If you’re considering an expat assignment in South Africa, you’ll probably have three main areas of concern: Safety, education, and healthcare. I’ve previously touched on both schools and safety, but a comprehensive post on healthcare is way overdue.
Even though we’ve since sampled several hospitals
, just so I can give you a first-hand account in the healthcare department, I don’t think I ever told you of my first emergency room experience. I went ahead and contracted tick bite fever not more than one month into our move. It turns out tick bite fever is very common around here if you do any kind of hiking, especially in the rainy season. That is exactly what we did over Easter weekend 2010, when we went on our first safari at Yellow Wood Game Lodge in the Waterberg (a mountain range about 2 hours to the Northeast of Joburg). Technically it was supposed to be the dry season (“It has NEVER rained here in April!”) but in a twist very typical for our family (we should be called the Murphy’s), all records were broken when WE were there, and it rained and rained and rained, prompting the lodge owner to be worried about leaks in the beautiful thatch roof, which he swore he’d never had to deal with before. So I’m not surprised that ticks were roaming freely. If someone had warned me about it, I might have worn long pants and checked for ticks, but when planning our trip I had dedicated long hours of research into the question of malaria (just FYI, the Waterberg is a Malaria free area), NOT tick bite fever.
Our trip was beautiful, despite rain, but ...