Health and Safety

Carrying Medication On Tour

On each truck we have an insulated cooler box which guests are welcome to use to keep their drinks cool throughout the day. As this box is situated in the truck with the guests, it is up to them to keep the box clean and purchase ice if they would like the box kept cool. If guests have medication that needs to be refrigerated, this is the best place for them to store the medication. It should be stored in a hard plastic, watertight container to ensure that it doesn’t get wet or damaged as it will be in the box with the ice, water and drinks. We do have a freezer on board the trucks if the medication needs to be stored at a cooler temperature. There are instances when you will not be with the truck however (for example camping Okavango Delta, Mozambique Dhow Safari or Serengeti Experience) and during these times there may be limited facilities available for storing medication in a cool environment.

General Safety

The guide has authority on tour at all times and this includes decisions regarding the safety of our guests on tour.

It is important that you inform us of any medical conditions or prescription drugs that you are taking such as diabetes or asthma etc. as we are sometimes 300km or more from the nearest medical assistance. This is especially important if your medication has to be kept at a certain temperature, we must know about this beforehand.

Please report to your tour leader immediately if you are feeling even slightly ill as they may need to make plans for you to get to medical assistance promptly. Many travellers can feel sick within the first two weeks of travelling and this is very common and due to your body reacting to germs and bacteria it is unfamiliar with. Keep this in mind, but do not take it lightly, keep your guides up to date with how you’re feeling.

AIDS is an enormous problem in Africa. HIV estimates range between 20% and 50% of the population and in some areas it is even higher than this. Please be careful and practical, condoms are cheap and freely available.

First Aid

There is a First Aid Kit on the truck which is available in case of an emergency. The guides will not use the kit as a dispensary and we strongly recommend that you take a personal medical kit. All of our guides are qualified in First Aid. 

Suggested contents of a personal First Aid Kit include:

  • Lip balm
  • Anti-histamine cream or tablets
  • Sunscreen and after sun balm
  • Pain killers
  • Anti diarrhoea remedy
  • Moisturiser
  • Dehydration salts
  • Elastoplasts/band-aids
  • Insect repellent
  • Sterile dressings
  • Antiseptic cream

Personal hygiene is very important on tour as you are travelling together in the truck in warm to hot climates. Please be considerate and attentive to your personal cleanliness. Being ill on tour is not fun and the enjoyment of the group as a whole depends largely on everyone being healthy. It is quite normal for some people in the group to have traveller’s diarrhoea at some stage of the tour. This is generally not serious, usually being the reaction to the food, water and the anti-malarial tablets.  If you suffer from this at any stage please inform your guide immediately.

Please take extra care when washing dishes and cutlery, as this is the quickest way for the whole group to fall ill. Make sure that your plates are thoroughly cleaned. We provide anti-bacterial washing up liquid so please use it liberally. We also supply an anti-bacterial soap for the washing of hands. Please ensure that you use it regularly, especially before meals. We use metal plates on tour as they are the most hygienic option.

Medical Insurance

Please note that it is a condition of booking on any Nomad tour that you have adequate medical insurance. We require the details of your insurance policy for our records before you will be permitted to depart on tour so please keep these with you at departure. The medical insurance is so important in the case of an emergency in a remote area (which is most areas we travel to) you will have to be airlifted. If you do not have medical insurance, you will need cash (which means thousands of USD) or you will not be helped during this critical period where every minute counts.

Please double check the small print of any ‘free’ credit-card insurance. Your insurance must cover you in the instance that you need to be airlifted to a hospital. As many public hospitals in Africa are below western standards you might have to be airlifted to South Africa for a simple problem. Many insurance policies do not cover adrenaline sports i.e. bungee jumping and skydiving – please check this before you book the activity.

Medical insurance is usually relatively inexpensive and we recommend that you buy a separate policy in your country of origin. If you purchase insurance in Africa please note that it will not cover you to be returned to your own country in the event of an emergency, it will only return you to the country in which you purchased the policy.

Water

One of the most common ailments on tour is dehydration. You should be drinking a minimum of 2 liters of water per day, and even more during the hot summer months. The tap water in the destinations we visit is not always fit for human consumption so your guides will advise you when not to drink the local water. All our trucks are fitted with water filtration systems so you will have access to filtered water throughout your tour.  However you can buy bottled mineral water at most camp sites, keep in mind that this can be expensive. Your guides will point out where drinking water can be purchased if you prefer bottled water. (i.e at local shops / supermarkets). 

