Our Overland Medical Bag Packing List

It was a daunting exercise to decide what medicine and medical equipment to pack for our 6-month overland trip through Africa. Our route would take us from South Africa to Malawi and back while also visiting parts of Namibia, Botswana, and Zambia.

We don’t get sick that often except for the occasional cold, so in our medicine cabinet at home, we usually only stock a couple of headache tablets and effervescent tablets. I knew this was not going to cut it and we had to stock a wider variety of medicine to be prepared for any event. Our journey would take us through different areas each with its own risk profile and access to pharmacies and hospitals would at times be limited.

The first step was to visit our local travel clinic. We discussed our current health, the means of travel, and the countries we would visit, and based on this consultation they indicated which vaccinations are required and recommended against destination-specific diseases. They also provided advice on which travel medicine to take especially since we would be traveling in high-risk malaria areas during the rainy season when transmissions tend to peak.

We then consulted with our local doctor who prescribed key items and tablets to keep in our medical bag.

I have compiled a list of all the medicine we packed for our trip including the vaccinations received. It’s important to note that I am not a medical professional and this list should not be used as your go-to guide for packing a medical bag. You should always visit your local doctor and travel clinic before taking any medicine and embarking on a multi-country overland trip.

This list was compiled using the recommendations of our travel clinic, the advice of our local doctor, and additional research. There is no right or wrong medical list, this list is just to show our followers what we took along and which vaccinations we chose to get.

Fortunately, we didn’t need to use 90% if the items in our medical kit.

Probably the only time we really opened up the bag was during our two-week stay in Malawi. I got a massive migraine one night while in Monkey Bay and my husband got hay fever which is not uncommon for him. In both instances, we also administered a malaria test just as a precaution.

As to be expected when camping for 6 months in Africa, we didn’t fully escape unscathed, insect bites were a daily occurrence and we did have the occasional scratch and bump, but nothing was so serious that we had to seek medical care.

I do count ourselves very lucky in this regard, but it also comes with a responsibility to always be aware of your surroundings and to keep focus whether you are driving, hiking cooking or even if you are just walking to the ablution.

Safe Travels!

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