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Kenya holiday: Health

Jabs required for Kenya

Vaccination requirements for Kenya vary depending on
  • Which country you are departing from
  • Where, in Kenya, you intend to go
  • Whether there has been a recent outbreak of disease in Kenya.


Be sure to consult your GP well in advance of your departure date. Some jabs must be administered several days before travel to ensure protection and it is not always possible to receive all jabs in one go or even at the same place.

Yellow Fever, for example, must be administered at least 10 days before travel. I had to make a separate appointment for this and visit a different health centre, so time is of the essence.

Before I visited Kenya, in August 2005, the Kenyan Embassy in Madrid advised me that nothing was compulsory, but malaria tablets were advisable.

My GP recommended

Some vaccines stay in the system for 10 years, so if you've been somewhere exotic (I class 'exotic' as somewhere that requires jabs;) within the last decade, you may not need all the recommended vaccines. Check with your GP - it could save you feeling like a pin-cushion! UK residents can buy malaria tablets over the counter from Boots The Chemist, though it is strongly recommended that you do some research and consult your doctor first. Malaria tablets are expensive, but the cost can be reduced by ordering them online.

While in Diani Beach, Kenya, I met a restaurant manager who was recovering from malaria. The friend we stayed with had also contracted it the year before. It is definitely advisable to take malaria tablets, especially on the coast, where it is humid and mosquitoes are rife. Surprisingly, my fellow travellers (from England and Ireland) were given malaria tablets but nothing more! Perhaps the vaccines I was given were unnecessary but it makes you wonder how countries come to their decisions and why there's a distinct lack of consistency in medical practice across Europe.

First-Aid Kit

It's worth remembering that Kenya, though more civilised than most of its neighbours, is still third world and lacks the abundance, variety and accessibility of medicine that we, in the west, enjoy and take for granted. If you can find what you're looking for, the chances are it will be expensive. Below, are what I would consider the essentials in your medical kit: 

Malaria tablets for Kenya, mosquito nets and repellent can be bought from online chemists

  • High Factor sun screen & After-Sun
  • Insect repellent (evening - esp. on the coast)
  • Diocalm & rehydration sachets
  • Pain killers
  • Antiseptic, cotton wool, plasters
  • Eye-drops (safari lodge charged me over $10!)

Everyone on the trip laughed when they saw my vast medical kit. They considered me paranoid and a victim of western propaganda! I did point out, in my defence, that I was simply following the advice given me by my GP and chemist. Nonetheless, I felt foolish until, one by one, they went down with stomach upsets and various other ailments... for which, I had a remedy and very little sympathy;)

NB: The information provided is my personal opinion/experience and should not be used as a substitute for professional advice or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition.

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Have you been to Kenya? Is there a wildlife park or lodge that you would recommend? Write a review here about your 'big five' safari holiday and tell others about your experience - good or bad. Perhaps you know of an excellent budget campsite - or a luxury lodge that should be avoided! Otherwise, feel free to post a question. Let's share our Kenya safari wildlife experiences...

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