Kenya holiday – health and safety, drinking water,
mosquitos and malaria and health-insurance
Drinking Water and tap water
The tap water in Kenya is not safe to drink so make sure you carry plenty of bottled water with you at all times, particularly when travelling as punctures, breakdowns and delays are fairly common in Kenya and you will glad of having plenty of clean drinking water with you. Please bring re-usable plastic bottles with you rather than using single use plastic bottles which pollute the environment.
Malaria and mosquitos
The humidity at the coast is ideal for mosquitos and here they thrive. Prevention is always better than cure in the case of malaria, which can be fatal. Do not underestimate the potential consequences of being bitten. Before you travel, it is advisable to start taking a course of prophylactic tables, prescribed by your doctor. In addition to this ensure that between the hours of dusk to dawn, when the mosquitos come out to feed, that you wear long sleeved shirts and trousers to avoid being bitten. There are a number of good anti-repellant creams and sprays available and these too should be applied liberally to all exposed parts of the skin. If you prefer natural ingredients look for products containing Citronella. Many of these products only last for 3 hours so re-apply frequently. Always sleep under a mosquito net and you may even choose to spray your bedroom and bathroom with insect sprays in the evening. On return to your home if at any point in the first 2 weeks of your return should you feel flu-like symptoms such as fever and aches and pains, visit the doctor and demand a malaria test!
As you will often be staying some distance from a doctor or hospital, in addition to any prescription drugs you may require, it is advisable to carry some medical supplies with you such as: Sunscreen (minimum spf 15 adults – 50 children), lip balm, plasters and suitable antiseptic cream for cuts and scrapes, Arnica for bruises and antihistamine or tea tree oil for insect bites. Calpol or other Paracetamol based products for fevers and pain relief. Baby wipes and antiseptic wipes and gel are always useful too. Always carry extra water and some loo paper or tissues with you when travelling around Kenya.
Respect the Sun
Sunburn – not only is it dangerous to get burnt, it is very painful therefore time spent in the sun should be kept to a minimum. For suntan enthusiasts, remember to reapply a high factor sunscreen regularly, particularly after swimming and keep out of the sun when it is the hottest between 11-2pm. It is advisable to drink plenty of water to prevent dehydrating as too much sun can result in heat stroke. Wear a T-shirt or rash shirt when swimming or on a boat. Children’s health must come first – they should always be covered up with high-protection swim-suits and a minimum of 50spf sunscreens when playing in the sun or swimming in Kenya.
Dos and Don’ts re Valuables
It is not advisable to bring your valuables with you to Kenya so leave all precious jewelry and items of sentimental value at home. However, do remember to bring the following items but make sure they are well-insured: Camera/video camera/GoPro and binoculars if you have them. Sunglasses and wide-brimmed hats. Reef shoes or Crocs for walking on the beach. Do bring trousers and a jacket, shawl or jersey with you as the evenings on safari can be quite cool. A torch is always useful in Kenya due to frequent power cuts. A knapsack for day-trips and money belt are also useful.
Before you leave home take a number of photocopies of passports, credit and debit cards and other valuable documents. Leave a copy of these at home and keep another with you in a separate bag from your valuables. If your possessions are lost or stolen these photocopies will come in useful when ringing banks etc. to cancel cards or replacement documents. Make sure you know how to contact your bank quickly in an emergency.
In Kenya all medical care and hospitals will require full payment for treatment upfront rather than getting paid directly from the insurers. You will have to pay cash or by credit card before being discharged from hospital, which might be a large sum of money as there is no free medical treatment in Kenya. We strongly advise you therefore to take out travel or medical insurance before you travel to Kenya, preferably one that will repatriate you should you need it. We advise visitors to Kenya to carry a number of blank medical claim forms with them that the doctors may complete before they depart for home. Claims for the medial treatment should be made directly to the insurer by the individual. Keep all the receipts and relevant documentation about any treatment to accompany the claim.