Monthly Archives: June 2013

A Healthy Traveller is a Happy Traveller

Al-Musafir is grateful to Dr. Zaki Ibrahim, a medical practitioner and fellow musafir (traveller), for contributing this piece.

I have been in Malaysia since 21 April 2013. Alhamdullillah (praise to God), my family and I have settled back in Penang well. We are excited to be back in our home country although we miss our beloved adopted city, Adelaide. We miss Adelaide very much! In our first 3 weeks in Malaysia, we suffered travel related illnesses. When I look back, our preparation was minimal. I would like to share tips on how to prepare ourselves to avoid or minimise travel related illnesses. As Muslims, we are required to prepare as much as we can and then we leave it to Allah (God). This is the concept of tawakkul.

People who travel have up to a 50% chance of suffering travel related illnesses. While most travel related illnesses are minor, some very serious infectious diseases are endemic in some parts of the world. All travellers should be prepared and be aware of health issues and measures to protect themselves from sickness. The most common travel related illnesses are gastrointestinal diseases usually contracted from poorly prepared foods or untreated water. To avoid diarrhoea, stomach pains, nausea and vomiting associated with these illnesses try the following:

Precautions to Prevent Gastrointestinal Diseases

  1. Consume boiled or bottled water. Use purifiers or tablets to purify water.
  2. Avoid ice in drinks.
  3. Avoid unpasteurised milk and dairy products.
  4. Avoid fruit and vegetables that have been washed with local water.
  5. Eat thick-skinned fruit and vegetables that you can peel yourself such as bananas, oranges and mandarins.
  6. Make sure food is cooked thoroughly and eat it while it is hot.
  7. Avoid shellfish.
  8. Don’t buy food from street stalls – hotels and busy restaurants are safest.
  9. Maintain a high level of personal hygiene.

Some serious infectious diseases such as malaria, yellow fever and dengue fever are transmitted through insect bites. While there are vaccines and drugs available to help protect against some of these diseases, travellers are advised to always take additional precautions to protect themselves as follows:

Precautions to Prevent Diseases Contracted Through Insect Bites

  1. Apply mosquito repellent that contains at least 30 per cent DEET.
  2. Stay indoors between dusk and dawn – mosquitoes carrying the malaria parasite generally feed at this time.
  3. Apply insect repellent such as permethrin, to your clothes and bedding.
  4. Wear socks, long pants and long-sleeved shirts when outdoors.
  5. Use a bed net.
  6. Stay in air-conditioned or screened accommodation.

You may want to consider arranging to have vaccinations or take medications to protect against diseases such as hepatitis, typhoid or malaria. In fact, some countries legally require travellers to have certain vaccinations such as yellow fever. As you will need to have some vaccinations weeks or months before travel, it is best to see your doctor 6 to 8 weeks before you go. However, if you have to travel on short notice, you can still be vaccinated with certain vaccines. When you are planning to travel, be prepared and aware of the travel related health issues. Always consult a doctor and take heed of health warnings issued by credible sources such as the Center for Disease Control and Prevention. May you be healthy on your happy travels ahead, insha’Allah (God willing)!

To the pyramids and beyond but only if you're healthy to make the journey!

To the pyramids and beyond but only if you’re healthy enough to make the journey!


Granite Island @ Victor Harbor

Granite Island is located in Victor Harbor which is about 80 kms from Adelaide city centre and takes about an hour and a half to get there by car. What struck us at first is that it is really small particularly compared to Penang Island in Malaysia from where we hail. It takes less than an hour to go around it on foot. You can walk across the 600 metre wooden causeway which connects the mainland to the island or take the horse drawn tram there. The operators are quick to reassure you that the horses are treated well as they work in short shifts, are fed regularly and taken to a nearby farm to roam when not put to work. We had no reason to doubt this as the horses looked very well fed and groomed. Trams run daily in 20 minute intervals between 10.30am to 3.30pm to the island and 11am to 4pm to the mainland. It costs AUD6 for a one-way trip or AUD8 per return trip for adults, less for children below 15 years old and families of four.

