Vaccinations and Health Risks

We are aware of the perceived risks associated with the mercury-derived preservatives in many vaccines, and are not presenting this information in any advisory capacity. We would however bring to travellers’ attention that it is recommended to consider whether someone going on safari should take appropriate precautions against the following.

Immunisations for safari-goers that are generally strongly recommended:

Yellow fever  10 days before travel. This is the only vaccination that Immigration require.

However, this vaccine should not generally be given to children under 6 months, anyone who is immunocompromised, or allergic to eggs (since the vaccine is produced in chick embryos). It is very important to remember this preclusion if challenged by an officious member of Immigration who demands to see a Certificate of Yellow Fever Vaccination.

Typhoid  10 days before travel (available in capsule form)

Hepatitis A  2 – 4 weeks before travel

Diphtheria  3 months before travel

Polio  Those whose parents or schools routinely vaccinated them will often already be up to date

Additional immunisations worth considering in certain circumstances:

Meningococcal vaccine  Recommended for those expecting to spend protracted periods with locals in remote areas, or with displaced persons

Rabies  Well worth considering for those prone to attracting the attentions of angry dogs, or who intend to spend more than a little time living in the bush with the Hadzabe, learning their primitive survival skills

Tetanus Diptheria  Most people will already be up to date, but for those who have not been inoculated within 10 years, this vaccination is worth considering

With the exception of the required vaccine for Yellow Fever (excepting the very young, pregnant, and those allergic to eggs) the decision to vaccinate is entirely a personal choice of the individual and Safari Tours | Tanzania make no recommendations in favour or against this choice. Indeed we concede that the risk of illness involved with invading the body with all of the above substances in short succession, is itself considerable.

Further Potential Dangers and Risks to Safety on Safari in Tanzania or Kenya

Readers may be surprised by our candour in discussing openly the following issues. It is our conviction however, that –particularly when venturing off the beaten track – we have a moral imperative to ensure that adventurers are made aware of potential threats to their health and safety, since (albeit, these risks are very rare) the extent to which we are able to control these risks is necessarily limited. It is with this conviction in mind that we aim to be as transparent and overt as possible in discussing risks to all persons that choose to venture off the beaten track. We ask those considering an adventurous safari to decide for themselves whether such exposure will be  personally acceptable to them and their companions. Risks involved with classic game viewing safaris to the more common destinations that are reached on very well used, and generally well maintained, roads, are considered to be less.


Swimming in untreated water is not recommended. We are aware that visitors (not travelling with us) to one of the tented lodges that we use have contracted schistosomiasis while swimming there. In spite of this recommendation, we nonetheless offer the opportunity to go swimming in a waterfall in the Lake Natron area. We believe that the extent of the agitation of the water there makes it very unlikely to contract any diseases from the water. However, those on safari with us must themselves undertake this risk and make their own judgments as to whether or not to swim.

Scorpions and snakes

There are scorpions and snakes in some safari areas of Kenya and Tanzania, particularly in the Eyasi area, however these creatures are shy and try to avoid humans, and the bushmen and our staff are competent in dealing with these threats. In the event of a bite we have natural remedies that we apply that we believe to be effective. It should nonetheless be understood that while the risk of confrontation is rare, this is a risk that should be borne and accepted by the traveller.

Road accidents in East Africa

The nature of venturing off the beaten track is such that the risk of accidents is something about which adventurers should be aware and prepared to accept. Typical threats to road safety are areas of dirt road that have been washed away by recent flash floods and heavy rains, and roads that serve low volumes of traffic on which local drivers often drive too confidently and observe poor lane discipline, failing to anticipate the likelihood of drivers approaching them from areas of dead ground ahead. To date we have suffered two such accidents amongst several thousand climbs and safaris. The most serious injury sustained was a gash to a climber’s forehead. Despite this wound, he accepted first aid in the field, continued to the mountain, and summitted Kilimanjaro via the Lemosho Route. The other accident occurred during an emergency stop when a driver braked suddenly to avoid a new aperture that he observed in the road, en route to Lake Eyasi. One of the passengers impacted one of their patellae against an object in front of where they were sitting.

Whilst no accident is acceptable, we believe that the likelihood of being involved in one can be considered extremely low.

Bandits on roads in East Africa

Adventurers should be aware that there is statistically an extremely small, but nonetheless present, risk of encountering bandits on the road. To date we have only ever experienced one encounter with what appeared to be two armed illegal immigrants on the road between Mto wa Mbu and Lake Natron. Our driver feigned cooperation with their directives and once the bandits were off-guard, undertook rapid evasive manoeuvres off road and into safety.

Anti-malarial Prophylaxis

Areas in East Africa that are below 1,800m altitude are considered chloroquine-immune malarial risk areas, (plasmodium falciparum). Most visitors therefore choose to take a course of anti-malarials prior to travelling here, however we recommend that you discuss your choice of prescription carefully with your doctor as some of the options will be a poor choice for some people. Further information is available on our climber’s website here.