The Chobe saga continues…Angry elephant and scary looking others…Issues with malaria pills…

This short video clearly illustrates how dangerous an annoyed elephant can be 
when her/his territory is not respected.

“Sighting of the Day in Chobe National Park”

We’ve rarely been this close to a waterbuck since they remain close to the river, impossible for us to access.  What a handsome animal!

Those who have been following us for some time know we hesitate to mention every little ache and pain or discomfort we encounter in our lives of world travel.  All of us have some degree of a medical issue on occasion, some noteworthy required medical intervention and others we can manage on our own.

This elephant was not happy to see ours and another safari vehicle on the road.  He started flapping his ears and swinging his trunk, tossing sand.  See the above video for details.

Today, I share this with our readers as informational only and do not, under any circumstances, suggest our experience is common, nor are we suggesting any medical treatment or advice.  This is an FYI only.

The other safari vehicle was much closer to him than ours. 

Upon the recommendation of a local doctor in Komatipoort with whom we recently updated our vaccinations, we began taking malaria prophylaxis medication one day before departure to Zambia on both this trip and the past trip three months ago.

And then, it happened.  He approached the safari vehicle ready to charge.  See the above video for more.

We were prescribed to take one tablet daily of the generic equivalent of Malarone (Atovaquone Proguanil) known in South Africa purchased over the counter at any local pharmacy at a cost of about ZAR 14.35 (US $1) per tablet.

Three giraffes along the bank of the Chobe River.

We started taking the pills last Wednesday, with food, one day before we departed Marloth Park continuing daily during the week in Zambia and Botswana, never giving it another thought with a plan to take them seven days after our return.

We’ve never seen so many impalas on any other safaris in the world.

While in Africa for almost a year in 2013/2014 we took the pills continuously never experiencing any major issues. While in Zambia for a week in May 2018 we followed the same regimen, never giving it much of a thought.

Our guide Sampson explained that the only animal that can cause a self-induced abortion by eating a certain poisonous plant, does so when conditions are poor and her calf wouldn’t survive.

(We still continued to use insect repellent while taking the pills which is always a must-do while in Africa and certain other parts of the world).  

Hippo with oxpecker, cape buffalo, and impala all in one photo.

Last time I took the first pill a few hours later I had a headache.  I never get headaches. I brushed it off and continued with the pills. While on our first safari in Chobe a few days later, I noticed I had a weird headache-like sensation in my jaw for most of the day.  I’d taken the pill on an empty stomach and attributed it to that.

Yellow-billed stork.

After lunch, the headache went away.  Thus, it obviously made sense to take the pills with food which we’ve done since.  But then again on Monday morning, while in Chobe National Park on a game drive once again, after taking the pill with food, I noticed that same jaw pain.  I reached into the backpack and pulled out a Tylenol and chugged it down.  

Lilac-breasted roller.

An hour later the pain was considerably less but not totally gone.  At that point, I’d never mentioned it to Tom, not wanting to worry him.  We continued on and had a great few days in Chobe.

Such a sweet face. Check out those eyelashes!

The second day in Chobe, I noticed my balance was off. I kept bumping into things, not outrageously so but enough to make me notice.  On Wednesday night when we returned to the Livingstone Protea Hotel, I could hardly walk straight, I felt nauseous and horribly dizzy.  

Each day before commencing on the game drives, tea, coffee, and muffins was served in the bush.

I didn’t feel like having dinner but in an effort to “tough it out” I didn’t complain and we ate in the hotel’s restaurant.  I ordered a bit of fish and steamed vegetables, hot tea and drank lots of water.  

The beautiful fish eagle.

By yesterday morning, I struggled to do the post, more than I’ve ever struggled in the past when not feeling well.  How I got through it, I’ll never know.  By noon with the post uploaded I was in bed, under the covers with the room spinning and I couldn’t walk across the room.  A few hours later diarrhea hit hard.

