WATER ISSUESWater in Africa

Is it safe to drink the water?

Botswana: Tap water is purified and safe to drink at hotels, inns, lodges and other public places. Remember water is a scarce resource, especially in this drought-stricken country, so please be respectful and help to conserve water.

Lesotho:While water in major towns is chlorinated and relatively safe to drink, it is safer to stick to sealed bottled water, available from most hotels and lodges.

Malawi:Tap water is purified and safe to drink at hotels, inns, lodges and other public places

Moçambique: It is safer to stick to bottled water.

Namibia: Tap water is purified and safe to drink at hotels, inns, lodges and other public places. Remember water is as precious as diamonds in this drought-stricken land.

South Africa: The tap water in South Africa is safe to drink. If you prefer, bottled water is available.

Swaziland: Tap water is usually safe to drink, but bottled water can be purchased if preferred.

Zambia: Tap water is usually safe to drink, but bottled water can be purchased if preferred.

Zimbabwe: Tap water is purified and safe to drink at hotels, inns, lodges and other public places.

The Company's vehicles are equiped with water tanks to carry water that is safe to consume and to shower with

WaterAre there any medical precautions?
As vaccination requirements change from time to time, we suggest you consult your local doctor or health department for prophylactics and the latest health precautions. Some countries require advance inoculations (and certificates thereof) - The Safari Company will advise you of these. Most lodges have qualified emergency first-aid staff members.

Malaria is present in many parts of Africa - we will advise you if you will be visiting a malaria area. Anti-malarial precautions are essential when travelling to Africa with exception to some parts of South Africa.

Our Common Earth

Our planet Earth, seen from space, is an almost perfect beautiful blue
sphere. The blue color shows the vast amounts of water found on earth
but this apparent abundance is a mirage. Indeed, only about 2 percent
of the blue landscape visible is fresh water with the rest being salt water, which is
useless for normal human consumption. To amplify the limitations of freshwater,
only about half of it is available for use by the ever-increasing population of the
world that is approaching 6 billion.

Water stress and scarcity

A third of all nations are suffering from water stress (between 1000 and 1500
cubic meters per capita). Since 1950, world population doubled but water use
tripled. Water scarcity, in both its quantitative and qualitative manifestations,
is emerging as a major development challenge for many countries. In countries
racing toward their physical limits to fresh water expansion, the amount of water
available is a key concern. In other countries with expanding urban settlements, industrial
sectors, and commercialized agriculture, water quality is a major concern.

WaterholeWill water scarcity spark wars?

Until recently, water scarcity (less than 1000 cubic meters per capita) generally
had been conceptualized as a simple natural resource scarcity, a commodity
scarcity, much like a scarcity of strategic minerals. If water scarcity were a simple
commodity scarcity, then there would be a seemingly obvious high risk of conflict
between countries who share a common water resource. How could one hope to
get more water by going to war with another nation? This concept, which has been
in vogue for a long time, however is not supported by facts.

The empirical evidence (shows that there were very few, if any, water wars in
history. While there have been tension around water, there have also been innumerable
treaties prepared to accommodate the conflicting interests of nations sharing
common water resources.

Key issues in Africa

The key issue is the application of water resources management to the concept of
water scarcity in Africa.

Water is a crucial resource with great implications for African development. The
freshwater situation in Africa, however, is not encouraging. Of the estimated 800
million who live on the African continent, more than 300 million live in water-scarce

The importance of water for socio-economic development is well recognized
globally, but with increasing population and industrialization and their demands for
water for various uses, water scarcity is looming in many countries of the world.
Lack of water hampers development through constraining food production, health
and industrial development

Using the simplified model of society’s response to water scarcity as a guide, the
key issues in Africa are investing in the development of Africa’s potential water
resources, reducing drastically the number of people without access to safe water
and adequate sanitation, ensuring food security by expanding irrigation areas and
protecting the gains of economic development by effectively managing droughts,
floods and desertification.

Water resources

In order to increase access to safe drinking water and sanitation, as well as increase
the size of irrigated areas, enough water must, obviously, be available.
Availability of water in an area mainly depends on two interlinked factors: rainfall
and internal renewable resources: the renewable resources are replenished by
rainfall, and if the rains fail, the groundwater stocks are not replenished.
For watermanagement to be sustainable, withdrawals must be carefully managed to ensure
that water is not overused. Actual withdrawals for agriculture, community water
supply and industry in all but the Northern sub-region, are low as proportions of
available water. Continentally, less than four percent of Africa’s renewable water
resources are withdrawn for agriculture, domestic supply and sanitation and industry.
There are, therefore, ample water resources available that if developed and
managed sustainably, will enable Africa reach its water-related goals set within the
framework of the MDGs and the Africa Water Vision 2025.

Specifically, this calls for an increase in the development of the water resources
potential by 5% in 2005, 10% in 2015, and 25% in 2025 as recommended in the
African Water Vision to meet increased demand from agriculture, hydropower, industry,
tourism & transportation at national level. Currently less than 5% of Africa’s
internally renewable resources, and about the same percentage of its hydropower
potential are developed. It is estimated that on aggregate, US$ 20 billion per year
will be required to achieve the targets of the Africa Water Vision 2025.
Water supply and sanitation services are inadequate across Africa. About two-
thirds of the African population live in rural areas, where water supply and sanitation
services coverage is the poorest. Urban areas, with generally
more developed infrastructures, are better served but a significant proportion of
urban dwellers also lack access to safe water and adequate sanitation. 

Water-related aspects of climate, such as droughts, floods and desertification
have serious implications for African countries’ development.

The single worst African drought disaster killed 300,000 people in Ethiopia in
1984. In 2002, 14.3 million people were affected by drought in the same country.
In economic terms, the cost of droughts in Africa is enormous. For example, the
economic impacts of the 1991/92 drought in Southern Africa resulted in a GDP
reduction of $3 billion, reduced agricultural production, increased unemployment,
heavy government expenditure burden and reduced industrial production due to
curtailed power supply.