POSTED ON 24th February 2016 BY Ollie Blackwell
As you know, food safety is important no matter where you are…
While you’re at home, it’s easier to practice food safety. This is because you’re familiar with the food that you eat, and you know how to prepare it safely. Chances are that safe food handling, for the most part, is second nature when you’re at home.
But if you’re on a safari holiday, it can be more difficult; especially when travelling to a new country. Being unfamiliar with the local foods, customs, and another culture’s standard of food safety can make it difficult to know which precautions you should take to keep yourself safe from food-borne illnesses.
Fortunately, many safaris are havens of delicious and safe dining however different types of safari carry varying degrees of risk when it comes to food.
When you’re staying at a lodge, for instance, or in a luxury tented camp, you will most likely have your own cook who will prepare your meals for you. Not only will they be able to ensure that your meals are safe and prepared according to high standards of quality; in most cases they’ll also be able to cater to any dietary needs or restrictions that you may have.
All of the lodges and luxury camps that we choose have chefs to provide you with excellent food. You won’t go hungry, or have to worry about food safety while you’re there.
Take a look at the video below, to see the story of Joyful Nghala, a lodge chef at Singita Kruger National Park.
On some budget safaris though, or if you’re camping without a cook while on a self-drive safari, you will need to be more diligent with food safety. This is because often, in these situations, much of the food preparation will fall to you and your group. In these cases, you will be responsible for food safety, and ensuring that safe food preparation procedures are followed. It’s also wise to be vigilant if you plan to venture into the local village markets, or dine in restaurants.
If you’re planning an African safari, here are a few things that you should know about food safety.
Generally speaking, as this article explains, six harmful types of pathogens can be found in food items: Salmonella, E.coli, Listeria monocytogenes, Staphylococcus aureus, Clostridium perfringens and Bacillus cereus. Parasites are also a significant cause of foodborne illnesses in Africa.
But before you let this put you off of travelling to Africa, it’s important to realise that there are measures that you can take to keep yourself safe.
Part of the reason that Africa has such a bad reputation for food safety is due to the fact that people often think of this continent as one, single entity, and forget that there are actually 53 very different countries within this continent.
In terms of food safety, many popular safari destinations are just as safe as anywhere in the UK.
The most important thing is to be prepared ahead of time.
Research the area that you’re going to, and talk with your safari provider about what you can expect while you’re there. Booking with a reputable safari company is your first port of call, and the best step that you can take towards ensuring that your journey will be pleasant and trouble-free.
Don’t know where to start? I’ve put together some tips to help begin your search.
While you won’t have to worry about food safety if you’re staying in a lodge, you will want to keep the following tips in mind if you plan to go to the local markets and restaurants, or will be doing your own food prep while on safari.
Good hygiene is important, especially when you travel.
Wash your hands as often as possible, and carry hand sanitizer or sanitizer wipes with you to cleanse your hands during those times that you won’t have access to soap and water.
It’s especially important to wash your hands after using the toilet, touching an animal, or handling raw fruits or vegetables in a market.
Finally, of course, the importance of washing your hands before eating cannot be overstated.
Drinking water is important, especially in hot climates, however precautions must be taken when drinking water abroad. Use these 6 golden rules for staying safe and hydrated.
Food storage isn’t something that you’ll have to concern yourself with at all if you’re staying in a lodge, since all of the food will be prepared for you. But if you’re camping, or on a self-drive safari, it’s important to remember to store your food properly.
Food should always be kept on ice or in a refrigerator to prevent bacteria from growing.
One helpful detail to consider is that when you book a self-drive safari with Safari Drive your Land Rover or Land Cruiser will come with a refrigerator, allowing you to safely store your food.
As a side note, storing food properly will also help to keep wild animals away. For this reason, it’s recommended that you never bring food into your tent while camping.
Watch the amazing video below to see what a Safari Drive camp looks like being set up.
Sickness can occur at home or abroad, but it’s important to be prepared before you go.
It’s a good idea to bring a small first aid kit with you. While you most likely won’t have to use it, having it with you will give you peace of mind.
It’s also smart to bring oral rehydration salts sachets as these will help to restore electrolytes that can be lost during illness. You may also consider taking along some basic, over the counter Imodium.
While chances are, you won’t encounter any stomach troubles while you’re away, it’s important to go prepared, and exercise food safety while travelling.
Make sure you bring any recommended medications with you and take out travel insurance before you go.
Planning your holiday can be an exciting and enjoyable time, so don’t forget to have fun while you prepare for your amazing trip.
An African journey is something that many dream of, and naturally, you’ll want to take steps ahead of time that will help you to make the most of your spectacular trip. If you have friends or family members who have been on an African safari or journey before, you could also ask them for tips and advice. After all, there is nothing quite like firsthand information.
Be prepared, choose your food wisely, and have safe travels.
Planning an African safari? Get a consultation with Safari Drive and speak to our team – we’d love to help you plan your adventure of a lifetime!