Crocs don’t have sweat glands.  If a Crocodile gets too warm, it can only reduce its temperature in three ways: get in the shade; get in the water, or sit quietly with its mouth wide open.  This one opted for the later.

I’d stop taking the pills 24 hours earlier.  I knew the pills were making me sick and didn’t think it was something else when I’d read that these two symptoms were common side effects of Malarone and it’s equivalent.  

A face only a mother could love.

By 1600 hours (4:00 pm) I knew there was no way I could go to the restaurant for dinner, I knew I had to drink lots of water and should have some easy to digest dinner although I wasn’t hungry.  Not eating would only make me feel weaker and dizzier.

We watched the sunset from the veranda at the Chobe Safari Lodge.

By 1900 hours (7:00 pm) Tom delivered my plate of grilled chicken breast and a few steamed vegetables.  I encouraged Tom to relax and enjoy dinner in the restaurant while I ate half-sitting up in bed.  

Neither of us slept well as typical on the night before we fly away.  Fortunately, this morning I’m much better although still feeling a little dizzy. I’ll be OK to travel today. 

African sunsets are memorable.

After searching online I found this article from the USFDA on potential side effects from taking malaria pills. Please click here for details on that report. After reading this and other such articles, I’ve made a decision not to take malaria pills in our remaining seven months in Africa.  

Here’s an excerpt from that report:
“The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is advising the public about strengthened and updated warnings regarding neurologic and psychiatric side effects associated with the antimalarial drug mefloquine hydrochloride. A boxed warning, the most serious kind of warning about these potential problems, has been added to the drug label.  FDA has revised the patient Medication Guide dispensed with each prescription and wallet card to include this information and the possibility that the neurologic side effects may persist or become permanent. The neurologic side effects can include dizziness, loss of balance, or ringing in the ears.  The psychiatric side effects can include feeling anxious, mistrustful, depressed, or having hallucinations. (For a more complete list of potential side effects, see Additional Information for Patients).”

I’ll continue as I have all along, using copious amounts of insect repellent every six to eight hours and keep my arms and legs covered as much as possible.  Most often I get bit by mosquitos on exposed skin, not under my shirt and pants.  

Moments later the sun disappeared and we walked to the restaurant across the road for a gourmet meal as shown in yesterday’s post here.

If I have to wear my insect repellent clothing all summer long in Marloth Park I will and again when we’re in Kenya at the end of February and early March. This time while staying in Marloth Park neither of us have taken malaria pills.  The stay was just too long to safely continue taking these drugs.

Do we worry about getting malaria?  We hardly ever give it a thought when taking sensible precautions but this is up to you and your doctor should you visit a malaria-prone zone anywhere in the world.  This was the last time we’ll take them.  

Tom’s had no issues and will complete his regime for the seven days once we’re back in Marloth Park but he too, says they present too many risks to our liking.  We wouldn’t have taken them coming to Zambia, Botswana and Zimbabwe had the doctor not insisted it was imperative for these regions.

On the first safari when we went through the border between Zambia and Botswana we had to drive through a chemical that cleans the tires to prevent the spread of hoof and mouth disease.

Today, we share more of our photos from this week’s four safari adventures:  two game drives and two boat rides in Chobe National Park and on the Chobe River.  As you can see, we were hardly disappointed.  Many more photos will follow.

Tomorrow, we’ll post our final expenses for this one week in Zambia and Botswana.  I wasn’t up to putting them together these past few days but once we’re back in Marloth Park, I’ll tackle the numbers and share them with all of you.

Soon, we’re off for the airport and by 1730 hours (5:30 pm) we’ll be back in our own little paradise.  We’re keeping our fingers crossed for an easy immigration transition in Kruger/Nelspruit/Mpumalanga!

We’ll be back with you soon.  Have a great day!


Photo from one year ago today, August 23, 2017:

Statue in a roundabout on our way toward San Jose, Costa Rica, known as Rotondo de las Garantias Sociales Zapote.  For more photos, please click here.11

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