As to what you can do there, well, just look at the photos! Taking in the stunning views in all directions either from the mainland or island is well worth the trip. Bring a hat to shield yourself from the sun because as the island’s name suggests, is really just a piece of rock, very bare with only maybe one or two tress from which you can take cover. There is also a Penguin, Marine and Environmental Centre on the island which rescues and rehabilitates injured penguins. The centre conducts tours on Tuesdays to Sundays and public holidays from 11am to 4pm and costs AUD6 and AUD4 per entry for adults and children respectively.

Visit the Victor Harbor Visitor Information Centre for more information on Granite Island and other things you can do in the area including whale watching in the winter months. Also see this fact sheet for current attractions.

Address: The Causeway (look for Flinders Road), Victor Harbor, South Australia 5211
Phone: +61 8 8551 0777 (dial 08 8551 0777 if in Australia)
Hours: 9am – 5pm daily

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Why Do We Travel?

Not quite getting into “the meaning of life” but give this a thought – why do we travel? There are a myriad of reasons. Like cats, we have a need to fill our insatiable curiosity. The great explorers of the world used to do this, for good or bad intentions, to prove that the world is not flat or for world domination even.

For Muslims, intention is core to our belief – intention precedes every deed or action. Specifically, everything is done with the intent to please God first and foremost, and then, everything else but always for good.

As Muslims, we are encouraged to discover the world in search of knowledge and enjoy the wondrous beauty that we have been blessed with on earth. We represent not only the religion but also our respective cultures and countries, so travel also becomes an opportunity to share knowledge (with the people of the places we visit) as much as it is to gain knowledge. Travelling as a process, doesn’t end when we return as it is important to share our experiences with friends and family who didn’t have an opportunity to travel or plan to embark on similar travels and can benefit from information.

So the next time you travel, do so with the best of intentions and always be sure to share your experiences when you return.

Where will your travels take you today?

Where will your travels take you today?

The Botanic Gardens of Adelaide (There are 3!)

Here’s a place that’s not food related, the botanic gardens of Adelaide. Adelaide has three – the Adelaide Botanic Garden, Mount Lofty Botanic Garden and Wittunga Botanic Garden. There is nothing better than spending the day at the botanic gardens for a picnic, go for a run or hike or just to take in the breathtaking scenery. The one we’ll cover this time is the Mount Lofty Botanic Garden. It is only just under 20 kms from the Adelaide city centre but once you’re there, you feel like you’re hours away from the city which is great because you have that highly accessible choice of city vs. nature.

There’s a lot of ground to cover so start early. Make the Mount Lofty Summit your first stop – grab a map from the tourist info desk and view Adelaide city from there. On a clear day, you’re supposed to be able to see Kangaroo Island. Next, hike down through the gardens. Alternatively, you could drive down to the lower entrance (via Lampert Road), park there and work your way up through the gardens towards the summit. Meet there on Thursdays at 10:30am for the free guided walks in spring and autumn. If hiking’s not your thing, there’s a lake there which is a great spot for a picnic.

There are many trails but we recommend the Bank SA Nature Trail (note: gradient is rather steep but there are other easier trails you could attempt) because you get to see flora that is native to Mount Lofty. Doesn’t matter which trail you choose though – you can’t go wrong – they’re all beautiful! Also, if you’re lucky as we were, you’ll be able to see kangaroos.

Check out for more information on all three botanic gardens and click here to download information specifically on the Mount Lofty Botanic Garden.

We’ll cover the Adelaide Botanic Garden in a future post.

Address: Summit Rd / Piccadilly Rd, Crafers, South Australia 5052
Phone: +61 8 8370 8370 (dial 08 8370 8370 if in Australia)
Hours: 8:30am – 4pm Monday to Friday / 10am – 5pm (6pm during daylight savings) Saturday and Sunday (note: CLOSED if there is a danger of fire during the summer months – check with the Bureau of Meteorology before going)

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