Health and Safety
Health and Safety in Botswana, Namibia, Victoria Falls and Zambia
The medical and healthcare systems in Botswana are well developed, though distances between facilities and practitioners are great. A competent air rescue service operates throughout the country but comprehensive travel insurance will be required to make use of this service.
The most significant health threat in Botswana is malaria in the northern areas. Follow the pre-departure advice of your GP and make liberal use of repellants, protective clothing and bed nets. Malaria can remain dormant for a long time so be aware of any flu symptoms developing for up to six months after your visit. Treated early, malaria is easy to completely eradicate so you need not worry about your safety provided you follow the wealth of precautions available.
Low-level crime is evident in the built-up towns but nothing that common sense won't be able to handle: lock up your valuables, keep your personal belongings with you and be aware of your surroundings.
The northern regions of Namibia - particularly the Kunene River and the Caprivi - are malaria areas with a high risk between November and March. The further south you travel the lower the risk becomes. In most of the country there is no malaria risk at all.
Start taking your anti-malarial precautions a few weeks prior to your departure. Use that time to observe any side effects and switch anti-malarial regimes if necessary. Depending on your itinerary, you may not need to take precautions. Please check with us when you make your booking.
There are no inoculations required for any country in southern Africa unless you are travelling from a known yellow fever country. In that case you will need to produce a vaccination certificate upon arrival or application for your visa.
For more health-related information consult the Centre for Disease Control (CDC) website at: http://www.cdc.gov/travel/safrica.htm (opens new window)
Private clinics, hospitals and health services are of a high standard in the main cities. Because of the low population density and the size of the country you may need to travel great distances in an emergency. A private medical evacuation service operates throughout Namibia. However, they will not assist unless the casualty has adequate medical cover. For this reason we require travel insurance that is valid for your entire holiday.
Is it safe? Relatively, yes. Victoria Falls has remained unaffected by the turmoil in Zimbabwe due to its proximity to external sources of supplies (Botswana, Zambia and Namibia). The people, as always, are friendly and optimistic but the reliance of informal trading of African arts and crafts at the markets and roadside has led to over-bearing sales tactics that you may want to avoid.
However, we monitor the situation carefully in constant contact with our suppliers on both the Zambian and Zimbabwean sides. Should the security, health or economic situation pose a threat we will not hesitate to intervene and recommend alternative arrangements.
Is it ethical to visit Victoria Falls? That depends on your point of view. We believe that to boycott a dictatorship is to sanction its people, not its leadership. However, if you have moral objections of any sort, you can still visit Victoria Falls from the Zambian side and enjoy the full spectrum of exciting activities on offer.
Most of Zambia is a malariaial including all the major game viewing areas as well as Victoria Falls.
But there is no cause for alarm if you follow the prescribed preventive measures. The same, advice applies to the northern regions of Namibia and Botswana: follow the pre-departure advice of your GP and make liberal use of repellants, protective clothing and bed nets.
Malaria can remain dormant for a long time so be aware of any flu symptoms developing for up to six months after your visit. Treated early, malaria is easy to completely eradicate so you need not worry about your safety provided you follow the wealth of precautions available.
Page last updated: 19 Jan 2012