HEALTH & SAFETY CONCERNS ON SAFARI
The prudent international traveler is going to be attentive to health & safety issues irrespective of their travel destination. South Africa being a modern developed nation, as well as being located at the southern end of the continent, does not have the health risks often associated with equatorial Africa. In addition, our health facilities meet, or exceed, common standards throughout the international community.
The health & safety issues you will face while on safari have much to do with:
(a) your own personal physical condition,
(b) your personal health issues,
(c) the general location of your safari,
(d) the activities you will engage in while on safari, and
(e) the preparedness of your outfitter
It goes without saying that being in good physical condition is a prerequisite to the enjoyment of an active outdoor lifestyle. However, you do not have to be a tri-athlete to enjoy the safari experience. To some degree, the amount of physical exertion required will depend on the species to be hunted and the terrain. The hunting of elephant, lion, and buffalo typically require a good deal of walking over generally flat to rolling terrain. In plains game hunting the hunting method is usually spot-and-stalk. You need to be in condition to climb into and out of the hunting vehicle and walk through brush which requires some bending and stooping. Thus, your feet, legs, and body core (back and waist) need some level of conditioning. Upon request we will send you a Physical Assessment Form for you to personally evaluate your physical condition. However, we are not exercise physiologists, so it is recommended that you consult with your family physician and health adviser to prepare you for your upcoming safari from both a health perspective and physical conditioning perspective. If you do have special health or physical requirements please advise us in advance as we are well positioned to handle safari clients irrespective of their possible physical limitations. For instance, we can install portable blinds and get the mobility-limited, or even non-ambulatory, client into shooting position in advance on known game trails that will increase the chances of success. Contact us and speak to our knowledgeable staff about these special arrangements. You might be surprised at the options.
PERSONAL HEALTH ISSUES
We are not qualified to give medical advice, but we do recommend that you consult with your family physician at least 3 months in advance of your arrival date in Republic of South Africa (RSA). If you are taking prescription medications make sure that (a) you have an ample supply to last you through your safari, and (b) that you have a letter from your physician explaining the nature of the medications in your possession. This precaution is because some medications may be narcotic based, and having a letter of authorization from your physician with protect you from suspicion if those medications are found in your possession while traveling abroad. Your physician may suggest that you procure certain inoculations prior to your international travel. However, it is our experience that your local public health facility is the best place to obtain this information and any recommended inoculations. For clients based in the US, public health facilities are generally directly linked to the Center for Disease Control (CDC) in Atlanta and will be the most informed as to requirements as well as the most recent health alerts. After being inoculated you will be provided with an inoculation record (yellow card) that you should place with your passport for international travel. This will constitute proof of inoculation in the rare instance that it should be asked of you.
GENERAL LOCATION OF YOUR SAFARI
Generally speaking, our hunting in South Africa is confined to the following four provinces:
2. Northern/Eastern/Western Cape
4. The Free State
Our Chacma Safari Camp is located in the Limpopo Province which is categorized as a “low risk” malaria zone. The northern area of the Limpopo closer to the Botswana border and the Zimbabwe border is considered “medium risk” zone. The Cape Province which, being located at the southern end of the continent, is generally considered a “malaria-free zone”. However, it is indeterminate as to whether the risk of malaria is ever “zero” anywhere on the continent. At the time of your booking your safari with us we will identify those areas in which you will be traveling. We are not qualified to give medical advice, so the client is advised to consult with appropriate health professionals to determine any prophylactic regimens and risks associated with those regimens (e.g. anti-malarial drugs can increase sensitive to sun exposure, therefore clients should protect themselves with appropriate clothing and sun screen). In addition, the origination point of your flight to RSA, as well as any interim stops along your travel route, may dictate inoculation issues. Therefore, when you consult with your local public health agency regarding your travel plans be sure to share this information with them. It is always a good idea to have a copy of your flight itinerary with you during this consultation. Certainly, just for general health purposes (as with any international travel), it is advised to have hepatitis and tetanus inoculations that are up-to-date. Many inoculations take several days, or even weeks, to become effective. Therefore, this part of your safari planning should not be delayed.
