RX in the USA. I used to take it when scuba diving for the specific reason that it doesn't cause sleepiness like Dramamine.

FoggyEthan Jan 11th, 2009 09:59 PM

Reviving this thread from the dead...

I don't have much luck with the standard drugs. Sometimes they work, other times they don't, and I haven't figured out why. This includes the patch. The wristband just left me with a bruised wrist -- one size does not fit all.

I'd be much more confident if I were traveling in an open vehicle, but the tour I'm looking at will be in a pop-top which is much more enclosed and so my instinct is that I'm more likely to get sick.

Any thoughts on the impact of the vehicle type? The trip is in Botswana and involves one long drive from Moremi to Savuti. I guess I can just be the "needy" member of the tour and always ask for the front seat where the guide would likely rather be seated...

Thoughts? Thanks!
-- Ethan

ann_nyc Jan 12th, 2009 04:47 AM

Ethan, do you know the particular situations that makes you sick? The reason that I'm asking is that I get affected by hills and curves especially. Ironically, the bumpy roads on safari usually did not make me sick, because there was none of the roller-coaster feeling.

Also, I know that reading is the worst thing, and looking at the horizon helps, so keep that in mind, and discipline yourself to not look at the guidebooks until you stop.

I have not found the wrist bands to help, and the old type of dramamine never helped (although I have heard that the new type is better). The patch really helps, (I've used it on cruises) but it is a bit of overkill for a safari unless nothing else works. You could get a prescription from the doctor but reserve using it unless you really have to (however, it takes several hours to start to work, so one day would be uncomfortable with that plan).

I tried Bonine on my Mozambique trip -- that wasn't a safari, and we were sitting sideways in the back of a flatbed truck, so it is not exactly the same. I didn't know if it would make me sick or not, so I wanted to take precautions. Out of 28 people in the truck, 2 felt rather sick (but not bad enough to actually throw up). I took the Bonine in advance and felt fine. It's hard to know if that made the difference -- I'm usually one of the first people affected, but 2 out of 28 is not a high percentage anyway.

atravelynn Jan 12th, 2009 03:57 PM

Foggy Ethan,

I could ditto the entire post of Ann NYC except I was never in Mozambique.

The pop top vehicles are open enough with the air from above and open windows that you shouldn't have problems on the bumpy roads in the parks. Usually you are not going that fast for a great distance.

You may want to have a garbage bag at the ready (all folded up) for the driving stretches between parks as a last resort. But give Bonine a try. It has never failed me on land or sea in very bad conditions and I can't even go to Imax or ride a merry-go-round.

Momliz Jan 12th, 2009 06:17 PM

FWIW, we just got back, and my sister, who suffers quite a bit from motion sickness had no trouble. I think it was the open air that helped. She sat in the front row in the vehicles, not right up next to the guide, but the first row right behind him. She was armed with ginger extract, to put a few drops in water, and ginger candies, and didn't need them. The comment about the harder jolting motion is very true. I, however, the one morning that I was sick, used her ginger extract, and it helped me.

aknards Jan 15th, 2009 07:21 AM

i was on safari this fall with two east indian woman, both of whom suffered from motion sickness. they carried a baggy of fennel seeds and chewed them on our jeep rides. the fragrance was lovely and they claimed that it was a well-known indian remedy for stomach ailments. neither ever got sick so, apparently, it worked for them!

climbhighsleeplow Jan 15th, 2009 07:47 AM


You can take a lot of drugs which on top of your malaria medication may cause trouble.

I suggest you sit in the passenger seat of the vehicle next to the driver/guide. Vehicles from top outfitters have pop-open roofs for the two front seats so you will not miss a thing!

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