Archived Q&A and Reviews
We have the opportunity to visit Tanzania in the spring and are trying to assess whether this would be a good trip to make with our four-year-old. We'd be staying with friends who have been making regular long-term visits there for about ten years (including several trips with their own child who is also four). I'm mainly concerned about health risks. We're willing to get all the recommended shots, but then there is the risk of malaria and other illnesses. I'd love to hear concrete advice from people who have been there or made similar trips with their small kids (or who decided against it for health-related reasons).
I lived in Tanzania for 6 months about a decade ago. While it is a beautiful country, with incredibly friendly people, I would caution you to investigate how much drug resistant malaria there is. It was a major issue, one that was growing when I was there. Keep in mind that a small child who contracts a case of drug resistant malaria can be very dangerous. I plan on travelling with my children in East and Southern africa when they are older for a variety of reasons but the main one being their bodies will be stronger to deal with illness. Good luck with your decision. love to travel
[Editor] See Weighing the health risks of a trip to Tanzania with a 4-year-old for additional responses.
In 1984 I went with a male friend to Tanzania. We were both taking chloroquin and fansidar as malarial prophylactics, but get this -- we were on the same doses, even though he outweighed me by forty pounds or more. In travelling from Dar to Moshi, we were bitten extensively by mosquitos -- I counted 89 bites between the wrist and elbow of my left forearm (while waiting around the next afternoon in Moshi). I did not come down with malaria, but he DID. So, and here's the advice part so ignore it if you like... not only should you make sure your child has prophylaxis or leave him/her home, but you should make sure the dosages all of you get are appropriate for your own size. Also, get all recommended vaccinations, and never drink anything that has not been sterilized -- order your coffee as kahawa na maziwa moto (with boiled milk) if you can't take it black (but it's great in Tanzania and Kenya, so do try it ;-), order your coca cola sealed in the bottle -- if you have to have it cold, put the bottle into ice, and WIPE the opening thoroughly before drinking it. No orange squash if you value your health, no cut fruits, take water purification tablets along for the water in hotels, etc., and take along pepto bismol tablets or some other such to be chewed to prevent the runs. That worked well for us -- he only got malaria, and neither of us got anything else although we were in Tanzania and Kenya for eight weeks, and not staying in the fanciest hotels, either (well, except once in Nairobi!). Another friend of mine picked up some intestinal bug and has never gotten rid of it -- she still has an occasional bout. And, all that aside, have a GREAT time! The people are wonderful, despite often having to cope with difficult circumstances. Heather