African Hunt Health

"The principal diseases of the country are: Malaria, dysentery, typhoid, sunstroke, lion bites and whisky." Lord Bertram Cranworth, Kenya 1912

The following African hunt health information is intended for hunters who wish to know more about keeping fit and well during their safari. A little advance knowledge may prevent going down with any of the diseases and other health hazards to be found in Africa.

It is very important that you consult with your physician or travel health expert regarding your specific health requirements for your African hunting safari.

  • Once you are in Africa and out of your accustomed home environment, you may be at risk from things you would normally taken for granted like a safe water supply, safe sanitation and public hygiene standards.
  • The often arduous hunting conditions and the hot climate may also be considered as hazards to the health of an ill-prepared hunter.
  • Depending where you are in Africa, if illness or injury does occur, you may not be able to may not be able to find a doctor, communicate with a local doctor or pay for skilled care in an emergency. There may be a complete absence of skilled medical care or facilities of an acceptable standard. It is therefore very important that a hunter obtains comprehensive travel insurance that includes emergency medical evacuation from a remote location..
  • A final possible hazard may become apparent when symptoms of an illness acquired in Africa do not appear until after your return home, possibly up to a year after your safari. If you or your doctor are not on the ball, these symptoms may be unrecognized as connected to your African hunt and as such, may go undiagnosed, causing prolonged and unnecessary worry.

Well before you depart for your African hunt, visit a specialist travel physician or clinic and get trustworthy and up-to-date advice for the country and the conditions you are going to encounter. Many doctors in developed countries receive minimal training on disease and hazards outside of their country which is why it is very important to consult a tropical medicine specialist both for pre-travel information and if you become unwell after the safari.

Don't rely on a fellow hunter's well-meaning advice or listen to the myriad of African health myths that are spread around.

Never rely on any health information from a travel agent - they may offer very incomplete or downright erroneous advice.

Obviously, if you are going to hunt on a game ranch in South Africa, your health risks and requirements may be different from those on a forest hunt in Cameroon. However, wherever you hunt in Africa, you are strongly advised to take health issues very seriously. There almost certainly will not be expert medical help close at hand and even a mild bout of diarrhoea or blistered feet can ruin your hunt.

In addition, get your body fit for the rigours of an African hunt. Pay attention to small details like getting the correctly fitting socks and boots and wearing them in and even cutting your toe nails properly.

Good African hunt health is not a question of luck and the information here is aimed to help you prevent health problems before they occur.

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Page Updated: Feb 2024

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