Tanzania is located in a tropical climatic region with different bacteria, flora, and fauna than most visitors are accustomed to, so it is advisable to take a few health precautions when travelling so as to make sure that your trip goes as comfortably and smoothly as possible.
Malaria: This is usually top on the list of visitors’ worries, and prevention goes a long way towards keeping you protected. Although it is believed that the anopheles mosquito (the species that carries malaria) hunts only during at night, make sure that all exposed areas are well slathered in insect repellent at all times. Sleep under a net – there are some very good travelling mosquito nets available now, but budget travellers are well-advised to bring their own since the nets at most low-end guesthouses have holes or are invariably too small. If you’re sleeping in a tent that doesn’t have a net, spray insect repellent inside, close the flap, and leave it for a few minutes.
Make sure to visit your doctor to get a prescription for the antimalarial drugs that best suit your health and condition – there are some very good ones available on the market now, but tell your doctor if you are pregnant or breast feeding. If you feel achy, have chills and hot flushes, headaches, or a fever either during your trip or up to two weeks afterwards, visit a doctor immediately to be tested for malaria. If your symptoms persist, don’t hesitate to seek for a second opinion. A malaria test only takes about fifteen minutes and involves a simple finger prick, and it’s available throughout the country. Treatment is widely available and recovery times are fast, provided that you get diagnosed as soon as you notice any possible symptoms. After all this advice, it’s worth noting that not every mosquito causes malaria and that if you’re conscientious and take precautions, it’s unlikely that you will be exposed.
Vaccinations: The yellow-fever vaccination is no longer officially required when entering Tanzania, nevertheless because the disease is endemic many doctors will recommend it as a precaution. Other vaccinations that might be considered before you travel include typhoid, hepatitis A and B, meningitis, and tetanus. For more information, contact your doctor.
Food and water: It’s best to drink bottled water when travelling around Tanzania – numerous brands are widely available and served in all restaurants and lodges. Be careful of ice, raw vegetables, and salads when eating at street restaurants. High-end lodges and restaurants will clean their produce in antiseptic solution, but should you feel wary about anything on your plate, leave it. Try to avoid eating in empty restaurants – the food may have stayed for a long time – and order your meat to be well done. On the coast, seafood and fish are usually fresh, but again, make sure everything is well-cooked. While on holiday, it’s always better to be on the side of precaution.