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Africa Travel Planner Intro
North Africa
West Africa
East Africa
South and South-Central Africa
Deciding When to Go
Calculating Currency Exchange
Learning Local Languages
Determining Time Differences
Making Telephone Calls
Planning Your Safari
Taking Public Transportation
Packing Your Suitcase
Clearing Customs
Dining Out
Finding a Place to Stay
Staying Healthy
Staying Safe
Saving Money
Photographing Africa
Tunes from Africa!

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Scenes from a Kenya Safari

Photo: Maasai men

Staff writer George W. Stone shares photos and more from his Africa adventure.
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WorldWise Trivia Quiz

Photo: Uluru

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Africa Travel Planner

Staying Healthy

"Relax," says Isabelle Young, author of Lonely Planet's Healthy Travel Africa. "If you prepare before you leave and take common-sense precautions while away, you're unlikely to get anything more serious than traveler's diarrhea or sunburn." Here, Young offers suggestions for staying healthy in Africa.

Be smart about malaria: This is your biggest health risk in Africa, especially south of the Sahara. Rely only on advice from travel-health specialists. (Editor's Note: Call the Traveler's Medical Service in Washington, D.C.: +1 202 466 8109.)

Get immunized: Stop worrying about nasties like yellow fever and Hepatitis B by getting the right immunizations. (You may have to show proof of vaccination against certain diseases before you can enter the country.)

Visit the dentist before you go: Who needs a lion-size toothache? Bush medicine is one thing, but bush dentistry?

Protect yourself from insects: Malaria, dengue fever, and yellow fever are transmitted by bug bites. Cover up with clothes, use insect repellent, and sleep under a mosquito net. (Editor's note: Traveler's health consultant Dr. Martin Wolf, a tropical-medicine specialist, recommends Ultrathon, Sawyer's Controlled Release, and Permethrin.)

Think before you take a dip: Schistosomiasis (also known as bilharzia) is a parasite-carried disease that you can catch by swimming, bathing, or paddling in fresh water in South Africa, sub-Saharan Africa, Lake Malawi, and the Nile River Valley in Egypt.

Respect the heat: Take time to acclimate, drink plenty of bottled water, and take it easy during the heat of the day.

Bring sturdy footwear: Sore feet can ruin a trip, and blisters, chafing, and other injuries are common causes of major foot infections.

Be prepared: A well-stocked, sterile medical kit, including painkillers, blister ointment, and adhesive tape is vital. If you're on an adventure trip, such as river rafting on the Zambezi, consider getting basic first-aid training first.

Have an escape clause: Don't travel in Africa without a good insurance policy. (Editor's Note: Try Travel Insured.)

Related Web Resources:

Centers for Disease Control
The definitive source for travelers on diseases, immunizations, and prevention.

U.S. State Department
Contact information for agencies to consult for medical emergencies abroad.

Fit for Travel
Links to every country for information on immunizations. Health and Safety in Africa
Regularly updated information on disease outbreaks in Africa.

The Africa Guide
Recommended reading, links for travel insurance, an overview of diseases, and immunization information.

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