Drinking tap water on safari

by Bob

How safe is it to drink the water from a tap on a safari trip? I will be visiting the Kruger Park in South Africa and because of the heat I'm probably going to be drinking a lot to prevent dehydration. Bottled water can be expensive so should I risk using the taps?


The short answer is no, it's not worth the risk drinking water from the taps on safari. Here's why...

Even correctly chlorinated water which is safe to drink, such as you will get from the taps in many of the large urban areas in South Africa and other African countries (Tanzania is an exception, all their water should be considered contaminated) may cause diarrhea in travelers.

The locals can drink it without ill effects but a traveler hasn't had the time to build up immunity to the local strains of bacteria that may be present in small quantities in the water supply.

And considering that most safaris take place in rural areas in Africa where the water is often not properly treated, it's better to be safe than sorry and only use the tap water to brush your teeth. The last thing you want is to get sick on your once in a lifetime trip.

Remember when you buy bottled water that you need to check that the seal hasn't been broken. Most of the safari lodges in Africa have a ready supply of bottled mineral water that you can make use of and the Kruger National Park has shops in each camp where you can purchase recognised brands.

Anyway, look on the bright side, it's a good excuse to drink more beer and wine.


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