East Africa

East Africa’s scenic landscapes attract visitors hoping to see wild animals, particularly the ‘big five’ – rhino, elephant, buffalo, lion, and mountain gorilla. This is our travel health advice for a safe trip to East Africa.

Is my trip to East Africa a risk for food- and water-borne diseases?

Visitors to East Africa may experience food- and water-borne diseases. You can protect yourself by having up-to-date typhoid, cholera, and hepatitis A vaccinations. You should also protect yourself by taking standard food and water precautions. You can learn more about these during your travel health advice appointment and from our articles on food safety and water-borne diseases.

East African medical facilities

A trip to East Africa requires travel insurance. It is likely that you’ll have to pay for any medical treatment you receive. The healthcare infrastructure of East Africa is different to that of the UK. It’s possible that you will have to be evacuated if you need complex treatment.

Water safety in East Africa

Lakes Tanganyika and Victoria, the world’s second and third largest fresh water lakes, are located in the Rift Valley. Lakes Albert and Edward, Lake Malawi, Lake Kivu, and Lake Turkana are also in East Africa. Schistosomiasis, a parasitic disease, is a problem in some areas, so ask locally before swimming in any of these lakes.

Will I need malaria pills if I travel to East Africa?

Antimalarial medications are a sensible precaution for travel to East Africa. Ask your travel health adviser when you need to start and finish your course of antimalarials.

In East Africa, mosquito bites can expose you to a variety of dangerous diseases, some of which are not vaccine preventable. Zika, yellow fever, Dengue, sleeping sickness, and Rift Valley fever are among them. So you should avoid mosquito bites whenever possible. Tsetse flies, which transmit sleeping sickness, can also be found in East Africa.

Is rabies present in East Africa?

Rabies can be contracted from an animal bite in East Africa, and this vaccination is recommended if you are travelling to a remote area or working with animals. Children should receive rabies vaccinations because they may be bitten while playing with animals. If you are bitten or scratched by an animal in East Africa, seek medical attention immediately, even if you have been vaccinated against rabies as you may need further treatment and advice.

High-altitude sickness

Do you intend to climb Kilimanjaro? Altitude sickness has symptoms that you should be aware of. Consult your travel health adviser for more information, or read more about health at altitude on NHS Fit for Travel.

Is there a meningitis belt in East African countries?

The meningitis belt includes the Central African Republic, Sudan, South Sudan, Uganda, Kenya, Ethiopia, and Eritrea. If you visit between December and June (the dry season), a meningococcal meningitis vaccine may be recommended. Because the bacteria that causes meningococcal meningitis is spread from person to person via respiratory droplets, this dangerous disease is difficult to avoid.

What other shots should I get before going to East Africa?

You should make sure that all of your boosters, such as tetanus, diphtheria, and polio, are up to date, and your doctor may recommend that you get a hepatitis B shot.

You can get all of these vaccines and boosters at NX Healthcare’s travel health clinics. Make a travel health appointment with our booking system so we can see you six to eight weeks before your departure.

More Travel Advice & News