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sub-Saharan Africa Topics specific to sub-Saharan Africa. (Includes all countries South of 17 degrees latitude)
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Old 24 Feb 2007
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Africa Overland with kids

Hi All
We are a family of 5 from Nelson in New Zealand.
Our family is considering a years travelling/living (working voluntarily) in Africa in 2009. In 2009 our kids will be aged 5 (male) and 7 (female) and 10 (female).
My wife & I did lots of travelling (before children) and I have actually been through Africa on motorbikes although this was back in 1991.
Just wondering if there is anyone out there who has done this or considering doing it??? Particularly has anyone travelled thru Africa recently with children?
Our concerns/areas of interest are particularly health and political issues and ...??
We want to be satisfied that we can minimise the risk of malaria and other diseases. Does anyone know how effective are the tablets/jabs and what about long term side effects if you are taking tablets for instance for a long time? Some medical minded people say no problem others say it is very irresponsible to take kids to Africa .....
What about political unrest/other dangers while travelling. How much of an issue is this and what do we need to be aware of?

Thanks to you out there. We look forward to hearing from you ...

Last edited by The Pattullos; 24 Feb 2007 at 09:28. Reason: partner's input
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Old 24 Feb 2007
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Hi Peter, I like your plan!

Take a look at this:
Hjaltes curriculum vitae - Nina og Hjalte

... and get your aventurous hands on one of their many books. Nina and Hjalte can definately give you some bias answers.

PS: As you know first-hand there are already plenty of kids in Africa. Those who said it was irresponsible - did they mention that the vast majority is doing just fine, even without medication?

Good luck!!
RTW 2005-2007

Last edited by Eriks; 24 Feb 2007 at 11:22.
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Old 24 Feb 2007
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Try The Africa Overland Network There are lots of websites of people travelling overland. Specifically there are at least three examples of families with children of similar age travelling trans africa in 2005. You can follow the links to their specific websites.
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Old 24 Feb 2007
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Thumbs up

Some other biking with children links (not necessarily in Africa though, but maybe of help):

Simon Kennedy
Around the world 2000-2004, on a 1993 Honda Transalp
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Old 25 Feb 2007
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Its great travelling through Africa we kits

We did an overland trip through Africa with our 9 year old daughter. We all had a great time. The Africans just adored talking to our daughter. I think it really broke the ice and opened many doors. Our daughter took malaria tablets and had no problems. The malarial mosquitoes are only active from dusk to dawn so we mostly retired to our roof top tent during these hours and as a result we were able to avoid being bitten.

I would have no reservation in taking your children to Africa. I am sure you will all have a great time.

The Kingsmill's Overland Travels
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Old 26 Feb 2007
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The only 'risk' to their health (as long as they are properly vaccinated) is that their love of travel and Africa will be with them the rest of their life.

I don't know whether to thank my parents or scold them .... I'm still addicted!

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Old 28 Feb 2007
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Lots of kids in Africa.

My daughter, Jasmine, was born in Bulawayo's Impilo Hospital in '98. After a few years in Zim and then working in the UK, we have been living and travelling between East and Southern Africa for the last 3 years and we have had no medical problems (apart from dentistry). Of course West Africa is a bit more complicated than East or South.

You do not need to take malarials for your whole trip - just when you are in Malaria areas such as Lake Kariba, Lake Malawi, Lake Victoria and other low lying areas. As long as you maintain strict hygeine (personal and with food prep), and your jabs are all up to date, then I foresee no problems.

Sounds like you've got a good span of kids so you should have a great time.
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Old 3 Apr 2007
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My wife and I and our 2 children aged then 6 and 9 traveled the length of Africa for 11 months in 1997 in a Landrover.We had a great time and my daughter (now 19) is back in Africa in her gap-year. We took Larium for the best part of 6 months and although we had no ill effects, if traveling there again I would look at alternatives, Malorone has a better reputation but is very expensive. We felt malaria prophylaxis very advisable, malaria kills! We also had all the other jabs including rabies and would do the same again.
The best health advice is probably to drive slower, wearing seat belts and never at night.
Politically Africa is always in flux but the result for travelers is usually, if anything, inconvenience rather than danger. You will remember every day of your trip whilst your critics (usually ill informed) will have done nothing to remember.
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