If your safari is to take place outside of RSA then please consult with us relative to any possible additional health & safety concerns. Finally, 7-10 days in advance of your departure to RSA check with CDC (US citizens) to determine the possibility and nature of any travel concerns.
It is difficult to be able to precisely assess the risk factors associated with any given activity. Much can depend on the weather, the terrain, the number of people involved, their personal abilities and conditioning, the nature of the activity itself, etc. With that being said, one might presume that dangerous game hunting is more risky than plains game hunting, which is more risky than fishing, etc. One might conclude that sky diving is more dangerous than scuba diving. At Chacma Safari Camp and surrounding areas there is a wide array of activities in which to be engaged, all with their inherent level of risk. We do provide safety talks in advance of each activity and expect clients to ask questions and to point out any possible unsafe situation that they might perceive to be present. We take our health and safety responsibilities to our clients seriously and take every reasonable precaution to ensure that our client’s health & safety issues are looked after in a responsible manner. However, we know of no Outfitter/Professional Hunter that is able to guarantee the health & safety of clients in every environment, and Chacma Safari is no exception. We do everything we reasonably can to prepare our clients for their African safari, but at the same time (as is standard within the industry) we request that each client sign a Release of Legal Rights and Waiver of Liability form before their safari begins. See section on Hunting Activities below.
Our base camps are comfortable, well-constructed, and appropriately lighted. It is fenced and secure behind a lockable gate. One of our Professional Hunters (PH) is based in camp throughout the entire evening. Medical supplies approved by the South African Red Cross Society (SARCS) are easily accessible in a visible location if needed.
Before a PH may affiliate with us they must pass the SARCS Basic First Aid Course. We also promote the achievement of higher first aid certifications (Level 1, Level 2, Level 3, and CPR) as well as continuing education to maintain certification levels. The provincial SARCS office is located in Mokopane (“Potgietersrus” on older maps)
Our hunting vehicles are equipped with up-to-date first aid kits as recommended by SARCS.
Our Chacma Safari Camp is about 74 miles from the Lephalale Mediclinic where professional staff and doctors can do emergency assessments and treat patients if needed. The Mediclinic can be reached within 60 minutes.
The Netcare Montana Private Hospital, a full-service modern fully staffed hospital is located in Pretoria, which can be reached by helicopter from our Chacma Safari Camp in about 45 to 60 minutes. For someone needing hospital care that does not require air-based medical evacuation this hospital can be reached by ground transportation in 2 hours.
As one might expect, a large percentage of our clients come on safari to hunt; that’s what we do. Accordingly, the biggest emphasis is on safety with firearms and archery equipment and safety relative to the animals being hunted. A part of the first evening in base camp is devoted to these topics. Approximately one hour of the first morning is devoted to ensuring that your rifle is shooting to the desired point of impact, and once again safety with firearms in an around vehicles and in the bush is emphasized. We also review the proper way to approach a downed animal.
If you are hunting dangerous game, we provide you with a video relative to your specific animal in advance of your arrival in RSA and ask that you view it extensively and contact us with any questions you might have. Upon your arrival the first evening in base camp we discuss important aspects of your dangerous game safari and confirm the appropriate level of understanding as to safari expectations. The morning of the first day, in addition to checking your rifle for functioning and accuracy we will run you through a quick shooting session to provide you a further level of comfort in taking on a dangerous game animal at close range.
OUR SAFETY RECORD
We are proud of never having had an accident that required professional medical treatment. Scratches, bruises, abrasions, are sometimes an inevitability of long days in the bush. Like the scratches and dents that sometime appear on our rifles those are enduring memories of great times afield. We will look after your family’s safety with the same commitment that we look after all aspects of your safari. It is time to own the African adventure!