Malaria

Malaria is a serious problem in Africa however it does not have to be a problem for you as long as you are vigilant about using your mosquito repellent and you take your malaria tablets. Malaria is transmitted by mosquitoes and is more prevalent where there are high concentrations of people and water. The main points to keep in mind about malaria:

  • Prevent getting bitten by wearing clothes that cover your bare skin. Long shirts, socks, shoes and long pants after dark – most mosquito bites occur below the knee.
  • Keep your mosquito net closed and be vigilant at sunset as this is when the mosquitoes are most prolific.
  • Use an effective prophylactic and speak to your doctor about options for antimalarial tablets.
  • Insect repellent is the single most important line of defense. Make sure you bring enough of an effective (preferably stick or lotion) repellent and that you use it liberally and frequently!  You need to look for the active ingredient (DEET) on the bottle.

Malaria prophylactics do not prevent Malaria, but do treat it if you come down with the disease. They also prevent you from getting seriously ill. It is not true that Malaria cannot be cured.

Vaccinations

We recommend that you have the following vaccinations for Africa: Hepatitis A (Havrax), Cholera, Yellow Fever, Tetanus Booster Shot, Rabies. Please note this guide is for information only – you should consult your doctor or travel clinic for the latest requirements. If you have entered a Yellow Fever infected area, you will be required to have a vaccination before entering into other countries.  If travelling further north of Vic Falls, then you will definitely require proof of a Yellow Fever vaccination. Travel Clinics provide vaccinations and Malaria tablets.

Alcohol and drugs

At Nomad we do not run booze-cruise tours. We want you to enjoy yourselves and it is great to sit around the fire exchanging stories enjoying your favourite tipple, but the attitude of drinking from early morning until late at night makes for unpleasantness and you dehydrate even quicker when you are consuming alcohol. Most camp sites have bar facilities, we simply ask that drinking is kept to a reasonable level for your enjoyment.

We have a firm policy about drugs on tour. We do not tolerate them!  Police regularly inspect our trucks and camp sites and we make numerous border crossings. If you are caught in possession of illegal substances we cannot help you. You do not want to add a stay in a local jail to your on tour experiences!

Local Laws and Customs

Passengers are required to obey all laws of the countries through which we pass. This particularly applies to the smuggling of contraband and possession of narcotic drugs and firearms. Any passenger found contravening such laws or putting other passengers at risk may be required to leave the tour immediately with no refund. Please remember that we are guests in each of the countries we visit and it is good manners to comply with their customs.

Security

Travelling in any country has its potential dangers and in African countries you will find that it is no different. Due to massive levels of poverty, petty theft is rampant.

Basic rules apply:

  • Do not bring unnecessary valuables along with you such as jewellery, expensive watches and electronic goods.
  • Do not leave your personal possessions unattended
  • Do not be reckless in your behaviour. Be careful
  • Always walk together as a group, especially at night
  • It is also suggested that you photocopy and photograph all your travel documents and belongings and store them separately to the originals. Security of the vehicle is part of the reality of tour life and you will be expected to assist when necessary.

Although all care and attention will be exercised, Nomad Adventure Tours nor its agents and employees can accept responsibility for anything deposited in the truck safe or left on the vehicle.

Travel insurance for personal belongings is also advisable, as you are not covered by Nomad for personal items such as clothes, cameras etc. You are responsible for your possessions at all times.

It does happen from time to time that airlines lose luggage and this can be very frustrating for all parties concerned as the airlines then need to chase down the tour to reach the traveler, the traveler never really knows when they’re going to get their belongings and Nomad is expected to handle all of the ground operations for this.  The process is immensely time consuming for everyone so please be assured that Nomad will do our absolute best to ensure that the airlines are able to get your lost luggage to you.  Your guides and Nomad cannot be held responsible for any loss, damage or delay with luggage that has been lost or left behind by the airline.  

When Game Driving

When you are on a game drive, no matter if it is our Nomad truck or an open 4×4 vehicle, please be as quiet as possible at all times and don’t make sudden movements – this will ensure the biggest success on your game drive. Also, bring along some binoculars if you can.  It’s very important to keep in mind when you go on a game drive or walk that you are not in a zoo and no one can ever guarantee which animals we will see and how many animals we will see. All our Nomad guides and all our local partners know where to best spot animals and do have an extensive knowledge about where and when to see wildlife however there is simply no way anyone can ever guarantee to see animals.