that the Leverguns.com safari for this year is completed, all the stories will
be told and listeners regaled with the many exploits of game stalked and
killed. For me personally, the
safari was a great adventure and successful vacation.
I thought I would write about the trip from a slightly different
perspective, since by education I am a clinical and public health
microbiologist (retired). Anyone travelling to a third world or remote location should
consider the impact of infectious disease in their travel plans.
My wife Emilie, who went with me, and I were naturally concerned about
levels of cleanliness, insect vectors, disease transmission via food and
water, water sources, rodent infestation Ė all the unusual
things you think of when going on trip. Iím not a clean freak, but my training causes me to notice
First let me
state that our safari was in June, which is the dead of winter in South
Africa. This meant that
temperatures were moderate, snakes were in their dens (mostly), and the dry
season prevailed. Morning temps
were in the upper 30ís, by 10am we were removing sweater or coats, and
afternoons were in the upper 60ís to low 70ís.
Darkness fell swiftly at 6:30 and the air cooled off immediately.
quality: I had expected to
strictly drink bottled water or juices, and to avoid ice. Each hunting truck had a cooler which was stocked each day
with bottled water, canned ice tea and fruit juices, and beer.
I doubt if any beer was consumed while hunting, since we all adhere to
the rule of no alcohol while handling guns.
Back at the lodges and at all our accommodations; water was supplied
from deep wells with secure underground piping.
The systems were very similar to my well and water system at home
(Missouri). After finding out their wells were in excess of 500 ft deep
with a deep overburden of sandy soil, and observing their holding tank and
closed system, and asking some questions with the owners, I felt safe drinking
the tap water. So far, no
problems Ė Iíll withdraw these statements if we come down with Zuluís
disease (the African counterpart to Montezumaís revenge).
ticks, and crawly things: In a
word, there were none. Remember I
said it was winter for them. One
of the PHís told me they had a hard frost just before we arrived, so not to
expect any ticks. I was somewhat
disappointed, since I really enjoy killing the little buggers, but Emilie was
very pleased to hear this. Sheís
very sweet and attracts flying and crawling bugs.
We didnít see any mosquitoes, ticks, or biting insects the whole
trip. Even sitting out in a hide
watching a water hole for warthogs, no insects bothered anyone.
I saw a few house fly types and the ubiquitous ants, but no other
Ever check into a hotel and find mouse droppings in your room?
To a microbiologist, mouse droppings mean the possibility of disease
transmission via feces and urine; general uncleanliness.
Well, I didnít find any rodent sign in any building, particularly our
elegant quarters. You may ask
whyís a guy on a hunting trip doing a mouse turd inspection, but after forty
years in the microbiology I just notice the small things.
preparation: A quick look at the
kitchens showed them to be just like kitchens at home, with adequate utensils,
stoves, refrigerators, sinks, etc. The
hot food was served hot and the cold food was served cold.
The chefs appeared clean and well-groomed.
By the way, the meals were excellent.
Much like US cooking, with a few new items introduced to us.
Menus were heavy on meat dishes, with the game we shot taking center
stage. Food was plentiful and
delicious. I saw no reason to
become alarmed about food-borne illnesses.
Iíve dispelled some anxiety you might have about these topics and
Leverguns.com safaris to Africa. It
was a great opportunity to meet some new and interesting people and to
experience hunting in Africa at its best.