Topical Tropical Tips!
Travellers from all over the world descend on tropical islands during their annual vacation, anticipating luxurious accommodation and a chance to be pampered during their well-earned break. While that is all guaranteed when you book a World Leisure Holiday – as we have decades of Indian Ocean resort experience to call on and are experts in ensuring that these criteria are indeed fulfilled – there are some considerations to optimise the holiday experience. Here’s some advice for staying healthy on your tropical island visit.
Food and drink precautions
It is understood that you are travelling to experience different cultures and environments and we are not attempting to scare you off, but you must be aware that there are many water-borne parasites and diseases that could easily be in local tap water, so always have a bottle of commercially bottled water on you, at all times, even for brushing your teeth.
Tasting and sampling foreign fare is one of the highlights for travellers and, while the excitement of experiencing new cuisine is uppermost on many holiday makers’ bucket lists, the first line of defence against any health ailment is: be sensible!
In Mauritius, the water quality is mostly safe, although not always up to international standards. More than half of the water supply in the island country is sourced from groundwater, and the rest comes from reservoirs and lakes. With different standards, the international traveller is advised to only drink bottled water (which is very cheap in Mauritius) to avert any chance of having an unpleasant holiday!
On the other hand, water sanitation in the Maldives is non-existent, as the water coming from the tap is barely treated rainwater. It is therefore strongly advised to boil water before drinking and to drink bottled water if out hiking or if you intend participating in any outdoor activities. If you are staying in a resort other than World Leisure Holidays, they may supply drinking water to you, just ask at reception.
In Zanzibar, the strongest advice around drinking water is, never allow anything other than bottled water to enter your mouth! Another tip is to take a spare toothbrush along just in case you forget and put it under the tap. Showering is fine as the heat kills off water-borne bacteria.
A caution on Lonely Planet says: “Be careful with any bottled water served up. Check that the cellophane seal is unbroken.”
Another consideration when travelling in the tropics, is to not have ice with your drinks, as the water may well be sourced from the local supply. World Leisure Holiday resorts obviously are the exception!
Converging from all areas of the globe and congregating on a tropical island, chances are that you have been used to eating your country’s fare and your digestive system is accustomed to what you have been feeding it. There may, therefore, be reactions to local fare on any of the islands— or indeed, in any location that serves different food to what you are accustomed to!
While World Leisure Holiday resorts ensure the highest standards of fare, Mauritian food is a fusion of Creole and Western and is generally safe. Travellers who buy from the local markets suggest washing fruit and veggies in bottled water and ensuring that any street food is prepared in front of you, not pre-packaged. One Trip Advisor traveller commented: “Food safety standards are much higher than places in Spain or Greece and faraway places like Dominican Republic or Mexico,” so that’s something to consider!
In the Maldives, the eating options are superb in the World Leisure Holiday resorts and, outside the resorts, the Indian influence is evident in local cuisine. Note to take is that, above all, Maldivian local food is often hot and spicy, so be prepared for spicy fish curry, fish soup, fish patties and multiple variations thereof, and make sure you have street food prepared fresh, in your presence.
In Zanzibar expect nothing but the finest dining in the World Leisure Holiday resorts, while generally, outside of the resort, all restaurants are clean, and foods are safe. Ensure to wash all fruits and vegetables before eating if you are snacking and, as always, rather have street food prepared freshly in front of you.
If you travel to the tropics, you run the risk of catching a tropical disease to which you are not resistant. While the threat of acquiring a tropical disease during your visit is slight, it is always wise to take some simple precautions against mosquito bites and other sources of disease.
Globally, some of the worst health bugs fall into the ‘tropical diseases’ category. While World Leisure Holidays can ensure your holiday is booked into a hygienic and safe environment, Mother Nature is beyond our control and the occasional outbreak of tropical diseases like malaria do occur, so we recommend that visitors get up to date on their immunisations before they leave home.
Fortunately, vaccines can protect you against some diseases.
The WHO recommends the following vaccinations for most travellers when travelling to Mauritius and the Maldives, especially if unvaccinated: hepatitis A, hepatitis B, typhoid, yellow fever, rabies, polio and tetanus.
If travelling to Zanzibar consider vaccinating against the following: yellow fever, MMR (mumps, measles and rubella), hepatitis A, hepatitis B, DTP (diphtheria, tetanus and polio), with emphasis on protection against mosquito bites as Dengue, malaria and Chikungunya are prevalent.
All sorts of preventatives and protection!
General advice when you go on holiday to the tropics is to ensure that you have a small first-aid kit that has anti-spasmodic medicine for cramping such as Immodium (Loperamide) for just in case, and for headaches and sunburn, pack aspirin, Tylenol, and ibuprofen or paracetamol. A really good mosquito repellent is a must have, whether spray, lotion or a heated pad version.
Yes, we know you want a lovely tan, but build it up rather than attempt to get that deep golden tropical tan in one sitting, because it’s not going to happen! It’s the tropics people, so it’s going to be hot. Don’t risk spoiling your holiday with sunstroke or heat stroke, as both are avoidable.
15-minute stints in the sun with adequate SPF (30 and up) will ensure that you don’t burn. And a hat, a wide-brimmed hat will do wonders protecting you from the damaging sun. Calamine lotion is great to lather on for burnt skin and also great for bug bites or itchy rashes. So too, aloe gel or spray to soothe the pain of too much sun is a great option.
Other suggestions for the first-aid kit are to pack a variety of sizes of good quality band-aids, for little nicks and scratches that may become infected in the tropical heat and some easy to pack antiseptic wipes. Along with gauze pads, which are great in case you need to stop bleeding – get 4″ squares, tape comes in handy for all sorts of emergencies.
The more adventurous traveller may need to remove pesky splinters, so tweezers are a must have and a pair of scissors are the very basics for a first aid kit as they are handy for so many applications!
Instant ice packs are really helpful for sprains (from underestimating your leaping abilities!) and also great for easing heat stroke. Also, for stabilising a sprained ankle to acting as a makeshift sling, pack bandages.
If you get something in your eye, saline solution is wonderful as an eyewash, or cleaning out cuts and grazes.
Right, now that you are well-armed against any eventually, enjoy that amazing break and come back healthy and relaxed from your tropical trip!