by Lisa Grimaldi | May 01, 2006

Lodge at Shamwari Game Reserve South Africa

Bayeth Tented Lodge at Shamwari Game Reserve, South Africa

While adventurous U.S. planners have taken meetings and incentive programs to Africa, it’s a safe bet that many others have avoided the continent based on long-held fears and myths. Nickie Fouche, president of Amityville, N.Y.-based AfricaTours, debunks some common misconceptions.

Myth: Africa is a haven for third-world diseases such as malaria, typhoid, etc.

Truth: This is true for remote parts of Africa but not for areas most tourists visit, says Fouche. As a general rule, the one disease to watch out for in most safari parks is malaria. To play it safe, start taking malaria tablets (available at pharmacies with a physician’s prescription) three days prior to visiting and then for a week after.
    Several game parks in South Africa are malaria-free, though, including Madikwe Game Reserve and most of the game parks in the Eastern Cape, including Addo Elephant Park, Shamwari Game Reserve, Kwandwe Game Reserve and Samara Game Reserve.

Myth: African countries require special visas for visitors.

Truth: Some do, some don’t, notes Fouche. Among the countries groups are most likely to visit, Kenya, Mozambique, Tanzania and Zambia require them; South Africa, Botswana and Namibia do not.