Whilst a hazard at the best of times, mosquitoes are particularly dangerous when encountered on an African safari. Malaria is one of the most deadly diseases in the world, and the mosquitoes inhabiting this region of our planet are one of the major carriers of it. When travelling through such at-risk areas of the world, be sure therefore to take anti-malarial medications before you go. To be on the extra safe side, there are also a number of things you can do to protect yourself from mosquitoes whilst on your holiday. Here are a few tips.
Number one rule when out on safari, is to be wearing a good mosquito repellent at all times. Which are the best mosquito repellents to use? The most powerful and effective repellents contain at least 20 per cent DEET as their active ingredient. However, according to some research, this substance is toxic to humans – and the environment – so if you don’t want to expose yourself or loved ones to DEET, there are also many natural, eco-friendly alternatives now on the market, containing active ingredients such as citronella and eucalyptus oil, picaridin, pyrethrins, etc. These formulae may not be as effective at warding off mosquitoes, however, so it is up to you to decide if the trade off in protection from bugs is truly worth it.
Use a mosquito net when you sleep
This one is self-explanatory. Protect yourself from insects when you are your most vulnerable by placing a mosquito net over your tent, hammock etc. For extra good results, you can spray the net itself with mosquito repellant
Wear the right clothing
To minimize your exposure to mosquitoes, be sure to wear thick long-sleeved shirts and pants, and tucks your pants into your socks. Also wear thick, sturdy shoes. Another tip is to wear light-colored clothes, as darker shades attract more insects.
Pay attention to your diet
You may not have realized, but mosquitoes have a real sweet tooth – sugar is a major energy booster for them. This means that the higher your intake of sugar, the more at risk you are of mosquito bites. Try therefore not to give in to your cravings for sugary treats whilst out on safari! Also avoid too many wheat products, as mosquitoes can pick up the smell of yeast from a mile away, and are drawn to it like moths to a flame.
Mosquitoes are also drawn to light and flame, so avoid switching on unnecessary lighting during the evening hours. Use the bear minimum of lighting that you need!
Another means of repelling mosquitoes is to use mosquito coils. Place them underneath your bed, sleeping bag or other equipment in order to ward off the blood sucking pests. Despite their rather unwelcoming odour, these devices are highly effective at repelling bugs, and are quite long lasting as well – they can last as long as 8 hours in the best of cases.
If you are using deodorant, after-shave or perfume in order to attract a certain someone, then be aware that you will be attracting mosquitoes as well! Mosquitoes are heavily drawn to the sweet-smelling aroma of these accessories, so avoid laying them on too thick!
main image ©Azura Selous Camp